Seattle 1978

Seattle 1978

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I was never very fond of the sound of the name but I grew up in Eastgate to the east of it until I was eleven and then lived in Woodridge to the north of it the rest of my childhood.

In the very early 70’s I remember being at Sunset Elementary (now Puesta del Sol) and students in true hippy fashion taping up protest signs and laying in front of excavation equipment at the edge of school property in hopes of stopping the cutting down of trees for development in the Factoria area.

I remember going to the drive-in theater (wasn’t that called Sunset, too?) and playing in the playground waiting for it to get dark so the movie could start. My parents even took us when they went to see M*A*S*H even though it was rated R since my sister and I would probably fall asleep in the back seat (I think I peeked and saw the shower fall down revealing Major Houlihan)

Before Factoria Mall was built I remember an old house standing alone on that property. The land was said to be too soggy to build on. The old house was used as a haunted house at Halloween a couple of times by a radio station. Sadly about 1974 a Newport High School teen accidentally hung himself – he had a rope around his neck and was standing on a box; he lost his footing. The way I remember it told, no one realized it wasn’t part of the scare so he didn’t get help. I've been told his name as Brad Lundgren who was a sophomore at the time :-( .

There was a very small grocery store – looking at the very few old Factoria photos I can find on the internet, I guess it was called Sunset Super Market. But I thought we called it Harry’s (anybody remember this?). My mom wouldn’t let us walk there by ourselves and I don’t think she felt comfortable going in there in the early-mid 70’s either. As kids, we were pretty excited when 7-11 was built sometime in the mid 70’s! We were allowed to walk there and I remember buying long, stale, sticks of green-apple bubble gum. Watermelon was also a popular flavor-du-jour. Safeway opened shortly thereafter but going there for candy with mom certainly wasn’t the same as walking with a group of friends to 7-11.

Here are some of the stores I remember and what they’ve been replaced with if I know – I haven’t been in there recently. Thank you to those who have helped me remember more stores - Please help me remember more.
Safeway (still there)
Pay-N-Save: I won a Black-and-White TV in a contest from their photo department! (now Rite Aid)
Lamonts (now TJ Maxx and DSW Shoes I think)
Ernest Hardware (now Old Navy and others)
Bean Pod (now Red Robin)
DJ Sound City (I think)
Hallmark Cards
Squire Shop
Kinney Shoes
Hot Dog Emporium
Tux Shop
B. Dalton's Books

**UPDATE** Thank you to Laura over at Facebook's "You know you're from Bellevue" for sharing this ad which helped me remember a whole lot more!
From Bellevue 1979

My first real job was at Pizza Haven – it was in a separate building behind Factoria Mall in Phase 2. It opened late summer 1978.

Phase two was leveled years ago and they built a new wing that is connected to the mall for Nordstrom Rack. In the parking lot behind Phase 2 was a restaurant called Barnaby’s. The Kentucky Fried Chicken in the parking lot is still there I believe. SeaFirst Bank was in the NorthEast corner of the Factoria Mall

My Dad and Mom took Santa Photos at Factoria in the early to mid 80’s. I was an Elf. I’ve always credited them with setting the standard for having really awesome looking Santas with real beards at Factoria. Factoria still has an awesome Santa and for my Christmas present every year my son takes my daughter for Santa photos with the both of them there.

Below are some interesting sites with Factoria history. I always assumed with the name they gave it, they wanted it to become an industrial area – but I never knew about the stove factory that never built a single stove nor the successful rabbit meat and fur industry.

Wikipedia Factoria, Bellevue, WA

Sledghammer’s blog Malls of the Seattle Area – A Tour of the Factoria Mall

City of Bellevue “Factoria Subarea Plan” (history on page 2 of document but print page 134)

Factoria “Back in the day”

Also - if you haven't seen this awesome video of old Bellevue, Check it out. Over the Bridge to Gracious LivingPlease share your Factoria stories. And photos if you have any!


Anonymous said...

In the northeast corner of Factoria the bank was first Seafirst Bank then it became Bank of America.

Matt said...

