Bonney Lake:


There has been mention that there was a Bonney sawmill on the little lake, but I have not been able to confirm that. I have found on an old map the existence of a Bonney Mill Road, but it was east of 218th, near Snag Island. That is not at all around Lake Bonney, but we still haven't been able to associate any sawmill owned by the Bonney's.


I received a call a few years ago from one of the descendants of Sherwood Bonney. She was extremely upset that the City of Bonney Lake was stating that Sherwood Bonney crossed the Naches Trail in a wagon train and built a cabin on the shore of Lake Bonney. It was all untrue, and she wanted the story corrected. We have managed to do that, but some of the misstatements continue to appear. Sherwood Bonney never lived in a cabin on the shore of the little lake.


In order for Ken Simmons to sell lots in the large property purchase he had made around Lake Bonney, he needed to have a source of water. At the time, people were relying on wells, but in the dry summers, their wells would often dry up. Many would have to take their containers to a nearby stream to fill with water and take back home. This wouldn't work to promote his proposed development. Simmons knew the workings of government since he had already served as a State Legislator and Mayor of Milton. In order to pass a bond to pay for a water system, the community had to be incorporated, but you needed a minimum of 300 population in order to do that. He got himself elected mayor of the new town, and yes, he fudged the figures. I believe it was the 1950 census that gave a population for Bonney Lake at 274, still well below the number he reported for incorporation in 1949.


Simmons was known as quite a "wheeler and dealer", and was a rather controversial character.

To incorporate the town, a name was needed. Why he chose to call it Bonney Lake is unknown. Some have said that he said it was a “bonney little town” and thought it would be a reference to his Scottish heritage. Again, that is an unconfirmed story.


We do have a Resource Center here in Bonney Lake where it is possible to do research and make copies of what we have in the way of photos or other documents or clippings. We also have a few books including  Bonney Lake's Plateau, a photo history book of our area.



Winona Jacobsen


The objective of the Greater Bonney Lake Historical Society is to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge about the history of the Greater Bonney Lake area.