Pilot House of Issaquah Ferry

Issaquah Ferry Pilot Houses (Sausalito, CA)

300 Napa Street, Sausalito, California

Pilot House of Issaquah Ferry

Pilot House of the Issaquah Ferry, Sausalito, CA. (Photo courtesy of David Bangs, 1999)

The ferry ISSAQUAH has gone through a long life’s journey since its maiden journey on Lake Washington on May 2, 1914. Most of the ferry is history, but the two pilot houses are preserved and on display in the Galilee Harbor parking lot in Sausalito, California. As of September 1999, the harbor is undergoing a $1.7M expansion, after which the ISSAQUAH pilot houses will be positioned on either side of the walkway to the boats, and serve as a museum to both the ferry ISSAQUAH and the history of the Galilee Harbor community.

The 114 foot two decker steam ferry boat was revolutionary when it was launched by the Anderson Steamboat Co. in 1914. It served as a private ferry and tour boat on Lake Washington until 1918, when public ferry competition made its continued operation here unprofitable. At that time, it was sold to the newly formed Rodeo/Vallejo line in California and brought down the coast to the San Francisco Bay where it served on various runs until it was retired in the 1948.

Pilot Houses of the Issaquah Ferry

Pilot Houses of the Issaquah Ferry, Sausalito, CA. (Photo courtesy of David Bangs, 1999).

In the 1950’s, the ferry was moved to Sausalito and divided up into individually rented units. The tenants tended to be artists and were described at the time as “beatniks.” Though the boat was superficially maintained, all the time it was sinking deeper into the mudflats and suffering rot from the bottom up. In 1970, Issaquah area historian Harriet Fish visited the boat and wrote a series of articles for The Issaquah Press on the ferry’s history and predicament. One of those articles was entitled “Ferry Issaquah is Seeing Her Last Days.” Later, the wheelhouses and walls of the ferry were saved when the mudflats on which the ferry rested were developed into today’s Waldo Point houseboat development.


Steefenie Wicks of the Galilee Harbor Community Association has been instrumental in preserving what’s left of the ISSAQUAH. Wicks was the director of the now-defunct Art Zone organization from 1984-1988. Under her direction, the organization rescused the Issaquah’s remaining walls from the rotting hulk on Sausalito’s mudflats. Art Zone represented the interests of artists and others who were living in boats and other structures along the city’s waterfront before they were displaced by new developments in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Galilee Harbor, which is a resident-owned live-a-board marina, is a direct result of that movement.

A nearby houseboat dock is surprisingly named “Issaquah Dock.” It is part of the Waldo Point Harbor houseboat community, on Gate 6 road off Bridgeway, in Sausalito. The ferry ISSAQUAH languished for many years on the mud flats that later became part of the Waldo Point development.

The Issaquah Ferry, by Phil Frank

The Issaquah Ferry in a 1977 cartoon by Phil Frank. This cartoon was drawn in 1977 by Phil Frank, a San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist and creator the ‘Farley’ comic strip. It’s caption reads “I dreamt that The ISSAQUAH was fired up for one more day. Everyone got on it. We went all over the bay and had a great party.” The flag atop reads “Waldo Point.” Cartoon copied from the collection of Galilee Harbor Community Association.

Ferry History

The following is an excerpt from the book This Was Issaquah, by Harriet Fish, page 12. Pages 12-21 contain a series of newspaper articles written by Harriet about the ferry Issaquah. The full book is available at the Issaquah Depot gift shop. This article was written in 1970:

. . . [By] 1914, Captain [John] Anderson [of the Anderson Steamboat Co.] had gathered about him other visionary boat designers who drew up, built, and launched the first, and last, privately owned inland waterway, double-ended, steam ferry boat. From that day in 1913 when here keel was laid, until March of 1914 when she was launched, this revolutionary version of water travel attracted much attention among the boat building industry.

For her name, John selected the fast growing town east of the lake, where mines and farms were producing the output to be transported to Seattle, and the many needs for this community were also moved from Seattle eastward. So, this new 114 foot two-decker ferry boat, with a maple dance floor, was named The ISSAQUAH. She was launched with appropriate banners and festivities involving the mayors of both Seattle and Issaquah, but, to the chagrin of the launchers, her 9 foot draft proved too deep for the lake show bottom, and she had to be freed from her “stuck-in-the-mud” position the day after launching.

