Shilshole Avenue NW

This street, which originates along with the rest of the heart of Ballard in the 1889 plat of Gilman Park, was named for šilšula village of the shill-shohl-AHBSH people along what is today known as Salmon Bay. Meaning ‘tucked away inside’ in the Lushootseed language, it is one of two remaining Native place names in Seattle, the other being Licton Springs (liq’təd). (Shilshole Bay is west of the Ballard Locks; I am not sure why the names aren’t in the opposite order, so that Shilshole Avenue, Shilshole Bay, and šilšul would all be in the same location.)

Today, Shilshole Avenue NW begins at 14th Avenue NW in the east and goes ⅘ of a mile northwest to 24th Avenue NW, just short of NW Market Street.

Newton Street

This street originates in the 1882 plat of Bigelow’s Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by Jesse W. George (1835–1895) and Cassandra Eckler George (1840–1920) at the request of Isaac Newton Bigelow (1838–1922). As the Queen Anne Historic Context Statement explains,

In the early 1870s, the Denny and Mercer families gradually began to systematically subdivide their large land holdings on the south and east slopes of Queen Anne Hill. When a severe windstorm blew down thousands of trees in the north district in 1875, views opened up and land seekers turned their attentions beyond Belltown. Real estate speculators new to the territory arrived and began to buy up property on the crest of Queen Anne Hill. Some of these speculators also became developers, such as George Kinnear, or builder-developers, such as Isaac Bigelow.

Though its proximity to Boston and Lynn Streets suggest a tribute to Newton, Massachusetts, neither the Georges nor the Bigelows appear to have a connection to the state, so it seems this one should be chalked up to Isaac Bigelow’s middle name.

Today, Newton Street begins in Magnolia as W Newton Street at 30th Avenue W, and goes nearly half a mile east to 23rd Avenue W. There is then a two-block stretch from 15th Avenue W to 13th Avenue W in Interbay, and then the “original” Newton Street, which stretches almost a half mile from 1st Avenue N to Taylor Avenue N, followed by another two-block stretch from Dexter Avenue N to just past 8th Avenue N. On the east side of Lake Union, E Newton Street picks up again at Terry Pettus Park, just west of Fairview Avenue E, and goes ¼ mile to Boylston Avenue E and Lakeview Boulevard E. There follows another ¼-mile stretch from Broadway E to Everett Avenue E. East of there, Newton exists in a number of short segments through Montlake, and then enjoys a run of ⅓ of a mile from 37th Place E to 43rd Avenue E in Madison Park. 

Latona Avenue NE

This street, which originated in the 1889 Latona Addition to the City of Seattle, was named for the steamer Latona, described by Howard Droker in Seattle’s Unsinkable Houseboats, quoted in A Preliminary Sketch of Wallingford’s History 1855–1985, thus:

The sleek Latona was originally built as a pleasure craft for businessman James Colman to use on the Sound. Dr. E.C. Kilbourne, a dentist with extensive real estate holdings north of Lake Union, purchased the Latona and took her to Lake Washington by way of the Duwamish River and Black River, the lake’s outlet. After a few years of serving farms, mining camps, and logging operations around Lake Washington, the Latona came through the narrow channel dug in 1886 to Portage Bay and thereafter served Lake Union.

According to local historian Paul Dorpat, via Sophie Frye Bass, the boat itself was named for the Roman goddess Latona (Leto in Greek, mother of Apollo and Artemis).

Today, Latona Avenue NE begins as a shoreline street end just south of NE Northlake Way and goes nearly 1¾ miles north to 2nd Avenue NE and Woodlawn Avenue NE near the eastern end of Green Lake. It reappears on the other side of the Green Lake Park playground and community center at E Green Lake Drive N, and goes a further ⅓ of a mile to just past NE 77th Street, where it is stopped by Interstate 5. Finally, on the north side of I-5, it goes nearly ½ a mile from NE 81st Street to NE 91st Street, interrupted by a half-block segment just north of NE 88th Street where it takes the form of a footpath, and a half-block segment just north of NE 90th Street where it appears to have been incorporated into neighbors’ yards and driveways.

Latona Avenue NE right-of-way between NE 90th Street and NE 91st Street in Maple Leaf. The northern half is paved, but ends at an unpaved alley; the southern half appears to be serving as neighbors’ driveways at either end, the remainder being treated as part of their yards.

