Issaquah History Museums

Dave Waggoner

David Wagonner (b. 1944) was born in Pasadena, California, but moved to Issaquah with his parents a year and a half later. He graduated from Issaquah High School in 1962. David served in the U.S. Army for twenty-six years. He retired in 1993 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He returned to the Issaquah area in 1996, where he plans to spend the rest of his years. Currently, David drives buses for the Issaquah School District and Grayline Tours. David enjoys competing in school bus rodeos.

Name: David Wagonner


Education—Coming of Age

What are your memories of Issaquah High School?  Which teachers were influential?

I attended the old Issaquah High School up on the Hill where the Julius Boehm Pool is now located.  I remember fondly arriving at school as the sun was just coming up- and you could see the tag or mist covering the town.  Rush hour in those days lasted about ½ hour!!  We would all go in to study hall (before school) and sit around and talk!  We all had lockers in that old building- and if you wanted to know what it looked like – look at your diplomas- the picture of the school is in the background.  I remember Mr. Schmelzer; Mr. Treat; Mr. Nowadnick, and especially Mr. Fallstrom our principal!  Great memories!


What memories do you have of Minnie Schomber, or another favorite teacher?

No memories of her!


Were you affected by earthquake damage to the schools in 1949 or 1965?

I vaguely remember the 1949 earthquake.  However I was in college during the 1965 earthquake.  I remember running outside my dorm – watch the telephone poles sway back-n-forth.  I remember how very quiet it was after the quake- then hearing all the sirens for hours.  I couldn’t talk to my family right away- but later I found out everyone was okay!  The college sustained some damage- but not as much as I thought there would be.


What kind of extracurricular activities were you involved in?  Did you play football or chess, or did you act in the school plays?  What were memorable games or plays?

I played on the football team and ran on the track team.  I remember Friday nights- we would dress for the game- then run down 1st Ave from the school to Memorial Field where we would play.  The lights would almost light up the whole town.  It was the big event every Friday night- some folks in Issaquah would literally live from Friday to Friday- just for Football games.  The field is still there- right behind the new police station.  When I look at that field memories flood back through my mind.

A fun thing I’ll always remember is I played donkey basketball my senior year.  It was a fund raising event- it was funny to watch!  We didn’t hurt the donkeys but often our own pride got bruised a little!


Where did you and your friends spend your free time as teenagers?  What kind of mischief did you get into?  How did your parents or teachers punish you when you got into trouble?

We would always go to a little café right behind the log cabin tavern.  I can’t remember the name of it- but they had great hamburgers and malts.  Also went to the Triple X sometimes.  It was fun- no freeways to worry about in those days- just crossing up and down Front Street.

When we did get into trouble, it wasn’t like today- it was more staying out too long or being with the wrong crowd.  There were fights after school but I tried to stay away from that stuff.

Punishment was being grounded or having my car taken away for a week.  It was devastating- and my attitude would change for the better.


Local businesses

What local businesses do you remember?  What items did you purchase there?  Who owned the business?  Where was it located?  What do you remember most about it?

I remember the Honeysuckle- and eating lunch there lots of times!  It was a “hang-out” for the kids of the day!  My fondest two memories were at the old Grange Building.  Wherever my grandfather (with my Dad and Uncles) would butcher- after the beef was cut up and wrapped, we would go to the “big” walk-in freezer at the Grange.  We would store the beef in old wooden lockers!  Man it was cold in there.  Grandpa would also buy feed while we were there.  I can still smell that smell of grain and hay today!

The other memory I have that is the fondest is- Danielson’s Jewelers on Front Street.  I bought my first engagement ring there.  I was in college so it took me a long time to pick it out- and even longer to pay for it!  In those days there was a lot more trust to but it on lay away then today.  That shop- that purchase- is a precious memory.


What barbershop or beauty shop did you frequent?  What do you remember about these places?  What were the popular hairdos when you frequented the beauty shop?  Did you do a lot of socializing at the barber and beauty shops?

Not much socializing- just got a haircut.  The two barbershops I went to- one was on Front Street next to the Wold Building.  The other was on Sunset (at the corner of Front and Sunset) next to the laundromat.  I can’t remember the name of the one on Front Street- but the one on Sunset was Paul’s Barbershop.  I went there for years!


What is memorable about Lewis Hardware?  What items did you purchase there?