Launch party of the Issaquah Ferry.

A scene from the 1914 launch festivities onboard the ISSAQUAH at Houghton, WA on March 7, 1914. The two men identified by arrows are Issaquah mayor P.J. Smith (left) and Seattle mayor Hiram Gill (right), who is speaking to the crowd. Photo loaned by Mrs. Irvin (Helen) Johnson and reproduced in This Was Issaquah, p15.

By May 1914, she was outfitted and dependably serving the public, crossing Lake Washington between Leschi, the Parental School on Mercer Island, and Newport. She served this run for 3½ years. In between her scheduled runs, she too was used as a floating and cruising dance hall and party center by celebrating groups of people.

Quoted from a newspaper clipping of May 1914, “The Ferry Issaquah started on May 2, 1914, to ply between Newport and Leschi. People driving to Seattle can now save extra mileage by using this route and gain considerable time besides. Kellogg’s Stage and Griffith’s freight trucks immediately changed to this route, the former now making perfect connections with the evening train.”

In 1917, the competition from the growing King County Ferry System put an end to the practical operation of a private system, and, in 1918, this neat, compact ferry boat, with its twin smokestacks and pilot houses, was sold to a San Francisco Bay transportation company. Leaving Houghton on May 30, 1918, all boarded up above the waterline, and loaded with cord wood, she proceeded under her own power to Neah Bay, where she loaded more wood and was met by a tug which would assist her in the sea trip southward.

Her quality construction proved sea worthy, and she gave thirty additional good years of continued service in the Vallejo-Martinez area, always proudly carrying the name ISSAQUAH. In 1918, the ferry was operated between Vallejo and Rodeo by the Rodeo-Vallejo Ferry Company. In 1927, after the completion of the Carquinez Bridge, the ferry was sold to the Martinez-Benicia ferry company, which operated it between Martinez and Benicia until 1941, after which the ferry was put to work on Mare Island-Vallejo service, and was laid up after the war at Vallejo.After the Second World War she was retired, and still today she is sinking deeply into the mud flats of Sausalito, where her “grounded” years have served many levels of life as studio, home and shelter.

The simple comment of one of her California captains tells it all: “She was a good ship.”

Modern Issaquah Class Ferries

Issaquah Class FerriesEncouraged by Issaquah historian Harriet Fish, the Washington State Ferry System christened a new ferry as The ISSAQUAH in 1979. The Motor Vessel Issaquah was built in 1979, becoming the first Issaquah Class ferry. The 328 foot ferry can carry 100 automobiles and 1200 passengers. The passenger compartment is entirely decorated with photos of historic Issaquah. The ferry runs the route between Seattle and Bremerton.

The Issaquah became the first of a series of ferries called “Issaquah 130 Class Ferries” that currently operate on Puget Sound. Modern Issaquah Class ferries include the ISSAQUAH, KITSAP, KITTITAS, and CATHLAMET. Slightly longer and newer “Issaquah Class” ferries include the CHELAN and SEALTH.

More Ferry Trivia

The ferry ISSAQUAH was used in the 1965 movie Dear Brigitte starring Jimmy Stewart, which was filmed on the Sausalito waterfront. It’s all about a little boy who is in love with Brigitte Bardot. You may want to rent it and see if you can see the ISSAQUAH in the background shots.


Harriet U. Fish; This Was Issaquah; 1987; Issaquah, WA
Annie Sutter; The Old Ferryboats of Sausalito; 1982, 1987; Scope Publishing Company; Sausalito, CA

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Issaquah's library, drawing

Issaquah Library

10 Sunset Way

Issaquah's library, drawing

Architectural drawing of Issaquah’s library, courtesy of project architect’s Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.

