This street is named for Milton Densmore (1839–1908), a Civil War veteran from Chelsea, Vermont, who, according to Clarence Bagley’s History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, fought in the Battles of Fairfax Court House, Gettysburg, and Rappahannock Station. He returned to Vermont after the war, then moved to Beloit, Wisconsin, in 1867. Densmore came to Seattle in 1871. Sophie Frye Bass relates in Pig-tail Days in Old Seattle that he started out as “one of the captains of the Linna C. Gray, the stocky barge that carried coal from shore to shore in Lake Union.” In 1875, he opened a grocery, which closed in 1887. Bagley adds that
With various interests of Seattle he was closely associated. He laid the first steel rail for the street car system of Seattle, wooden rails having been used previous to that time. He served for two terms as a member of the city council and exercised his official prerogatives in support of various plans and measures for the general good. He served for seven years as a member of the school board and the cause of education found in him a stalwart champion. Densmore Avenue of Seattle was named in his honor and Seattle in many ways acknowledges her indebtedness to him. He did much toward improving property, built residences and otherwise aided in enhancing the attractiveness of the city and at all times was public spirited and active.
Densmore Avenue N begins at N Northlake Way, just north of Gas Works Park. It then goes ¾ of a mile north to the Wallingford Playfield at N 42nd Street. Resuming a block north, it goes a further ⅖ of a mile to N 50th Street. It picks up again at the north end of Green Lake, where Green Lake Drive N splits into W Green Lake Drive N and E Green Lake Drive N, and goes ⅗ of a mile to Cascadia Elementary School at N 90th Street. Densmore resumes at N 92nd Street and goes another ⅗ of a mile, past Licton Springs Park, to Mineral Springs Park at N 105th Street. It picks up again just north of N Northgate Way for a couple blocks before being stopped by Evergreen–Washelli Cemetery and UW Medical Center – Northwest. After a short segment north of the hospital, it then forms part of the ring arterial around Haller Lake, going ⅓ of a mile from N 122nd Street to N 128th Street, and finishes up with a ½-mile-long segment from Ingraham High School at N 135th Street to the city limits at N 145th Street. (As with many other North Seattle avenues, the name continues on into Shoreline; its northernmost appearance is between N 202nd Place and N 203rd Place, just south of the King–Snohomish county line at N 205th Street.)
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.