Benjamin Lukoff
Latest posts by Benjamin Lukoff (see all)

This street was named in 1968 named for Northgate Station, which opened in 1950 as the Northgate Center shopping mall. According to HistoryLink.org, it was “the country’s first regional shopping center to be defined as a ‘mall’ (although there were at least three predecessor shopping centers).” Newspaper archives show that it became known early on as Northgate Mall, and that became its official name in 1974. As of this writing, the property is in the midst of a massive redevelopment project that began in 2019.

Prior to 1968, Northgate Way was known as (from west to east) N 105th Street, Mineral Springs Way N, N 110th Street, NE 110th Street, and Chelsea Place NE. Today, it begins at N 105th Street and Aurora Avenue N and goes 2⅕ miles east to NE 113th Street and Lake City Way NE.

The Northgate name itself has been attributed to Ben Erlichman. Feliks Banel writes:

Digging into the newspaper archives, The Seattle Times of February 22, 1948, published a big spread on the plans for the shopping center. The story quoted one of the developers, a local investor named Ben Ehrlichman (the uncle of future Watergate figure John Ehrlichman). “The name Northgate was chosen, Ehrlichman [told The Seattle Times], because the development ‘will be the most important northerly business district serving Seattle and vicinity and the gateway to metropolitan Seattle.’” Though a 30th anniversary story in the same paper in 1980 credited Ehrlichman for coming up with the name — based on the 1948 story — we may never know for certain whose idea it was.

Aerial of Northgate, September 2018, from https://flickr.com/photos/25443792@N05/43844953055
Aerial of Northgate, September 2018, looking northeast. Interstate 5 cuts across the photo from bottom right to upper left. To its west is North Seattle College; to its east is Northgate Station, the Thornton Place complex, the Northgate Transit Center, and the Northgate commercial district. The elevated tracks of Sound Transit’s Line 1 light rail can be seen just east of the freeway. The Lake City commercial district is visible to the northeast of the mall; the greenbelt closer to the mall is one of the forks of Thornton Creek. Photograph by Flickr user Atomic Taco, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.