The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

February 26, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: Redmond Gets a Free Golf Course, a Dangerous Curve, and a Shotgun Wedding

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 12:48 am

Last week I began what I am hoping to turn into a regular feature on this Blog; a look at some of the stores I run across in my research through the newspaper archives available on microfilm at the Bellevue Library.  For this week, I originally intended to follow up last week’s look at the newspapers from 50 years ago with a look at the Journal-American  from 25 years ago, but quite frankly, it was boring.  In 1977, the Bellevue American and the East Side Journal (Bellevue and Kirkland’s respective weekly papers) merged to form the Journal-American, which was published daily and began covering world and national news, which seems to have relegated much of the local news to the back pages.  On this particular day in 1984 most of the headlines seemed to have been focused on the presidential primaries (Spoiler alert: Reagan won,) the beginning of Konstantin Chernenko‘s short term as the leader of the Soviet Union (his most notworthy accomplishment seems to have been a retaliatory boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics after the US boycotted the 1980 games in Moscow,) and stories about the Mariners’ Spring Training on the sports page.  Since there wasn’t really much of interest in the Journal-American, I decided to take a look in the library’s fragmented collection of Redmond’s Sammamish Valley News to see what I could find, and I ended up landing in the February 24th, 1966 edition. 

At this time, Redmond was a small but growing community,still based largely on farming, but with designs on bigger and better things.  Microsoft was still 20 years away (the company’s move to its Redmond campus happened in February of 1986) but a plan was in the works to turn what was then undeveloped land into a major regional shopping mall known as Maingate (this plan, which would have covered much of what is now downtown Redmond, obviously never came to fruition) and the town was definitely growing.  After the jump, a look at some of the stories from the February 24th, 1966 edition of the Sammamish Valley News.

Well, that sure was neighborly of them now, wasn’t it?  The front-page headline does of course exaggerate a bit, but only slightly. I always thought it was a bit odd that the Bellevue golf course (located between 140th and 148th near the 7-Eleven and Nintendo’s campus) was practically located in Redmond, but it turns out that back when it was built, it wasn’t exactly located in Bellevue either. Owing to a lack of suitable land within Bellevue itself, it became necessary (well, as necessary as it is to build a municipal golf course in the first place) to build it on unincorporated land that had not yet been claimed by either city (although it was bordered on two sides by the Redmond city limits.)  Eventually the golf course (and much of the surrounding neighborhood) was annexed by the City of Bellevue (I’m not sure when this happened,) but the golf course remains bordered on two sides by Redmond, and is situated much closer to downtown Redmond than it is to downtown Bellevue.  In the meantime, if you’re looking to play a round of golf, the course’s website may be found here.

Also on the front page to accompany the article above was this editorial, warning that a failure to plan for open spaces and parks as the city grows could possibly lead to a similar situation as that which befell Bellevue.  At this time, there actually was a golf course in downtown Redmond (the course was abandoned in the 1980s, and eventually became Redmond Town Center.  I need to research this some more to get exact dates though.)  Eventually, Redmond would get another golf course of its own (now actually 2 18-hole courses and a 9-hole par 3 course)  in Willows Run, which was built on the site of the former Aries Farm in the Sammamish Valley.  The Aries Farm was a large 87 -acre farm that once grew large crops of lettuce, carrots and other vegetables, but  closed down in 1968 as the farms disappeared from the valley.  The Aries Farm was actually the topic of last November’s meeting of the Redmond Historical Society, and the society’s November newsletter has an article which provides a few details on the farm and its history, but does not seem to be available online anywhere.  I have the PDF here, but nowhere to upload it to right now.  If I can find it somewhere, I will update this with a link to the newsletter.

Also from the front page (given the fact that the whole paper seems to be somewhere 8-12 pages total including ads, quite a bit made the front page) is this curve on what is now West Lake Sammamish Parkway, which by this time had developed an apparently well-deserved reputation for being dangerous, with 16 single-car accidents (mostly caused by going into the corner too fast) in 1965, and eight more in less than two months of 1966.  A look at this road in its current form (link goes to seems to suggest that the curve in question is now a lot more gradual now than it appears in this picture, but the HistoricAerials image shows that the layout of this road was the same in 1968 (and 1936 for that matter) as it is today.

Of course, now this area is a lot more developed than it was back in 1966, and there is also much more traffic, 30-35 MPH speed limits on the entire length of the West Lake Sammamish Parkway (with several speed indicator signs to keep drivers honest) and other traffic controls in the area.  Presumably these additional measures have contributed to the fact that I have never heard of this road being anything particularly dangerous until now.  That’s probably a good thing.

Finally, here’s something that isn’t on the front page:  The police log, with a couple of surprisingly lengthy and colorfully written stores of some of the assorted miscreantism going on around town at this time.  I’ll go ahead and refrain from commenting and let the stories as written speak for themselves, but I’ll say that either of these incidents would probably earn you a visit from the friendly neighborhood SWAT team these days, for entirely different reasons.

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