East Seattle

Explore +

Mercer Island’s first community

Mercer Island was named after Thomas Mercer, a prominent Seattle judge, at a summer party on July 4th, 1854. But the City of Mercer Island wasn’t incorporated until over 100 years later on July 5th, 1960.

East Seattle was the island’s first “town” and commercial center, located on the northwest side of the island. It was home to the island’s first library, post office, restaurant, and general store.

A lavish hotel, the C.C. Calkins resort, was built in this neighborhood in 1889, and during its brief early years of prosperity, a 78-foot steamboat, also named the C.C. Calkins, made 13 daily round-trips to the East Seattle dock, that was formerly located at Calkins Landing, a waterfront park in this neighborhood.

Most of the structures of these early establishments no longer exist today – the resort burned to the ground in 1908, and the dock was destroyed in July 1951 – a deteriorating relic of bygone days.’

The East Seattle school, built in 1914, served as an elementary school for nearly 70 years and also as the location for the Boys & Girls Club, until it moved to its current location in 2010. After that, the building sat mostly vacant and ultimately was deemed “structurally deficient and not code compliant.”  It was demolished in January 2021, and the property will soon make way for a new residential development of 14 homes on the area of 2.88 acres.


Properties in East Seattle are an eclectic mix, and the average lot sizes of non-waterfront properties are more typical of those in the older neighborhoods of Seattle, with many at around 6,000 square feet.

There are approximately 250 home in this neighborhood, and they vary in style from charming bungalows to larger, newer homes built in a variety of craftsman, traditional, and modern styles.

Some of the historic properties still stand, including a 1908 Dutch Colonial and a pretty white 1920s waterfront traditional with old rose gardens. The stunning estates that line 60th Ave SE, one of the island’s most desirable streets, enjoy street-to-beach, no-bank waterfront.

Nearby Amenities

There are four small, public waterfront parks and landings in East Seattle, including Slater Park, Proctor Landing, Garfield Landing, and Calkins Landing. Secret Park, which includes a small playground, is also located in East Seattle.

Back to the Mercer Island Neighborhood Guide →