The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

May 2, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: Redmond Crime in 1968

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 11:54 pm

This week’s Recycled Newspaper draws from several May 1968 issues of the Sammamish Valley News, which is one of the relatively few years of the SVNcurrently available on microfilm.  As I skimmed through these issues, I foundthat there seemed to be plenty going on in Redmond to keep the police busy at this particular time, and for this week’s feature I will be drawing from a few of those stores.  I can’t tell if these stories represent anything more than the usual background  dose of criminal activity andbad driving, but a fair bit of what was going on at this time seemed to be noteworthy enough to write up in the local paper, often in a fair bit of detail.  In addition to what has been included here, the paper also included stories on several  instances of traffic fatalities in Redmond around this particular time, but I have chosen not to include those articles here.  There were also a number of other articles and ads of note within the SVN issues in question, and I will most likely be using some of those items for next week’s Recycled Newspaper.   For the time being, hit the jump for a look at some of the assorted miscreantismgoing on here in Redmond back in 1968.


April 24, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: The Bellevue American, April 23rd, 1959

Filed under: Bellevue, History, Recycled Newspaper — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 12:27 am



For this week’s Recycled Newspaper, we will once again be going back 50 years, this time taking a look at the Bellevue American from April 23rd, 1959.  At this time, it had only been a couple of years since the City of Bellevue had been incorporated in 1956, and the explosive growth of the city was still a number of years off.  For the time being, farms still dominated the landscape of Bellevue, and the population was still fairly small (the 1960 census reported a population of 12,809 within the Bellevue city limits.)  Still, at this time, the signs of Bellevue’s later growth into a major urban center could be seen on the horizon.  As the Lake Washington Floating Bridge had already made travel across the lake far more convenient, Bellevue was poised for the rapid growth that would come as a result of both population increase and annexation in the Sixties.  The opening of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge in 1964 would bring even more people across the lake, and by 1970 Bellevue’s population had increased by nearly 50,000 people.  In 1959 all of this was still in the future, and although much of Bellevue’s current area was already incorporated, the town was much more sparsely populated than it is today.  After the jump, we’ll take a look at some of what was going on in Bellevue fifty years ago.


March 28, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: The Fight Over Evergreen East, and Other Tidbits From 1978

Filed under: Bellevue, History, Malls, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 2:31 pm

Although 1978 might seem like a bit of a random choice for a subject for this week’s Recycled Newspaper, the original reason I chose it was because March 21st 1953 was the day that the City of Bellevue was incorporated, and as such, the City’s 25th birthday would fall during that time period.  Before anyone thinks that I have a memory for such useless facts or anything like that, I do have to confess that the only reason I even knew about it was that I had been previously looking through some papers from 1973 and found a couple of things about a 20th birthday celebration for the city going on at Bellevue Square, but the microfilm was too blurry to get any good images from.  This is unfortunate, because it also included a complete map and directory of Bellevue Square at the time which would have been quite useful for my research if not for the fact that it was hardly readable. 

I figured that if there was a party going on for Bellevue’s 20th birthday, then the one for the 25th birthday would be even bigger, right?  Unfortunately, in the Journal-Americans for that week (by 1978, the East Side Journal and Bellevue American had merged together and began publishing six days a week, although there would be no Sunday editions for several years still.) there wasn’t even a mention of the occasion that I could find, much less anything about any civic celebrations that might have resulted from the event.  Even so, I found did find some historically newsworthy articles, particularly in regards to the planned but never constructed Evergreen East mall in what was then an unincorporated area (which later became part of Redmond,) but which eventually got put to use in a manner which is arguably more notable than the proposed shopping mall would have been.  At this point  This, plus a number of other interesting items I came across, will follow after the jump.


March 22, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: Fast Food in Bellevue

Filed under: Bellevue, History, Recycled Newspaper — Brian Lutz @ 12:35 am

Note: Coupon probably isn't valid anymore.

As I warned earleir in the week (back when I SHOULD have been doing this if I wasn’t procrastinating,) this week’s Recycled Newspaper is a bit thin, due to my current camera woes.  My camera is currently paying a visit to the Canon repair center to correct the dreaded E18 lens error that seems to be a common malady of those Canon models, and on Friday I was informed that it would cost $140 to get it fixed, which is just about more than it’s worth at this point.  I have a number of options at this point: I can just pay the $140 and get it fixed, I can pay the same $140 and upgrade to a refurbed Canon SD870, I can upgrade to a refurbed PowerShot S5  for $175 (This seems to be a nicer model with good zoom , but it’s definitely not pocketable like my SD850) or I can just buy a new Powershot SD890 for $199.  Either way, there doesn’t seem to be a cheap solution to this problem, but I’m probably going to have to bite the proverbial bullet and do something. 

