In 1911, when Eugene M. Sherman and his wife Alice came to Bellevue, the business district consisted of a grocery store, a post office, and a blacksmith shop. The Shermans soon added a fourth business, the Dirigo Compass Factory, on the corner of 100th Ave and NE 1st. “Dirigo” was the state motto of Maine, Eugene’s home state, and it translated to “I guide” or “I direct.”
While Eugene manufactured compasses, binnacles, and other navigational instruments, his wife Alice was responsible for Bellevue’s music scene. A skilled violinist, she taught, performed and organized musical events throughout the greater Bellevue area. Eugene shared his wife’s love of music, and after he retired and sold the compass factory in 1944, he devoted his time to making violins. Often neighbors would hear Eugene and Alice playing duets on the front porch of their home, testing out new instruments.
To learn more about Bellevue and Eastside history, contact the Eastside Heritage Center at 425-450-1049 or visit www.EastsideHeritageCenter.org.