Redmond, Washington
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History of Redmond, Washington

Native Americans had settled in the Redmond area 3,000 years ago, and the first white settlers arrived in the 1870s. Luke McRedmond filed a homestead claim for land next to the Sammamish River on September 9, 1870, and the following year Warren Perrigo took up land adjacent to him. The rivers and streams had so many salmon that the settlement was initially named Salmonberg. More settlers came, and with the establishment of the first post office in 1881, the name of the community was changed to Melrose. The new name was taken from the Perrigos' successful inn, Melrose House, which upset McRedmond. After becoming postmaster, he successfully petitioned to have the name changed to Redmond in 1883.

The abundant forests and fish of Redmond provided jobs for loggers and fishermen, and with those jobs came demand for goods and services, bringing in merchants. The logging industry expanded significantly with the building of a railroad through town. The first plat for Redmond was filed on May 11, 1891, encompassing much of the area now known as downtown. After reaching the necessary population of 300, Redmond was incorporated on December 31, 1912.

Redmond faced an economic downturn in the 1920s. Prohibition forced saloons to close, cutting off a large portion of the city's tax base. The forests were dwindling after heavy logging, causing lumber mills to shut down. Fortunately, the deforested land was suitable for farming. Agriculture became Redmond's primary business, keeping residents fed during the Great Depression. When the U.S. entered World War II, shipyard jobs and other wartime work came to Redmond.

After the war, Redmond's growth began in earnest. The city grew over thirty times larger in area through annexations between 1951 and 1967. The completion of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge across Lake Washington in 1963 allowed Redmond to flourish as a suburb of Seattle. In 1978, the U.S. Census Bureau proclaimed Redmond the fastest growing city in the state. Many technology companies made the city their home, and the increasing population demanded more retail shops. Redmond underwent a commercial boom during the 1990s, culminating in 1997 with the opening of Redmond Town Center, a major regional shopping center on the site of a long-defunct golf course. In recent years the city has been experiencing growing pains as a result of its strong growth, mostly in the areas of urban sprawl and traffic congestion. These problems are being mitigated by the expansion of SR520 and the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, as well as eventual light rail service from Seattle to Redmond during the second phase of Sound Transit.

For more information, visit the Redmond Historical Society.

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