Han Jensen (1888-1957) left his property to the State of Washington. Today it is part of the Lake Sammamish Park in Issaquah.

How Farms Became State Park

This article first appeared in the Autumn 2003 Past Times.

By Eric Erickson and Erica Maniez

Anderson farm, 1895. Pictured from left are John Anderson, Addie Smart Anderson, Florence Smart and Lawrence Smart. The Anderson Farm later became part of the Lake Sammamish State Park.

Anderson farm, 1895. Pictured from left are John Anderson, Addie Smart Anderson, Florence Smart and Lawrence Smart. The Anderson Farm later became part of the Lake Sammamish State Park.

Before Lake Sammamish State Park existed, land on the banks of Lake Sammamish belonged to local farming families. The Anderson farm and the Jensen farm, along with land belonging to the Washington Iron Works, became the park in 1953.

The Anderson farm belonged to John Anderson, a Norwegian immigrant, and his wife Addie. The Andersons built what became known as “the big house” on the property in 1890. The big house had two stories and a total of ten rooms. Another house consisting of six rooms was built there sometime before 1895; the farm foreman and his family lived there. Other outbuildings included a horse barn, a small milk house, two garages, a fruit shed, and a log cabin with a plank floor.

Addie Anderson was first married to a man named John Smart, and her children from this marriage also lived on the farm. There were three girls named Florence, Nellie, and Carrie, and a boy named Lawrence.  In 1916, Lawrence and his wife Lulu returned to the farm with their children Nelliemae and Raymond, and lived there for several years.

In 1934, Addie’s three daughters inherited the farm, while her son Lawrence Smart inherited land in Fall City. A tenant farmer named Ole Englebritsen occupied the land after 1934, renting it for $10 a month. In April of 1951, the State of Washington Parks Commission purchased the land.

The Anderson Farm, circa 1895.

The Anderson Farm, circa 1895.

The other tract of former farmland that makes up Lake Sammamish State Park was known as the Jensen farm. Albert F. Giese originally owned this tract, which was bisected by the

Han Jensen (1888-1957) left his property to the State of Washington. Today it is part of the Lake Sammamish Park in Issaquah.

Han Jensen (1888-1957) left his property to the State of Washington. Today it is part of the Lake Sammamish Park in Issaquah.

Monohon or Redmond Road (today’s East Lake Sammamish Parkway). Giese built a house on the property in 1898. In 1905, he also constructed a barn complete with indoor plumbing for the cows. County assessors noted that the barn had 18 metal stanchions, and nine water outlets, indicating that Giese’s cows stood head to head with a shared water faucet for each pair.

Jensen acquired the property in 1942, complete with house and well-plumbed barn. According to his friend Bill Bergsma,Sr., Jensen always had a herd of 60 excellent Holstein cows.

Even though the land would not become a formal recreational area until 1953, it had always been popular with residents looking for a place to swim or fish. Photographs from 1913 show most of the residents of High Point standing on the banks of the lake at the High Point Sunday school picnic. Both Tibbetts and Issaquah Creek flow through the park and into the lake. Fishing at the mouth of either creek could net a fisherman trout, salmon, bass or perch. Hans Jensen continued the practice of opening his beachfront property to local residents. Before his death, Jensen also specified in his will that the land be donated to the state for the use of the area’s young people. His land became the property of the Washington State Parks Commission in May of 1958. Giese’s original house still stands; just behind it lies the Hans Jensen youth camp.

This year [2003] Lake Sammamish State Park celebrates its 50th birthday. The property once owned by the Jensen and Anderson families has a long tradition of providing recreation to the residents of Issaquah. The park not only continues this tradition, but also shares the area with visitors from all over the state.

 

Alexander House in 1999

Alexander House

155 NW Gilman Blvd

Alexander House in 1999

July 1999 photo by David Bangs

Once a familiar landmark on the east shore of Lake Sammamish, this house was built by Thomas and Caroline Alexander in 1902 on land which was known for most of the century as Alexander’s Resort. Thomas Alexander had earlier been the “walking boss” (traveling construction supervisor) for the Seattle, Lakeshore and Eastern Railway.

In 1986, when the property was threatened by plans for a housing development (today’s Eagle Ridge), Issaquah Historical Society volunteers, led by Greg Spranger, worked to save the house. Property owner Puget Power donated the house and assisted in the move to a temporary location.

The house was later moved to its current location, and restoration by local volunteers was completed in 1989, creating the new headquarters for the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, and the Issaquah Visitors Center. By 2000, the Chamber of Commerce was cramped for space in this 1,500 square foot house. The City of Issaquah and the Chamber retained the Swanson Architectural Group to design a new wing that would approximately double the square footage of the building while preserving its Victorian character.

The Visitors Center features brochures and information about activities, recreation, entertainment and shopping in Issaquah and around the region. The center also provides information about lodging, restaurants, realtor listings, and services such as schools and daycares.

Alexander Farme

July 1986 Issaquah Press Photo

er House 1986

September 1986 Photo by Peter Liddell / Seattle Times
Utility crews clear the way as the Thomas Alexander farmhouse moves south on East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.


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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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Boehms Candies

Boehms Candies

255 Gilman Boulevard North

Boehms Candies

2004 image, courtesy of Boehm’s

The Boehm’s Story

Located in downtown Issaquah in an authentic Alpine Chalet, Boehm’s Candies, Inc. has a history as unique as any of the one hundred and fifty types of chocolate and other confectionaries manufactured on its premises. Even more remarkably, the shop still operates with many of the traditions and principles instilled by its founder Julius Boehm (1897-1981) over sixty years ago.

Boehm, a Vienna-born honored athlete and grandson of a candy maker, fled Austria to Switzerland in 1939 to escape Hitlerís forces by using his knowledge and prowess of the often treacherous mountain ranges. He immigrated to the Pacific Northwest just one year later. In 1943 he opened his first candy kitchen with his friend George Tedlock in the north end of Seattle, where the business met significant success. But Boehm was drawn to the Issaquah Alps, whose heights and greenery strongly resembled his homeland terrain. In 1956 he moved the company to the Issaquah foothills, where he constructed the two distinctive buildings which still attract town residents and tourists alike: the Edelweiss Chalet, where the retail store and candy manufacturing plant reside, and the Alpine Chapel, a stunningly ornate tribute to mountain climbers. The chalet also includes a second story apartment where Boehm lived during periods of his life.

Boehms Candies

Boehm’s Candy Postcard Circa 1960
Courtesy of Eric Erickson

Boehm became known not only for the quality of his candies but also as a generous and active member of the Issaquah community and a strong advocate of his many passions, which included skiing, hiking, mountain climbing, and music. To recognize his contributions, the City of Issaquah proclaimed August 15, 1978 as Julius Boehm Day. Just a short time later, King Country parks system named the district swimming pool in downtown Issaquah in his honor.

As his final legacy, Boehm set up a corporation that put his company operations under ownership of several close friends and employees after his death. The company — including many long-time employees — continues to create the Boehm line of confectionaries using its time-honored manufacturing methods. Amazingly, it is one of three candy kitchens in the entire country which still hand-dips its own chocolate.

The Buildings

The “Edelweiss Chalet”, constructed in 1956, was the first Swiss chalet built in the Pacific Northwest. The original building was designed and built by John Blomberg, a former employee of Boehm’s Candy Kitchen on Ravenna and a friend of Julius Boehm. Swiss woodworker Walter Shefer, from Alpenzell, Switzerland designed the woodwork and other Swiss elements to give it the Chalet appearance1. The chalet is named for the native flower of Switzerland. At ground level is the candy factory and storefront. The second story contains the wood-lined apartment, with most of the original furnishings and dÈcor, where Julius Boehm resided.

Boehms Candies

2004 photo provided by Boehm’s
Apartment interior still contains many original furnishings

In 1982, the Chapel section opened. It was also designed by Schefer. Construction began as early as 1980 2. According to the Issaquah Press, the chapel was built to honor mountaineers. The chapel is a replica of a Twelfth Century chapel near Saint Moritz Switzerland.

The chapel interior seats fifty people and is lavishly decorated. A recreation of Michelangelo’s Creation of Man is suspended from the ceiling and an elaborate mural of a fallen mountaineer lines the northern wall. By reservation only, Boehm’s allows use of the chapel for weddings: an estimated three hundred couples a year use if for their ceremony site.

Boehms Candies

2004 photo provided by Boehm’s
Chapel exterior nested in Issaquah greenery

Boehms Candies

2004 photo provided by Boehm’s
Chapel interior with mural of fallen mountaineer


1 E-mail from Diane Camp, 2/16/2006.
2 Issaquah Press, October 15, 1980, page 2.

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Coutts Building

Coutts Building

99 Front Street North

Coutts Building

July 1999 photo by David Bangs

History
This building has housed many Issaquah businesses since it was constructed, replacing the earlier Coutts Building, in 1913. Cornelius Coutts returned from Alaska and purchased the Tolle Anderson Front Street business lot for $800. Coutts and his wife Eva started a dry goods store in Issaquah in a small, false front, frame building. On Monday, December 5, 1910, when he opened his new store, he advertised suits for $4.00 – $6.50 and wool overcoats at $6.00.

Within two years the business had grown enough to warrant moving the little frame building to make way for a two story brick structure. The first story was used as the clothing store, and the second story was rented out for living quarters. The initial cost was $10,000.

Mr. Coutts operated his dry goods business until 1928 when Mr. C.C. Caveness of Centralia purchased it and changed the name to the New York Store. In 1932, Jack Kastle turned the lower floor into a grocery store. Four years later the
management changed once again and it became Tony’s and Johnny’s Corner Market.

After 1947, various businesses occupied the lower floor, while the upstairs continued to serve as apartments, although at intervals professional offices were on the second floor. Mrs. Eva Coutts was still living in the upstairs apartments in 1963.

In 1972 the Redmoor Corporation bought and restored the Coutts building.

Building Description

The Coutts building is a two story, brick structure 20′ wide along Front Street and 120′ deep along Alder. The building takes advantage of its prominent downtown corner location. This is a modem commercial building in both structure and style. The basic structure – a concrete foundation and masonry piers – allows for a modem glassy comer storefront for display and sales. This proportion and refined brickwork detailing of this structure combine to make this building the strongest example of commercial architecture still extant in lssaquah’s downtown. The building’s form expresses its function: a glass commercial storefront for sales activity on the first floor along the primary street front and residential scaled windows on the second floor for the apartments (now offices).

The first floor is constructed of continuous brickwork in a stretcher bond pattern. The second floor structure has brick piers, flush to the first floor, which are infilled with recessed panels of brickwork in a common bond pattern; decorative stepped courses and corbel trim the top. Above these are a plain entablature of five courses and a plain recessed parapet; the roof is flat. Six bays of recessed brick run the 120′ length of the north elevation. Some replaced brickwork closely matches the original at the storefront along the sidewalk at the east elevation.

In addition to the major store entry on the east, the north elevation has two smaller scaled entries. In addition to the
storefront opening. the building has two pairs of tall 3-lite windows on the east facade and six pairs of 3-Iite windows along the north; the middle pane of each window is an awning type. No windows in this building are original. Canvas awnings have been installed over the storefront and above each of two second story window pairs along Front Street. The building is in good condition and is a major contributor to the scale and quality of the streetscape along the main downtown street.

Bibliographic References:

Issaquah Historical Society files, King County Inventory completed by Kay Bullis, 1977
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Finney's Market

Finney’s Market (Peters Agency)

71 Front Street North

Finney's Market

July 1999 photo by David Bangs

History
J.W. Finney constructed his first meat market on this site circa 1900. In 1904, a fire devastated a large part of Issaquah’s downtown, including Finney’s building. The Issaquah Independent reported that “Incendiarism was suspected as having started in the Issaquah Coal Company store next door to the market.” This was Issaquah’ only major business district fire.

The current structure was built in 1910, and Finney operated his store at this location until his death in 1936. Early in his Issaquah career, John Finney employed a young man named John Fischer; it’s likely that Fischer worked with Finney in the old wooden building, because Fischer left to open John Fischer’s Cash Market in 1910.

Finney's Market

From The Issaquah Press, March 5, 1986; Issaquah Historical Society Photo 72.21.14.33

Finney's Market

Issaquah Historical Society Photo 72.21.14.33
From left to right are Finney’s Meats staff Frank Brown, Lawrence Smart, John Fischer and Andrew Hunter.

Finney died in 1936, and Gus Dahlheim established a meat market there and operated Dahlheim’s Meats until 1943. The photos at the bottom of the post were contributed by his stepson, Bill Janzing.

After that it became an insurance office, used first by the Peters Agency. Today it is home to the Jones Agency Allstate office.

Building Description
From the 1998 Issaquah Historic Property Inventory:

Original photographs of this small, single-story, commercial building in Issaquah’s downtown indicate that the building originally had a series of folding front doors. The folding doors were replaced by a glass storefront in the 1950s, and little has changed then then.

This is a smaller scale infill building, meaning that it was built specifically to close a gap. The building has had a marquee at the street since at least the 1940’s. The building is characterized by its rusticated concrete block construction; the block is visible on the plain front parapet.

The building is not grand; it is a vernacular commercial structure built to be utilitarian. It remains solidly intact in its current state and use.

Dahlheilm Meat

Courtesy of Bill Janzing.

Dahlheilm Meat

Courtesy of Bill Janzing.


Bibliographic References
King County Tax Assessor records
1986 Issaquah Press Article

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Gibson Hall

Gibson Hall

105 Newport Way SW

Gibson Hall

1940 Photo Courtesy of Washington State Archives
Gibson Hall, shown here in its original configuration.

Gibson Park

1940 Photo Courtesy of Washington State Archives
This outbuilding, which was architecturally similar to Gibson Hall, provided restroom facilities.

Today’s Gibson Hall began life in 1936 as a three-sided picnic shelter constructed by the Works Progress Administration. The hall also had its own outbuilding that provided for restrooms and storage. Town Park was also the site of the Issaquah Free Campground and another WPA project, the State Salmon Hatcher.

In 1948, community volunteers added windows, doors, walls and a ceiling to create “Town Park Hall”, which opened in early 1949 for use by scouting troops and community groups such as the Kiwanis Club.

In 1952, the Kiwanis Club leased the building from the Town of Issaquah for $1 per year, and agreed to expand, maintain and manage the building for the benefit of the community. Members of the Kiwanis Club remodeled the building extensively and added the north wing, which includes a kitchen and restrooms. The club renamed the building in memory of John H. Gibson, a club member who had served at different times as Issaquah’s mayor and postmaster.

The Kiwanis Club of Issaquah currently meets at Gibson Hall each Wednesday at noon. The club maintains the building, provides free use to many community groups, and manages public rentals.

Building Description
Includes information from King County Historic Resources Inventory, 2003.

Gibson Hall, located on what was at one time the Town of Issaquah’s Free Camp Ground, was constructed as a Works Projects Administration (W.P.A.) project in 1936. The W.P.A. provided employment to many during the Great Depression. Other historic buildings in Issaquah constructed under the W.P.A. include the Issaquah Sportsman’s Club and State Salmon Hatchery.

Gibson Hall is a log building with a rectangular plan and a bell-shaped roof form. The roof has wide eaves supported by brackets. The building has a large rock chimney located on the south elevation. The fenestration originally consisted of small square windows. Three larges openings were located on the east elevation. Two large windows flanked by doors have since replaced the openings. The building is clad in log stockade.

Since construction, a north wing has been added which now serves as a kitchen, and a lean-to section has been added to the back (west elevation) of the building to serve as storage.

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Gilman Town Hall

Gilman Town Hall Museum

Gilman Town Hall

Issaquah’s origianl Town Hall dates back to the period when the town was called Gilman (1892-1899).

165 SE Andrews Street

The Gilman Town Hall was constructed in 1888 as a community hall. The Town of Gilman purchased the building in 1898 for use as the Town Hall. In addition to providing a place for governance, the building served, at varying times, as a polling place, library, school, police station, and fire department. In its early years, it is said, young men of the town held wrestling matches here.

Issaquah’s Town Hall was retired in 1930, when a new Town Hall was constructed. The building was a home to several families between 1930 and 1972, when the City designated its use to the Issaquah Historical Society. Volunteers worked to restore the building’s historic false front facade.

Today, the Gilman Town Hall is one of the Issaquah History Museums, and the location of the organization’s main offices.

Gilman Town Hall during restoration.

False front restoration at the Gilman Town Hall, 1983. (IHM FIC-2012-3-1a)

In This Valley: The Story of Our Town

This exhibit tells the story of Issaquah’s past through hundreds of photographs and artifacts and a variety of interactive elements. Come see one of Issaquah’s original water pipes, a rare Native American fur trade knife, and graffiti hidden for 75 years inside the walls of the fish hatchery. Set off an imaginary charge with an authentic dynamite blaster, ring a logging camp bell, listen to the music of the Squak Valley Hot Shots — and much more!

Also at the Gilman Town Hall…

The kitchen contains a wealth of small objects that remind us of the dawn-to-dusk work of the pioneer homemaker. These include an old wash tub and scrub board, kitchen stove, and water pump. A children’s touch table gives visitors the opportunity to pick up an old sad iron, handle a butter bowl and paddle, try on hob-nailed boots, or examine an old-fashioned curling iron.

Still not sure you can make time to visit the Gilman Town Hall? Then ask yourself this: “Where else can I see a jar of green beans canned in 1922?”

From the museum’s back door you can go directly to jail – the old two-cell town jail, which was constructed in 1914 of solid eight inch concrete walls and still has the original iron bars in the windows. The forged iron lock bar weighs at least 80 pounds, and effectively cut the escape count to zero.

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Gilman Village

Gilman Village

In 1972, Betty Konarski, owner of the Country Mouse consignment store, convinced Marvin and Ruth Mohl to scrap their plans to create another strip mall, and to create what would be Gilman Village instead.