Issaquah’s 15,000-square-foot library opened June 4, 2001. Just west of the library, along Sunset Way, a new, two-level garage provides free parking for visitors. Construction of the new facility took 18 months and cost about $8.2 million. As of opening day, 28 “state-of-the-art” computers were available for research, writing and recreation.
The new building is twice the size of the previous building, which is located next to the Depot at Memorial Field. The old library building will be used as the Issaquah Visitor Center and Chamber of Commerce offices while the Alexander House is being expanded. If a bond issue passes in November 2001, the old library building will be remodeled to become Issaquah’s new senior center.

Issaquah's Library

Issaquah’s Library, from Sunset Way. (Photo by David Bangs, 2001)

About the Building
The following building description is from the Open House and Dedication Celebration program:
The Issaquah Library represents an expansion and modernization of library services for the Issaquah community in a more prominent and central location. While future downtown planning calls for multi-story urban structures, the library use dictated a single story. The cedar sided structure resolved this apparent conflict through the use of an exaggerated building height coupled with the use of a trellis and canopies to maintain a humane scale at the street level. These scale elements relate to the cornice height of the neighboring buildings and visually secure the building in its context.

Issaquah library entrance

Entrance to Issaquah’s library. (Photo by David Bangs, 2001)

Patrons approach the entry from the new parking structure, passing screens of greenery and artwork, and from Front Street past large multi-paned windows. On the corner is a large covered area, or agora, which serves as a sheltered gathering space and marks the entrance to the building. Activity in the multi-purpose room, adjacent to the agora, is visible from the streetscape.

Entering the building from the agora, one passes through a wood-lined lobby and under a pair of tilted columns into the main space. Additional round columns gently taper, accentuating their height, as they rise to meet the wood-line ceiling. Light filters in through the clerestory windows to highlight the delicate metal truss at the spine of the building, and bathe the space in natural light.

Custom maple desks and bookcase ends carry the warmth of wood throughout the space. Trellises at the children’s area and circulation desks mimic the exterior trellis. Artwork lines the entrance sequence from exterior to interior drawing one into the building and echoing the sense of discovery inherent in the buildings design. The library is a comfortable cousin to its historical neighbors and creates a fresh identity that is both timeless and welcoming.

Site History

The lot where the library now stands was known as “Cooper’s Roost” – a lounging corner adjacent to Cooper’s Saloon. Later the PASTIME Tavern & Sweet Shop was located there, followed by a service station, and, for many years, Union Tavern. The small building facing Front Street that had housed the Union Tavern was repurposed as an Italian Restaurant (Athen’s Pizza) for a year or two before it was demolished in 2000 to make room for the new library.

The Pastime

The Pastime Pool & Billiard hall once stood on the site of today’s Issaquah Library, at the corner of Front Street and Sunset Way. (IHM 89-40-1)

Library History

Issaquah’s first literary institution was a reading room organized by Enos Guss, a barber. In 1908 Guss, who had an interest in books and education, set aside a reading room in his shop for patrons and the community at large. The barber shop (and library) was located on Front Street, at the current site of Allen’s Furniture at 131 Front St North just north of old Bank of Issaquah.

By 1918 the library had been moved to the Town Hall on Andrews Street (now home of the Gilman Town Hall Museum). Enough books had been donated to fill the shelves allotted to the library in this building. In 1930, when a new Town Hall was built, the library was moved to the City Council Chambers. There was no real community support for a library at that time, so the books remained on the shelves largely unused until the close of WWII.

After the war ended, leftover civil defense funds were used to revitalize the library. These funds were used to hire Ruby Lindman, the town’s first librarian. In 1948 the city also signed a contract that made the Issaquah Library part of the King County Community Library System.

By 1961 the Library, still housed in the City Council Chambers, consisted of 140 square feet of shelf space. The City was in need of more building space for their own purposes, so the library would have to find a new home. John Fischer, of Fischer’s Meats, donated $680 to the effort.

Issaquah's Library

Issaquah’s Library, from “This Was Issaquah,” by Harriet Fish.

At this time the Issaquah High School and Issaquah Grade School shared a lunchroom building on “Schoolhouse Hill”. In 1962, since plans called for the new Issaquah Middle School to be constructed on the site, the lunchroom building was moved off the hill and placed on Memorial Field, just north of today’s police station. The library operated in this building, the first dedicated solely to its own use, from 1963 until 1983. This library also hosted historical displays, setting aside a corner for Harriet Fish to display local artifacts.