NW Blue Ridge Drive

This winding, semicircular street runs almost ⁹⁄₁₀ of a mile from 15th Avenue NW and NW 100th Street in the east to Triton Drive NW, NW Neptune Place, and NW 100th Street in the west, descending 300 feet to Puget Sound along the way. Named after the Blue Ridge community, it was established in 1930 as part of the plat of Blue Ridge, an Addition to King County, Washington (rather than to Seattle, as the far northwestern section of the city wouldn’t be annexed until 1953).

Blue Ridge Realty office building, 9925 15th Avenue NW, Seattle
Blue Ridge Realty office building, 9925 15th Avenue NW, July 2021. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, Copyright © 2021 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Blue Ridge was founded by aviation pioneer William Boeing (1881–1956), founder of what is today The Boeing Company. According to the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project at the University of Washington, marketing of plots began in 1934, and “sales began in earnest in 1938” when this racial restrictive covenant was established:

No property in said Addition shall at any time be sold, conveyed, rented, or leased in whole or in part to any person or persons not of the White or Caucasian race. No person other than one of the White or Caucasian race shall be permitted to occupy any property in said addition or portion thereof or building thereon except a domestic servant actually employed by a person of the White or Caucasian race where the latter is an occupant of such property.

Uniquely, as they note, the restrictions on membership in the Blue Ridge Club, established in 1941 and forerunner of today’s homeowner association, were slightly different:

No Asiatic, Negro or any person born in the Turkish Empire, nor lineal descendant of such person shall be eligible for membership in the Club.

They speculate this restriction on Ottoman citizens and descendants thereof was aimed at Sephardic Jews (Seattle is said to have the third largest population in the country), although if that is the case, I wonder why the restriction wasn’t against all Jews, as was done in Broadmoor and the Sand Point Country Club. At any rate, it would seem to have affected not only Sephardim but Arabs, Levantines, and North Africans in general. These restrictions were finally lifted in 1989, decades after they became unenforceable.

Blue Ridge says that “The development of the Blue Ridge community and the government-engineered policies of segregation brings some controversy to the early days of the neighborhood. However, today Blue Ridge is diverse and welcoming to anyone wanting to share in all that it has to offer.” As the interactive map on the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project page on Blue Ridge shows, though, the covenants had the desired effect — the neighborhood is still around 81% white, 12% Asian… and just 0.5% Black.

As far as being an “exclusive” neighborhood goes, Blue Ridge is more like Windermere than the above-mentioned Broadmoor and Sand Point Country Club; it features a private waterfront park, but all the streets are public, and there are even two very small public parks (Blue Ridge Circle and Blue Ridge Places) plus the wooded Mary Avenue Trail to the southern boundary of Carkeek Park.

Ten or so years ago I saw a Private Property sign at the trailhead, put up by the Blue Ridge Club, but it was gone the next time I visited — I can’t remember if I complained or someone else did. (The woods are private, but the trail is Mary Avenue NW right-of-way.) This wasn’t in the original plat, but according to an old Flickr chat I had with Andreas “Severinus” Breuer, “there was apparently a WPA project approved to install a 30′-wide gravel road between 100th and 110th (apparently now NW Carkeek Park Road).… I imagine the ravine would look quite different if a 30′ gravel road had been put in, so presumably this plan wasn’t carried out. But a 1940 engineering map shows a surveyed ROW from 105th to the Carkeek border, and in Carkeek there seems to be a route that follows the WPA route (Clay Pit Trail > Hillside Trail > Brick Road Trail > Road). Perhaps the trail that exists today was made by the original surveyors or by WPA men?”

NW North Beach Drive

This short street runs just over 750 feet from Triton Drive NW in the west to NE 98th Street in the east, just west of 24th Avenue NW. It was established in 1926 as part of North Beach, an Addition to the City of Seattle; at the time, it extended farther south, but that section is now 26th Avenue NW. The beach being referred to is on Puget Sound, across the BNSF Railway tracks from what is now NW Esplanade.

