Military Road S

In the late 1850s, the federal government began construction on a road connecting Fort Steilacoom in Pierce County to Fort Bellingham in Whatcom County. By the end of the decade, the military road had been finished (just in time for Fort Bellingham to close). The route it took through Seattle included what are now Beacon Avenue S, 1st Avenue, Dexter Avenue N, Westlake Avenue N, and Fremont Avenue N, among other streets. South of Seattle, much of the road still exists with its original name, but within the city limits, only a bit of Military Road S remains:

  • A 750-foot-long stretch between Beacon Avenue S at 27th Avenue S and Van Asselt Elementary School south of S Myrtle Street
  • A ½-mile-long stretch between S Othello Street just south of the school to the Union Pacific railroad tracks east of Airport Way S, just west of Interstate 5
Military Road on Beacon Hill, circa 1900, from https://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/digital/collection/imlsmohai/id/9883
Military Road passing through what may be the Comet Lodge Cemetery on Beacon Hill, circa 1900

S Graham Street

This street was named for Walter Graham (1828–1919), who came to Seattle in 1853. Three years later, he married Eliza Mercer, second daughter of Thomas Mercer (Mercer Street, Mercer Island), though she unfortunately died six years later. With his third wife, Elizabeth Crammond (or Crommon), he had a daughter, Nellie, who later married David Thomas Denny II, son of early settler David Thomas Denny (Denny Way). Graham’s brother, David, came to Seattle four years after his brother, and was one of the city’s first schoolteachers. He ended up marrying Eliza Mercer’s sister, Susannah.

Graham sold some of his southeast Seattle land in 1865 to Everett Smith, who filed the plat of Brighton Beach in 1890 on which what was then Graham Avenue appeared. He once owned what is today Seward Park on Bailey Peninsula, which was previously known as Graham’s Peninsula.

He was present at the Battle of Seattle in 1856, and is pictured below with fellow survivors Ira Woodin and Carson D. Boren (Boren Avenue).

Ira Woodin, Carson Boren, and Walter Graham, November 3, 1905
Ira Woodin, Carson Boren, and Walter Graham at Alki Point, November 3, 1905

S Graham Street begins in the east at Wilson Avenue S and goes 2⅒ miles west to Swift Avenue S and 20th Avenue S, just east of Interstate 5. After a short segment between Corgiat Drive S and 16th Avenue S just west of the freeway, it next appears in West Seattle. Betwen 16th Avenue SW and 22nd Avenue SW, it alternates between roadway, stairway, and pathway, and there is a similar situation between 25th Avenue SW at Delridge Way SW and High Point Drive SW at Bataan Park. SW Graham Street begins again at High Point Drive SW and SW Raymond Street and goes 1¼ miles to its end at 50th Avenue SW,

S Horton Street

I have read that, and until recently assumed that, S Horton Street is named for Dexter Horton (1825–1904), but have come to wonder if it instead is named for Julius, his younger brother (1834–1904), or for the Horton family in general. Julius came to Seattle in 1869, bought land in South Seattle in 1871, and platted Georgetown in 1890, naming it after his son, George (1865–1927), who had recently become a doctor. (Georgetown became a city in 1904 and was annexed by Seattle in 1910.) S Horton Street doesn’t run through Georgetown — it’s around 2 miles north of there — but it does run through South Seattle. It appears to have been named in 1870, after Julius arrived in town but before he bought what is now Georgetown. I am not sure if Dexter had any special connection to South Seattle; he certainly never lived there.

Julius Horton family circa 1890
Julius Horton and family, circa 1890. Back row, left to right: Dora Estelle (Horton) Carle, Mabel Maude (Horton) Edlund, Flora Groover, Elmer Petigoe. Front row, left to right: May Bigelow Boucher, Julius Horton, Howard Dexter Horton, Anna Emily (Bigelow) Horton, Vera Horton Hudson, George Monroe Horton, and Harry Bateman.

