Keeping History Alive on Mercer Island  

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"Mercer Island"

From haunted wilderness to coveted community


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Mercer Island Historical Society

Founded 1954

Keeping History Alive on Mercer Island

A Washington State Non-profit Charitable organization with 501(c)(3) status.



Restoring a Piece of History: The Lakeview School Teacher's Cottage

Article by Lisa Thompson
PPYC Board President

Above, l - r: Gary Redmond, Mayor Benson Wong,
Councilmember Craig Reynolds at the site
(Click for larger image)

Pioneer Park Youth Club (commonly referred to as PPYC) is the owner and steward of the 4.3 acre property located at the corner of Island Crest Way and and SE 68th Street. The property is currently home to Sunnybeam Preschool, The Children's Dance Conservatory, and Mercer Island Saddle Club and Pony Club.

In 1918, the King County School District built the Lakeview School. In an effort to attract a school teacher, a 2-room teacher's cottage was built at the same time. There were no bridges on or off the Island in 1918, and Island Crest Way was a dirt road, so commuting to and from the schoolhouse was not an option. The value of the property and schoolhouse in 1918 was about $10,000. The first year of operation, the Lakeview School enrolled 20 students in first through seventh grades. In 1941, Mercer Island formed its own school district and new schools were built. Lakeview students were merged into the newer schools. From its inception, the schoolhouse was also used as a community meeting center and was home to the ...continued



On the Other Side of the Locked Gate

Article and Photos by Jane Meyer Brahm

One of the cabins at North Star Lodge

The late May Freeman told of summers at North Star wearing her woolen swimsuit, rowing down the lake to pick blackberries, swimming across the lake and…looking for deer while driving the curves of East Mercer Way.   Some things never change.   

It would be difficult to find a privately owned seven-acre chunk of Mercer Island more unchanged from the old days than the North Star Lodge property.  In the 6000 block of east Mercer Way, past the padlocked gate and the vintage North Star sign is a place where time has stood still.

A narrow drive snakes down the wooded slope past 13 cabins built between 1924 and 1954, each one unique.  At the bottom of the road, the slope levels out to 166 feet of waterfront and a large pavilion. 

In 1926, the International Order of the Good Templars in Seattle, a local temperance organization with deep roots in Swedish heritage bought the property for $5,000.   That year ...continued


"History at your fingertips!"

Thanks to community donations, we have digitized 26 years' worth of the Mercer Island Reporter, accessible for free on-line -- at mih.stparchive.com. The years currently digitized--and key-word searchable--are: 1968-1985, 1994, 1995, 1997-2000, 2004, and 2005.

A special thank you to the donors who've contributed to our digitization project thus far: Cyclemates Bike, the Kiwanis Club of Mercer Island, the Mercer Island Rotary Club and the Mercer Island Community Fund. We welcome individuals' donations on our "Donate" page.