A Look Back on Angle Lake

While attending the recent Transit Oriented Development Introductory Presentation at SeaTac City Hall earlier this week, I stopped to view the Highline Historical Society Exhibit consisting of two display cases containing old photographs of Angle Lake, including a few documented memories from local residents regarding those former days. The artifacts are located in the Council Chambers/Court Lobby and can be viewed daily from 9am – 5 pm.
Angle Lake Swim Team circa 1965
In a remarkable concurrence of circumstance without apparent causal connection, just two days prior I was sifting through my archived files looking for unrelated information and happened upon a letter that was given to me several years back. The letter contained a historical recount regarding the inception of the Angle Lake Shore Club and some of the organization’s key achievements. 

Could my stumbling upon this letter at nearly the same time of discovering the Angle Lake historical display merely be coincidental?  Or could it be attributed to something more mysterious??? (It is nearly All Hallows Eve after all!)  

A Brief History of the Angle Lake Shore Club 
as recalled by Bonnie (Wheeler) Myhre
Dated: February 2007

The Angle Lake Shore Club was started in the middle 1930s by a group of people who lived around the lake. As best I can recall, they were Art and Stella Newbill; Mary and Dale Hayes; Elliot and Lotsie Fallis; Corwin and Leah Dennis; Al and Betty Windsor; and Norm and Mid Soland. They met in various homes and offered a combination of social gatherings and looking at issues for the good of the community. There were not many people living on the Lake year round, as many had summer cabins and Angle Lake was a long way from Seattle, where most people worked. At that time, Des Moines Road and Military Road were the only access to Seattle from the Angle Lake area.

About 1937 the group acquired a piece of property on the south side of 198th street, where they decided to build a clubhouse. It was done mostly with volunteer labor and I believe Corwin Dennis was somewhat in charge of directing the building, as he was an excellent carpenter and made his living building houses.

The original building consisted of a large room – probably 30 ft. by 30 ft. – with a kitchen on the south side of the building and two small bathrooms. There was a large pot-bellied stove in the main room. They had put down good flooring in the main room so they could hold dances and other activities. They regularly held dinners at the Club as well as dances. There was a large grand parking area in the back of the club house and many a father took their young children there to learn to drive.

When I was in high school, the drama class put on a one-act play once a year and I remember our class going to the Shore Club meeting and putting on a play for them during their regular meeting.

The first big project that the Club handled was the installation of a water system. Up to that time everyone pumped water out of the lake. The installation took quite a while to implement, as a few of the residents were strongly opposed to spending the money for this project – but the Club was ultimately successful. A big water tower was constructed near the intersection of 200th Street and Military Road and a couple times a year a few of the men would gather together for a cleaning party and scrub the tank. 

The women formed an Auxiliary to help benefit the club and they were a very active group. Once a year they would hold a “Silver Tea” and invite the community – it was well attended. The ladies brought their best china and silver teapots, and made lovely dainty sandwiches. They did a lot of good for the club; keeping it clean and talking the men into coming about twice a year to wash windows!

At the end of World War II, the financial picture of the community was greatly improved and they built a large addition on the west side of the building that made a lovely dining room. At that time they also installed an oil furnace, which was a grand addition.

They held a dinner-dance every month with different members appointed to be in charge of decorating the rooms, providing an orchestra and serving a midnight dinner. Many times Al Sholberg and Sandy Taylor would provide the music, as Al could make the guitar sing and Sandy was a great piano player. The New Year’s Eve dance was the highlight of the year with beautiful decorations and an elaborate midnight dinner. Everyone came back the next day to clean it up, eat the leftovers and in general talk about what a good time was had.

In 1965, the Club completed the project of installing sewers around the lake. This was accomplished largely due to the efforts of Sandy Taylor, who went door-to-door convincing people of the value of putting in sewers, and the many people who took petitions to all the residents of the lake to join the Des Moines Sewer District.

As time went on, fewer people were interested in coming to the affairs at the Club and a number of members felt it was time to sell the club house as it was falling on just a few people to keep up the grounds and the building. After selling the clubhouse (approximately the late ‘60s to early ‘70s), we held sporadic meetings but always had the Christmas party, which was a progressive affair. Many of the members opened their homes for hors d’oeuvres and drinks, after which we met at the local Lutheran church for the Christmas dinner.

The preceding was recalled by Bonnie Lou (Wheeler) Myhre who was born on August 20, 1924 to Ame and Bill Wheeler and lived in the Angle Lake area of South Seattle for 60 years. She graduated from Highline High School and attended the University of Washington. She was married to Kenneth Myhre for 63 years. Bonnie had passed away September 5, 2014 and is survived by her son, Karl and his wife, Sherilyn; her granddaughter, Misa and her husband Mike Reardon; her great-granddaughter, Imani Paige Reardon, and numerous nieces and nephews and their children. 

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