The Early Years

This article appeared in The Issaquah Press, May 14, 1997

Here is a chronology of major events during the Issaquah Historical Society’s first five years, as recorded by Harriet Fish (note: the group was called the historical commission at that time and the Gilman Town Hall Museum was known as the History Center) :


  • May 21 – First meeting for forming the Issaquah Historical Society. Plans made for P.R. through exhibits throughout the year in the local bank, etc. winding up at Salmon Days (in October)
  • Sept. 12 – At the request of Mayor Keith Hansen, a project to document the Issaquah Mayors by photographs (at that time 17 mayors had held office) was completed by Harriet Fish and presented to the city.
  • Sept. 21 – Old Gilman Town Hall becomes available.
  • Oct. 19 – Letters sent to prospective members for building the society.
  • Nov. 15 – City Council voted to purchase property at 165 SE Andrews St.
  • Nov. 20 – Historical Commission appointed.
  • November – During this fall, Andy Wold died.
  • Dec. 19 – City forwards earnest money on purchase of Old Gilman Town Hall property.


  • Jan. 8 – Realtor (Robert Caterall) conducted sale of property to city as “a service to the city and to the Historical Society with no commission.”
  • Feb. 14 – City Historian appointed by Mayor Hansen – Harriet Fish.
  • March 13 – Issaquah Historical Society met in the History Center for the first time, heat and lights now being available. (City had rewired some of the building.)
  • April 15 – Fire proof file drawers requested for vertical file materials which had been acquired and collected by Ed and Harriet Fish during the years of book research. Also requested alarm system.
  • May 22 – Items … were moved from the Bergsman Barn to the History Center.
  • July 10 – Cabinets of shelves were removed from the Public Library to the History Center. (two made of birch with glass sliding fronts).
  • July 19 – Chemical Fire truck and hose cart defined as belonging to Issaquah Historical Society were to be returned by the Washington State Historical Fire Museum. (Whether these ever arrived is questionable)
  • Sept. 25 – Police Docket book of early years received from city. Brochure published giving historical background of Old Gilman Town Hall and Jail. Four drawer file cabinet purchased, (used) for $62.00.
  • November – Bud Settem died; Felicity Lowe appointed to fill spot on Historical Commission; Joanne Berry was appointed to fill another vacancy on Commission.


  • Newsletters being printed, possibly started in 1973.
  • Historical Commission expenditures 1/1/1973 to 3/18/1974: $7,488.77.
  • Influenced the saving of the large maple tree in the Safeway parking lot.
  • Started to produce a 200 slide P.R. show of history of Issaquah. (some funds came from Fred Glandon in March) Oct. Antique Sale and Show in Junior High Building, Dick Matilla in charge.
  • Bessie Wilson Craine manuscript, which had been secured by Ed Fish before he died, is completed by typing in office practices classes at the Issaquah High School.
  • Drive Yourself tour plans started, Joanne Berry and husband in charge.


  • Anita Page appointed to Historical Commission.
  • City installed new furnace in center. (oil).
  • By-laws of Society amended for I.R.S. purposes.
  • Drive Yourself Tour being developed for use over Salmon Days.
  • June 9 – $500 grant from Seattle Arts Commission to be used for Tour Brochure.
  • Monthly rather than bi-monthly meetings scheduled.
  • Notified of bequest by Bernice Wold Estate; ultimately received $4,614.


  • Dick Matilla appointed to Historical Commission.
  • Non-profit status received from I.R. S. through Cushman & Holt.
  • Drive Around Tour brochure completed and in use.
  • Talk of printing the Bessie Wilson Craine manuscript into book to be called “Squak Valley.”
  • May – Directional signs to be installed for finding museum.
  • June – $2,400 received from Wold Estate; kitchen renovation at center being planned.
  • Aug. 6 – First talk with Burlington Northern about saving Depot.
  • Aug. 24 – $600 budget from city to paint exterior of center. Plans for remodeling front of center are considered.


This Article © 1997 Issaquah Press. Used by permission