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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Redefining the Boundaries of Wedgwood in the 1950s

In the 1940s and 1950s the neighborhoods of northeast Seattle grew rapidly, with housing developments filling up what had been semi-rural areas which were still outside the city limits.  Some people resisted the process of being absorbed into the City of Seattle, but eventually, district by district, sections and voting precincts voted themselves into the city.  The annexation process placed the north city limits where it is today, at 145th Street from Puget Sound all the way over to Lake Washington.

Houses on NE 84th Street in 1953, photo by Werner Lenggenhager. An amateur photographer, Leggenhager left much of his collection to the Seattle Public Library. He spoke approvingly of the Balch houses which were modest in scale and harmonious in style.

Houses on NE 84th Street in 1953, photo by Werner Lenggenhager. An amateur photographer, Lenggenhager left much of his collection to the Seattle Public Library. He spoke approvingly of Balch’s Wedgwood development with houses which were modest in scale and harmonious in style, and with the preservation of tall trees.

Wedgwood” was first used in 1941 by Albert Balch as a plat name for a housing development from NE 80th to 85th Streets, 30th to 35th Avenues NE.  This forty-acre tract of houses in similar scale and harmonious styles (with New England-style Cape Cod detailing) was a huge success.

After the end of World War Two in 1945, many war veterans got married and were able to buy a Wedgwood house with a GI loan, the government assistance program for veterans.

After the war, young couples flocked to the Wedgwood development to establish homes and start new lives, hoping to leave behind the hardships and deprivations of the war years.  Into the 1950s Balch acquired more tracts of land near the first Wedgwood plat, and he did more well-planned, attractive streets and groups of houses on both sides of 35th Ave NE.  The neighborhood was gradually “becoming Wedgwood” by taking its identity from the orderly and charming Balch housing developments.

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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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Laurette Stanley in Wedgwood

Laurette Augusta Young and Moses Terrell Stanley married in 1869 in Sweetland Township, Muscatine County, Iowa.  Each had come to Iowa as children when their parents migrated from other states to take advantage of the rich farmlands on the expanding Western frontier of the USA.

Sweetland Township, Muscatine County, Iowa, with the Mississippi River at right (map of 1899)

Muscatine County, and the name of Iowa itself, were derived from Native American names for the plains and rivers of the state.  Muscatine was advantageously located on the Mississippi River, Iowa’s eastern border, with Illinois across the river.

Laurette, born in New Hampshire, was only a few months old when her parents decided to move to Iowa.  Laurette would live in Iowa until she was 55 years old, when she became a resident of Washington State.

At age 70 Laurette moved to the future Wedgwood neighborhood in northeast Seattle, where she nurtured the natural environment along the Maple Creek Ravine.  Laurette lived at the eastern end of NE 89th Street until her death at age 95 in 1945.

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Martha Hawks, Real Estate Agent in Morningside Heights

In the 1920s the (future) Wedgwood neighborhood first began to be known as Morningside Heights, the name of a real estate development.    Growth was facilitated by the new Victory Way highway, today’s Lake City Way NE, which made it much easier to reach what is now the Wedgwood area in northeast Seattle.

The promoters of Morningside Heights laid out streets and house lots on the west side of 35th Ave NE between NE 90th to 95th Streets.  The developers printed a promotional brochure, and they advertised Morningside Heights in the newspapers.  They had one or more representatives on-site, including the Walter Wood family at 9428 25th Ave NE whose house was the first one drivers would see, when they turned from Victory Way eastward onto NE 95th Street.

 

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Alexandrina McKenzie and Real Estate in Early Wedgwood

In the year 1900 Alexandrina McKenzie was a 43-year-old farm wife in Bingham Township, Huron, Michigan, with five of her six children still at home.

The Big Green House at 7321 35th Ave NE was demolished on February 17, 2015.

Ten years later, Alexandrina was a widow in Seattle, supporting herself and her children with income from real estate sales.  Alexandrina was a woman in real estate transactions in the early years of what would become the Wedgwood neighborhood of northeast Seattle.

Alexandrina lived in the 7301 block of 35th Ave NE near what would become the site of the Big Green House.  We don’t know for sure if she was the one who had the house built and lived in it, but the Big Green House story, part of neighborhood history, is still a source of fascination even though the house has been demolished.

In this blog article I will trace Alexandrina’s origins and how her activities paralleled the growth of northeast Seattle.

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Old-Time Stores and Gas Stations on Sand Point Way NE

Establishment of the Naval Air Station on the shore of Lake Washington in 1927 was the catalyst for street improvements and commercial development along Sand Point Way NE.  The City of Seattle officially named Sand Point Way and coordinated with King County in efforts to complete the road and pave it, for better access to the naval base.  With roadway improvements came more access to the area, and then little stores and gas stations sprang up along the way.

Photo of 1960, looking southward on Sand Point Way NE we see the entrance of the NAS at left and Dooley’s Restaurant at right. Photo from Seattle Municipal Archives.

Today, Sand Point Way NE is a very wide arterial from its point of origination at 45th & Union Bay Place NE, northward as far as the gate of the former Naval Air Station at NE 74th Street (present Magnuson Park).

North of the present Magnuson Park, Sand Point Way NE suddenly narrows down to only two lanes.  With the aspect of a country road, Sand Point Way winds its way along, parallel to the lake shore, until ending with a curve onto NE 125th Street.

In the 1930s gas stations and corner stores were built along the road north of the naval base, but most of these commercial enterprises only lasted a few years.

This blog article will note stores and gas stations which were on Sand Point Way NE but which are gone now.

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Sand Point Way NE: Stores and Stations at NE 97th Street

The establishment of the Naval Air Station at Sand Point in the 1920s caused Sand Point Way NE to become an arterial street.  Even though the naval base grew slowly at first, its presence caused northeast Seattle to hope for economic benefits of jobs at the base and commercial growth nearby.

The entrance of the Naval Air Station was at NE 74th Street on Sand Point Way NE

The City of Seattle officially named Sand Point Way NE in 1927 and worked with King County to pave the road.  Today, Sand Point Way NE is a wide arterial from Union Bay Place/NE 45th Street out as far as the gate of the former Naval Air Station at NE 74th Street.  North of there, the road narrows to one lane in each direction.

Sand Point Way NE marked in blue at right

In the 1920s and 1930s little corner stores and gas stations sprang up along Sand Point Way NE out as far as NE 125th Street.  Due to the narrowness of the roadway north of the naval base and low population density in northeast Seattle, the little stores retained a rural aspect.

In this blog article we will look at the stores and the gas station which were at the NE 97th Street intersection on Sand Point Way NE.  Nothing remains of these now, except for an auto repair shop on one corner.

The little corner groceries only lasted about twenty years or so until other kinds of food outlets, such as 7-Eleven convenience stores or large, multi-department groceries won out in the competition for customers.

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