King County Landmarks: Red Brick Road/James Mattson Road (1865/1913), vicinity of Redmond

  • By Heather MacIntosh
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • Essay 2363
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Address: 196th Avenue NE between Union Hill Road & Redmond-Fall City Road, vicinity of Redmond. The Mattson Road contains the longest stretch of exposed historic red-brick highway in King County. In 1901, the northern route between Seattle and Snoqualmie Pass, first developed as a road in 1865, was realigned to create what is now 196th Avenue NE in order to eliminate a long, difficult grade. The dirt and gravel road was often impassable, and with the growing popularity of automobile travel, local resident James Mattson and his neighbors pressed the county to pave the road to provide an all-weather surface. In 1913, the road was paved with red bricks manufactured in Renton. In the late 1910s, the road became part of the Yellowstone Trail. This was a well-signed and promoted transcontinental driving route developed by automobile promoters to encourage and direct early automobile travelers in the age before state or federal highway networks were created. In the 1980s, the King County Roads Department restored the brick surface, which had deteriorated severely.


Sources: King County Landmarks and Heritage Commission.

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