S Fidalgo Street begins at a shoreline street end on the Duwamish Waterway just west of Ohio Avenue S and goes 700 feet east to E Marginal Way S. It picks up again at 1st Avenue S and goes half a mile east, then southeast, to a dead end just east of Padilla Place S.
S Orcas Street begins at E Marginal Way S and goes ¾ of a mile east, then southeast, to Corson Avenue S, where it becomes S Doris Street. It picks up again east of Interstate 5 at 15th Avenue S and goes three blocks east to 18th Avenue S. Its longest and final stretch begins just west of 20th Avenue S and goes 2¼ miles east to Lake Washington Boulevard S just west of Seward Park.
This road is named after Seward Park, which occupies all of Bailey Peninsula’s 300 acres, as envisioned by the Olmsted Brothers. The park itself was bought by the city in 1911 and named after William Henry Seward (1801–1872), who was governor of New York from 1839–1842, senator from New York from 1849–1861, and secretary of state under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson from 1861–1869. His negotiation of the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 proved to be a major boon for Seattle, which nearly doubled its population between 1890 and 1900 due in no small part to the Klondike Gold Rush, and remains a gateway to Alaska to this day.
Seward Park Road begins at Lake Washington Boulevard S and S Juneau Street and winds for ⅓ of a mile into the park’s interior, where it becomes a ¾-mile-long loop. (It should not be confused with Shore Loop Road, which runs along the park’s perimeter on the Lake Washington shoreline and is not open to vehicle traffic. Like all park roads in Seattle, Seward Park Road carries no directional designation)
Fuhrman, who had come to Seattle in 1890, was a German Jew. According to his Seattle Times obituary, he “came to this country from Germany when a boy.… He was engaged as a mercantile solicitor in the early days, but later started a small drygoods business in Fremont, Nebraska, where he has since become famous as the pioneer wholesale drygoods merchant west of Omaha.… It is estimated that his fortune amounts to at least a million dollars.”
Fuhrman and Charles Cowen (né Cohen) (1869–1926) (Cowen Place NE) are the only Jews I am aware of who have Seattle streets named after them.
Fuhrman Avenue E begins at the north end of Fairview Avenue E, under the Ship Canal Bridge, and goes nearly ½ a mile southeast to E Shelby Street, where it becomes Boyer Avenue E. (A short segment begins about 150 feet to the east of Boyer, heads about 225 feet to the south, and mainly functions as a driveway for a number of houseboats; and another short segment begins at the north end of 15th Avenue E at the E Calhoun Street pathway, heads about 275 feet to the northeast, and serves as a driveway for an apartment complex.)
This street was created as part of the 1906 plat of Cowen’s University Park, filed by the Sylvester-Cowen Investment Company, of which Charles Cowen (1869–1926) was president. Originally Ravenna Place, it received its current name in 1918, according to an article in the January 29 issue of The Seattle Times. (This article also reported that the names of the individual streets that made up Queen Anne Boulevard would be restored and that Oriental Avenue [counterpart of the still-existing Occidental Avenue S] would become Third Avenue S). Whether it honors Cowen or the park named after him, which he donated to the city in 1906, is unclear.
Cowen was born in England, moved with his family to South Africa, and came to the United States in 1890, arriving in Seattle in 1900. Dotty DeCoster writes for HistoryLink.org:
Cowen was, by many accounts, a lively and active participant in developing the University District. According to architectural historian Shirley L. Courtois, he was British and had grown up in South Africa, where his family members were diamond miners and merchants. In 1890 he was sent to New York to purchase equipment for the mines. He never returned to South Africa. He apparently broke with his family, changed his name from Cohen to Cowen, and settled first in New York State, then in Florida, and finally in Seattle. Cowen reportedly retained a distinctively English style throughout his life.
The facts that his surname was originally Cohen and that his family was involved in diamond mining in South Africa led me to think he must have been Jewish, but I could find no definitive mention of his ethnicity online. However, in the March 19, 1926, issue of The Seattle Times, I found an article on the probate of his will, which mentioned that $2,000 of his $50,000 estate would go to the Hebrew Benevolent Society (today known as Jewish Family Service). That makes Cowen and Henry Fuhrman (1844–1907) (Fuhrman Avenue E) the only Jews I am aware of who have Seattle streets named after them.
Cowen Place NE begins at NE Ravenna Boulevard and University Way NE and goes just over 325 feet northeast to 15th Avenue NE, at the south end of the Cowen Park Bridge.
