August 13, 2008


Concert in the park. Every Thursday through the summer, go listen to live music at Pine Lake Park. Parking is available at Discovery Elementary and via shuttle from the park and ride lot. This week’s show features African All-Stars playing calypso and reggae. Shows start at 6:30 p.m.

Rummage sale to benefit Samantha Smith Elementary’s new piano lab. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of a new piano lab for the school. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 15 at the school, 23305 NE 14th St.

The Sammamish Kennel club will hold a dog show with obedience trial and rally trial. The show is set for 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 24 at Marymoor Park, 6046 West Lake Sammamish Parkway NE in Redmond.

Symphony on the plaza and City Birthday celebration. The Sammamish Symphony performs at the city’s annual event. 6-8 p.m. Aug. 28 at City Hall.

Open House. Come meet the new neighbor, Eastside Catholic. The school is offering an open house to the Sammamish Community from 1-3 p.m. Sept. 14 at Eastside Catholic, 232 228th Ave. SE.

The Eastlake High School Community Service Fair is looking for organizations that need high school student volunteers. This is an opportunity for your organization to reach 1100 potential student volunteers.

Organizers provide a table, chairs and a sign up sheet for your representative to share information about your group and ways the students can work with your organization to fulfill their required community service commitments. The fair is scheduled for the mornings of Sept. 29 and 30 at Eastlake. For more information contact

Library activities

Read three get one free summer edition. Students in middle school/junior high and high school, read three books, write three thoughtful reviews and get a prize book free. Forms are available at the Sammamish library and when turned in, are eligible for a monthly prize drawing and entered in the drawing for the grand prize, a laptop computer. In addition, this year will feature a video book review contest. Teens may shoot a book-themed video, reviews of books, or even book trailers. They then upload their personal entry into a YouTube account and a panel of five teen services librarians will judge it.

Talk Time is at 7 p.m. Tuesdays beginning Sept. 23. Join other adults to improve your English conversation skills. Call Literacy AmeriCorps at 369-3452.

This month, the Sammamish Book Discussion Group will discuss “Mr. Pip” by Lloyd Jones. The novel tells the story of Matilda, a 13-year-old living on a fictitious island shattered by war. A man named Mr. Watts begins teaching the children of the island by reading to them from Dickens’ “Great Expectations.”

The children become interested in the character Pip, an orphan in London, who sparks their imaginations and gives them some escape from their war-torn lives.

The discussion is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Sammamish Library.

The Mother Daughter Book Group is for girls age 9-12 and their mothers. This month’s book is “The Thief Lord” by Cornelia Funke, 7 p.m. Aug. 27.

Author and career consultant Allan Hay will help people understand how to make an impact at their next job interview. Hay, the author of “Memory Mining, Digging for Gems From Your Past Good Work,” will discuss strategies to help people take a fresh look at job interviews. The discussion is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 10.

Spanish Story times for children 3 and older with an adult. 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 20 and 27.

Pajama Story Times for children ages 2-6 with an adult. Families are welcome. 6:30 and 7:30 p..m Sept. 15, 22 and 29.

Toddle On Over – Toddler Story Times for children ages 2-3. Siblings are welcome, but space is limited. 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sept. 17 and 24.

Preschool Story Times for children ages 3-6 with an adult. Siblings are welcome, but space is limited. 10 a.m. Sept 18 and 25 or 1 p.m. Sept. 19 and 26.

Tiny Tales Story Times for children ages 6-12 months with an adult. Space is limited. 11 a.m. Sept. 18 and 25.

Young Toddler Story Times for children 12-24 months with an adult. 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Sept. 19 and 26.

Volunteers needed

The Sammamish Farmers Market needs volunteers. The market is from 4-8 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 1 at the Sammamish City Hall Plaza. Volunteers are needed to plan special events, work on the newsletter, help with logistics, organize children’s events and more. Go to for a description of volunteer opportunities.

The King County Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program needs certified long-term care ombudsman volunteers. After completing a four-day training program, visit with residents, take and resolve complaints and advocate for residents. Volunteers are asked to donate four hours a week and attend selected monthly meetings. Contact John Stilz at 206-697-6747 or

Eastside Bluebills is a Boeing retiree volunteer organization that strives to provide opportunities for retirees to help others in need and to assist charitable and nonprofit organizations. Eastside Bluebills meet every third Wednesday of the month at the Bellevue Regional Library from 10 a.m.-noon. Call 235-3847.

