Bojo The Horse-Riding Dog

90-32-26In addition to being one of the founding members of the Issaquah Historical Society (today’s Issaquah History Museums), Harriet Fish was a writer who researched and recorded the stories of her fellow Issaquahns. She and her husband, Edwards Fish, wrote mostly about Issaquah’s distant history. But Harriet Fish also enjoyed recording Issaquah as it was during the time she lived here.
One of the community characters that Harriet Fishs wrote about was actually an animal – a dog named Bojo, who made a name for himself by learning to ride horses. Bojo the Horseriding Dog belonged to Lewis and Bea Lefler, who lived on Pine Lake. Bojo, a grey poodle, came to the Lefler house as a puppy in 1960.
In the 1960s, the Pine Lake Plateau was largely rural. The Leflers had a 50-acre ranch they named Redwin Acres. In addition to Bojo, the Leflers has several horses named Lewbea and Rusty. According to the Leflers, Bojo took a particular shine to the horse Rusty, and could be seen companionably resting with the horse, or giving the horse’s ears a wash. Bojo’s desire to become a horseback-riding canine was probably also driven his jealousy over being left behind when Lew Lefler went out for a ride.
It was September 25th, 1963, Lewis Lefler and Bojo took their first ride together. According to Harriet Fish’s notes, the pair shared a horse on this initial ride. Bojo had a tendency to slide off the horse until Lefler provided an old piece of carpeting for the dog to sit on. By June of 1964, Lefler had constructed a special saddle made of of canvas and carpeting, with strips of rubber hose (later made from harness leather) on the sides to support Bojo’s four feet. Now when Lefler and Bojo went riding, Bojo rode on Rusty while Lew Lefler had Lewbea all to himself. Lefler also constructed a special mounting ramp for Bojo, to save Lefler having to lift the dog up himself.
During a visit to the Lefler’s property in 1964, Harriet described Bojo as “impatiently lead[ing] Lew down the woodsy trail to the horse corral. Anxious and eager, he is always ahead… Bojo is equally at home lying down or sitting up, facing forward or backward, as he pivots in the saddle at will. And speed holds no fear for him. He just hunkers down like a jockey and races along as fast as the horse can go.” Evidently it was hard to keep Bojo away from the trails; he could return from a five hour ride with Lew Lefler and still whine for more.
In 1965, Lew and Bojo rode together in the Issaquah Labor Day Parade. Bojo was still living – and riding horses – as of 1971.

The Story of a Quilt: Salmon Days, 1983


1983 Salmon Days Quilt (IHM 2005-20-1)

When artifacts come to the Issaquah Historical  Society, we often have a vague outline of where that item came from, where it has been, and what it meant to those who have owned it. In rare instances, an artifact comes to us with a long and detailed history. This summer we received one such item, a quilt accompanied by a remarkable story.

During the summer of 1983, 22 local quilters appliquéd and embroidered quilt blocks meant to represent aspects of the Issaquah community. Once pieced, the quilt would be raffled off during Salmon Days. Proceeds would go to Community Enterprises of Issaquah, to   support their work with the developmentally disabled.

Community Enterprises of Issaquah (CEI) was founded in 1977 as a community rehabilitation program. Its intent was – and is – to provide opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. Jean Harrington first suggested a quilt raffle as a fundraiser, inspired by a similar project in Port Townsend. Alice Paschal designed quilt blocks for the project. The patterns were distributed, along with fabric squares, to complete and return. When the squares had been returned, volunteers helped with the assembly and finish work of the quilt. During the weeks leading up to Salmon Days, the quilt was displayed at area businesses, and people had the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets to win the quilt. Monita Horn, who worked quilt blocks for the project from 1981 to 1987, remembers, “I kept hoping I would win the quilt, even though I have no place to display it. I would buy a whole string of tickets, but it never happened.” The quilt raffle was an annual event throughout the 1980s, with Paschal creating a few new blocks each year for variety.


