How the Bellevue years go by
• The 1900 census records a population of about 100 in the Killarney area, 100 around Meydenbauer Bay, and 200 in the Medina, Points and Clyde Hill communities.
• The first church — First Community Church, later named the First Congregational Church — is built at what is now 108th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Eighth Street. The building was razed in 1958 to build a larger church).
• The Wilburton wooden railroad trestle is completed.
• Bellevue is platted and recorded by Oliver Franz and William Raine.
• The First Baptist Church is built and still stands at 315 100th Ave. N.E.
• The Wilburton School property is bought by School District No. 49 from Mary Gruber for $250.
• The Village of Beaux Arts is established as an artists' colony by the Beaux Arts Society on Johnson's Wharf; it becomes one of Bellevue's first residential communities.
• A road is built from Main Street to Kirkland.
• Greater Bellevue's population is 1,500.
• Wilburton, the name derived from Wilbur and England logging camp, becomes the boom town of the Eastside at the head of Mercer Slough.
• A road connecting Bellevue to Redmond on 120th Avenue Northeast is built.
• Electric lights come to Bellevue.
• The opening of the Lake Washington Ship Canal permits access to Puget Sound and brings new business to Bellevue.
• Local resident William Schupp, head of the American Pacific Whaling Fleet, begins storing his whaling ships in Meydenbauer Bay off-season.
• Population reaches 2,500.
• Washington Alien Land Law is enacted, forbidding Japanese from owning land. Many cleared stumps, brush and trees in exchange for use of land. (Kinpachi Furukawa and Tokuo Numoto were two first-generation immigrants who had purchased land in Bellevue before this law was enacted.)
• The wooden East Channel Bridge connecting Mercer Island and the east shore of Lake Washington at Enatai is completed.
The first annual Strawberry Festival is held behind the Main Street School. The Eastside was famous for growing the finest strawberries, the chief crop of many Japanese-American farmers.
• Bellevue Way (then Lincoln Avenue) is paved from Main Street to Northeast Eighth Street and opened as a county arterial, causing a shift in the commercial area from Main Street to the north.
• Miller Freeman and family move from Seattle to a 14-room mansion on Groat's Point in Medina.
• Union "S" High School, Bellevue's first high school, is built on 102nd Avenue Northeast between Northeast First and Northeast Fourth streets.
• Lake Washington Boulevard from Kirkland to Renton is paved.
• Meta Jacobson Burrows, a pharmacist, opens Meta's Drug Store on Main Street (Lakeside Drug) and School Street (now 102nd Avenue Northeast). When it closed in 1979, the store was Bellevue's oldest continually operating business.
• Lacey V. Murrow (Mercer Island) Floating Bridge opens July 2.
• Bellevue Airfield is founded by Arthur Nordhoff east of 156th Avenue Southeast and north of Sunset Highway (now Interstate 90).
• Last Strawberry Festival, since the Japanese Americans were shipped to relocation camps. Pre-war, 55 Japanese-American families had farms totaling 472 acres in Bellevue.
Kemper Freeman Sr. gets permission to use lumber (precious during wartime) for the construction of the 560-seat Bel-Vue Theatre, the first building on the Bellevue Square site, to improve home-front morale. Construction begins mid-1945.
Kemper Freeman opens Bellevue Square, the first regional suburban shopping center in the Pacific Northwest.
• Carl Pefley, a restaurateur, organizes the first Arts and Crafts Fair under the large madrona tree in front of his restaurant, the Crabapple. It will become one of the largest outdoor art shows in the U.S.
• Lee Dennison plants blueberries on land along Mercer Slough, which becomes Overlake Blueberry Farm.
• Whaling ships leave Meydenbauer Bay when American Pacific Whaling goes bankrupt.
• Tolls are removed from the Mercer Island Floating Bridge.
• Population in Greater Bellevue reaches 8,000.
• The Leschi, the last of the mosquito fleet of ferries operating on Lake Washington, takes its final run.
• The Overlake School District changes its name to Bellevue School District and receives first-class school-district status. Overlake High School's name is changed to Bellevue High.
• A ballot to incorporate the city of Bellevue is defeated 92 to 72.
• The King County Planning Commission publishes a comprehensive study/plan for Bellevue — a first sign Bellevue is seen as an urban center not just a rural suburb.
• Citizens vote for incorporation and a council-manager form of government on March 24.
• Bellevue is incorporated March 31 as a third-class city with a population of 5,940 and a land area of about 5 square miles.
• The City Council elects Charles Wesley Bovee as Bellevue's first mayor and hires Evan Peterson as the first city manager.
• City planners adopt a plan limiting the height of buildings in the city center to 40 feet.
• Voters approve a $1.3 million bond measure to build new schools and $1 million for a new water system.
• Medina and Hunts Point incorporate.
• The Lake Hills community opens with six display homes (to grow, eventually, to 4,000 homes over 1,200 acres, the largest planned community in the Northwest at that time).
• The Arts and Crafts Fair becomes the "Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Fair."
• First traffic light installed at Main Street and Bellevue Way.
• Sammamish High School opens.
• Overlake Memorial Hospital is completed and opens.