Great post. I'm glad you're doing this kinda thing. I grew up over the ridge and across the swamp, in the Enatai area (south Bellevue) near Chace's Pancake Corral. We used to laugh at the name Factoria and we said it in the way that the cartoon Hercules shouted "O-LYM-pia!", with clouds parting to reveal sunbeams, etc. A nit to pick: you've typed Ernest but it should be Earnst. I remember the drive-in. When I got my driver's license I drove two friends so we could see the disaster flick "Tidal Wave" there, but that movie had already pushed on and what we ended up seeing was some R-rated psychedelic cheesecake movie called "The French Quarter". Underage for this, we were titillated to see breasts the size of tractor tires glowing two stories above the hood of my parent's Volare wagon. I'm fascinated by your mentioning the old farmhouse on the site -- I'm going to go chase it down on Thanks for your comments over at my joint. Oh, by the way, that video about Bellevue and "Gracious Living" was made by my buddy Louis, one of your fellow commentors on my blog and also frequently on

Jana said...

Matt - Thank you for your comment - facTOOOR-ee-UH! - Haha- I know, right? Sounds like they were trying too hard or something!

Here is a little more from Wikipedia and HistoryLink on Ernest

Tractor tires! LOL!!

I looked Louis up after first seeing his video a couple of years ago - I think maybe I introduced him to Vintage Seattle (or we both found it about the same time).

Matt said...

That's great you know Louis. Probably you knew him before I did, then, because he was the one who told me about VintageSeattle. Also, I see my correction of Ernest was incorrect. It just seems that I can still see in my mind's eye an A in the big block letters that ran across the front of the building. E A R N S T. But I'm wrong, obviously. So, Ernst it is. Serves me write being a nit-picker. Cheers!

Todd said...


I can confirm the haunted house hanging. He lived a block from me. A great guy. A promising athlete. All the girls seemed to have a crush on him. his death devastated his family. I think his name was Brad, anyway his last name was Lundgren.
It was a chain around his neck. people thought he was joking as he struggled. In a haunted house, its dark and people walk through. Its all a show.
It was tragic.

Anonymous said...

Rainer bank was across the street from Seafirst Bank ( Now Bank Of America ) the sign you see in the window what you thought was Rainer Bank can be seen through Bank of America window, I can see why you thought it was Rainer Bank, Bank Of America sign was south of where you took this picture,

Jana said...

Thank you Todd - I've heard from several people that tragedy actually did happen and it had a deep impact on the community. So sad.
Thank you, Ione - That makes sense. I will update the photo caption.

ericrising said...

I worked at Pizza Haven in the late 70's. Did we work together?

Jana said...

Eric - we must have. I was a waitress there late summer 1978 to the summer 1983 (I also worked at the Pizza Haven on the Ave 1980-1983 during the school year)

Anonymous said...

Yes, sadly, Brad Lundgren’s accident in Factoria is true. He was a popular member of Newport Class of 1977. Many of us knew him from before high school and remember him fondly. Brad was outgoing and friendly, active in athletics and other student activities.

His passing was a devastating warning to us for several reasons, as related to me hours later by friends who were there that night. Mindful that even eyewitness accounts vary and can change over time, I risk re-opening painful memories in the hope that a reader might take notice of basic safety and perhaps prevent a similar tragedy. It is recalled with absolute respect to his memory and to his family.

• The Haunted House event was somewhat amateurish, staffed partly by well-intended but inexperienced high school students and obviously not as closely supervised as it should have been. Visibility was low as they performed in noisy, dark, confined spaces.

• The fatal stunt was said to be a spontaneous addition, not a planned feature of the House. (I don’t know if permission was given.) With his lower body partly obscured, Brad was said to be kneeling with a noose around his neck in a simulated hanging that tragically became real when he somehow lost consciousness. He remained in that position too long because people assumed he was acting. When he failed to respond, friends worked intensely to try to rescue him.

• There was apparently no specific training, disciplined “buddy system,” or mechanical safety device (e.g., breakable rope or safety harness) to help prevent this risky stunt from becoming a fatal one.

• Alcohol consumption was reportedly a contributing factor in the tragedy.

As a parent I can only imagine the pain that his family must still feel at his loss. One hopes they might find some comfort in the knowledge that many of us remember Brad with warmth and are glad to have known him. He remains alive in our memories.

Jana said...

Thank you for the comment and tribute. One of the students at the high school where I work died yesterday so our student body is just beginning to cope with that. I don't know any of the circumstances but I hope that 35 years from now he's as fondly remembered as you recall Brad.

Anonymous said...

