Alonzo Avenue NW

This street was named for Alonzo Hamblet (1863–1937), son of Eli (1820–1905) and Mary Booth Hamblet (1840–1905), namesake of Mary Avenue NW. According to an article in the November 19, 1937 issue of The Seattle Times, the Hamblets had their homestead where Ballard High School is today. Alonzo was one of the men behind the West Coast Improvement Company that developed Ballard (then known as Gilman Park).

Alonzo Avenue NW begins at NW 67th Street just north of the high school and goes ⅖ of a mile to NW 75th Street.

Street sign at NW 67th Street and Alonzo Avenue NW, Seattle, October 12, 2021
Street sign at NW 67th Street and Alonzo Avenue NW, Seattle. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, October 12, 2021. Copyright © 2021 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Mary Avenue NW

This street was named for Mary Booth Hamblet (1840–1905), wife of Eli (1820–1905) and mother of Alonzo (1863–1937), namesake of Alonzo Avenue NW. The Hamblets were early Ballard settlers, and according to an article in the November 19, 1937 issue of The Seattle Times had their homestead where Ballard High School is today.

Street sign at NW 67th Street and Mary Avenue NW, Seattle, October 12, 2021
Street sign at NW 67th Street and Mary Avenue NW, Seattle. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, October 12, 2021. Copyright © 2021 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Mary Avenue NW begins at NW 67th Street just north of the high school and goes nearly 2 miles to the NW 105th Street right-of-way, where it becomes a trail leading to Carkeek Park. As I wrote in NW Blue Ridge Drive,

Ten or so years ago I saw a Private Property sign at the trailhead, put up by the Blue Ridge Club, but it was gone the next time I visited — I can’t remember if I complained or someone else did. (The woods are private, but the trail is Mary Avenue NW right-of-way.) This wasn’t in the original plat, but according to an old Flickr chat I had with Andreas “Severinus” Breuer, “there was apparently a WPA project approved to install a 30′-wide gravel road between 100th and 110th (apparently now NW Carkeek Park Road).… I imagine the ravine would look quite different if a 30′ gravel road had been put in, so presumably this plan wasn’t carried out. But a 1940 engineering map shows a surveyed ROW from 105th to the Carkeek border, and in Carkeek there seems to be a route that follows the WPA route (Clay Pit Trail > Hillside Trail > Brick Road Trail > Road). Perhaps the trail that exists today was made by the original surveyors or by WPA men?”

Division Avenue NW

Division, like Front, is usually a name applied to a major street, like Division Street in Chicago, or to a street that divides one section of town from another, like Division Street in Manhattan, or to a street that does both, like Division Street in Spokane. But in Seattle, Division Avenue NW goes only two blocks, from NW 65th Street to NW 70th Street, and doesn’t appear to serve as any sort of dividing line at all. Why is this?

My friend Rob Ketcherside, a local historian, put together this helpful database of and article on old Ballard street names, which got me on the right track. But what helped me figure out this riddle — at least I think I have — was this 1903 sewer map that Rob consulted and linked to. A portion of it appears below.

Portion of map of Ballard sewers, 1903, covering present-day intersection of Division Avenue NW and NW 65th Street
Portion of map of Ballard sewers, 1903, covering present-day intersection of Division Avenue NW and NW 65th Street. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 1588.

The CITY to the right of Division Avenue N just north of E Ship Street is actually part of BALLARD CITY BOUNDARY, which ran along what is today 8th Avenue NW… except between E Ship Street (65th) and E Sloop Street (70th). The boundary continued in a straight line, but Division Avenue jogged to the west, causing the boundary to go down the center of those two blocks. It appears that 8th Avenue NW was later put straight through (I’m not sure exactly when, but this Baist atlas plate from 1912 appears to have the extension penciled in), but the jog was never renamed to something like 8th Place NW.

And that’s — I think — how you get a two-block–long Division Avenue that doesn’t divide anything!

Street sign at NW 65th Street and Division Avenue NW, October 2021
Street sign at NW 65th Street and Division Avenue NW, Seattle. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, October 12, 2021. Copyright © 2021 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Cleopatra Place NW

This street is named for Cleopatra Lorena Johnson Porter (1888–1961). As FamilySearch tells us, her parents were Archie James Johnson and Sarah Melinda Young. Valarie Bunn, on her blog Wedgwood in Seattle History, explains how she found out the street was named for the Johnsons’ daughter rather than the queen of Egypt:

Plats named Cleopatra Park, 1st and 2nd Additions, were filed in 1905 and 1907 before Ballard was officially annexed to Seattle in May 1907 and before Ballard’s street names were revised to be consistent with the Seattle street system.… The owners of the Cleopatra Park Addition were Archie J. Johnson and his wife Linnie Johnson. We see that even though the property was in Ballard in Seattle, their plat filing document was notarized in Corvallis, Oregon.… Looking on the census of 1910 for this couple, we see the Johnsons recorded as living in Corvallis where Archie was the president of the Benton County State Bank. The census shows that Archie and Linnie Johnson had six children, all of whom were born in Oregon except their first child, daughter Cleopatra, who was born in Seattle in 1888.

