120 years of Issaquah

April 24, 2012

By Staff

Click on the image to view the full-size timeline.


  • Issaquah is founded as Gilman. The city is named for railroad baron Daniel Hunt Gilman.


  • The postmaster called for mail sent to Gilman to be addressed to Olney, Wash., to avoid confusion between Gilman and Gilmer, another city in the state.


  • Townsfolk start calling the frontier town Issaquah, or “the sound of water birds” in the language of the American Indians native to the region.


  • State lawmakers approve official name change from Gilman to Issaquah.


  • Wilbur W. Sylvester founds the Bank of Issaquah in a clapboard building.


  • The precursor to Darigold, Northwestern Milk Condensing Co., starts operations.


  • The imposing Bank of Issaquah opens downtown. (The building remains in use as Museo Art Academy.)
  • Fischer’s Market, a butcher shop, opens. (Fischer Meats is still in business along Front Street North.)
  • The first concrete sidewalk is poured in Issaquah.


  • The first class graduates from Issaquah High School — Mary Gibson, Olive (Gibson) Bayh and Mabel (Ek) Brady. The first men graduated from the school in 1916.
  • The first car is shipped to Issaquah by rail and later assembled.


  • Issaquah Theatre opens. (Village Theatre later occupied the space and rebuilt the structure in 2010-11.)


  • World War I starts in Europe, but the United States does not enter the conflict until April 1917.


  • Issaquah residents Peter Erickson, a U.S. Army private, and Carl Albert Larson, a U.S. Army corporal, die in France. Erickson perishes Aug. 10 and Larson perishes Oct. 9.
  • World War I ends Nov. 11.


  • Grand Ridge Mine ceases coal-mining operations.


  • Railroad passenger service to Issaquah is discontinued.


  • Issaquah Round-up is held to celebrate the Fourth of July. (The annual celebration returns until at least 1931.)


  • Issaquah hosts Washington’s largest-ever Ku Klux Klan rally — attracting 13,000 attendees — near the modern-day Issaquah Transit Center site.


  • Fire destroys Bratnober Lumber Co. — as well as a hotel, railroad depot, a post office and 50 company houses — along Lake Sammamish.


  • Leaders pass a city ordinance requiring all sidewalks to be made from concrete.


  • City residents celebrate inaugural Labor Day festivities.


  • Issaquah Salmon Hatchery opens as a Works Progress Administration project.


  • World War II starts as Nazi Germany invades Poland.


  • Lake Washington Floating Bridge opens, connecting the Eastside to Seattle as never before.


  • Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, prompting the United States’ entry into World War II.


  • By the time the war ends, Issaquah loses 13 residents in military service.
  • World War II ends after U.S. forces drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan surrenders.


  • A magnitude-7.0 earthquake centered near Olympia rattles Issaquah and the Puget Sound region, causing more than $25 million in damage.
  • Issaquah dedicates a memorial to World War I and World War II veterans who lost their lives.


  • Chocolatier and former Olympian Julius Boehm opens Boehms Candies.


  • Nike Ajax missile site — a Cold War deterrent to nuclear attack — comes online atop Cougar Mountain.


  • Issaquah Chamber of Commerce offers Lake Sammamish State Park as possible Seattle World’s Fair site.
  • Issaquah Train Depot closes.


  • Issaquah Skyport — a center for skydiving, gliding and hot air ballooning — is leased and the Seattle Sky Sports Club is founded.


  • U.S. military deactivates Nike Ajax missile site atop Cougar Mountain.


  • A magnitude-6.5 earthquake, centered the near the epicenter of the 1949 temblor, shakes the region, causing about $12.5 million in damage.


  • The modern Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in opens. (The iconic drive-in remains open at the same location nowadays.)


  • Salmon Days Festival starts, replacing the earlier Labor Day celebration.
  • The stately Gibson House, home of former Mayor W.E. Gibson, is razed, leading preservationists to focus on the remaining historic structures in Issaquah.


  • Issaquah Historical Society forms.
  • Developers start saving and relocating historic structures to form the Gilman Village shopping center.


  • Notorious serial killer Ted Bundy abducts Janice Ott and Denise Naslund from Lake Sammamish State Park.
  • Issaquah railroad trestle is dismantled as crews construct Interstate 90.


  • Village Theatre opens in the old Issaquah Theatre and presents “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
  • Issaquah Alps Trails Club forms, spearheading environmental preservation of Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains.


  • Issaquah Historical Society members encourage city to purchase and restore Issaquah Train Depot.


  • Issaquah Skyport closes, setting off a fierce debate about how to use the open space in the future.


  • Issaquah Creek floods repeatedly, causing significant damage to surrounding businesses and homes.
  • Issaquah Farmers Market debuts downtown. (The market later relocated to the Pickering Farm site.)


  • Issaquah Alps Trails Club members march from Snoqualmie Pass to Seattle to advocate for a greenbelt along Interstate 90.
  • Planning starts for a Port Blakely Communities urban village on Grand Ridge.


  • Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving open space along Interstate 90, is formed.


  • Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery forms after state considers closure of historic hatchery.


  • Issaquah Creek floods, leading to changes in city flood policies and efforts to reduce flood risks.
  • Costco completes relocation of corporate headquarters from Kirkland to Issaquah.
  • Construction starts on Grand Ridge urban village, called the Issaquah Highlands.


  • Residents settle into homes in the Issaquah Highlands.


  • Leaders approve a development agreement to build a Cougar Mountain urban village.


  • Modern City Hall and Issaquah Police Department building opens along East Sunset Way.


  • A magnitude-6.8 earthquake rattles the region for 45 seconds.
  • Residents start to move into homes in the Cougar Mountain urban village, Talus.
  • The $8.2 million, 15,000-square-foot Issaquah Library opens along West Sunset Way.
  • Issaquah Valley Trolley starts inaugural run along long-unused downtown tracks. (The restoration process continues to bring the trolley back on a permanent basis.)


  • Floods drench the region and cause Issaquah Creek to overflow into surrounding land.


  • City Council members pull the plug on the Southeast Bypass, a proposed roadway across Tiger Mountain.


  • Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks flood, causing about $1 million in damage.
  • Reconstruction starts on Issaquah High School.


  • Issaquah surpasses 30,000 residents in the 2010 Census.
  • Rebuilt Issaquah High School opens to students.


  • Swedish/Issaquah, the first new hospital on the Eastside since the 1970s, opens to patients.


  • Issaquah celebrates 120 years.
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