Name: Marian Stefani Hampton
Your history in Issaquah/How long lived here, etc.:
I was born at 8020 Renton Issaquah Road SE. Dr. Hillary helped with the delivery. I have lived here most of my life, leaving only to attend college in Bellingham and the University of Colorado. Taught school 2 years in Bellevue, one year in Boulder, Colorado, one year in London, England, and one year at Clark Elementary in Issaquah after marriage, lived here most of my life.
If you have lived here all or most of your life, why did you choose to stay?
Married Ken Hampton in 1956. We meet in first grade in Issaquah at the old elementary school where the junior high is now. We built our home near my birth place using lumber from the old Bessie Wilson Crane home that was part of the Issaquah Valley Diary. Our 3 children also went to school here. Two still live here. We remain because we love the foothills, our family, and friends in this area.
Issaquah or area school(s) attended:
Issaquah Elementary 1-7, Issaquah High 8-12, Western 1-4
Family History in Issaquah:
Grandparents- Frank and Angelina Stefani. They owned several houses in Issaquah, a laundry, and a saloon. Sold all to buy a farm and run a poultry business at 7932 Renton Issaquah Rd. SE. My father was Clem Stefani, liquor store manager on Front Street. Maternal Grandparents were Harmke and Henry Bergsma- owners of Issaquah Valley Diary. Ken, my husband, has lived here since the 1930s with his parents, Lydia, and Lawrence Hampton and Grandparents Mary Louise and Lee Hampton.
Education—Coming of Age
What are your memories of Issaquah High School? Which teachers were influential?
Issaquah High School sat on the hill where the pool is. We could walk downtown to eat lunch or eat on the lawn with its view over town. Ed K. Erickson was helpful in expanding my interest in teaching by encouraging me as an aid in 2nd and 3rd grades with special projects. This resulted in my chance to go to Western with a scholarship for tuition and books from the Kiwanis plus money from the Chamber of Commerce. I became a teacher as a result of this. Francis Crelly, our English and Literature teacher was the director of the junior play and is still my friend after 40 years. Fred Frohs was the agriculture teacher and worked at the Issaquah Valley Diary for my grandfather in the summers. Now he plays golf with my husband all these years later. Our school was small enough that we all knew each other.
What memories do you have of Minnie Schomber, or another favorite teacher?
I didn’t have Minnie as a teacher but she and my Aunt Delina Stefani were classmates and played basketball together. Minnie’s husband Jake was the janitor at Issaquah Elementary and we called him “Daddy Schombers.” We cleaned erasers on a “machine” in his office and in the corner was the coal storage for the school furnace, a huge box like thing fed by a coal shut. Jake had pictures of hunting dogs on the wall by his desk and he and Minnie were lovers of the outdoors and hunters. He loved visiting with the kids as he and Minnie didn’t have a family. Minnie was on the draft board during WWII and always was an influence on our town. When I graduated from high school Jake and Minnie gave me a lovely gift.
Were you affected by earthquake damage to the schools in 1949 or 1965?
In 1949 I was about to graduate, but had left school to go to the dentist in West Seattle. When I returned to school that day everyone was excited about the earthquake but the school wasn’t too damaged.
In 1965, the damage was more severe everyplace. My father, brother, and I were driving home from fishing at Pine Lake and we went to the liquor store that Dad managed on Front Street and could see liquor seeping out onto the sidewalk under the door. It was a mess inside and the smell of the vodka, rum, whiskey, and wines all mixed together drew a crowd. Darigold workers brought us a metal barrel or 2 so we could mop up and pick up glass.
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?
The feed store at the center of town was a hangout for older older folks. Lee Hampton, my husband’s grandpa, walked to the feed store every day, sat on the steps and visited with townspeople and farmers. You could purchase hay and grain and farm supplies and it smelled good and was dusty and big inside.
My grandfather, Frank Stefani owned a saloon in town but I’m not sure of its name. I thought it was on Front St., but Frank was Catholic and gave the saloon key to the priest so he could come in before mass and get the wine he would need at church. The priest helped himself to the liquor too and came to mass drunk. The church members thought my grandfather had gotten the priest drunk and blamed him for it. Frank said if the priest had no more self control than to steal his liquor while picking up the wine he had donated for sacramental purposes, he was finished with the Catholic Church. He never went to church again and none of his children were even married in the church in later years. He sold the saloon after being injured by a knife trying to stop a fight.
