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For Hitzroth, old Redmond is what it’s all about these days
Tom Hitzroth lives in Kirkland — but he’s fascinated with Redmond.
He’d probably be close friends with Warren Wentworth Perrigo and Capt. Luke McRedmond if he met up with the area’s first homesteaders in 1871.
Today, the 65-year-old Hitzroth spends a good chunk of his time poring over maps and old photos to piece together Redmond’s past. He’ll kick off the Redmond Historical Society’s Saturday Speaker Series with his presentation, “Lost Redmond: Once Here, Long Gone,” from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Sept. 14 at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, 16600 N.E. 80th St.
“I’m interested in how we got here — not what happened after. From 1930 on, I leave to other people,” Hitzroth said.
The historian said the area was known as Melrose in 1881 (a name Perrigo was familiar with from his days in Maine) and then changed to Redmond in 1883.
From 1874-88, the settlement was located in what is now the Bear Creek Value Village area.
In 1888, the Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern Railway came to town as the logging industry expanded and Redmond moved to its current “old town” location.
Redmond was incorporated in 1912.
One thing Hitzroth will be focusing on during his talk is the jail that once sat on 164th Avenue Northeast near the Bank of Washington drive-thru.
“Last year, I was looking over a 1908 map, looking for something else, and I tripped over it (the jail) and I got curious,” Hitzroth said. “I saw this little square (on the map) and I said, ‘What the heck is that?’”
The word “lockup” appeared on the Sanborn Insurance map and he learned that it was indeed a jail.
According to maps, the jail was still there in 1926 and 1927, but wasn’t included on a Sanborn map in 1930.
Once here, long gone — just like the title of Hitzroth’s speech implies.
Post offices are also big on the speaker’s history list. The location of Redmond’s first one is unknown, Hitzroth said, but it was up and running from 1881-1882 and Adam Tosh was the first postmaster.
Hitzroth will cover some of the history of Redmond’s six post office locations on Sept. 14.
While Hitzroth is certainly intrigued with Redmond’s past, what does he think of the city these days?
“I think it’s great the way the city is turning out. They (city leaders) appreciate where they come from — doing all this new development with the idea of preserving old town as part of its historical character,” said Hitzroth, noting that he approves of the way Redmond’s planners have reused old buildings instead of tearing them down.
Former Redmond mayor and current historical society president Chris Himes hopes the Saturday Speaker Series will get people interested in the culture and history of Redmond.
Himes, who was mayor from 1980-1984 and was a City Council member from 1976-1980, lived in Redmond for 40 years before moving to her current residence in Monroe.
“When I was mayor, I left with 19 parks and a trail system and now we have (31) parks,” Himes, 84, said. “I’m happy that I started that, and I’m happy that Rosemarie (Ives) and Doreen (Marchione) continued that ... hanging on to the environment.”