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Wright’s Barber Shop, about 1940. (Burrows Collection 1996.11BHS.23)

Featured Article

A Walk in the Past

Article by Bree O'Brien

Photography by Courtesy of Eastside Heritage Center

Originally published in Bellevue Lifestyle

When one feels called to explore, the inclination can be to leave home. To go out into the world and experience a place you haven’t been before. There is immense value in those experiences - but there are other ways to explore. Sometimes you can do so in a place you’ve been many times, right in your own backyard, but through the lens of the past. In Bellevue, that experience is made possible by the Eastside Heritage Center’s Early Bellevue Walking Tour.

It originated in 2013 as EHC and Visit Bellevue partnered in a venture supported by 4Culture to illustrate how downtown Bellevue used to be before massive development. There are currently 24 spots on the tour and EHC is looking to expand in the future. 

Andrew Walsh, EHC’s Executive Director, tells Bellevue Lifestyle that “Including these images (in the tour brochure) help to show just how much things have changed over the years, especially since a lot of the buildings mentioned are gone or significantly changed. It helps demonstrate just how rich and diverse the histories of downtown Bellevue and the entire Eastside are. I have lived here ten years and seen firsthand the rapid change to the area. I love to be able to provide context for folks who, like myself, see a new highrise around every corner. Rooting ourselves in the history of the region in which we live and work is critical to appreciating it today and in the future.”

EHC offers a paid guided walking tour throughout the year (scheduled on an as-needed basis), and provides free guided walking tours each summer. If you just want to explore on your own, a self-guided tour using the downloadable brochure on the EHC website eastsideheritagecenter.org can be very enlightening.

  • Earlier Meydenbauer Bay Bridge dedication, Feb. 11, 1950. (1994.32.07)
  • Employees and customers at Meta Burrows Pharmacy and soda fountain, 1940’s (1996.11.107)
  • Wright’s Barber Shop, about 1940. (Burrows Collection 1996.11BHS.23)