Issaquah’s Veterans Day ceremony honors locals’ service

November 6, 2012

Due to its growing popularity, the service that the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436 hosts honoring local services members will be in a new location this year.

David Waggoner, of the Issaquah VFW, figures the Issaquah Valley Senior Center will be large enough to house the 60 to 70 expected attendees. All residents are invited, regardless of whether they’ve served in the military.

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Issaquah residents recall Seattle World’s Fair as 50th anniversary of closing approaches

October 2, 2012

Ron Blyth and Beverly Blyth Huntington show off the pop-up souvenir their family produced for the 1962 World’s Fair. By Greg Farrar

In the heady months from April to October 1962, more celebrities visited the Century 21 Exposition than “The Tonight Show” couch.

The boldface names — Walt Disney, George Burns, John Glenn and dozens more — trekked to Seattle to gape at the Space Needle, ride the Bubbleator and snack on a Belgian waffle. Even Lassie came to the fair.

In the hubbub, longtime Issaquah resident Kaaren Mathiesen sold souvenirs at the fair from a booth near the Food Circus, a global food court and a nucleus of activity.

Funnywoman Carol Channing stopped at the booth to purchase a postcard and on another day Mathiesen sold Liberace a giant postcard to send to his brother.

“I kept very calm, cool and collected, but I sure smiled a lot,” she said in a recent interview.

The fair ran 50 years ago, from April 21 to Oct. 21, and by the end, Mathiesen and other local residents involved in the once-in-a-lifetime event said the Century 21 Exposition reshaped the region.

“It brought people to the realization that Seattle was no longer a little fishing village,” she said. “It put us on the map.”

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What’s your Issaquah IQ?

June 28, 2012

So, you think you know Issaquah? Is the city just another buttoned-up suburb? Nope. Issaquah is home to more than 30,000 people — and more than a century of secrets. Issaquah anecdotes stretch deep into the past and continue into the 21st century. Look beyond the basics to discover tidbits and trivia.

Test your Issaquah IQ. (Scroll to the bottom to check the answers, but please, no cheating!)

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120 years of Issaquah

April 24, 2012

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

1892

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

1893

  • 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.

1895

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

1899

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

1900

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

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USA Today spotlights Issaquah Alps trails

February 28, 2012

Issaquah Alps peaks and trails garnered national attention Feb. 21 after USA Today featured the Eastside mountains in a travel piece.

The feature outlines trails and points of interest on Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains — including the long-defunct Nike Ajax missile installation on Cougar Mountain and the paraglider launch site on Tiger Mountain.

“Hiking through Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, on to Squak Mountain State Park Natural Area and into Tiger Mountain State Forest adds mileage but provides a scenic route,” the guide notes.

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USA Today spotlights Issaquah Alps hiking trails

February 22, 2012

NEW — 9 a.m. Feb. 22, 2012

Issaquah Alps peaks and trails garnered some national attention Tuesday after USA Today featured the Eastside mountains in a travel piece.

The piece outlines trails and points of interest on Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains — including the long-defunct Nike Ajax missile installation on Cougar Mountain and the paraglider launch site on Tiger Mountain.

“Hiking through Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, on to Squak Mountain State Park Natural Area and into Tiger Mountain State Forest adds mileage but provides a scenic route,” the guide notes.

The piece is the latest national recognition for the Issaquah Alps and the mountains’ namesake city.

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Tomorrow turns 50: Century 21 Exposition, space-age celebration, reshaped region a half-century ago

February 21, 2012

In early Century 21 Exposition concept art, circa 1961, the monorail hangs from a rail rather than gliding along a track. MOHAI, Walter Straley Century 21 Exposition Photograph Collection

Opportunities seemed endless as Seattle prophesized a sleek future at the 1962 Century 21 Exposition.

In the years before the fair opened a half-century ago, local leaders imagined the fairgrounds along Lake Sammamish. Envision, as entrepreneurs dared to do in the late ’50s, Lake Sammamish State Park as a site for the still-embryonic exposition.

The fairgrounds showcase Cougar Mountain as a backdrop for the Space Needle. Or, rather than the bubbling International Fountain, placid Lake Sammamish defines the landscape. The monorail, all Swedish design and German engineering, connects suburban cities, not Seattle neighborhoods.

Organizers considered, if only for a moment, a fair situated amid farmland and forests, perhaps a Festival of the West set in Issaquah, a former frontier settlement.

“What if it had been in Issaquah?” asked Lorraine McConaghy, public historian for the Seattle-based Museum of History & Industry, or MOHAI. “What if 10 million people had come to Issaquah between May and October of 1962?”

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders proposed the then-300-acre state park as a possible fair site in July 1958, as boosters from the Puget Sound region urged organizers to consider locations outside Seattle.

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Cougar Mountain ranks among United States’ top trail-running locations

October 25, 2011

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is among the 25 best places for trail running in the United States.

Runner’s World magazine named the Issaquah Alps peak to the list in a recent issue.

“Every urban area should be blessed with a trail running sanctuary as sublime as Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park,” the magazine noted.

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Cougar Mountain ranks among nation’s top 25 trail running destinations

October 5, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. Oct. 5, 2011

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is among the 25 best places for trail running in the United States.

Runner’s World magazine named the Issaquah Alps peak to the list.

“Every urban area should be blessed with a trail running sanctuary as sublime as Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park,” the magazine notes.

The mountain boasts a 36-mile trail system. King County Parks and the Seattle Running Club produce a popular trail running series on the mountain each year.

Cougar Mountain is the only Washington destination on the list.

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Off the Press

June 28, 2011

Issaquah, unlikely Cold War hotspot, thaws history

Berlin or Prague call to mind Cold War intrigue — dead drops in darkened alleyways, encrypted cables sent between continents, double-crossing double agents.

Warren Kagarise Press Reporter

But, Issaquah? The city conjures up, if not Cold War intrigue, then at least intriguing episodes from the bygone era.

Issaquah hosted anti-aircraft missiles designed to counter the nuclear threat from the Soviet Union. Townsfolk served as test subjects — scientist-speak for guinea pigs — in a Cold War psychological operations study. The oddest episode, perhaps, surrounds a decision to import a hulking Vladimir Lenin statue from behind the crumpled Iron Curtain to Issaquah.

For a piece in the summertime Issaquah Living magazine, I set out to recount the statue’s long and meandering journey from the Poprad, Slovakia, scrap heap to suburban Issaquah and, at last, to a Seattle street corner. (Readers can find the magazine tucked amid the sales circulars in the B section.)

The plot is as tangled as a John le Carré espionage novel. Late Issaquah resident Lewis Carpenter chanced upon the discarded statue in a Poprad storage yard.

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