Donna Pedegana Arndt

Name:Donna Pedegana Arndt

Your history in Issaquah/How long lived here, etc.:

I was born here.  In a house on Andrews St. At the time Andrews St. only went ½ block east from 3rd.  Then it was a field, and blackberry briers.

If you have lived here all or most of your life, why did you choose to stay?

I married a fellow living here in 1948.  He worked in the woods as a logger.  It was also close to fishing and hunting.  That helped to feed us for many years.

Issaquah or area school(s) attended:

Issaquah Grade School.  There was only one for all 8 grades.  Then Issaquah High School.

Family History in Issaquah:

My father was born in Issaquah.  My mother was born in Sumas, Washington.  My dad was a coal miner most of his life.  Born 6-4-1889, died 1963.  My mother came in 1930, died 1943, only 44 years old.

Education—Coming of Age

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

It was located where the pool is now. We had small classes, less than 60 in our graduating class. The girls were not allowed to wear jeans or slacks to classes until 1948, then only slacks on Friday. The football games were on a field behind the grade school (now Issaquah Middle School) and were afternoon games. Around 1947 they were at Memorial Field.

Our school dances, even Junior Prom and Senior Ball, were in the old green gym. We would decorate it and bring soft drinks.

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

Minnie Schomber lived on the same street that I did. She was a “Modern Woman,” worked outside the home, active in the community and her mother lived with her and her husband Jake. He was the janitor at the grade school.

Miss Crelly is the teacher I remember. Her first year at Issaquah was when I was a freshman. My children had her when they were in high school.

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

No, but my kids were. They were on the 2nd floor of the junior high (the old high school). It was about 10:30 in the morning. When they got everyone out the kids came home early. For the next year they double shifted at the high school.


Local Businesses

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

In the years Wold Hardware was on the corner of Front and Sunset Way we shopped there. When that closed we bought everything there (Lewis). When my husband, Bill Arndt, was growing up, they got their hunting and fishing supplies there.

Our largest purchase at Wold hardware was a cookstove, and Andy Wold game my mother a pressure cooker for canning. I think it was $35.00 paid in 7 monthly payments.

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?

We bought groceries at the Red & White. First it was Miles Grocery, then John Kramer owned it. I’m sure we used credit for groceries since my father was unemployed often in the 30s. During the war Mrs. King, who worked there, would help me figure out the blue and red ration tokens. I was only 13 and had to do the grocery shopping. She would help me to pick things for dinner.

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, we had a locker. That was when you bought a half a beef. This was in the 60s. By then there were a lot of stores in Issaquah. The Hi Lo, Thriftway.

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?

As teenagers we went to the Barrel. The Shamrock was popular later. The Barrel was on Sunset Way next to Stonebridge Chevrolet, now Busch Auto Rebuild.

The Honeysuckle was also popular, but it wasn’t a hangout type.

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

Not often. Dark chocolate caramels.

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

In my father’s younger days the bars were the social connection. No one had a phone. The men would meet to talk about work, looking for work, the garden, etc. Sometimes on weekends the women would go to see other people. Talking baseball was always number 1.

Later in the 50s we would go to the Union once in a while. Cocktail bars – Nick’s, later Fasano’s – was the first. They had to be in a restaurant and women couldn’t sit at the bar.

What do you remember about Grange Supply?

Didn’t use it.

What do you recall about Lawill’s drug store?

Going in as a teenager admiring the make up and gift selections. I remember Mr. Lawill walked home for lunch and back to the store.

He was very helpful. When the kids were sick he would suggest things to do for them.

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?

Don’t remember any political ruckus. The mayor and council were businessmen in Issaquah. They would try to work things out quickly and help where they could.

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?


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?

Yes, we thought it was exciting. Some of the old-time families that didn’t get their name used felt slighted.


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?

My father worked in the coal mines, which meant he didn’t work very much. In the summer some of the men found wood they could cut, and tried to get enough to last the winter. We got 1 ton of coal and the wood would keep the stove going for hot water, heat and cooking.

