This street is named for Edward Hanford (1807–1884) and his wife, Abigail Jane Holgate (1824–1905), who left Iowa in the early 1850s to settle adjacent to Abigail’s brother, John (namesake of S Holgate Street), on what is today known as Beacon Hill but was known from then until the early 1890s as Holgate and Hanford Hill. Edward and his family were loggers, then orchardists, and unlike John Holgate, he went on to develop his donation claim.
The Hanfords’ son Clarence (1857–1920) founded, with James D. Lowman, the Lowman & Hanford Stationery and Printing Company in 1885. The firm went out of business in the 1960s, but their Pioneer Square building still, the last time I drove by, had a sign painted on it reading “Seattle’s Oldest Retail Company,” which it very well might have been when it closed. Their son Thaddeus (1847–1892) was for a time the owner of the Daily Intelligencer newspaper, predecessor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. And their son Cornelius (1849–1926), a federal judge from 1890 to 1912, was earlier a territorial legislator, Seattle city attorney, and chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court. He is the namesake of Hanford, Washington, and by extension the Hanford Site, which produced the plutonium used in the first nuclear explosion and the bombing of Nagasaki. He was also the author of Seattle and Environs, 1852-1924.
SW Hanford Street begins in West Seattle at SW Admiral Way and 59th Avenue SW and goes ¼ mile east to Schmitz Preserve Park at 56th Avenue SW. It begins again at 51st Avenue SW and goes nearly a mile east to 36th Avenue SW, becoming a stairway for the half-block east of 46th Avenue SW. After serving as little more than a driveway between SW Admiral Way and Fauntleroy Avenue SW, it next appears as S Hanford Street at E Marginal Way S, where it goes for ⅓ of a mile east to Occidental Avenue S. After a few short segments farther east in the Industrial District, Hanford begins again on Beacon Hill at 12th Avenue S and goes nearly a mile east to Rainier Avenue S, the segment between 25th Avenue S and Morse Avenue S being a stairway. It resumes a few blocks east at 30th Avenue S and finishes up ½ a mile east at Cascadia Avenue S.