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?
Didn’t have money for beauty shops. My mother cut our hair and my aunt Esther Bergsma gave perms. My father went to Dave Lewis’ barber shop for haircuts.
What is memorable about Lewis Hardware? What items did you purchase there?
We went to Lewis Hardware for everything from pipe, tools to household things and fishing and hunting gear. Tom knew everything and gave advice on how to fix things.
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?
Most things were purchased at the Grange but sometimes we bought things at Tony and Johnny’s or R & R Grocery. Mr. Stevens ran it then. Tony was so fast at adding the cost of groceries in his head without using a cash register or pen and paper- it put most people to shame. T and Js had lutefisk in a box on the sidewalk and someone said dogs sometimes relieved themselves on it. I never liked lutefisk before, but I really avoided it after hearing that.
After we no longer raised our own beef, my dad bought wonderful meat from Fishers. Mr. Fischer made his own sausage and people came great distances to buy it. Mr. Fisher died when his sons were at an age. Mrs. Fischer was worried they might take up smoking. She gave all her husbands beautiful pipe collection to my father to get them out of the house. Some were German and had carved stems. A few years ago I came across the pipes in my mothers attic and now that the youngest son was now 70 I gave them back to him and told him his mom said “No Smoking George!”
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?
My parents shopped at the Grange every Saturday morning. Ellsworth Pickering was the manager and gave the kids wienies and sometimes a chocolate éclair. Joan Boni Karvia, Ethel Stickney and Hettie Wiggins were the clerks. We had our beef in the frozen food lockers there too. Because we had our own gardens and raised beef, pork and poultry we bought things like crackers, cheese, and whatever we needed to “fill in”. Flour, soda, baking powder, noodles, and candy. The Watkins man came selling door to door and we bought vanilla and furniture powder from him rather than the Grange. The Watkins labels were all the same color and when my mother was cleaning house when I was baking my dad a birthday cake I put furniture polish in it thinking it was vanilla. We had to throw the cake to the chickens, but everyone had a laugh, and the chickens didn’t die.
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 Busy Bee Café was fun as my Uncle Bill Bergsma always won things on the punchboard and let me put 5 cents in the pinball machine.
In high school we went to the XXX Root Beer for burgers cooked by Ken Goben or Bea. Later Rena’s opened and June Berg and Rena baked those “out of the world” pies. Everyone came for a pie and coffee and Mike Shane helped cook and serve the food too. All ages hung out here for the food and camaraderie.
Drylies was the place to go for Green Rivers, cherry cokes, and ice cream. High school kids worked for Mr. Drylie and gave good servings when he wasn’t around. When he waited on you for the ice cream cone was small. He was stern and didn’t want you being nosy either. In later years after I had grown up and helped my father in the liquor store, Mr. Drylie had retired and came to visit and I came to see him as a nice and very interesting man. And he had a good sense of humor too.
Did you go to Boehm’s Candies? What candies were your favorites?
Boehm’s was such a special addition to our town. The candy was spectacular and Mr. Boehm came into the bank and other stores he did business with at Christmas and brought the clerks boxes of candy and wished them well.
Mint truffles were outstanding and the rocky road was a hit with my mother and aunts.
The building and art work have drawn so many to our town it is something to remain proud of after all these years.
What do you remember about Grange Supply?
My father, Clem Stefani, was on the Board of Directors for the Grange Supply for a number of years. We bought our fuel oil from them. Dan Boni was there for years and our oldest son, Greg worked there after school in the 70s.
What do you recall about Lawill’s drug store?
Years ago in the 30s they had a contest there and you got points for your purchases. All the Bergsmas shopped there and gave their points to me and I won a beautiful doll. I still have her sitting in a little rocking chair in our living room.
My first memory of Lawill’s was the absolute quiet in there. It was almost spooky and then he would glide out to help you. He was very nice, but so serious. Once in my teens I went in and said I was there to pick up a subscription for my mom. Then realizing my mistake I hurriedly said prescription but he caught my mistake and actually SMILED. It was the first time I had ever seen him smile. A milestone.
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?
I was sad to see the names go, but I’m finally used to it now.
