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Hidden History in Downtown Bellevue

September 6, 2018 - by Lexi Roberts

Category What's Happening

Hidden History in Downtown Bellevue

When asked which Eastside city was first incorporated, most would immediately answer Bellevue. With glittering skyscrapers, a booming business hub and a growing downtown residential community it’s a fair guess, however incorrect. While Bellevue is one of the largest cities in Washington State today, it wasn't incorporated until 1953, decades after its neighboring cities of Kirkland in 1905 and Redmond in 1912.

In recent year’s Bellevue has transformed tremendously and signs of the city’s roots are not always easy to see. With a careful eye, there are pieces of Bellevue’s history hidden throughout Downtown. Here are a few Bellevue hidden history spots to look out for the next time your strolling around Downtown.

The Philbrook House:

Tucked away behind the Gordon James Fine Diamonds Store on Main Street in Old Bellevue is a historical sign for the Philbrook House that once stood there. Built in 1890, the Victorian style home was named for one of its first owners, Civil War veteran Alphonse W. Philbrook and housed many businesses. One of its most notable businesses was a popular lunchtime restaurant for the whalers of the American Pacific Whaling Company who winterized their boats in Meydenbauer Bay.

Eastside Heritage Center created the sign that is framed with original pieces of the house.


Overlake Elementary School Wall in Downtown Bellevue Park:

Ever notice the wall that runs through the inner circle of the Bellevue Downtown Park? It outlines where Overlake Elementary School once stood. Before the land became Bellevue’s beloved Downtown Park it was the site for various Bellevue schools.

There are many hidden history sites throughout Bellevue. The next time you’re walking around the city, challenge yourself to find them. You may be surprised by what you find!


Learn More About Bellevue's History:

Interested in learning more about Bellevue’s history? Eastside Heritage Center is a terrific resource and is holding an Early Bellevue Walking Tour on Thursday, September 6 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Interested attendees can find out more about the event on their Facebook. The tour is built to be self-guided and can be downloaded online.

Photos courtesy Eastside Heritage Center.