Seattle Street Names North of Lake Union

Seattle historian Rob Ketcherside has previously cataloged the street names which were reorganized in a major City ordinance in the year 1895.  This was when the decision was made to have streets keep one name along their entire length, instead of each segment having a name chosen by that area’s land developer.  This first street name table organized by Rob, is included in my article about how Seattle’s streets were named.

Now Rob Ketcherside has added info about street names in Seattle north of Lake Union, including Fremont, Wallingford, Latona, and the University District (originally called Brooklyn).  Here’s the street names of the nearby Green Lake neighborhood.

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Fremont at the Center of the Universe

Guidepost at the Center of the Universe in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle.

Fremont is one of Seattle’s most art-filled neighborhoods, with many murals, sculptures and other indoor and outdoor artworks.  As written on the webpage of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, “Where else will you find a troll, a drawbridge, a rocket, dinosaurs, art you can dress up, and a Lenin statue…???”

One of Fremont’s art installations is called The Guidepost, supporting the claim of Fremont as The Center of the Universe.  The story is that back in the 1990s the claim of Center of the Universe was first made by Fremont’s artistic community, the Artistic Republic of Fremont.  But actually, the claim of Fremont as the center of Seattle life goes back much farther, to the early years of the neighborhood.

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Fremont’s Elephants

Even though elephants are only native to Africa and Asia, elephants appear in art, literature and cultural references worldwide.

The Elephant Store in Seattle, far right, as photographed in 1878 by Peterson Studio.

Perhaps the earliest elephant-reference in Seattle was in the 1870s.  In this 1878 photo, we see the Elephant Store on First Avenue at the southeast corner of Columbia Street.  We don’t know exactly why it was called the Elephant Store.  In his commentary on this photo, Seattle historian Paul Dorpat speculated that “presumably both the bargains and the selection were oversized.”

The Fremont neighborhood of Seattle is well-known for its art installations such as Lenin, the Troll and the Interurban statue.  There currently is no elephant-art-motif in Fremont, but historically Fremont has had its own connections to elephant lore:  an elephant named Wide Awake who lived at the nearby Woodland Park Zoo, and an elephant art piece created in Fremont which is displayed as a store’s sign at 8808 Aurora Avenue North.

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Discovering History through Digitized Newspapers

Washington State is rich in digital resources for historic research.  Many of the research collections of the Washington State Library are on-line.  The Washington State Library, a division of the Office of Secretary of State, has launched a new website for the Washington Digital Newspapers program at:

The Washington Digital Newspapers site features newspapers from smaller cities and a pioneer-era collection of newspapers which may have only been in print for a few years.

To access the Seattle Times, a major newspaper, go to the website of the Seattle Public Library at the genealogy resource tab.

This post is re-blogged from the Secretary of State’s office; read on for more info about the digital newspaper collection.

The Washington State Library has digitized some historic newspapers.


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Fremont Drug Company in Seattle, Part Three: from Drugstore to Red Door

The Red Door in Fremont is in a building which was moved to its present site, 3401 Evanston Ave N.

The Red Door restaurant is in the Fremont Drug Company building which was moved to its present site, 3401 Evanston Avenue, in the year 2001.  This original Fremont Drug Company building was built in 1895 at 3401 Fremont Avenue.

Today’s Red Door, founded in 1988, is a restaurant featuring craft beers.  At its present site of 3401 Evanston Avenue, the Red Door opens daily at 11 AM and is known for a great menu of sandwiches, burgers, seafood, wings and soup-salad lunch features.

This is the third blog post in the series about the Fremont Drug Company and its building, which is now the Red Door.  The story of the Red Door building illustrates the historic heritage of the Fremont business district and the ups and downs of its economy through the impacts of events such as the construction of the ship canal, the construction of the Aurora Bridge, and the economic depression of the 1930s.

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Fremont Drug Company in Seattle, Part Two: the Brothers and the Business

The census of the year 1900 showed that at age 24, Thomas W. Lough had already experienced extremes of joys and heartaches in his life.  At age 21 in January 1898, Thomas married Vina Graham in a ceremony at the home of Vina’s parents in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle.  Less than two years later, Vina died.

Vina Lough grave marker at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery on Queen Anne Hill. Photo courtesy of

The census of the year 1900 listed the widowed Thomas Lough and his one-year-old daughter Verah as living with his in-laws, Stephen & Emma Graham, who lived next door to the Cheadle family in the 3600 block of Aurora Avenue.  The Grahams raised their granddaughter, freeing Thomas Lough to attend classes at the University of Washington and work toward his chosen profession of pharmacist.

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Fremont Drug Company in Seattle, Part One: Beginnings

Looking southward from Second & Cherry Streets in July 1889, we see tents set up for businesses in the burned-over downtown district. Photo courtesy of MOHAI.

In the 1880s the City of Seattle had been growing slowly and was only the second-largest city in Washington Territory, after Walla Walla.  At the end of that decade, Seattle experienced a growth spurt from an unexpected source:  a major fire in its downtown business district.  Seattle’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889, caused the rebirth of the city.  The post-fire rebuilding boom made Seattle the most populous city in Washington, a position which it has never lost since then.

The Great Fire did not reached the residential hillsides surrounding downtown Seattle.  After the Fire the residential areas began to grow as new people streamed into Seattle to get work in the reconstruction-of-downtown building boom.  Fremont was one of the neighborhoods which grew with the population growth of Seattle.

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