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Editorial | As time goes by
Today’s issue of the Reporter includes yet another glimpse into the early days of Mercer Island — a bit rough with a lot of tumble. Many people who came to the Island as a getaway from city life in Seattle were independent souls determined to preserve the Island’s rural character. A good many of them decided to stay and make the Island their own community. And as the years passed, many children of those early residents decided to stay as well. Their lives ended up shaping the Island and determining its path toward a place that was and is still a lot less hectic and intense as life across the lake.
The July 5, 1960, incorporation of the city of Mercer Island represented its own kind of Fourth of July — essentially a declaration of independence from possible annexation to the city of Seattle, or worse perhaps, being run by King County. Stories about the loud and troublesome incorporation fight here 50 years ago is a case in point. Just like the first fight for independence, Island residents were not unified in its journey toward “freedom.” The Island was clearly divided between the north and south ends of the Island. The vote taken in early July of 1960 to incorporate into one city finally resolved the issue and eventually brought peace between the north and south.
Then, as now, the resolve of people here to preserve the Island way of life and be in charge of their own destiny was evident. Sometimes we hang on a little too tight to the past. But it is remarkable that now, in a time of unrelenting change, the Island has kept much of its early character.
In honor of these 50 years of cityhood and the upcoming Mercerversary celebration, we have printed several stories about the Island’s ‘pioneers’ and their extended families. Organizers have set up a Web site for those who wish to share stories and remembrances. Organizers also wish to list what families and businesses have been here and for how long.
The great cities of the planet are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. Certainly not everyone would consider 50 years as a city very remarkable. But they do not live here.