Who’s News

May 22, 2012

Issaquah History Museums director wins county award

The Association of King County Historical Organizations recently honored Erica Maniez for her long-term leadership of the Issaquah History Museums.

The association chose Maniez for its 2012 Willard Jue Memorial Award, citing her 12 years of work in locating and digitally cataloging items for the museums’ collections, capturing oral histories of longtime Issaquah residents, providing local schoolchildren with educational programs and tours, and writing two books about local history.

King County Councilman Larry Phillips presented the award to Maniez at a ceremony at the Museum of History & Industry in Seattle.

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1940 Census data offers snapshot of Issaquah after Great Depression

May 8, 2012

1940 Census ledger from Issaquah

For historians around the world, including members of the Issaquah History Museums, April 2 was a big day.

Executive Director Erica Maniez had her own personal countdown going for that particular Monday, because after finally fulfilling the mandatory 72-year waiting period, records from the 1940 U.S. Census were released by the U.S. National Archives.

“It was interesting to see some of the old familiar families, and how the next generations down were living in their own households,” she said. “I’ve noticed quite a few people that I’ve known since I worked here who have since passed away, but I did know some people here that are still living.”

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Check out Washington history with historian’s new book

April 3, 2012

Lorraine McConaghy

A public historian for the Seattle Museum of History & Industry, Lorraine McConaghy describes her new book as an “exhibition between book covers.”

For “New Land, North of the Columbia,” McConaghy visited at least 50 archives, from national registries to small-town history museums. Very little of the research was done on the Internet. One reason is that some of the items she hoped to gather just aren’t available electronically, she said.

But probably more importantly, McConaghy said she wanted to actually see and feel the documents, wanted to see the context from which they emerged.

“I wanted to look at the material, to hold it in my hands,” she added.

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Experience life in Issaquah 100 years ago — outhouses, saloons and all

February 21, 2012

Forget the buttoned-up suburb, circa 2012, to envision Issaquah from a century ago.

Issaquah in 1912 included more saloons than churches. The coalmines and logging camps attracted a tough-as-nails crowd. The era required a little more steel in the backbone.

Townsfolk eked out a hardscrabble life, but still managed to loosen up at the Stockholm Hotel & Saloon or Clark’s Place. In homes, simple conveniences — indoor plumbing, for instance — ranked as unheard-of luxuries.

Imagine a typical day from 1912.

The chill February air is a bracing alarm, almost as difficult to ignore as the crowing rooster outside.

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Unlock the Issaquah History Museums’ secrets

February 21, 2012

Issaquah History Museums Executive Director Erica Maniez leans against a historic road sign at the Gilman Town Hall Museum. By Greg Farrar

Find hidden treasures from the past in the city’s unofficial ‘attic’

There are 8,359. And counting.

That’s how many artifacts, including 3-D objects and an array of documents, make up the Issaquah History Museums’ collection.

With 7,111 photos to complement the collection, there’s no better place to get a sense of what makes Issaquah, well, Issaquah.

Among the items are rare finds — an unusual Native American trading knife buried beneath the floor of an Issaquah business or a logger’s skidding cone made right here by the town blacksmith.

Some are specific to this area, such as an early 1900s billboard — discovered later facedown in a ditch — advertising the latest and greatest in Issaquah merchants, medical care and goods.

But while each item lays claim to its own history and back story, every artifact weaves into a fabric that tells a story of who we are as a community, how we came to be and even where we’re going in the future.

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Community members unearth artifacts for museums’ collection

February 21, 2012

Mary Scott was looking for stock at a yard or estate sale when she found it.

As a local antique dealer and Issaquah History Museums volunteer, she knew there was more to the old 16-by-16-by-26 inch wooden box on wheels than what probably met the eye.

And while officials with the museums are still trying to figure out the technical term for it, for now it’s been dubbed the hot box — a contraption meant to keep large amounts of food warm while it’s transported en masse to railroad workers or loggers at mealtimes. It is thought to have been used between 1890 and 1920.

