The Dream Theater

This is the Dream Theater from 1912 in Kent, WA.

Silent movies were a great source of entertainment for the community. Before this, The Magic Lantern was a light source device that would project images on the wall. Many were hand painted and photographs. With the use of live music, and constantly moving pictures, theaters became very popular. The Dream Theater used a pianola to add music to the movie. Also called a piano player, it had pre-programmed music recorded on metallic rolls. But, the trick is that there has to be a pianola player to push the pedals of the instrument. That became the main source of employment for musicians back in this time. But, the pianola player had to be careful. On the opening night of a thriller show, the scenes would be so terrifying that the pianola player would stop playing out of shock! Therefore, you would never want to go to the opening night of a thriller, because you knew the music would be unpredictable.

“A Wee Bit of Ireland”

We have a very faded newspaper article that we thought was fitting for St. Patrick’s Day!  This story, we believe, was originally published in Kent’s “Daily Record Chronicle” in 1978. We retyped it so it was legible.


“A wee bit of Ireland”

by Deeann Glanser

When the 32-year-old native of Ireland first saw the Valley in 1861, he fell in love with it.

Dennis Mullen had left his homeland when he was 16, stayed two years in Boston, then journeyed to Australia where he spent the next 14 years raising cattle.

But once he saw the Green River Valley, he stayed. The Irish immigrants were among the first settlers here.

‘He was awed by the beauty of the scene and his mind reached out to the future, visioning this region when it would be transformed by the hand of man, when these solitudes would be broken and forests swept aside,’ wrote Clarence Bagley in his 1929 history.

Mullen and many other Irish pioneers are buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, a hillside with aging stone markers where the solitude is broken by the drone of nearby rush-hour traffic. About six new graves a year are dug here.

A circular drive through the two-acres is overgrown with grass and clover. The cemetery overlooks the Boeing Space Center, the place where once was the town of O’Brien.

Most of the names on the weathered stones are Irish, with many of them proclaiming the Irish county from which the pioneer came- Limrick, Galway, Donegail.

The largest monument there was erected by Patrick Hayes, who was born in County Limrick in 1833. Twenty-four years later he leased two acres in the Valley to grown onions. Then, like Mullan, her bought land, raised hops and other crops, and prospered.

Hayes reportedly spent $9,500 for the granite markers in 1909. The statue was made in Italy, and the 12-foot monument was shipped here, in pieces, by railroad, then hauled by horses to the site. A three-foot cross which topped the monument has been gone about 10 years.

Next to the Hayes plot is a Celtic cross and a row of plain stones marking the graves of the Catholic brothers who ran the Biscoe school for orphans.

The Hayes farm was once acclaimed as the showplace of O’Brien. But nothing now remains at 212th & 68th streets of the predominately Irish community.

“There was a post office, a railroad depot, two groceries, a pickle and a cheese factory, two saloons and a school,” recalls Clara Yambra, granddaughter of Terence O’Brien for whom the town was named.

The town’s business area collapsed when the Interurban [train] between Seattle and Tacoma folded and supermarkets opened in Kent.

Although the Irish had a close-knit community, the early day observances of St. Patrick’s Day were quiet- at least during the day, said John Mullen, nephew of pioneer Dennis Mullen.

“But we wore green neckties or shamrocks to go out to town or to work.”

And why do so many non-Irish people try to mask their nationalities in green today?

“They like to join the people that are celebrating and have a good time, too,” Mullen added.

And as for the second-generation Mullen, his celebration will be wearing a green necktie.

St. Patrick’s Cemetery

Early Kent Money

Today while scanning, we ran across some fascinating currency from the early 1900’s backed by the Bank of Kent!
“Generally, a central bank or treasury is solely responsible within a state or currency union for the issue of banknotes. However, this is not always the case, and historically the paper currency of countries was often handled entirely by private banks. Thus, many different banks or institutions may have issued banknotes in a given country. Commercial banks in the United States had legally issued banknotes before there was a national currency; however, these became subject to government authorization from 1863 to 1932. In the last of these series, the issuing bank would stamp its name and promise to pay, along with the signatures of its president and cashier on a preprinted note. By this time, the notes were standardized in appearance and not too different from Federal Reserve Notes.”
We also have some coins that were used at a store in Orilla that they struck themselves and were only good at their store. This was a common practice in more rural areas.