Settled in 1862, this town was a trade center for the valley, originally a coal mining and hops-growing community. During the World War, the German Count von Alvenslaben organized the Issaquah and Superior Coal Mining Company, purchasing land and coal rights of a 2,000-acre tract. After more than $1,000,000 had been spent in improvements, the project was abandoned. Issaquah is now growing with Seattle and Bellevue and extends to the east. It has had a variety of names since pioneer days. The first was Squak, the white man’s pronunciation of the Native American name Is-qu-ah, meaning snake. Ingebright Wold, who settled there in 1867, disliked the name, and changed it to Englewood, a modification of his own name. When a post office was established it was called Olney, for a local settler. On April 25, 1892, Daniel H. Gilman, promoter of Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad, incorporated the town as Gilman. Finally, in the 1890s, the present name was adopted, and came into general use.
The arrival of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway in 1888 paved the way for Issaquah’s development, creating a boom among area coal mines, logging operations, and local businesses. Issaquah’s economy was more diversified than typical mining “company” towns, and it survived the withdrawal of large scale investments in area mines during World War I. However, the onset of the Great Depression shortly afterward meant that federal assistance projects provided welcome economic relief to the town.