Names in the Neighborhood: from Chelsea to Meadowbrook

In 1961 residents of northeast Seattle petitioned the City to give them some geographic identity by preserving the name “Meadowbrook.”  The Meadowbrook Golf Course at NE 110th Street had closed because the property had been purchased by the Seattle School District.  A new high school was to be built on the golf course site and members of the community thought that the school should be named Meadowbrook.

Randy Raider, Nathan Hale High School in Seattle

At first it seemed that there was a good possibility of a Meadowbrook High School.  Then the school district asserted rules about the naming of schools, that they should be named for presidents or for other figures in American history.  Thus the name Nathan Hale, a hero of the American Revolution, was chosen for the high school which opened in September 1963.

The new high school was sited at NE 110th Street closest to the corner of 30th Ave NE.  Other portions of the property were used for parking lots and athletic fields.  Later developments of the site included a community center building and a swimming pool accessed from 35th Ave NE. Continue reading

Posted in Meadowbrook neighborhood, School histories | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Names in the Neighborhood: Chelsea Becomes a School Street

Hugh Benton and Victor Palmer were young attorneys who arrived to make their fortunes in Seattle in the early 1900s.  In those days attorneys would often expedite property transactions because the category of real estate agent as a profession had not yet been developed.  Benton & Palmer were successful both in their law practice and in their own investments in the booming Seattle real estate market.

Edwin & Ruth Shidler lived in this home on the same block with Ruth’s parents, the Bentons.

Hugh & Mary Benton settled at 5560 29th Ave NE in the Ravenna neighborhood, where their family grew to seven children.  Hugh’s brother Benjamin lived at 5566.

Adult children of both Benton families occupied nearby houses, such as Hugh & Mary’s daughter Ruth who married Edwin Shidler in 1923 and lived at 5540 29th Ave NE.  Mr. Shidler became well-known in the 1930s as the principal of Maple Leaf School on NE 100th Street.

Over many years time the Benton & Palmer families would become developers of housing near NE 110th Street in today’s Meadowbrook, once called the Chelsea neighborhood.

Continue reading

Posted in gas stations, Land records and surveys, Meadowbrook neighborhood, name of the neighborhood, School histories | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Names in the Neighborhood: Chelsea

NE 110th Street in the Meadowbrook neighborhood of northeast Seattle is today dominated by two large school buildings:  Nathan Hale High School on the south side of NE 110th Street and Jane Addams Middle School on the north side.

Hidden in the history of today’s “school street” is the story of a highway of a century ago, and a neighborhood name, Chelsea.  Chelsea referred to NE 110th Street before the present schools were built, Jane Addams Middle School (built 1949) and Nathan Hale High School (built 1963 on the former Meadowbrook Golf Course and Fischer Farm property).

Pictured below is Jane Addams Middle School, looking south with NE 110th Street at the top of the photo.  On the far left of the photo is 35th Ave NE.  Before the school was built, the housing developments we see here were referred to as Chelsea.

Looking southward, we see Jane Addams Middle School circa 1960. NE 110th Street is at the top of the photo showing the golf course property on the south side of NE 110th. The golf course later became the site of Nathan Hale High School.

Continue reading

Posted in Meadowbrook neighborhood, name of the neighborhood, Plat names | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

A Civil War Veteran in Seattle: Edward Lind

Civil War monument at Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery in Seattle.

The Civil War of the United States was fought from 1861 to 1865 and yet, 160 years later, we are still fighting issues of the unity and principles of what it means to be an American.  Throughout their lifetimes, veterans of the Civil War were instrumental in their promotion of national unity, always active in commemorations such as Memorial Day.

Washington Territory did not send troops to the Civil War but afterward, over many years’ time, Civil War veterans migrated out to Seattle.  They were active in public life in Seattle, always patriotic and contributing to their community.  Today, the project of Seattle’s Civil War Legacy is to highlight the lives of these veterans and their sacrificial service.

This blog post will outline the life of Edward Lind, a Norwegian immigrant who fought in the Civil War, became part of western migration and came to the City of Seattle.  He is buried in Seattle’s Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery dedicated to Civil War veterans.

Continue reading

Posted in Civil War, Fremont neighborhood in Seattle, Immigrant heritage | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Writing the Ways of Seattle Streets

The Seattle street system provides endless opportunities for puzzling over the “whys” of street names, as it can be difficult to find out who a street is named for.  One north Seattle street is clear in its tribute to Roosevelt — but which Roosevelt???  There were two, Teddy and Franklin, who each served as president of the United States.

Teddy Roosevelt cartoon portraying him as an outdoorsman activist

A new blog by Benjamin Donguk Lukoff called Writes of Way explores the stories of Seattle street names.  Here is Mr. Lukoff’s story of Roosevelt Way NE:

“This street runs nearly six miles from the north end of the University Bridge (at Eastlake Avenue NE and NE Campus Parkway) to Aurora Avenue North, just shy of the Seattle city limits at North 145th Street.

Roosevelt Way runs north–south for most of its length, but starting at NE 125th Street, its last 1½ miles cut a northwest–southeast diagonal across the street grid, making it Roosevelt Way North once it crosses 1st Avenue NE between N 133rd and N 135th Streets.

Continue reading

Posted in Neighborhood features, research resources, streets | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Sorting Out Seattle Street Names

In Seattle’s early years, 1851  to 1889, owners of property could lay out a plan for streets and give them any names they chose.  But as the city grew, segments of a street would often have several different names as the street passed through these individually-laid-out plats of property.

Seattle rebuilt its downtown area after the Great Fire of June 6, 1889.

The Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889 burned a large section of the downtown core but instead of destroying the city, the Fire led to a rebirth of Seattle with explosive population growth.   The population jumped tenfold to about 43,000 people in Seattle as of 1890, and doubled again by the year 1900 to more than 80,000 people.  (Source:  Seattle Municipal Archives Quick Information population statistics).

Within three years of the Fire, four hundred new subdivisions were filed with King County, mainly in or near the Seattle City Limits.  Each subdivision had a layout of streets with lots for houses or commercial buildings, and property owners continued to give the streets in their plats, any name that they chose.  This resulted in a tangle of street names which were often repeated in different areas of the city.  Finally in 1895 City Engineer R.H. Thomson began renaming Seattle streets via City ordinances.  The street-renaming project also decreed that streets would be east-west and those that were north-south would be called avenues.

Continue reading

Posted in Plat names, Seattle History, streets | Tagged , | Leave a comment

South of the Bridge in Fremont

From the earliest years of white settlers’ arrival in Seattle in the 1850s, land speculators and businessmen were attracted to what is now the Fremont neighborhood at the northwest corner of Lake Union.  A big advantage of the site was a stream which early settlers called The Outlet, flowing westward toward Puget Sound.  Men such as homestead claimant William Strickler hoped to use water-power to float logs on the stream, out to the Sound and toward Yesler’s Mill on the downtown Seattle waterfront.

The Fremont neighborhood in Seattle is located at the northwest corner of Lake Union. Map courtesy of HistoryLink.

Thomas Mercer suggested the name “Lake Union” at the Seattle settlers’ Fourth of July picnic on the southern shore of the lake in 1854, at where Lake Union Park is now.  The “union” name was proposed because Seattle’s ambitious settlers saw that it would be possible to unite three bodies of water via a canal system.

A canal could connect from Lake Washington (on Seattle’s eastern border) through Lake Union and on westward to Puget Sound.  For this reason The Outlet at Lake Union’s northwest corner was already identified at this early date as part of the ideal route of the envisioned ship canal.

Little did Seattle’s settlers know that the ship canal idea would not come to fruition for more than sixty years, completed in 1917.  In the meantime, in 1887 businessman Thomas Burke and his associate Daniel Gilman set up a railroad which travelled east-west across Seattle’s midpoint.  That route is today the Burke-Gilman Trail which is on the north side of the ship canal and passes through Fremont.

In 1894 Ross and Fremont were shown as place names with railroad stops. The ship canal had not yet been built but there was a creek called The Outlet from Lake Union, flowing westward.  Dots on the map represent population.

Continue reading

Posted in Fremont neighborhood in Seattle | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Great Backyard Bird Count 2021

Watching birds is a safe and enjoyable activity we can do even during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 Great Backyard Bird Count will be held February 12 to 15, 2021.

Black-capped chickadee in Redmond, WA, photo by Jacob McGinnis.

The GBBC is an opportunity to enjoy nature while contributing to the scientific tracking of birds and their environment.

For the GBBC you can watch birds anywhere, even by looking out your window.  Watch birds for at least fifteen minutes or more over the four days of the count, February 12 to 15, 2021.

Visit the website of the Great Backyard Bird Count 2021 to learn more about how to participate, how to get help with identification of birds, and how to submit your bird counts.

How is the information from the GBBC used?

Downy woodpeckers in winter, Washington State.

The information from GBBC participants, combined with other surveys, helps scientists track the patterns of movement of species, how a species’ range may be expanding or shrinking, and learn how birds are affected by environmental changes.

Why is the count in February?

The Great Backyard Bird Count is held in the USA and Canada each February to create a snapshot of the distribution of birds just before spring migrations begin in March.  Scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, Birds Canada and others will combine the GBBC information with data from surveys conducted at different times of the year.

Watching birds is an activity you can do from your window.

Posted in Nature and wildlife | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Art on 34th in the Fremont Neighborhood of Seattle

The highly walkable Fremont neighborhood of Seattle has many artworks in easily observable outdoor settings.

Some of the best-known artworks are the statue of Lenin located just west of Fremont Avenue, and the Fremont Troll on North 36th Street underneath the Aurora Bridge.

The Fremont Troll is such a popular attraction that the City of Seattle re-named the segment of street under the bridge “Troll Avenue” to make it easier to find.

Walking along North 34th Street which parallels the ship canal, we can see three-dimensional art pieces, sculpture, mosaics, planters and landscaping which tell the stories of history and events in Seattle.

This article will highlight only the artworks along North 34th Street from the intersection of Fremont Avenue, eastward two blocks to the corner of 34th & Stone Way.

Continue reading

Posted in art, Fremont neighborhood in Seattle, Neighborhood features | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Candy Cane Lane in December 2020

Candy Cane Lane is a holiday tradition in northeast Seattle, a celebration of lights, decorations and color.  Candy Cane Lane is a cluster of houses on Park Road NE just off of Ravenna Blvd NE, where residents coordinate this event every December.

Candy Cane Lane

The event begins on Saturday night, December 5, 2020 at 4 PM and is open every night through January 1, 2021.  For more info check the Facebook page of Candy Cane Lane.

Drive-through is one-way, starting at the west entrance.  Pedestrians are welcome to follow the same one-way route as cars.  All Washington State Covid mandates are to be followed; masks and social distancing required.

At Candy Cane Lane, donations are being accepted to a food drive to University Food Bank and Warm Accessory Drive.  The donation bins are located towards the end of the street.

To find Candy Cane Lane:  From the intersection of 25th Ave NE & NE 55th Street, go west on NE 55th.  Keep to the right and follow the curve of the road around the edge of Ravenna Park.  Follow Ravenna Blvd one more block and turn right into Park Road NE which is the entrance to Candy Cane Lane.

Candy Cane Lane in northeast Seattle

Posted in Events and holidays | Tagged , | 1 Comment