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 parents married in 1929 but I was born in 1931. Everyone was poor when it came to money, but most had gardens and raised beef, pork, and chickens. Everyone canned fruit, vegetables, and beef. We traded and bartered for what we needed and others had. Orange crates served as shelves and our neighbor man took the stage (bus) to Seattle and brought home cedar that had washed up on the beach where the King Dome was built. He built a cedar dresser for me out of the wood and also a little rocking chair I still have. We didn’t have a refrigerator until 1940 so we kept cool milk in Tibbetts Creek in a wire box.
We picked fruit and made jam. Mother and I took 2 water buckets each and walked up Thurbergs Road (SE 78th now) a mile or 2 and picked small wild blackberries. We picked our pails full, walked home from Cougar Mtn. In the evening and she canned them on our wood and coal range- in July! We baked blackberry pies too. Then in August the big evergreen berries were ripe and I’d pick them to sell to the cannery and use the money for school clothes. We had home baked bread and rolls, dandelion greens for salad and chicken every Sunday at the Stefani Poultry Farm, my grandparents next door. We made home made root beer, popped popcorn and made fudge. My grandpa brewed and bottled beer and made plum, grape, and raspberry wine. Before Sundays’ chicken dinner he served tiny glasses of wine and drank a toast to our good fortune. Salud!
Mom milked the cows and we had cream and butter. We planted strawberries, raspberries and beans, corn, and squash, and pumpkins. There were 4 or 5 apple trees and a peach, plum cot, pear and hazelnut orchard. We ate better then than we do now. Fast food was the sandwich you ate as you ran around playing kick the can.
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?
Everyone wanted to enlist or help in some way. So many left high school for the service. My friend Virginia Kirby said goodbye to her boyfriend Alfred Ambrose and he was killed in the Army. Some left and came home wounded. Carl Walker left and wanted to write to my father who ran the liquor store but couldn’t remember the address. A postcard addressed “To the Village Bootlegger” was hand delivered by Mr. Stephenson, the postmaster. We planted Victory Gardens and pasted stamps in books to buy War Bonds, collected tinfoil and rubber bands and made black out curtains and elected air raid wardens. We had airplane spotters and rationed butter and meat. I wrote letters to my cousins and uncles who were in the Army. We were all focused on one thing and it was winning the war. It was the last time I can remember when there was dissension.
How did the Japanese Internment affect Issaquah? Did you know men and women who were taken to Internment Camps?
I didn’t know any but my Aunt Mary Bergsma and husband Art lived in Fall City and were so sad when their neighbors were sent to an internment camp.
What kinds of jobs did the War bring to the area? Where did you work at this time?
I was still in school but women went to work at Boeing and the car shops. My cousin who was a chemist went to work at Hanford.
Issaquah Round-Up—Salmon Days—Labor Day Celebrations
What do you remember about Labor Day Celebrations or Salmon Days?
We waited all year for the parade and fun. Labor Day meant the town Football team played and Les LaBree’s band would play at the fireman’s hall and everybody danced. One year as a kid I dressed my little fox terrier up in doll clothes and a bonnet and pushed her up Front Street in my baby buggy. A.I. “Squawk” Garner dressed in drag and joined the parade and was a big hit with all the friends who were used to seeing him wearing suspenders and cutting meat at the butcher shop. One year all the men were to grow beards or they would put you in jail and fine you. The money went towards building a float. My dad grew a beard and wore an Arab headdress and they put him in jail anyway!
Was there any year that these celebrations were especially memorable to you?
In 1949 I was representing the Chamber of Commerce and selling tickets on a car to raise money for Labor Day. It was fun and I rode on the Queens Float as a princess. The Chamber of Commerce gave me a gold bracelet.
What special activities were there at Labor Day Celebrations, or at Salmon Days? How has Salmon Days changed over time?
Labor Day celebrations were different because they weren’t as commercial. Everyone knew each other and you could enjoy smaller type activities for fun. We had a carnival in town for several days so we saved money ahead to spend there.
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?
We spent time cutting our winters wood supply. As a child I played in Tibbetts Creek catching minnows and crawdads. Caught my first trout there too. When the red fish came up my grandfather would gaff one and pickle it with onions and spices. In my teens I tried hunting in the valley but when quail flew up they were so pretty I could never shoot them.
My best hike was through the woods to Pickering Hill with Mom to try and find a wooden barrel bank full of Indian head pennies and nickels that she lost there when she was little. She was playing catch with it and it rolled into the berry bushes and no one ever found it. I was so sure we would see it, but no luck. We wondered if the bulldozers ever uncovered it when the houses were built there in the woods.
What type of fish did you catch? How many trout did you catch in the Issaquah Creek and what was the biggest? Did you fish in the kids fishing derby held in Issaquah? Were your methods for fishing and hunting any different than they are today?
We fished in Lake Sammamish for perch using worms and eggs and when it got darker in the evenings we caught catfish there and also in Phantom Lake. Pine Lake and Beaver Lake had good trout fishing too and opening day was a big event. We usually placed small bets on who would catch the first fish. Ellsworth Pickering was a very good fisherman.
What are your memories of Vasa Park? What did you do while there?
Vasa Park was a skating rink in the 40s and Friday and Saturday nights all the kids went there to roller skate. Jerry Anderson was a great skater.
Later, dances were held there at midsummer celebrations and there were picnics and swimming.
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?
There were logging camps through out the region in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. One was located across the road from Sunny Hills Elementary on the Plateau.
In 1950 and 51 my father and Jack Garner logged our east hill of Tibbetts Valley to get money to fund my college expenses at Western Washington College. Jack set and rigged the spar pole and trucked the logs out. There are still pieces of cable on the ground there.
Cougar Mountain was logged for older and pulp trees in the 70s by Jerry Harklerood. Now Intracorp has logged most of the fir there so they can build Cougar’s East Village in that area.
How has the salmon hatchery affected Issaquah?
The hatchery has always been a good thing for Issaquah. So many people have been involved with the educational aspects of the salmon life cycle through the years. It has always been an interesting place that we can take visitors to tour.
Farming and Dairy
Were you involved with farming in Issaquah? What farm did you work on? What was grown or raised there?
Stefani Poultry Farm raised chickens and sold eggs. We cleaned and candled the eggs and packed them for shipping. Orders were taken for fryers and we killed, plucked, cleaned and cut the chickens and customers stopped and picked up their orders. The fertilized eggs were placed in incubators and I loved watching the chicks hatch. They were put under heat lamps in the brooder house and raised. Some reached a certain weight and were sold to Oban’s.
We also were involved with Issaquah Valley Dairy. They had milk cows and sold milk on a route in Issaquah and Preston and High Point. They made their own hay and shipped milk to Darigold too.
Do you have any memories of Pickering Farm?
In the earlier days all the farmers were friends and were helpful to each other. In later years after many farmers left the business, I remember the Pickerings still farming and bringing their equipment into others’ fields to cut and bale hay we could no longer use. They could use the hay and it kept the fields clean so they weren’t a fire hazard.
Did you work at the Issaquah Creamery, or what is now Darigold?
No, but I did help deliver milk, butter, and cream with my Uncle Bill Bergsma for Issaquah Valley Diary on this truck below, and earlier vehicles. We delivered to the Busy Bee Restaurant and had milkshakes and burgers cooked by Gerty Seil and Mary Harris. The Best! Delivering the milk wasn’t hard, but you soon learned to watch out for mean dogs.
Did you travel frequently into Seattle? How did you get there? What did you do while in Seattle?
My grandfather, Henry Bergsma, took cans of milk to Darigold in Seattle and sometimes took mom and me with him for the drive. Went to Renton to get there.
In 1948 some of the junior class went to Seattle to celebrate the end of our successful junior class play. Some kids hid in the cars’ trunk to avoid paying the floating bridge toll. We ran out of gad and had a flat tire, which proved crime doesn’t pay. After walking to get help etc. we had a miserable time getting the tire fixed and didn’t get home ‘til 4 a.m.. It was a school day. Our parents grounded us for four months, and the teachers lectured us in every class about calling home if we were going to be late!
How did the construction of I-90 change life in Issaquah?
In the 30s and 40s it was always so quiet in the valley that I longed for something exciting to happen. When I-90 arrived it was a shock. It divided up farms with some pastures on either side of it. Henry Bergsma drove us to a farm where the farmhouse and barn were separated by the road near where Port Authority is now. We couldn’t believe how ruthless I-90 was turning out to be. It was easier to get to Seattle but harder to farm. Truck and car noise drowned out the sounds of the frogs at the Issaquah Valley Diary where Hyla Crossing will be developed. Developers arrived and changed everything. Be careful what you wish for when you long for changes.
