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Mill Street

Looking back: Corner of Front and Sunset

Published in the Issaquah Press on July 22, 1998

Mill Street

Looking East down Mill Street, now known as Sunset Way, circa 1920. [IHM photo photo 91.7.91]

In 1917, the Francis family sells the Bellevue Hotel to Wilson Tibbetts, who starts an automotive garage in the building. Tibbetts soon sells to Case and Lee Hepler and, sometime around 1919, the front of the old hotel is removed and a new one-story brick structure is built to house a Ford sales and service center. This view is looking eastward down Mill Street, now known as Sunset Way. The concrete paving of Mill Street, which occurred in the mid-1920s, has yet to be done in this photograph. Later, the dealership becomes Hepler Motors, where model-T Fords cost $365.

Front Street and Sunset Way 1971

Looking back: Corner of Front and Sunset

Published in the Issaquah Press on July 29, 1998

Front Street and Sunset Way 1971

Front Street and Sunset Way 1971 [IHM photo photo 72.21.14.118L]

As our trek through time nears modern day, we find that the southeast corner of the Front Street and Sunset Way intersection has evolved a great deal since the Bellevue Hotel first stood there in 1888. After the Ford dealership was torn down after the 1965 earthquake, the popular corner became home to a gas station. This photo, take in 1971, shows a Gulf station at the location. Later it was to become a Gull station before Texaco grabbed the location. Note the flashing light to help traffic through the intersection-and the signs of retail development behind the gas station.

 

Bank of Issaquah

Looking back: Bank of Issaquah

Published in the Issaquah Press on August 5, 1998

Bank of Issaquah

Bank of Issaquah. [IHM photo 89.13.4]

Banks will be the topic of Looking Back for the next few weeks. The top photo is the very first bank in Issaquah, appropriately called First Bank. It was founded by W.W. Sylvester and located in what was then the old Mine Co. office building, according to records kept by the Issaquah Historical Society. Today, the Front Street location of First Bank would be best pinpointed as the north end of the Wold Building, between the old two-story Oddfellows Hall and the basketry shop. (as seen in bottom photo).

 

Issaquah Bank

Looking back: Bank of Issaquah

Published in the Issaquah Press on August 12, 1998

Issaquah Bank

Issaquah Bank [IHM photo photo 89.37.1]

If you’ve ever wondered why the west side of Front Street has wider sidewalks than the east side, the answer lies in this 1910 photograph of the Bank of Issaquah. Located at 111 Front St. N., where the Bicycle Center now resides, the community’s second bank was full of modern inventions. On the left side of the building is the concrete mixer that poured the city’s first concrete sidewalk. Bank owner W.W. Sylvester felt that 11 feet was the optimum width for his sidewalk, so he had his bank set back from Front Street three feet farther than other existing buildings. He eventually talked other business owners into moving their buildings back three feet as well. As a side-note, Sylvester also owned a gravel pit northeast of town. Another modern touch on the bank building was the wireless telegraph (note antennae on rooftop).

 

Bank of Issaquah

Looking back: Bank of Issaquah

Published in the Issaquah Press on August 19, 1998

Bank of Issaquah

Bank of Issaquah [IHM photo 72.21.14.179A]

The Bank of Issaquah was well on its way to becoming one of the primary professional hubs for the community in 1914. At the time this photo was taken, Dr. O.A. Kells had recently opened his office on the second floor of the structure. Although Issaquah previously was home to a physician, Kells was the first surgeon in the growing young town. Dr. C.C. Dobbs, a dentist, also was a tenant in the bank building. A report indicated that typewriters were delivered to the employees at the bank and the doctors, putting them on par with their counterparts in Seattle.

 

Issaquah Bank

Bank of Issaquah Building

Issaquah Bank

The Issaquah Bank circa 1910. The front sidewalk has just been poured.

111 Front Street North

This was a particularly ornate bank building when it was built in 1910 to replace an early wood-frame of the Bank of Issaquah.  At that time, the upper floor served as office space for area dentists and doctors.  Over time, sections of the building were used to house the Issaquah Post Office, and the telephone exchange.

The bank became the “Issaquah State Bank” in 1913 and in 1932 became the Issaquah Office of the “Washington State Bank.”  In 1949, the bank was dramatically remodeled, stripping it of its ornate architecture both inside and outside. In one 1953 Issaquah History Museum photo from that time period, it is apparent that the north side of the building was left unfinished. The unfinished side indicates that someone planned to construct an adjacent building. More than fifty years later, the side is still exposed and still unfinished. In 1956, Washington State Bank was purchased by Seattle First National Bank, and in 1965 the local bank branch was moved to the new building further north on Front Street.

Washington State Bank

Washington State Bank, circa 1953 (IHM 91-7-88)

 

Building Description

From the 1998 “Issaquah Historic Property Inventory”:

The Bank of Issaquah building was the most sophisticated building in Issaquah, but it underwent a radical renovation in the late 1940’s that stripped the building of its classical ornate detailing inside and out. The result is a streamlined Art Moderne expression, little changed today. The building is a tall long boxy form 27′ wide along Front Street and 72′ deep along Alder. Unlike its neighbor at 99 Front Street which was built for displaying and selling goods, this building is proportioned for grandeur, status and security. Built as a bank, its vertical window proportions, though very changed from its original classic form, still hint to its roots. The window bays are vertically oriented and deeply recessed; these details enhance the stature of this relatively small building. The windows have been replaced with four panels, each with four horizontal lites; a flat horizontal spandrel divides the windows. The cladding of the building was altered to a large green glazed ceramic tile consistently smooth and sleek; the plasticity of the original ornate structure is absent. The renovation transformed the building into a true Moderne building typified by soft or rounded corners, flat roofs and smooth wall finishes without surface ornamentation. This building originally had vertically oriented windows, and the renovation resulted in the same. This detail is inconsistent with most Moderne buildings built during the 1930’s and 40’s which were characterized by horizontal bands of windows.

Bank of Issaquah

The Bank of Issaquah building now houses the Pelage spa. Photo by Cole Good, 2015.

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