Immigrants, Houses and Growth in Northeast Seattle

The growth of Seattle is the story of waves of immigrants responding to historic events and economic opportunities in the young city.  This blog article is about people on 40th Ave NE around NE 70th Street in northeast Seattle in the 1920s and 1930s when there were many immigrants from Holland and Germany, as well as from other places such as Russia and Japan.  We will trace the life of one man, William Rose from Germany, whose story represents the immigrant experience in Seattle.

Like William Rose, some immigrants had stopped off at other places in the USA before finally coming to Seattle, a place with economic opportunity and cheap land in the early 1900s.  We will see how northeast Seattle was thinly settled until the 1940s when the area was developed with housing for the increasing population during World War Two.  The developer of View Ridge and Wedgwood, Albert Balch, played a key role in building houses in northeast Seattle in the post-World War Two years.

The William Rose house at 6810 40th Ave NE was built in 1925.

Continue reading

Posted in Houses, Immigrant heritage | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Northeast Branch Library in Seattle

The Northeast Branch Library has a historical scrapbook telling the story of the library.

In the early 1900s the land area around the Northeast Branch Library at 6801 35th Ave NE was owned by Marvin & Isabella Jones, who wanted to share their wealth by giving portions of their land for use of charities and community organizations.

Although Mr. & Mrs. Jones were no longer living by the time that the library opened in 1954, if they had been living they would have been glad to see the establishment of such a wonderful neighborhood resource as a library.

This blog post will tell about the creation of the Northeast Branch Library and what the area was like before the library, in the early 1900s during the land ownership of Marvin & Isabella Jones.

Continue reading

Posted in Neighborhood features, Plat names | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

How Did Lake City in North Seattle Get Its Name?

Lake City in northeast Seattle, map courtesy of HistoryLink.

Lake City is the northeasternmost neighborhood of Seattle and did not come completely into the City of Seattle boundaries until 1954.

Though it was platted as a suburban area of single-family homes, Lake City also developed its own commercial district around the intersection of NE 125th Street, and Lake City had a strong community identity from early years.  Today Lake City has an active neighborhood association and a busy business district.

The Shoreline Historical Museum, located at 18501 Linden Ave N., has a lot of information about north Seattle areas which were once outside the City of Seattle.  Museum director Vicki Stiles has written this wonderful essay about how Lake City got its name, which I (Valarie) am re-posting here.

Continue reading

Posted in name of the neighborhood, Plat names | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Trees of Autumn in Wedgwood

The flame ash street trees along 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood have been vibrant with color in the autumn season of 2019.

October 2019: Looking southward on 35th Ave NE at the corner of NE 94th Street, with Fiddler’s Inn at center and Fire Station 40 at right.  Photo by Valarie.

Continue reading

Posted in trees | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

October 2019 in the Wedgwood Neighborhood of Seattle

The Wedgwood neighborhood in northeast Seattle is rich with colorful trees in the autumn season, including the drive along 35th Ave NE with its street trees.  Oranges and yellows abound, set off by pumpkin decorations.

Two traditional activities in October in Wedgwood are the pumpkin patch and the trick-or-treat in the business district on Halloween.

Continue reading

Posted in Events and holidays, trees | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Business District of Wedgwood, Then and Now

Evans Thriftway opened in 1957 at a remodelled IGA store at 8606 35th Ave NE.

Those of us who grew up in the Wedgwood neighborhood of northeast Seattle tend to be nostalgic about businesses and buildings of bygone years.  Some types of businesses which once were in Wedgwood, such as Dairy Queen, 7-Eleven stores and small gas station markets, no longer exist.

Some buildings in the commercial district of Wedgwood have been remodelled and re-used by a succession of businesses, until finally being torn down and replaced, as was the grocery store building at 8606 35th Ave NE.

There have been many changes in the business environment in Wedgwood in the decades since the neighborhood was created in the 1940s.  Wedgwood now has some kinds of businesses which didn’t exist in the 1940s, such as a tanning salon and a yoga studio.

By 2007 the old grocery building at 8606 35th Ave NE was at the end of its useful life. It stood vacant while a redevelopment project was on hold.  Finally in 2012 the Jasper Apartment building went up on this site.