In 1981 the Issaquah City Council voted to build a new library on the northwest corner of Memorial Field, on the site of the old Volunteer Fire Department building. The building was completed in 1983, and was in use until the spring of 2001.

Issaquah Library, 1983

Issaquah Library, 1983. The old cafeteria structure was replaced with a new library building. This building was in service until 2001, when a new library opened on Front & Sunset. As of 2015, the old library now serves as Issaquah’s Senior Center.

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Issaquah Police Station

Issaquah Police Station and Jail

130 Sunset Way

Issaquah Police Station

Issaquah Police Station, (Photo courtesy David Bangs, 2000)

On April 8, 2000, the Issaquah Police Department had its grand opening and ribbon cutting at the new police station. Newscaster Tony Ventrella was Master of Ceremonies, and he brought two wonderful female singers to sing the National Anthem. Mayor Ava Frisinger and Chief of Police Dag Garrison both gave inspirational speeches regarding the new station. Following the ribbon cutting there was a reception and tours of the new station. The evening ended with the jailhouse rock dance, which was a lot of fun and well attended. The weather outside could not have been more beautiful for the occasion.


Design Goals

The ideals and goals of the Issaquah community were taken into account when developing the new Issaquah Police Station, which was designed by Easters and Kittle Architects and officially opened in 2000. A citizens committee met to determine priorities for the building design. One of the group’s goals was that the final building should blend into Memorial Park and allow for a public gathering area. This concept inspired the plaza on the north side of the building, as well as the spacious community room rotunda. Architects note that many police stations can appear foreboding; this police station was intended to welcome the community and make them feel included and welcome.

Citizens also felt that it was important for the building to orient itself to the public walkway, reinforcing the feel of a commons stretching from one end of the downtown to the other. As you can see, the sidewalk and garden next to the building fall naturally along the pedestrian walkway that stretches from the railroad depot to the Community Center. Project architects also enhanced the historical character of the building by including brackets around the eave lines and windows, utilizing brick, and adding divided lights and some trim-work in the lobby.

This is the fourth police station and sixth jail in Issaquah. You’ll be able to visit the second jail when you stop by the Gilman Town Hall, and the site of the first when you visit the Masonic Hall.

"A Valiant Effort"

“A Valiant Effort” is a sculpture created for Issaquah’s Police Station. Artist Doug Eck is a graduate of Liberty High School

“A Valiant Effort”

Dedicated October 6, 2000

By Doug Eck, Artist

I gave careful consideration in the design of this art piece.  I feel this monument must not only have a “Northwest” flare, but it must also reflect the spirit of Issaquah and our dedication to the preservation of our environment… I chose the Bald Eagle as my main subject for two reasons.  First, it is our National bird and represents freedom and power.  The second reason is because the eagle has made an incredible comeback and is recognized as a Northwest icon.

Another bit of criteria that had to be met was tying the sculpture to the City of Issaquah.  I feel I’ve accomplished this by having the eagle grasping a salmon from the water.  With the newly remodeled salmon hatchery just two blocks away, it makes for a perfect compliment.

The salmon is supported by a water “splash”.  Water is also associated with Western Washington and also represents the life-giving force of nature.  Imprinted into the bronze water are impressionistic human hands.  This accurately represents our dedication to the preservation of the environment by literally showing that nature is in our hands.

Lastly, there is a “twist” in the body posture of the eagle. One of its talons will have lost its grip on the struggling salmon, causing the great bird to be slightly off balance and leaving the viewer uncertain as to the outcome in this struggle for life.  I feel this will capture our human struggle to give 100% every day and in everything we do.  At the same time it is a sobering reminder that there are no guarantees in life, all we can do is try.

Doug Eck, artist, has lived his life within the Issaquah community and is a 1980 Liberty High School graduate. His work can be found throughout the United States. Special thanks to the Issaquah Arts Commission and the Police Facility Art Selection Committee for their dedication in selecting, purchasing and placing this beautiful piece of art here in Issaquah.  It’s presence at the Police & Jail facility will add to the charm and character of this unique building.