You’re very welcome, and thank you for providing this forum to remember. My deepest sympathies for the loss of your student… it never makes sense. I recall the Newport staff being quite understanding, offering us time off to attend the funeral and grieve as needed. The odds are good that he will likewise be remembered affectionately.

Time is relatively kind to memory, skewing it toward the positive. As a case in point, did you ever really expect to one day be writing nostalgically about Factoria? No elitism intended, but this was scrubland hemmed in by highways and an antiquated drive-in cinema with cinder-block restrooms and scratchy car speakers. Yet, here we are, fondly remembering drag races on 124th, coyotes in the field where Safeway now sits, and summertime Slurpee runs to 7-11. The pictures you posted brought back a lot of smiles.

Jana said...

Whodathunk we'd smile thinking about ol' Factoria.

Have you poked around (search Factoria Bellevue Washington) you can see it change over the years.

Seattle Lisa said...

So much to say here!
My mom worked at Rainier Bank and I remember my big sister and I roller skating on the fresh pavement of the Factoria Square parking lot before the mall was built.
I bought my first album at DJ's Sound City (Back in Black - much too young, but wanted to buy it before my sister did). Also LOTS of Xanadu 45's were purchased there.
Across from the mall there was a little strip that had an arcade. They would give you quarters painted red. I got some change about a year ago that I am content to believe came from there.
Saw Star Wars, Apply Dumpling Gang and the PG-rated version of Saturday Night Fever at the Sunset Drive in. (god, I miss drive-ins)
My dad would take us to Winchell's Donuts Sundays after church and 7-11 for slurpees every time we had to go to the dump.
One Halloween there was a scare when people were giving out stickers of Mickey Mouse from Fantasia that were supposedly coated with LSD.
We found a stray cat behind Barnaby's, took her home and named her PAscal. She was a wretched and mean little thing.
Factoria will always make me think of cotton candy jelly bellys, bumble gum kissing slicks and the song "Hot Child in the City."

Jana said...

Thank you for commenting Seattle Lisa. Your memories made me smile. I had forgotten that MY dad used to occasionally take us to Winchells after church. And I'd sometimes end up there after closing at Pizza Haven at 2:00 am.

Matt said...

The after-church donut joint for my family was Brenner Bros. Bakery off of Bel-Red Road. MMMMMmm....maple bar...maple bar...

Jana said...

Hi Matt - Did you hear that Charles Brenner passed away last month at age 92?

BHG said...

Just found your blog while searching for history about Factoria. My family moved to the bottom of Somerset in the summer of 1978 when I was 8 and I have many fond memories of Factoria Square, the drive-in (and the arcade that Seattle Lisa mentions, which was called "Outer Limits" if memory serves). My first "date" in 5th grade (after working all week washing cars and mowing the lawn to make money) was at that Pizza Haven. We walked down the old access road, and after the arcade, went to eat pizza. I remember the girls who worked there must have thought we were "cute" on our little 5th-grade date, because when we got the check, it was covered in a big mound of those little green-foiled mints (which we thought was pretty fantastic!) Another odd thing I remember is seeing Bo Diddley play in the back of Factoria Square a few years later (just outside the mall entrance to Lamonts I think). Thanks for the fond trip down memory lane!

Jana said...

Thank you for sharing those awesome Factoria memories, BHG. I forgot about those Andes mints we put on the comment card tray at Pizza Haven! Thank you for the reminder!

Sue Rose said...

I, too, remember the haunted house accident. I knew him but not sure how. I have never been in a haunted house since then. As for that little store close to the drive-in, "Harry's" I remember that place very fondly. I lived on the south side of Woodridge hill and when my parents were out of town we were allowed to "charge" food there and our parents would pay for it when they got bock. We would just sign the back of the receipt. Those were the days when people were more trustworthy. My parents always stopped to pay the bill on the way home.

Sue Rose said...

I, too, remember the haunted house accident. I knew him but not sure how. I have never been in a haunted house since then. As for that little store close to the drive-in, "Harry's" I remember that place very fondly. I lived on the south side of Woodridge hill and when my parents were out of town we were allowed to "charge" food there and our parents would pay for it when they got bock. We would just sign the back of the receipt. Those were the days when people were more trustworthy. My parents always stopped to pay the bill on the way home.

Jana said...

Neat Harry's memory, Sue Rose! Thanks for stopping by!