Although it bears the neighborhood’s name, houses along North Beach Drive are actually only eligible for associate, not full, membership in the North Beach Club, as the community boundary map shows. This is because the club, which originated in 1927 as the Golden View Improvement Club, was formed by and for residents of the Golden View and Golden View Division № 2 subdivisions, platted in 1924 and 1926, respectively. (According to state records, the GVIC was administratively dissolved in 1982 and merged into the North Beach Club [founded 1990] in 2006. [No word on what entity managed affairs from 1982 to 1990.]) In 1930, the club took over responsibility for the subdivisions’ water system from the developer, who as part of the deal deeded 1,500 feet of Puget Sound beach to the organization. It is this private beach, accessible via a short path from NW Esplanade at 28th Avenue NW, that is the North Beach Club’s primary raison d’être today, the water system having been hooked into the city supply long ago. Today’s associate members are the “descendants” of those who were interested in the Golden View additions’ water system 91 years ago but lived outside the subdivision boundaries — including residents of NW North Beach Drive.

Ridge Drive NE

This private road, which lies entirely within the Sand Point Country Club, runs ⅖ of a mile from the main gate at NE 75th Street in the south to the intersection of Fairway Drive NE and Lakemont Drive NE in the north. It is so named for its central location atop the hill that gives the adjacent neighborhood, View Ridge, its name.

As local historian Valarie Bunn explains on her blog, the Sand Point Country Club, founded by Samuel E. Hayes, opened in 1927. As with two contemporaneous developments, Broadmoor and Windermere, its exclusivity was a selling point. An advertisement in the May 5, 1929, issue of The Seattle Times spelled this out more explicitly than usual: “Sand Point Country Club homesites are selling fast… because every homesite owner enjoys forever a close-in retreat from Seattle’s mobs of tomorrow… because every homesite owner is protected in his investment by carefully drawn restrictions against the admixture of objectionable buildings or races.” The racial restrictive covenant covering the neighborhood reads:

No tract shall be sold, conveyed, rented or leased in whole or in part to any Hebrew or to any person of the Malay, Ethiopian or any other Negro or any Asiatic race, or any descendant of any thereof. No tract shall be used or occupied in whole or in part by any Hebrew or by any person of the Malay, Ethiopian or any other Negro or any Asiatic race, or any descendant of any thereof, except only employees in the domestic service on the premises of persons qualified as herein provided as occupants.

Blanchard Street

For Blanchard Street, I can do no better than to quote Sophie Frye Bass, who in Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle writes:

The name of Blanchard Street had long been a puzzle to me, but when I looked over some records of 1872 and found where John M. Blanchard had been one of the witnesses when my grandfather, Arthur Denny, platted a tract of land, then I knew.

Blanchard Street was part of A.A. Denny’s 6th Addition to the City of Seattle, filed in 1873, and indeed John M. Blanchard is one of the witnesses, along with Duncan T. Wheeler. Blanchard appears to have been city treasurer in 1879, as well as an insurance agent. Wheeler is referred to in 1871 as being a merchant, and in 1874 he and Blanchard apparently attended a masquerade ball dressed as members of the Ku Klux Klan(!), predating the establishment of an actual Klan chapter by half a century. (Their wives went as a “Canadian Squaw” and the “Queen of Chess,” respectively.)

Today, Blanchard Street begins at Elliott Avenue and goes just over half a mile to the northwest, where it ends at Westlake Avenue.

Broadmoor Drive E

This street runs just shy of a mile through the gated Broadmoor neighborhood and golf course from its south entrance at E Madison Street at 36th Avenue E to its north entrance at E Foster Island Road.

An article in the May 18, 1924, issue of The Seattle Times noted that “[Broadmoor’s] roadways will not be public streets as in other residential sections of the city,” calling this “one of the unmatched features of this community,” and adds that “certain restrictions have been named both as to the class of residences that may be constructed as well as to those who will be admitted to membership.” The entire community being private was a first for Seattle, and in fact has never been repeated — the Sand Point Country Club was also established in the late 1920s, but was in unincorporated King County at the time and wasn’t annexed until 1953, whereas Windermere, established within Seattle city limits around the same time, was in fact platted as a traditional neighborhood, albeit one with private amenities.

