Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cruising The East Channel – East Mercer Island and Southwest Bellevue

Lake Washington

Page numbers on the map refer to Lake Washington 130 Homes. This area covers pages 68 to 80.
This Lake Washington area east of Mercer Island is “The East Channel.” Some of the area’s most notable mansions include “Southpointe,” the home of the “Bella Rosa” yacht, a mansion barged from Madison Park in the 1940s, and homes in the “Venice of Lake Washington.” The previous 2/16/12 post has more information on these and other homes.
The landmark property at the southern tip of Mercer Island is appropriately known as “Southpointe.” From here there are fabulous views of the lake and Mount Rainier.
Around the point and northeast are the Mercer Island Beach Club and the 9 acre Clarke Beach Park. The 2 acre Beach Club is a member-owned private club and offers members tennis, beach and pool swimming, a clubhouse for club and private parties and boat moorage. The park offers picnicking, fishing and swimming.
Across the channel in Renton is the 19 acre Seahawks headquarters and practice facility which opened in 2008. The facility is state-of-the-art and considered one the NFL’s top 3 team facilities. It has one indoor and four outdoor full-size football fields plus administrative offices, gyms, rooms for lockers, training, dining and conferences and a 146-seat auditorium. The buildings have 113,000 square feet.
The I-90 East Channel Bridge connects Mercer Island to Bellevue. The first bridge here was completed in 1923 and provided the first road off the island. Estates were soon established on the east side of Mercer Island. The first bridge was torn down and one span of the current bridge was built in 1940. The second span was opened in 1992 as part of the I-90 system.
South of the bridge is on the east side of the channel is the mouth of Kelsey Creek and Mercer Slough. The creek is the main tributary to Lake Washington between the 520 Bridge and the south end of the lake. Mercer Slough Park adjacent to the lake is about 300 acres and the largest natural wetland on Lake Washington. Canoes and kayaks for exploring the slough can be rented at Enatai Beach Park under the I-90 bridge.
South of the Kelsey Creek is Newport Shores, “The Venice of Lake Washington.” To the immediate north of the bridge is Beaux Arts Village. It is classified as a town and, with a population of 300, is the smallest municipal jurisdiction in King County. It was founded in 1908 as an artists’ colony and is now a very affluent area.
Luther Burbank Park is on the northeast end of Mercer Island with spectacular views of Lake Washington. It is 77 acres with 4,000 feet of waterfront. There is ample free day moorage at park’s docks. Park amenities include a large children’s play area, an off-leash dog area, group picnic areas, tennis courts, a public boat dock and fishing pier, a swimming beach with lifeguard and an amphitheater.
(This is the seventh chapter [go to next chapter] of our “Lake Washington Cruising” article. The chapters are being posted in reverse order. When all chapters are posted they will be in order in this blog with the first chapter at the top. I will be posting approximately one chapter per week. You can read and print an abbreviated pdf version of the entire article.)

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