Name: Urban Masset
Your history in Issaquah/How long lived here, etc.:
All my life except for time in the military and off to college.
If you moved to Issaquah, why did you choose it?
I was born here.
If you have lived here all or most of your life, why did you choose to stay?
????That is a good question???? It was a nice little town but now it is just becoming another jungle like Los Angeles.
Issaquah or area school(s) attended:
Started in kindergarten in the old library where the police station now stands and graduated in the old high school where now the swimming pool now stands.
Family History in Issaquah:
My family, father, uncles, grandparents, etc. came here in the early 1900’s.
Education—Coming of Age
What are your memories of Issaquah High School? Which teachers were influential?
Memories of Issaquah High School were of what is know today as small hick town type living. We had like 200 people in the school and every one knew everyone else. It was good times as most everyone was in the same shape. We did not have the what is called today’s rich and not poor but working class. We had some very good teachers I think one of the best was Richard Treat. You could try and get away with things but he always seemed to know what you were thinking. He was more than a fair teacher. If you did make a mistake he would let you go back and find out what you did and then of course you had to do twice the work to make it up. I can speak of this, as I know I outlined every history book that they had in Issaquah High School, and then some. Mr. Treat’s fair play made me want to become a History teacher (which I never did) but still would like to be. Through his leadership I still enjoy and read a lot about history.
What memories do you have of Minnie Schomber, or another favorite teacher?
Minnie Schomber was a teacher long before most of us went to school. Her husband, Jake, was the janitor at the old three story schoolhouse where most of us started out. Minnie lived just up the block from me and was the bookkeeper, etc. for the B&R coal company and kept them out of trouble with the IRS after the previous bookkeeper almost sunk them. She was one sharp business lady and could figure out most anything in our day and age. Too bad she never went into politics.
Were you affected by earthquake damage to the schools in 1949 or 1965?
In the 1949 earthquake we were in school at the old three story red school and the chimney came down so we were dismissed for the rest of the day and some of us walked down to see what damage had been done and of being it was April and a nice warm day ended up down at Lake Sammamish at the east end at the old coal bar down where I-90 now hits the lake. There were cracks down there in the bar that were sunk down 3 feet and some over 18 inches wide and we could not see the bottom.
The 1965 quake I was living up on Pine Lake and happen to be fishing out on the dock at the time it hit. The lake started quivering and the fish started biting like I never seen them do before. I did not realize we were having an earthquake until I looked around back up at the house to see it doing the boggie-woggie. My wife was yelling and I said hold on the fish are biting so she wrecked my day then by having me come up to the house where there was nothing done to it but then went down to Issaquah and seen all the damage down to the town. They then torn down the old high school as they said it was unsafe.
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?
Turned out one year for sports but was not fast or big enough back then so went into choir and band. We would go to different events at other schools for contests on the different bands and choirs seeing who could do what.
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?
Most of us that lived here in town, Issaquah, well, we did a lot of fishing, and hunting sometimes during season and sometimes not. Most of us worked in the farms around here in the summers like Pickering Farms and Risdons greenhouses. There was always plenty to do. We did not have all these organized things that they have today, we just invented our own things. There was one play field and I do not think it was used that much except for high school football games. We generally if we played baseball well just did it in the streets. Of course there were few cars etc. then and Issaquah had a population of 812.
How were we punished if we did wrong in school, well we knew that there was a big paddle in the principals office and if you did wrong well you would get it so really as I recall no one ever got sent to the office as the fear of just knowing it was there made you think twice. Now in grade school, well the teacher would just wack you with a yardstick or a ruler and that was the guiding light. Once with that and after that you were a good little girl or boy. Plus you were so hurt by getting smacked in front of your classmates we did not do the things that we would get caught at. I think we were more smarter then some or most of the kids today. As you might say some of us wrote the book and could spot what the kids today are thinking as we did it to long ago.
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?
