Did You Know?
By Tom Cole
Because over 180 new families moved into Mirrormont during the past five years (2013—2017), and may not have viewed the historical documents frequently displayed at the Mirrormont Country Club, we’ve put together what we hope are some interesting items about our area, including some distance measurements that are the topic of some current conversations.
Did you know?
Mirrormont was begun by Rod Loveless and Glenn Nordlie in 1962 with the purchase of 680 acres that were subdivided into 586 plots. Shortly thereafter, Boeing lost a big Bomarc contract (to build a missile) and property values all over the area fell. They had a hard time getting this development off the ground. Back then, houses here were selling for about $30,000 or less and our shy-acre lots for $2,950. (For more, search for “name” and “developers” and “house” and “50th” and “homes”)
In the mid-60s, most of the roads were still gravel, except for the main entrance road, Mirrormont Blvd, which becomes 245th Ave. SE. Because of the steep slope, it was paved up to where it turned right onto SE Mirrormont Dr., but remained gravel from thereon.
In the beginning, all the homes had the same type of oil furnace, which was hooked into a central distribution system just like the water system. However, after a few years, the lines corroded, oil leaked into the ground, and the system had to be abandoned. In 1970, 138 residents suddenly had to convert to heat pumps, electric, or buy their own oil tank, as natural gas didn’t come to Mirrormont until 1990.
Mirrormont had one well and one water tower, at the top of 152nd. There are three there now. Glenn Nordlie managed the water system then. For several years for a few dollars, resident Tim Cole, as a young teenager, read both the water and oil meters weekly for Nordlie.
It is believed the longest-time resident of Mirrormont is Frances Walton on 263rd. Fran, Roger, and their three children moved into her present home in August 1964, just over 53 years ago. At that time, there were only about 20 families here. You can actually google “Frances Walton, Mirrormont” or go to “cello.org” and enter Walton in the search line to learn about your neighbor, famous in the music world, or read the December 3rd 2017 Seattle Times article.
The second-longest residents are believed to be Tom and Dianne Cole, also on 263rd, having moved into their (then smaller) A-frame in February 1965. Neil and Marilyn Householder, corner of 152nd and 260th come in third, having been residents since 1966. William and Mary Sibley moved into Mirrormont in 1967. Mary still lives in their home across the street from Mirrormont Country Club with her daughter Debbie.
Of course, Mirrormont had earlier “settlers” in late 1962 through early 1964, but we don’t know of any still here. If this is wrong, please let Linda Shepherd know.
As an aside to that, down at the end of 266th, bordering on the Mirrormont boundary, lives Jan and Rick Quandt, there since 1961. Rick said that since there was no Mirrormont then, the kids had to walk all the way down to Hobart Road to catch the school bus. So, although they weren’t actually part of Mirrormont, they’ve been there longer than anybody. And yes, back then, folks used to hunt deer and elk here.
Who Came Back?
The lure of Mirrormont is strong. Some who grew up either in or near Mirrormont realized a good thing and came back:
Heidi Kayler, daughter of Phil and Pauline Hanson who lived here from 1969 to 1985, now manages the Snowy’s Little Free Library by her home at the corner of 263rd and 156th Pl.
Chris Gunderson is just 30, but after being gone for a few years, he returned to his family home on 256th across from the tennis courts. He said, “I couldn’t help myself, I like it here.”
Toni Nielsen pointed out, “Technically, I am not “in” Mirrormont but have to drive into Mirrormont to get to and from home. My folks bought the property I now own back in ’59 or ’60. I have been coming to “the property” since the mid-60s for picnics, wood cutting and the like. We put our house on it in ’85. Now my dad came back last year to live in a tiny-house in the back corner near me. It’s come full circle.” Toni lives on 260th toward Tiger Mountain Road but can’t get through to TMR.
Steve Hoffman shared: I was born in 1950 in Issaquah and grew up on Lake McDonald when I was young, I used to ride my bike to Issaquah to go to the movie theater. Back then, my father was the meat manager at the old Thriftway grocery store, which became Front Street Market years ago, and then he was the meat manager at the old Hi Lo grocery store. My parents moved to Renton when I was 13 years old, so I went to Renton High School but moved back to Issaquah in 1978 and built the house here in Mirrormont.
Kyra Stewart (daughter of Bob and Jane Ulrich, who have moved here in 1973) moved back in 2006 for 10 years to a home on SE Mirrormont Blvd., although she and her family recently moved to nearby Maple Hills.
Dawn Porter lives on 263rd with husband Mike and two children. She grew up on 160th St. off the Tiger Mountain Road near where the power lines cross.
Christine Sample, nee Emswiler, lives in on 154th with her husband and daughter in one of the original A-Frames. She grew up on Tiger Mountain Road about one-half mile north of the fire station. They moved back in 2013.
Rozana Knutson grew up on 262nd in a home built in 1970 by her father, Don Hindman, just outside of the Mirrormont boundary. After college and military duties as an Army paratrooper, she and her husband, Bret, first lived on Tiger Mountain Road near the power line crossing, then 13 years ago moved back to 262nd into a new house beside her childhood home, where her father still lives with his wife, Lynda.
