May 10, 2011
Local History Month should mean something
May is Local History Month in Issaquah, as proclaimed by the mayor.
The month will come and go without many residents taking note, but the mayor is right in helping publicize the importance of Issaquah’s history.
We are often amazed at how many people know little of the early days here in Issaquah. Snoqualmie Tribe members were among the early settlers. Farming came to town and brought us the dairy cooperative now known as Darigold. The coal mines brought prosperity and the railroad to Issaquah, and our historic depot reminds of that. Logging was also king as hikers on our mountain trails are aware.
The town began in the Front Street and Sunset Way area, still the heart of the historic downtown. The Issaquah History Museums keeps an office in the original Gilman Town Hall. Out back is an early cement block jail. Pictures and mementos inside tell the story of a town with its mud streets and wooden sidewalks becoming the prosperous center of commerce along the interstate that it is today.
Does it matter what Issaquah used to be? We think so. The city folks who brought their values, invested their time, raised their families and are buried in Hillside Cemetery helped shape the town. Education, celebrations, volunteerism, a can-do attitude, a respect for the environment that enhances Issaquah’s natural beauty — these components have been and continue to be what Issaquah is.
Appreciate Local History Month for what it is — a reminder to discover a little bit more of the city’s roots. Visit Gilman Town Hall or the Train Depot museum this month. Buy a local history book to enjoy at home, (we recommend “Squak Valley,” a first-hand account of Issaquah’s early pioneer days, written by one of its early settlers.) Take the Issaquah Walking Tour to discover the remains of early days still in our midst. Become a member of Issaquah History Museums. The cost is between $10 and $25 per year.
Learn more at www.issaquahhistory.org.