Name: Clint Brady
Your history in Issaquah/How long lived here, etc.:
From 1960-2000, I moved my family out last year when our old neighborhood began to sport multiple new homes on the land that used to be vegetable gardens.
If you moved to Issaquah, why did you choose it?
Born there and would have stayed under different circumstances.
If you have lived here all or most of your life, why did you choose to stay?
It was a small town with a big heart.
Issaquah or area school(s) attended:
Clark Elementary 1965-1971
Issaquah Junior High 1971-1975
Issaquah High School 1975-1978
Western Washington University BA 1980-1983
Family History in Issaquah:
Grandparents moved there in the early 1920s
Education—Coming of Age
What are your memories of Issaquah High School? Which teachers were influential?
I graduated in 1978. I remember “double shifting” in my freshman year because the school was too full and no other schools had been built at the time. Joe Peterson, Civics Teacher, was the most influential on me as I ended up an American Government teacher. I also recall a Mr. Wiles, who taught Biology. The man smoked like a chimney and always wore a white lab coat. He looked like he had just stepped out of a “B” movie from the 1950s.
Were you affected by earthquake damage to the schools in 1949 or 1965?
I remember the 1965 quake, but the only school memory I have from this event was that in the early 70s, our PE teachers at Issaquah Junior High used to tell us that the “Old Gym” was unsafe because of quake damage. We played in it anyway!
Education—Coming of Age
Where did you and your friends spend your free time as teenagers? What kind of mischief did you get into? How did your parents or teachers punish you when you got into trouble?
Many of us were volunteer fire-fighters. We carried small pagers that could be made to monitor all the fire calls in King County. Whenever any department had a call, we’d tell our teachers we had to leave to go fight the fire. Most of us avoided a great deal of class time by doing this. Our teachers always let us go, but they had to wonder why the Woodinville fire service would need a bunch of Issaquah firemen to help them out. It was fun and many of my friends ended up full-time firemen in their later lives.
What local businesses do you remember? What items did you purchase there? Who owned the business? Where was it located? What do you remember most about it?
Of course my Dad’s clothing store “Brady’s” sticks out in my mind, but my favorite store was the Rexall Drug store two doors down from Dad’s on Front Street. I bought comic books there (many of which I still have). I think a man by the name of Seeh or Sechs owned the business. It was a neat store with lots of stuff for a young boy to take interest in, especially the comic books.
I bought a comic there, Amazing Spider Man #25, that figured prominently in a short story I had published a few years back. I still have the comic, and I think about that old store every time I pull the book out.
What is memorable about Lewis Hardware? What items did you purchase there?
My grandparents were close friends of Rita and Tom. My first fishing trip was to Lake Eastern with Tom and my grandpa. I used a pale purchased at Lewis Hardware.
Where did you go to buy your groceries? Did you go to Tony and Johnny’s, or RR Grocery on East Sunset? Do you remember your favorite clerk? Were there any items that these grocers specialized in?
We shopped at Johnny’s Food Center for years. I still remember Johnny ringing up our purchases while smoking a cigar! He was quite a man; even after all those years, I don’t see a music store- I see a small town food market- every time I go past the old building.
I think my dad used to deliver groceries for Johnny when he was young.
The bottom part of the Grange Mercantile building was a grocery store too. We used to buy some products there as well.
Did you purchase things at the Grange Mercantile Building? What type of things did you get there? Did your family rent a frozen food storage locker?
We bought sundry items there (comic books for me of course) and yes, we had a food storage locker there! My grandfather hunted and we stored deer and cows, rendered, and stored the frozen meat there (hard to believe now)!
What restaurants or soda shops did you enjoy going to? Did you go to Rena’s Café, or XXX Root beer? What was your favorite food? Were there memorable waiters or waitresses?
Rena’s was on Front Street, down from Fasano’s, if I remember correctly, we knew the owner of XXX (Pickering, I think) so our family used to eat there when it first opened. I remembered an awesome clam chowder recipe being served there.
Did you go to Boehm’s Candies? What candies were your favorites?
We did go to Boehm’s. We lived across the creek behind the complex. We loved to go there on Halloween as they used to give out free candy in little bags. This stuff easily beat the confections available from our neighbors! The best trick or treating was always at Boehm’s.
What saloons or local bars did you and your friends frequent?
When I was older my friends and I used to go to the rolling log occasionally to play pool. The local fire-men had an “in” with the Doherty family bar. Roy Doherty was a volunteer fireman. When the station needed beer, they’d get “pump cans from Auntie Maggie”. This was one of several frequently transmitted broadcasts that had a double meaning for those in the know.
What important local political issues of Issaquah are memorable? Do any particular politicians stand out? Why are they memorable? What did they accomplish while in office?
Most of us knew when the local airport was shut down that the writing was on the wall for small town Issaquah. Of all the ebb and flow of local politics, that event sticks out the most in my mind.
The Great Depression
What are your memories of the Great Depression? Did you have a job at this time? What ways did you try to save money? What did you eat?
