This West Seattle street was created in 1900 as part of the Replat of the West Seattle Land & Improvement Co’s. Third Plat. Originally Beach Way, it was renamed Bronson Way in 1907, when Seattle annexed West Seattle. Given that Ira Hull Bronson (1868–1930) was attorney for and vice president of the WSL&IC, it seems a fair assumption that it was named for him.
Bronson, a former president of the American Bar Association, was described in the June 18, 1930, issue of The Seattle Times as a “pioneer Seattle attorney and leader in admiralty circles… [who] was one of the founders of the Inland Navigation Company, which later became the Puget Sound Navigation Company.” (The PSNC’s domestic ferry routes were bought by the state in 1951, forming Washington State Ferries, and most of its Canadian routes became part of the new BC Ferries system in 1961. The firm, now known as the Black Ball Ferry Line, now runs one boat, the MV Coho, between Port Angeles and Victoria. Through a series of mergers, Bronson’s law firm is now Stoel Rives.)
Though the right-of-way begins further inland, SW Bronson Way only physically exists between Harbor Avenue SW and Elliott Bay. About 180 feet long, it is nearly 90 feet wide (quite a length-to-width ratio!) and essentially serves as a public parking lot. It is a shoreline street end, platted into the water, and features an unobstructed view of the city across the bay.
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.