Take a Walk Through Wedgwood History with me, Valarie, on any/all Saturdays in September 2015. We will meet under the Safeway sign, 35th Ave NE at the corner of NE 75th Street at 10 AM. We will look at the buildings we have in Wedgwood today and how Wedgwood got that way, during the post-World-War Two building boom. Prior to the war’s end in 1945, there were no apartment buildings in Wedgwood and there still were many people who kept chickens and cows. Today all the vacant spaces in Wedgwood are filled up and the neighborhood is beginning to experience the pressures of urbanization.
Wedgwood began to grow very rapidly after the end of World War Two in 1945. With the end of the war came large numbers of returning servicemen who married and began looking for a place where they could have a house and raise a family. As of 1945, while other parts of Seattle were already built up, in Wedgwood there were vast tracts of heavily treed, vacant land still available. The post-war pressure for housing led to the creation of the Wedgwood neighborhood which is still in evidence today, with single-family homes on either side of a linear commercial district along 35th Ave NE.
There are still some signs of the small community of the 1920s and 1930s before Wedgwood became the name of the neighborhood. Wedgwood’s two still-operating taverns were founded at the end of Prohibition in 1933-1934, at a time when these taverns were scattered along the unpaved 35th Ave NE with few other commercial buildings in-between. One other tavern, Ida’s Inn, closed in 1948 but the square outline of the building can still be seen at 7500 35th Ave NE.
Today Wedgwood is on the cusp of new development as it could potentially see rebuilding and replacement of some aging commercial buildings along 35th Ave NE. To get ahead of redevelopment and ensure a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment, a land-use initiative was formed called The Future of 35th Ave NE.
The original developer of Wedgwood, Albert Balch, set aside some areas along 35th Ave NE for stores and offices. As we walk along 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood we can envision a future commercial district which will be vibrant with small coffee shops, restaurants and other pedestrian-friendly, accessible businesses — but only if the needed zoning for the commercial district is set.
Take a Walk Through Wedgwood History every Saturday, 10 AM, in September 2015. We will meet under the Safeway sign on 35th Ave NE at the corner of NE 75th Street, and talk about what used to be, what is now, and what the future of Wedgwood might look like along 35th Ave NE. At the end of the Walk (approximately 11 AM) everyone will be invited to stay and chat while enjoying snacks and coffee at a local shop.
All ages are welcome on the walk and please do bring your questions. Do you know where the first store in Wedgwood was located? How did Wedgwood get its name, and how should it be spelled?
Do you know where the original “Wedgwood” is? What neighborhood names were in use before Wedgwood — was the neighborhood called Dutch Hollow, LaVilla, or Morningside? When did Wedgwood come into the city limits of Seattle?