October 27, 2004 • Early Memories of Angle Lake
My family moved to Angle Lake in 1935. My father bought the property on the north end of Angle Lake from Noble Urch. The property was a long narrow lot, 40 feet width at the waterfront and 1000 feet in length. There was a house, which was partly built but there was no indoor plumbing, and lots of work ahead to complete the house. We had a well on the top of the hill behind our house and the water was piped down to our house. No water pump was needed, because the water ran by gravity. A few days after we moved into the house (October 30, 1935), we had some very cold weather and the water pipes froze! My poor dad had to get the pipes thawed out – not a very welcome start to our new home.
My father was a longshoreman, and he worked on the Seattle waterfront. It was very hard work in those days, as the ships were loaded by hand. My brother, Erling, was 16 years old and started attending Highline High School as a sophomore. I was 10 years old and started at Angle Lake Grade School in the 5th grade. The school was an old wooden building (built in 1887) with three classrooms and a basement lunchroom. Mr. Mansfield was the principal and he taught the 5th, 6th and 7th grades, all three in one room. Marion Stewart taught 1st and 2nd grades, and Mrs. Bullock taught 3rd and 4th grades. There was a bell tower on the school and a long rope hung down in our classroom. The bell would be rung for recess and lunch times. A new Angle Lake Grade School was built in 1936, close by the old school. I went to the new school for 6th and 7th grades. Harold Mackey was the new principal, and he was there for many years. He taught 6th and 7th grades. There were 27 students in the two grades. I went to Highline High School beginning in 8th grade. I graduated from Highline High School in 1943.
The Angle Lake Presbyterian Church was located on 192nd South and close to Des Moines Way. I went to Sunday School there, and also to a Young Peoples group. There were two truck garden farms along 192nd South. The DePiano and Manzo families had these farms. There was also a mushroom plant, located where the airport was built (1944). Mr. Kelley owned the mushroom plant. Mr. Pomeroy worked and managed the mushroom plant for Mr. Kelley. My brother worked at the plant occasionally, when he was going to high school.
The only store I remember along Highway 99 in the Angle Lake area was Malmberg’s Store. It was a combination gas station and grocery store, located at 188th Street. In those days 188th South was a two-way gravel road. There was a gravel pit and county road equipment located where Tyee High School is now. They kept the gravel roads in the area graded and maintained. I walked to Angle Lake Grade School, which was about 1 mile distance. Other children walked even further to school. There were school buses for Highline High School. Our bus for the south end area traveled many miles, from Angle Lake to Des Moines and around, to pick up students. We were on the bus for about an hour to get to school. Seth Campbell was in charge of buses at Highline, and supervised their upkeep. Mr. Campbell lived at Angle Lake.
At the south end of Angle Lake there was a resort for swimming and picnics, called The Plunge. Robert and Eupha Reeploeg owned and managed the resort. It was very popular for swimming. There was a large slide, a trapeze and high dives. They rented out rowboats and canoes. There was a lunch counter selling hot dogs, hamburgers, pie and ice cream cones all day long. This was part of the large dance hall where dances were held Sunday evenings during the summer. I worked there part-time during the summer when I was in high school. On Sundays I often worked all day, and until midnight when the dance was over.
There were several fruit trees on our property; apples, pear, plum and cherry trees. The former owner, Mr. Urch, planted the trees. My mother and father planted strawberry and raspberry plants. They also planted a large vegetable garden each year. Mother canned some of the fruit and vegetables. They also rented a frozen-food locker and froze some of the berries and vegetables. The lockers were located at Carlson’s Market, on Highway 99 and 158th South, where Lewis and Clark Movie Theatre was later located.
I was fortunate to grow up living on Angle Lake. In the summer we could enjoy swimming and boating. And many winters in the 1930’s and 1940’s it was old enough for the lake to freeze over for ice skating.