Mary Wold’s Issaquah

Mary Wold and her sister, Sena, are two of my favorite figures in the history of Issaquah. Their parents were Lars Wold, an immigrant from Norway, and Henrietta Walter, who moved to the Pacific Northwest from Denmark with her parents and siblings at the age of 24. At one time, Wold owned a large chunk of what is now Issaquah, north of today’s Sunset Way and west of Front Street.

Mary Wold studied to be a teacher, and taught in the Issaquah schools for a time before going back to scool for her nurse’s training. As a nurse she traveled to Siberia during World War I, to serve with the Red Cross. This boggles the mind, when you consider that going from Issaquah to Seattle was a big trip in that time period, and about as far as most people ever needed to go. After returning home she worked as a nurse at the Firlands Sanitarium in Seattle, the tuberculosis hospital described in Betty McDonald’s “The Plague and I.” She later worked for the Seattle School District as Director of Nursing Staff. She and her sister lived together at The Wold, as their home was known, until their deaths (Mary in 1961 and Sena in 1968)

Mary Wold took these photos with a Kodak camera in about 1910. After writing on the back of each image to describe the photos’ contents, she mailed them to her Aunt Laurine in Denmark. Recently, Laurine Walter Rasmussen’s great-grandson emailed us to ask if we would be interested in digital copies of Mary’s photographs. The photos are a treasure in and of themselves, but Mary’s captions bring the pictures to life. Enjoy your tour through Mary Wold’s Issaquah. (If the slide show moves too quickly to read the captions, try going directly to the online album.)