• Crossroads Shopping Center opens at 156th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Eighth Street.
• Voters approve a $575,000 levy to establish a junior college.
• The Albert D. Rosellini Memorial Bridge (Evergreen Point Floating Bridge) opens, the second floating bridge over Lake Washington.
• Interstate 405 takes shape.
• Bellevue Community College opens on Newport High School's campus (in portable buildings) with about 450 students and 40 faculty members.
• Bellevue's first "skyscraper," the 400 Building, is completed at 108th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Fourth Street.
• Bellevue's Municipal Golf Course opens.
• Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra is founded by R. Joseph Scott.
• Youth Eastside Services (Y.E.S.) begins operation.
• Bellevue's population is 29,500.
• The Fisher Farm is purchased to become Kelsey Creek Park. Lake Hills, Eastgate and the 1,500-acre Sammamish Annexation area are annexed by Bellevue.
• The Paccar Building (Business Center Building, at 777 106th Ave. Northeast) is completed. It is the tallest building downtown at the time.
• Annexations bump the population to 61,196, making Bellevue the state's fourth-largest city.
• Meydenbauer is annexed.
• Ground is broken for Eastgate Plaza.
• The $3 million Eastside Medical Center opens in Overlake Park.
• The Lake Hills Connector is opened, and the two concrete-and-steel sections of the Wilburton Trestle added.
• The steel-girder Burlington Northern Bridge is replaced with a tunnel under Interstate 405 at the Wilburton interchange.
• Bellevue Art Museum opens.
• The Journal American is founded, combining the Eastside Journal and the Bellevue American, both acquired by Longview Publishing.
• Tolls are removed from the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge.
• Groundbreaking for what will become a $142 million redevelopment of Bellevue Square.
• Eastside Catholic High School opens across from Bellevue Square.
• Bellevue's population is 73,903.
• Downtown Business Ordinance raises building-height limitations 300 feet, or 25 stories. The goal is to concentrate new office, retail and financial services and save residential neighborhoods from development pressure.
• The new East Channel Bridge is completed.
• Bellevue's population is 75,500.
• Bellevue Art Museum opens at the third level of the new Bellevue Square.
• Bellevue Airfield closes and is converted to an office park. • The 24-story Skyline Tower Building (10900 N.E. Fourth Street) and the 21-story One Bellevue Center building (411 108th Ave. N.E.) are completed.
• The Bellevue School District sells its 17-acre downtown site to the city of Bellevue for park land. The Union S School building, Bellevue Junior High and Bellevue Elementary were all located here.
• Bellevue's Metro Transit Center opens at Northeast Sixth Street and 108th Avenue Northeast.
• Construction started at the first high-rise residential building in Bellevue: the Penny Farthing Project at 108th Avenue Northeast northeast of Northeast Eighth Street.
• Bellevue's population is 80,250.
• The City Council votes to buy the former Ashwood School on Northeast 12th Street for the Bellevue Regional Library site and an adjoining park.
• Phase I of the Bellevue Downtown Park (Bellevue Way Northeast and Northeast Fourth Street) opens.
• The Strawberry Festival is revived by the Bellevue Historical Society.
• The first portion of the downtown pedestrian corridor is completed (Northeast Sixth Street).
• Construction begins on the largest single-phase commercial project, Bellevue Place, planned to have 800,000 feet of office, retail and hotel rooms built around exterior and interior public open space.
• Nan Campbell is elected mayor, the first woman in Bellevue to hold that title.
• First phase of Bellevue Place (10400 N.E. Eighth St.) opens, including the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the 21-story Seafirst Bank Tower.
• Construction begins on Meydenbauer Convention Center (Northeast Sixth Street and 112th Avenue Northeast).
• Ground broken for new Bellevue Regional Library.
• Bellevue annexes Lake Heights and Factoria.
• Meydenbauer Center, with a 36,000-square-foot exhibition hall and 410-seat theater, opens at Northeast Sixth Street and 112th Avenue Northeast.
• Bellevue annexes Newport Hills, gaining 800 acres and 5,400 people.
• The City Council votes to buy Meydenbauer Marina from Bill Lagen for $6.5 million to turn it into a park.
• The city annexes Enatai, an affluent 43-acre neighborhood with 296 residents just north of Interstate 90 on Lake Washington.
• Bellevue Galleria retail complex is completed, viewed as a key piece in revitalizing downtown.
The 22-story KeyCenter office building is completed.
• Bellevue Art Museum opens in its new building at 510 Bellevue Way.
• Bellevue Historical Society and Marymoor Museum officially merge to form Eastside Heritage Center.
• Lincoln Square is under construction, a $360 million, mixed-use project across the street from Bellevue Square.
• Eastside office vacancy rates jump from 2 to 10 percent with the dot-com bust.
• The newly expanded downtown Bellevue Transit Center (BTC) "reopens" with 12 bays.
• The City Council approves purchase of the Qwest Communications building at 450 110th Ave. N.E. for $29 million to serve as new Police and Fire Department headquarters and, possibly, a new city hall.
Timeline information from Historylink.org and Eastside Heritage Center via the city of Bellevue.