Before Wedgwood acquired its name, a sense of identity and defined boundaries in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the name Morningside was often used for the neighborhood. Beginning in 1913 the Morningside Heights plat on the west side of 35th Ave NE from NE 90th to 95th Streets was the first advertised development in what would later become part of Wedgwood. The residents of Morningside Heights wanted the benefits of community life, and one of the first actions taken was to start a church with Sunday school for the children of the neighborhood.
Since June 2014 the arterial 35th Ave NE has been closed at the point of NE 107th Street while the South Branch of Thornton Creek has been rechanneled and a flood plain created for greater capacity to hold water. The work of the Confluence Project necessitated digging up the roadbed. The work is coming along, but the target date for re-opening 35th Ave NE has been set back due to delays caused by rainy and cold weather. The roadway is being rebuilt with a bridge-like structure, sidewalks and rails, and time is needed for the concrete to “cure.”
We see progress, as work is also continuing on the creek channels and the flood plain. The South Branch crosses under 35th Ave NE and at a point farther east of the road, the South and North Branches of Thornton Creek converge before flowing into Meadowbrook Pond — which is why this area is called The Confluence.
Construction update info on the Seattle Public Utilities project page says:
Through November and into December, work will continue on the Thornton Creek Confluence project. Due to storms in July and August, followed by a wet October, the contractor will need additional time in December to get the roadway open.
- Concrete pouring and curing on the 35th Ave NE bridge, including the approach sections. The contractor will be using a type of concrete that will generate more heat during the curing process, minimizing the impact of colder ambient ground and air temperatures. The cure time needed for the concrete is ten days.
- Following the concrete curing, the contractor will finalize utility connections under 35th Ave NE, including a water main connection. Asphalt paving, striping and sidewalks, curb and gutter will also be completed following the concrete cure.
- Landscaping within the floodplain is ongoing, along with work on 36th Ave NE.
The Wedgwood neighborhood of northeast Seattle, renowned for its beautiful trees, is a wonderland of color during the autumn season. The flame ash street trees have turned crimson in October-November. The street trees extend along 35th Ave NE beginning at NE 84th Street, north to where the arterial meets Lake City Way NE at NE 137th Street. Not only along the arterials, but also on side streets and in the yards of residences in Wedgwood, the show of colorful leaves is a feast to the eyes.
What makes the leaves of deciduous trees turn color? Trees are sensitive to the gradual loss of light in the shortening days of autumn, signaling the need to prepare for winter. The green pigment (chlorophyll) is withdrawn in autumn which reveals the other pigments in a color range of yellow to orange and red. The typical autumn colors of a particular tree are “genetic,” that is, according to what kind of tree it is.
Why do the leaves fall? As the tree withdraws its fluids and begins winter hibernation, the circulation of fluids to leaves is cut off, and then the leaves dry out and separate from the branches. Fallen leaves still have nutrient value, and one of the best things you can do for your garden is to spread the leaves so that nutrients will trickle into the soil.
For more on the subject of leaves and color, see Why Leaves Fall from Trees in Autumn by Roger De Silvestro of the National Wildife Magazine.
In October 2014 the flame ash street trees along 35th Ave NE are showing their autumn colors. Since June 2014 street signs have been posted to warn drivers along the arterial that 35th Ave NE is closed to through-traffic at NE 107th Street where construction is underway at The Confluence. The Confluence is the place at NE 107th Street where the North and South Branches of Thornton Creek converge. At that lowest point in the roadway, stormwaters have often flooded surrounding streets and houses. This year of 2014 is the third phase of construction at The Confluence to add capacity for water and improve the environment for fish.
Author Christy Peterson has provided us with a good excuse NOT to rake up all the leaves in the yard! Skip the tidying, Christy advises. Left where they fall, leaves and dying vegetation provide habitat for birds. In rethinking fall clean-up, Christy writes,
My little corner of the earth is slipping towards its winter nap. Leaves are falling, flowers fading, and everything is looking just a bit unkempt. (More so than normal anyway – my garden has never quite achieved the opposite of unkempt!) Despite the ragged edges, I won’t be rushing out with clippers and rakes. That’s because the fallen leaves and ragged stems that look untidy to us are gold for backyard wildlife.
Read more at Christy Peterson’s Tweets & Tree Frogs blog.
This year’s fun fall festival of pumpkins is brought to you by Scout Troop 151. They are getting into the spirit with costumed sales helpers and a great variety of gourds for your October decorating needs.
The annual pumpkin extravaganza is held in the heart of the Wedgwood neighborhood of Seattle at the Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE next to the Wedgwood Post Office.
Shop for pumpkins on Friday evening from 4 to 8 PM, and all day on Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 6. Sunday, October 26 will be the last day of pumpkin sales.
The rain and cooler temperatures of the week of September 21 to 27, 2014, were a signal to fish, that it is almost time for them to swim upstream! The summer dry-season is over, and in-water work at The Confluence on Thornton Creek must finish by the end of September in compliance with state regulations on habitat for fish.