Mercer Island

Mercer Island

Mercer island is the largest island in Lake Washington and the most populated island in a lake in all of the United States. The island is off the western shore of Bellevue, separated by a thin channel of water. It is east of Seattle—it was at one time host to a town named East Seattle, in fact. Access to the island was available by ferryboat at one point, but it is now served only by private boats via water and by the Interstate 90 bridges by car, foot or bike.

Mercer Island began its habited days with the arrival of Seattle’s Mercer boys, a local family. It was then built up into a summer resort, and remained as a sort of retreat for wealthy Seattleites until it became their permanent homes. It is the wealthiest city in Washington State based on per capita income and is well known for the affluence of the island. The entire island is a single city. The town of Mercer Island and the city of East Seattle merged in 1960 to form the single city of Mercer Island.

The city maintains a large amount of parks on the island, including the Luther Burbank Park, which contains a public shoreline. Considering the entire island is only two miles wide and five miles long, the ample parks make for a nice benefit for island residents. Many of them, however, have their own waterfront spaces, as the shape of the island offers the ability to maximize the shoreline.

The island is not a place that pulls in visitors for many large events on the island, nor for much else—it tends to be fairly insular, with residents leaving the island more often than outsiders are arriving. That said, it is a popular destination for weekend bicyclists, who ride to or over the island via the Interstate 90 bridge, or around the island, on a looping bike path. Because of its island location, residents tend to be big into boating and the East Channel, between Bellevue and Mercer Island is a popular and crowded area for waterskiers, fishermen and pleasure boaters.

Islanders mainly leave the island for work and there is little commerce on the island other than a few small commercial districts with shops and restaurants. It does have its own school district, however, and one that is well known for excellent academics at that. The district contains a number of elementary schools, though all residents attend the same public middle and high school. There are a few preschools and private schools on the island as well, including the Northwest Yeshiva High School, which is fitting for the island’s large Jewish population.