1983 Salmon Day Quilt

On August 24, 1983, a letter to the editor of the Issaquah Press from CEI Secretary Carol Harbolt reminded readers that, “… our very special quilt, designed by Alice Paschal, has been completed and is on display around town until Salmon Days… If you thought the previous quilts were beautiful, wait until you see this one.” Issaquah Press coverage of the 1983 Salmon Days celebration did not reveal the winner of the quilt raffle, and the quilt disappeared from the historical record.

More than 20 years later, Robin Abel discovered the quilt in a second-hand store in Renton. The quilt was in excellent condition and she recalls that something about it affected her. Although she didn’t have any ties to Issaquah, she bought  it.

Robin was in the midst of great turmoil in her personal life. Her daughter, Maria Federici, had been involved in a serious car accident in February of 2004, while driving home from work on I-405, Maria’s car was struck by part of an unsecured load from the car in front of her. She was lucky to have survived, and was left blind and seriously injured. Robin initially took a leave of absence from work to provide care for her daughter, and eventually had to resign to continue providing care. Maria had no health insurance, and her medical bills quickly topped $1 million. Because not covering your load was not considered a crime at that time, Maria could not apply for criminal victim compensation (Robin and Maria have campaigned—and succeeded—in having the law changed). By summer of 2005, Robin had exhausted her savings and was selling her possessions to pay for her and Maria’s basic living expenses.

While going through her collections, Robin found the 1983 Salmon Days quilt. She called the Issaquah   Historical Society offices to ask if they would be interested in purchasing the quilt. She said that she didn’t want to sell it to just anyone, and thought that the historical society would appreciate the quilt, and might be able to purchase it, or at least find a good home for it.

We sent out an e-mail to our friends and members and told them about the quilt, hoping someone among them might want to purchase it. But our members had a different idea. One donor offered a contribution and a challenge: if nine other people would contribute, then the quilt could be purchased for the IHS. Others quickly met the challenge, and the pledges flooded in, surpassing our goal by several hundred dollars. Within a week, we had raised $845 to purchase the quilt.

It is hard to tell who benefited the most from this transaction. Robin Abel and her daughter received help with their living expenses. The Issaquah Historical Society acquired a beautifully crafted piece of local history. And the wonderful donors who stepped in to make sure Robin had help, and the IHS had this quilt, received the deep satisfaction of knowing that they had made an amazing thing possible.

Do you have any information on the hand-pieced CEI quilts, or do you know who may have won any of the raffled quilts? Please let us know! Contact us at 425/392-3500 or info@issaquahhistory. For more information on Maria Federici’s recovery, go to

Top 10 Records in the Digital Collections from 2014

Last year was the first year we debuted our Top 10 records of the year. You can see that post here. So continuing in that tradition, here are the top 10 records of 2014.

