This street was created as part of the 1889 plat of West Seattle Park and named after West Seattle developer and Seattle city councilman Uriah Roush Niesz (1849–1929). According to Images of America: West Seattle,
…In what is now the Admiral District, the now familiar moniker “West Seattle” was first used by Uriah Niesz when developing five-acre homesites in 1885.
Born in Canton, Ohio, Niesz arrived in Seattle in 1883, was elected to the city council in 1887, and was instrumental in the rebuilding of the city after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. According to Clarence Bagley in his History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time,
[He took] a prominent part in the replatting and upbuilding of the city. He with other members of the council had mapped out the whole plan some time previous to the fire, which made it possible to accomplish their purpose.… As a member of the council Mr. Niesz was made chairman of the judiciary, finance and harbor and wharves committees and the last named took up the whole burden of replatting the business and shipping section of the city.… Herculean as was the task of this committee in bringing order out of chaos in this part of the city; in opening the way for land and water traffic to meet at a minimum cost of transshipment; in providing facilities for a marvelous growth in the business of a future great city; in short in giving the city a new birth, yet this great task paled into insignificance compared with the responsibilities resting upon the finance committee, of which Mr. Niesz was also chairman.
I find that contemporary biographies of pioneers tend to read like hagiographies, but in this case I think Niesz’s entire biography is worth a read.
SW Niesz Court begins at 50th Avenue SW just south of the College Street Ravine and goes two blocks east to 48th Avenue SW.
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.