All aboard, Issaquah, as downtown trolley starts service

October 16, 2012

Barbara Justice drives Issaquah Valley Trolley Car No. 519 to the Issaquah Train Depot on Oct. 14. By Michael Johnson

The long-envisioned Issaquah Valley Trolley started service Oct. 14, as organizers start limited service after more than a decade of planning.

The public can ride the streetcar from the Issaquah Train Depot, 50 Rainier Blvd. N., during limited weekend service from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. into November.

The streetcar runs from the depot to the bridge across the East Fork of Issaquah Creek at Darigold, about a half-mile north.

Though the track extends to Northwest Gilman Boulevard, additional work is necessary to prepare the track to accommodate the trolley. North of Northwest Gilman Boulevard, crews removed the track to create the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

Downtown Issaquah streetcar rides start Oct. 14

October 9, 2012

The long-planned Issaquah Valley Trolley is due to start service Oct. 14, as organizers start limited service after more than a decade of planning.

Issaquah Valley Trolley Project volunteers plan to host a dedication ceremony at the Issaquah Train Depot, 50 Rainier Blvd. N., at 1 p.m. and then start public rides.

The public can ride the streetcar during limited weekend service from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. into November.

The streetcar runs from the depot to the bridge across the East Fork of Issaquah Creek at Darigold, about a half-mile north.

Though the track extends to Northwest Gilman Boulevard, additional work is necessary to prepare the track to accommodate the trolley. North of Northwest Gilman Boulevard, crews removed the track to create the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

Downtown Issaquah Valley Trolley starts service soon

October 8, 2012

Issaquah Valley Trolley Car No. 519 stops at the Issaquah Train Depot. Contributed from Issaquah Valley Trolley Project

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 8, 2012

The long-planned Issaquah Valley Trolley is due to start service Oct. 14, as organizers start limited service after more than a decade of planning.

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Trolley returns, and supporters prepare for rides to start in October

August 28, 2012

The next stop for the Issaquah Valley Trolley is downtown Issaquah.

Traffic is stopped at Front Street North and Northwest Dogwood Street as the restored Issaquah Valley Trolley Project car makes its way to the Issaquah Train Depot barn. By Greg Farrar

On Aug. 23, a vintage streetcar completed a 1,659-mile trip from Ida Grove, Iowa, to Issaquah aboard a specialized flatbed trailer. The arrival marked a milestone in the $744,700 effort to refurbish the vehicle, restore downtown railroad track and prepare the streetscape for streetcar traffic.

Organizers plan to start offering rides to the public starting Oct. 14, a day after a celebration for the Issaquah History Museums’ 40th anniversary. The planned route stretches about a half-mile from the Issaquah Train Depot to the East Fork of Issaquah Creek at Darigold.

“It looked every bit as good as we expected it to — and probably better,” Issaquah Valley Trolley Project Chairwoman Jean Cerar said. “If you gave it just a cursory glance, actually, it kind of looked like the car that left, only brighter.”

Crews repainted the streetcar in the same cream-and-red color scheme, but beneath the surface, workers installed modern systems and revamped the battered interior. The result “has that new trolley smell to it,” Cerar said.

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Contractor sought for downtown Issaquah parks project

August 28, 2012

The city is on the hunt for a contractor to start construction at the downtown parks along Issaquah Creek — a 15.5-acre expanse often referred to as the crown jewel in the municipal parks system.

The information for potential bidders outlines the site preparation and grading, picnic shelter construction, and sewer and water utility work planned for Phase 1. The contractor must also place a pre-manufactured restroom facility at the site, and add lighting, walkways, stone seating and walls, and plantings to the parks.

Officials allocated about $1 million for the initial phase. The amount is not enough to complete the ambitious plan for the site, but is enough to start the process.

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Issaquah Valley Trolley is back on track, poised to return

August 14, 2012

The historic Issaquah Valley Trolley Car No. 519 undergoes renovation at the Gomaco Trolley Co. facility in Ida Grove, Iowa. Contributed by Gomaco Trolley Co.

Quietly, after a decadeslong coal and timber boom fueled expansion, passenger rail service to Issaquah ceased 90 years ago.

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Off the Press

July 3, 2012

The paper or plastic battle isn’t over yet

Ahh, plastic bags. I don’t know of a time in my seven years here when there has been so much controversy. And most of it after a decision.

(There was that brouhaha in December 2009 over McNugget, the rooster that lives on Front Street across from Darigold, which brought so many comments I thought they would never end! I just checked our website and the main story brought 134 comments there alone.)

As for the bags, the comments and letters are still coming in. The most astonishing thing to me is the people who say they’re going to drive to other cities to shop. Seriously? Take the gas guzzling SUV to another city to get plastic bags and avoid the 5-cent paper bag fee? That just sounds ludicrous. How many bags of groceries do people get per trip?

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Made in Issaquah

June 28, 2012

Go ahead, sample some local products.

Boehms Candies

Boehms Candies

In 1956, Julius Boehm opened Boehms Candies in Issaquah, 17 years after the former Olympian fled Nazi-occupied Austria.

The iconic chocolatier offered a taste of Issaquah to chocoholics attracted to the city to see candy makers in action.

Nowadays, the chalet-inspired chocolate factory turns out caramels, cordials, truffles and candy bars in a distinctive gold wrapper.

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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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Construction to start on downtown Issaquah parks

April 17, 2012

Timeline remains uncertain due to lack of funding

The downtown parks along Issaquah Creek — 15.5 acres referred to as the crown jewel in the municipal parks system — can soon start a long transformation into undulating paths, picnic areas and more.

In a March 19 decision, City Council members approved the overarching design outline, or master site plan, for the interconnected Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks. The action laid the groundwork for construction to start on the site by late summer, though the effort to complete the parks could stretch for years.

City parks planners still need to acquire municipal permits for the initial construction phase. Meanwhile, architects at The Berger Partnership, a Seattle firm, continue to fine-tune the design for the parks.

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