The 2022 Season of Cheer: Candy Cane Lane in Ravenna

The lights and decorations of Candy Cane Lane begin on Saturday, December 3, 2022, at 4 PM.  Candy Cane Lane is a circle of houses all decked out for the holidays, located on Park Road NE off of NE Ravenna Blvd.

Candy Cane Lane location map, Park Road NE off of NE Ravenna Blvd.

Beginning on Saturday, December 3, 2022, through New Years Day 2023, you can drive through or walk through Candy Cane Lane nightly.  Hours on Sunday through Thursday nights are from 4 PM to 9:30 PM.  Friday and Saturday night hours are 4 PM to 11 PM.

Pedestrians are welcome at all times and there will be designated nights when Candy Cane Lane will be closed to traffic for hosting pedestrians-only.  See the Facebook page of Candy Cane Lane for info.  This year’s pedestrian-only nights are Sunday, December 11, and Wednesday, December 14.  Music groups will play at 6:30 PM on both of those nights.

You are encouraged to bring food donations (canned food or dry food like spaghetti boxes) for the Food Bank barrel at the end of the lane.

The history of houses on this street, Park Road NE, is that it was developed in the 1920s with architectural plans for the group of houses.  The site was owned by the Beck family who developed the Ravenna neighborhood.

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The 2022 Season of Cheer: Hunter Tree Farm in Wedgwood

Take a stroll in Wedgwood to enjoy the smell of evergreens, the twinkle of lights and the sounds of music at the Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE, next to the post office.  The Christmas tree lot is set up like a magical forest which comes to life at the holiday season.

The Hunter family began selling Christmas trees at a retail site in the Northgate area in the 1950s.  When that site was lost to impending freeway construction, the Hunters found a new, receptive market in the Wedgwood neighborhood in northeast Seattle.  Hunters sold Christmas trees at the corner of NE 85th Street for a few years until they were able to acquire the present lot nearest to NE 80th Street.

Each year Wedgwood enjoys the holiday spirit at this locally-owned business.  The tree lot is open from 9 to 9 daily, through December 23, 2022.


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A Garden of Immigrants in Medohart

In the 1920s the (future) Wedgwood area began to be populated by immigrants. In northeast Seattle out along 35th Ave NE, those who searched for homes found an undeveloped area with inexpensive housing and a semi-rural lifestyle. At the (future) Wedgwood intersections of NE 75th & 85th Streets, there were no close-by industries or business districts, and no transportation system.

Dutch immigrant teens on 35th Ave NE at about NE 81st Street.

Commuting by car from northeast Seattle had been made easier by bridges over the ship canal, such as the University Bridge (1919). As early as the 1920s, many northeast Seattle residents drove to work, even though 35th Ave NE was unpaved.

Gus Johnson, a Swedish immigrant who lived at 3603 NE 75th Street, drove to work at his barber shop in downtown Seattle.

William Rose, a German immigrant who built a house at 6810 40th Ave NE, was a chef who drove to work at Don’s Oyster House, Second & Yesler Streets by the Smith Tower.

This blog article will tell about Dutch, German and Italian immigrant families in the Medohart plat at NE 75th Street & 39th Ave NE.

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Medohart in Wedgwood

Charles Hartge met his future wife, Lena, while they both were teaching school in Pennsylvania. Charles was an ambitious person whose goal was to become an attorney, so he worked until he could go to law school in Buffalo, NY.

This book tells about the AYP Exposition and its impact on the growth of northeast Seattle.

The Hartges may have been attracted to the Seattle area as many other people were, by news of the upcoming world’s fair event to be held on the campus of the University of Washington in 1909.

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909 was a big success for the fair itself, and it also launched the University District as a newly developed neighborhood which had not had electricity and paved streets before the fair.

In 1908 the Hartges settled in a house in the 5200 block of University Way NE, a convenient location where Charles could catch a streetcar to work at his downtown Seattle law office. The location was convenient for Lena, as well, as she intended to complete her education and her occupational goals. She graduated from the University of Washington at age 40 and began to teach high school science. Then she went on to earn a Masters degree in Botany and she taught at the university level.

In addition to pursuing her calling as a science researcher and teacher, Lena Hartge anticipated that she would have to be prepared to support herself.  Her husband’s health was failing and he died in 1927 at age 51.  Lena lived to be 92.

During their early years in Seattle the Hartges made a land investment in northeast Seattle, the future Wedgwood neighborhood, though they didn’t intend to live there themselves. They saw that northeast Seattle was becoming more populated, with growth increasing due to the proximity of the University of Washington, and bridges across the ship canal which made it easier to get downtown.  In 1919 the Hartges filed a plat, meaning that they had hired a surveyor to lay out house lots and lines for streets in the section of land they had bought, which they named the Medohart Addition to Seattle.  The Hartges then offered house lots for sale.

Only this one advertisement ran in the newspaper in 1919 and after that the Hartges left Medohart sales in the hands of real estate promoters.

A real estate ad for the Medohart plat ran in the Seattle Daily Times in September 1919.

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Sorting Out Seattle Street Names

In Seattle’s early years, 1851  to 1889, owners of property could lay out a plan for streets and give them any names they chose.  But as the city grew, segments of a street would often have several different names as the street passed through these individually-laid-out plats of property.

Seattle rebuilt its downtown area after the Great Fire of June 6, 1889.

The Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889 burned a large section of the downtown core but instead of destroying the city, the Fire led to a rebirth of Seattle with explosive population growth.   The population jumped tenfold to about 43,000 people in Seattle as of 1890, and doubled again by the year 1900 to more than 80,000 people.  (Source:  Seattle Municipal Archives Quick Information population statistics).

