During the first years of the 20th century, resorts were a haven for the settlers of Sammamish and visitors from Seattle who were attracted by its small lakes and secluded forests. Resorts grew slowly due to the lack of built roads on the plateau. When roads improved in the 1930s, it was a fun and busy time around Beaver and Pine lakes.
The first permanent residents on Beaver Lake were Jake and Nora Lott, who came from Vancouver, B.C. By 1922, the Lotts were renting boats to fishermen. They also operated a small store and dance hall. By the mid-1920s the Beaver Lake Amusement Park was operating on the southwest shore of the lake.
In 1932 Gus and Lulu Bartels bought a large piece of waterfront land on the southwest shore and established the Four Seasons Resort, also known as Bartel’s Resort. The resort was sold to the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle in 1960 for use by the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO.) The CYO established a youth camp there called Camp Cabrini. Camp Cabrini operated until 1985, when King County purchased the site for a park, now known as Beaver Lake Park.
Near the southern end of Sammamish’s city limits was Alexander’s Beach Resort, originally purchased by Thomas Alexander. In 1902, Thomas and his wife, Caroline, built a large house on their 160-acre property which later became known as the Alexander House. In 1917, Caroline decided to open a picnic resort on the property closer to the lake and created Alexander’s Beach Report. The Alexander Beach Resort area is now a group of homes part of the Alexander-on-the-lake development, located near 206th Ave SE.
Pine Lake Resort, on 18 acres, opened in 1917 with five cabins. The cabins were not all small, with some over 1,000 square feet and running water and electricity. It languished until the late 1930s when owner Reiff French dramatically expanded it. He renamed the resort French’s LaPine Resort, but the name didn’t catch on. It was “Pine Lake Resort” to some, “Frenchy’s” to others. French eventually built 15 more cabins, a small grocery store, and a dance hall that was a favorite with square dancers.
French operated the Pine Lake Resort until 1966, when King County bought the property and converted it into what’s now Pine Lake Park.
The Tanska Auto Camp was an early 20th century retreat located on the northwestern shore of Pine Lake from 1918-1940. The camp was owned and operated by the Tanska family, who also owned another 20 acres immediately north, which was operated from the 1920s-1950s as a chicken ranch.