Friday, August 6, 2010

Ella Raines (1920-1988)

Like many of those Hollywood studio storefront towns, the mill town of Snoqualmie Falls does not exist anymore. By the later 1950s, the town had served its purpose. Its occupants moved on, some structures were demolished and others were carted away and settled elsewhere. It ceased to exist after about forty years, and then faded into the receding regions of memory.
The last house, perhaps, leaves from the late Town of Snoqualmie Falls.

The Town of Snoqualmie Falls was initially built during World War I to house mill hands, loggers and their families. The nation was at war and the work force was needed to satisfy the lumber requirements of the war effort. The community comprised some two to three hundred homes and support structures. It was envisioned by Weyerhaeuser that it would exist and operate as would any small town in the country. But it was a rough-hewn community, one imagines, given the nature of the work at hand and the lack of communal history to which planned communities are subject.

But in its short existence, the mill town of Snoqualmie Falls found its way into the ledgers of Hollywood history. On August 6, 1920, born in its environs was one Ella Wallace Raines, who in her early years had an interesting twenty film career. Her stunning image was best cast in the shadows of black and white. She, like her home town, is no longer with us, but she has forever left her mark on this lifelong film enthusiast. Ella Raines: “Kansas” from Phantom Lady. Born on this day, August 6th, in 1920.

Note: Background subject matter and top photo is from an excellent article in Arcade Magazine: Architecture and Design in the Northwest. Gone Missing: The Town Of Snoqualmie Falls. By Don Fels.

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