Like its neighbors S Hudson Street and S Americus Street, S Ferdinand Street was created in 1891 as part of the plat of Columbia. (The town incorporated in 1893 and was annexed to Seattle in 1907, becoming the neighborhood of Columbia City.) Along with Columbus Street, which no longer exists, they were part a of series of streets named after explorers — in this case, Ferdinand Magellan (born Fernão de Magalhães, also known as Fernando de Magallanes) (1480–1521), the first explorer to sail from Europe to Asia via the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
S Ferdinand Street begins at Lake Washington Boulevard S and goes a block west to just past 55th Avenue S. It is a stairway between 54th Avenue S and 53rd Avenue S, then begins again at 52nd Avenue S. After a half block as roadway and another half block as stairway, it begins in earnest at 51st Avenue S by Lakewood Park and goes just over a mile west to 31st Avenue S. It is another stairway for the next block, and then a stub off 30th Avenue S.
On Beacon Hill, S Ferdinand Street begins again at 28th Avenue S and goes ½ a mile west to 20th Avenue S, then resumes at 19th Avenue S and goes a further ⅖ to 13th Avenue S. It finishes up as a short connector from 12th Avenue S to Corson Avenue S by Maple Wood Playfield.
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.