Ray Robertson

Issaquah History Museums Celebrates Washington Archives Month!


Welcome to WashingtonArchives Month, October 2012!

Ray Robertson and his two oldest children
Full Record

The purpose of Archives Month is “to celebrate the value of Washington’s historical records, to publicize the many ways these records enrich our lives, to recognize those who maintain our communities’ historical records, and to increase public awareness of the importance of preserving historical records in archives, historical societies, museums, libraries and other repositories across the state.”

In short, we’d like to share more of our archives with you.

This year’s theme?

Law and Order in the Archives: Crooks, Cops, and Courts

As you may (or may not) know, Issaquah has some interesting stories in this theme. Over the month we’ll share some of the more simple records like town marshals, “progressive” police cars, and great pictures from our collection. We’ll also touch on people like D.B. Cooper and Ted Bundy and share how they relate to Issaquah’s history.

Everyday we’ll share with you via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, a link of the day – either to our website or digital collections – that will take you further into the theme of law and order in Issaquah.

As you can see from previous blog posts and our digital collections, much of what we will share with you was made available by a generous grant from 4Culture.

Another way we can continue to share our collections with you is through generous donations made by the community. If you’d like to support our work, Archives Month 2012, and our ability to share it with you, you can help in the following ways:

–     Visit either of our museums (or both!) in Issaquah.

Gilman Town Hall Museum
165 SE Andrews Street
Issaquah, WA 98027

Thursday-Saturday, 11am-3pm

$2/adult, $1/child, $5/family of 3+
$10 family pass gives all-day access to both museums
Friends of the Issaquah History Museums visit for free

Issaquah Depot Museum
150 First Avenue NE
Issaquah, WA 98027

Friday- Sunday, 11am-3pm

$2/adult, $1/child, $5/family of 3+
$10 family pass gives all-day access to both museums
Friends of the Issaquah History Museums visit for free

–     Join us! Become a member of the Issaquah History Museums.

–     Make a donation.

–     Volunteer!

–     Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and our blog.

    Subscribe to our newsletter.

So follow us this month as we share with you some great records we have in our archives and come learn about your local history!

Railroad Tracks into town

Early Day Railroad Construction

If you take a close look at the railroad tracks in front of the Issaquah Depot, you can see bolts that hold together sections of rail. These are known as joint connections. These days, many of the rail joint connections used on older rail systems are no longer necessary. Modern rail laying methods involve welding rail sections together to make a continuously welded rail. Welding rails together is expensive but lowers maintenance costs. And, if you are a rail passenger, welded rail gets rid of the old “clickity-clack” sound when the wheels crossed rail joints. But, the traditional jointed rail system that we have at the Issaquah Depot is still used on some railways in the US and in other countries.

To make a jointed rail, the ends of rail sections are bolted together with 2 heavy steel plates, called fishplates or joint bars, one on each side of the rail joint. Full lengths of rail, as supplied by the factory, would have bolt holes in them. But, if an odd length of rail is cut for repairs or to fit a rail section, new bolt holes have to be drilled through the rail. Unfortunately, railroad workers in the 1800s and early 1900s did not have motor driven machines to make these holes. They had to manually drill holes in the vertical part, or web, of the rail. To help ease this job a bit, a rail drilling machine that used men as the “motor” were developed in the 1800s.

A sample of one of these machines is on display at the Depot museum. It’s a New-Style Paulus model made by the Buda Boy Co., patented in 1890 (pictured at right). It would have been operated by two railroad workers, one on each side turning a hand crank. The cranking would turn a horizontal shaft at the bottom of the machine. Attached at the rail end of the shaft was a large drill bit that turned to cut a hole in the rail. As the drill shaft turned, the machine’s mechanism moved the drill through the rail very slowly.

The IHM rail drill was restored by volunteer Eric Martin and is fully functional. Eric set up the display with the drill bit completely through the rail as it would appear when workers finished drilling a hole. To do this, Eric and I hand cranked the machine until the drill bit pierced the rail. After about 20 minutes of turning the handles, with a few short rests, we achieved success. However, Eric admits to a bit of “cheating” to shorten the work time; he pre-drilled a half-sized bolt hole in the rail using a modern motor powered drill.

For select groups, like rail enthusiasts, a specially trained docent could demonstrate how the drill operates without actually having to drill a hole.

This is one of a variety of projects we tackle at the Auto Freight Building (aka “The Shop”) on the corner of First Avenue and Bush Street. If you see our door open on a Saturday morning, feel free to stop by and find out what we are working on!

Sliding, Gliding, Dribbling & Casting

Last weekend several volunteers and I met at the Issaquah Community Center to install an off-site exhibit. The exhibit was designed by volunteer Geoff Nunn, and centers around the theme of recreation. Both summer and winter sports are included. Among the artifacts are a 1920s era women’s swim suit, a 1930s era sled, and an Issaquah High basketball scorebook from 1917.
The exhibit is positioned in the Community Center lobby, where thousands of people will pass by every day. We’re so pleased to have this opportunity to share Issaquah’s past with a new audience!
Above: Volunteer Paris Seabrook trims ethafoam to cover a wooden block. The block will be used to raise and support a dress form. The ethafoam prevents the wood from coming into contact with the wool swim suit; wood is high in acid, which can contribute to deterioration.
At right: Geoff Nunn carefully manuevers the dress form into the case.