That said, I did make a trip to the library on Wednesday to try to get some stuff, but my old Olympus camera doesn’t do nearly as good a job as the Canon did with this stuff, and the results are rather hit-or-miss.  Occasionally a shot turns out great, but most seem to end up barely readable, if at all, and the macro mode on the Olympus (which seems to be the secret to easily getting good images off the microfilm reader) is just short of useless.   As a result of this, I’ve got two options for what can do here:  I can bore you with minute details about the early history of  grocery stores in Kirkland (a subject that, in spite of best efforts, I’ll probably get around to eventually on here) or I can  do a bit of digging through the miscellaneous detritus in my newspaper files in order to find some stuff for this week’s post.  Since most of the random stuff sitting in my files seems to come from the Bellevue American, I thought this week I’d look at a few fast food restaurants from Bellevue’s past, and a couple which are still around.


March 18, 2009

Out of Context Ad Solution: And There’s Plenty of Room in the Trunk Too.

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper — Brian Lutz @ 10:42 pm

As you might recall from last week’s Recycled Newspaper installment, we were looking at this elephant standing on top of… well, something.  And (assuming anyone out there actually did so) your job was to figure out what perch this pachyderm had selected.  As usual, the solution is found after the jump, for those of you who would like to take a guess before looking at the answer.


March 12, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: The East Side Journal, March 15th, 1934

Filed under: History, Kirkland, Recycled Newspaper — Brian Lutz @ 2:12 pm

In the course of the various newspaper research that I have been doing for this site and for my malls project, I have thus far not gone much earlier than the late Fifties, even though the newspaper archives available at the Bellevue Library provide papers going back quite a bit further.  Since I haven’t had a chance to go that far back yet, I decided that for this week’s Recycled Newspaper, I would be  going back 75 years and looking at the East Side Journal.  The closest one to today’s date that was available is the Thursday, March 15th1934 edition.  This was, of course, right near the heart of the Great Depression and the New Deal. Aside from the fact that a significant portion of the advertisements throughout the paper had the logo of the NRA (National Recovery Act)  on them somewhere, there wasn’t much sign of this, although a little bit more than a year after this particular issue was published the NRA would be overturned unanimously by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.  In spite of this, Kirkland still had its industrial base in the form of the Lake Washington Shipyards which did face some difficulties at this time, but when the war arrived they would go on to build more than 25 ships for the Navy and repair many more, employing as many as 8,000 workers at their peak until they closed in 1946 at the end of the war.  A photo of the shipyards from 1933 may be found here.

At this time, the combination of the shipyards and the fact that ferries across Lake Washington arrived at Kirkland’s waterfront made Kirkland the de facto heart of the Eastside, although beyond Kirkland’s downtown much of the rest of the area was still rural.  Bellevue was at this time an unincorporated area which consisted mostly of a handful of shops along Main Street, and beyond that the rest was mostly farms.  The shift that would position Bellevue at the heart of the Eastside that is today would not take place until after 1940 when the first floating bridge across Lake Washington opened. 

After the jump, a look at a few of the articles and advertisements from the March 15th 1934 edition of the East Side Journal.


March 5, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: And Now, a Word From Our Sponsors

Filed under: Bellevue, History, Recycled Newspaper — Brian Lutz @ 2:08 am
Whats going on here?  Answer at the end of this post.

What's this cat's problem? Find out at the end of the post.

Thus far in these Recycled Newspaper features, I have focused primarily on some of the articles that I have come across while searching through the various microfilmed newspapers for the local area.  From a purely historical perspective, the stories found in these newspapers can provide interesting little glimpses into the lives of Eastsiders back during the times in which they were written, but to be honest, I tend to find the advertisements in the papers to be far more interesting.  This is not just because of the information that can be gleaned from them about what was where, and when it was around, but also because many of the advertisements (especially those related to clothing and fashion)  in the newspapers back in the fifties, sixties and into the Seventies would frequently eschew photography altogether and make generous use of illustrations to depict the products being sold.  Aside from the fact that these ads just look a lot more interesting than photos would, they also translate to the medium of microfilm a lot better than the photos did, and are a lot easier to retreive from them in a visible form. 

After the jump, a look at a few of the ads I have run across recently.  Most of these are from the Bellevue American in February-April 1967, although I think one or two may be from other sources.  I haven’t been quite as dilligent about keeping track of dates on the ads as the articles, but in several of these cases ads may be repeated in subsequentt editions. 