I remember shopping there many times with my Grandfather.  Whatever Grandpa needed- somewhere, somehow Mr. Lewis would find it!

As a little boy- a hardware store is fascinating- filled with so many “cubby-holes” and things to look at!  And when you walked in the doorway- an enchanting “smell” of manly tools, nails, saws, etc.  When Grandpa would announce to Grandma- “I’m going to town, to the hardware store”, several of the grandkids would begin to clamor – “Let me go too Grandpa- Let me go too!”  Grandpa would usually, however reluctantly, give in- and that ole black 47 Chevy would haul us all to Issaquah, and Lewis Hardware!


Where did you go to buy your groceries?  Did you go to Tony and Johnny’s, or RR Grocery on East Sunset? Do you remember your favorite clerk?  Were there any items that these grocers specialized in?

I remember Tony & Johnny’s market.  We didn’t shop there very often!  Most of the time we drove to the highlands and shopped there- Safeway or Tradewell.  When the Hi-Lo came to town on Highway 10, my mom shopped there most of the time!


Did you purchase things at the Grange Mercantile Building?  What type of things did you get there?  Did your family rent a frozen food storage locker?

Yes I remember the Grange and going there with my Grandparents!  I wrote about the frozen food locker earlier under local businesses.  It was always fun going to the Grange!  The unique smells- going next door to get feed for Grandpa’s cows!  Especially the days we would stop in at the locker in the Grange!  Even if it was a warm day outside, you would bring a coat to go into that freezer!  Just a few minutes in there and you were cold!!

I remember Grandma shopping the Grange store.  Especially for things like flour and sugar.  Grandma used to buy a 50 lb. bag of flour for baking.  She always baked her own bread and rolls.  Same with sugar- 50 lb. bag.  In their kitchen she had a flour bin- I will always remember the baking smells in her kitchen.


What restaurants or soda shops did you enjoy going to?  Did you go to Rena’s Café, or XXX Root beer?  What was your favorite food?  Were there memorable waiters or waitresses?

Yes I went to XXX for lots of hamburgers- especially in High School.  We could stay in the car.  Papa burgers were my favorite.  And of course a large frosty of root beer.

Fasano’s was another favorite place!  The family would go there on occasion.

If I remember right Rena’s Cafe was on Sunset Ave near the Log Cabin Tavern- if that was the one, we always went there in High School after games.  That was a favorite hang out!


Did you go to Boehm’s Candies?  What candies were your favorites?

Yes- especially as a little boy!  Always liked the smells of the candies being made.  Highway 10 wasn’t as busy in those days as I-90 is today- but people from Seattle would drive out on Saturday s just to buy candy.  I remember meeting Mr. Boehm once as a young boy.  That was a long time ago!

Always have loved their caramels!


What saloons or local bars did you and your friends frequent?

Really didn’t frequent any of these!


What do you remember about Grange Supply?

Please see the first question on local businesses that is where I wrote memories of the Grange!


Local Politics

What important local political issues of Issaquah are memorable?  Do any particular politicians stand out?  Why are they memorable?  What did they accomplish while in office?

No real memories.


What do you recall about Mayor Stella Alexander, the first female mayor of Issaquah (elected in 1933)?  Were there any other local politicians or political activities that drew scandalous attention?

Too early for my time!


Do you recall Ordinance No. 752 that changed most of the street names in town?  What were your feelings about this change at the time?

Too early for my generation!


The Great Depression

What are your memories of the Great Depression?  Did you have a job at this time?  What ways did you try to save money?  What did you eat?

Does not apply to me!


Issaquah Round-Up—Salmon Days—Labor Day Celebrations

What do you remember about Labor Day Celebrations or Salmon Days?

I remember “Labor Day Parade” and going into town to watch it!  Many friends would be in the Parade- floats/bands/ kids- it was fun!  Every year it was the same kind of fun!  Lots of years a carnival would set up on the grassy area now known as memorial field.  The lights would come on at night, and it would be a fun place to go with friends.  All summer long we would look forward to the Labor Day festivities.  It also meant that school would start right after the weekend- so it was the “last fling” of summer for us kids!  Lots of good memories.


Was there any year that these celebrations were especially memorable to you?

1961- because it was my senior year in High School.  The weather was great! The parade was fun- and the celebration was full of electric excitement.  I remember standing in front of the Old Ford Garage to watch the parade (where the Texaco is now).  After the parade, then we just went to hang out around town! The town was smaller in those says seemed like we knew almost everyone!  The floats in the parade were all local- and most were hand made.  If I close my eyes now, I can see it!  Sure wish I could go back in time and visit it again!


