Mining industry transitions Issaquah away from farming

July 7, 2009

Coal mining led to Issaquah’s transformation from farming community to bustling town. The coal industry brought hundreds of workers to Issaquah, and the growth continued as businessmen established banks, shops and other services for the growing population.

Issaquah’s miners were all ages. They came from all over the country, and the world, drawn by the promise of employment — at wages higher than East Coast miners were able to earn. In 1900, just over 60 percent of Issaquah’s workforce was employed in the coal mines. About half of the men lived with their families, often in housing rented to them by the mining company. Others were single or separated from their family and lived as boarders in one of Issaquah’s many hotels.

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Many memorable mayors managed Issaquah

June 30, 2009

mayor-history-20050519cPortraits of Issaquah’s mayors can be found in a display case on the stairwell leading to the second floor of City Hall. The photos tell a great deal about the people and times of the fledgling city.

Some of the city’s early mayors were doctors, including Issaquah’s first mayor, Frank Harrell. During the Great Depression, Stella May Alexander was elected the first woman mayor, campaigning on the Taxpayers’ Ticket.

She was elected to a two-year term, defeating the Progressive ticket candidate, M.H. Clark. Ninety-three percent of the city’s registered voters cast ballots and Alexander won 195-136. She lost in a recall election the following year.

In the last half of the 20th century, mayors such as Bill Flintoft and A.J. Culver had to grapple with the emerging growth of the quiet little burg on Lake Sammamish into a thriving bedroom community to Seattle.

Harrell came to the area as the surgeon of the Seattle Coal and Iron Co. He was elected mayor of Gilman without a dissenting vote in 1892. Seven years later, the town was renamed Issaquah, after the original Indian name Is-qu-ah. Read more

Mining industry transitions Issaquah away from farming

May 29, 2009

Coal mining led to Issaquah’s transformation from farming community to bustling town. The coal industry brought hundreds of workers to Issaquah, and the growth continued as businessmen established banks, shops and other services for the growing population.

Read more

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