LINKS, Looking Into the Needs of Kids in Schools, places community volunteers in the schools of the Lake Washington School District. Opportunities include tutoring, classroom assistance and lunch buddy. Just one hour a week can make a difference in a child’s life. Call Clair at 867-1677 or Nanci at 885-9158.

Eastside Baby Corner needs volunteers to sort incoming donations of clothing and toys and prepare items for distribution. Go to

Volunteers are needed to visit homebound patrons with the King County Library System’s Traveling Library Center program. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have reliable transportation. Call Susan LaFantasie at 369-3235.

Volunteer drivers are needed for the Senior Services Volunteer Transportation Program. Flexible hours, mileage, parking reimbursement and supplemental liability insurance are offered. Call 206-448-5740.
Guide Dogs for the Blind Eager Eye Guide Pups Club needs volunteers to raise puppies for use as guide dogs for the blind. For information, call Sandy at 644-7421.

Volunteer Chore Services links volunteers with seniors or individuals who are disabled and are living on a limited income. Call 284-2240.

To submit items for the Community Calendar, contact the editor at 392-6434, ext. 233. Information may be e-mailed to or mailed to the Sammamish Review, P.O. Box 1328, Issaquah, WA 98027. Items must be received by the Wednesday before publication.

Pioneer spirit lives on in Sammamish cabin

August 8, 2008

Bengston Cabin is oldest standing pioneer structure in Sammamish

This week is the second portion of an article about the Bengston Cabin, the oldest extant pioneer structure in Sammamish.


The lean-to where Johanna Bengston cooked during the summer months is still visible in this photo from the 1940’s Photo contributed

Last week, The Bengstons, Swedes who met in Germany, made their way to the plateau and built the log cabin.

By Phil Dougherty

For many decades, an orchard of pear and apple trees thrived in front of the Bengston cabin (two of the pear trees still survive). And for many years, the cabin had a small, open lean-to in the back.

This lean-to, part of which is clearly visible in a 1940 picture of the cabin that accompanies this article, stretched along the entire back side of the cabin.

Johanna did much of her cooking on a small cookstove in the northern end of the lean-to during the summer months, as it was much cooler than cooking in the cabin. The lean-to was separated into two parts connected by a small door; Johanna used the southern part of the lean-to as a porch.

The Bengstons got their water from a well located about 200 feet from the cabin. There was a barn and chicken house (bigger than the cabin itself) behind the cabin, and an outhouse was located roughly between these two buildings.

Johanna also had a small root cellar, used for storing canned goods, dug into an earthen bank next to the well. At one time, there was a small cupboard built on the outside of the northeast corner of the cabin, where Johanna stored milk. However, none of these appurtenant structures survive today.

Tragedy struck not long after the Bengstons built their cabin. James was cutting a tree which fell on him and broke his back, leaving him unable to walk. He could still use his arms, and he and Johanna managed to build a system of ropes that they attached to the cabin’s interior to help him move around.

They had no children, but their relatives, the Isacksons, did, and the family story passed down through the years holds that James Bengston survived for seven years after he broke his back before dying in October 1896.

This would mean that he broke his back in 1889. But there are presently no known documents that conclusively establish where either Bengston was during the first half of the 1890s.

They don’t appear in the 1892 King County census, though that doesn’t necessarily mean they weren’t here then. (Unfortunately, most United States census records from the decennial 1890 census were destroyed in a fire in the early 1920s, which makes further research into this question difficult.

A “J. Bengston” shown in the 1892 King County census, living in nearby Tolt, appears – for several reasons – to be a different Bengston than either James or Johanna).

Duane Isackson believes the Bengstons built their cabin in the late winter or early spring of 1888, as a few of the cabin’s logs still have some bark on them. Bark is difficult to remove from felled trees during the winter, but these trees could have easily been stripped had they been felled during the dryer summer months, and doing so would have made building the cabin easier.

Johanna Bengston outlived James Bengston by half a century. She remarried briefly but had the marriage annulled. She lived the rest of her life quietly, living off of her garden and a small dairy farm. She sold eggs to make money.