We ate what we could grow in the garden. My mother would can everything she could pick or grow. She would take clothes apart to make school clothes for me. I got new shoes for school, when the sole got a hole it was covered with cardboard. Coats were second hand.

Our landlady couldn’t read or write English so my mother helped her with paper work. If we didn’t have the rent money she would let it go for the month.

We didn’t have a car so I remember we did a lot of walking. Going to Seattle on the bus was a big occasion, got all dressed up.

Issaquah had wooden sidewalks, quite high off the road. They were uneven, it was easy to trip and fall.

You knew everyone you saw downtown. The women had a break from very hard labor when they had a chance to visit.

I remember we had a lot of soup. The butcher would give a soup bone with lots of meat left on.


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?

I knew many that went to war. Down by the Press office there was a huge fixture built with every person’s name that went in the service. If they were killed, a gold star would be put in front of the name. Since we were a small town we knew almost every one of them. On my small block five boys went into the service. That is out of 11 houses. Many out-of-state people moved in, schools were bulging. For the first time people, men and women, had steady jobs. We dumped aluminum in an empty lot downtown (for bombs), took grease to the butcher shop to make explosives. I don’t know if it was used, but we felt like we were winning the war.

How did the Japanese Internment affect Issaquah?  Did you know men and women who were taken to Internment Camps?

Yes, several Japanese students had to leave. In one case, before they had to leave, one boy in the school band was going with the school band to play in Seattle at the toll plaza on the floating bridge. An inspector came on the bus. When he saw a Japanese student, they were not allowed to cross the bridge, and had to go around through Renton.

What kinds of jobs did the War bring to the area?  Where did you work at this time?

War effort work, Boeing worked three sifts, ship yards also. The coal mines and logging and mill work were in demand.

I was too young. Did lots of babysitting because people had money to go out.


Issaquah Round-Up—Salmon Days—Labor Day Celebrations

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

Labor Day was wilder. More small town celebration. Memorial Field had a carnival, dances at the Fire Hall. The bars would overflow and patrons would bring their drinks outside.

What are your memories of the Rodeo?

Before my time. My dad said they were great, lots of fun. Lots of baseball games with other small towns, Black Diamond, Fall City, etc.


Outdoor Recreation

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

Skating. Swimming. One year my friend and her family rented a cabin for a week. One-room wood shack with small wood stove to cook on. We swam all day and went skating at night. If we needed groceries we would walk to the Little Store. Half of the Little Store was a bar. Going skating on Friday was a must.

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

Yes, mostly Alexander’s Resort. If we couldn’t get a ride, we would walk down the railroad tracks. The kids would go by themselves and an adult would pick us up later – dinnertime. All the organized picnics were there. They had cook stoves under cover to warm up food and also the kids when they got out of the cold water.


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?

It employed a lot of men, cleared the land for homes and roads, made lumber affordable. My husband started in the woods at 15. All handsaws, this was before the War. Falling, then cutting up the trees and getting them ready for the mills. Both two-man saws and one-man. After the war he worked on Snoqualmie Pass area, clearing for the highway addition. The first power saw he used was in 1949. It was huge, weighed about 75 pounds. These were only used for falling the trees. They were still cutting up by hand saws.

They were transported by truck to the mill. The largest he can recall was 17 ft. in diameter on the butt, and around here many firs were 5 ft. in diameter. These are all old growth.

Some of the steep areas would send the logs down a chute to the loading area.

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?

Yes, the Monohon Mill, Red Hall’s Preston, not the High Point or Issaquah Lumber Co.

Do you remember when there was a fire at the mill?  Did you help fight it?  Did you see the fire?

I don’t; my husband does.

Salmon hatchery

How has the salmon hatchery affected Issaquah?

It brought in a lot of tourists. At one time there was a sign that said Largest Salmon Hatchery in the World.

In the summer we would walk to the park behind the hatchery and have picnics. It was shady and the ponds had water wheels. There was a wading pond next to Gibson Hall.

When it was officially opened the Governor spoke and they had a queen contest.

Farming and Dairy

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


Do you have any memories of Pickering Farm?

Yes – but no connection with the working end.

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

No. But I knew many that did.


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

We took the bus to Seattle, around through Renton, by way of the Issaquah-Renton Road. That was Highway 10 then. We would look at store windows, get a new pair of shoes for school. It was a special day; got all dressed up and feel like we were in the Greatest City.

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

The cars didn’t go through downtown and we missed watching the latest car models.

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

My family didn’t have a car. After I was married our first car was a ’55 Chev.

Fraternal Organizations—Local Halls

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

When I was in my first few years of grade school my neighbor took me to Veterans of Foreign Wars Christmas Party. Most of the children said a piece or poem, or sang a song. [We] played games; many groups of local people sang Christmas songs and Santa came and handed out a gift. Every child brought one and got one.

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 was quite small when it was built but during the years there were a lot of people shooting to win a turkey. There were a lot of private parties held there. Lots of fun.

What types of events did you attend at the Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Hall?  Did you use the shooting range located in the basement?

I remember when it had some skating and once the Harlem Globetrotters played there. Later (?) dances. Lots of dances. During the War people would take turns watching for enemy aircraft.

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

That is where the Veterans’ parties were held. Some private parties.


Do you have any memories of Issaquah’s mining days?  Were you involved in mining?

My father worked in every coal mine in Issaquah. He started as a teenager and retired around 1950. In the early days they used mules to pull the cars. He worked at the Grand Ridge Mine, the mine on Mine Hill when it was owned by the Germans. Later Harris and Bianco (?) mines.

What were the working conditions like in the mine? Which mine did you work for, and what was your job?

Very bad. Sometimes the tunnels were small and they could [not] fully stand erect. He was in more than one cave-in. One time he was buried to his chest. As a young man he had a compound fracture of his leg. The bone never healed straight.


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?

They cost 10¢, then they went to 11¢ so we didn’t have a penny for candy at the Honeysuckle. I went every Friday when my dad had a job. Even then I’m sure it wasn’t easy to give me 10¢. Often I would take back neighbors’ beer bottles for some money.

The movie was a great meeting place. Many trips back to the bathroom to meet kids. Both Male and Female toilets were out of the same waiting area, 1 water fountain.

Front Street

My dad went to this bar [the Klondike Bar]. Issaquah had lots of taverns. Even kids could go in. (This entry refers to the photo on the page and probably belongs under the question about bars.)


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?

Issaquah Community Church. I started about 3. It was the old church then, it burned, rebuilt by the creek on Rainier Blvd. Later built on Mt. Park [Blvd]. The kids only went to Sunday School for the hour of church. We didn’t go to adult church until about 10.

Additional Memories

When I was very young, about 3, I was at my grandparents’, it faced Sunset Way. This was the main road to Seattle or North Bend through Snoqualmie. A group of gypsies, 20 or more were walking through town toward Snoqualmie Valley. The women in their long dresses, scarves. My aunt and I got on our knees to look out the window so they wouldn’t see us. My grandparents were from Europe and they told my aunt the gypsies used to steal the children.

When my dad was a young boy he lived there. He said if you were out after dark it was pitch black – no streetlights of any kind. This was probably before 1900. He said he was running home and fell over something on the path, and sidewalks. It was a cow. This was 2 blocks from downtown Issaquah.

His neighbor was an old doctor that had worked for the train companies during the cross county rails being laid. He would pull teeth when he was practicing in Issaquah or anything that needed done. His practice was in his house.

When my dad was a young boy around 1900 and before he lived on what is Sunset Way, there were a lot of Indians living in the area still and when my grandfather was working in a coal mine away from Issaquah the Indians would come around and look in the windows. Some were drunk and making lots of noise. My grandmother was alone with several small children. The kids would hide. They never broke into the house though.

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