S Horton Street begins at E Marginal Way S and goes ⅔ of a mile east to 6th Avenue S, with a brief interruption at the SODO Busway. After a block-long segment between Airport Way S and 10th Avenue S just west of Interstate 5, it resumes on Beacon Hill at 13th Avenue S, where it goes one block east. It begins again at 16th Avenue S and goes ⅖ of a mile to 23rd Avenue S, being a stairway and pathway from just east of 19th Avenue S to 20th Avenue S. Horton resumes east of Kimball Elementary School at 24th Avenue S and goes a block and a half before it ends at the Cheasty Natural Area. Besides a very short segment just west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way S, its next appearance is at 33rd Avenue S and S Walden Street. From here, it goes ½ a mile east to Lake Washington Boulevard S, being a stairway between 36th Avenue S and 37th Place S and a stairway and pathway between Cascadia Avenue S and Sierra Drive S. Between Sierra Drive S and Lake Washington Boulevard S, it is part of Landing Parkway, under the jurisdiction of the parks department.

S Lander Street

This street is named for Judge Edward Lander (1816–1907), chief justice of the territorial supreme court from 1853 to 1857. In 1855, he, along with Charles Terry, bought Carson Boren’s downtown land claim for $500. They subsequently donated two acres of land, along with Arthur Denny, who donated eight, to form the first campus of the University of Washington, which opened in 1861. The university owns the Metropolitan Tract to this day, though it moved to its present location in 1895. Lander’s name also appears on Lander Hall, a UW dormitory on NE Campus Parkway.

Edward Lander
Edward Lander

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.

S Hanford Street

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.

Edward Hanford
Edward Hanford

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.

S Holgate Street

This street is named for John Cornelius Holgate (1828–1868). Born in Ohio, he took the Oregon Trail west in 1847 and explored Elliott Bay and the Duwamish River by canoe in the summer of 1850. (The Seattle Times calls him “the first non-Indian of record to have done so.”) He returned to Oregon afterwards, however, and did not settle in what is now Seattle — specifically, Beacon Hill — until 1853, two years after the Denny Party landed at Alki Point. His mother, Elizabeth; brothers, Lemuel and Milton; and sister, Abigail, along with her husband, Edward Hanford (namesakes of S Hanford Street), soon followed. The Hanfords settled on the hill — known thereafter as Holgate and Hanford Hill until the late 1880s — adjacent to Holgate. (Milton was one of three whites to die in the Battle of Seattle in 1856, and was himself the cause of one of those deaths, having earlier shot Jack Drew, a deserting sailor from the USS Decatur, in a “friendly-fire” incident.)

A gold prospector, Holgate left for Idaho in 1863, and died there in 1868, the first casualty of the War Under the Mountain, a conflict between two rival gold mines in the Owyhee Desert, one of which he was part owner. According to Robert L. Deen, writing for True West magazine, there are conflicting accounts of Holgates death. The Owyhee Avalanche reported that:

Desperate fighting ensued during the charge…. John C. Holgate… one of the foremost in the advance, was shot in the head, and must have died instantaneously.

The Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman had a slightly different story:

It appears that J.C. Holgate has been killed, some say assassinated, murdered — not killed in a fight, but shot through the head without provocation.

SW Holgate Street begins in West Seattle just west of 47th Avenue SW and goes ¼ of a mile east to California Avenue SW at Palm Avenue SW. There are two more short segments on the peninsula, between 41st Avenue SW and Arch Avenue SW and between Victoria Avenue SW and Brook Avenue SW. S Holgate Street resumes at Utah Avenue S and goes ¾ of a mile east to an overpass over Interstate 5, where it becomes Beacon Avenue S. There is a one-block stretch between 12th Avenue S and 13th Avenue S on top of the hill, and then Holgate goes a mile from the Beacon Hill Playfield at 14th Avenue S to 31st Avenue S at Colman Park, the half-block east of 16th Avenue S being a stairway and the block between 28th Avenue S and 29th Avenue S being unimproved. There is finally a short stretch east of Lakeside Avenue S at 36th Avenue S that essentially serves as a private driveway; it is a shoreline street end, but one not yet accessible to the public.

Covello Drive S

This hook-shaped street on Beacon Hill begins where S Myrtle Street turns into Swift Avenue S, and goes just over 700 feet north, west, and then south to a point 300 feet to the northwest. It was created in 1967 as the only street in the plat of Covello Estates, filed by S.T. Covello, whose full name appears to be Salvatore Tony Covello (1913–1996). He was the son of Filippo and Josephine (Curreri) Covello, who came to the United States from Italy in 1908. An article in the September 25, 1946, Seattle Times mentions him as the owner of the Hillman City Radio and Electric Company, and one in the March 4, 1956, Times lists him as a candidate for the King County Board of Education.

 

S Charles Street

Charles Street originates in the 1876 plat of Plummer’s Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by George Washington Harris (late 1840s–1914).* How did Harris end up with the land, and why would he name the addition after Charles Plummer (who, it appears from the text of the plat description, bought the tract from David Swinson “Doc” Maynard in 1860)?

* I write “late 1840s” because Harris’s birth year is given variously as 1848 (death certificate, historical journal article, Tacoma Public Library), 1847 (Genealogy.com, The Seattle Times), and 1846 (Geni, FamilySearch). 

As it turns out: Plummer married Ellender Smith (sister of Dr. Henry A. Smith, namesake of Smith Cove and Smith Street) in 1855. Harris’s mother, Sarah Jane Crossman, was widowed the next year. Plummer himself became a widower when his wife died giving birth to twins Edward and Frank in 1859, and he married Harris’s mother in 1860, apparently at Maynard’s own Alki Point house. Harris then became Plummer’s stepson (and a daughter, Ida, was born to the newlyweds the next year). When Plummer died in 1866, Harris apparently inherited at least this much of his stepfather’s estate. (It’s unclear just what Edward and Ida may have received; Frank is reported to have inherited $60,000.)

Charles Plummer
Charles Plummer

Today, S Charles Street begins at Airport Way S and 6th Avenue S and is stopped a block and a half to the east at 7th Avenue S by the city’s Charles Street Service Center. (Its twin to the south, S Plummer Street, also ends at the service center, never to return.) It briefly reappears at the northern lip of Beacon Hill between 12th Avenue S and Sturgus Avenue S, and then east of Interstate 90 runs for about ⅓ of a mile between Poplar Place S and 20th Place S at Judkins Park. The right-of-way, which continues through the park, becomes an improved street again at 22nd Avenue S, and ends just east of 26th Avenue S. East of here, S Charles runs three blocks from 28th Avenue S to 30th Avenue S, and then around ¼ mile made up of alternating roadway and stairways from the alley west of 32nd Avenue S to a shoreline street end on Lake Washington — one of Leschi’s String of Pearls.

S Judkins Street

S Judkins Street, like S Norman Street, S Addition Street, and SW Seattle Street, was named in the 1869 plat of Judkin’s (sic) Addition to the Town of Seattle, whose street names were, from north to south, Norman, B, Judkins, Addition, Town, and Seattle.

Plat of Judkin's Addition to the Town of Seattle

Because its original location is covered by King County Metro’s Atlantic Base and Interstate 5, Judkins Street now starts on Beacon Hill just west of 12th Avenue S and goes around 850 feet east to just east of 14th Avenue S, where it becomes a stairway to 15th Avenue S. The unimproved right-of-way continues through a greenbelt to 16th Avenue S, where there exists a 100-foot stretch of Judkins before it is stopped by Sturgus Avenue S, Daejon Park, and Interstate 90. On the other side of I-90, it resumes at 20th Avenue S and goes ⅘ of a mile east to Lake Washington Boulevard S, the last 50 or so feet being a stairway. Between Lake Washington Boulevard S and Lakeside Avenue S, only the first 150 feet is improved, mainly serving as a driveway for two houses. And east of Lakeside Avenue S there is a very short stretch that, like its neighbor to the north, S Norman Street, turns into a shoreline street end on Lake Washington — one of Leschi’s String of Pearls.

Judkins Street gives its name to Judkins Park and Playfield, which stretches for a number of blocks north of S Judkins Street and 22nd Avenue S, as far as Washington Middle School. The land between S Judkins Street and Interstate 90 through which the I-90 Trail winds (part of the Mountains to Sound Greenway) is also sometimes considered to be part of Judkins Park. The park, in turn, gives its name to the neighborhood of Judkins Park, and to the future Judkins Park station of Sound Transit’s Line 2 extension to the Eastside.