Scott joined more than 40 other donors in 2011 to bring in artifacts and photographs that help piece together Issaquah’s rich history one item at a time. Items donated to the organizations must, first and foremost, be linked to Issaquah, and they must also have unique appeal.

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Commemorate end of World War II on Spirit of ’45 Day

August 9, 2011

The guns fell silent and World War II ended as Japan surrendered Aug. 15, 1945 — Aug. 14 in the United States due to the time difference across the Pacific Ocean.

In the 66 years since the conflict came to a close, the accomplishments of the greatest generation — the nickname comes from a 1998 Tom Brokaw account — turned into near-legends. In order to commemorate the feats and the way ordinary citizens pulled together for the war effort, the Issaquah History Museums plan to celebrate Spirit of ’45 Day on Aug. 14 to mark the end to the long conflict.

“People made some amazing sacrifices and contributions,” museums Executive Director Erica Maniez said. “I think that really contributed to a lot of feelings of unity, not just on a local level, but on a national level.”

Overall, more than 16 million people served in the armed forces during World War II. The National World War II Museum estimates about 1,000 veterans of the conflict die each day.

“It’s amazing to me to get the individual stories about what all the national themes really meant on a day-to-day basis,” Maniez said. “What was it really like to be in the Pacific worrying about a Japanese kamikaze pilot flying into your ship?”

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Excuse me? Uncover fertile dirt behind Poo Poo Point’s name

July 2, 2011

The collection at the Issaquah Train Depot includes a steam donkey. File

The poo poo referenced in Poo Poo Point is not destined for the bathroom.

Instead, the designation for a ridge on Tiger Mountain nods to logging.

Loggers used a winch called a steam donkey to haul logs through Tiger Mountain forests to a loading point.

“There was a steam whistle set up that they would blow before they started pulling these logs through the forest at high speed, which was dangerous,” Issaquah History Museums Executive Director Erica Maniez said.

The high-pitched whistle on the steam donkey emitted a “poo poo” sound.

(The history museums’ collection includes a steam donkey parked outside the restored Issaquah Train Depot.)

Maniez said Poo Poo Point is a contemporary designation. The late William Longwell Jr., a longtime Issaquah Alps Trails Club member, described the tale behind Poo Poo Point in a guide to Tiger Mountain trails.

Still, uttering “Poo Poo Point” prompts giggles from outsiders and recent transplants.

Fireworks, parade await Issaquah on Independence Day

June 28, 2011

On Independence Day, Issaquah residents can head downtown for the annual parade, churn butter at the Train Depot Museum, participate in a slug race or drive to Sammamish for the annual plateau celebration.

Practice fireworks safety

King County fire officials remind Independence Day revelers to use caution if they plan to discharge fireworks to celebrate the holiday.

Use only approved, legal and common fireworks from reliable state- and King County Fire Marshal-licensed retailers.

Remember: If a firework has a stick or fins, and if it goes up or if it blows up, it is illegal in Washington.

Celebrants should always have a responsible adult light all fireworks, and avoid aerial fireworks. Use eye protection, too.

Have a garden hose or a fire extinguisher handy during fireworks-related activities.

Use fireworks under outdoor conditions only, away from buildings, wood-shingled houses, trees and dry fields.

Light one item at a time, move away quickly and keep a safe distance away. Dispose of used fireworks by first soaking them in water.

If a firework does not light or discharge, adults should wait at least five minutes before approaching the device.

Fireworks regulations

In Issaquah, discharging fireworks is banned on Independence Day and the rest of the year. Usually, Issaquah Police Department officers issue a verbal warning for fireworks and confiscate them for a first offense. If police catch revelers putting off fireworks again, a citation is issued.

Residents in unincorporated King County communities, such as Klahanie and Mirrormont, face looser rules, but some restrictions apply:

Fireworks can be discharged only from 9 a.m. to midnight. July 4.