Coming across Wedgwood in Seattle History and this post in particular, which also delves into the origins of Aloha Street and provides numerous resources for those who are interested in making their own discoveries, was one of the things that finally prodded me to get Writes of Way off the ground. Thank you, Valarie!

Street sign at NW 65th Street and Cleopatra Place NW, Seattle, October 12, 2021.
Street sign at NW 65th Street and Cleopatra Place NW, Seattle. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, October 12, 2021. Copyright © 2021 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Leary Avenue NW

This street is named for John Leary (1837–1905), a Canadian who came to Seattle in 1869. He became a lawyer in 1871, and was involved in various mining and shipping concerns, streetcar lines, utilities, railroads, and banks. He helped found the First National Bank of Seattle in 1882; in 1929, it merged with the Dexter Horton Bank and the Seattle National Bank to form Seattle-First National Bank, later known as Seafirst and bought by Bank of America in 1983. He also founded, in 1878, the Seattle Post, which merged with the Daily Intelligencer in 1881 to form the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Leary was a Seattle city councilman in 1873, 1875, and 1876, and was the city’s mayor in 1884 and 1885. He helped form the West Coast Improvement Company with Thomas Burke, William Rankin Ballard, and Boyd J. Tallman; they filed the plat of Gilman Park in 1889, which became the city of Ballard in 1890 and was annexed to Seattle in 1907. 

John Leary
John Leary

Leary Avenue NW begins at NW Market Street just east of 22nd Avenue NW and goes ⅖ of a mile southeast to 17th Avenue NW. The arterial continues as NW Leary Way for another ⅖ of a mile, to NW 48th Street just west of 9th Avenue NW, where it changes names once again, to Leary Way NW, which goes ⅘ of a mile southeast to 2nd Avenue NW before turning into NW 36th Street.

Ballard Avenue NW

This street is named after Captain William Rankin Ballard (1847–1929). Born in Ohio, he came to the West Coast with his family in 1857. They initially settled in Oregon, then moved to King County in 1865. (His father founded Auburn, then known as Slaughter.) Ballard attended the University of Washington for one year, in 1868, then was a schoolteacher, surveyor, and captain of the Zephyr, which took passengers between Olympia and Seattle. He helped form the West Coast Improvement Company with Thomas Burke, John Leary, and Boyd J. Tallman; they filed the plat of Gilman Park in 1889. The city of Ballard was incorporated the next year; it was annexed by Seattle in 1907. It was so named because, at the time, the tracks of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway stopped at Salmon Bay. Passengers had to disembark and complete the rest of their trip to Gilman Park via footbridge. Apparently one of Ballard’s friends who worked for the railway began referring to the stop as Ballard Junction, and the name stuck.

William Rankin Ballard
William Rankin Ballard, circa 1917

Ballard Avenue NW begins at NW Market Street between 22nd Avenue NW and 24th Avenue NW and goes ½ a mile southeast to 17th Avenue NW, where it becomes NW Ballard Way. Most of it is part of the Ballard Avenue Historic District. (NW Ballard Way goes a further ½ mile east and becomes NW 47th Street when it crosses Leary Way NW at 9th Avenue NW.)

Tallman Avenue NW

This Ballard street is named for Boyd J. Tallman (1858–1932), who became a superior court judge in 1900. Originally from Pennsylvania, Tallman came to Walla Walla in 1885 and moved to Seattle two years later. That same year, he, along with Thomas Burke, William Rankin Ballard, and John Leary, founded the West Coast Improvement Company, which filed the plat of Gilman Park in 1889. Almost all of the street names were changed when Ballard was annexed to Seattle in 1907, but five streets that paralleled the Salmon Bay shoreline and one that ran perpendicular to it, as opposed to following the cardinal directions, were left alone: Shilshole Avenue, Ballard Avenue, Leary Avenue, Tallman Avenue, Barnes Avenue, and Ione Place.

Boyd J. Tallman
Judge Boyd J. Tallman

Tallman Avenue NW goes ⅕ of a mile from NW Market Street just east of 20th Avenue NW to 17th Avenue NW just south of NW 52nd Street and NW Ione Place.

Shilshole Avenue NW

This street, which originates along with the rest of the heart of Ballard in the 1889 plat of Gilman Park, was named for šilšula village of the shill-shohl-AHBSH people along what is today known as Salmon Bay. Meaning ‘tucked away inside’ in the Lushootseed language, it is one of two remaining Native place names in Seattle, the other being Licton Springs (liq’təd).

