Name:Mary E. (Knoernschild) Lewis
Birth Date or Year (optional):
Your history in Issaquah/How long lived here, etc.:
All my life.
If you have lived here all or most of your life, why did you choose to stay?
I liked living near my family.
Issaquah or area school(s) attended:
I went from first grade through high school in the old brick building that was torn down.
Family History in Issaquah:
My parents moved to Issaquah before I was born. They owned the property where the Bank of America now stands.
Education—Coming of Age
What are your memories of Issaquah High School? Which teachers were influential?
There weren’t many students in high school at that time, so we knew everyone.
To go to out-of-town games we car pooled so there would be a rooting section.
Besides turning out for sports there were clubs. (Boy’s, Girl’s, French, etc.) We also put on plays and an operetta. Besides having a Junior and Senior Prom we had sock hops.
We had a contest to name the annual and I submitted the winning name – Sammamish – and received many prizes.
Beulah Eades was my algebra and PE teacher and she was my favorite.
What memories do you have of Minnie Schomber, or another favorite teacher?
Minnie Schomber was my substitute teacher in the fourth grade while Miss Cook was ill.
Were you affected by earthquake damage to the schools in 1949 or 1965?
No. I graduated in 1931.
Education—Coming of Age
What kind of extracurricular activities were you involved in? Did you play football or chess, or did you act in the school plays? What were memorable games or plays?
I was in the chorus of an operetta when Bill Bergsma had one of the leads. We were dressed like Dutch girls in the chorus. It was “Tulip Time.”
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?
We had chores to do but on Friday nights we went to the Issaquah Theatre sometimes. (When we lived in Issaquah.) When we lived in the country we had parties at the different neighbors’ homes on Saturday nights.
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?
The first store I remember was the Grange Mercantile store. You could buy almost anything there – groceries, gas, kerosene, and food for livestock.
Also went to Fischer’s for meats, Coutts (later Brady’s) for clothing and Cussac’s for shoes.
I also remember going to Schomber’s Bakery and later on Jacobsen’s.
The Grange store and Fischer’s are still there. Coutts’ was on the north side of the present Lewis Hardware and Schomber’s Bakery on the south side. Jacobsen’s bakery was in the Gibson Building on East Sunset across from the hotel.
What barbershop or beauty shop did you frequent? What do you remember about these places? What were the popular hairdos when you frequented the beauty shop? Did you do a lot of socializing at the barber and beauty shops?
When I was going to school I went to Paul Benson’s barbershop after school. Some of the men would be unhappy because they had to wait for a kid to get her hair cut.
After I was married I went to Doris’ Beauty Shop. She did French braids for me.
What is memorable about Lewis Hardware? What items did you purchase there?
I remember when Lewis Hardware was further north. Approximately where the Cascade Bank parking lot is. You could get some kitchen items as well as 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?
In the mid-30s I did shop at R&R Grocery. One Thanksgiving I won a live turkey there by coming closest to guessing its actual weight. Wasn’t so much fun when I had to pick and clean it!
Also shopped at Barney White’s grocery that was located in the bottom of the old Odd Fellows Hall.
Later shopped at Tony and Johnnie’s and also Kramer’s Market. I especially remember Ethel Clark (Inger) who would save a couple of packages of Jell-O for my son who couldn’t eat most desserts because he was allergic to wheat. This was during the Second World War while rationing was on.
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 mostly bought food and gasoline when I was young.
Later when I was married we rented a food locker.
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?
I had my first banana split at Drylie’s Honeysuckle, had luscious pie and chocolate cake at Rena’s and hamburgers at the XXX.
Did you go to Boehm’s Candies? What candies were your favorites?
Boehm’s is hard to stay away from.
Rocky Road and chocolate covered nuts are my favorites in the candy line.
Also think their ice cream on a stick is super.
What do you remember about Grange Supply?
We bought heating oil from them as well as garden supplies.
What do you recall about Lawill’s drug store?
Mr. Lawill was a very quiet man.
They had gift items, candies, etc., besides drugs.
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?
My father died in 1930 so the only income we had was from selling the milk from one or two cows. My mother had a big garden and a few chickens so we didn’t have to buy eggs.
The money from the milk was used to buy staples like flour, sugar and beans. Mom baked the most wonderful bread. Um um!
We only had two or three dresses to wear to school so we had to keep washing and ironing them to keep clean.
After I graduated in 1931 I started to work. Go $13.20 a week but that certainly made things better.
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?
Paul Benson Jr.
What kinds of jobs did the War bring to the area? Where did you work at this time?
Boeing and the shipyards in Seattle and Kirkland employed lots of men and women. My husband worked at Todd’s shipyard.
Issaquah Round-Up—Salmon Days—Labor Day Celebrations
What do you remember about Labor Day Celebrations or Salmon Days?
I remember the queen contests they had at Labor Day. The girl who sold the most tickets got to be queen.
What special activities were there at Labor Day Celebrations, or at Salmon Days? How has Salmon Days changed over time?
It just keeps getting bigger and bigger on Salmon Days. The parade route changed so there could be more booths.
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?
My son fished in the derbies and won some prizes. In those days the East Fork of the Issaquah Creek had lots of fish.
Did you go swimming in the local lakes in the summer? Or ice-skating at the Horrock’s Farm in the winter?
We went picnicking and swimming at Alexander’s Beach when I was young. Later I swam at Sunset Park.
I tried ice skating at Horrock’s Farm but wasn’t good at it. Did enjoy the huge bonfires they had though.
Logging and Sawmills
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?
I remember all of them. We went to see the Monohon Mill while it was burning.
We bought alder firewood from Hall’s mill for $2.00 a cord.
How has the salmon hatchery affected Issaquah?
I think it is a wonderful teaching experience for the children as well as adults in the area.
Did you travel frequently into Seattle? How did you get there? What did you do while in Seattle?
We went to Seattle via Renton. We shopped for clothing and shoes. Also saw some movies.
How did the construction of I-90 change life in Issaquah?
It encouraged development in the area.
What was your first car? Did you buy it from Hepler Ford Motors, Stonebridge Chevrolet, or the Kaiser-Frazier dealership?
A Ford Model A. Don’t know where it was purchased.
Fraternal Organizations—Local Halls
What are your memories of the fraternal organizations? Did you belong to the Elks Lodge, or Lions Club, etc?
At one time I belonged to the Issaquah Valley Grange and the Rebekah Lodge.
Did you attend the Sportsmen’s Club? Do you remember when it was built in 1937? What did you do at the Sportsmen’s Club?
My husband belonged to the Sportsmen’s Club. We did target shooting and also went to the turkey shoots.
What types of events did you attend at the Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Hall? Did you use the shooting range located in the basement?
Went roller-skating there.
Did you attend dinners, dances, banquets, or other events in the upstairs Grange Meeting Hall?
I went to dinners, lodge meetings and basketball games there.
Do you have any memories of Issaquah’s mining days? Were you involved in mining?
I remember when they were on strike and my grandfather not working.
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?
Went to the Friday night movies. One of the serials was “The Perils of Pauline.” It cost 10¢ at that time.
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?
The Community Baptist Church. Going to Sunday School and being in Christmas programs. They also had a picnic at Alexander’s Beach each year.
I remember Dick Bush always rang the church bell and Charlie Ellis was always taking pictures. Mrs. Tim Evans was a great Sunday School teacher.
Mrs. Edith Dahlby was one of my favorite pastors. She was not only a pastor but a friend.