(The tideland streets in West Seattle were, with a few exceptions, named after states: Illinois, [New] Hampshire, Arkansas, [New] Jersey, Rhode Island, [New] Mexico, Maryland, Louisiana, Georgia, [North and South] Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Oregon, [North and South] Dakota, and Idaho. Of the ones confined to West Seattle, only Maryland remains [Florida, Oregon, Dakota, and Idaho also, or only, appear east of the West Duwamish Waterway].)
Today, SW Maryland Place begins at Elm Place SW and goes around 130 feet northeast to Harbor Avenue SW.
This street is named for Peter Wickstrom (1837–1915), who immigrated to the United States from Sweden in the late 1860s. According to Thomas Ostenson Stine’s Scandinavians on the Pacific, Puget Sound, he lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Portland, Oregon, before coming to Seattle. His obituary, which ran in The Seattle Times on January 15, 1915, the day after his death, reads in part:
Peter Wickstrom, well-known pioneer of Seattle and an extensive realty holder, died unexpectedly yesterday afternoon after leaving the dinner table at his residence near Alki Point.… The deceased made his home at “The Old Homestead,” a tract of land not far from Alki Point.… Wickstrom came to this city in 1873 and conducted a hotel prior to the fire of 1889. Subsequent to that time he had not engaged actively in business.
Wickstrom Place SW begins at 54th Place SW just south of Alki Avenue SW and goes around 500 feet south to a dead end.
This West Seattle street is really more of a footpath, being narrow, unpaved, and closed to motor vehicles. The public right-of-way runs about 450 feet northwest from Bonair Drive SW as it descends through the Duwamish Head Greenbelt from Sunset Avenue SW to Alki Avenue SW, and the path continues for some 1,150 feet more through property owned by the parks department.
Clarmar Place SW was created in 1941 as part of the plat of Clarmar Crags, which name appears to be a combination of Clara Coumbe (died 1975?), landowner, and mar, for its location above Elliott Bay and Puget Sound.
I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks because I’ve been in Spokane, visiting my wife’s family for the holidays and attending the memorial service of my sister-in-law, may her memory be for a blessing. Since there is no Emily Street in Seattle, why not return, then, with a post on Spokane Street?
Spokane Street appears to have been created in 1895 as part of the Seattle Tide Lands plat. Streets in this plat that were not extensions of already existing ones, such as Commercial Street, were named after letters of the alphabet, American cities, American states, prominent local politicians, and places in Washington. The letters of the alphabet and the American cities appear in alphabetical order, but the states appear neither in alphabetical nor geographic order, and the places in Washington do not appear to be in any order whatsoever (except that a number beginning with Q are physically clustered together). They are as follows, listed alphabetically:
(I leave out West Point Avenue [which still exists, but only as a paper street] and Seattle Boulevard [now Airport Way S and Diagonal Avenue S] because the former was named for its proximity to West Point and the latter, it seems, for its prominence.)
It isn’t a list entirely composed of cities, islands, peninsulas, lakes, or rivers… the only things I notice are ⅔ of them are in Western Washington, with Chelan, Klickitat, and Wenatchee being in Central Washington and Spokane being in Eastern Washington; plus half the Western Washington locations (those beginning with Q) are on the Olympic Peninsula. It seems what is today Spokane Street could just as easily have been something else, and what is today such a prominent street wasn’t purposefully named after what was then the state’s third largest city (today, it ranks second).
Today, SW Spokane Street begins in West Seattle at Beach Drive SW, ½ a mile southeast of Alki Point, then goes nearly ½ a mile east to Schmitz Park, the block between 61st Avenue SW and 60th Avenue SW being a stairway. It resumes on the other side of the park at 51st Avenue SW and goes another ½ mile to 42nd Avenue SW. After a few interrupted segments between 35th Avenue SW and 30th Avenue SW, including another stairway, it begins again in earnest at Harbor Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way. From here it goes a full 2¼ miles east to Airport Way S, crossing the Duwamish Waterway and Harbor Island on the Spokane Street Bridge, and for this entire length runs either underneath or in the shadow of the West Seattle Bridge or the Spokane Street Viaduct, the latter of which leads to S Columbian Way on Beacon Hill.
After a short segment between Hahn Place S and 13th Avenue S, S Spokane Street begins again at 14th Avenue S and S Columbian Way and goes ⅔ of a mile east to 24th Avenue S. With the exception of an even shorter segment hanging off 25th Avenue S north of the Cheasty Boulevard greenspace, it next appears in Mount Baker, where it runs for two blocks between 33rd Avenue S and 35th Avenue S (part of this being stairway); then two more blocks between 36th Avenue S and York Road S (featuring another stairway); and two final blocks between 37th Avenue S and Bella Vista Avenue S.
