Seattle Now & Then: The Bank of Redmond

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Redmond reaped its first bank in 1911 at the pioneer corner of Cleveland Avenue and Leary Way. (Courtesy, Kirkland Historical Society)
THEN: Redmond reaped its first bank in 1911 at the pioneer corner of Cleveland Avenue and Leary Way. (Courtesy, Kirkland Historical Society)
NOW: The bank building survives as part of Redmond’s historic core. Homegrown, the present tenant, is an enriched sandwich shop that uses local produce and breads for its savory creations.
NOW: The bank building survives as part of Redmond’s historic core. Homegrown, the present tenant, is an enriched sandwich shop that uses local produce and breads for its savory creations.

With help from Tom Hitzroth, Chair of Redmond’s City Landmark Commission, I can construct a thumbnail history of the Redmond State Bank, one of that community’s designated landmarks. The comely brick structure survives at the northwest corner of Leary Way and Cleveland Street.  Somewhat typical for many community banks, this one has lent its front door a grandeur by cutting the bank’s footprint at the southeast corner of the chosen lot.  This allows the bank to continue with a bold angle its distinguished ways both north up Leary Way, here to the right, and west on Cleveland.  Clearly from this town center in 1912, by walking or riding two blocks or three west on Cleveland, one was soon out of town.

The date I chose for this postcard snap shot is mildly arbitrary.  That is, I intuit the date from experience. A half-dozen locals of some means and/or muscle incorporated the Redmond State Bank on July 28, 1911. Much of the muscle was provided by Clayton Shinstrom and Fred Roberts, who scouted the town’s surrounds for likely customers.  Clayton, according to his son Dick Shinstrom, whom Hitzroth interviewed in 2009, spent a lot of time on his bicycle and row boat canvassing the area and earnestly convincing the potential, but often skeptical, customers, that putting their money in his planned bank was safer than secreting it in the attic or barn.   

Given the widespread pioneer distrust of bankers, the father must have been convincing, for on September 11, 1911, less than two months since the bank’s incorporation, it guarded – and we imagine carefully invested – $10,012 in deposits.  By December the sum had reached over $32,000.  When Seattle Trust and Savings purchased the renamed First National Bank of Redmond in 1976, it held $13 million in deposits and certainly a sentimental corner in the hearts of many of its surviving depositors.   

An early look, ca. 1888, at Redmond's lasting railroad depot built for the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad.
An early look, ca. 1888, at Redmond’s lasting railroad depot built by the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad.
Redmond's Post Office and first brick building.
Redmond’s Post Office and first brick building.

Long before Redmond got its bank, it landed a federal post office and in 1888 its own station on the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad, the line that opened the King County hinterland to more forestry, mining and settlement. The town was named by and for, sort of, its second postmaster, Luke McRedmond. Although Luke dropped the “Mc”, his neighbor, Warren Perrigo, equally a community founder, was not pleased, and apparently the two pioneer families thereafter were at odds. 

In identifying the town’s founder as Luke Redmond, the pioneer’s “Mc” was also dropped by the editors of Washington, a Guild to the Evergreen State, the now out-of-print but still popular depression-era big book of state motor tours.  On page 321 Redmond was included on an alternative route to Seattle from Fall City.  Nearly half of the book’s brief description of Redmond concludes with a fine example of silly human interest.  “Excitement ran high in 1935, when a black bear strayed into town, was treed, and, despite efforts of townspeople and police, sheriff and deputies, remained in the tree three days.”  (We will print directly below the Redmond page from the Washington, a Guide to the Evergreen State.  This is a repeat from last week, because it fits best here.  This big book was written in the late depression, supported by New Deal public works funding,  and published in the early 1940s.)

evergreen-guide-title-page-web

evergreen-guide-p-321-on-redmond-web

WEB EXTRAS

Something to add, boys?   Yes Jean, Ron Edge has put up a half-dozen former east side features, and below those a sample of Redmond Aerials from his collection of prints and/or scans.   These will be dated with a challenge to the readers.  All of aerials include-to-find the Redmond Bank (from this week), Brown’s Garage (from last week) and the two story brick Brown Building. This little hide-and-seek will be followed  by another Edge addition, a verdant panorama of Willowmoor, aka Marymoor.

THEN: With his or her back to the east shore of Lake Sammamish an unidentified photographer recorded this Monohon scene in about 1909, the date suggested by the Eastside Heritage Center, by whose courtesy we use this historical record.

THEN: Snoqualmie Falls appears in full force, probably during a spring runoff.

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THE REDMOND AERIALS – BEGINNING with the  OLDEST from 1934 

[CLICK-CLICK to ENLARGE]

A Laidlaw Aerial of Edmonds from April 6, 1934. It looks south. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
A Laidlaw Aerial of Redmond from April 6, 1934. It looks south. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

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June 14, 1939, looking
June 14, 1939, looking northeast.

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Also from June 14, 1939 and looking north.
Also from June 14, 1939 and looking north.

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May 26, 1946 - looking southeast
May 26, 1946 – looking southeast

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Redmond, 1950 - looking east.
Redmond, 1950 – looking east.

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MORE WILLOWMOOR aka MARYMOOR

First appeared in Pacific Sept. 21, 1986. First appears here last week.
First appeared in Pacific Sept. 21, 1986. First appears here last week.

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A 1921 panorama of WILLOWMOOR. Courtesy of Ron Edge and first published in The Seattle Times.
A 1921 panorama of WILLOWMOOR. Courtesy of Ron Edge and first published in The Seattle Times.  CLICK to ENLARGE

 

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