First Hill, also known as Mercer Island town, is located on the northern end of Mercer Island just south of the interstate and it separates East Seattle from the north end. It borders East Ridge or 84th St., Serena Cove’s northern waterfront to Lucas Hill to the south, at 40th St. covering an area of just .16 mi.².
The early history of First Hill is noted in the Mercer Island Plats of McGilvra and Mercer Park. And the area is less dense than a lot of Mercer Island. It’s home to less than 500 residents and is one of the lowest populated areas on Mercer Island, even though it’s located near the north end, one of the highest populated parts on the island.
This is one of the neighborhoods containing the “lid” which is the covered area of Interstate 90 on the island. There’s a park built on top of the lid covering the freeway which also has large vent stacks that help move air out of the I 90 tunnel. Although the stacks look awkward, people know what their real purposes. All of the amenities on top of this “lid” are accessible on the north side of First Hill.
Homes in First Hill were built between the 1940s and 1960s. Some developers have purchased older homes and replace them with new, modern style properties. Homes sell anywhere from $500,000-$2 million and because of its affordability, for Mercer Island anyway, it has become a desirable residential neighborhood. It also offers easy access to I 90 and a quick commute to Seattle.
This is one of the smallest neighborhoods on the island and it really doesn’t have any commercial amenities. Most modern conveniences are located just east of this neighborhood including markets, shops, and restaurants. What first Hill does have is a small park and is primarily residential. The First Hill Park and playground feature a treehouse theme and a long slide down the slope on the parks south side. To the north is the Aubrey Davis Park, also known as the “Park on the Lid” and features walking trails, play fields, several playgrounds, and sports courts.
Residents of First Hill utilize the Mercer Island school district and attend the West Mercer Elementary school, the Islander middle school, and the Mercer Island high school. These schools received top marks for all academics and education and are some of the highest rated schools in the Seattle area. The elementary and high school are about a mile away from First Hill while the Islander middle school is about 3 1/2 miles from most homes in this community.