Heritage Corner: Bellevue Biography – Patrick Downey
July 25, 2008 · Updated 12:04 AM
Heritage Corner is a weekly feature of the Bellevue Reporter. Material is provided by the
Eastside Heritage Center.
Around 1882 an Irishman named Patrick Downey purchased 160 acres on the east side of Lake Washington. He planted 15 acres with strawberries and started a dairy farm, which proved quite successful. A neighborly sort, Downey often helped others with building projects, and in 1892 he provided funds for the construction of a school on Main Street. Perhaps the school project gave Mr. Downey ideas; the next year he cast his eye on a girl named Victoria who came by periodically to pick strawberries. They were married and had thirteen children.
The Downey family was a cornerstone of the developing community. The first services of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church were held in their front parlor. In the early 20th century, the family leased property to Japanese immigrants who were legally unable to own their own land. The Downey family retained their farm until after World War II. When they sold it, it was almost immediately developed as the Vuecrest neighborhood.
To learn more about Bellevue and Eastside history, contact the Eastside Heritage Center at 425-450-1049 or visit www.EastsideHeritageCenter.org.