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Celebrating Women in Redmond: Women's History Month 2024

Updated: Mar 13

As part of her monthly video series "Here in Redmond!" and in honor of Women's History Month, Mayor Angela Birney recently met with the Redmond Historical Society to learn more about a few of the incredible women who helped make Redmond what it is today.




 

You can also read about five interesting women we've highlighted this month!


The first woman on our list has a special place in our hearts as a driving force behind the establishment of the Redmond Historical Society!


Naomi Hardy: 

The Redmond Historical Society was co-founded by Naomi “Nao” Hardy in 1999, with those

who shared a similar passion in researching and sharing Redmond’s unique history. She was a dedicated volunteer, who served the Society as the Board President, and later as Vice President. 


Naomi was determined to document Redmond’s history and worked to share this valuable information with as many interested citizens as possible. To this end, she collected thousands of historic photographs, documents, and artifacts that are the foundation for the Society’s collections today.


She was also an accomplished writer who published a mystery novel, poetry, and wrote humorous editorials for several newspapers. She eventually wrote Redmond Reflections: From Settlers to Software – a publication highlighting photos from Redmond’s past. 


Naomi passed away in 2012, but her significance and importance to Redmond was recognized by Mayor John Marchione, naming the Redmond Clock Tower, located at O’Leary Park, after her. Learn more about the Naomi Hardy Clock Tower here.


Speaking of founders, this name of this next individual may sound familiar to you, as her father is a well-known early pioneer, and Redmond's namesake.


Emma McRedmond: 

Emma McRedmond was born in Seattle to Irish immigrant Luke McRedmond and his wife Catherine Morse on February 11, 1869. 


Emma was just 3 years old when her family moved to Redmond. At 16, Emma became Redmond's postmistress.


On July 20, 1891, she was deeded a small piece of land, which became the site of Redmond’s second post office, making her one of the first women to own land in the Redmond area. 


At 29, she married William Henry White, who would soon become a Washington Supreme Court Justice. Emma operated their 14-room hotel, which still stands in historic downtown Redmond today


Much like Emma, many women in Redmond's history first moved to Redmond with their families, working to build a home in this community.


Madhavi RajGuru: 

Madhavi RajGuru and her family moved to Washington from New Delhi, India in 1969. They are believed to be the first Indian family to immigrate to Redmond. 



Before moving she worked with an American filmmaker making a film for international charities, and eventually at the American Embassy. 


In Redmond, she was hired as the assistant to the Lake Washington School District's Deputy Director, due to her fast typing skills and knowledge of shorthand. Her husband “Raj” was later hired as a budget supervisor -- in the following years they were promoted and eventually found themselves working together as a high level assistant and the Deputy Superintendent. 


Madhavi and her family experienced many firsts in Redmond -- their first car, owning their first home and first snow! The family became citizens in 1974, which was "a badge of pride" she and her husband wore until their last day.


Although they all share a connection to our community, each of these women followed a unique path to Redmond.


Miye Yoshitake: 

Following the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, Miye Shiogi Yoshitake and her husband Frank moved to the Beacon Hill area in Seattle. 


In the summer of 1955 they moved to Redmond, in search of "good soil" and a place to call home. They purchased land on Avondale Road, with enough space for a house, a home for Frank’s parents – and to start a nursery and landscape business, Sunset Gardens. They later turned it into a 3-par golf course, Lil Augusta. 


Today, Redmond's Sunset Gardens Park honors their legacy -- and all they did to build a life in Redmond for their family.




The accomplishments of these women have had a lasting effect on the community we know today, but history is still happening here!


Christine (Chris) Himes: 

When she first moved to Redmond, Christine volunteered at her children’s schools – Horace Mann Elementary and Redmond Junior High – where she was eventually honored with the Golden Acorn service award. She would go on to serve as Vice President of the PTSA, a Board Member of Faith Lutheran Church, and in 1975, a Redmond City Councilmember. 


While on the city council, she was appointed chairman of the bicentennial celebration, and worked with Dorothy Hanscom to develop the first Redmond Walking Tour. In 1979 Chris was elected Mayor of Redmond by 63% of the votes, making her the first woman to fill the role. 


She served from 1980 to 1984; and was an advocate for the preservation of parks, horse trails, and open spaces in Redmond. At the end of her term Redmond could boast of 19 parks, a trail system and 14 designated historical landmarks. 


She has remained civically active, as a past president of the Redmond Historical Society and one of its long longstanding supporters.




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