Being I grew up in this town I remember all the businesses. You bought your groceries at the Red and White or Tony’s and Johnnie’s or the Grange Mercantile. Of course there was Mosher’s Market new to the still Fischer’s Meat Market. You had the old Triple XXX up on Sunset way and the Busy Bee Café and, of course, Nicks. Your furniture was from Thomas’s, which was next to the old Issaquah Bank, which housed the post office behind it. Then when Tony’s moved to their new building we had Franks Pool Hall that was a big treat to go and play pool but in the back room was big time gambling going on which we only heard about. Lumber of course was from Johnson’s Lumber, which Hec LaChance bought out. If you wanted a new car we had Hepler’s Ford Motor. For a Chev you went to Fink Motor Company and, of course, after the war we had the Kaiser Frazer down in Frog Town. But what a lot do not remember was on the corner of Sunset and Front Street was, I think it was, Fritz’s Hudson, Packard, and Studebaker Auto Agency. It shut down in 1948. Now for shoes we had good old Cussac’s. If it didn’t fit it did the next day. His store was next to what is still the Peters Agency that is where you got your insurance and they did your income tax and if you sold your house or it was sold they handled everything from selling to getting you a new one. I can remember so much but would need a secretary to write it all down. Of course, cannot forget old Bradey’s Clothing. No matter what you needed if he didn’t have it I guess it did not exist: And if he didn’t have your size he would have it the next day. Of course, a few of us remember when we had more taverns then we had churches. Must have been at least ten taverns and bars and two churches. But all were full.
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?
We had two barbershops in town and they were Lesis’s and Paul Benso. They used to be across the street from one another. After the war another one opened in the H & H Saloon with a separate door. So you could have a cool one while you waited. It used to be just a plain hair cut and then in the summer time you got a pig shave so it would last thru the summer.
Socializing was mainly done in the restaurants over a cup of coffee or if you weren’t big enough a coke at say Drylie’s Honeysuckle.
What is memorable about Lewis Hardware? What items did you purchase there?
Lewis’s Hardware is like an ICON in Issaquah. They had everything that you ever needed. As I remember way back when you’d go in there when you were in the middle of a job and get what you needed and then paid for it after the job was over. I think about everyone and other businesses had an account there. They carried everything from plumbing to all you hunting needs. I remember buying my first rifle there. Now don’t forget old Andy Wold. He had quite a selection of stuff too. So if you did not get it at one store well you would just wander down the street to the other one. As back then only businesses had telephones. Well you’d walk from one place to the other or they would call for you to see if they had it.
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?
Back then you would buy your groceries about every couple of days as stuff did not have all the preservatives on them so you would just seem to be to the store that was closest to you which I guess was the old Red and white, which became Kramer’s market and that is where you bought your stuff for the time needed. You knew all the clerks as you lived by them. They all had the same items and they all ended up, except Tony’s and Johnnie’s, having cold storage lockers in their basements.
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?
Being members of the Grange for years we did purchase a lot of food items from the grange and when we butchered we would take it down to the Grange and they would hang the beef for the required time and then cut and wrap it for you. Then you, back then, always had a locker at the grange to keep your meats and frozen goods in. So, as I lived on the other side of town, would get on my bike and go down to the Grange and get stuff out of the locker. The question would be what were you not able to buy at the Grange in the way of food items. When you canned in the fall you’d take all that down to your locker and you bought a lot of your canning goods from the Grange to put up stuff for the winter.
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 guess the old Triple XXX was about the best place to go. The burgers and fries were always the favorite. If you were at the other end of town, well you about went into any of the places, as they were all good. Rena’s I do not remember. Just the Busy Bee, Nick’s Triple XXX, the Sky Ranch and one other small one where it’s now the Chevron Gas Station down on the corner of Front and Gilman. Back in my days it was the owners that ran the cafés etc. except Nick’s would have help on Friday and Saturday nights.
Did you go to Boehm’s Candies? What candies were your favorites?
We used to go to Boehm’s quite a bit as both my daughters worked there after school. And the oldest one got married in the chapel that he built. My favorite candy there, of course, was the chocolate covered cherries.
What saloons or local bars did you and your friends frequent?
Well they would kick us out of the bars as to our age. But when we did get to that age of going into the bars we were mostly in the military. So when we would come home on leave we would probably go into one for a beer that we would see some we knew in there.
When we were young we used to see this sign that said NO MINORS ALLOWED BUT YET WE WOULD SEE ALL THE COAL MINERS GOING IN AFTER WORK. I guess that had a lot of us wondering in our younger days as to the spelling.
What do you remember about Grange Supply?
How well I remember the Grange Supply as I used to have to cross the old I-90 there with the tractor to fill it up there with gas when I worked for both Dan and Old Man Risdon. It was a real farmers store as all the farmers from all around used to gather there and tell about that they were selling more products then the other guy. All, of course, wore those old bib overhauls. It was the farmers gathering place back then.
What do you recall about Lawill’s drug store?
I recall that Lawill’s was the only drug store in Issaquah for many years as Stevenson had other irons in the fire so old Lou had complete if you need anything. He operated it for many years with just himself and his wife part-time and then they hired, I think her name was Hansen, to work for them. She was a real lady. Her husband was an Air force pilot that got shot down in World War II.
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?
I really don’t know of anything that was done by local elected officials. It seemed like it was a way to get your name in the newspaper, the old Issaquah Press or was it the Independent? It was, it looks like, an excuse to have a night out and then a few beers afterwards. And maybe get paid a buck or two for attending a meeting.
Well I think the earlier bunch kept the town nice and small and a nice livable place to be.
What do you recall about Mayor Stella Alexander, the first female mayor of Issaquah (elected in 1933)? Were there any other local politicians or political activities that drew scandalous attention?
Did you know Mayor Alexander, she was a looker I was told. Political activities that drew attention? Well, on that one we won’t mention names but when Mountain Park was put in outside the county and then the city went in and took it over and had to use the money from the street funds in downtown Issaquah well there was a lot of wondering among the old-timers that wanted to know who got paid off on the city taking over housing that was built over mine shafts and air vents?????? I think I know from what I heard years ago when I delivered the Seattle times to a certain lawyer’s office in Issaquah back then and heard the four that made dollars off of it talking. None are alive today to say that it is not true today though.
Do you recall Ordinance No. 752 that changed most of the street names in town? What were your feelings about this change at the time?
Heck, I don’t think anyone gives a darn as there was no mail delivery back then and it was all post office box and if you needed to know where someone lived just ask anyone on the street.
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?
Being I was not born yet all I heard was stories from my uncles etc. You worked any job you could get and you raised big gardens. Money, well, everyone did trading back then for this and that. I guess some of them used script. And you would trade that for other things that you needed.
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?
World War II effect on Issaquah: It brought in a few more jobs to the town but it did bring it a few more people as they came from the dust bowl states to work for Boeing and the shipyards, but we were still a ways out for commuting so our little town really had not much effect except you could not get new cars and rationing. Being Issaquah was such a small town we knew all the boys that went into the service and knew all that were killed there too. The city still has a plaque with all the names of those killed in action. I was in grade school during the time of the Second World War.
How did the Japanese Internment affect Issaquah? Did you know men and women who were taken to Internment Camps?
To my knowledge Issaquah was not affected by the Japanese Internment Camps. We did have a spotter shed on top of the old fire hall that people took turns up there a few hours a day watching for Japanese aircraft as they thought the coast here might be bombed.
What kinds of jobs did the War bring to the area? Where did you work at this time?
The job market was increased somewhat in Issaquah with the coal mines working double shifts to supply the power to the plants in Seattle and Renton which brought in more people to live in the area. The area that got most closest to Issaquah is Coalfield as it was close to Renton Boeing. Lumbering, of course, increased with the demand for housing for the workers coming into this area needing housing.
Issaquah Round-Up—Salmon Days—Labor Day Celebrations
What do you remember about Labor Day Celebrations or Salmon Days?
The Labor Day Celebration used to be a big highlight of the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. The Labor Day Celebration here in Issaquah used to be bigger then the Ellensburg Labor Day Celebration. The big parade on Labor Day used to bring floats, bands, marching groups, etc. from around the whole Seattle area. It used to last for hours and then there was the judging at the old firemen’s’ field.
