The following is an excerpt from an Oral History done by former Society Trustee Gene Pugh with Sunnydale pioneer Doris Yeisley Kvalheim in January of 2000.
“I was born in Sunnydale in 1916, in an area west of First Ave. South in what is now known as Bonniewood. I had an older brother, Clyde. My parents, David Leslie Yeisley and Lydia Fern Carr, were both natives of the area. David Yeisley was born near Five Corners and L. Fern Carr was born in the Mt. View area near White Center. These grandparents were pioneers, the Samuel Carrs on mother’s side and the Elseys on father’s side. David Yeisley’s mother was an Elsey.
About 1920, the Yeisley family moved to a farm east of First Ave. at about 176th St. A house was built and it still remains today just north of the original spot. Gradually a small herd was developed and a large barn built. Besides selling milk, Les Yeisley grew tomatoes that he delivered by horse and wagon to the Pike Place Market. They raised their own hay and other feed for their livestock.
The dairy grew to about 20 cows and milk was delivered daily to residents in both Sunnydale and Burien. At first it was called Yeisley’s Dairy and later changed to Sunnydale Dairy.
When we became of school age we attended Sunnydale School, walking along Ambaum Blvd. to 160th and on to the school. Sunnydale had grades one through seven. The eighth through twelvth were at Highline High School.
Remembering back, we two children used to have to take the herd up to Five Corners where there was a meadow with good pasture. We had to spend several hours there keeping an eye on the cows to make sure they did not stray off. That spot later became the place the Balzarinis developed their nursery.
The area west of the diary was completely wooded from 160th to 176th all the way to the Sound. This was owned by Schwabacker Company and early on the cows from the dairy could browse there. It was especially handy for a pregnant cow to hide out and have her calf in complete privacy. It was then quite a chore for someone to find her and bring them back to the farm.
Our maternal grandparents lived in Mt. View and on special occasions we could walk to Burien and catch the streetcar to visit them. We also had several aunts and uncles who lived nearby. One uncle, George Robertson, was noted for playing Santa Claus every Christmas in White Center. He had the proper build to become Santa without any added padding. He was married to Bertha Carr Robertson.
Back in those days people had to make their own entertainment. The Sunnydale men formed a baseball team and competed with other areas nearby that had teams. Everyone turned out to watch their home team. The meadow that they used to play ball in is what later bacame Rosaia Nursery on Des Moines Way south of Sunnydale. Another form of entertainment was putting on a minstrel show. Anyone with any musical talent was sought. I remember them practicing at my house. The all had fun doing it, blackened faces and all.
There were big family picnics on the Fourth of July with gallons of home-made ice cream. Camping at Miller’s Beach was the place where, for a small fee, you could rent a tent-house from the caretaker at the old farmhouse there. We went swimming in the bay, in and out all day long, never taking our swim suits off. They were made of wool in those days and really kept you warm once out of the water. Digging clams and goeducks could be done on very low tides. While camping there sometimes late at night you could hear a boat land down by the Crow’s Nest, a steep bank south of Miller’s Beach. You could hear cases of booze being dragged over the rocky beach. Nobody ever checked it out, but the operation was eventually stopped when several local politicians were found to be involved.