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Salmon at the Issaquah Hatchery

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

125 West Sunset Way

The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. (Photo courtesy of David Bangs, 2002)

With more than 300,000 visitors each year, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is easily the most-visited hatchery in the state.  The best time to visit is September and October, when the salmon return to the hatchery up Issaquah Creek and when the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (F.I.S.H.) offers public tours.

The facility is open to visitors year around and has very good interpretive signs and displays to help guests learn about salmon and their life cycles, and about the hatchery itself.  Inside the front door, there is an aquarium of fish which are the same age and size as the fish in the hatchery’s holding tanks.

The Salmon: Star of the Show

Adult salmon begin returning to the hatchery via Issaquah Creek in late August and early September. As many as 10,000 to 20,000 salmon may return before the runs are over in December.

Upon reaching the hatchery, salmon are strongly encouraged to jump up the fish ladder at the hatchery.  Once up the fish ladder, the fish wait in holding tanks. Large windows allow for public viewing.


This site was once part of “City Park”, which was connected to downtown Issaquah with a wooden bridge over Issaquah Creek.  During the 1920’s, the park was well used with a bandstand and speaking platform for large holiday celebrations; and there was much picnicking along the creek.

The hatchery was constructed as a Works Project Administration project during 1936-1937. Plans included: Hatchery Building (increased in size during late design phase from 90 feet long to 176 feet!), hatching troughs, deep tray troughs, hatchery baskets, egg trays, overseer’s residence, feed house, garage, rearing ponds, water system, and racks and traps.

In the early 1990’s, the State Department of Fish and Wildlife announced plans to close the hatchery due to budget constrains. But the City of Issaquah, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (F.I.S.H.), the Muckleshoot Tribe, and King County all urged the state to keep the hatchery open.  With a new focus on education, watershed stewardship, and bolstering native and threatened salmon such as the Lake Washington steelhead, the hatchery was significantly renovated and expanded in 1997 and 1998 with a new viewing pond, viewing shelter, four raceways, plumbing, stormwater systems, and a fish ladder. As of 1999, more significant improvements are still in the works!

The lands on which the hatchery sit are owned by the City of Issaquah which is leasing them to the State of Washington on a 99 year lease.

Building Description

From the 1998 “Issaquah Historic Property Inventory”:

The Hatchery, located just adjacent to lssaquah’s downtown district, is a site that includes a large intact W.P.A. built building, 19 rearing ponds in front and 3 holding ponds in back.

The site is located close to Issaquah Creek, its flow of water and attachment to Lake Sammamish, the slough and Puget Sound is the reason for the location of the Hatchery.

The main Hatchery building is a long narrow rectangular single story wood frame structure; its long (north) elevation is fully banked with windows horizontally divided into 3 panes. A hipped roof covers the enclosed entry which is centered on the front elevation. The building is clad in horizontal bevel wood siding.

Fish ponds on the grounds are surrounded by low chain link fences.

Bibliographic References

Issaquah Historical Society files. Issaquah Press newspaper articles from 1971; November 28,1935; and December 19,1935. King County Assessor’s Records.

Related Web Sites

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Issaquah Sportsmen's Club

Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club*

23600 Evans Street

Issaquah Sportsmen's Club

Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club. (Photo courtesy of Eric Erickson, 1999)

The Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club clubhouse was built during the great depression (1937), using funding from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The clubhouse has been continuously used by the Issaquah Sportsman’s Club, with many activities open to the public. The Issaquah Alps Trails Club was founded at the clubhouse in 1979, and the Boy Scouts utilize the facility for troop meetings and trainings.

In 1997, the clubhouse became a King County Landmark, and in 1998, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The present-day photograph, shown above, was taken over the fence which surrounds the facility.  Locked gates prevent approach of the building by non-members when it is not open for an event.


Issaquah Sportsmen's Club

Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club, 1940. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Archives.

The club we know today as “The Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club” was originally formed in 1921.  Some of its early names were the Issaquah Rod & Gun Club, the Issaquah Sportsman’s Association, and the Issaquah Gun Club.  The club leased 1000 acres of prime bottom land along Issaquah Creek near the present location of Newport Way, to set aside for bird hunting.  This parcel also included a small shotgun range. The Club’s membership lists read as a “Who’s Who” of Issaquah, including mayors, business leaders, members of pioneer families, and other prominent citizens, as well as mill workers and farmers.