This was before my time, but my Grandma used to tell me stories about our store using the barter system. Grandma and grandpa traded clothes for lumber to build their house!
World War II
How did World War II affect the town of Issaquah? Did you know men or women who went to fight in the war? Did you leave Issaquah to join the war efforts?
Again this was before my time, Grandma told about Brady’s getting in trouble with the government over the sale of nylons during the war. My dad left Issaquah and joined the Coast Guard. He was stationed in Alaska during the war.
Issaquah Round-Up—Salmon Days—Labor Day Celebrations
What do you remember about Labor Day Celebrations or Salmon Days?
There was a field behind 1st Ave NE that used to be available for the rodeo (its now apartments). I found the radiator cap from a mercury automobile * out there and Mr. Yesley used to dig up old silver dollars in the field when he planted his vegetable garden.
This was a Mercury Statue, really neat! I think I still have the cap somewhere.
Was there any year that these celebrations were especially memorable to you?
One year my friend Bob Butterfield and I dressed up like mummies for the Labor Day Parade. We were wrapped from head to toe in ace bandages, quite a site!
What special activities were there at Labor Day Celebrations, or at Salmon Days? How has Salmon Days changed over time?
Labor Day use to bring full carnival to memorial field. One time, a haunted house was set up as part of the Carnival. This was the late 60s, a time of revival in interest for the classic monster movies of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. All my friends were monster fanatics (or fair addicts for the older D.C. Comics readers) and we be-friended the owner of the attraction. He actually “hired” us to work for him and offered to let us stay overnight in this house. Unfortunately not one of our parents would let us stay!
I personally have never cared for Salmon Days. The event just doesn’t have a community feel like Labor Day did in my youth.
What were some of the other memorable special events and occasions in Issaquah?
Some lesser known events include Ku Klux Klan meetings held in town in the late 1920s, a thriving boot legging industry (located near present day Issaquah Highlands) in the 1930s and “Black Out” patrols in the 1940s during WWII. All these events took place before I came along, but the other members of the community use to talk about them when I was a kid.
Did you spend a lot of your free time outside? What do you remember about fishing, hunting, or hiking in the area? What was your favorite hiking trail?
As kids we used to love to play under and on the old train trestle. It was quite a thrill (perhaps a passage to manhood) to walk across the rickety structure without chickening out, or getting run over by a train for that matter! Once across, the area along the hillside seemed very isolated and woodsy; like really leaving civilization behind for the excitement of the woods.
What type of fish did you catch? How many trout did you catch in the Issaquah Creek and what was the biggest? Did you fish in the kids fishing derby held in Issaquah? Were your methods for fishing and hunting any different than they are today?
Used to fish with a pole, now I don scuba gear using a spear gun and goody bag to fish. This is an expensive way to fish and there isn’t much of this type of fishing available in Issaquah Creek. However, Issaquah Creek provided a fine training ground for my early fishing adventures.
Did you go swimming in the local lakes in the summer? Or ice-skating at the Horrock’s Farm in the winter?
Our family went to a friend’s house on Lake Sammamish (the Hefts), or to Alexander’s Beach to swim. I learned to swim at Alexander’s. When the park closed, my folks talked about buying some property there, but thought it was a bad investment!
In the 1980s I was scuba diving in front of Flintoff’s beach property. I found an old safe on the bottom of the lake. Empty and missing its door, I often wonder what the story behind that old safe might be…
Logging and Sawmills
How did the logging industry affect Issaquah? How did it change? Did you work in logging? For what logging camp or sawmill? What do you remember of your logging days? What type of machines did you use for logging? How did you transport logs? How large were these logs?
As a student interested in history, I used to talk with Nels Pearson about logging on Grand Ridge, where my family owns property. He showed me the remnants of the old camps and the various roads that led into the logging sites. At that time, the old cabins were still standing. Another family actually pulled a brass bed out of one of these cabins. You would never even know they had been there today. Its all grown over and torn down.
Do you remember the Monohon Mill, the Red Hall sawmill by the fish hatchery, the High Point Mill, the Preston Mill, or the Issaquah Lumber Company Mill on Front Street South?
The High Point Mill, a little equipment is still there. In the 60s we got the boards to build our property barn and fences from this mill. They were rough cut fir. Even though they are almost 40 years old now, many have not rotted. I used several of these old 2 X 4s to repair my parents fence just recently.
How has the salmon hatchery affected Issaquah?
The hatchery has been a landmark in town since I was young. I remember going to the hatchery and marveling at all the hatchlings. Later, we used to ride our bikes in the unused concrete holding pens. Still later, I recall taking one of my first girlfriends there and kissing on the bridge!
Farming and Dairy
Were you involved with farming in Issaquah? What farm did you work on? What was grown or raised there?
Our family, like most the families we knew, grew a vegetable garden. Usually the garden was on the extra lot next to the residence home. Most of those old lots have had new homes built on them in recent years. My folks still have a lot next to their house, but it has been planted over with grass since Austin Wiggins died; one of the last “lot farmers” in town.