Within three years of the Fire, four hundred new subdivisions were filed with King County, mainly in or near the Seattle City Limits.  Each subdivision had a layout of streets with lots for houses or commercial buildings, and property owners continued to give the streets in their plats, any name that they chose.  This resulted in a tangle of street names which were often repeated in different areas of the city.  Finally in 1895 City Engineer R.H. Thomson began renaming Seattle streets via City ordinances.  The street-renaming project also decreed that streets would be east-west and those that were north-south would be called avenues.

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Robinson Tile and Marble Company

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was held on the campus of the University of Washington in 1909.

The year 1909 was a busy, exciting time in Seattle in preparation for a world’s fair event called the AYPE. The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was to open in June 1909 on the campus of the University of Washington in northeast Seattle.

In the days before radio, TV and the Internet, world’s fairs were major venues for display and advertising of products, and fairs were a source of tourist dollars in the local economy.  In the two years prior to the AYPE, representatives went to events in other cities to promote Seattle’s fair and encourage tourists to visit Seattle.

Perhaps it was in this way, through AYPE representatives or perhaps from stories in newspapers, that a young man, Albert Paris Robinson of Illinois, first heard of Seattle and decided to go there in 1909.  A.P. Robinson became part of the growth years of Seattle with buildings going up in downtown, and with housing expanding to areas of northeast Seattle.

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Pumpkin Weekends in Wedgwood

Pumpkins grown at the Hunter Farm in Mason County, Washington.

One of the delights of the autumn season is the colorful display at Wedgwood’s own Pumpkin Patch, 7744 35th Ave NE.  This year’s Pumpkin Party begins Sunday, October 2, 2022.

On October weekends the pumpkin sales are hosted by a local Scout troop.  This site of Hunter Farms is an extension of the Hunter’s home farm in Mason County, Washington, on Hood Canal.

In the 1950s Bill & Carol Hunter began growing and selling Christmas trees on their Mason County farm.  They expanded to find consumer markets and they found a good new sales location in the growing neighborhood of Wedgwood in Seattle.

After a few years the Hunters acquired their present property at 7744 35th Ave NE, which has been a Christmas tree sales lot and community Gathering Place for more than sixty years now.  The Hunters lot in Wedgwood is used for other community events including Pumpkin Weekends in the month of October.

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Seattle During and After the Civil War

During the American Civil War of 1861-1865 the struggling outpost of Seattle in Washington Territory anxiously watched and waited as to how the war’s outcome would affect not only national issues but how it would affect federal influence in the Pacific Northwest.  In the years just prior to outbreak of the war, Seattle had tried to get the federal government to help with expansion of roads and railroads, but the start of the war put everything on hold.

The first territorial governor of Washington, Isaac I. Stevens, was appointed in 1853.  On the way out to Washington Territory one of Stevens’ duties was to lead a survey crew, scouting a route for a transcontinental railroad.  Stevens continued to promote this effort during his four years as governor and four more years as territorial representative in Congress.  As a career army officer, Stevens joined the Union at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.  He was killed at the Battle of Chantilly, September 1862 in Virginia.

Washington Territory did not send troops to the Civil War but in addition to Governor Stevens, residents had known some other men who became participants in the war. Captain George Pickett had been at Fort Bellingham until he decided to resign from the U.S. Army and serve with the Confederacy.  Others who had been with him, such as Lt. Robert Hugh Davis, nephew of Confederate president Jefferson Davis, also left the Pacific Northwest and joined the Confederacy.

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)

Ulysses S. Grant who had been posted at Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory, became one of the most famous generals of the Union during the Civil War.  He received the surrender of General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy on April 9, 1865 in Virginia.

Grant served as President of the United States 1869-1877.  The promotion of railroads was a major issue during his administration.  Prior to his service as president, the first complete transcontinental railroad went through to California in 1869.  In the 1870s residents of the Pacific Northwest continued to advocate for a route to their area.

This blog article will tell of Seattle’s continual desire for a railroad route to the city, and how Civil War veterans were influential in railroad development in Seattle.

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One Hundred Years in the Wedgwood Business District

The year 2022 marks one hundred years since the first store opened in what is now defined as the Wedgwood neighborhood, between NE 75th to 95th Streets in northeast Seattle.

The north-south arterial 35th Ave NE is the central core of Wedgwood with its main business district at the intersection of NE 85th Street.

This blog article will give a capsule history of business in Wedgwood and a preview of the changes that are coming as the commercial district at NE 85th Street faces redevelopment.  In June 2022 it was announced that the long-time owner of the shopping center at the southeast corner of 85th & 35th, is getting ready to sell.  A developer announced plans to clear the site and build all new buildings.

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The Spiger Family in Ravenna

The life story of Henry Spiger tells of the western migration of Americans after the Civil War, and the attraction to the growth opportunities in Seattle in the 1880s.

Henry Spiger, born before the Civil War, gradually migrated from his birthplace in Ohio out to Seattle.  Henry engaged in maritime activities in Seattle, became a landowner, a real estate developer and then followed the rise of the automobile to open a gas station in 1918 after World War One.

Spiger gas station in 1958

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Meadowbrook’s Garden

A hedge of zinnia flowers along the roadside attracts our eye and tells us that something special is happening at 10700 30th Ave NE.  Adjacent to the tennis courts at Nathan Hale High School, on land which belongs to Seattle Parks Department, gardeners meet to work together and share skills at the Meadowbrook Community Garden and Orchard.

The Meadowbrook Garden has a zinnia border along 30th Ave NE. Shown here are berry bushes and the tennis courts in the background. Photo by Valarie.

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