In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, members became increasingly involved in fisheries conservation projects. In 1927, the Issaquah Club joined with sportsmen’s clubs in Bothell and Redmond to “lobby” county officials to open Lake Sammamish to year-around recreational fishing, to remove detrimental fish traps from tributary creeks, including Issaquah and Bear Creeks, and to restrict fishing on tributary creeks between November and April each year, to allow fish to spawn successfully.

All three of these goals were achieved, and in 1933 the Issaquah Rod and Gun Club reorganized as the Issaquah Sportsman’s Club, to serve as a local volunteer group to assist with state-sponsored projects such as the planting of silver trout (the famed “ancient” kokane) in local streams. Following the establishment of the State Game Commission in 1935, local sportsmen’s associations also acted as advisory groups to the state in the regulation of local seasons, catch limits, and other conservation measures.

As dairy farms surrounded the club’s shooting range and hunting land along the Issaquah Creek in the late 1920’s, the club purchased its own parcel of 10.7 acres at the foot of Tiger Mountain.

In 1937, the Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club officially incorporated as a non-profit corporation, with the goals of promoting good sportsmanship and observance of state game laws, to work for protection and propagation of game and game fish, to promote recreational opportunities for members, and to construct a social clubhouse and other facilities for the enjoyment of members.

The club immediately achieved its goal of having a “social clubhouse.”  At the time, the federal government was funding projects through the Works Project Administration to boost the economy and put people to work.  Since all WPA projects had to be public, the club donated some land to the City of Issaquah, which in-turn constructed the clubhouse with WPA funds and leased the building back to the club ‘in perpetuity.’  Other WPA projects in Issaquah included the State Salmon Hatchery and Gibson Hall.

Building Description

The Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club is located on a level graded site  which drops off in a dense, young fir forest to the west. The façade faces south. The building was constructed on a site approximately 200 yards south of the current location, and was moved to the current site in 1993 to facilitate redevelopment of the original site for playfields.

The one-story clubhouse building is built in a vernacular rustic style. The use of inexpensive and locally-available lumber for the clubhouse construction is reflected in the vertical half-log cladding and the peeled logs that support the eaves and porch roof and compose the window and door trim. The building was constructed in two phases–an original rectangular hall with a side gable roof and a rear shed-roof addition which extends the full width of the building. The addition was built in the late 1940’s, to provide restrooms and utility rooms. When the building was relocated, the addition was rebuilt, reusing the original log siding.

The overall building dimensions are 40′ x 32’4″. The original section of the building has a side gable roof. The building is constructed of vertical half-logs averaging about 8″ in width. The logs are staggered, with the flat face turned into the wall. This wall system is structural. A standing-seam metal roof covers the entire building. The main section was originally covered in hand-split shakes, which remain under the metal roof.

A 21′ wide front porch with a prominent projecting gable roof dominates the façade. The original 4′ wide door remains centered under the porch. The door was built in three layers, with approximately 6″ vertical boards on the exterior and interior, and the same boards placed at an angle to form the hidden middle layer. Flanking the door are two pairs of casement windows, which are protected by solid wooden exterior shutters.

A substantial masonry chimney rises through the gable on the east side of the building. The chimney measures 8′ at the base. The present chimney was reconstructed following the relocation of the building. Stones from the site were used to build the chimney. A second, smaller chimney on the west end (which was originally used to vent a wood stove) was removed in the course of the move.

Building Interior

The interior of the building consists of a large one-room meeting hall which occupies the entire original portion of the building, and a hallway, restrooms and utility rooms in the shed addition.

The interior is finished in peeled logs, which are part of the wall system. The logs retain their original appearance; they have not been painted or otherwise treated. The stone fireplace dominates the east end of the meeting room. The fireplace has its original mantle, which is edged in peeled logs. The room has a wooden ceiling. The roof framing and rafters, which are not visible, are formed by peeled wooden poles.