There was so much stuff going on with the rodeo, carnival, games, football game and just about everything else that you could ever want. And then that evening when the kids were all tired out they would have a big dance at the big old Firemen’s Hall. Of course, when World War II came along this was all stopped until 1946 when the war was over. They used to have a big drawing and of course the first prize was a new car. Either a Chev or Ford.
When they went to Salmon Days well I consider that the end of the good old Issaquah days. Once it went to this so called Salmon Days it became nothing but a giant arts and craft show where people brought all their junk to sell. To me it was the end of Issaquah and the good old fun days.
Was there any year that these celebrations were especially memorable to you?
I believe 1967 was the last big Labor Day of any size that they had as I was in the Issaquah J C’s that year and we took it on and did we have a ball. I somehow got stuck with being one of the chairmen on it, and knowing nothing about running something like that. Well some of the good old boys got in there and we had a hell of a last Labor Day that Issaquah had. We didn’t have any car to give away that year but had a big screen TV and lots of other things to do. I believe that Lorraine Swanson was our queen that year and we had our float in all the going-ons around here. Driving it in to Seattle was a real thrill and a half. With old Chuck Sapp, Art Burt, Bob Burt, Nels Johnson to name a few, we had a real bang up Labor Day like I don’t think that you will ever see again in Issaquah. It’s in the history book now.
What special activities were there at Labor Day Celebrations, or at Salmon Days? How has Salmon Days changed over time?
What activities were there not at Labor Day? Penny digs for the little kids, sack races, egg throws, just about anything you want to name and the Issaquah Labor Day had it.
Salmon Days, well you get to go and watch a small parade and walk up and down the street and buy stuff that you will throw away afterwards. You do get to go over and eat some old salmon and other junk foods. Salmon Days are nothing I would, and others that have lived around here, would not waste out times going down and look at junk stalls.
What are your memories of the Rodeo?
The Rodeo’s ended back before World War II came along. The area was not big enough for all the people that came out to Issaquah to see all the stuff and to hold the Rodeo too. We just ran out of space and then Ellensburg was getting bigger too, which had more money for prizes than Issaquah had.
What were some of the other memorable special events and occasions in Issaquah?
Issaquah had lots of things going. There were always dances going on at the Firemen’s Hall. And then if not you had old Goode’s Corner where the Issaquah’s Park and Ride now sits. We used to have big shoots up at the Issaquah Sportsman Club, where there was a lot, I guess you’d call it small time gambling as you’d put your 25 cents and get three paddles to win a turkey if you didn’t do trap shooting and long range shooting. The small lakes around here used to freeze over for maybe up to two months during the winter and you could go sliding or ice skating and of course we used to get at least two weeks of snow where you could go skiing down the hills at the old high school. Then of course there was the good fishing in the creeks and lakes around Issaquah along with the excellent duck hunting down in the valley in the fall. At Christmas time there was always all the lodges that had Christmas parties, such as the Grange and other places. It seemed there was always more then enough to do what ever you wanted.
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?
I think that most everyone spent a lot of time outside doing fishing, hunting, etc. around here. One of the favorite hiking trails that is still somewhat in use is where you would take off from where the high school is at now and go up along side the hill up to the power line and then follow that over to Round Lake and then from there over to Lake Tradition and then back down the other power line and down the hill past the old railroad trestle and then back down to town.
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?
In Issaquah Creek we caught trout. Up in Tradition we caught sunfish. Up in Pine Lake it was trout, sunfish, some bass and a few perch. Lake Sammamish was the big fishing lake as they had most everything in there, in the fall you could fish off the mouth of the big creek and catch salmon. That was a thrill if you ever landed them as most of us had just little trout poles. I caught a summer run steelhead in Issaquah Creek in, I think it was 1947, that was over 30 inches long.
