When our members read or hear about the early days at Camp Forestia, they come across such terms as “the old club house, the old swimming pool, and the down road”. It’s obvious that things were a little different then than they are now. Some times it’s hard to visualize, even from photographs, where things were located.
We aren’t exactly certain as to the exact appearance of the camp in the late 1940’s, but, surely, things didn’t change much in ten years and we can give you a fair picture of the camp in the late 1950’s.
To help you get oriented, we have made sketches of the camp as we first saw it in 1959 and of the park as it looks today. (Please allow us a little artistic license and bear in mind that the sketches are not to scale and may contain a few minor errors).
Picture yourself, if you will, standing in the middle of the sunning lawn today, facing uphill. The club house is at 2 o’clock, the community kitchen at 3 o’clock, the swimming and wading pools at 5 and 6 o’clock, the volley ball court at 7 o’clock, and the fire pit at 9 o’clock. Got the picture?
Now go back in time 40+ years, erase today’s images, and form a different mental picture. First of all, imagine far more trees surrounding the sunning lawn. Now look toward 2 o’clock and instead of a club house, see a small snack bar. At 3 o’clock there is no community kitchen but a small building, “Alex’s cabin”. Look over your right shoulder toward 5 and 6 o’clock and instead of a concrete swimming and wading pool, see a dugout pond or artificial lake. Partially blocking your view of the pool is the old club house which was slightly up hill from the present lower rest rooms.
Now look over your left shoulder. You can’t see the new volley ball court nor the concrete court slightly up the hill. Of course, you can’t see them; they weren’t there yet. Neither were the shuffleboards, fire pit, and horseshoe pit. Look directly underfoot. You might be standing in the middle of a road which is no longer there.
There were numerous other differences, not all of which we can remember. You can see some of them by comparing the two sketches. Where the sauna building now stands, there was a building which served as a rather disorganized storage shed. There were no hot tubs and no fence around the pool complex. There was a volley ball court near the old club house. “Rex’s cabin” would experience a few renovations to become the club office and the “Bare Essentials” store.
One of the most significant differences was the configuration of the roads, both within the camp and leading up the hill from the Issaquah-Hobart Road to the camp. If you drive down the road leaving the park, look to your right when you are about a third of the way down. You will see a semblance of a road, forming a Y with the main road. This road still exists but isn’t used except in an emergency. It is the so-called “down road”. Below the Y, the road was two-way as it is now. Above the Y, traffic followed a one-way loop.
There was no gate at the present location. A crude gate, about half way down the access road, was kept closed, but normally not locked. It was locked for a continuous 24-hour period once a year. This was (at least according to old legends) a necessary action to make the road a private road.
So there you have it. The 1959 camp configuration would remain nearly the same for several years, changing slowly as new facilities were constructed.