As of 1940 the Wedgwood neighborhood in northeast Seattle had a log cabin which was still in use. There were no apartment buildings in Wedgwood as of 1940 and there were many people who kept chickens and cows. Today all the vacant spaces in Wedgwood are filled up and the neighborhood is beginning to experience the pressures of urbanization.
Wedgwood began to grow very rapidly after the end of World War Two in 1945. With the end of the war came large numbers of returning servicemen who married and began looking for a place where they could live and raise a family. As of 1945, while other parts of Seattle were already built up, in Wedgwood there were vast tracts of heavily treed, vacant land still available. The post-war pressure for housing led to the creation of the Wedgwood neighborhood which is still in evidence today, with single-family homes on either side of a linear commercial district along 35th Ave NE.
There are still some signs of the small community of the 1920’s and 1930’s before Wedgwood became the name of the neighborhood. Some of the businesses, including Wedgwood’s taverns, were founded at the end of Prohibition in 1933-1934, at a time when these taverns were scattered along the unpaved 35th Ave NE with few other commercial buildings in-between.
Today Wedgwood is on the cusp of new development as we could potentially see rebuilding and replacement of some aging commercial buildings along 35th Ave NE. To get ahead of redevelopment and ensure a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment, The Wedgwood Community Council formed a land-use process along with adjoining neighborhoods, called The Future of 35th Ave NE. As we walk along 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood we can envision a future commercial district which will be vibrant with small coffee shops, restaurants and other pedestrian-friendly, accessible businesses. The future is coming soon!
Take a Walk Through Wedgwood History with Valarie, neighborhood historian, every Saturday from August 29 through September 26, at 10 AM each Saturday. We will meet under the Safeway sign on 35th Ave NE at the corner of NE 75th Street. We will walk to NE 86th Street while talking about what used to be, what is now, and what the future of Wedgwood might look like along 35th Ave NE.
All ages are welcome on the walk and please do bring your questions. Do you know where the first store in Wedgwood was located? How did Wedgwood get its name, and how should it be spelled? Do you know where the original “Wedgwood” is? What neighborhood names were in use before Wedgwood: was the neighborhood called Dutch Hollow, LaVilla, or Morningside? When did Wedgwood come into the city limits of Seattle? What are the boundaries of the Wedgwood neighborhood and how were these boundaries determined? How will future new development along 35th Ave NE change the way Wedgwood looks?
Come along on a Walk Through Wedgwood History – I hope to see you on Saturday at 10 AM. At the end of the Walk (approximately 11 AM) everyone will be invited to stay for coffee and snacks at a local shop.