What special activities were there at Labor Day Celebrations, or at Salmon Days?  How has Salmon Days changed over time?

Obviously Salmon Days is much bigger than the Labor Day Celebration.  The two main drawing attractions for the Labor Day celebrations were the parade and then the carnival/circus on Memorial Field.  Now its much more- much bigger- lots more attractions.  Is it better?  That belongs to the eye of the beholder.  I’m still partial to the older Labor Day Celebrations.

“Labor Day Parade” was the common saying- Are you going to “Parade”?  That was common in the 50s and 60s.  Mostly local residents- not near the draw of Salmon Days from outside the community!


What are your memories of the Rodeo?

Rodeo was before my time! Only heard stories!


Outdoor Recreation

Did you spend a lot of your free time outside?  What do you remember about fishing, hunting, or hiking in the area?  What was your favorite hiking trail?

“Outside” was mostly doing chores at the farm!  Cutting wood on the hillside-  mending fences- spreading manure on fields.  Not a lot of time to hike!

Summer times- swimming in Issaquah Creek at the ole swimming “hole”.  Even occasionally going to the Horrocks pond for a swim.

When you grow up on a family farm- going outside usually meant some kind of work.

Play- was centered around family activities- Picnics at Alexander’s Park or Lake Sammamish State Park.


What type of fish did you catch?   How many trout did you catch in the Issaquah Creek and what was the biggest?  Did you fish in the kids fishing derby held in Issaquah?  Were your methods for fishing and hunting any different than they are today?

I did fish in Issaquah Creek!  Used “periwinkles” for bait!  Sometimes fly-fishing.  The biggest fish I ever caught was about six inches!  It was a trout!

We fished as kids more for fun than to really catch fish.  Most of the time we just threw them back in!


What are your memories of Vasa Park?  What did you do while there?

Our family did not go to Vasa Park much!  I think maybe two times- but that was due to family reunions.  Our family rented the whole park.  I really didn’t see much difference at the park itself- compared to Lake Sammamish State Park.  But the big draw was the Dance Hall.  I didn’t go to dance there- but my Aunts and Uncles went there for dances.  That seemed to be the big drawing point to Vasa Park.


Did you go swimming in the local lakes in the summer?  Or ice-skating at the Horrock’s Farm in the winter?

I didn’t go Ice Skating on Horrock’s Pond, but Dave and Nancy used to let us kids (Waggoner family) swim in the pond in the summer.  I remember it was a “cold pond” but fun and private.  We often would hear stories that the pond was full of leaches (blood suckers), but I never found that to be true.  Just childhood stories.  I remember Dave and Nancy- they went to church with our family- at the “Roadside Chapel”.  Dave used to help my Grandfather often in his farming.


Salmon hatchery

How has the salmon hatchery affected Issaquah?

It is a part of Issaquah!  It has brought us tours- visitors from all over the world.  It is a reflection of what and who we are as a community.  Home- for fish- for pioneers, for children, for all of us!  Just as the salmon return to raise their young- so do we!  As they recover- so do we!  As they grow and leave- so do we!  As they return- so do we!  It is a direct reflection of who we are – what we are!  And people come here to watch it all!  That hatchery is not just about fish- it’s about us- it’s about a place we call home!  A small valley- started long ago by Indians- settled by Pioneers- Grown by people who fall in love with the mountains nestled between a creek!  It is a place I love- with every breath!  It is my home-  and so I too have returned to watch it grow- to see it spawn into new life- and go forth.  What is that hatchery- it’s a mirror of who we are- what we are, its about fish!  It’s about us as a community!  How has it affected Issaquah- it has been there, like a rock.  We have fought as a community to keep it!  We have repaired it, rebuilt it, nurtured it!  And every year now we celebrate what it means!  A place to come home to!  A place we call home!  It is our reflection- fish, people, weather, mountains, and most of all home!


Farming and Dairy

Were you involved with farming in Issaquah?  What farm did you work on?  What was grown or raised there?