Bibliographic References

King County Landmarks Registration Form

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Village Theatre's First Stage

Issaquah Theater (Village Theatre First Stage)

120 Front St. North

Village Theatre's First Stage

Village Theatre’s First Stage. Photo by Cole Good, 2015.

From the 1998 Issaquah Historic Property Inventory:
Mr. Rufus H. Glenn came to Issaquah in 1912 and opened a theater in town. And in 1913 he built the Issaquah Theater Building (called Glenn Theater at the time) at this site where silent films were shown. The theater has a flat floor, and originally had removable seats to make room for other activities held in the building. Basketball games, school dances, and commencement exercises were some of the events which took place there.

During the 1920’s when the coal miners were on strike, Mr. Glenn showed movies on Mine Hill to the strike breakers, or “scabs”, who didn’t feel safe coming into town. According to an Issaquah Press article, in July 1923, Mr. Glenn sold the theater to J.P. Devlin who renamed it the Issaquah Theater. Mr. Devlin made upgrades such as “installing opera chairs” and showed movies every night of the week. Sometime before 1932, John Brunberg bought the theater. Subsequent owners through 1977 were: Jim Brooks Sr. 1945-6; Keith Beckwith; Mr. Robert Catterall, who bought in 1967 from Mr. Don Rarey.

Mr. Catterall remodeled the theater and turned over the management to Reverend Gray of Pine Lake Presbyterian Church. A board of seven persons was elected from the church to direct the theater as a non-profit organization called the Issaquah Theater Group. Volunteers from the church congregation cleaned and repaired the theater and offered their services selling tickets, running the concession and ushering. Funds from the theater went to the church, and a source of entertainment was provided for young people in Issaquah.

After being closed for a time, the words “Unsafe-Do Not Occupy” adorned the front door of the building before it reopened in 1979 as the original home as the Village Theatre.

Now that the Village Theatre has moved into larger quarters at 303 Front Street North, this building is known as the “First Stage”, and is used for performances of the Village Theatre’s “Village Originals” series of plays.

The Issaquah Theater is an intact example of an early pioneer wood frame commercial structure in Issaquah’s original downtown. It is a 2 story rectangular form with a low pitched front gable roof and a western plain false front at the street; the false front also runs along the south elevation. The front (west) and north walls are horizontal flush board siding with corner boards. The parapet is decorated with 5 pairs of decorative scrolled brackets and a wide cornice and frieze. The wide 1-over-1 double hung wood frame windows and trim are original on the front (west) and sides. The street level has been extensively renovated from the original.

Village Theatre's First Stage

Village Theatre’s First Stage, prior to reconstruction. (Photo courtesy of David Bangs, 1999).

In 2004, Village Theatre began what was intended to be a restoration of the building. Once work began, it was discovered that the original building was too far deteriorated to be restored. Instead, the building was reconstructed as a slightly wider version of the original building.

Bibliographic References

Issaquah Historical Society files. King County historic survey completed by Kay Bullis, 1977. King County Tax Assessors records. Village Theatre promotional literature.

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Trails House/Sylvester House

Issaquah Trails Center/Reconstructed Sylvester House

11o SE Bush Street

Trails House/Sylvester House

This was the original site of W.W. Sylvester’s home. Sylvester was an early station agent, insurance agent, and founder of the Issaquah Bank. A reconstruction of his home is now used by the City of Issaquah.

The “Trails House” is owned by the City of Issaquah and used primarily as a meeting place and headquarters for the Issaquah Alps Trails Club.  The single cozy meeting room is used for committee and board meetings for various organizations and the City. The lean-to section in the back contains public restrooms (now closed to the public due to vandalism).

The Issaquah Alps Trails Club was founded in 1970 by Harvey Manning to preserve open space on Cougar, Squak, Tiger, Taylor, and Rattlesnake Mountains, and Grand Ridge.  This organization has been extremely effective, and is primarily responsible for the creation of a trail network and preservation of large wooded areas in the hills surrounding Issaquah. Members of the Trails Club initiated the Mountains to Sound Greenway movement in 1980.

This home was once the property of prominent early citizen Wilbur W. Sylvester. He was the third station agent at the Gilman (later Issaquah) Train Depot from 1895 to 1899. When he resigned as agent to found the Issaquah State Bank, Sylvester stated, “I am going to try and increase the business by building up the town.” In 1912 he ran for Representative of the 41st District, pointing out to voters that he was the only candidate who lived outside of Seattle and was uniquely qualified to represent interests of the County.

When the city decided restore this home to be used for civic purposes, the building’s condition was so deteriorated that the best option was to totally rebuild it from scratch.


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Lake Sammamish State Park

Lake Sammamish State Park

20606 SE 56th Street

Lake Sammamish State Park

Lake Sammamish State Park, circa 2001 (IHM 2002-27-1).

Lake Sammamish State Park is a 512-acre day-use park with 6,858 feet of waterfront on Lake Sammamish. The area around the lake was an important culture zone for local Indian tribes for centuries. The park provides deciduous forest and wetland vegetation for the enjoyment of visitors. A salmon-bearing creek and a great-blue-heron rookery are additional features.

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. 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.

The Anderson Farm, circa 1920s

The Anderson Farm, circa 1920s. In the center is the small house used by the farm foreman. At the far right is the big house where the family lived. (IHM 2003-23-1)

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.  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 other track 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 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.

Anderson Farm, circa 1885

HS photo 2001.23.3
Anderson farm, 1895. Pictured from left are John Anderson, Addie Smart Anderson, Florence Smart and Lawrence Smart. (IHM 2001-33-2)

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 off High Point standing on the banks of the lake at the High Point Sunday school picnic. Both Tibbits 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.

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.

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Steam Donkey Display

Logging History Display

100 Block First Avenue

Steam Donkey Display

Steam donkey display. (Photo courtesy of Barb Justice, 1999)

The logging display at the City of Issaquah’s “Preservation Park” was created over the course of the 1990’s by many volunteers, and is maintained by the Issaquah Historical Society.

At the center of the display is a “road engine”, which were used throughout the area in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to skid logs long distances (up to a mile!) toward a pole at which they would be loaded on trucks or rail cars.  The engines were commonly called “donkey engines”  because they did work that had previously been done by animals, such as mules and oxen.

The road engine displayed was discovered in 1987 by former Issaquah Historical Society chairman Greg Spranger and then-councilman Rowan Hinds on Weyerhaeuser land southeast of Enumclaw. Extracting it from the surrounding forest and bringing it to Issaquah was a major effort – which took four years.  The engine was built somewhere between 1895 and 1910 by Puget Sound Iron and Steel Works in Tacoma.

Related: Historical society helps lug donkey engine to Issaquah (1993 Issaquah Press Article)

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Masonic Hall, 1999

Masonic Hall

55 West Sunset Way

Masonic Hall, 1999

Masonic Hall, 1999

From the 1998 Issaquah Historic Property Inventory:

The Masonic Hall has played significant roles in the building of community in Issaquah. First, serving as a fraternal lodge, the hall was the site of socializing and the development of community ties.

A newspaper photo and caption in the Issaquah Historic Society files shows that this property had a false front until it was removed in 1965. A renovation also replaced original wood double hung windows with aluminum windows.

King County Assessor records show ownership in 1919 and 1923 by James E. Terry, Master Mystic Lodge No.108.  A 1940 Assessor photo of the building shows M.B. Castleberry Hay Feed Straw business at this site. The post office was located here for 22 years from 1940 until 1962. At other times the lower story has housed other businesses, such as theater, a plumbing shop, a TV repair shop, and a food market.

As of 2011, the upper story of the building continues to be used for Masonic Lodge purposes, and the lower story is used by the Issaquah Brewhouse.

Masonic Hall, circa 1940s

Masonic Hall, circa 1940s. At this time, the building was also in use as the Post Office.

Building Description

This large two story building is sited close to the main intersection of the current Front Street and Sunset Way. Originally a western false front faced the street; without it the building currently has a medium pitched 36′ wide front gable building that runs 90′ deep into the lot. Original pairs of double hung 1-over-1 windows have been unsympathetically replaced with aluminum windows. Flat horizontal wood siding clads the front façade; original rustic drop wood siding clads the side. The commercial storefront has been altered with new aluminum windows and brick veneer.

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