Fraternal Organizations—Local Halls
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?
My father, Clem Stefani, was a Sportsmen’s Club member and we always went to the turkey shoots there before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Jake Lott ran the paddle wheel game and we won a turkey there most years, or sometimes on a Missouri shoot. The turkeys were live and someone stuck it in a sack and you brought it home and kept it till the big day and had to do it in! Once we won a live goose and it was so mean we never did eat it and it beat and flailed me with its wings and pinched me with its beak until I hated it…just hated to feed that thing. It must have died of old age and meanness.
The Sportsmen’s Club always had a picnic at Beaver Lake in the summer and it was great with penny scrambles for the kids and 3 legged races and crazy games for kids and grown ups too (who sometimes had a beer or two too many).
What types of events did you attend at the Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Hall? Did you use the shooting range located in the basement?
The Labor Day dances there were really something. Les Labrees band played and the polkas, two steps, and Swedish Waltzes were such fun. It seemed like everyone in town came and the kids danced too. When everyone stomped the floor during the polka you wondered if all the dancers were going to fall through into the shooting range in the basement.
Even though people drank and sometimes got in fights there didn’t seem to be the vicious meanness to it then. I can’t ever remember being afraid in those years. We all knew each other or were related it seemed.
It was sad when the VFD Hall came down.
Did you attend dinners, dances, banquets, or other events in the upstairs Grange Meeting Hall?
Yes, every Christmas there was a Grange party and one year I had to memorize a poem to do as part of the program. My husband, Ken, remembers playing on stage with the other kids when he was little and his dad, Lawrence, called square dances there on Saturday nights. The kids would fall asleep on the benches while the folks danced. A potluck ended the evening.
Cliff and Loretta Lewis cooked many a Grange dinner there every year too, and hundreds came for that.
Most people who are now in their 60s and 70s can remember sliding and running on that big dance floor and playing hide and seek back stage in earlier days as children. By the time you were worn out it was time to head down that long flight of stairs and go home.
Do you have any memories of Issaquah’s mining days? Were you involved in mining?
My grandfather, Henry Bergsma, worked in the mines and sold milk to miners.
When I was a child living on Sunset Highway (Highway 900 now) I would see the trucks go by taking the miners to work. I think Matt Yourglich drove and stopped to pick up all along Tibbetts Valley, the Finnish miner neighbors of ours. They all sat on benches in the back of the trucks carrying lunch buckets and wearing hard hats and carbide lanterns and at 4 or so in the afternoons they came back from the mines black from head to toes. They got off the truck at their driveways and walked home to clean up before they went into their homes. Our neighbor, Bill Maunus, had black lung disease in later years. Two mines were about a mile beyond our house, the Bianco and Harris, I believe.
What were the working conditions like in the mine? Which mine did you work for, and what was your job?
The coal slag caught fire underground and coal smoke blew along the edge of the valley and some evenings we could smell it inside and it made me cough. The glass in the windows of the south end of the house is stained from it and never washes off. This slag burned for years and years.
In the 1940s they used a little mule to pull the coal cars out of the mine opening and I heard it was blind. They staked it out across the road sometimes and once it got loose and ran down the highway to our place. Mother and I tried to catch it so it wouldn’t get hit by a car and finally someone took it back to the mines. I felt so sad to see it go back.
Coal was washed and the coal dust came down Tibbetts Creek and formed black jelly-like edges along the water. If I played in the water my socks turned black from coal dust residue. We could see mine air vents on Cougar Mountain across from our house. East Village is being built there now. Six office buildings and 17,500 condos and homes.
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?
Mostly Friday night cowboy movies, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. I do remember Gone with the Wind and the Wizard of Oz too.
When I was in high school in the 1940s the school had the Issaquah Theatre show a movie on venereal disease. We had to have a signed consent form from our parents and they walked us down town from school to see this as a part of health class during the day. After seeing the graphic gory parts meant to shock us. I’m sure there was little going on in the upper back corner for several weeks, kissing or even holding hands!
Mrs. Brunsburg took tickets and money for the movies and her son Danny seated people. It was also his job to keep everyone quiet and orderly. When we saw him coming with that flashlight we usually quit the giggling and shaped up.
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?
The old Issaquah Baptist Church or “community” church was the only one I went to. We were married there in 1956 at Christmas time by Rev. Larson.