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Happy Valley on the Web

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History Page 2


(The following is re-printed from the History of Happy Valley produced by Grade Five at Happy Valley School , May 1969)

TRANSPORTATION AND ROADS

For a few years after the first settlers moved into the valley there were no real roads there, only trails made by wagons cutting a track through the woods and fields. Gradually the trail over Mt. Scott was widened and improved by the people living in the valley. They used road scrapers drawn by horses to do this work. This road was terribly steep, very muddy in winter, very dusty in summer. In some places it was impassable in very wet weather, so it was improved by having logs placed side by side across it in those areas. This was called a "corduroy road" and was pretty rough to travel over. Later, this road was graveled, but not until 1915.

About 1900 John M. Deardorff felt that there should be another way out of the valley besides the difficult road over Mt. Scott, and he persuaded the county commissioners to have a new road surveyed and built going north to Foster Road. He also helped with the building of this road and it is now called "Deardorff Road."

Little by little these roads were improved by the county, but not until more modern times were any of them paved. The first road paved was in 1925.

At first wagons were the main means of transportation. As the roads got better some buggies were used and finally, carriages. The first automobile in the valley was owned by a family called "Pearson" and was purchased by them in 1915.

MODERN CONVENIENCES

Telephone lines were extended into the valley in 1908 and the first telephone installed. In the fall of 1925 electricity was brought in. Some of the "old timers" remember this date very well because it happened just before Christmas and they put electric lights on their Christmas tree instead of the dangerous lighted candles.

The dates of the first radio and television set are uncertain. By the time these inventions were common, so many new families had moved into the valley that several may have appeared at the same time.

After World War II, or about 1946, a central water system was built and homes were then able to have modern bathrooms and kitchens. Sewage disposal was by means of privately owned cesspools. A fire department was established soon afterwards when Happy Valley received its charter and was constituted a city. Its population is now over one thousand people.

Footnote: Research for this article by Mike Elliott and Scotty Martin

HOMES AND BUILDINGS

The Deardorff family built the first home in the valley in 1852. It was constructed of logs and there was just one room with a large fireplace at one end. This room, with the attic above, sheltered the family until more rooms could be added. This they did from time to time until the house contained as many as four rooms. Much later this house was replaced by a frame house built in the style of the houses of that day, in two stories, with about four rooms below and two or three rooms above, with a large attic above that. A few of the first frame houses in the valley also had basements underneath. A well was usually dug as near the kitchen as possible so that water would be close at hand.

OLD HOMES

Strickrott House

Several of the old frame houses are still standing and most of them are still occupied. Mr. Archie Strickrott and his wife still live in their home at 12510 Southeast Mt. Scott Boulevard.

Ulrich House

The house built by the Ulrich's on this same street is now the Marvin home (Editor's Note: In 1996 this is the Cliff Anderson home)

George Zinser built the house just east of the fire station. This was the first plastered house in the valley. In 1901 Charles Rebstock bought that place and lived there for several years. It is now occupied by others.

Zinser House

Fred Zinser's first home was a log cabin on Mt. Scott built in 1890. This was the birthplace of Elmer, Royal, and Lydia Zinser, all of whom still live in the valley. Later they built a large home on the site of the present Kirk Cooper home. When this house burned down another was built in its place. Finally, this one was moved down Mt. Scott Boulevard a little way to make room for the new Cooper home. The Eberlin's now live in the large Zinser home.

Paulson House

The old Paulson home, built around 1890, still stands near 132nd Street and King Road, but it has long since been deserted and is now known as "The Haunted House" by all the children in the valley! (Editor's Note: This house no longer stands 1996)

Paulson Barn

A few very old barns still remain, the most notable being the one at Happy Valley Dairy which is close to one hundred years old. It is the only building left from the original donation land claims and was built by John M. Deardorff. It's timbers are hand hewn and mortised, and tied with oak pins. This building was meant to last a long time, and it has. Concerning this barn, Arthur Deardorff, grandson to the man who built it, relates this amusing story:

"Shortly after the barn was completed, a man of German descent heard about it. After looking it over carefully, he turned to the builder - my grandfather - and said 'A dom fine barn, dot - dom vel poot togedder, too!'

The old German was right. The barn is in good condition today and is still being used by the dairy. (Editor's Note: The barn is still there in 1996, but the dairy is not! Update 2004; barn is gone and replaced by new homes)

Footnote: Research for this article done by Jay Canary and Chaud Spitzer

CHURCH

One of the early settlers, Mr. Harden, donated some of his land for a church, the corner of 132nd Street and Southeast King Road. (Editor's Note: Should this be 129th and King?) The first building was frame, consisted of just one room, and was put up in 1891, and its denomination was Evangelical. There was no resident pastor. Every Sunday a minister from Lents walked over the mountain to hold services in the church .

