This street is named for James William Clise (1855–1938), who is said to have come to Seattle with his wife, Anna Herr Clise (1866–1936), on June 7, 1889, the day after the Great Seattle Fire. Anna is best known for founding Children’s Orthopedic Hospital (today known as Seattle Children’s) in 1907. In 1890, James founded what is now Clise Properties. Over the years he, among other things:
- Helped the University of Washington relocate from Downtown to its current campus
- Helped establish Fort Lawton (now Discovery Park) in Magnolia
- Helped Lyman Smith build the Smith Tower
- Helped kickstart the agricultural industry in Eastern Washington
- Founded the Washington Trust Company, which after a series of mergers is now part of Bank of America
- Helped organize the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition
- Helped fund the construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Ballard Locks
Clise Place W originates in the 1928 plat of Magnolia View Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by the Clise Investment Company. It originally only went from W Howe Street at Magnolia Boulevard W to W Crockett Street, but the name replaced that of Rucker Place between there and W Lynn Street and 33rd Avenue W, giving it a total length of just under ¼ mile.
Born and raised in Seattle, Benjamin Donguk Lukoff had his interest in local history kindled at the age of six, when his father bought him settler granddaughter Sophie Frye Bass’s Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle at the gift shop of the Museum of History and Industry. He studied English, Russian, and linguistics at the University of Washington, and went on to earn his master’s in English linguistics from University College London. His book of rephotography, Seattle Then and Now, was published in 2010. An updated version came out in 2015.