Kenneth Schmelzer

Name: Kenneth Schmelzer

Birth Date or Year (optional):


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

Arrived in Issaquah June, 1951.


If you moved to Issaquah, why did you choose it?

Accepted a job teaching “wood shop” Industrial Arts in Issaquah High School, school year of 1951.


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

Retired from teaching 1982 and decided that Issaquah “was” a good place to spend retirement.


Education—Coming of Age

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

We had just moved into a new High School when the 1965 quake occurred.  The lights to the classroom dimmed and went out.  As the power panel for my wing of the school was placed in a small room at the rear of my classroom, I discovered the circuit breaker had tripped.  Just as I threw the breaker handle into place, I heard this rumble, looked out the door into my classroom and noticed the floor moving up and down.  I shouted to the 24 boys in the class to stay in the room and wait until the movement subsided.  Later inspection proved that no damage to the building had occurred!  We went on double shift the next day as the Junior High had been damaged beyond repair.


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?

1.      Cussac’s Shoe Store.  Still in business in 1951.

2.      Tom Drylie’s “Honeysuckle.”  Old fashioned soda parlor, soda bar and booths.  Our first meal upon arriving in Issaquah, June 1951.  A milkshake and cheese sandwich.  Tom was also the local Greyhound bus agent that stopped in front of his business.  They still had the iron stools at the bar and the “cut” glass soda glasses.

3.      Red and White Market.  Located where the entrance to Issaquah Market is now.

4.      Dave Lewis’ Barber Shop and Brady’s Department Store about where the service station is located at Sunset and Front Street.

5.      Maulsby’s Department Store.  Located about where Edward D. Jones is now.  Best clothing store Issaquah ever had, even now.  Carried shirts, suits, Filson jackets, work clothes, women’s wear, men’s hats, sewing yardage, hunting clothes.

6.      Fischer’s Market.  Still had sawdust on the floor in 1951.

7.      Washington State Bank.  Only two tellers in 1951.

8.      Dahlbottom 10 cent Store.  Next to Peters Agency.  Mrs. Dahlbottom was a sister to Mrs. Maulsby.


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

The ceiling high stack of small drawers with a sliding ladder.  These were full of small parts dating back to ?.  If you needed old hardware for your house, Tom Lewis could locate same in one of these drawers.


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?

In 1951 Tony Whalen arrived on the steps of the “wood shop” with a “split in two pieces” meat cutters block.  He wanted it fixed and assumed that any good woodshop teacher worth his “salt” could solve his problem.  Now that block was about 30 inches square of rock hard maple.   How to drill several holes through it was a problem.  I welded a ¼ inch rod to an auger bit and drilled the block several times and inserted threaded rods to pull the two sections together.  Tony picked up his block the next day and returned to his meat market.  The next time I went shopping at Tony and Johnny’s, Tony handed me a package wrapped in butcher paper.  It contained four of the finest “T bone” steaks I have ever cooked.


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?

Good meat market, good food locker and good variety of “basic” groceries.  Managed by Mr. Kramer.  They always had an extensive line of groceries and there was a Dance Hall upstairs.


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?

“The Honeysuckle” preceded Rena’s Café.

The Drylie family lived upstairs.


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

Local bars and saloons were a “No-No” for a school teacher in Issaquah in 1951.  I did not even by beer at the grocery store!

Stonebridge’s Tavern  located where the bath fixture store is now.

Union Tavern located where it still is.

There was a Tavern where the new library is now.

Park Inn located where the road leading to Gibson Hall intersects with Sunset.

Airport Tavern located where Costco is now.

There may have been a tavern on Goode’s Corner in 1951.


What do you remember about Grange Supply?

How about Grange Mercantile now Chinese furniture, etc., etc.


What do you recall about Lawill’s drug store?

It was located where Edward D. Jones office is now.  There in 1951 Mr. Lawill was very polite and reserved acting.

Also Henniger’s Drug Store in 1951 or so (can’t remember), ask Eric Erickson.

Dr. Hillery and Ross Grimm were only doctors in Issaquah at that time.


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?

Please ask Walt Seil about his father who was a memorable police officer (the only one) in 1951.


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?

Mayor Flintoft who was the local undertaker.


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?

Junior Chamber of Commerce put the new street signs up.  Contact Roy Peterson ex city councilman at that time.


Special Occasions

What were some of the other memorable special events and occasions in Issaquah?

Football games at Memorial Field.  Weather freezing cold, seems like the whole town tuned out for the game.  Viewers stand built in 1951 of World War II lumber furnished by Issaquah School District.  Located where library is now.  A number of ex-Issaquah players always coached from the side-lines even though the school had a football coach on the field.

Ask Eric Erickson about this.  Charles Fallstrom and Dan Coyle were coaches in 1951.

A lot of times there was a fist fight after the game.

195? Something the Junior Chamber of Commerce made the Christmas lights and decorations for Front Street.  Had a turkey raffle to raise funds.  After that, sold birthday calendars to raise funds.  This started the annual Christmas light decorations.


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?

Hiked all of the old railroad grades on Tiger Mountain before Issaquah Alps was ever thought of.

Favorite Hike:  A number of men teachers from the High School used to hike to the radio beacon on Squak Mountain and eat supper watching the sun go down over the Seattle skyline and walk back in the dark with flashlights.


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?

I have a history of Wood and Iverson, Inc. now being published.  It should be ready by summer.

The photograph in the Memory Book was shot on Tiger Mountain road crossing.  It is a Wood and Iverson Climax Locomotive.



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

It stopped the number of collisions at the intersection of Front and (Gilman Blvd.) I-10.  No stop light, just a caution light.  You had to look both ways and if all clear, “Floor it” to go out East Lake Sammamish Parkway.  Many, many wrecks there.


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

1953 Chevrolet bought from Stonebridge Chevrolet.


Additional Memories

Washington state Bank:  contact Hazel Wilfong.  (Bicycle shop now)

M. Johnson Lumber Company:  Contact Gary LaChance.  (Chinese restaurant)

Stevens Grocery Store:  Contact Hazel Wilfong.  (About where barbershop is)

Brady’s Department store:  Contact Clint Brady.

Fasanos:  Contact Walt Seil or Erick Erickson (Next to Log Cabin tavern)

U. S. Post Office:  1951 next to Fish Hatchery.

Reg. Thomas’s Furniture Store:  Now Allens’.

Dr. Hillery.

Clive Berry Floral Shop:  Contact Roy Peterson.

Issaquah Laundry:  Contact Hazel Wilfong.  (Behind Flintofts)


AUTHOR of THIS MEMORY BOOK (signature and date)

Kenneth Schmelzer, February 26, 2001