Redmond sits in a fertile basin created by ancient glaciers that once covered much of King County. Thousands of years before the first fur trappers entered the area's dense forests, the rich bottomland of the Sammamish Valley provided shelter and food for Native Americans. Salmon were so abundant in the Sammamish River when the first pioneers arrived in 1871, they called their settlement Salmonberg.
A primary activity for early homesteaders was clearing the vast tracts of towering trees. During the 1880s, loggers who poured into the area built lumber and shingle mills. Their substantial payrolls created a demand for products and services. In 1888, the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway reached the town, and with it, the marketability of the area's timber was insured.
In its logging heydays, Redmond was a rollicking town with a stagecoach office, saloons, and hotels, blacksmiths and eateries. In 1912, the community of 300 needed a modern waterworks system and, in order to tax its thriving saloons, Redmond incorporated. Soon, many new buildings rose in the downtown area, automobiles became a frequent sight on Main Street, the first doctor took up residence in town, and a two-story brick schoolhouse was built.
Logging & Agriculture
As virgin forests were exhausted in the 1920s, local logging faded. In the following decades, agriculture became the mainstay of Redmond's economy. Dairy and chicken farms abounded, and farmers plowed fertile bottomland for profitable truck farms. The town's population grew very little during this period, with many young adults seeking jobs elsewhere during the Depression.
From its earliest days of stagecoaches and steamboats, a natural progression of better roads and dependable transportation helped facilitate the area's growth. In 1963, the Evergreen Point floating bridge was completed, initiating vigorous residential development. This was followed by commercial growth, fueled by a number of high-tech and service industries, that began modestly in the 1970s.
Today, Redmond enjoys a diverse and growing economic base. The community is home to some of the major high-tech firms in the country, including Microsoft, Nintendo of America, Honeywell, General Dynamics Airborne Electronic Systems, and Medtronic Emergency Response Systems. Redmond is also the headquarters of such businesses as Genie Industries. A strong retail sector is enhanced by Redmond Town Center, an open-air mixed-use center featuring 110 stores, 22 restaurants, one hotel, and 600,000 square feet of office space.
From an original incorporated area of three square blocks, the City has expanded to its present size of over 17.25 square miles. Regional growth around the Eastside will continue to impact Redmond as more people and businesses are attracted to the area.