Fishing derby we never even heard of those things back in my days. Yes, our method of fishing and hunting were all together different back then. Today you cannot discharge a gun except in a designated area, which there is none close around here. All the creeks are closed to fishing here in the Issaquah area. EVERY YEAR WE LOSE MORE AND MORE OF OUR FREEDOMS. Too much government is the trouble.
What are your memories of Vasa Park? What did you do while there?
Memories of Vasa Park were always good. They used to have roller-skating there on Sundays as on Saturday nights. They would have dances, etc. there. Sometimes on Friday they would have roller-skating if there were no other events scheduled. Some of us used to walk from Issaquah to there to go skating on Sunday afternoons.
Then of course in the summer time they had big picnic’s there and if you were a member of a lodge that had it that weekend well then you got to go: If not well, there were so many places to go swimming that you just took your choice. If you did not feel like walking to the lake you could go up to the dam and float down the fish ladder.
Did you go swimming in the local lakes in the summer? Or ice-skating at the Horrock’s Farm in the winter?
Went swimming in all the local lakes in the summer, you name it and some of them are grown over now that we used to go swimming in.
Horrock’s Farm was a little too far to walk so we just ice skated down at the fish hatchery pond and other closer ponds.
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 well remember all the mills. Used to go up with my father and pick up lumber at all the different mills for the coal mines where he was the maintenance man for them. He used to have to go and get new lumber all the time for the building of new bunkers for the coal to be held in till the trucks would come and haul it away. Also the bunkers would need maintaining and new coal cars had to be built so I would go up with him and help load the cut lumber on the truck to be hauled back to the mines. I used to walk all thru these mills when they were running at max operation and watch the different aspects of the logs being made into the desired pieces of lumber that we desired.
Do you remember when there was a fire at the mill? Did you help fight it? Did you see the fire?
We were living right above the Monohon Mill the last time it burned in I think it was about 1972. We woke up in the middle of the night and the inside of our house was like being in full sun light. I walked out on the deck and took pictures of it but now after all these years will have to try and find them as moved twice since back then.
How has the salmon hatchery affected Issaquah?
The salmon hatchery and Issaquah at one time this was probably the largest hatchery in the Pacific Northwest. The salmon were so thick coming up it that you could walk across the creek on their backs. It never really employed too many people, maybe up to ten during the salmon running season, but it brought a lot of people out to see all the fish. But this was just during the fish running season. After that, well when the eggs were being hatched, you would find a few people coming there but no big crowds. The area where they now hold the fish for getting the eggs was mainly used for people having picnics in the summer and of course for people making out in the middle of the night: Kind of a lover’s lane.
Now it is used to still gather eggs from the salmon and there seems to be a lot more people. Of course we are a growing area and there are more people coming to see if there is any fish out there for them to see along with the schools now making field trips from I see as far as Seattle bring kids out here to see what the fish start out like.
Farming and Dairy
Were you involved with farming in Issaquah? What farm did you work on? What was grown or raised there?
Well I considered that I was involved in farming when having worked on farms while I was in high school etc. I worked on Risdon’s farm, which is now some of the Triple XXX. It used to have green houses on it and we grew cucumbers, lilies, tomatoes and other things like outside was mainly strawberries and some type of beans.
Also worked on Jack Lane’s dairy farm; there it was help with the milk and of course clean up the barn after milking. That was the smelly job, wheeling the wheelbarrows full of manure out to the big pile.
Do you have any memories of Pickering Farm?
The Pickering Farm was right next to the Lane Farm and would see some of my class mates working there but mainly during hay season when they would be getting in the grass or whatever you wanted to call it for the coming winter. The Pickering boys mainly took care of it during the winter, as there was quite a bunch of them.
Did you work at the Issaquah Creamery, or what is now Darigold?
No I did not but my father did after he retired from the coalmines. He worked there for three years till he turned 65 as the coalmines were dying and only working two or three days a week so he went to work for Han Foster at the then called creamery. Doing maintenance work on the machinery and running some machine.
Did you travel frequently into Seattle? How did you get there? What did you do while in Seattle?
Well we did not go to Seattle that much till after the floating bridge was build. Before that you would have to drive down around Renton and then over Dunlap Canyon, then down thru Allentown and then over on to what is now East Marginal Way. It was a days journey to go to Seattle and back. But then when the floating bridge opened up well we would ride the Trailhound bus into Seattle a few times a year to look at the Christmas displays, etc. and do some shopping. A big thrill was when the Bon Marché in Seattle put in the first escalator, boy that was big time for us country boys out here.
I guess we did in Seattle what most country boys did, look around at all the things that were offered for sale go down to the public market and look around and sometimes go to a big movie house and of course the penny arcade down on first and then look at all the hock shops and then end up down at Marshall’s looking at all the camping gear and stuff that none of us could ever afford but dreamed about.
What was your first car? Did you buy it from Hepler Ford Motors, Stonebridge Chevrolet, or the Kaiser-Frazier dealership?
Bought my first car when I was 14 years old from I can’t remember his name. He was a schoolteacher at Issaquah for the grand sum of $15.00. It was an old 31 Chev, four door, black, with twin side mount tires. I used it to go up on Sunday night to start the fans in the coalmines, etc. and of course to do my paper route. Remember gas was only 15cents a gallon then. But the police were always looking for me, especially old Don LaLanne then highway patrol but I would take my bike and scout around the neighborhood and if I didn’t see him would take the car out. After about three months of cat and mouse this guy from Renton offered me $15.00 for the car so I took it. Waited another year before I bought my next car and it was a hot rod, too much so and had a chance to sell it for a $100.00 more than I paid so sold it and bought a model A Ford for $25.00.
Fraternal Organizations—Local Halls
What are your memories of the fraternal organizations? Did you belong to the Elks Lodge, or Lions Club, etc?
There is not too many memories of these organizations as only the businessmen belonged to them. Later on in my life I was a member of the Issaquah Junior Chamber of Commerce. We did a lot of things to help the schools with programs like contests that had national merit but as like other things there was only so many to do the work and you “pooed” out and it went down the road. I also am a 45-year member of the Masonic Lodge but am not really an attending member as other things like the family came first.
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?
I think everyone in the area knew the Sportsmen Club. They were a good old bunch of boys. You could go up there and shoot and watch and just enjoy the day. If you enjoyed hunting, listening to the ones that did some of the big hunting telling tales about their hunting trips up to Canada, etc. It was built when I was only three years old; but used to go up when I could with my father and uncles.
I used to go up and watch the guys shoot clay pigeons and go in by the big fireplace and get warm and then later on used to go up and do some shooting.
What types of events did you attend at the Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Hall? Did you use the shooting range located in the basement?
After World War II when they opened up the old Firemen’s Hall for a few years we would go down there in the evening and wrestle and play some basketball, etc. but that only lasted like a year. Never did see a gun firing range down there.
Did you attend dinners, dances, banquets, or other events in the upstairs Grange Meeting Hall?
As members of the Grange we used to attend the dinner, etc. up there. Later on after World War II they seemed to cease. As people did not have to rely on local things to do they were wandering more away from the old hometown things so it just seemed to fad into the dust.
Do you have any memories of Issaquah’s mining days? Were you involved in mining?
Being my father was involved in mining since he was about twelve years old being his father was killed in the mines he and my one uncle had to take over so I personally was not involved in mining was up and around to see what they did. He never wanted me to go into the mines but my uncle would take me in on the cars to see what it was all about. It was over twelve miles in from where the fish hatchery dam is on the creek to where they were mining coal. My father worked probably at every mine in the area and the ones that he was not at my uncles were at. When the mines would slow down then they would go up in the woods and log. But back to the mines: I have been down in a number of them from Grand Ridge to over in New Castle. And my father always said: “I never want you to be a miner”.
What were the working conditions like in the mine? Which mine did you work for, and what was your job?
Naturally working in the mines was cold and wet, with the water dripping from the roofs. It was hard work and it was very dangerous. You were dirty every night and smelled of coal. My father being he was the maintenance man for the mines was practically in them all. When they had troubles like with a minor cave-in he would have to go in and fix it up or other things go wrong he would have to fix it so they could keep 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?
