< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >
Bellevue Square opens on August 20, 1946.
HistoryLink.org Essay 4143
: Printer-Friendly Format
On August 20, 1946, Bellevue Square opens in downtown Bellevue. It is the first regional suburban shopping center in the Pacific Northwest.
The shopping center got its start in 1944, when Kemper Freeman Sr. began buying property with the help of his father, Miller Freeman. Building materials during wartime were hard to come by, but the Freemans were able to convince the government to give them permission to build a movie theater as a homefront morale booster. Construction began before war's end, and the 550-seat Bel-Vue Theatre opened on March 20, 1946.
Next to open were the Kandy Kane and the Crabapple Restaurants, both of which became popular meeting places for years to come. After that came Frederick & Nelson, a Seattle-based department store that promised to rent a small one-story building for three years, during which time they only sold women's and children's clothing.
Bellevue Square's grand opening on August 20, 1946, was heralded by searchlights, an orchestra, and a live radio broadcast. The shopping center proved to be a success, and within a few years Frederick & Nelson moved into a much larger building. Later still, the Square attracted other department stores such as the Bon Marche, Nordstrom, and J.C. Penney.
Lucile McDonald, Bellevue: Its First 100 Years (Bellevue: Bellevue Historical Society, 2000), 136-142.
Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay
Browse to Next Essay >
Cities & Towns |
Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that
encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both
HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any
reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this
Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For
more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact
the source noted in the image credit.
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided
By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins
| Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry
| 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle
| City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach
Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private
Sponsors and Visitors Like You