This street originates in the 1924 plat of Winona Park, an Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by George Emerson Morford (1890–1946) and his wife, Gertrude Alice Keen Morford (1892–1954). According to Florence Helliesen of the Queen Anne Historical Society, George was president of the F.W. Keen Company, a real estate firm owned by his father-in-law, Frederick Walter Keen (1855–1929). The Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project writes:
Two real estate firms, F.W. Keen Company and J.L. Grandey, Inc., organized most of the racial restrictive covenants for Queen Anne from 1928 to 1931… specifying that “No person or persons of Asiatic, African or Negro blood, lineage, or extraction shall be permitted to occupy a portion of said property, or any building thereon; except domestic servants may actually and in good faith be employed by white occupants of such premises.”
In addition to being president of F.W. Keen, George Morford was vice president of J.L. Grandey.
Which Keen was honored by Keen Way N — Gertrude Alice Keen Morford, Frederick Walter Keen, or the F.W. Keen Company — isn’t clear; if it was for George Morford’s wife, that would put Keen Way in the same category as Perkins Lane W and Thorndyke Avenue W.
Keen Way N begins at Aurora Avenue N between W Green Lake Drive N and Winona Avenue N and goes ⅕ of a mile northeast to N 76th 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.