Richard Carlson

Name:Richard A. Carlson

Birth Date or Year (optional): 1926

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

Lived in or around Issaquah 1948 to 1959 and again 1962-67.  I was with the Issaquah Schools 1948-1982.

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

I came here to teach, as I wished to be in western Washington.  (I grew up in SW Washington).


Education—Coming of Age

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

My only memories of IHS are the four years I taught eighth grade there – (1948-1952).


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

Yes, I’ll never forget the north wall of my room undulating in the quake. (In the old high school)


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 patronized most of those which were there from the late 40s until the late 50s, when we moved to Renton.

Remembered: John Kramer’s Market (Sunset), Hepler’s Garage, Issaquah Press (Front St.), Fischer’s Market (Front), Thomas Furniture (Front), Tony & Johnnie’s (Front), Busy Bee Restaurant (Front), Honeysuckle (Front), Dick and Alex’s Automotive (Sunset), 10¢ Store (Front), Moser’s Grocery (Front), Lawill Drugs (Front), Mike Shain’s restaurant (Front), Nick’s Café (Sunset), Feed Store (corner), Grange Supply (Front).

Business I remember most is Tom Drylie’s Honeysuckle. I used to chat with him. He told me much about Issaquah history. He also cashed small checks for me.


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?

Paul’s Barber Shop. Paul frequently reminded me that I should be properly baptized. I had a few haircuts at Dave Lewis’ Barber Shop. (Paul Benson) Paul had cut hair for three generations of some Issaquah families.


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

It had a reputation for having almost anything needed in the way of 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?

Mostly, over my 11 years living in Issaquah I (we) shopped at the Grange Supply. There were two long-time female clerks I remember: Rose and Mrs. Bergsma. (I think.)


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?

I bought my groceries there most of the time between 1954 and 1959, when I lived on Mine Hill.


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?

When I first roomed in the old Gibson house, I usually ate my dinners at the XXX. That’s where I first met Ted Stonebridge. I only stayed in the Gibson house for a month, then moved to Kebiertz Cabins west of the fish hatchery.

I walked to school my first year, so I usually stopped at the Busy Bee for breakfast. In later years I stopped at Mike Shain’s place or the Fiesta Café often for coffee or snacks. Of course, in later years Fasano’s became very popular. (on Front Street)


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

As a teacher, I didn’t go into local bars within Issaquah. Several times I stopped at Goode’s Corner and the Airport Tavern. In the latter I several times met a local “regular” who would always tell me, “You teachers are all right.” (He was usually “in his cups” at the time.)


What do you remember about Grange Supply?

Only that I shopped for groceries there. I do remember that one evening Pick (Mr. Pickering) was robbed at gun point.


What do you recall about Lawill’s drug store?

I remember Mr. Lawill, a rather quiet man, as I shopped there during the years I resided in and around Issaquah. Later, in the 50s, I believe, a competitor opened a shop south of Lawill’s shop on Front St.


Issaquah Round-Up—Salmon Days—Labor Day Celebrations

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

I particularly remember the Labor Day celebrations of my early teaching years as I helped at the gate to the Carnival always held at the city field. I remember that the local taverns did a good business on labor Days.


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

Every Labor Day Celebration had a parade, a carnival and busy taverns.

Salmon Days developed pretty much after I retired in 1982, as I recall.


Special Occasions

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

I remember that Les Lahrie and his orchestra played the local dance hall during the late 40s. He always kept time with his wooden leg I have been told.


Outdoor Recreation

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

There were a number of resorts along Lake Sammamish during my teaching years: Smith’s Sandy Beach, Parr’s Park, the park near Monohon (Alexander’s), and later, the state park.


Logging and Sawmills

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?

When I was with the Issaquah schools only the Preston Mill and Red Hall’s mill were operative. I often drank coffee with Red Hall, because he was known to “make the rounds” each day for coffee.


Farming and Dairy

Do you have any memories of Pickering Farm?

I roomed and boarded 1952-53 with the Roy Pickerings on part of the farm, I believe.


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 Lions and the Jaycees for a few years, but I was not much interested in lodges.



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?

In my early years in Issaquah the theater was owned and operated by an older couple. It seemed to be loaded with noisy kids on Friday nights so I never attended films there. Later on, the Pine Lake Presbyterian Church managed it for a number of years under Pastor Bob Gray.


Additional Memories

I spent 34 years with the Issaquah schools – 14 as a teacher, 5 as a vice principal and 15 as a principal – all at the junior high level. My career was from 1948 to 1982. I have most happy memories of my Issaquah experiences. When I began teaching the 8th grade in the old high school in 1948 many of the town’s old timers were still living.

In 1948 the Issaquah School District had about 1100 children and about 40 teachers. I’m sure that it is much, much larger now.

Several of the teachers who were around during my early years are either living in the area. I know of Ed Maloof (Mercer Island), Frances Crelly (Seattle), Bill Klein (Issaquah), Ken Schmelzer (Issaquah) and Roy Peterson (Issaquah). At least that’s where they were when I last knew.

Although I doubt if I’d want to be starting a teaching career these days, my Issaquah years were good years and I was fortunate in being able to associate with many fine community adults and kids.

Over the years, Issaquah grew from a small town of 900 to a suburban area that was much more sophisticated. This was a good experience, as I grew up in a small town.

Knowing that, Ed K. Erickson, the superintendent who hired me, always claimed that he “put shoes on me and gave me a job.”

I did have several coincidences with my home town, Bucoda, WA, where I grew up. Tom Hall came from there in the late 1920s to that town where his sister Violet lived. I understand that they were both members of the Hall Family who still own the wrecking yard on the Hobart Road. As a growing kid, I was told about Tom’s widely known bootleg practices while in Issaquah. He himself, once told me how many times he got caught. Phoebe (Friend) Martinis told me of her childhood years in Issaquah, where her father  — Mr. Friend – was a mine foreman. She was apparently related to the Hays.