Benjamin Lukoff
Latest posts by Benjamin Lukoff (see all)

As requested by @macsosguy: what’s the deal with NE Elk Place — a rare named street in the sea of numbered ones that is Roosevelt and Maple Leaf?

It looks like the name originated as Elk Street in Pitner’s Division of Green Lake Addition to Seattle, W.T., filed July 30, 1889, by Levi Carroll Pitner (1824–1911), a Methodist minister from Illinois, and his wife, Arminda Francis Cartwright Pitner (1828–1917). Shortly thereafter, on November 16, 1889, Zenas Upham Dodge (1859–1942) and his wife, Mary Jane Jones Dodge (1861–1902), filed Dodge’s Division of Green Lake Addition to the City of Seattle, Wash. Because streets on the two plats do not change names when they cross from one to the other, it’s possible the Pitners and Dodges came up with the names together, or simply that the Pitners named the streets and the Dodges willingly went along. I am not sure when Seattle began requiring that streets not change names when they cross plat lines, but if it was before 1889, that could have been the case as well. I do know it wasn’t long before Ordinance 4044 — the “Great Renaming” — was passed in 1895, which sought to clean up the mess created by the previous decades’ lack of regulation.

At any rate, Elk is part of a series here including Buffalo and Deer, so someone — I’m not sure who — was apparently a fan of large ungulates. As for why Elk remains when Buffalo and Deer are gone, I’m not entirely sure either, although I do see that it’s in line with NE 82nd Street west of Latona Avenue NE, but between NE 82nd Street and NE 83rd Street as they’re laid out east of Latona. I suppose the choice would have been between something like 82nd Place and Elk Place, and Elk won out.

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