Seymour Wetmore is an old settler in this section, who took up a government claim of 160 acres of land, which lies across the present line of the Rainier avenue electric railway. With the growth of Seattle Wetmore, by the increase of the values of property, found himself quite a wealthy man.… After the death of his wife her share was divided among the seven children, each of whom received $5,500. The amount that the father has kept for himself is now valued at about $25,000.… Last July a petition was filed… asking for the appointment of a guardian for Seymour Wetmore, on the ground that he was an habitual drunkard and incapable of taking care of himself.… The eldest son… swore to the petition, which set out that the father was addicted to dangerous excess in the use of intoxicating liquors, and was in the habit of going around in the company of lewd women and squandering his money.… [Wetmore] admitted that he drank. He had always been a drinking man and always would be. But he indignantly denied the charges that he associated with lewd women. By his answers he intimated that the… proceedings were due to a desire on the part of the children to tie up his property so that they would be sure of it in case of his death.
Finally, in February 1895, the matter was settled, as the Post-Intelligencer reported on the 28th under the headline ‘Seymour Wetmore Will Be Free to Squander His Wealth — He only yearns to spend it’. The article first recapped the origin of the lawsuit:
He felt as rich as any of the lords of creation, and worked himself up to the intoxication of enjoyment by spending money for the sole pleasure of seeing it go. He went about, his pockets lined with $20 pieces. This sort of thing grew tiresome to his prospective heirs, who became desperate on learning that Wetmore had entered into a deal with Byron Young, of Tacoma, whereby the latter received, in return for a bauble, $8,000 in money and 50 lots in Byron addition.
The case dragged on for a while, but, as it turns out,
Pending the decision of the supreme court the property involved had been transferred and retransferred again and again until an abstract of title would make a formidable document. In consequence the case of [Wetmore’s guardian] vs. Young was dismissed by stipulation in the equity department last Saturday. There is now nothing left to fight over, and the inevitable conclusion is that the aged ward will be found able to take care of himself.
Wetmore Avenue S begins at 30th Avenue S just south of S Hanford Street, crosses S Byron Street, and goes 800 feet southeast to S Walden Street. There is another short segment — around 150 feet long — south of S Estelle Street, which turns into a footpath of about equal length connecting to S Spokane Street.
This street was created in 1955 as 43rd Avenue SW in the plat of Fauntlee Hills Division № 5. It received its current name in 1959. “Faunt” is an obvious reference to the greater Fauntleroy neighborhood, and Fauntlee Hills was developed on the western slope of the hill that rose up from Fauntleroy Cove, but I’m not sure where “lee” comes from. (I was thinking, perhaps, from “leeward,” but prevailing winds in Seattle are from the southwest, meaning this is the windward, not leeward, side of the hill. Perhaps Arthur C. Webb, the developer, simply thought it sounded euphonious.)
This street follows the route of the Rainier Avenue Electric Railway Company’s Seattle-to-Renton line, which began to be built in 1891. Both the rail line and street were named for Mount Rainier (təqʷubəʔ), itself named by Captain George Vancouver for his friend, Royal Navy Rear Admiral Peter Rainier (1741–1808). As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted on September 3, 1890, “the avenue points straight toward Mount Rainier, which mountain will be in plain view all the way.”
Rainier Avenue S begins at the intersection of S Jackson Street, Boren Avenue S, and 14th Avenue S, and goes nearly 8 miles southeast to the city limits. From there, it continues around 3¾ miles south to the intersection of Interstate 405 and State Route 167 in Renton.
This street was named for Carkeek Park, which encompasses 216 acres in the Broadview neighborhood, including Pipers Creek and nearly ½ a mile of Puget Sound waterfront (though the usable beach is much shorter, as the main line of the BNSF Railway cuts off public access to the rest). It was one of the “46 new street names to simplify street addresses” The Seattle Times reported on in its issue November 6, 1960, and was made up of “Sixth Avenue Northwest from West 110th to West 111th Streets, West 111th Street from Sixth to Seventh Avenues Northwest, Seventh Avenue NW from West 111th to West 114th Streets, and West 114th Street from Seventh Avenue NW to West 116th Street.” (Part of this route was once Puget Drive, part of the 1911 View-Lands Addition.)
The park itself opened in 1929 and was named for Morgan James Carkeek (1847–1931) and his wife, Emily Gaskill Carkeek (1852–1926). According to the Museum of History & Industry, “Morgan… was an accomplished stonemason and successful building contractor who built several of Seattle’s early stone buildings, such as the Dexter Horton Bank, and large office buildings, including the Burke and Haller buildings.” In 1918, he and Emily donated land to the city for the first Carkeek Park, located along Lake Washington where Magnuson Park is today, but soon thereafter plans were made to develop Naval Air Station Seattle on the land, and the park was taken over by the Navy in 1926. The Carkeeks donated $25,000 to the city to purchase land elsewhere, and with the addition of $100,000 in public funds the city was able to buy Piper’s Canyon.