Some of the commercial buildings in the Wedgwood business district wore out and were replaced out of necessity.  The former grocery store building at 8606 35th Ave NE was used by a nonprofit agency for a while, then was torn down and replaced by a four-story apartment complex, the Jasper, completed in 2012.

Up until the plans to build the Jasper, Wedgwood neighborhood activists had been unaware that the zoning allowed for a four-story building on 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood.  It was this controversy which began in 2007, which set off the process of trying to come up with a plan to preserve the business district of Wedgwood.

The overpowering, tall Jasper Apartment at 8606 35th Ave NE was the shock which set off neighborhood activism for better zoning regulations.

We have to accept changes over the passage of time, but what we should not accept is the current lack of support for the business district in Wedgwood – support that should come from the City of Seattle in proper zoning of business blocks to preserve commercial use.

This blog post will describe the current status of “zoning” which means the regulations on what can be built, as to height of buildings and use for residential or commercial occupancy.

The construction of the Jasper, pictured at right, set off a Wedgwood community project which was meant to bring about enhancement of the business district via improved zoning, but these recommendations were never implemented by Seattle City Council.  In the upcoming election I urge all Wedgwoodians, and all residents of Seattle, to vote for new City Council representatives who will respond to the need to support neighborhood businesses.

Copyright notice:  the text and photos of this article are protected under Creative Commons Copyright.  Do not copy without permission.

Continue reading

Posted in businesses | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Early Community in the State Park Plat in Wedgwood

In the early 1900s almost no one lived in what is now the Wedgwood neighborhood in northeast Seattle, due to the area’s lack of access to water, its remoteness and the lack of roads.

Wedgwood neighborhood in northeast Seattle. Map courtesy of HistoryLink.

In the 1870s, Capt. DeWitt C. Kenyon, a Civil War veteran from Michigan, came to Seattle and made a homestead land claim of 160 acres on both sides of the present NE 75th Street.  Land records tell us of the boundaries of the Kenyon claim, but we don’t know exactly where the Kenyon’s log cabin home was located.  Possible locations include the present site of Nathan Eckstein School at 3003 NE 75th Street.

After living in Seattle for about twelve years, Capt. Kenyon moved on to California.  In 1888 Capt. Kenyon’s north Seattle homestead claim property was sold to a young land speculator, Charles H. Baker.   But Baker’s investment never did yield a profit for him; house lots did not sell well due to the remote location and the ups and downs in the Seattle economy in the 1890s.

This blog post will tell how Baker’s investment land, named the State Park plat, was populated by just a few families by 1910.  A few more people came to Wedgwood in the 1920s and 1930s.  Finally the Wedgwood area really began to grow in the 1940s due to the wartime demand for housing for workers, and development of the first Wedgwood houses by Albert Balch.

Looking at the houses along 31st and 32nd Avenues NE gives a representative history of the phases of Wedgwood housing from the early 1900s to today.  We know that some of the earliest houses in Wedgwood were located here, just north of the (future) Nathan Eckstein site, and that these streets did not get completely filled up with houses until the 1950s.

Copyright notice:  text and photos on this article are protected under a Creative Commons Copyright.  Do not copy without permission.

The house at 3202 NE 75th Street, highlighted in the foreground, is for sale in 2019. Looking southward across NE 75th Street, we see the Nathan Eckstein school site. Both properties were on homestead claim land until 1888. Photo courtesy of Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

 

Continue reading

Posted in 3202 NE 75th Street, Houses, Land records and surveys, Plat names | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Lincoln High School in Seattle

A ribbon-cutting and open-house event was held at Seattle’s Lincoln High School on September 3, 2019, as the school celebrated its modernization and renovation.  There will be more opportunities for alumni to tour the building — see the Lincoln Lynx Alumni Association page for more info.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 3, 2019 at Lincoln High School. Photo by Valarie.

Continue reading

Posted in School histories | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Seattleness

Did you know that Seattle residents live under 240 days of gray skies per year?  The cover illustration of this wonderful book, Seattleness, is a histogram featuring color samples from the Seattle sky measured over a year’s time and laid out in lengths of hours.  The daily colors-of-the sky photos were taken from a camera mounted on the tip-top of Seattle’s Space Needle.

Continue reading

Posted in Neighborhood features, research resources, Seattle History | Tagged , | 8 Comments