A beautiful lake surrounded by virgin timber was enough for Dr. Hyacinthe P. Montborne to homestead here in 1884. He set up a shingle mill at Montborne in 1887, at the same time Hugh Walker was setting up a shingle mill in Walker Valley. With the establishment of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad along the shoreline of Big Lake, the valley began to boom. The Day Lumber Company at Big Lake and the Nelson Neal Lumber Company at Montborne each established lumber mills. Their operations were far-reaching into the vast timberlands. With families homesteading near and far, the Finn Settlement, Ehrlich, Big Lake, Big Rock, and Baker Heights joined Walker Valley and the town of Montborne as communities. The mills are now gone, but the communities in the Big Lake Valley have survived, and generations of families, both old and new, continue to call it home.