Did you work at the Issaquah Creamery, or what is now Darigold?
My wife Bonnie works for West Farm Foods now (the former Darigold). She started as an office secretary in the Issaquah plant and is now a company accountant and systems trainer. She is currently working out of the corporate office in Seattle.
How did the construction of I-90 change life in Issaquah?
When I-90 was constructed, an old hotel that had been on Highway 10 needed to be removed. The hotel was used as a training fire for IVFD. I watched the firefighters working that day and that’s what motivated me to join District 10, and the Issaquah Fire as a teenager.
Also there used to be an old gas station/ store/ hotel half way between Issaquah and High Point, near the westbound lanes. Apparently, the business had once served as a “house of ill repute” for the loggers and miners of the area.
What was your first car? Did you buy it from Hepler Ford Motors, Stonebridge Chevrolet, or the Kaiser-Frazier dealership?
My first car was a 1954 Ford, given to me by my grandparents in 1976. They had purchased the Ford from Hepler’s. My grandparents drove a car from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in the early 1920s. At the time it was quite an event. The car and my grandparents were written up in a full page article in the Centralia newspaper, where they were living at the time.
Fraternal Organizations—Local Halls
What types of events did you attend at the Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Hall? Did you use the shooting range located in the basement?
I remember spaghetti dinners there to support the IVFD. Our next door neighbor, Bob Beach, was one of the chiefs at that time. Our family would always turn out at these events to show our support for Bob and the IVFD.
Did you attend dinners, dances, banquets, or other events in the upstairs Grange Meeting Hall?
Every year there was a Veteran’s Christmas Party upstairs. I used to really enjoy those events which included telling Santa Claus (Bill Bergsma) what we wanted for x-mas. One Christmas I was sick (with the measles, I think) and missed the party. I was sure Santa wouldn’t visit me on Christmas because I hadn’t been at the Grange party to tell him what I wanted that year. Somehow, Santa still managed to come through for me.
What movies did you go to see at the Issaquah Theatre (the Old Movie House) to see? How much did movies cost? Did you ever go to the back upper corner of the theatre to kiss?
Ah, the old Issaquah Theater. I really liked that decrepit place; especially all the movie posters lining the stairway between the first and second floor. When I was very young, maybe five, I used to walk in-between my dad’s store (Brady’s) and the theater; a tight space, to say the least.
One of the first movie I remember seeing at the theater was “The Vulture,” a 1960’s grade 2 monster movie. I begged, cried and worked my hardest to talk my dad into taking me to the film. He finally gave in and we went. I remember the climax involved grafting a human head to a vulture body; a scene I remember to this day. As time when on, we used to go to James Bond films and try to meet girls, never with much success (oh well).
Films I distinctly remember seeing: The Vulture, Born Free & Living Free, the Cat, Thunderball and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Seeing 2001 was mind-boggling for a third grader. The psychedelic death/rebirth scene was almost nauseating to my young mind. Years later, while a college student, I became intrigued with the amazing concepts behind Arthur Clark’s short story and the way Stanley Kubrick interpreted the work. Perhaps that first experience, sitting in the Issaquah theater, was what drew me to science fiction in my adult years.
Front Street has always defined Issaquah. I’ve seen businesses (including my family’s) come and go, but the street still looks much like it did when my grandparents first arrived in the 1920’s. Big changes included the renovation of the area which houses Front Street Market; tearing down the old Ford agency and the small shops and bars to make room for the Market and the Texaco (formerly the Gull) station. The new library parking lot still looks pretty alien to me, every time I pass Front and Sunset I still see the H&H Tavern in my mind’s eye. Small familiarities include Lewis Hardware, the old green bank (now a bike shop) and the seemingly perpetual furniture that was Thomas’s for most of my youth. Of course I still see my family’s Brady’s Department store where Domino’s is located today. I swear, driving by late at night, I can see Grandma and Grandpa Brady’s ghosts still organizing the clothing in the two display windows.
What church did you attend? What memories do you have of this church? Were there any pastors, reverends, or church leaders that stand out in your memory?
My family belonged to the Issaquah Baptist Church, originally located behind Darigold on Rainer Ave. That building used to scare me when I was a kid, even though it housed a church! It always seemed dark and mysterious inside the place. Our family moved with the Church to the modern building across from the Catholic Church. The new building seemed much more open and friendly. I was baptized in this church.
Growing up in Issaquah holds a lot of great memories for me. From being twelve and my friends and me riding our bikes down Front Street carrying .22 rifles (having no one raise an eyebrow) to growing a vegetable garden in the vacant lot next door right up until last year when we moved our family out of town. Issaquah was a quiet, caring little bedroom community with great people and great places to visit. I still feel like I’m coming home every time I crest the valley on I-90 and see Tiger Mountain, Grand Ridge and Lake Sammamish State Park. I sweep away the asphalt, buildings and cars and let my mind wander back to the airport, cow fields and farms. The real Issaquah is still there, its just a little harder to see.