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Carnation or Tolt the History of Our Town's Name

Real Estate Agent with REMAX East Side Brokers, Inc.
Carnation Name History
King County, Washington

The name "Carnation" has been on town records from the year 1917. Early surveyor general's map of Washington Territory in 1857 shows the area having the name Tolthue from the Native Americans that inhabited this area. The town site was the principal home of Chief Patkanim of the Snoqualmie Tribe, and later the town name was given the white man's pronunciation of Tolt.

First settlers to the territory settled in 1865, however the Town of Tolt did not become platted until 1902, and became an incorporated town in 1912. Around 1914 for some unknown reason the Town Council changed the name from Tolt, to the Town of Grand Rapids. Evidently this change did not sit well with the town people as the name only lasted a couple of months and strangely reverted back to the Town of Tolt.

The largest industry in the area then was the Carnation Research Farms, a large milk farm visited by thousands every year and known throughout the world for research on breeding and feeding of Holsteins, cats and dogs, and of course, condensed milk.

In 1917 the State Legislature authorized the change of name from Tolt to Carnation. This was a very controversial subject to the people of the area and many stories have been told as to how Carnation got its name. The first story attributes the name to be in recognition of the large establishment known as Carnation Milk Company. The second tells of a gentleman looking in a store window and liking the display of cigars featuring a picture of a carnation - thus the name was born. We understand from the senior citizens that the town was actually divided in half over the proposed change and it became a very hot controversy, which remains in contention still today. While driving through Carnation you may see both the names "Carnation" and "Tolt" prominently displayed.

In the 1951 the controversy again broke out and a vote of the people was taken to decide once and for all on the name. It was a close vote and Carnation won.

City of Carnation