Circa 1930. From left to right are: Ruth Campbell (standing behind Archie Adair),
Archie Adair V, Lester Adair, James Bonner, Jr., William Bonner, Joseph Anthony Donlan. (IHM 2008-4-1)
Name: Lester J. Adair
Birth Date or Year (optional): 3/1/1914
Your history in Issaquah/How long lived here, etc.:
My granddad settled the property in 1903. The family has lived on this property ever since.
If you have lived here all or most of your life, why did you choose to stay?
It was home.
Issaquah or area school(s) attended:
Issaquah Elementary beginning in 1920 when I was 6 years old and graduated in 1933 from Issaquah High School.
Family History in Issaquah:
Our family history is discussed in the Family Book.
Education—Coming of Age
What are your memories of Issaquah High School? Which teachers were influential?
Ernest Edgerton, taught the sciences; chemistry, physics and physical geography.
Lawrence Jenson, taught manual training. Mr. Jenson was trained in Sweden and had a wonderful knowledge of woodworking and how to impart that knowledge.
Miss Eades, biology teacher. Along with lab and classroom work, she took the class on field trips, pointing out that which others would have missed.
Harold Byrd, typing teacher, saw to it that you learned how to type, get your class work done, and do the exercises that made your fingers more accurate.
Miss Wager taught foreign languages such as Spanish and French.
Jim Stevens taught oral English. His classes were really interesting because he was able to teach some of the girls who were really shy how to overcome their shyness, and speak in front of the class. One girl in particular was so shy she could hardly speak in class. With his training and methods, she soon was able to carry on her class work just about like everybody else in class.
The training that we got from these fine teachers had a direct bearing on how we communicate with other people as we grew up.
What memories do you have of Minnie Schomber, or another favorite teacher?
Minnie was originally the first grade teacher of my brother. I ran into her years later when I was working on a WPA project and she had to sign the various forms as representative of the City.
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 lettered in football and track. I was too busy elsewhere for anything else.
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?
Hiking, hunting, fishing. rockhounding.
We didn’t get into mischief that would get us into trouble. Dad made it very plain that how we were to deal with other people and other people’s property. He was a good Dad, but a strict Dad.
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?
Grange Mercantile, Fishers Meats, Grange Supply
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?
Dave Lewis’ Barbershop. (one of my best friends that I did a lot of hunting and fishing with.)
What is memorable about Lewis Hardware? What items did you purchase there?
We purchased fishing tackle, ammunition for hunting trips, Hunting and fishing Regulation books.
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?
Tony and Johnny’s for a long time, Red and White (Leonard Miles store) and Grange Mercantile. (Also, there was a Money Savers)
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?
All of our groceries were purchased there. We rented the storage locker and kept it full, both of meat and fruit. Pick Pickering, the manager, was shot during hold-up there, about 1930.
What restaurants or soda shops did you enjoy going to?
We stopped in the Honeysuckle of Tom Drylie’s once in a while.
Did you go to Rena’s Café, (Rena made the best pie’s in town) or XXX Root beer?
Not very often
What was your favorite food?
Did you go to Boehm’s Candies? What candies were your favorites?
What saloons or local bars did you and your friends frequent?
I had no tolerance for hard liquor and don’t like beer, so I didn’t go in those places.
What do you remember about Grange Supply?
The Grange handled many things for the people. In 1956 when our neighborhood had to renew our well, Mr. Stickney, the manager of the Grange, was very helpful in telling us all the various things we’d need.
Anything in the way of nuts and bolts, you got it at the Grange Supply.
What do you recall about Lawill’s drug store?
I knew both Lou and Gertie because they were friendly people. They always helped you to find things on the shelf. Years later, Marcia and I were down at Westport having dinner. To our surprise, up walked Lou who was the pharmacist at the Westport local drug store to say hello.
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?
The presence of the WPA in Issaquah made a difference in the lives of many Issaquah people who were out of work because of the Depression. Most of that time, I spent in the WPA office as a typist. Jerry Marquis was the accountant. We handled all the paperwork for the sidewalks, cemetery improvement, watershed, and city sewers.
Issaquah was also known as having the highest number of moonshine stills in the county, in the hills around the town… some no more than a mile from City Hall.
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?
My only memory of Stella Alexander was when I was advised by a farmer in the area to take my sick hunting dog to her since she was raised on a farm and knew how to take care of animals. With her help, I managed to get my dog through a very severe case of distemper. He was an ugly beast but the best hunting dog I ever owned.
The Great Depression
What are your memories of the Great Depression? Did you have a job at this time?
The Great Depression was a tragedy for the average working man who became unemployed because of lack of work. I saw kids wearing the same dress all week long at school because they didn’t have anything else. The boys were no better off.
I managed to pay for most of my school expenses and clothes with money that I earned trapping; mink, muskrat, skunk, weasel. One skunk hide earned $7.50. What I earned increased dramatically when I learned to prepare the hides.
What ways did you try to save money?
We went to the movies when it was dime night. My mother and Dad spent the summers canning everything they could find, for the winter.
What did you eat?
We ate fairly well because we always raised a cow, hogs and chickens. I raised ducks. We always had a big garden. I did a lot of hunting. Ba-Ba was our milk cow, though she was considered a pet. My Mom and Dad just about died when they had to take her to Fishers.
World War II
How did World War II affect the town of Issaquah? Did you know men or women who went to fight in the war? Did you leave Issaquah to join the war efforts?
It had a dramatic effect on the town people because suddenly, they had to commute so far to work.
Did you know men or women who went to fight in the war?
Kenneth Kobukata, a Japanese-American, lived and worked on a farm on the Plateau owned by Mr. Best.
