Library program will spotlight Ellis Pond

Special to the Reporter

The Mercer Island Historical Society will collaborate with the Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL) to present a program spotlighting Ellis Pond at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the Mercer Island Library, 4400 88th Ave. SE.

From Mercer Island Heritage by Judy Gellatly: “Close to the center of the Island, on the upland where no such thing would be expected, lies little Ellis Pond. The retreating ice must have scoured out its small bowl and perpetual streams must feed it; the level of the pond changes dramatically with the rainfall but it’s always there.”

In 1973, the city of Mercer Island purchased Ellis Pond and the acre of land around it for $58,000 designating it a city park. The city subsequently purchased more of the surrounding area and in 1977, made a final purchase of two more lots making Ellis Pond part of a five-acre park in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Total cost? $86,000!

Now boardwalks cross the marshes and wetland ecosystem. Taking care of Ellis Pond and the woodland around it hasn’t been a walk in the park but neighbors take pride in and take care of the pond, the wildlife and the park. In 1999 the case of the disappearing ducklings of Ellis Pond was the subject of an article in the Seattle Times. Large-mouth bass, foreign enemies, were decimating the duckling population. Just like our non-native blackberries, introducing the bass to Ellis Pond had unintended consequences.

Event speaker Marcia Mellinger lived next to Ellis Pond from 1994-2014. During that time she worked with the city to resolve issues related to Ellis Pond, organized biannual Friends of Ellis Pond work parties, and over the years, became the unofficial Ellis Pond historian. She is a lawyer and currently lives near Green Lake where, of course, she has become involved in Green Lake restoration projects.

MIVAL artist, Ellen Miller-Wolfe’s paintings of the Ellis Pond area are currently on display at the library, so come early and include a gallery tour with the artist as a docent.

Miller-Wolfe is a longtime resident of Mercer Island. She staffed the Landmarks Board for the city of Seattle, held planning positions in Mercer Island, Bellevue and Kirkland, and directed Startup 425, a regional economic development effort to assist entrepreneurs.

She paints local, Mercer Island places, including Ellis Pond where she, like many Mercer Islanders, enjoys its beauty, wildlife and solitude.