I enjoy writing posts on streets like W Commodore Way (I believe I am the first to have accurately identified its namesake), Division Avenue NW (I show that, even though it doesn’t divide anything from anything else today, it once served as Ballard’s eastern city limit for a few blocks), Loyal Avenue NW (I discover that it’s named not for the concept of loyalty, but for a baby girl whose first name was Loyal), and sluʔwiɫ (the University of Washington’s new Lushootseed-language name for Whitman Court). But sometimes I just like knocking something out quickly (I’m looking at you, W View Place and View Avenue NW). Sunset Avenue SW is another one of those. It originated in the 1888 First Plat of West Seattle by the West Seattle Land and Improvement Company, and the name simply refers to the street’s western view of Puget Sound; Vashon, Blake, and Bainbridge Islands; the Kitsap Peninsula; and the Olympic Mountains.
Sunset Avenue SW begins as a stairway at California Avenue SW, just across the street from Hamilton Viewpoint Park. Once the roadway begins up the hill, it goes ⅘ of a mile southwest to a dead end at the College Street Ravine southwest of 50th Avenue SW.
This road, and the park through which it runs, Schmitz Park (or Schmitz Preserve Park), was named for German immmigrants Ferdinand Schmitz (1860–1942) and his wife, Emma Althoff Schmitz (1864–1959). Ferdinand was a banker, city councilman, and parks commissioner. He and Emma donated land — mostly, though not entirely, old-growth forest — to the city in 1908, forming the core (just over 55%) of the present park.
The Schmitzes had four children: Dietrich, Henry, Emma Henrietta, and Ferdinand Jr. A banker, Dietrich (1890–1969) became president of Washington Mutual in 1934 and retired as chairman of the board two years before his death. He was also a member of the Seattle School Board from 1928 (or 1930; sources differ) to 1961. Henry (1892–1965) was president of the University of Washington from 1952 to 1958. Schmitz Hall, the university’s administration building on NE Campus Parkway, was named in his memory in 1970.
The roadway was originally envisioned as a continuation of the West Seattle Parkway, never realized, which would have connected Alki Beach to Lake Washington via a series of parkways. The built section is instead a short road that provided the only automobile entry to Schmitz Park, extending through an allée of trees and terminating at a pergola and shelterhouse.
The portion between 59th Avenue SW and 58th Avenue SW in front of Alki Elementary School having been closed in 1949, Schmitz Boulevard today begins at 58th Avenue SW and SW Stevens Street and goes not quite half a mile east, then southeast, then north, to SW Admiral Way and SW Stevens Street. It is closed to automobile traffic.
The settlement at Alki Point established by the Denny Party in 1851 was originally named New York. By a process that is not entirely clear, the name became New York–Alki, and then just Alki. Alki means ‘by and by’ or ‘someday’ in Chinook Jargon, the implication being that the settlement might rival New York… someday. Charles C. Terry officially applied the Alki name to the town plat he filed in 1853, and the point, street, and neighborhood were all named after it.
In the introduction to her 1937 book, Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle, Sophie Frye Bass writes:
Please everyone, pronounce Alki as the Indians did, as if it were spelled “Alkey.”
Hardly anyone does this anymore — in fact I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say /ælkiː/ in all seriousness when talking about West Seattle. /ælkaɪ/ is by far the preferred pronunciation, as shown by this informal Twitter poll I ran:
Seattleites! I’m willing to bet you’ve always pronounced Alki as AL-kye (ælkaɪ), never as AL-kee (ælkiː). So this poll isn’t about how YOU pronounce it, but rather how you’ve heard OTHERS pronounce it.
I think I’ve only heard AL-kee from presenters (Brewster Denny?). I listened to this recording of a Squamish elder speaking Chinook Jargon and that seems to be closest to his pronunciation. See 12:55 mark: https://t.co/dNgc7auFcu
As noted in Alaskan Way, Harbor Avenue SW was once part of Railroad Avenue. When the Elliott Bay tidelands were platted in 1895, Railroad Avenue stretched from (using current landmarks) the Magnolia Bridge along the waterfront to the Industrial District, then across Harbor Island to West Seattle, ending southwest of Duwamish Head. In 1907 the West Seattle portion was renamed Alki Avenue, and sometime between 1912 and 1920 it was given its current name.
Today, Harbor Avenue SW begins at SW Avalon Way and SW Spokane Street at the west end of the West Seattle Bridge and goes 1¾ miles northwest to Duwamish Head, where it becomes Alki Avenue SW.
SW Lander Street begins at 59th Avenue SW in the Alki neighborhood of West Seattle, and goes ⅕ of a mile to 55th Avenue SW. It resumes just to the south at S Lander Place and goes a further ⅛ of a mile to SW Admiral Way. Picking up again at 50th Avenue SW, it makes it ½ a mile to Walnut Avenue SW before being interrupted again, as happens to so many West Seattle streets because of the varying topography. There is a final ¼-mile stretch in West Seattle from 39th Avenue SW to 36th Avenue SW, then a very short segment on Harbor Island before S Lander Street resumes in the Industrial District at Colorado Avenue S and goes ¾ of a mile east to Airport Way S. On Beacon Hill, Lander begins just west of 13th Avenue S and goes ⅔ of a mile to just past 23rd Avenue S, including the block-long stretch that is now known as S Roberto Maestas Festival Street. Lander begins again at 30th Avenue S in Mount Baker and goes a final four blocks to 34th Avenue S.
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.