Candy Cane Lane 2021

A fun family holiday event in northeast Seattle is the annual Candy Cane Lane lights and decorations.  Located on NE Ravenna Blvd at 21st Ave NE, Candy Cane Lane is a cluster of 1920s houses all decked out for the holidays.

Candy Cane Lane in northeast Seattle

Beginning on December 4, 2021, 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 are two nights when Candy Cane Lane will be closed to traffic and will host pedestrians only:  Thursdays, December 9 and December 16.

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

Candy Cane Lane is open from December 4, 2021 through New Years Day 2022.  See their Facebook page for updates and more detailed directions.

Candy Cane Lane location map

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Hunter Tree Farm in Wedgwood in 2021

Christmas 2021 at Hunter Tree Farm in Wedgwood

The Hunter family of the Olympic Peninsula farm, dating back to the 1880s, began growing Christmas trees in 1948.  In the 1950s the Hunters began selling cut trees from what is now a grocery store lot at the corner of NE 85th Street in the post-World-War-Two neighborhood which was acquiring a Wedgwood identity.

In the 1940s and 1950s developer Albert Balch was building small starter homes accessible to young couples, especially war veterans.  The name “Wedgwood” started out as just a plat name for houses he was building but eventually “Wedgwood” caught on as the name for the neighborhood.

In the 1950s when Balch was approached about giving space for Christmas tree sales he enthusiastically agreed.  He knew that such a fun activity would enhance the life of the neighborhood.  At first the sales were on 35th Ave NE at the southeast corner of NE 85th Street, where as yet no stores had been built.

Christmas 2021 at Hunter Tree Farm is busy with customers.

The Hunter Tree Farm sales lot in Wedgwood eventually got crowded out of the NE 85th Street site as the shopping center grew to include a restaurant (today’s Wedgwood Broiler) and other stores.  The Hunters were able to move their Christmas tree sales to 7744 35th Ave NE (next to the Wedgwood Post Office) where it remains today.

Customers immerse themselves in greenery at Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood.

On November 27, 2021, family patriarchs William O. & Carol Hunter are celebrating their 73rd wedding anniversary.  They no longer come out to spend the month of December at the tree lot but generations of Hunters are there to carry on the tradition.

Hunter Tree Farm Christmas tree sales at 7744 35th Ave NE is open 9 AM to 9 PM through December 23, 2021.

Hunter Tree Farm workers steadily unload more and more trees.

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December in Wedgwood: Hunter Tree Farm

Hunter kiosk 12.13.2014Each year, the Hunter Tree Farm sells Christmas trees at 7744 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood, opening right after Thanksgiving.

This article is the story of the Hunter family and how they came to establish their Christmas tree lot in the Wedgwood neighborhood of northeast Seattle.

William O. Hunter and his wife Carol met at Shelton High School in rural Mason County, Washington, where William’s father had a dairy farm.  William and Carol married in 1948 and they began taking the farmland into the next-generation of business development by growing and selling evergreen Christmas trees.

Copyright notice:  text and photos in this article are protected under a Creative Commons Copyright; do not copy text or photos.

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Names in the Neighborhood: Rogers School

At the end of World War Two in 1945, military servicemen returned to the USA and many settled in Seattle.  The population of Seattle increased by 100,000 people between 1940 and 1950 due to the influx of returnees and new residents.  Many young couples got married at this time and started families.  Seattle Public Schools then began a desperate scramble to get ready for what they knew would be coming: a huge wave of children born after 1945, called the Baby Boom, who would reach school age in the 1950s.

The need of new schools was particularly acute in northeast Seattle, an area of a lot of housing development after the war.  In the 1940s-1950s northeast Seattle was still semi-rural, outside of the city limits and still had a lot of vacant land which could become available for building houses.  Developers like Albert Balch in Wedgwood shifted into high gear to build starter-homes accessible to military veterans via government-supported home loan programs.  Neighborhoods like Wedgwood where Balch was building, became populated with young married couples.

This blog article will tell about the John Rogers School at 4030 NE 109th Street, one of the new schools which opened in northeast Seattle in the post-war years.

John Rogers School at 4030 NE 109th Street as it looked when the building was completed in 1956.

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Names in the Neighborhood: Bryant

In northeast Seattle most of the neighborhood names are those of real estate developments such as Wedgwood, which originally was only a plat name.

The builder of the Wedgwood group of houses, Albert Balch, did not deliberately set out to name the neighborhood.  The name caught on gradually and gained popularity when businesses began using it.

Bryant is the neighborhood along the southern portion of 35th Ave NE, northeast of the University Village area.

Prior to Balch’s Wedgwood houses which he started building in 1941, there had been a Morningside real estate promotion which gave its name to the neighborhood in the 1920s.  From the 1940s, the Wedgwood name became the strongest identifier of the neighborhood so that in 1954, the Seattle School District chose it for the new Wedgwood School.