Yes- my Grandfather had a dairy farm out the Hobart Road- on the Cedar Grove Road.  40 acres!  Plenty of daily chores for the Grand kids!  He worked hard- milked cows twice a day!  Rain, shine, good days or bad- the farm went on!  I helped with milking, feeding, “haying”, cleaning, cutting wood, gathering eggs, and playing as a family!  Summer, winter, fall, spring- the farm went on!!  That farm made me rich- In Spirit!!


Do you have any memories of Pickering Farm?

No- but I knew many of the Pickering Children and Grand Children!


Did you work at the Issaquah Creamery, or what is now Darigold?

No- but I have visited it many times!  As a small boy- as a teenager, and as a grown-up!  It has been here a long time!  My family has known people who work there for their whole adult lives.  I remember getting home delivery (in Seattle) of Alpine Dairy milk- brought by a milkman!  Put into an “Ice Box”- and the Ice man delivered the ice every other day!



Did you travel frequently into Seattle?  How did you get there?  What did you do while in Seattle?

Two different ways!  When I was little- Mom and Dad and I lived in Seattle on Beacon Hill!  We would go to Grandpa and Grandma’s farm on weekends.  We would use Empire Way to go to Renton.  Then use the “old” Maple Valley Highway to go to Cedar Grove Road (it was gravel in those days) then take the Cedar Grove Road to their house!  Since the 60’s we now use I-90 monthly to get to Seattle!  But I remember vividly using Highway 10 across the floating bridge (with toll booths) and home to Issaquah.


How did the construction of I-90 change life in Issaquah?

It changed the sleepy little community forever!  When I was young- people would come to the “country” from Seattle for the weekend.  They would go to weekend homes up by Pine Lake or Beaver Lake or along Lake Sammamish.  In those days (gas being about 50¢ to $1.00 a gallon) commuting to Seattle was not seen as a good thing!  I-90 damaged all of that- it made Issaquah a “bedroom community” for Seattle and Bellevue workers.  I now use I-90 to commute to work in the summers.


What was your first car?  Did you buy it from Hepler Ford Motors, Stonebridge Chevrolet, or the Kaiser-Frazier dealership?

Yes- I paid $99.00 for a 1950 Ford four door sedan.  Dad and I bought it from Dale Larsen at the Ford Garage used car lot!  And before we could get it home- the engine “blew” up!  We knew that when we bought it!  Dad and I towed it home on Highway 10- across the old floating bridge!  He helped me rebuild the engine- actually he did all the work- I mostly watched and helped when I could.  I also bought a 1965 Ford Mustang from the Ford Garage in 1965.  I was one of the first to have (check original)


Fraternal Organizations—Local Halls

What are your memories of the fraternal organizations?  Did you belong to the Elks Lodge, or Lions Club, etc?

I now belong to the Veterans of Foreign Wars!  But I remember watching them march in the Labor Day Parade!  Flags flying- old men- young men! Who served their country!  Walking proudly, walking humbly!  It made me feel like I should serve too!  And I did!  Now I’m home- walking in those same parades.  Walking proudly- walking humbly!  Its good to be home-  I’m thankful for those parades!

I remember the American Legion marching in the 1961 Labor Day Parade- waving to the crowd- flags flying high.  I remember everyone standing up as they marched by!


Did you attend the Sportsmen’s Club?  Do you remember when it was built in 1937?  What did you do at the Sportsmen’s Club?

I remember going there a few times with my Dad- but I don’t remember when it was built.  But for years now I can remember hearing “gun-fire” coming from that part of town about every afternoon.

My last contact with the Sportsman’s Club was just two years ago-  attending an Issaquah Police Citizens Academy!


Did you attend dinners, dances, banquets, or other events in the upstairs Grange Meeting Hall?

Yes- and weddings too!  Well receptions anyway!  My Aunt and Uncle were married in the Issaquah Christian Church and had their reception in the Grange Hall.  Wonderful memory now!



What movies did you go to see at the Issaquah Theatre (the Old Movie House) to see?  How much did movies cost?  Did you ever go to the back upper corner of the theatre to kiss?

Lots of Saturday night movies!  Grandpa or Dad would drive us in and drop us off!  Movies were 25¢ for matinees and 50¢ for full length features at night.  Yes, I remember taking a date there- I  remember fondly holding hands and “putting my arm around” her!  Kids were noisy, popcorn was made in a “Popcorn Machine”, and we all had fun!  It was the place to “hang out” for those Junior High School years.

AUTHOR of THIS MEMORY BOOK (signature and date)

David Waggoner