About a mile from my place is Rattlesnake Lake, so named because a pioneer surveyor heard the rattle of seed pods and thought he was being attacked by a rattler, not realizing that there are no poisonous snakes in Western Washington. The lake is a popular picnicking, fishing and hiking destination. Rattlesnake Lake is fed by underground springs, which cause an interesting ebb and flow to the size of the lake - in winter the lake looks quite normal, but in the summer the lake recedes a lot, uncovering its earlier life, the town of Moncton, a town that never quite was.
Moncton was in existence from 1906-1915, and was a railroad town, offering access to the Cedar River Watershed that brought water to Seattle and the surrounding area. A new community was built on the rail line along the shores of Rattlesnake Lake. The new village was named for one of its settlers, a Mr. Moncton. The town grew - by 1915, more than 200 people lived in Moncton, and the fledgling community had a hotel, a barbershop, a saloon, a restaurant, a few stores, and even an indoor swimming pool (little did they know that by summer an indoor pool in town would not be needed). A school on the north end of town provided education for children up through 8th grade. Older students had to walk or ride a horse seven miles to the nearest high school in North Bend.
In 1915, due to a new dam being built nearby, water started seeping through the hillsides near the town, which led to mini-geysers being formed, which had nowhere to go but into town. A slow-motion flood began, first outside of town, then in the streets of town, and by May of that year, the water was rising nearly a foot a day, causing the eventual condemning of Moncton.
Here are some photos of the town as it was flooding:
(Thanks to HistoryLink.org and the Seattle Public Utilities for the history and pictures of old Moncton.)
On Saturday, after I got the Christmas lights up, I rode up there in the Elite to take a few pictures before it got dark.
The lake is in the Cedar Falls Watershed area, and Seattle Public Utilities has a nice Education Center that provides some of the history of this area. The Education Center promotes green- and water-saving building techniques, such as this thatched roof:
They also have a "water drum" area where the rain water is used to create a symphony of drumming - it's pretty amazing to hear these when it rains:
This picture is from the Education Center looking towards Rattlesnake Ridge: