SEATTLE NOW & THEN – An Addendum for the Issaquah Coal Strike

It seems that for this moment at least the BLOG has been restored, and we will go forward with adding the rest of the Issaquah-related subjects with this addendum.   We begin where the fidgeting first treatment (last Sunday’s) left off, with a full frame version of Tacoma photographer U.P. Hadley’s of militia posing in 1891 in line before their tents on what is now Issaquah’s Sunset Way.

All these Hadley photographs come courtesy of Mike Cirelli.


For the contemporary “repeat” photographer-thespian Jean Sherrard returned to a scene of his former teen “triumph” when Issaquah Historical Society Museum Director Erica Maniez suggested that the best roost from which to take a ‘now’ approximation of the 1888 photograph was from the roof of the Village Theatre.  In 1973, the senior at Bellevue’s Hillside School took the stage there as the too endearing and dimwitted giant Lennie in Steinbeck’s play “Of Mice and Men.”   Persons familiar with the play, the novel or any of the five movies will remember the last moment as Lenny’s pathetic execution with a bullet to the back of the head administered by his best friend and benefactor George.  In Sherrard’s performance the gun refused to fire and the play ended not with gasps and groans but laughter when Sherrard – as Lennie – fell dead after George was forced to say “bang.” Historical view courtesy Michael Maslan

NAME IT GILMAN (for eleven years)

(First appeared in Pacific, March 12, 2006)

When a capitalist laid a railroad to their front door, opened a coal mine nearby and built a home in town as well the citizens of Squak agreed to change the name of their hometown.  In 1887 Daniel Gilman’s (with Thomas Burke) Seattle Lake Shore and Easter Railroad began laying track from the waterfront foot of Seattle’s Columbia Street into the King County hinterland with the heroic explanation that it was heading for Spokane (over Snoqualmie Pass) but the modest expectation that it would soon reach Gilman’s coal mine in – yes – Gilman.

And here is Gilman, as captioned for us at the lower-right corner of the photo.   With the help of Erica Maniez, Museum Director for the Issaquah Historical Society, we can date it from the spring of 1888.  Maniez notes that Mary and Tom Francis’s Bellevue Hotel, with the sign on the far left, opened in May.  In this scene a scaffold is still attached to the east (left) side of the hotel and the second floor windows are not yet in place.

The hotel faces Mill Street (Now Sunset Street) and the raised railroad spur that runs to Gilman’s mill.   Kitty-corner and across the spur is Isaac Cooper’s saloon (or Cooper’s Roost) and its flagpole facing what is still Front Street.  Maniez notes that after her husband Tom died Mary Francis married Isaac Cooper — a kind of cross-intersection embrace at Sunset and Front.

On the far right is another bar on Front, the Scandinavian Saloon.  According to the short history of Issaquah on the historical society’s website ( the patrons there were most likely lumberjacks, for Northern Europeans generally liked to work above ground, while the English, Italians, Yugoslavians and Czechs were just as inclined to be down in the mines.

By 1899 the citizens of Gilman were generally more alienated than admiring of their absentee namesake and changed the town’s name to a more mellifluous version of the Squak they once intoned.  They named it Issaquah.


Ron Edge returns with two of his EDGE CLIPPINGS, both related to pioneer Issaquah.


Front page of the Daily Intelligencer from Sept. 20, 1878 (click twice)
Also from Sept 20, 1878. After reading of Tibbet's discovery we are left wondering where it is. If by Squak Creek he means the connector between Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish then these fertile bottom land would be in or near the business district of today's Redmond, at least so it seems to us. Perhaps a reader will refine our guess or discard it in favor of the "facts." Ron - of this clipping and others - points out that the Honorable George Tibbets was not so honorable during the race-riots and killings of the mid-1880s when Chinese laborers were driven (as in whipped) out of Issaquah (and Tacoma and for the most part Seattle too.)
The Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern engine Gilman posing in front of the Gilman (Issaquah) station. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)
Another relevant Edge Clipping. Dates from Aug. 5, 1888.


Until the original negative is uncovered this copy from Seattle Now and Then Vol. 2 page 220 will have to do.
The Issaquah Depot now - pulled from the Issaquah Historical Society's web page.


(First appeared in Pacific, Aug. 17, 1986)

[Please note – this text is now a quarter-century old.  The Issaquah depot is now home to the Issaquah Historical Society.]

There’s a restoration going on in Issaquah that will make the past a little more real. A group of enthusiastic fixers wants to renovate the old depot in time for the town’s and the state’s centennial celebration in 1989. The Northern Pacific station became the town’s lifeline to the world in 1888 with the arrival of what was called the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway. It provided Squak (Issaquah’s first name) with a way to ship the locally-mined coal.

The Issaquah depot some time after the name was changed from Gilman to Issaquah.
Burke and Gilman, left and right

Seattle railroad promoters Thomas Burke and Daniel Gilman were behind the move to transport the coal and even renamed the town after Gilman. In fact, the town was called Gilman until 1899 when Issaquah (a version of the native word Squak) was adopted. Sixty years later, long after the railroad’s departure, Northern Pacific was considering demolition of the sad old depot. But nothing came of it and it was left alone, serving for a long time as a warehouse.