Before the building of the church the people went to Sunnyside or to Rock Creek for worship. Later, a few of the people who did not belong to the Evangelical church attended services held in the school house by ministers of their faith. The original church building was torn down in 1915 and replaced by a larger and more modern one which is still standing. Regular services are still held in this little church which is now known as the Happy Valley United Brethren Church, and it continues to serve the spiritual need of the people.(Editor's Note: In 1996 this is known as the Happy Valley Evangelical Church)

An interesting incident concerning the church is told by one of the descendants of the early members of this church. As the story goes, the language used in the services was English at first. Then, several German families moved into the valley and became members of the church. Soon all the services began to be held in the German language. This continued until the Rebstock family came. Mr. Rebstock was asked for his opinion about the language. He replied that since this was an English speaking country to which all of them belonged the services should be in English. His opinion was respected and the services were in English from that day on.

Footnote: Research done by Lori Stein, Ruth Moultrie, Jacque Anderegg, Terri Ann Davis

CEMETERY

From the very beginning the settlers needed a place to bury their dead, and such a place was found near the summit of a neighboring knoll now called "Scouters' Mountain." The first to be laid in it was an unknown man who had arrived in the same wagon train with the Deardorff's and who died in 1852, shortly after reaching the valley.

John M. Deardorff donated five acres of his land on the mountain for the cemetery, only one acre of which has actually been used. This is where twenty-seven graves, mostly of the Deardorff's and their relatives, are found in a fenced off area surrounded by a wilderness of tall trees, and adorned by clumps of wild flowers in springtime. Most of the headstones have been restored; a few had to be replaced by newer ones. The first grave is that of the wagon pioneer, the last is that of Edith Guidi, 1932. Twelve of the graves are of children and infants. Prominent, old fashioned headstones mark the resting places of the original pioneers: Christian and Matilda Deardorff, John M. and Rachel Deardorff, John Bennet and Clara Deardorff. The cemetery has been closed since the burial of Edith Guidi. It can be reached by means of a trail leading down from the Boy Scout Lodge on top of the mountain and by another trail from the approach road to the lodge.

Two of the Deardorff descendants, Mrs. Mabel Cockle and Miss Annette Deardorff, have formed an association called the "Christilla Pioneer Cemetery Association" to help restore the cemetery and keep it in good condition. A deed has been obtained to keep these graves set aside as a county cemetery. At present, it is under the custodianship of the Boy Scouts of America, and permission to visit this cemetery must be obtained from the Lodge. (Editor's Note August 2004: The Boy Scout Lodge Building has recently been closed as a fire hazard)

Footnote: Research done by Lori Stein, Ruth Moultrie, Jacque Anderegg, Terri Ann Davis

EDUCATION

First School Building

The pioneers were very much interested in the education of their children. For the first few years, however, children had to go to Rock Creek or to Sunnyside to school. In 1891 John Bennett Deardorff donated an acre of his land for a school. A small one room frame building with a steeple on top was constructed in the same place where Happy Valley School is now located, on Southeast King Road. Mr. Deardorff also got a large school bell made and had it put up in the steeple. Rachel Deardorff made the first American flag for the school. It contained forty-four stars at that time. Inside the schoolroom two small cloakrooms were built near the front door. The teacher's desk stood on a raised platform at the other end with a door on either side leading into the yard. Students' desks were double and were screwed to the floor in two long rows leaving a middle aisle. A large wood stove stood in the middle of this aisle and kept the room warm in winter. Water had to be brought in a bucket from a nearby spring, and everyone drank from the same dipper. Two outdoor toilets were built behind the school, one for boys and one for girls. The only playground equipment were homemade seesaws.

One teacher taught all of the grades from one through eight in one room. The total number of pupils averaged about forty. Some were as young as six years, and occasionally one was as old as twenty-one. This was because some older bays and girls who had not had an opportunity to go to school when they were younger wanted to go to school to learn to read and write . The first teacher was Mr. Lonnie Brooks who taught for one year. Between 1892 and 1930 there were twenty-seven teachers in all. Most of them came from outside the valley. A few of them boarded with families in the valley while they were teaching. In 1930 Miss Mabel Scott began to teach and remained at the school until 1955 - a long record! The original school building was replaced by a larger one in 1917. A basement containing a wood burning. furnace was added, also a covered playshed in 1921. In 1936 a wing containing a stage was put on. Two more classrooms were added in 1952 and another two in 1956. Finally, in 1960 the main part of our present school building went up. This section was built of brick. In 1967 the latest addition of the school was added, the north section containing the fifth and sixth grade classrooms.

The first school was called "Christilla", a name formed from the first part of "Christian" and the last part of "Matilda", after the first pioneers in the valley. Later this was changed to "East Mount Scott" and finally to "Happy Valley". (Editor's Note 2004; Happy Valley School has been added onto since and recently underwent a major remodeling of the office and library space. Also a new elementary school has been built off of 129th called Spring Mountain School and also serves the Valley)

Footnote: Research done by Heidi Larson and Patty Wyler

ORIGIN OF NAME: "HAPPY VALLEY"

A descendant of an early settler gives this version:

The valley was referred to as a "Hollow". Boys from the "Hollow" enjoyed drinking Grandpa Deardorff's delicious apple cider before attending church services at Sunnyside and often used to arrive there singing loudly and gaily. Sunnyside dwellers were soon referring to them as "The happy boys from the Hollow," and after awhile the area became known as "HAPPY VALLEY"

(The above is re-printed from the History of Happy Valley produced by Grade Five at Happy Valley School , May 1969)


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