NW Carkeek Park Road begins at NW 110th Street and Puget Drive NW and winds ½ a mile northwest to the entrance to Carkeek Park at NW 114th Street. Within the park, it goes a further ½ mile west, ending at a parking lot, picnic area, and playground. (This portion appears to have once been known as Piper’s Canyon Road or Pipers Road.) From here, there is a bridge over the BNSF Railway tracks to a beach along Puget Sound and the mouth of Pipers Creek.
S Kenny Street begins on Beacon Hill at 21st Avenue S and goes two blocks east to 23rd Avenue S. It resumes in Hillman City at 42nd Avenue S and goes ¼ mile east to a dead end east of Rainier Avenue S. Its final segment, just under 400 feet long, lies west of 51st Avenue S and dead-ends at some private driveways.
According to Seattle parks historian Don Sherwood’s sheet on Seola Park, this street began as a logging railroad. It was then replaced by the Charles Arey county road (“recently surveyed,” according to an article in the August 26, 1893, Seattle Post-Intelligencer), which was renamed Qualheim Road in 1914 by Carl Olsen Qualheim. It received its current name in 1956 when that portion of Arbor Heights was annexed to Seattle. “Seola” itself was the product of a naming contest:
In 1893, a family named Kakeldy built the first home on the beach.… Before long, children in the vicinity school referred to residents of Kakeldy Beach as the “Cackilty Chickens.”… In 1910 the beach residents sponsored a renaming contest which was won by Mel Miller, friend of the school’s teacher of Spanish, Agnes Quigley; his suggestion: “Se-ola = to know the wave.”
Seola Beach Drive SW begins at SW 106th Street between 28th Avenue SW and 31st Avenue SW and goes ⅞ of a mile south, then southwest, to a dead end at the beach, just past SW Seola Lane.
For its entire length, Seola Beach Drive SW forms the southern city limits of Seattle, separating it from Burien and unincorporated King County (White Center). (Unlike the northern city limits, formed by 145th Street, Seattle’s southern city limits are jagged. If they went due east from Seola Beach, Seattle would encompass large portions of Burien, Tukwila, and Renton; whereas if they followed a parallel set at the city limits’ northernmost point, everything south of Kenyon Street [approximately the north end of the South Park Bridge] would be lost to Seattle.)
This street was created as part of the 1889 plat of West Seattle Park and named after West Seattle developer and Seattle city councilman Uriah Roush Niesz (1849–1929). According to Images of America: West Seattle,
…In what is now the Admiral District, the now familiar moniker “West Seattle” was first used by Uriah Niesz when developing five-acre homesites in 1885.
[He took] a prominent part in the replatting and upbuilding of the city. He with other members of the council had mapped out the whole plan some time previous to the fire, which made it possible to accomplish their purpose.… As a member of the council Mr. Niesz was made chairman of the judiciary, finance and harbor and wharves committees and the last named took up the whole burden of replatting the business and shipping section of the city.… Herculean as was the task of this committee in bringing order out of chaos in this part of the city; in opening the way for land and water traffic to meet at a minimum cost of transshipment; in providing facilities for a marvelous growth in the business of a future great city; in short in giving the city a new birth, yet this great task paled into insignificance compared with the responsibilities resting upon the finance committee, of which Mr. Niesz was also chairman.
I find that contemporary biographies of pioneers tend to read like hagiographies, but in this case I think Niesz’s entire biography is worth a read.
SW Niesz Court begins at 50th Avenue SW just south of the College Street Ravine and goes two blocks east to 48th Avenue SW.
In History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Clarence Bagley writes that Benton, who was born in Iowa and came to Seattle in 1890 from Montana,
…spent many years with different railroad companies. For a time he was connected with the Great Northern and later he became general passenger and freight agent for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad at Seattle. The last few years of his life were spent in connection with the safe and lock trade. He was associated with the Norris Safe & Lock Company… Later Mr. Norris took over the safe and lock company and Mr. Benton the desk department of the business, after which he was joined by Edward Herald in a partnership that was continued under the name of the Benton-Herald Desk & Safe Company until [his death].
SW Wilton Court begins at SW Hinds Street across the street from the Bar-S Playground, and goes just over 700 feet southeast to 63rd Avenue SW between Beach Drive SW and SW Marguerite Court. It is a private right-of-way between 64th Avenue SW and 63rd Avenue SW.