For twenty-eight years Johnson’s Auto Repair has been in business in Wedgwood at the corner of NE 95th Street. This full-service repair shop has high ratings for quality and service.
The summer of 2017 marked the fortieth work anniversary for Liz Jones of the Adams Insurance Agency at 8613 35th Ave NE in the Wedgwood neighborhood’s business district. Liz, co-owner of Adams Insurance, is Wedgwood’s longest-time worker, and now business owner.
In the 1980s the City of Seattle began to set neighborhood “boundaries” to give Seattle residents a sense of place and of civic involvement. Today the Seattle City Clerk’s maps of neighborhoods as listed, are still given for that purpose.
Some Wedgwood residents may not feel that the City-defined boundaries match their mental map of their neighborhood. For that reason, few people realized that the western edge of the Wedgwood neighborhood reaches all the way over to Lake City Way NE between NE 85th to 95th Streets. And few people were aware that until recently, there was a trailer park at the western edge of Wedgwood at 2101 NE 88th Street, adjoining Lake City Way NE.
A new townhouse development is being built on the former trailer park site in western Wedgwood, to be completed in the year 2020. The evolution of this site from auto camp to trailer park to townhouse development, shows the changes in northeast Seattle as it is gradually becoming more urbanized over many years’ time.
More than 150 people filled a meeting room in Wedgwood on June 24, 2015, to hear a presentation about how changes in zoning could help to develop more businesses and a more pedestrian-friendly walking environment along 35th Ave NE. The meeting marked the completion of five years of advocacy by neighborhood activists to seek preservation of Wedgwood’s business district. Due to complete lack of action by Seattle City Council, as of the year 2017 Wedgwood’s business district is being destroyed, building by building.
Changes in zoning could help protect the business environment along 35th Ave NE in the face of oncoming developments, including replacement of any current buildings when that occurs, at the “nodes” (intersections) of NE 75th and 85th Streets along 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood. The Neighborhood Commercial Zone which was proposed by the Future of 35th recommendations, would apply to future development in the event that any of the buildings at these corners are torn down and rebuilt.
The commercial district of the Wedgwood neighborhood in northeast Seattle is arranged along the arterial 35th Avenue NE with clusters of stores at the NE 75th and 85th Street intersections. The majority of the storefronts and office buildings were built during an intense period of development after World War Two ended in 1945.
Soldiers returning from the war married and started families, and in the 1940s and 1950s the vast areas of vacant land in northeast Seattle filled up with single-family housing. During those years with a growing customer base in the new Wedgwood neighborhood, the Wedgwood business district took form with various kinds of stores and services.
Today we are beginning to see the tear-down and replacement of commercial buildings in Wedgwood along 35th Avenue NE. Due to the lack of action from Seattle City Council on zoning issues, townhouses with blank walls are being built in the commercial district instead of the storefronts which are wanted by the Wedgwood community.
Do you know the history of your house? Information about your house, including its age and its setting in the Wedgwood neighborhood of northeast Seattle, can tell you about the house itself and about the people who have lived on your street. In learning about your house and neighborhood, you can share the info with neighbors to help build camaraderie on your block.
Many house-history resources are now on-line, while other materials are best accessed by an in-person trip to the Seattle Public Library or to City and County archives.