How a local history teacher and long time citizens from Bonney Lake started a Historical Society
The Greater Bonney Lake Historical Society was founded in the spring of 2001. After obtaining nonprofit status from the State and Federal governments, the first community project was placements of informational signs indicating the route of the historic Naches Trail where it passed through the Bonney Lake area.
During our humble beginnings, meetings were held wherever we could find space. That included meetings in Duane Tidball’s pool house and kitchen during the early years of our existence, followed by meeting at the Bonney Lake library. The first room loan to GBLHS by the City of Bonney Lake was after GBLHS had received the first 60 boxes of the materials from the Milotte Family collection during early 2012 and we were allowed to use the front room of the Justice Center in May 2012. When the City decided they were going to fully utilize the Justice Center later in 2012, GBLHS was given the opportunity to move into the vacant Council Chambers at the Public Works Center and we've worked and held our meetings at this location since late in the year 2012.
In an effort to expand our horizons the Greater Bonney Lake Historical Society (GBLHS) has joined with the Heritage League of Pierce County (HLPC), South Sound Heritage Association (SSHA), and the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH). Partnerships with these organizations have provided us with many opportunities to learn more about what it takes to be, and operate, a museum.
In order to gain public recognition and promote community involvement, the Society participates each year in activities such as the Summer Sumner Festival, Tunes-at-Tapps, and Bonney Lake Days. Annual Historic Calendars and a History Book are sold at these events - along with a Basket Rally which helps fund our several projects.
A major undertaking of the Society has been the placement of eleven permanent historical markers on prominent sites in the City of Bonneny Lake. (A self-guided tour map is available at our Resource Center.)
The Society has lead tours along the route of the Naches Trail from the White River westward to the Puyallup River. Winona Jacobsen, a member of the society, has written a well researched book “Bonney Lake's Plateau” which chronicles the area’s history in words and photographs. (This book is available through the Resource Center located at 19306 Bonney Lake Blvd.)
The latest project, as of this writing, is the annual Milotte Wildlife Film Festival held on the third Saturday of October each year. This festival highlights the work of Disney Film Makers Alfred and Elma Milotte, who resided in Bonney Lake.
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.