Steam Donkey Display

Logging History Display

100 Block First Avenue

Steam Donkey Display

Steam donkey display. (Photo courtesy of Barb Justice, 1999)

The logging display at the City of Issaquah’s “Preservation Park” was created over the course of the 1990’s by many volunteers, and is maintained by the Issaquah Historical Society.

At the center of the display is a “road engine”, which were used throughout the area in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to skid logs long distances (up to a mile!) toward a pole at which they would be loaded on trucks or rail cars.  The engines were commonly called “donkey engines”  because they did work that had previously been done by animals, such as mules and oxen.

The road engine displayed was discovered in 1987 by former Issaquah Historical Society chairman Greg Spranger and then-councilman Rowan Hinds on Weyerhaeuser land southeast of Enumclaw. Extracting it from the surrounding forest and bringing it to Issaquah was a major effort – which took four years.  The engine was built somewhere between 1895 and 1910 by Puget Sound Iron and Steel Works in Tacoma.

Related: Historical society helps lug donkey engine to Issaquah (1993 Issaquah Press Article)

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Larry Kangas, at work on the logging mural

Mill Street Logging Mural

Corner of Sunset Way and First Avenue NE

Logging Mural on Sunset Way

Larry Kangas painted this logging mural based on several photos from the Issaquah History Museums’ collection.

This 1998 mural depicts Issaquah’s logging industry circa 1900-1940. At this time, old growth cedar and fir logs were being cut from the hills surrounding Issaquah and milled in the town’s many lumber mills. There were a number of railroad spurs that made transport of lumber into town easier. The trees growing on the hills today are second and third growth.

Prior to 1960, Sunset Way was known as Mill Street, referring to mills that were located on either end of the street when the town was first incorporated in 1892.

Logging Crew with Steam Donkey

Larry Kangas drew inspiration from this photograph of a logging crew with steam donkey. (IHM 91-7-56)

Sponsoring organizations for the mural include: City of Issaquah Arts Commission, Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Issaquah Plaza, Issaquah Historical Society, Main Street Issaquah, Front Street Market, and Ben Franklin.

One of the original source photos used in the design of the mural.  According to Eric Erickson:  “The photo is of the Issaquah Mill Company’s yarding engine and logging crew taken in 1903 in the vicinity of what is now Overdale Park. People in photo are William Robert (Tap) Bush with beard in background at base of large tree, Ralph Darst holding two horses, Charlie Baxter in white shirt seated on donkey, Dave Hailstone holding white horse. The steam donkey was built by Washington Iron Works in Seattle and is a two drum yarder with 9 by 10 1/4 inch cylinders, manufactured on February 10, 1903, builders #632”.


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