Other real estate developments in northeast Seattle including LaVilla, Inverness, Laurelhurst, Hawthorne Hills, View Ridge (also by Albert Balch) and Lake City, all gave their names to their neighborhoods.

One neighborhood name, Meadowbrook, was derived from the golf course at the present site of Nathan Hale High School.  This was a gradual process where the name seemed to “stick” while other, previously-used names faded.

Before Meadowbrook, a real estate development at NE 110th Street, Chelsea, had been advertised in the 1920s as an area of new homes for young couples.  The name Chelsea faded in use as the Meadowbrook Golf Course became the most prominent identifying feature at NE 110th Street.

The name Meadowbrook had enough staying power to continue to be used even after the golf course closed and a new high school was built on the former golf course site.  In 1961 area residents petitioned to have the new high school named “Meadowbrook.”   But the school district applied rules of how schools were named, and chose “Nathan Hale.”

This blog article will tell about the designation of the name “Bryant” for the neighborhood near Bryant School at 3311 NE 60th Street, and the businesses that developed nearby, along 35th Ave NE in early years.

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The Trees of October in Wedgwood

Wedgwood in northeast Seattle enjoys the autumn colors of leaves in October and November.  Street trees called Flame Ash will turn a deep red along 35th Ave NE.

Street trees in Wedgwood’s business district on 35th Ave NE.

The Flame Ash street trees which line 35th Ave NE were planted between 1965 to 1972, and are maintained by Urban Forestry of Seattle’s Department of Transportation.

Flame Ash is a “cultivar” meaning that the trees were grown to have the wanted characteristics and that all the trees in the group would look the same.   Related varieties are Raywood and Marshall Seedless, which were planted on NE 125th Street from Lake City westward to Roosevelt Way NE.

Wedgwood’s row of Flame Ash trees begin in the heart of the business district at NE 84th Street and continue northward to NE 137th Street where 35th Ave NE merges with Lake City Way NE.  As the rainy season begins, the riot of color of Wedgwood’s trees gives us a warm burst of enthusiasm and enjoyment of the season.

Flame Ash trees along 35th Ave NE in the Wedgwood neighborhood of northeast Seattle.

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September in Flight: Bird Migration

As the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to change color, birds begin their annual migration.  This article reprinted from All About Birds tells, how, why and where birds migrate.

Geese migration

“Geese winging their way south in wrinkled V-shaped flocks is perhaps the classic picture of migration—the annual, large-scale movement of birds between their breeding (summer) homes and their nonbreeding (winter) grounds. But geese are far from our only migratory birds. Of the more than 650 species of North American breeding birds, more than half are migratory.”

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A Headstone for Captain John M Hoyt at Last

September 4, 2021:
Graveside ceremony to honor Captain J.M. Hoyt, 7th Wisconsin/Civil War. Like many other Civil War veterans, Captain Hoyt later came to Seattle and spent the rest of his life here.

Guest article from the Emerging Civil War blog:  the story of how the unmarked grave of a Civil War veteran was discovered and honored in Seattle.

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Far Beyond the Sounds of Battle: Seattle’s Civil War Legacy

Grand Army of the Republic Civil War veterans cemetery in Seattle

This guest article by Seattle’s Civil War Legacy is reposted from the Emerging Civil War blog of June 29, 2021.

A letter received in Seattle in 1863, telling of actions during the Civil War, was reprinted in the local newspaper.  Despite Seattle’s remoteness from the rest of the USA, residents of Seattle were anxiously following the actions of the Civil War as they understood its national significance.

In the decades after the Civil War, veterans gradually made their way to the Pacific Northwest and became active members of the community.  Today, Seattle’s Civil War Legacy project is documenting the lives of these veterans.

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Honoring a Civil War Veteran

Although Washington State did not send troops to the Civil War (1861-1865), after the war veterans from all over the USA chose to come to the Pacific Northwest to start new lives.

Cemeteries all around the Seattle area contain graves of Civil War veterans who chose to spend the rest of their lives here.  Seattle’s Civil War Legacy is a project to highlight and honor these veterans. Here is the wonderful story of how the grave of Captain Hoyt of the Iron Brigade was located and now commemorated.

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Aretha Curtis and Maple Leaf Gardens

In the years 1915 to 1945 the lives of Americans were bracketed by two world wars with an economic depression in the middle.

For a few years in the 1920s, after the First World War and before the stock market crash of 1929, there was relative prosperity and economic opportunity in the USA.  After the First World War and the ending of the flu epidemic of 1919, everyone looked forward to starting a new phase of life in a peacetime economy.

During the 1920s a young couple, Percy & Aretha Curtis, moved from Spokane to Seattle to start out their married lives.  They became residents of northeast Seattle where Aretha started a flower sales business.

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