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Early Beaver Lake History

 

It is not known when Beaver Lake first become known to white settlers but it is safe to assume that the lake was known to members of the Snoqualmie Tribe. Most likely the lake was discovered by loggers who were expanding their range eastward and who commenced logging around the lake in the 1920's. The more accessible western portion of the lake was logged by The Bratnober Lumber Company and the Eastern portion of the lake was owned and logged by Weyerhaeuser.

 

Bratnober’s operation shipped its logs to the mill in Monohon (near today’s East Lake Sammamish Blvd and SE 33rd Street); Weyerhaeuser’s logs went to the Snoqualmie Mill. There was a clever setup for loading the large logs onto the railroad cars.  The logs were sorted in the ‘millpond’ on the far eastern side of the lake, then inventoried and recorded in a nearby ‘tally shack’ owned by Weyerhaeuser. The logs were next floated to a nearby spot, still on the far eastern side of the lake, where a spur of the railroad tracks went right into the lake. The logs were tied to the railroad car parked underwater on the tracks, then shipped to the mills.

 

Bratnober cleared the west side of the lake before Weyerhaeuser cleared the east side. Thus the first scattered development on the lake was on the west side, probably around 1920. The first permanent residents on the lake were Jake and Nora Lott, who came from Vancouver, BC. The Lotts had a cabin west of present-day West Beaver Lake Drive, and by 1922 were renting boats to fishermen.   In the 1930s more summer houses began springing up along the west side of the lake, including a community known as “the Colony”, located near the south shore. In 1932 Gus and Lulu Bartels bought a large piece of waterfront land on the southwest shore and established Bartel’s Resort. 

 

By 1939 most logging operations in the area had been completed and the landowners began platting lots for sale and development. Beaver Lake was now open for use and in June of 1939 the Red Cross Aquatic and Life Saving School held it’s first of many training schools at the Four Seasons Lodge.  One of the early students at this school was a young Clint Eastwood of future Hollywood fame.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s Bartel’s Resort was the place to be on weekends and in the summer.   A young Quincy Jones is known to have performed there.  In 1955, Dick Anderson bought the resort and renamed it Andy’s Beaver Lake Resort. One of the first events under the new stewardship, according to a contemporary article in a December 1955 issue of the Issaquah Press, was an invitation to come to a meeting at Andy’s Beaver Lake Resort on December 18 to organize the Beaver Lake Community Club. At the time there were still only a handful of permanent residents on the lake.

 

But what may have been lost once the resorts were gone was made up by the work of the Beaver Lake Community Club.  The Beaver Lake Regatta (held every summer in July or August) was a big community event. In the mornings there would be boat races around the southern end of the lake. There were canoe races, sailboat races, but no motorboats. There was also a raft race and swimming races in the afternoon.

 

One of the challenges facing homeowners on the lake was a source of water.  Almost all homes and cabins had a pump-house close to the shore where water would be pumped from the lake.  The water was clean but high in iron, and could be quite silty at times if the bottom sediments were stirred up.  Most tried to preclude this by locating the pipe inlet over a known spring source feeding the lake.

 

The Beaver Lake Community Club was also instrumental in bringing good public roads to Beaver Lake. Although a version of SE 24th from Pine Lake to the west end of Beaver Lake had been built by the early 1920s, for many years only a few scattered roads served the east side of the lake and those roads were bad.   Access from larger communities was via Redmond-Fall City Road to Duthie Hill Road or from Issaquah via Issaquah-Fall City Road.

 

As the 1960’s drew to a close, Beaver Lake was still a remote and small community composed of a few dozen permanent residents in modest homes surrounded mostly by summer cabins.

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 15:21
 

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