From Herkenrath to Hunter’s

The Wedgwood Post Office at 7714 35th Ave NE and the Hunter Tree Farm at 7744 are on the former site of the Herkenrath house, built in 1926.

The Herkenrath house, pictured here in 1958, was on the present site of the Wedgwood Post Office. The small building at the left still stands at 7744 35th Ave NE, site of Hunter Tree Farm. Photo #75875, Seattle Municipal Archives.

John and Freda Herkenrath were German immigrants who had lived on Seattle’s Capitol Hill before moving out to Wedgwood in 1926.   They built a house at 7724 35th Ave NE, joining the growing community of Dutch and German immigrants who were settling along 35th Ave NE, which in those days was a one-lane dirt track.

John Herkenrath spent time cutting trees in between working as a carpenter and helping with house construction in the neighborhood.   On August 14, 1931, while cutting trees on the north side of his house, a tree fell on John Herkenrath and killed him.

After the deaths of John and Freda their house went to John’s brother and was lived in by his family.   On the north side of the house, land was leased to a plant nursery called Foster’s, later called Wedgewood Gardens.   In 1958 a corporation applied for a zoning change to build a shopping center at the site, but the application was turned down by the Seattle City Planning Commission.  The reason given was that the city wanted to keep commercial development clustered at the intersections of NE 75th and 85th Streets only.

The Wedgwood Post Office is at 7714 35th Ave NE.

In the early 1960’s the Herkenrath house was moved off of the site and the lots sold separately to different entities.  In place of the Herkenrath’s house there is now the Wedgwood Post Office, Hunter Tree Farm, and the corner-of-NE-80th Street lot owned by Wedgwood Presbyterian Church.  The small brown building closest to the sidewalk at 7744 35th Ave NE is the former plant nursery sales building.

The Herkenrath house was moved to 8004 36th Ave NE to make way for the Wedgwood Post Office to be built.

Herkenrath’s house was moved to the northeast corner of NE 80th Street and 36th Ave NE, and the address is now 8004 36th Ave NE.

In the summer of 2011 the Wedgwood Community Council led a grant-funded project at Hunter Tree Farm, with the permission of the Hunter family, to make improvements for greater public usability of the site.   See article on this blog, Wedgwood’s Gathering Place at the Hunter Tree Farm, and info on the Wedgwood Coummunity Council website.

Sources:

Death date of Mr. Herkenrath from Washington Digital Archives.

Interviews with nephews Frank & John Herkenrath; neighbor Dora Nicklas who lived at 7757 – 35th Ave NE and was there on the day that Mr. Herkenrath was killed.

Photo # 75875 and Clerk’s File #233832, “Petition of Commercial and Industrial Development Corporation for rezoning of portion of Oneida Gardens Addition on 35th Ave NE and E. 80th,” Seattle Municipal Archives, Third Floor, City Hall.   http://www.seattle.gov/CityArchives/

About Wedgwood in Seattle History

Valarie is a volunteer history writer for northeast neighborhoods in Seattle, Washington.
This entry was posted in businesses, community council (present time), Hunter's Tree Farm, Immigrant heritage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to From Herkenrath to Hunter’s

  1. Jeff says:

    My brother’s first job was at Hunter’s. We always considered the lighting up of the tree farm to be the first sign of Christmas!

What would you like to know about Wedgwood?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s