A couple of days ago, I took another trip out to the Bellevue Library to do some research, where I spent some time digging for more info on Crossroads and Factoria. I was able to find a couple of interesting items for Crossroads that at least pin down the timeframe in which it opened and some of the stores that were there, but I’m still finding little useful information on Factoria. As far as Totem Lake goes, I think I’ve gotten about as much info out of the newspapers as I’m going to be able to, and I need to start looking at alternate sources from the various historical societies.
While I was doing this searching, I came across an article from October 1977 in the Bellevue Daily Journal-American about the opening of the 7-Eleven store and associated gas station at the corner of 148th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 51st Street in Redmond, which I pass by every day on the way to work and back, and find myself spending more money than I care to at lately (but I’m not going to go into that subject here.) Although 7-Eleven stores had been selling gasoline since 1971, this particular one was opened in October of 1977, and was the first of a number of planned “Super Seven” stores in the Western United States. While most of the 7-Eleven stores that sell gas around here have just a couple of pumps in front of the store, this station had a full fifteen pumps and its own attendant. Although the 1973 oil crisis had passed by this time (to be followed by a second one in 1979,) it had resulted in the closure of many of the traditional service stations, and caused others to turn to other sources of revenue, from which the now ubiquitous “mini mart” style gas stations sprang up (the article references a combination Arco station and mini-mart located near the interchange of I-405 and Northeast 8th in Bellevue, which remains in operation today.) With gas stations crowding in on 7-Eleven’s territory, it would be only natural that they would take them on at their own game, and as a reult, the Super Seven gas station concept was born to combine a high-volume gas station with a 7-Eleven. By combining the two, it allowed them to place stores on more valuable properties than they might be able to otherwise.
Today the gas station is a Chevron, but remains affiliated with the 7-Eleven store. The farmland which this store was once surrounded by has now become apartments and condos, the City of Bellevue’s municipal golf course and highly sought-after commercial real estate. Nintendo’s corporate campus (as well as that of DigiPen) is found directly behind the 7-Eleven, and Microsoft’s RedWest campus is a short distance away to the North, next to an open field which will undoubtedly become a site of future Microsoft expansion. A lot has changed in this neighborhood since the late Seventies (The expansion of SR520 from 148th to Redmond Way would not be completed until 1979) but all things considered, not much has realy changed on this little bit of land at the corner of 148th and NE 51st.
After the jump, the article from which the above photo came, and some current photos of the 7-Eleven and the gas station.
(From the Bellevue Daily Journal-American, October 11, 1977. As an interesting side note, you can see that the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 840.20 at the time. I’d say it’s gone up a bit since then…)
The 7-Eleven today. The gas station is now a Chevron, and although I don’t know when the change was made, this station has sold Chevron gas for as long as I have lived here in Redmond. The building on the right side of the picture houses DigiPen, and serves as a warehouse for Nintendo.
Another view of the gas station.
If you look above the sign in this picture, you can see the wooden face that was typical for 7-Eleven stores of this era, covered up by the sign.