Wedgwood’s Nathan Eckstein Middle School

Wedgwood courtesy of HistoryLink

Wedgwood was outside of the Seattle City limits until the 1950s. Map courtesy of HistoryLink.

In 1919 the Seattle School Board established a new program of “intermediate education” for grades 7, 8 and 9.  Up until that time, elementary schools went through the eighth grade and high school was four years.  One of the main reasons for creation of intermediate schools was to relieve crowding in the elementary schools.

In the 1920s there was strong population growth in the north Seattle neighborhoods of Green Lake and Wallingford, and these were the first in north Seattle to get separate intermediate schools.  After the 1920s there were no more intermediate or high schools built in north Seattle until the 1950s, including Nathan Eckstein School at 3003 NE 75th Street in the Wedgwood neighborhood.

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Fremont and Seattle’s Ship Canal

Fremont was a successful early community because of its advantageous location at one corner of Lake Union.

Seattle’s earliest white settlers saw immediately that it would be possible to connect its freshwater lakes to the saltwater Puget Sound by means of a canal.  At a Fourth of July picnic in 1854, Thomas Mercer proposed the name of Lake Union because that body of water was in the middle between Lake Washington to the east and Puget Sound to the west.  Thomas Mercer and David Denny took land claims at the south end of Lake Union near today’s Seattle Center.  Two single men, John Ross and William Strickler, searched out the land and in 1853-1854 they took claims at the northwest corner of Lake Union, which today is the Fremont neighborhood.

From those earliest times Seattle settlers thought to build a ship canal but little did they know that it would take more than sixty years to come to fruition.  Finally in 1910-1917 all of the needed legislation, financing and public support came together to create the Lake Washington Ship Canal. 

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Balch’s Office Buildings in Wedgwood

Wedgwood neighborhood — map courtesy of HistoryLink.

In 1940 the Wedgwood neighborhood did not yet exist in northeast Seattle.  There were vast tracts of undeveloped land and except for Hansen’s Tavern at NE 85th Street, there were no other businesses at that intersection on 35th Ave NE.  The other three corners of that intersection were vacant until the 1950s.

In the years from 1941 to 1959 the NE 85th Street intersection and the surrounding blocks were transformed by a visionary developer, Albert S. Balch, and acquired the neighborhood name of Wedgwood.

Today the Wedgwood neighborhood is defined by its commercial corridor along 35th Avenue NE, between NE 75th to 95th Streets.

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Cherry Blossoms in March 2017

It was a rainy Sunday in Seattle but cherry trees in bloom signaled the hope of Spring.

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Seattle Walks: Discovering History and Nature in the City

Seattle author David B. Williams is well-known for his geology walks and talks.  In recent years he has been doing research into Seattle history and how the city has interacted with and altered its natural environment, and he wrote the story of Seattle’s regrading projects in Too High and Too Steep.   On March 1, 2017, Mr. Williams launched his newest book, Seattle Walks: Discovering History and Nature in the City.

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The Great Backyard Bird Count 2017

Walking outdoors in nature or just looking out your window and observing birds is a great stress-reducer.  On February 17 through 20, 2017, you have a good excuse for gazing out the window:  you are a citizen scientist in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count!

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People of the Ship Canal: McMullen Fuel Company

In 1889 J. S. McMullen, age 55, pulled up stakes and went out West.  He had spent most of his life in Michigan but perhaps he was enticed to start a new life by word of the rich natural resources of the Seattle area.  McMullen brought his wife and four adult children, and the family became business leaders in the Fremont neighborhood.

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