According to its website, Redmond has a rich history. North of lake Sammamish, along the Sammamish river, lies a valley gouged out by glaciers thousands of years before. Native americans inhabited the area for for generations before the arrival of pioneers in 1871. The new arrivals called the area Salmonberg because the river was so rich in the fish. Virgin timber covered the area just like the rest of the northwest. In 1880, the Lake Shore and Eastern Railway rolled into town making the timber easier to transport to markets all over the country. Redmond incorporated in 1912.

Good God! It stays about that exciting for the next seventy years! At least Seattle has the Great Fire and an outbreak of the plague. The next thing to happen near Redmond, was the construction of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. Most of the world only knows of Redmond in relation to the software company that moved their headquarters there in 1985 - Microsoft. However, if you take a look at a map, Microsoft sits on the southwestern edge of the city. A couple blocks over and Microsoft would be in Bellevue. In which case, Redmond would have gotten the same treatment as Bothell. Never heard of Bothell, have you?

Redmond is called "The Bicycle Capital of Washington". As far back as 1939, they've hosted a yearly bike race to raise money for local schools, but I don't generally see more bikes around than the rest of greater Seattle, so I think they're just prevaricating. What surprises me most is how quickly the area reverts to a rural setting outside the city proper. Coming from New York City or even Seattle, I'm used to cities that cover significant acreage and have suburbs around them. Redmond is already a suburb, so a few miles out of downtown in most directions and you're looking at farms and cows!

But never let it be said Microsoft never did anything good, especially for Redmond. Where you would otherwise have a sleepy grouping of malls and housing developements, you instead have a bustling grouping of malls and high-priced housing developments. The shops in those malls look no different than anywhere else, but on closer inspection you'll find some of them stand out. Restaurants several notches above what you'd find elsewhere, furniture shops with better inventory than others in the area. The difference remains subtle enough to go unnoticed until you go down to Tacoma and feel like you've lost something but can't quite put your finger on what.


Sources:
http://www.ci.redmond.wa.us/aboutredmond/historical.asp
http://www.cadman.com/communities/redmond/parks_and_recreation.html

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