Keeping History Alive on Mercer Island  

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"Mercer Island"

From haunted wilderness to coveted community


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Mercer Island Historical Society

Founded 1954

Keeping History Alive on Mercer Island

A Washington State Non-profit Charitable organization with 501(c)(3) status.




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Riley Cove...
A Fitting Honor for a Mercer Island Veteran


Life Magazine image of Huston Riley on D-Day

Young PFC Huston Riley from Mercer Island was among the thousands of Americans who landed on June 6, 1944, part of Operation Overlord. Only one quarter of the soldiers in his unit survived. He is 'the soldier in the surf' immortalized in the June 19 issue of Life Magazine, in one of the most iconic photographs of the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach in Normandy. It would be years later before Huston found out he was the person in the photo.

Wounded in the landing, he recovered and was part of the first wave of invasions in North Africa and Sicily. He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge where he was wounded a second time, this time more seriously. He had been awarded three purple hearts by the end of the war. A member of the Greatest Generation, he was interviewed by Tom Brokaw and is probably Mercer Island's best-known ...continued


Restoring a Piece of History: The Lakeview School Teacher's Cottage

Article by Lisa Thompson
PPYC Board President

Above, l - r: Gary Redmond, Mayor Benson Wong,
Councilmember Craig Reynolds at the site
(Click for larger image)

Pioneer Park Youth Club (commonly referred to as PPYC) is the owner and steward of the 4.3 acre property located at the corner of Island Crest Way and and SE 68th Street. The property is currently home to Sunnybeam Preschool, The Children's Dance Conservatory, and Mercer Island Saddle Club and Pony Club.

In 1918, the King County School District built the Lakeview School. In an effort to attract a school teacher, a 2-room teacher's cottage was built at the same time. There were no bridges on or off the Island in 1918, and Island Crest Way was a dirt road, so commuting to and from the schoolhouse was not an option. The value of the property and schoolhouse in 1918 was about $10,000. The first year of operation, the Lakeview School enrolled 20 students in first through seventh grades. In 1941, Mercer Island formed its own school district and new schools were built. Lakeview students were merged into the newer schools. From its inception, the schoolhouse was also used as a community meeting center and was home to the ...continued


"History at your fingertips!"

Thanks to community donations, we have digitized 26 years' worth of the Mercer Island Reporter, accessible for free on-line -- at mih.stparchive.com. The years currently digitized--and key-word searchable--are: 1968-1985, 1994, 1995, 1997-2000, 2004, and 2005.

A special thank you to the donors who've contributed to our digitization project thus far: Cyclemates Bike, the Kiwanis Club of Mercer Island, the Mercer Island Rotary Club and the Mercer Island Community Fund. We welcome individuals' donations on our "Donate" page.