February 26, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: Redmond Gets a Free Golf Course, a Dangerous Curve, and a Shotgun Wedding

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 12:48 am

Last week I began what I am hoping to turn into a regular feature on this Blog; a look at some of the stores I run across in my research through the newspaper archives available on microfilm at the Bellevue Library.  For this week, I originally intended to follow up last week’s look at the newspapers from 50 years ago with a look at the Journal-American  from 25 years ago, but quite frankly, it was boring.  In 1977, the Bellevue American and the East Side Journal (Bellevue and Kirkland’s respective weekly papers) merged to form the Journal-American, which was published daily and began covering world and national news, which seems to have relegated much of the local news to the back pages.  On this particular day in 1984 most of the headlines seemed to have been focused on the presidential primaries (Spoiler alert: Reagan won,) the beginning of Konstantin Chernenko‘s short term as the leader of the Soviet Union (his most notworthy accomplishment seems to have been a retaliatory boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics after the US boycotted the 1980 games in Moscow,) and stories about the Mariners’ Spring Training on the sports page.  Since there wasn’t really much of interest in the Journal-American, I decided to take a look in the library’s fragmented collection of Redmond’s Sammamish Valley News to see what I could find, and I ended up landing in the February 24th, 1966 edition. 

At this time, Redmond was a small but growing community,still based largely on farming, but with designs on bigger and better things.  Microsoft was still 20 years away (the company’s move to its Redmond campus happened in February of 1986) but a plan was in the works to turn what was then undeveloped land into a major regional shopping mall known as Maingate (this plan, which would have covered much of what is now downtown Redmond, obviously never came to fruition) and the town was definitely growing.  After the jump, a look at some of the stories from the February 24th, 1966 edition of the Sammamish Valley News.


February 19, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: 50 Years Ago Today on the Eastside

Filed under: Bellevue, History, Kirkland, Recycled Newspaper — Brian Lutz @ 1:05 am

As you probably know if you’ve been reading this Blog, there is a lot of interesting information that can be found in microfilmed newspaper archives available at the Bellevue library, where complete archives of the East Side Journal and Bellevue American dating back as far as those papers were published are available (and incomplete archives of a number of other local papers are available as well.)  Although most of my research in the archives thus far has been focused specifically on particular topics, this is the first of what should hopefully become a regular (or irregular, given my tendency toward dubious punctuality) series of posts on this Blog taking a look at what was in the local papers on a particular day (or as close as I can get to it anyway) in the past.  To start off with, I am looking at what was going on 50 years ago on this date, which not only provides a nice round number, but is also convenient because the days on the calendar in 1959 match those of 2009.  I am also taking these stores primarily from the East Side Journal (at least for now) because the early 1959 microfilm for the Bellevue American is of poor quality and difficult to read, much less take useful photos from.  I’m also probably not going to spend a lot of time on big headlines, and I’ll probably be looking mostly at some of the smaller stories in the paper and the advertisements, which I find more interesting (besides, until the Journal-American was formed in 1977 none of these papers provided much coverage outside of the local area, presumably leaving the rest to the Seattle Times and the P-I to cover.)

To start off with, here are a few stories from the February 19th, 1959 edition of the East Side Journal.  On the front page buried in between a couple of stories about budgets and an accident involving a fuel truck was this story on telephone rate increases:

In a nutshell, it sounds like the phone company got smacked down pretty hard by the utilities commission on their proposed rate increases, with approved increases nowhere near the levels requested.  I suppose putting 10 people on a single line isn’t a great way to win many friends in the community or on the utilities commission.  Even so, I bet we all wish that phone service was that cheap these days.  At least the days are long since past where we’re having to share our telephones with the neighbors in order to even get service (the prevalence of high numbers of people on party lines due to lack of capacity is cited in the article as a frequent complaint by the utilities commission.)  I can recall that in the GTE phonebook as recently as 1996 (possibly even later) there was a section on party line procedures and etiquette, which would seem to indicate that there were still a few in use at that time.  Now with even the landline itself seemingly beginning the long slow descent into obsolescence as wireless phones become ever more entrenched in modern society it’s hard to imagine having to share a phone with your sibling in the next room, much less half the neighborhood.  Not that it stops us from complaining about our telephone service.

From here, the stories get just a bit less earth-shattering. 

Apparently back in those days you could also be practically old enough to drink and still be considered a youth.  It also seems that it didn’t take a whole lot in to get into the newspaper back then.  It’s nice to get some recognition for a good deed, but this begs the question of just how this got from being a letter of praise to one’s employer to getting written up a story in the newspaper.  I wonder if as a reward, John got a set of coveralls with his own name sewn onto them?

