"One-stop shopping" is a phrase that most Redmond residents probably associate with Target or Fred Meyer.
But the concept of ultimate purchasing convenience was actually introduced to the town several years before these retail giants opened their first shops. In 1913, Bill Brown, one of Redmond's first mayors, built a two-story brick structure at the corner of Cleveland Street and Leary Way Northeast.
The first floor housed a saloon, ice cream parlor and undertaker. Upstairs was a dance hall that sometimes doubled as a brothel.
"You could get everything a logger or miner could possibly want," said local history buff Tom Hitzroth. "And if you croaked in the process, you could get buried.”
The Brown Building, now home to the Matador restaurant, is a centerpiece to the Redmond Historical Society's , which will resume at 1 p.m. Sunday. Hitzroth, who has led the periodic tours since 2003, said he strives to provide an educational experience that gives people a greater understanding and appreciation of the town's history.
The tours begin at the Justice White House, a building that opened in 1889 as the Hotel Redmond and currently houses an architecture firm. Hitzroth then leads the tours up Leary Way past Cleveland Street and up to Redmond Way, sharing historic photos of the town's landmarks along the way.
In just a few blocks, Hitzroth stops by about a dozen buildings, telling stories along the way of lumber and labor, boom and bust, preservation and paranormal activity.
“This is really the heart of what made the city what it is,” he said.
Hitzroth, 62, is a state government employee who has spent many years researching Redmond's landmarks. Along the way, he's unearthed many surprises, including the fact that he is related through marriage to the builder of the .
But Hitzroth, who has spent his whole life living in Kirkland, does not have many personal ties to Redmond. He said the town's level of preservation is what drew him in to its history.
“This city is remarkable in the way they have blended the old and the new, and re-adapted the new to the old,” he said. “Preservation efforts in this city have been very, very good.”
Hitzroth's tour goes beyond a simple now-and-then comparison. The stories he tells reveal the way the town has adapted the change over the years and began fighting for its preservation several decades ago.
At the Justice White House, Hitzroth tells of how Emma McRedmond, White's wife and the daughter of the town's namesake, is rumored to have provided some less-than-wholesome services in an effort to keep the hotel afloat in the 1930s. At Bill Brown's Garage, now home to the downtown liquor store, there are stories of how Redmond's blacksmiths shifted their business model to accommodate the budding auto industry.
And back at Brown's Building, Hitzroth mentions how the brick structure was masked by a wooden false front for many years. Apparently the forest was so thick at the town's inception that Redmond's settlers were forced to cut down trees to prevent them from falling on homes and businesses.
"It was almost a matter of paying people to take them off your hands," Hitzroth said.
Debra Sinick, a local real estate agent who attended one of the walking tours a few years ago, said she appreciated the vast array of information that was presented.
“It’s just interesting to see how these buildings have changed so much,” she said.
The tours are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 19 and Sept. 18 but will be canceled in the event of rain. For more information, visit the historical society's website or call 425-885-2919.