Guest Post: Hippie History in Duvall

The Dougherty House in Duvall, King County, Washington.

“Country” Marilyn Roney is a 4th generation Duvall resident, still living on her family’s farm homestead, and Vice-President of the Duvall Historical Society. She shared with us about how some of the town’s quirkier history is still being celebrated today.

On Saturday, July 28, the 2nd Annual Uncle Lumpy’s Jug Band Fest took place at the Dougherty Farmstead on Cherry Valley Road. The Amber Lanterns, a six-piece band from the Snoqualmie Valley, performed bluegrass-inspired tunes with guitar, banjo, fiddle, acoustic bass, mandolin, and washboard.

51 years ago, Larry Van Over—also known as Uncle Lumpy—flew over Cherry Valley Road in a helicopter, watching as cars drove toward his property. Local radio station KRAB FM had announced that they would be partnering with the Helix newspaper to drop an upright piano from a helicopter at musician Van Over’s farm, and that rock band Country Joe and the Fish would perform. The Great Piano Drop of 1968 was born. An estimated 3,000 people attended the event—the population of Duvall at that time was 400.

The Amber Lanterns, a six-piece bluegrass band from the Snoqualmie Valley, performed at the 2nd Annual Uncle Lumpy’s Jug Band Fest at Duvall’s Dougherty Farmstead on July 28, 2019.

The event’s history survives for a number of reasons. KRAB FM was founded and run by the Jack Straw Foundation, which still operates today as the Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle’s University District. The editor of the now-defunct Helix was none other than beloved local historian and Seattle Times columnist Paul Dorpat. And at the center of efforts to keep this history alive is the Duvall Historical Society, which nurtures and supports the town’s art and culture. They convened and covered a conversation between surviving Piano Drop attendees—including Dorpat—at Jack Straw; read more about it in their recent newsletter! Now, the annual Jug Band Fest honors Uncle Lumpy’s love of music and Duvall.

From the DHS: “The Historical Society’s vision is to preserve, record, publish, and promote appreciation of the history of Duvall, the community pioneers knew as Cherry Valley, and the lower Snoqualmie Valley. We invite you to our regular Open House of the Dougherty House every Sunday, 1:00–4:00 pm, through September 30. We also welcome volunteers! Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Docent at the Dougherty House.
  • Design and implement exhibits.
  • Help clean and maintain our buildings.
  • Process and catalog artifacts, books, and archival material.
  • Promote Society membership.
  • Plan and organize programs on historical topics.
  • Assist in meeting public research requests.
  • Educational outreach to our local schools to promote the history of Duvall and the Valley.

Thanks to the support of 4Culture and collaboration with the Duvall Cultural Committee we can honor the past, celebrate the present, and provide a legacy for the future of Duvall.”