Before I wrote S Nevada Street, I assumed it was going to be one of the streets created in the 1895 Seattle Tide Lands plat that were named after states, such as Utah Avenue S, Colorado Avenue S, S Oregon Street, S Idaho Street, and SW Florida Street. As it turns out, no — it was originally Rainier Street, and it was renamed in the wake of the 1905 annexation of the town of South Seattle. I found this out by searching the archives of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; unlike a number of other renaming ordinances, most notably the “Great Renaming” ordinance of 1895, the full text of Ordinance 13271 does not appear in the city database.

It also did not (yet!) appear in my friend Rob Ketcherside’s searchable databases of Seattle street name changes. My article prompted him to do so, however, and last week he published Renaming Seattle in 1906, which “covers neighborhoods across the city, including Ravenna, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Montlake, Capitol Hill, Eastlake, Portage Bay, Madison Valley, Denny-Blaine, Madrona, Leschi, Georgetown, Beacon Hill, and Sodo.” His other such posts include:

They are an indispensable resource for anyone working on Seattle history.

Article on South Seattle street name changes in January 14, 1906, issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Article on South Seattle street name changes in January 14, 1906, issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Note the changing of Decatur Street, Sterrett Street (sic), and Gansvoort Street to 11th Avenue S, 12th Avenue S, and 13th Avenue S, respectively. Sterret and Gansvoort Streets were mentioned by Sophie Frye Bass (as Sterrett and Gansevoort) in the “Forgotten Streets” chapter in her Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle: “Today not even obscure streets bear their names.” The Decatur name was later applied to Decatur Place S, which Bass described in 1937 as “a straggling ungraded hillside street,” hardly a fitting tribute to “the ship that saved Seattle.” She is referring to the 1856 Battle of Seattle, in which a group of Native Americans attacked the small settlement in what is today Pioneer Square. Decatur honored the USS Decatur, which took part in the fighting; Sterret, the ship’s captain, Isaac L. Sterret (who may have later joined the Confederate Navy); and Gansvoort, its commander that day, Guert Gansevoort.

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