How did the Japanese Internment affect Issaquah? Did you know men and women who were taken to Internment Camps?
The Kobukata family was sent to an Internment Center in Idaho, I believe.
Issaquah Round-Up—Salmon Days—Labor Day Celebrations
What do you remember about Labor Day Celebrations or Salmon Days?
This was usually when the rodeo was put on. Races, bucking horses, chariot races, bulldogging, carnivals along the west-side of Memorial Field (where the Library is now).
Was there any year that these celebrations were especially memorable to you?
What are your memories of the Rodeo?
What were some of the other memorable special events and occasions in Issaquah?
In about 1920, there was a KKK rally down by Goode’s Corner. At a given signal, the men were to remove their headdresses. They did. I was surprised to see some of the men who had hidden behind the mask.
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?
The trail along the power long to Round Lake and Lake Tradition.
What type of fish did you catch?
Trout, Kokanee, catfish, perch, bass, steelhead. Those were the legal catches.
In order to make home canned eggs to fish with, other fish were “snagged” out of the Issaquah Creek and it’s tributaries.
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?
You might say so.
What are your memories of Vasa Park? What did you do while there?
We had a lot of fun swimming there.
Did you go swimming in the local lakes in the summer?
Or ice-skating at the Horrock’s Farm in the winter?
Yes and had some wonderful times. There was always a fire out by the lake and we were always made to feel welcome.
Logging and Sawmills
How did the logging industry affect Issaquah? How did it change? Did you work in logging? For what logging camp or sawmill? What do you remember of your logging days? What type of machines did you use for logging? How did you transport logs? How large were these logs?
Kept a lot of guys working. I didn’t work for one. My Dad told me to get a job in the mill where I could make pretty good money. He thought the woods were too dangerous.
Do you remember the Monohon Mill, the Red Hall sawmill by the fish hatchery, the High Point Mill, the Preston Mill, or the Issaquah Lumber Company Mill on Front Street South?
I remember every one of them. I worked for Carl Pearson at the Monohon Mill.
Do you remember when there was a fire at the mill? Did you help fight it? Did you see the fire?
I saw the first one, in about 1926. The heat was so intense, the railroad tracks were distorted and had to be replaced.
Farming and Dairy
Were you involved with farming in Issaquah? What farm did you work on? What was grown or raised there?
We always had a garden. I planted corn, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots. My Mother and I used to can everything we could.
Did you work at the Issaquah Creamery, or what is now Darigold?
After I retired from the Seattle Fire Department, I went to work for Darigold driving truck on the night shift in 1968. I worked there 8 years before retiring 1968 – 1976.
Did you travel frequently into Seattle? How did you get there? What did you do while in Seattle?
Yes, every day that I drove Engine 25 in the Fire Department.
How did the construction of I-90 change life in Issaquah?
It made it possible for people to get to Seattle quicker without having to go through Renton first.
What was your first car? Did you buy it from Hepler Ford Motors, Stonebridge Chevrolet, or the Kaiser-Frazier dealership?
1937 Chev Davies Chevrolet on Pike Street.
Fraternal Organizations—Local Halls
What are your memories of the fraternal organizations? Did you belong to the Elks Lodge, or Lions Club, etc?
I belonged to the Knights of Pythias for a short time but I couldn’t make the meetings having to work some night shifts.
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?
The original location, down near Pickering curve, was in a poor location for trap shooting so the “Gun Club” bought the property up by the old garbage dump. We never called it a Sportsmen’s Club.
A friend and I helped level ground move rocks, etc. at the new location when someone came out and asked if anyone could type.
What types of events did you attend at the Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Hall? Did you use the shooting range located in the basement?
Bill Doherty asked me if I knew how to run an Emerson resuscitator. I told him yes, that we had one on the SFD rig. IVFD had one but no one in the fire department here knew how to use it. I showed them how.
Did you attend dinners, dances, banquets, or other events in the upstairs Grange Meeting Hall?
Yes. Our family used to have Christmas there when our family got too big to be in one house.
Do you have any memories of Issaquah’s mining days? Were you involved in mining?
Caroline mine caught on fire as a result of a forest fire so the mine was closed for a time. My Uncle, Pete Favini had to go in to check to make sure that the fire was out. We were in the tunnel 2-300 yards (a guess) when Pete asked me how long the flame was on his miner’s hat.
My response was, “Too long”. (Flame reaches out for oxygen when there is little available). We hurried out.
The mine stayed closed.
What were the working conditions like in the mine? Which mine did you work for, and what was your job?
I didn’t work in the Issaquah mines.
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?
Birth of a Nation. For me, it was scary because I was very young. One night it was a dime. Other nights it was 15 cents. George Brunsberg held drawings once a week. The winner received a sack full of groceries.
What church did you attend? What memories do you have of this church? Were there any pastors, reverends, or church leaders that stand out in your memory?
Bethel Mission. Mr. Case was the father of Cliff Case and Reid Case (who was married to Roberta Thompson) and a minister. Mr. Case was the one who organized the boys club that was held in the church across the street from Darigold. The boys club met in the basement.
I had great respect and admiration for Rev. Lois Hines who ministered at the Bethel Mission.
In the early 1950s, around 10 or 11 o’clock at night, we heard a plane engine roaring and a very loud boom. Flames were easily seen to the South from my house. Since I was a fireman, I went to help. A passenger airplane had hit Squak Mountain across the Issaquah Hobart Road from where the hang gliders land. There weren’t any survivors.
AUTHOR of THIS MEMORY BOOK (signature and date)
Lester J. Adair
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