10. Oral History Transcript of Dorothy Hailstone Beale
Dorothy Hailstone Beal (right) ca 1936
Accessed 52 times, this is the transcript of Dorothy Hailstone Beale oral history as interviewed by Maria McLeod on October 27, 2006. Topics covered include the KKK, the Depression, World War 2, and many other interesting topics.
9. Friend of Josephine Cornick, modeling her gym bloomers
This pictures was #2 on our list last year. Still a popular picture it seems as it was accessed 53 times; it’s from Josephine Cornick’s personal collection of pictures. Presumably Jo’s friend stands outside Issaquah High School in her gym pants.
8. Fifteen Mile Mine
This is a new one to the list – a photo of Fifteen Mile Mine taken at the entrance. In a tie with #8, this photo was accessed 53 times this year. This is the mine where George Weyerhaeuser was kept when he was kidnapped in the 1930s. No mining was actually done out of the Fifteen Mile Mine – instead it was a stock scam.
7. Oral History Transcript of Jake Jones Jr.
believed to be Jake Jones Jr. ca 1890
Accessed 56 times in 2014, this transcript of Jake Jones Jr. oral history contains fascinating and colorful stories touching on many, many topics of early Issaquah.
6. The 1938 Alpine Football Team
A perennial favorite of ours, this photo of the Alpine Football Team was accessed 63 times. View the full record (linked below) for another image with listing of names. Click here to view all records of ours relating to this scrappy semi-pro football team of Issaquah.
5. Oral History Transcript of Bill Evans
Bill Evans in uniform
This transcript of Bill Evans’ oral history was accessed 64 times in 2014. We’ve written about Bill Evans before – here, here, and here.
4. Letter from Fran Pope to Rita Perstac, Jan. 5, 1989
This letter was #4 last year as well as this year. This letter from Fran Pope jumped from 51 times accessed in 2013 to 135 times accessed in 2014. This letter is an important part of our Greater Issaquah Coalition Collection.
3. Labor Day Queen Arline Nikko with her Family
Arline Nikko and family ca 1953
Accessed 177 times, this photo shows Labor Day Queen Arline Nikko front and center holding hands with her future husband Floyd Hefferline. Far left is Matt Nikko; over Arline’s right shoulder are her twin uncles Larry and Toivo Nikko. See full record linked below for more information.
2. Janice Ott
Janice Ott ca 1970s
This photo was accessed 181 times in 2014. Janice Ott was a victim of serial killer Ted Bundy. She was abducted from Lake Sammamish State Park on July 14, 1974 along with Denise Naslund. Their remains were later found together on Taylor Mountain. Ott was a resident of Issaquah at the time of her death – she lived in a house on Front Street near the Issaquah Press Building.
1. Opening of New Vasa Hall in Upper Preston
ca 1950
This photo is very popular – it was #1 last year as well! Last year it was accessed a mere 64 times compared to this year’s 325 times! This photograph commemorates the opening of the new Vasa Hall in Upper Preston in 1950. Ernie Nyberg is just to the right of center in the back row. Buford Ambrose is the tallest in the back row. More information can be found in the full record linked below.

From the Digital Collections: Labor Day Celebrations

The Issaquah Volunteer Fire Department, circa 1940s.

The Issaquah Volunteer Fire Department, circa 1940s.

Labor Day festivities were a time for laughter and outrageous jokes. In this photograph, circa the 1940s, members of the Issaquah Volunteer Fire Department, in drag, celebrate ”Miss Firehose of 1905,” who ”Still keeps her dates and town alive.”

Pictured in the driver’s seat from left to right are: unidentified, Gordon Crosby, and Claude Brown. Don Anderson is in the foreground, wearing a blonde wig [and ”beach pajamas,” a 1930s fashion statement]. Reclining in back is Miss Firehose, Joe Chevalier.


From the Digital Archives: Happy Fourth of July!

“First Prize Car in July 4th Parade”
ca 1910s
Full Record


From the Digital Collections: Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Postcard ca 1911
Full Record


“Hearty Thanksgiving Greetings”

Postcard from “EB” of Walla Walla, WA to Miss Mattie Bush of Issaquah, WA. Postmarked November 28, 1911.

See all Thanksgiving related records

A Time of Giving: Issaquah Thanksgivings in the Great Depression

“As a man eatest, so is he; if your diet is of meat, you become beefy; if your diet is fish you become slimy; if your diet is nuts you become nutty; but if your diet is milk and eggs you become healthy and cocky and crow all over the world.” So quipped a guest speaker at an Issaquah Kiwanis Club meeting in November 1930. The Great Depression was underway, and food would have been top of mind for many Issaquah residents.

The Depression hit Issaquah hard. The coal mining industry had faltered, many businesses closed, and unemployment was rife. Some of Issaquah’s 800 or so residents relied almost entirely on their kitchen gardens and what they could hunt and fish for food.

Talus & Wright families in 1931

The situation isn’t so different now. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, hunger in Washington is increasing significantly each year and is now at 15.4 percent, which is higher than the national average. According to the latest U.S. Census, the Issaquah region’s poverty level belies the city’s wealth and is similar to that of rural areas. According to the City administration, the problem is reflected in growing lines at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. Issaquah residents have responded to the problem by participating in an annual Turkey Trot that benefits the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank, and by donating the makings of a full Thanksgiving meal to families impacted by the struggling economy.

