Penned by Kelly Weisfield, the broker representing two lovely, multi-acre properties, the article below shares a bit of history regarding both pieces of property, and the family who called them home.
For the first time in nearly 100 years, two special pieces of property on Mercer Island are for sale. On 6610 East Mercer Way sits a 4 bedroom, mid-century modern rambler on more than an acre of flat land with 173’ of low bank waterfront. The adjoining parcel behind, 6614 East Mercer Way, is a largely untouched nearly 3 acres of land with natural woodlands rising behind a storybook cottage and level clearing.
The two properties are the best remaining pieces of the multi-acre parcel initially purchased in 1925 by the Engstrom family as a summer retreat. Oscar and Hilda Engstrom lived on Queen Anne where Oscar was in the millwork business and worked on the original Olympic hotel. The Engstrom daughter, Margaret, grew up vacationing with her family on the Island and recalled when she would ride horseback over an “old, rickety bridge” to get the horse shoed in Bellevue and walked to the Roanoke dock to meet her father commuting from Seattle. The original summer cottage near the waterfront was moved to the back parcel where it has since been updated and is currently the 1200 sq foot home for sale at 6614 East Mercer Way. In 1955, the family built the existing rambler on the waterfront as their year-round residence.
Margaret would go on to live or spend summers on this special Mercer Island estate for over 90 years. She and her husband, Kenneth Quarles, left an incredible legacy to their community. In 2006, they donated 7 acres of their pristine land adjacent to Pioneer Park to the city, preserving it for parks and recreation. They were honored as Citizens of the Year. The Quarles had also previously transferred 1.57 acres in the 6500 block of East Mercer Way to the city in 2002. The combined 8.57 acres is now officially named the “Engstrom Open Space” honoring Margaret’s father. Today, this valuable property provides Islanders with hiking trails and opportunity to appreciate the forest habitat, eagle perches and Lake Washington views. When asked about their generous gift of preserving the scarce and valuable open space for future generations of Mercer Islanders, the Quarles stated, “We’re just happy to see it under the city’s care so the people can enjoy it. We’ve had such a wonderful life on Mercer Island.”
- Jane Meyer Brahm, Mercer Island History, from haunted wilderness to coveted community, (Mercer Island: Mercer Island Historical Society, 2013).