Fireworks sales remain legal only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. through July 4, and no sales can occur after Independence Day.

People must be at least 16 and present a form of photo identification in order to purchase fireworks.

The annual Down Home Fourth of July begins with the Kids, Pets N’ Pride Parade at 11 a.m. at Rainier Boulevard North, at the intersection of Northwest Dogwood Street and Front Street North.

The parade is free, but participants must fill out a form before they begin marching. Paradegoers can find the form online, or in The Issaquah Press. Registrants also can sign up the day of the event at 10 a.m. July 4 at 425 Rainier Blvd. N.

After the parade, families can plays games at Veterans’ Memorial Field and learn about Issaquah’s history from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Issaquah Train Depot Museum’s Heritage Day celebration, 50 Rainier Boulevard N.

On Veterans’ Memorial Field, children can enter potato sack, slug and three-legged races, go for pony rides and have their faces painted.

At the depot, children can get free passports and collect stamps as they visit different stations to do old-time activities, including splitting a cedar shingle, using homemade soap to scrub clothes, dressing in historic garb and whipping cream into butter. Other activities include operating an historic pump car and trying out an historic stump puller.

“I’m always a big fan of the butter, because nothing tastes quite so good as butter that you made yourself,” Museums Director Erica Maniez said.

The depot still needs volunteers. Call 392-3500 or email info@issaquahhistory.org to learn more.

Once the sky darkens, Issaquah residents can flock to Sammamish for the annual fireworks show and carnival-style gathering from 7-10 p.m. at the Sammamish Commons, near City Hall at 801 228th Ave S.E., Sammamish.

The 10 p.m. fireworks show should last between 20 and 25 minutes.

“Hopefully this year there’ll be sun,” said Joanna Puthoff, Sammamish’s facility coordinator. “As rainy as it was last year, we actually had a good amount of people show up. The plaza still ended up packed.”

The children’s play area will feature pay-to-play bouncy toys, carnival-style games and activities put on by Skyhawks Sports Camps. The celebration is located on the far end of the lower commons, but is accessible via 222nd Place Southeast.

In addition to the main fireworks event, dozens of vendors will offer food and goodies, like ice cream, elephant ears, burgers, hot dogs, kettle corn, Thai food, barbecue and smoothies. The stage on the plaza will feature music from The Pop Offs from 6-8 p.m. and Dance Factory from 8-10:15 p.m.

Parking is free at Eastside Catholic School, Eastlake High School, Discovery Elementary School, Sammamish Highlands Shopping Center, Pine Lake Park and the Sammamish Park & Ride. Parking closer to Sammamish Commons is $5 at Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Skyline High School and Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church.

“Come out and be with the people you live around,” Puthoff said. “Out of all the different shows I’ve seen in my life … it’s a great show.”

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or lgeggel@isspress.com. Chris Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

Legislators salvage funding for Issaquah arts programs

June 7, 2011

Shakespeare on the Green is due to return to the Issaquah Community Center next month — and the “Macbeth” performance is safe, after state legislators approved a last-minute measure to shore up funding for the King County cultural services agency, 4Culture.

In addition to Shakespeare on the Green — from the Seattle Shakespeare Co. — dollars from 4Culture fund dozens of other programs in the community. Overall, 4Culture allocated more than $50,000 to arts, cultural and heritage organizations in the Issaquah area for 2011. Some organizations, such as the Seattle Shakespeare Co., could not offer Issaquah programs without the funding.

City Arts Coordinator Amy Dukes said funding from 4Culture is important because dollars allotted through the Arts Sustained Support Program can be used for operating costs.

“That’s really hard funding to replace,” she said. “Most funders want their funding to go toward specific programming, so the fact that 4Culture gives out this funding that’s unrestricted is a huge benefit.”

Lawmakers passed the 4Culture legislation as the last bill before the special legislative session adjourned May 25.

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