Seattle north of the ship canal has many neighborhoods which derived their names from plats of land development. Sometimes the naming was deliberate, such as Laurelhurst, in which the developers reconfigured the streets and promoted the sale of houses in the community they named and built.
Balch’s original stone gateposts at NE 81st Street marked the entrance to Wedgwood on 35th Ave NE.
Albert Balch, the developer of View Ridge and Wedgwood, did not deliberately set out to name these neighborhoods. These areas did not have a definite identity before Balch built plats of houses. As the population grew in the 1940s and 1950s, place names gradually evolved.
Wedgwood was a neighborhood of young married couples in those years. They had lived through World War Two in the 1940s and they were experienced in community-organizing such as for civil defense. They applied their organizing skills to their new neighborhood for fire protection, development issues, activities for families and mutual aid in weather events. Gradually the neighborhood began identifying with the Wedgwood name.
Wedgwood is the plat name for a group of harmoniously-designed houses built by Albert Balch in the 1940s, on the west side of 35th Ave NE between NE 80th to 85th Streets. The spread of Wedgwood as a name can be attributed to the first business to use it, the Wedgwood Tavern in 1946. As soon as the tavern adopted the Wedgwood plat name, other nearby businesses took up the name as well.
Chelsea, a vanished place name in northeast Seattle
Like LaVilla which doesn’t exist as a place name in northeast Seattle anymore, Chelsea is marked on the City of Seattle map but no one uses that name now, for what was once a real estate promotion.
We know from our exploration of plat names near today’s Nathan Hale High School, that in the early 1900s landowner Mae Yates gave the name Chelsea to NE 110th Street. The Yates house still marks the corner of 30th & 110th, with Nathan Hale High School now on the south side of the street.
In the 1920s a widow, Carrie Palmer, continued to use the name Chelsea for plats of house lots. Carrie Palmer’s real estate developments were on the east side of today’s Jane Addams Middle School, and she leased out a Chelsea Store at the corner of 34th Ave NE & NE 110th Street.
This blog article will show that in the 1920s “Chelsea” was used to advertise housing in northeast Seattle on or near NE 110th Street, though use of the name has disappeared in present times.
The Yates house, built in 1914, is still at 3004 NE 110th Street.