Of course, the frivolity doesn’t end there.  It seems that all you needed to do in order to get into the paper these days was go to Mexico for six months and presumably send a postcard back home.  If that’s all it takes to get written up, maybe you could add a PS about that old car you’re trying to sell off and save yourself the cost of a classified ad in the process.  As a side note, the Knights of Pythias, a secret society I have never heard of until now, are still around (and list several dead presidents and vice presidents among their alumni) but do not appear to have a chapter in Washington State anymore. 

To conclude our little trip through the newspapers of a half century ago, I thought I’d put up this picture of the former Bartell Drugs logo that I found in the February 19th, 1959 edition the Bellevue American (one of the few items from that issue I could get a decent picture of from the microfilm.)  Now that’s what you call a good stout logo, the kind that you could drop an A-bomb on (back in those days you had to give consideration to such things) and you’d barely put a dent in the thing.  This logo would end up being replaced just a couple of years after this by the more mundane logo that Bartell Drugs continues to use today.

February 18, 2009

A Not-So-Standard Chevron Station (Updated)

Filed under: Bellevue, History — Tags: , , — Brian Lutz @ 12:25 pm

Update 2/24/09:  Added a bit more info on the Standard station shown in the 1969 photo below based on information available at

For better or for worse, putting gasoline in our cars is a common everyday task, and aside from occasional brand loyalty or trying to find a place that’s a bit cheaper than the others, we tend to rarely give much thought to the gas station itself.  On the other hand, if you live or work in the Eastgate area of Bellevue, you may have noticed something just a bit odd about the Chevron station at 150th Ave. SE and SE 38th.  Specifically, you may have noticed that the station’s signage bears the Standard label in place of the usual Chevron branding. 

In fact, when this particular station got a recent update to the design package for a Chevron station, the Standard name, which has been out of general use since the mid 1980s, remained.   In fact, this is the only station in Washington to bear the Standard name, and serves the purpose of keeping the name in use in order to ensure that they retain the rights to the name, and to ensure that the trademarks cannot be usurped by another company.  A couple of years ago, Albertson’s learned a painful lesson on the subject when after purchasing the parent company of the Lucky chain of grocery stores (which used to have stores in the Seattle area during the early-to-mid 1980s, including locations at Southcenter Mall and Crossroads,) they then converted all of those stores to Albertson’s.  In 2006, Grocery Outlet (a smaller chain based out of Berkeley California which has a handful of stores in the Puget Sound area) attempted to rebrand one of its stores to the Lucky name, claiming that Albertson’s had abandoned the trademark.  Albertson’s was forced to reclaim the trademark through litigation, and soon afterwards a number of Albertson’s stores were converted back to the Lucky name, mostly in California.  Grocery Outlet continues to dispute their claim to the trademark.

This 1997 brochure published by Chevron (image originally posted on the forum by Wayne Henderson, who published a book on the history of Standard Oil and its various splinter companies) briefly explains this, although some of these locations may now be out of date.  Each state that Chevron operates in has one station that is branded as Standard, but is otherwise no different from a regular Chevron station.  In fact, at the one in Bellevue the Standard name appears only on the signage, and the Chevron name appears everywhere else including on the gas pumps.

For those of you who have lived around here for a while, the Standard brand is nothing new.  The Chevron brand was first established after World War 2 by the Standard Oil Company of California (abbreviated alternately as either SOCAL at CALSO at different times and places,) one of the splinter companies that was formed in the wake of the 1911 antitrust breakup of the Standard Oil Company.  Others included Standard Oil of Kentucky (KYSO, which eventually merged with SOCAL) and Standard Oil of New Jersy, which previously sold gas primarily under the Esso brand, but became Exxon in the 1970s after several trademark disputes, and is now ExxonMobil.  During the breakup, each of the splinter companies was given rights to use the Standard Oil name within a specif ed geographic area, although there have been a number of disputes over territory and trademarks along the way.  For more information on the rather complicated history of these Standard Oil splinter companies, see this thread on the Groceteria forum for several interesting posts on the topic.

Here on the Eastside, Chevron and Standard branded stations operated simultaneously up until all were consolidated under the Chevron name in the 80s (with the exception of the Eastgate station, as seen above.)  The Standard name was applied to corporate-owned stations (but the gasoline sold still bore the Chevron brand) while independently owned and operated stations operated under the Chevron brand directly. Among the portion of the Eastside Heritage Center’s photo archives that has been made available available online, there are examples of both Standard and Chevron stations in Bellevue during the mid-to-late sixties (as well as some even older ones,) which you can find after the jump.


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