Speaking of those “certain restrictions,” by the way, it seems that even in the 1920s one could not say openly in the press what one really meant. But Broadmoor deeds and their racial restrictive covenants are public record:

No part of said property hereby conveyed shall ever be used or occupied by any Hebrew or by any person of the Ethiopian, Malay or any Asiatic Race, and the party of the second part, his heirs, personal representatives or assigns, shall never place any such person in the possession or occupancy of said property or any part thereof, nor permit the said property, or any part thereof, ever to be used or occupied by any such person, excepting only employees in the domestic service on the premises of persons qualified hereunder as occupants and users and residing on the premises.

Broadmoor: Restricted Residential Park With Golf Course, 1924.
Broadmoor: Restricted Residential Park With Golf Course, 1924. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 1423.

The origin of the Broadmoor name is not entirely clear. Did it have anything to do with the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs, which opened in 1918? Or with the moors of Scotland, home of modern golf? The above-mentioned Seattle Times article, which is so similar to one in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer it must have been based on a Puget Mill Company press release, doesn’t say. (My friend, local historian Joe Mabel, notes the best-known Broadmoor in the U.K. is actually a high-security psychiatric hospital founded in 1863.) It may just be that “Broadmoor” was considered to be “elegant.” Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the personal papers of Edwin Gardner Ames, Puget Mill president and one of the developers of Broadmoor along with Grosvenor Folsom and George W. Johnson.

NE Windermere Road

This semicircular street in Seattle’s Windermere neighborhood runs just over a mile from Sand Point Way NE between NE 55th Street and NE 58th Street in the west to just north of NE 61st Street in the east, at the southern end of Magnuson Park. The street and neighborhood itself were named after Windermere, the largest lake in England.

Plat of Windermere, an Addition to the City of Seattle, 1937
Plat of Windermere, an Addition to the City of Seattle, 1937. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 1628.

Windermere was developed in the late 1920s by Laurence James Colman (1859–1935) and his son, Kenneth Burwell Colman (1896–1982). Their J.M. Colman Company, founded by Laurence and his brother, George Arnot Colman (1861–1933), was named for Laurence and George’s father, James Murray Colman (1832–1906), namesake of Colman Dock and the Colman Building. (Colman Pool was established by Kenneth and named after Laurence.)

Unfortunately, as with far too many Seattle subdivisions, Windermere deeds came with racial restrictive covenants. The relevant part of this deed reads as follows:

Said property shall not be conveyed, sold, rented, or otherwise disposed of, in whole or in part, to, or be occupied by, any person or persons except of a white and Gentile race, except, however, in the case of a servant actually employed by the lawful owner or occupant thereof.

Notably, although membership in the Windermere Corporation does come with access to the private Windermere Park and Beach Club, all streets in the neighborhood are public — it is a gated community only in spirit.

E Spruce Street

This street, like Alder Street and Fir Street — all, of course, named for trees — originates in the 1872 plat of Terry’s Second Addition to the Town of Seattle, filed by Arthur Armstrong Denny, Henry Leiter Yesler, Erasmus Smithers, and Franklin Matthias, the last two as executors of the estate of Charles Carroll Terry, who was part of the Denny Party of settlers in 1851, and died in 1867. However, it was originally named Cedar Street (duplicative of another in Belltown). It received its current name as part of the Great Renaming of 1895, when Cedar Street, Prince William Street, and Erie Street were all changed to Spruce.

Today, E Spruce Street begins at Broadway and goes nearly a mile east to 25th Avenue, only interrupted once, at Boren Avenue, which it connects to as a pair of stairways. It resumes at 28th Avenue and goes just over ¼ of a mile to Lake Dell Avenue (the portion from Peppi’s Playground through Peppi’s Woods as a stairway). Farther east, there is a couple-hundred-foot-long section at the west end of Euclid Avenue, and then a longer one — almost ⅒ of a mile — from near the east end of Euclid Avenue to E Alder Street. (Its complicated end is the result of platted streets not always matching up with topography, or with where people actually ended up building roads.)

Portion of King County Parcel Viewer showing E Spruce Street right-of-way from Lake Dell Avenue to E Alder Street along with Euclid Avenue
King County Parcel Viewer showing E Spruce Street right-of-way from Lake Dell Avenue in the west to E Alder Street in the east. Instead of the eastern portion of Spruce connecting directly to the western portion, there is a gap; instead, the western portion connects to Euclid Avenue by going through private property.