Enter Greg Spranger, an air conditioner salesman from California who became so intrigued with the old building he moved to Issaquah and became the energetic member and driving force of the Issaquah Historical Society, the group behind the building’s renovation.  The next project for the society members – bring back the train.

Above: The S.L.S.E.R engine McDonald posed in front of the Gilman depot.

Below: The McDonald posing on the off-shore trestle at the north end of Lake Union, circa 1887-88, off Northlake Way near Interlaken Ave.



(First appeared in Pacific July 3, 1988 – Jean’s “now” repeat dates from ca. 2005.  He recorded it for our book Washington Then and Now)

E.J. Siegrist left no explanation for why he shot a 1909 photograph of his native North Bend’s main intersection, but it may be the first recorded version of a traffic jam there.  Although the first automobile had worked its way through the area four years earlier, Siegrist’s subjects were the more conventional means of transportation of the time. It wasn’t till the era of the automobile was firmly entrenched that North Bend’s traffic tie-ups became legendary.

North Bend was platted in 1889, the year Washington became a state. The town’s “father,” Will Taylor, did the planning and named many of the streets, like Bendego, after Australian towns he found in an atlas.

Siegrist records his own North Bend storefront, right of center, in 1907.

In 1915 the Sunset Highway tied the east side of Lake Washington to North Bend and Snoqualmie Pass. After the Lake Washington Floating Bridge made the link to Seattle in 1940, it was only a matter of time before weekend traffic began piling up. When the Highway Department announced plans to reroute around North Bend, townspeople compromised by moving 28 structures back from the roadway and widening it by 30 feet.

North Bend in the mid-1940s.

By the mid-’50s, though, traffic was so heavy that a red light had to be installed to permit residents to walk from one side of the street to the other. For years the fabled intersection had the only stoplight on I-90 between Seattle and Wallace, Idaho.

In 1979 the interstate was routed around the town. Although uncongested, the intersection still has a signal, in part to allow locals time to pause and reflect on its storied past.

Mt. Si, upper left corner, peeking over the North Bend hospital.
An unidentified North Bend cabin with Mt. Si.
The Milwaukee Railroad (the C.M.St.Paul & Pacific) made it over Snoqualmie pass in 1909. This, the caption indicated, is the first of its passenger trains to call at North Bend.
To all side of these timber towns with their backs against the verdant and wet Cascade curtain, narrow-gauged logging railroad spurs snaked about for harvesting the virgin firs and cedars.


Looking east on Cleveland Street towards Redmond’s historic crossroads of Leary Way and Cleveland.  Soon after this photograph was taken by the Redmond photographer Winfred Wallace many of these structures were replaced with more substantial ones – like the surviving brick bank building at the northwest corner (hidden here behind the trees in the contemporary photo) of Leary and Cleveland.


(First appeared in Pacific, March 19, 2006)

“What a great picture!” is Nao Hardy’s  confident description of this week’s “then.”  But then as one of Redmond’s enthusiasts for community heritage Nao is well stocked with articulate affection for her hometown – especially this part of it. “And I can date it accurately.  It is 1910 and the photographer,  Winfred Wallace, was a local fellow with a keen eye and a good camera who never married and died young.”  The view looks east on Cleveland Street one half block to its intersection with Leary Way NE, historically “the community’s main crossroads.”

In 1910 the two two-story frame livery stables far left and right in the historic scene still have a few years of service in them before a horse power not fed by oats marks the dirt of Cleveland Street with the wider ruts of motorcars and trucks.

At the center of Wallace’s record another two-story frame structure appears at the southeast corner of Leary Way.  It is half hidden by the big tree.  Two signs are attached: “Restaurant and Chop House” and  “Olympia Beer.”  Historian Hardy explains that this is, or was, Bill Brown’s place and that Brown would soon “replace his popular wooden saloon with a two-story brick building that bears his name  today, as much for the handsome public buildings he erected as for his having served as Redmond’s mayor for an amazing 30 years.”

And Brown has a street named for him as well. It is one block long and intersects with Cleveland one-half block to the rear of the contemporary photographer Jean Sherrard who took his “repeat” obviously in a warmer month than this one.

We will wrap this glimpse into Redmond’s historic district with another Hardy observation.   “Some hundred years later, Cleveland and Brown streets are witnessing a gentrification with mixed use upscale buildings of condos and new businesses . . . As none of the historical significant buildings with structural integrity in this district have been destroyed, the changes occurring now are seen as improvements by locals.”

The Redmond S.L.S.E.R. depot


Looking north across Pacific St. into the University of Washington Campus to Stevens Way, one small city block east of 15th Avenue, and during the 1909 Alaskan Yukon Pacific Expo, part of the Pay Streak of carni' amusements. (Shown two and three images down.)
The S.L.S.E.R viaduct appears here lower-right in Sept. 1994. The following two photographs from the 1909 AYP look north and south from the top of that viaduct.
The AYP Pay Streak looking south towards Portage Bay from the top of the SLSER viaduct.
The 1909 AYPE Pay Streak looking north from the SLSER trestle.