In the last year or two of her life, she moved in with her nephew, Henry Isackson, who had a home just down the hill (north) from her cabin. She died at 94 in July 1946.

A few people lived in the cabin during the 1950s, but since that time it has sat vacant.

Today the cabin is still mostly intact, though slowly deteriorating. Duane Isackson does what he can to prevent this unique testament to Sammamish’s early history from disappearing entirely.

Sources: Phil Dougherty interview of Lorraine Mills and Duane and Lloyd Isackson, July 16, 2008, Sammamish, Washington; Charles Isackson obituary, Sammamish Valley News, n.d. (July 1954).

Little house on the plateau

August 7, 2008

Pioneer log cabin still stands in Sammamish

This week is the first portion of an article about the Bengston Cabin, the oldest extant pioneer structure in Sammamish.


The Bengston cabin still stands today. Photo contributed

The Bengston cabin still stands today. Photo contributed

By Phil Dougherty
The Bengston Cabin, located on Duane Isackson’s property at 3019 244th Ave., is the oldest-standing pioneer structure in Sammamish. Exactly when it was built is something of a mystery, but based on what we know at this time, the cabin was probably built in the late winter or early spring of 1888.

The cabin gets its name from James Bengston (1845-1896) and Johanna Isackson Bengston (1852-1946), both Swedes.


They met and married in Denmark, then went to Germany. Their great-niece and great-nephews, Lorraine Isackson Mills and Duane and Lloyd Isackson, tell us that while in Germany the Bengstons both worked for Kaiser Wilhelm I (ruler of Germany at the time).


James Bengston

James Bengston

Johanna was a chambermaid, and James was a teamster, driving freight wagons.

The Bengstons subsequently immigrated to America.

James’ certificate of naturalization survives today, and it shows that he became a U.S. citizen in October 1887 in Troy, N.Y. Sometime afterward he and Johanna packed up and headed west.

They settled on a 160-acre homestead encompassing an area roughly between today’s Northeast 26th Street and Northeast 30th Place on both sides of 244th Avenue Northeast.

Johanna Bengston

Johanna Bengston

James Bengston subsequently transferred 80 acres of the homestead to his brother-in-law, Charles Isackson (Johanna’s younger brother), when Isackson arrived on the Sammamish Plateau in 1893. Part of the 80 acres that Bengston kept is today’s Broadmoore Estates.

Soon after their arrival, the Bengstons built a log cabin, which survives today as the oldest-standing pioneer structure in Sammamish.

The cabin, which faces east, is a rectangular building measuring approximately 15 feet by 21 feet on its outside (13 feet by 19 feet on the inside). It was built from fir trees “and maybe a hemlock or two,” adds Duane Isackson.

When the cabin was built, the gaps between the logs were chinked with moss. Some of this moss is still there, while in other places the gaps have been patched with concrete or old newspapers. A few gaps are now open to the elements. Many of the square nails used to build the cabin are still plainly visible in the building.

The cabin is built from hand-sewn logs ranging from six to nine inches in diameter, notched on their ends for a secure fit.

While some log cabins of the era were built with iron spikes driven through adjoining logs to provide greater structural stability, there appear to be no iron spikes connecting the logs of this cabin.

The cabin’s floor is a tongue and groove floor of 1 inch by 4 inch boards. The ceiling is made of 4-foot long cedar boards about half an inch thick, and these ceiling sections can be pushed aside to store goods in an attic.

Today, the ceiling is barely 6 feet above the floor, but the cabin has settled as much as eight inches since it was originally built.

The bottom log that the cabin was originally built on has rotted away over time (remnants of this log can still be seen on the northwest exterior corner of the cabin), causing the cabin to settle onto what was originally the second log from the ground.

There is a small closet in the cabin on its northeastern side. The cabin has two windows in its front, one on each side and both a front and back door.

Part of a shake roof (not the original) survives on the front side of the roof, but the back part of the roof has been replaced with tin.

The cabin originally had a chimney on its southwest corner, but Duane Isackson removed it some years ago since rainwater was getting into the cabin through the chimney and speeding up the cabin’s gradual deterioration. The cabin has electricity, although it probably wasn’t added before the 1930s, when electricity first reached this area of the plateau.

Next week: more information about the cabin and its surroundings, and the Bengstons deal with a tragedy.

