There are many families who make up the history of Sammamish. We have had a myriad of backgrounds and individuals who make up what we see today.
Jacob Reard, who built his farmhouse and barn in 1895, was a successful farmer who later moved to Eastern Washington. The Reard farm went through several owners, including Olaf Skogman, a Swedish immigrant who created a gathering place for the community, including a large room on the second floor used for dances. In 1928, Oscar and Dorothy Freed acquired the property, commuting from Seattle where they ran the Rainier Valley Food Store. By the early 1930s, the Freeds moved to the farm, which had a whiskey still and a few cattle on it. They built a chicken house and operated the Mountain View Poultry Farm. They also raised Hereford cattle.
In 1914, C. J. Sween established a 20-acre poultry farm on the Sammamish Plateau. Though initially wanting to run a dairy farm, he realized most of his land wasn’t suitable for grazing because of all the logged-off stumps, ferns, and gravel. He expanded to 300 acres by 1940, stretching south and west from near today’s intersection of SE 4th Street and 228th Avenue SE in Sammamish. Sween (pronounced “Swinn”) raised laying hens, but when his son Bill Sween took over the farm’s operation in 1940, he switched the operation to raising commercially-sold fryers. The farm closed its operations in 1965. A portion of their land is now the Sammamish Commons Park.
By the time the Sweens closed their farm, the High Lonesome Ranch was in full swing several miles away. Chris Klineburger bought 50 acres along and just east of 244th Avenue NE, by Allen Lake, in 1960. He also built a “frontier town” to provide people with a taste of the West. Frontier Town and the ranch consisted of the Lavender Horse Saloon, a bunkhouse, a working blacksmith shop, a smokehouse, a meat processing area and lots of horses.
Klineburger established the High Lonesome Riders club at his ranch in 1965. The club offered all kinds of trail rides that were tailored to a range of skill levels, including long and challenging pack trips. The club had 99 members and 120 horses just a year after its inception, reflecting the popularity of this type of recreation.
Klineburger and his brothers, Gene and Bert, also operated a well-known taxidermy studio in Seattle, and booked hunting trips worldwide. Their clients included singer/cowboy Roy Rogers, astronaut Wally Schirra, and Texas politician John Connally. The ranch thrived into the 1970s, but by the 1980s its heyday had passed.
Minnie and Earl Baker purchased the property now known as the Laurels subdivision in 1914. With the help of some cowboys, they drove their herd of 6 dairy cows from Seattle to the farm. They sold dairy products from what they lovingly called the Elm Gate Farm. They also had a large poultry business raising S.C. White Leghorns. Their son, Ed, had the job of mixing up a complex chicken meal recipe to feed the flock.
The Bakers helped build the old one-room Pine Lake School, which was located near present day Discovery Elementary. Later the schoolhouse was used as a cabin at French’s Resort. Minnie Baker, herself, taught at Pine Lake School.