(First appear in Pacific, August 30, 1987)

In a summer morning in 1957, Lawton Gowey got up early to do some train chasing. The occasion was the running of the Casey Jones Special. Heading out from the downtown station at 6:45 a.m., Northern Pacific engine No. 1372 rolled north over the old Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern R.R. route (now in part the Burke-Gilman Trail) and around the north end of Lake Washington.

Gowey and other train chasers dogged along the city streets and country roads trying to stay near the steam all the way to its North Bend destination. The train cooperated, taking a scheduled 3 hours and 50 minutes to steam-power its 12 cars to North Bend and a decidedly ironic celebration for train lovers: the dedication of Washington State’s first 3-mile section of a 4-lane freeway from North Bend to Snoqualmie Pass.

On his chase, Gowey took several photos. This one looks across Northeast Pacific Street to the University of Washington campus.

The first Casey Jones Special pulled its rail fans to North Bend in December 1956. The rail excursions were the brain-child of Carol Cornish. Retired herself, she figured these rides would be an enjoyable exercise in fond memories for senior citizens. In fact, the excursions attracted rail fans of all ages. There were 470 passengers aboard this special.

Diesel engines were first introduced into this area in 1952, making steam-powered trains obsolete. So when the steaming Casey Jones Special puffed and hooted into North Bend that June morning in 1957, it was a nostalgic occasion.

This Casey Jones run was one of Gowey’s last opportunities to chase a steam locomotive. Soon after, even Cornish had to give in to having the stronger diesel engines pull her popular excursions to depots in every direction – Cle Elum, South Bend, Sumas, Centralia, Hoquiam, Buckley, Lake Whatcom.  According to Tom Baker, Cornish’s assistant, the excursions went on for a decade. Toward the end, the elderly Cornish was ailing and unable to make the trips. The last run on June 9,1968 was, again, to North Bend. It was also the day Carol Cornish died.

A Casey Jones Special pauses for passengers to step off for beside the west shore of Lake Washington. This is now part of the Burke-Gilman Recreation Trail.


We shall finish up with a few more rifles and some tents too.

Then Caption: When the Oregon Cadets raised their tents on the Denny Hall lawn in 1909 they were almost venerable.  Founded in 1873, the Cadets survive today as Oregon State University’s ROTC. Geneticist Linus C. Pauling, twice Nobel laureate, is surely the school’s most famous cadet corporal.  (courtesy, University of Washington Libraries.)  Now Caption: I used old maps and current satellite photographs to determine that the historical view was photographed from Lewis Hall or very near it.  Jean Sherrard was busy directing a play with his students at Hillside School in Bellevue, so in lieu of Jean and his “ten-footer” I used my four-foot monopod to hold the camera high above my head but not as high.


The Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition’s official photographer, Frank H. Nowell, was not the only commercial camera working the fair grounds and – in this week’s subject – its perimeter.  Here with the useful caption “O.A.C. Cadets in camp – A.Y.P. Expo. – Seattle June 5th 9 – 09” the unidentified photographer has named the part of her or his subject that might pay for the effort of recording it: the cadets themselves.

The Oregon Agricultural College Cadets’ tents have been pitched just outside the fair grounds in the wide lawn northeast of the Administration Building, the first building raised on the new “Interlaken campus” in 1894-95.  In 1909 it was still one year short of being renamed Denny Hall.

Thanks now to Jennifer Ott who helped research historylink’s new “timeline history” of the AYPE.  I asked Jennifer if she had come upon any description of the part played in the Exposition by what Paula Becker, our go-between and one of the authors of the timeline, capsulated for us as “those farmin’ Oregon boys.”   Ott thought it likely that the cadets participated in the “military athletic tournament” which was underway on June 5, the date in our caption.   Perhaps with this camp on the Denny lawn they were also at practice, for one of the tournament’s exhibitions featured “shelter camp pitching.”

Jennifer Ott also pulled “a great quote” from this paper, the Times, for June 12.  It is titled “Hostile Cadets in Adjoining Camps,” and features the Washington and Idaho cadets, but not Oregon’s.  Between the Idaho and Washington camps the “strictest picket duty was maintained and no one was admitted until word was sent to the colonel in command, who was nowhere to be found. This meant that no one was admitted, except the fair sex, the guards having been instructed to admit women and girls without passes from the absent colonel.”  Now that is discipline!


Seattle rifles standing guard beside the ruins of Seattle's June 6, 1889 "Great Fire." This was Seattle's "show strip" of elegant Victorian business blocks on the west side of Front Street (First Ave.) between Yesler Way and Columbia Street. This view looks south with the photographer's back near Columbia.
The other side of Front Street (First Ave.) looking southeast from near Columbia.
More in line with disciplining the coal miners in 1891 here are deputies posing their force during the non-violent General Strike of 1919. Terrace Street is to the left. Off camera to the left is City Hall, now the 400 Yesler Building. The Hotel Reynolds, upper-right, looked west across 4th Avenue to City Hall Park.

Finally, wrapping this package with one more Hadley from his visit to Issaquah with the troops from his hometown, Tacoma.





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