This street, originally named Columbian Way in the 1920 plat of Victory Heights, was given its current name sometime during or before 1936, the first time I find it mentioned in the archives of The Seattle Times. I presume this was to avoid confusion with the Columbian Way in South Seattle, even though Victory Heights wasn’t annexed to Seattle until 1953.
The plat was filed by the Goodwin Real Estate Company and the Squire Investment Company. The Goodwin Real Estate Company at that time had Ervin Shirley Goodwin (1869–1937) as its president and his nephew, Arthur Eliot Goodwin (1887–1960), as its secretary. (Ervin and his brothers were instrumental in the development of Pike Place Market.) I presume the renaming was to honor Erwin rather than Arthur, though explicit explanations are rarely given for street naming. It may very well have been to honor the company. (Incidentally, Erwin’s wife, Eda, was a founder of the Seattle Fruit and Flower Mission in 1907; this organization became the Seattle Milk Fund in 1935 and Goodwin Connections in 2019.)
Unfortunately, in addition to being major developers (in addition to Victory Heights, they were behind Lakeridge, Hawthorne Hills, and subdivisions in Northgate, Lake City, and Windermere), the Goodwin Real Estate Company were pioneers in imposing racial restrictive covenants on their developments. As the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project writes,
Seattle’s first known racial restrictive covenant was written in 1924 by the Goodwin Company and applied to three tracts of land and one block of the company’s development in the Victory Heights neighborhood in north Seattle.
Said tract shall not be sold, leased, or rented to any person or persons other than of Caucasian race nor shall any person or persons other than of Caucasian race use or occupy said tract.
Goodwin Way NE begins at 19th Avenue NE just north of NE Northgate Way and goes ¼ mile northwest to 15th Avenue NE between NE 113th Street and NE 115th 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.