Wilson’s Exposition Heights

The pergola in Pioneer Square, downtown Seattle, was constructed in 1909 as a shelter for streetcar riders.

The pergola in Pioneer Square, downtown Seattle, was constructed in 1909 as a shelter for people waiting to ride the streetcar out to the AYP Exposition on the campus of the University of Washington.

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, a world’s-fair event, attracted people to Seattle even before the fair’s opening date of June 1, 1909.  When news of the Exposition plans became known in 1906, people from all over the USA began coming to Seattle to get in on job opportunities and real estate development schemes, in hopes of capitalizing on the AYP Exposition’s publicity and attendance.

This blog post will tell about some families who came to Seattle in the years leading up to the AYP Exposition and how they became part of the growth of northeast Seattle.

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The AYPE and the Growth of Northeast Seattle

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE) was a world’s fair held in 1909 on the campus of the University of Washington in northeast Seattle. After the move of the university to its present site in 1895, the AYPE of 1909 was the event which did the most to cause the opening and growth of new residential areas in northeast Seattle.

This blog post will tell about the effect of the AYPE upon the growth of northeast Seattle, when real estate developers hoped to capitalize upon the publicity of the AYPE to help them sell house lots in new neighborhoods.

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Posted in Events and holidays, Land records and surveys, name of the neighborhood, Plat names | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Wedgwood’s NE 85th Street Dividing Line

In 1858-1859 William H. Carlton led a survey team and drew this map of Township 26, north Seattle from 85th to 205th Streets.

In 1858-1859 William H. Carlton led a survey team and drew this map of Township 26, north Seattle from 85th to 205th Streets.

On September 2, 1858, a team of surveyors stood at what is now the center point of Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood on 35th Ave NE at NE 85th Street.  The survey team consisted of two chain carriers (men with a measuring device like that used to measure yardage in football games), two ax men who helped chop through underbrush, and the leader of the team listed as compass man, William H. Carlton.

Carlton’s hand-written field notes tell that the men set a post at this intersection because it was an important marker as they walked the east-west line between Township 25 which had already been surveyed from downtown Seattle out northward as far as 85th, and Township 26 which Carlton’s team surveyed in 1858 to 1859.  That line between the two townships is now NE 85th Street.

This blog post will tell why NE 85th Street is an important line and why the two halves of Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood (north and south of 85th) are somewhat different.

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In Love with the Trees of Seattle

Northeast Seattle Tree WalkAre you a Tree Lover?  Do you admire trees and tell others about your favorite trees?  The City of Seattle has a program just for you:  you can become a Tree Ambassador.

The Tree Ambassador program is for those who want to help nurture their neighborhood trees.  Tree Ambassadors can help build community and heighten awareness of and appreciation for the natural environment.

Tree Ambassadors can develop tours (tree walks) which can be printed and posted as a resource, or led as a public event.  Other Tree Ambassadors are interested in landscaping projects.  They can identify a site which needs work, such as removal of invasive species.  Applications are being accepted now — apply by March 17th for Tree Walk training or Landscape Renewal training.

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Seattle History in Landscape and Story

One aspect of Seattle history is its built environment and landscape.  How have the forces of nature, people and historic events interacted to create Seattle?  On Saturday, March 7, the conference program of the Pacific Northwest Historians Guild will be held at the downtown Seattle Public Library on the theme of The Urban Northwest in Landscape and Story.  All events are free and open to the public.  The library is at Fourth & Spring Streets and has a parking garage.

Gas Works Park in Seattle

Gas Works Park in Seattle

9 AM – Plenary Session – “Thick Stories of Seattle’s Urban Landscape: Gas Works Park by Richard Haag” By Dr. Thaisa Way, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington College of Built Environments.

10:15 to 11:45 AM and 1:30 to 5 PM – diverse sessions on the urban history of the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle Street Smart Naturalist12 noon – Keynote Speaker – “History Underfoot: Seattle’s Storied Landscape”  By David B. Williams, a freelance writer whose work focuses on the intersection of people and the natural world.

David B. Williams’ books include Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology, The Seattle Street-Smart Naturalist: Field Notes from the City and Cairns: Messengers in Stone.  In September 2015 his newest book will come out, Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography.  This book will explore how the City of Seattle reshaped itself through projects such as the filling of tideflats and sluicing of hillsides.



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Marshall Blinn: Logging and Land Speculation in Washington Territory

Before Washington became a state in 1889, territorial land claims recorded many names which are not now well-known.  Who were these early-arriving settlers? The map of what is now the Wedgwood and Meadowbrook neighborhoods of northeast Seattle is dotted with land claims in the name of Marshall Blinn.  Who was he?

Marshall Blinn 1827-1885

Marshall Blinn 1827-1885

Students of Seattle history recognize names of major figures such as Arthur Denny, leader of the Denny Party of white settlers who arrived in 1851 and who are considered the founders of the city.  But there were many other contributors to early Seattle whose names have been forgotten.  On the basis of the number of land claims of Marshall Blinn, he would seem to have been an important figure, but we will find that though his influence touched Seattle, he never actually lived in Seattle.

In this article I will tell about logging and land-grabbing in Washington Territory before statehood, and I will speculate on how northeast Seattle might have developed differently if Marshall Blinn, an early adventurer, had come to live on his land claims.

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The Big Green House: Thanks for the Memories

In one hour the hundred-year-old Big Green House was reduced to rubble.

In one hour the hundred-year-old Big Green House was reduced to rubble.

On February 17, 2015, the hundred-year-old Big Green House at 7321 35th Ave NE came to the end of its lifespan and to me, it felt like the death of a friend.

The Big Green House was like an eccentric, misunderstood person, perceived by some as spooky because of the way the house loomed up over the surrounding business district.  In getting to know it, I found the Big Green House to be more like an elderly person with long-held memories of bygone days.  The Big Green House was clothed in the architectural preferences of long ago, and will now be replaced by the newest design trend in commercial districts in Seattle:  a storefront building with apartments in the upstairs units.

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Posted in 7321 35th Ave NE, Big Green House | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments