Man’s legacy keeps growing with the trees

July 21, 2009

Ben Harrison sits in his Beaver Lake area home and recalls with humor his career as a forester, his World War II military service as a Navy submariner and a lifetime living in the Issaquah area. By Greg Farrar

Ben Harrison sits in his Beaver Lake area home and recalls with humor his career as a forester, his World War II military service as a Navy submariner and a lifetime living in the Issaquah area. By Greg Farrar

If you’ve walked through Tradition Lake Plateau, you’ve seen the trees soaring into the air. It’s hard to imagine the area without the trees, but it could have happened, if it weren’t for one man.

Ben Harrison, 84, has been an Issaquah resident most of his life. Stepping in as a forest management employee with Weyerhaeuser, he helped secure the Tradition Lake Plateau’s future for generations to come and aided city officials in finding new funding sources.

“When I got there, it was full of dead, stunted, weak trees,” he said. “By thinning it and letting those trees grow, we’ve created something for people to enjoy years later.”

But Harrison’s life wasn’t always about trees. Read more

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

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