Why, then, is the Shilshole Bay name applied to the body of water west of the Ballard Locks? Shouldn’t Shilshole Avenue, Shilshole Bay, and šilšul all be in the same location? According to Edmond Stephen Meany’s 1923 Origin of Washington Geographic Names, citing early settler Arthur A. Denny’s 1888 Pioneer Days on Puget Sound,

In December, 1852, Arthur A. Denny, knew the bay as “Shilshole.” It was later changed to Salmon Bay because it was thought to be frequented by Salmon.

Today, Shilshole Avenue NW begins at 14th Avenue NW in the east and goes ⅘ of a mile northwest to 24th Avenue NW, just short of NW Market Street.

Section of Map of Township № 25 North, Range № 3 East of the Willamette Meridian, 1855, showing Salmon Bay labeled as Shilshole Bay
Section of Map of Township № 25 North, Range № 3 East of the Willamette Meridian, 1855, showing Salmon Bay labeled as Shilshole Bay.

Loyal Avenue NW

Loyal Avenue NW, named by Edward B. Cox, Harry Whitney Treat (1865–1922), and Treat’s wife, Olive Marion Graef Treat (1869–1945) in the 1907 plat of Loyal Heights, was named, as was the subdivision and Loyal Way NW, after the Treats’ newborn daughter, Loyal Graef Treat Nichols (1906–2004). It connects Golden Gardens Drive NW to View Avenue NW and is just over 850 feet long.

Priscilla Van Sickler and Loyal Nichols at the Olympic Riding and Driving Club, Seattle, 1932
Loyal Graef Treat Nichols (right) and her elder sister, Priscilla Grace Treat Van Sickler, at the Olympic Riding and Driving Club, Seattle, 1932

View Avenue NW

It’s reasonable to name a street for its view: Lakeview Boulevard E, Fairview Avenue N, University View Place NE, Seaview Avenue NW, SW City View Street, and S Bayview Street are some examples in Seattle. Better, to my mind, is naming a street after the thing being viewed: Constance Drive W, Sunset Avenue SW, Cascadia Avenue S, to name a few. Worse? Those faux-French or faux-Spanish names like Viewmont Way W, Montavista Place W, Lakemont Drive NE, etc.

But given the power of naming bestowed on platters of subdivisions, why would Edward B. Cox and Harry Whitney Treat, and Treat’s wife, Olive Marion Graef Treat, name something simply “View Avenue,” as was done in the 1907 plat of Loyal Heights? I think it and W View Place must be tied for the most boring street name in Seattle, but am willing to consider other contenders for the title.

NW Brygger Place

Have I mentioned my friend, local historian Rob Ketcherside? He is the vice president of the Capitol Hill Historical Society, author of Lost Seattle, and blogs about “New Seattle history, mostly,” at Ba-kground.com. I first made his acquaintance when I was a contributor to Crosscut.com and came across his article “Why light rail was predestined for Martin Luther King Jr. Way.”

One of his blog posts is on NW Brygger Place, which runs around 650 feet from 26th Avenue NW in the east to 28th Avenue NW in the west, just south of NW 60th Street and the Ballard Community Center and Playfield. Its namesake was Anna Sophia Brygger (1853–1940), an immigrant from Norway, who also named Brygger Drive W in Magnolia after herself. Do check it out, along with the rest of his posts.

Map of Brygger's 1st Home and 2nd Home Additions, Ballard, 1912 Baist Atlas
Map of Brygger’s 1st Home and 2nd Home Additions, Ballard, 1912 Baist’s Real Estate Atlas

NW Locks Place

Seattle’s newest street name is no longer E Barbara Bailey Way but NW Locks Place — formerly the block of NW 54th Street that ran between NW Market Street and the entrance to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, more commonly known as the Ballard Locks.

Ordinance 125947, passed by the city council in late September, was signed by the mayor the next week and went into effect a few days ago. As the Seattle Department of Transportation explained this summer, the name change stemmed from a request by emergency dispatchers: previously, there were two locations in which NW Market Street and NW 54th Street intersected; once in front of the locks and once over a mile to the east, where Market descends from Phinney Ridge. This name change will serve to eliminate any confusion about what is meant by “the intersection of 54th and Market.”

A similar change was made to Green Lake street names in 1961, when the various segments of Green Lake Way north of NE Ravenna Boulevard and N 72nd Street were changed to Green Lake Drive — previously, Latona Avenue NE, Sunnyside Avenue N, and Ashworth Avenue N (to name a few) had intersected Green Lake Way twice.

Interestingly, only the Lockspot Cafe’s address (3005) is affected by this name change. The other buildings fronting NW Locks Place have addresses on NW Market Street, and the address of the Ballard Locks remains 3015 NW 54th Street.