Used to go and see the western which were always on either Friday or Saturday night and then when colored movies came out WOW used to get to go and see them on Sundays as that was the only day that they had the colored ones. We used to pay 10cents to go and see the movie and it was either 10 or 15cents for the popcorn but it was too dry.
Up in the back corner was mainly for the people who smoked when I went there.
The dog in this picture looks like my old Uncle Joe’s dog, Spot.
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?
Well really as I remember there were only three churches in Issaquah and they were the Catholic, the Community, which all others attended, and the Bethel Chapel.
Well I as so many attend the Community Church, which is still standing down in back of Darigold. We would get a new minister about every two or three years as this was not a big church like you would find in Seattle but it was a very friendly church where everyone knew and talked afterwards with each other and the ministers were all real to life. It was really good old days. I think most all the ministers stood out in one way or another as they were all real to life people and no one was better than the other. Some who had families worked other jobs besides being ministers here to I think stay here but then of course after a period of time they would get a calling to a bigger church or retire.
How many remember hiking down the railroad track to Hans Jensen’s old farm on Lake Sammamish to go swimming in the evening? We used to take our fishing poles along with us and cast them out at the mouth of the small creek that ran into the lake. It started up at Laughing Jacob Lake which is now the Tower horse Ranch. As it got later in the evening we would build a fire on the beach as it was part of sand bar and then swim till late in the evening and if you seen your fishing pole bobbing well then you swam to beat heck over to it and grabbed it before it went in the lake if it was a fish of any size. Most of the fish we caught off the mouth of the creek there were cutthroat trout. In the late evening you might catch a catfish.
How about the old water tower just south of town where the steam engines used to take on water before beginning the long pull up the grade to North Bend? Do you remember going up there and of course there were always a few Knights of the Open Road waiting for a train to take them on to their next spot? As the train used to connect with the main line up at North Bend and from there go on East.
How about the old blueberry farm up at Pine Lake where the old guy that owned it came down to Issaquah every morning and picked us up to go up and pick the blueberries on the place? I think the reason that most of us went was that we had a little over a half an hour lunch in which we would all go down to his dock and go swimming in Pine Lake.
How many remember or knew that the Pine Lake Plateau or Sammamish now used to be known as chicken hill? The biggest chicken farms in Washington were up here on the plateau. Does any one remember how many there were????? Come on give it a guess before I tell you. Lets see how close you are. OK there were nine big ones up here not counting everyone up here had some stock of some kind.
There used to be an old swamp at the end of the play field at the old three-story brick schoolhouse. How many remember during recess running out there to slide on the ice and then at night going up there if it was a moonlit night? There was so much brush that there would only be maybe two feet of water on it.
How about the Nudist Camp????? Were you ever with a bunch who hiked up thru the woods and climbed the trees near there and then when they seen you they would crack off a shotgun or maybe it was firecrackers and we would drop out of the trees like leaves falling and run for town. But a few of you were caught and then had to spend the day up there and then they brought you back to Issaquah that night and did you get the Hee Haw from those of us that did not get caught. How many of you got caught???
Another thing that some of the braver ones or more foolish ones would do was go across the railroad trestle up across where I-90 is going just out of town. You really never knew when a train would come by as there was work trains coming through most anytime. Also there could be what we called the “speeder.” It was stationed here in back of Tony and Johnnie’s old store when the railroad kept a crew here to keep the track in order. If you were out in the middle it could be a long run to the other end before the train got there but then the train really was not a passenger it mainly hauled logs, etc. and of course freight so it was quite a bit slower. It used to connect with the main line up in North Bend and then go on East from there. How many of you remember some nights when the train was trying to pull a big load up the grade from Issaquah to North Bend? You could hear it huffing and puffing and then the wheels would spin. Finally after it seemed like hours it would back down to Issaquah and take off half the cars it was towing and then take that load to North Bend for transfer and come back for the other half.
There is so much memories around Issaquah and the general area that you could have a book as thick as the Webster’s dictionary and still not get it all.