This street follows the route of the Rainier Avenue Electric Railway Company’s Seattle-to-Renton line, which began to be built in 1891. Both the rail line and street were named for Mount Rainier (təqʷubəʔ), itself named by Captain George Vancouver for his friend, Royal Navy Rear Admiral Peter Rainier (1741–1808). As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted on September 3, 1890, “the avenue points straight toward Mount Rainier, which mountain will be in plain view all the way.”
Rainier Avenue S begins at the intersection of S Jackson Street, Boren Avenue S, and 14th Avenue S, and goes nearly 8 miles southeast to the city limits. From there, it continues around 3¾ miles south to the intersection of Interstate 405 and State Route 167 in Renton.
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.