A brick building, Redmond’s first bank, has stood for more than 100 years in a city named for Luke McRedmond, one of its first settlers and its second postmaster.
WITH HELP FROM Tom Hitzroth, chair of Redmond’s City Landmark Commission, I can construct a thumbnail history of the Redmond State Bank, one of the community’s designated landmarks.
The brick structure survives at the corner of Leary Way and Cleveland Street. Somewhat typical for many community banks, this one has lent its front door a grandeur by cutting the bank’s footprint at the southeast corner of the lot. This allows the bank to continue with a bold angle its distinguished ways, north up Leary Way, here to the right, and west on Cleveland. Clearly, from this town center in 1912, by walking or riding two or three blocks west on Cleveland, one was soon out of town.
The date I chose for this postcard snapshot is mildly arbitrary. That is, I intuited the date from experience. A half-dozen locals of some means and/or muscle incorporated the Redmond State Bank on July 28, 1911. Much of the muscle was provided by Clayton Shinstrom and Fred Roberts, who scouted the town’s surroundings for likely customers. Clayton, according to his son, Dick Shinstrom, whom Hitzroth interviewed in 2009, spent a lot of time on his bicycle and in his rowboat canvassing the area and earnestly convincing the potential, but often skeptical, customers that putting their money in his planned bank was safer than secreting it in the attic or barn.
Given the widespread pioneer distrust of bankers, he must have been convincing, for on Sept. 11, 1911, less than two months after the bank’s incorporation, it guarded $10,012 in deposits. By December, the sum had reached more than $32,000. When Seattle Trust and Savings purchased the renamed First National Bank of Redmond in 1976, it held $13 million in deposits and certainly a sentimental corner in the hearts of many of its surviving depositors.
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Long before Redmond got its bank, it landed a federal post office, and in 1888 its own station on the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad, the line that opened the King County hinterland to more forestry, mining and settlement. The town was named by and for, sort of, its second postmaster, Luke McRedmond, who dropped the “Mc.” His neighbor, Warren Perrigo, equally a community founder, was not pleased, and apparently the two pioneer families thereafter were at odds.