Review editorial

August 6, 2008

High school algebra decision easy as pi

The Washington State Board of Education put two and two together last week and came up with a pretty obvious choice – more algebra is needed for our teenagers and future generations.

Starting with the graduating class of 2013, high-school students will now be required to pass algebra II, along with two other years of math, to graduate. The board’s decision to include algebra in the curriculum comes after the legislature deemed it necessary in 2007 to add a third year of math to bring student learning to a higher standard. They left it up to the board to decide what the third year would be.

The move is full of foresight. Texas is currently the only state in the country with a similar requirement, but 14 others have plans to incorporate an algebra II requirement soon.

Some school districts in the state – like Bellevue, Federal Way and Kent – already require algebra II as part of their curriculum.

In January, the Issaquah School District added a third year of math to graduation requirements beginning with the class of 2012. Lake Washington has begun discussions for how to accommodate the additional requirement.

It’s no big secret that the U.S. is quickly falling behind other countries when it comes to math. An international exam – the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment – conducted in December showed the U.S. ranked 24th out of 30 countries in the subject area. The finish was almost identical to a similar test done three years prior.

Many worry about students’ ability to complete a third year of math, especially since about one-fourth of this year’s seniors failed to pass math on the 10th-grade Washington Assessment of Student Learning, a test which covers algebra I and geometry. Those failures, however, may be more evidence that more math education is required.

While it may not be the most glamorous subject, math is every bit as vital as the other subjects already packing the curriculum. The world will continue to need engineers and physicists for the next century and beyond – and that career path begins with a broader understanding of mathematics.

Sammamish Forum

August 6, 2008

Why not pave it themselves?

I am writing in response to the articles on 248th Avenue, the part between 14th Street and 17th Street, which is a private road at present. It was stated Read more

Sammamish runner finishes college All-American

August 6, 2008

Michael Kilburg competes in U.S. Olympic Trials

Michael Kilburg (right) finished 20th in the 10,000-meter run at the track and field Olympic Trials July 4th. Photo by Jonah Schrogin

Even Michael Kilburg didn’t fathom making Olympic Trials. 

Kilburg, a Sammamish resident who attended the University of Portland from 2003 to 2008, finished his college career Read more

Kevin Penner reaches second round of U.S. Amateur

August 6, 2008

Eastlake golfer continues high-level play

Kevin Penner makes a tee shot at the Callaway Golf Junior World Golf Championship in San Diego Photo contributed

Kevin Penner, a rising senior at Eastlake High School, qualified for match play before losing in the second round of the nation’s largest junior golf tournament. 

Penner traveled to Birmingham, Ala. for the U.S. Junior Amateur July 21-26.

The Junior Amateur is one of the country’s premier junior competitions. Only Read more

Beaver Lake Triathlon readies for another year

August 6, 2008

When the time came to decide who would race what, 14-year-olds Hailey Theeuwen and David Jett both wanted the swim.

“They had to arm wrestle, let’s put it that way,” said Sharon Theeuwen, Hailey’s mother.

As of July, Theeuwen and Jett, rising freshmen at the Pacific Read more

Local youth runners qualify for National Junior Olympics

August 6, 2008

Several members of the Issaquah Gliders and Plateau Runners Track clubs qualified for the USA Track & Field’s largest meet: the National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, held in Omaha, Neb. July 22-27.

Glider member Andrew Matthews, a rising Read more

Vedic Cultural Center opens

August 6, 2008

New facility to act as a hub for the Vedic community

Anadagopao Peacock, of Lynnwood, is a patron of the culture center and a third generation Hare Krishna practioner. The tattoo is of the spiritual master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Photo by Kendra Abernathy

Upon entering the Vedic Cultural Center, everyone is ushered into a small side room to remove their shoes, before entering the center and participating in the numerous activities being orchestrated all at the same time. People can chose to hear the congregation president lecture upstairs, enjoy a free vegetarian meal or watch a drama enacted by children. Whatever you want to do or need, the volunteers and patrons of the Vedic Cultural Center do everything they can to meet your needs.

The Vedic Cultural Center, located at 1420 228th Avenue SE, has been there since 1989, yet has become a more prominent monument in Sammamish since its newly completed remodel.

The Vedic Cultural Center embarked on the mission to create a larger “more attractive” building due to the growth of the Indian community in the region and because more people Read more

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