Such Thanksgiving generosity is a tradition that dates back to the Great Depression. In the 1930s Issaquah Kiwanis Club members responded to the economic hardship by donating food and clothing and providing loans “on a handshake.” According to David Jepsen in his history of the club, the Kiwanis Club was “the food basket of the valley,” and no one in need was turned away. One member provided medical services in return for “a chicken or half dozen eggs.” Another provided loans at a personal loss.

The club was most active before Thanksgiving, however. “The entire club would work all during the night preparing food baskets,” wrote Jepsen. “Here, some credit goes to the club leaders. J.R. Stephenson and A.L. Wold could organize a work party with vigor of military leaders.

Then as now, for many Issaquah residents Thanksgiving was all about giving.

From the Digital Collections: Happy Halloween!

Halloween Postcard ca 1912
Full Record


“The Highest Expectations for Halloween!”

Postcard from “Aunt Minnie” to “Master Bennie Trigg” of Issaquah, WA. Postmarked October 24, 1912.

See all Halloween related records

Ray Robertson

Issaquah History Museums Celebrates Washington Archives Month!


Welcome to WashingtonArchives Month, October 2012!

Ray Robertson and his two oldest children
Full Record

The purpose of Archives Month is “to celebrate the value of Washington’s historical records, to publicize the many ways these records enrich our lives, to recognize those who maintain our communities’ historical records, and to increase public awareness of the importance of preserving historical records in archives, historical societies, museums, libraries and other repositories across the state.”

In short, we’d like to share more of our archives with you.

This year’s theme?

Law and Order in the Archives: Crooks, Cops, and Courts

As you may (or may not) know, Issaquah has some interesting stories in this theme. Over the month we’ll share some of the more simple records like town marshals, “progressive” police cars, and great pictures from our collection. We’ll also touch on people like D.B. Cooper and Ted Bundy and share how they relate to Issaquah’s history.

Everyday we’ll share with you via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, a link of the day – either to our website or digital collections – that will take you further into the theme of law and order in Issaquah.

As you can see from previous blog posts and our digital collections, much of what we will share with you was made available by a generous grant from 4Culture.

Another way we can continue to share our collections with you is through generous donations made by the community. If you’d like to support our work, Archives Month 2012, and our ability to share it with you, you can help in the following ways:

–     Visit either of our museums (or both!) in Issaquah.

Gilman Town Hall Museum
165 SE Andrews Street
Issaquah, WA 98027

Thursday-Saturday, 11am-3pm

$2/adult, $1/child, $5/family of 3+
$10 family pass gives all-day access to both museums
Friends of the Issaquah History Museums visit for free

Issaquah Depot Museum
150 First Avenue NE
Issaquah, WA 98027

Friday- Sunday, 11am-3pm

$2/adult, $1/child, $5/family of 3+
$10 family pass gives all-day access to both museums
Friends of the Issaquah History Museums visit for free

–     Join us! Become a member of the Issaquah History Museums.

–     Make a donation.

–     Volunteer!

–     Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and our blog.

    Subscribe to our newsletter.

So follow us this month as we share with you some great records we have in our archives and come learn about your local history!

From the Digital Collections: Issaquah Labor Day Celebration


Labor Day Parade, 1910s
Full Record

“They are going to have a big time here Labor Day. They are going to have sports as usual in the afternoon, the races for the children, Ladies race, Leap Frog Race, Old Mans Race, Base Running & Ball throwing and all sorts of things.”
– Letter from Minnie Wilson to her fiancé Jake Schomber, August 30, 1919
Full Record

Want to read more about Issaquah’s notorious Labor Day Celebrations? See our blog post from September 1, 2011. Want to see more pictures from previous Issaquah Labor Day Celebrations? Head over to our Digital Collections and search for “Labor Day”.