Melinda Codling was at UW in 1966 when she and her friends rented horses from Mirrormont Stables. They rode up into what is now Mirrormont. At that time, it was just trails. Later, when she moved here, she used to exercise a horse that was boarded at the stables by riding up into MIrrormont. Today, she has horses and rides around here occasionally. Some things never change!
Please let Linda Shepherd know of any other returnees.
Buildings and Structures
Six bus shelters were built around 1966 by six volunteers and spread around Mirrormont. One, now heavily remodeled, is still in use at the corner of SE 162nd Pl. and 266th Ave. SE with the sign Bus Shelter No. 1.
The Mirrormont Country Club had its grand opening in 1969 with a huge swimming party. The club had been promised by the developers, but not built at first because times were a little hard in the early 60s. Finally, a group of residents got together to work with Rod Loveless and got it built. Like pioneers, residents made the first pool fence starting with cedar logs found on an unsold lot down 256th. They used axes to cut the logs into appropriate length, split them into sections with wedges, and then used froes (a specialized wedge) to split off thinner grape stakes (slats).
A baseball field was where the tennis courts are now. Our young team practiced and played other teams in the area. The field had a big backstop fence—and a large tree in the middle of center field. Hitting past the tree qualified as a home run. The bleachers were one big log with a 2×6 board on top for a seat. The field also served as a neighborhood July 4th celebration center. Fireworks were provided by James Elder, an early Mirrormont resident who had worked in China for several years before moving here
Elder also built a one-story office building where Tiger Mountain Dentistry is now, to use as a real estate office for him and his son, Jim, who still lives in Mirrormont. Jim said it had to be one story because of water regulations (it had a well). Years later, when the owners could get Mirrormont water, the building was able to be enlarged to its present size. Shortly before that, the Tiger Mountain Store was built in the middle 70s by Jeff and Carr Plant, who also lived in Mirrormont.
The fire station was built in 1970 on a lot donated by the Yeisleys, who have lived in their present home next door since 1959. Back then, when an emergency occurred, a loud siren went off that could be heard all over Mirrormont. Not only could you hear the siren, but also all the dogs would start started howling. Then, since many of the fire volunteers lived in Mirrormont, cars would go racing to the fire station along with teenagers on their bicycles.
In May 1975, a 350-lb lioness named Mickey was kept behind what is now the metal-and-glass A-frame on 152nd off the end of 263rd. Her roar could be heard for blocks!
Before Mirror Lakes Estates was built, local youth used what was then a rather dirty pond for rafting.For more on these and other historical tidbits, see the history section of www.mirrormont.org
Truth or Fiction?
In 1975 or 1976, a man living in the house at 26305 SE158th, (down 263rd) where the Michael Wray family lives now, was having a moving sale. My son Tim and I went to it and bought a bunch of stuff. The man identified himself as Wolfgang Lotz, and told us stories about his earlier life, claiming he had been a spy, been in prison, was a horse breeder and at one point, a wealthy man. He said he had written a book, “The Champagne Spy” and gave us a copy (which I can’t find right now). While we found that interesting, we didn’t check it out (of course there was no internet then). However, checking now we find this: Lotz was one of the most famous spies in Israeli history and the subject of books and a film. He led an incredible life! However, nowhere in any biography does it mention him living in the United States. He died in Munich in 1993.
BUT in the material on the internet (check him out on Wikipedia), the period in his life between 1973 and 1980 is not accounted for. Lotz’s son, Oded Gur-Arie, is a professor at Adrian College in Michigan and I have left messages with him to see if he can shed light on this subject but have not heard back. So, could a man of such talent and with such a background have lived in Mirrormont for some reason or was our resident simply an egocentric con man (who had copies of the book)?
Now for the distances
One of the main walking routes, at least for those living at the “top” of Mirrormont, is the “boot” (aka “sock”). This loop runs from the corner of 152ndand 263rd, down 263rd, around the curves and back up 260th to 152nd This is almost exactly 1.5 miles, although it seems longer.
Another asked for distance is the “horseshoe loop” up 258thfrom the corner of 152nd and back around and down to 152nd That’s a paltry one-half mile.
From the Mirrormont Country Club down to the main entrance is exactly one mile.
From the fire station, it almost exactly two miles down to the front entrance of Mirrormont, no matter which way you go, down 152nd, or down 154thand SE Mirrormont Dr.
From the fire station to Issaquah-Hobart Rd, it is the same 2.2 miles via Tiger Mountain Road toward Issaquah or via 152nd to the front entrance.
Moving on to the outside world:
It is five miles from Mirrormont Country Club to the Newport Way stoplight by the Boehm pool.
From the fire station, it’s just over six miles to the Sunset Way stoplight, then another 1.5 miles to Fred Meyer; however, from the front entrance to Freddie is 6.2 miles.
If you want to shop in Covington, go down Tiger Mtn Rd. to SR-18 and it’s 11.5 miles. However, it’s only 3.5 miles to the Hobart Store, and that’s a pretty nice store also—plus, they have a Post Office that rarely has a line!