Issaquah HISTORY Museums
Learn About & Visit Issaquah’s Museums
The area was first populated by Sammamish Native Americans of the Coast Salish Culture group and called “Ishquoh,” a word describing the sound of the local water birds. Pioneers arrived in the area and the city was officially incorporated in 1892. Mining and logging were some of the earlier industries and their evidence can be seen in the town and the landscape. Issaquah is now home to numerous museums where you can learn more about the history of the town and surrounding region.
Gilman Town Hall Museum and Jail
Built in 1886, Gilman Town Hall is believed to be one of the oldest buildings still standing in the vicinity of downtown Issaquah. Now a museum, you can tour the building, including a hands-on kitchen exhibit, as well as the two-room concrete building in the backyard that was used as a jail from 1914-1930. The permanent exhibit entitled “In This Valley: The Story of Our Town” will give you insight into the birth and evolution of the city.
In 2018, the Gilman Town Hall was recognized for its historic value, and is now a King County Landmark and an Issaquah Landmark.
165 SE Andrews Street
Issaquah Auto Freight Building
The Issaquah Auto Freight company constructed this building in the 1930s for warehouse and garage use. Today it is an Issaquah historic landmark and King County landmark and has a variety of vintage tools and machinery on display including wooden water pipes, a circa 1915 hose cart used by the Issaquah Volunteer Fire Department, and a restored 1948 Ford tractor.
92 SE Bush Street
Issaquah Depot Museum
Built just a few years after the Gilman Town Hall Museum, the Issaquah train depot played an important part in the city’s economic development. It is now a museum with opportunities to interact with educational displays such as a telegraph, while learning about the technologies that shaped our country in the nineteenth and twentieth century.
78 1st Ave NE
Issaquah Valley Trolley
Take your family back in time on the Issaquah Valley Trolley tour. The vintage electric streetcar ride starts at the Issaquah Depot Museum and runs round-trip from the Depot to Gilman Boulevard. Rides begin in May and run through the end of September.
Trolley tickets can be purchased at the Depot for $10.
78 First Avenue NE
Do you love to enjoy the sites and also love to learn, but can’t decide which Issaquah sites to visit? The self-guided tour is for you. The tour takes you to twenty noteworthy sites between the Issaquah Visitor’s Center on Gilman Boulevard and the Issaquah Depot Museum.
Like the feel of a paper guide? You can pick up the tour brochure at the Issaquah Visitor’s Center, Gilman Town Hall Museum, or the Issaquah Depot Museum. Like the convenience of your phone? Use the link below for a digital tour map and guide.
Other Issaquah Treasures
Don’t miss these treasures of Issaquah as identified by local residents.
Historic Hailstone Feed Store
One of the oldest buildings in Issaquah, the Hailstone Feed Store is an example of architectural evolution and creative reuse.
232 Front Street N
Located in the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre building, the Village Theatre is dedicated to producing and performing award winning musical theater.
303 Front Street N
Gingko Heritage Tree
One of the oldest tree species on earth, Gingko trees were originally native to Washington but were gone from the area by the 1700’s. Issaquah is fortunate to have one that is over 115 years old, planted in the early 1900’s by a former mayor and Washington legislator, Dr. W.E. Gibson. Saved by a group of high school students in 1970, it is now an Issaquah treasure.
100 Front Street S
East Fork of Issaquah Creek
This is a favorite local spot for fishing. The fish are plentiful and you have an excellent chance of hooking one.