Built on the site of a former ravine landfill that was used for about four decades, Judkins Park was transferred to the parks department in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and opened to the public on October 8, 1977, according to a story in the October 6 issue of The Seattle Times.

Aerial view of Judkins Park and Playground, 1965
Aerial view of Judkins Park and Playfield, 1965. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 29470. S Judkins Street is at bottom center and right, below the park. Washington Middle School is at the north end of the park and 23rd Avenue S is the arterial to its east. Lake Washington and the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge (Washington State Route 520) are visible in the distance.

S Norman Street

For the origin of S Norman Street, we go back to our first street name post, SW Seattle Street, which read in part:

On August 4, 1869, Ike M. Hall — the executor of the estate of Norman B. Judkins — filed the Judkin’s (sic) Addition to the Town of Seattle, located just southwest of where the interchange between I-5 and I-90 is today. From north to south, the east–west streets are named Norman, B, Judkins, Addition, Town, and Seattle.

Plat of Judkin's Addition to the Town of Seattle

Today, S Norman Street begins on the other side of Beacon Hill, the portion shown above having been obliterated by King County Metro’s Atlantic Base and Interstate 5. (In fact, S Addition Street is the only one remaining in its original location, Judkins Street now starting on Beacon Hill and Seattle Street only existing in West Seattle.) Beginning at Poplar Place S just east of Interstate 90, it goes for a block northeast to Rainier Avenue S. It picks up again at Davis Place S and S Bush Place and goes a block east to 21st Avenue S. Resuming at 22nd Avenue S, just east of Judkins Park (also named for Norman B. Judkins), it goes ⅗ of a mile east to 33rd Avenue S, with only two short interruptions:

  • An unimproved stretch south of St. Gebriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church between 26th Avenue S and Martin Luther King Jr. Way S: what looks to be a bramble patch followed by a driveway for some townhouses; and
  • A stairway from 31st Avenue S to half a block west of 32nd Avenue S.

There appears to be a privately maintained stairway from 33rd Avenue S down to Lake Washington Boulevard S, and the next block is completely unimproved, though in both cases neighbors appear to be incorporating the right-of-way into their yards and driveways. Finally, there is a short stretch of Norman Street east of Lakeside Avenue S that turns into a shoreline street end on Lake Washington — one of Leschi’s String of Pearls

King County Parcel Viewer showing S Norman Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Way S
King County Parcel Viewer showing S Norman Street between 26th Avenue S and Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. What appears to be a private driveway from Martin Luther King is actually public right-of-way.
King County Parcel Viewer showing S Norman Street from 33rd Avenue S to Lake Washington
King County Parcel Viewer showing S Norman Street from 33rd Avenue S to Lake Washington. The private driveway in the public right-of-way east of Lake Washington Boulevard S (center of image) is easily visible, as is the shoreline street end east of Lakeside Avenue S.

S Roberto Maestas Festival Street

This street, formerly the 1600 block of S Lander Street, runs between 16th and 17th Avenues S on Beacon Hill, north of the Beacon Hill light rail station and south of the Plaza Roberto Maestas housing development of El Centro de la Raza, a social service agency. It was renamed in 2011 in honor of Roberto Maestas (1938–2010), who co-founded El Centro in 1972 in the recently closed Beacon Hill Elementary School.

Roberto Maestas, 2008
Roberto Maestas, 2008. Photograph by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The street is one of a number of “festival streets” in the city of Seattle: “designated portions of streets intended for frequent public events.” E Barbara Bailey Way is the other one we’ve covered so far.

S Pearl Street

This street, which is nowhere longer than a couple of blocks long, begins at 54th Avenue S in the east, just west of Andrews Bay and Seward Park, and finishes up at Corson Avenue S in the west, just east of Interstate 5.

According to Lucile Saunders McDonald, writing in The Seattle Times on January 1, 1956, it is named for Pearl Josephine Hulbert Faurote (1883–1981), granddaughter of Joseph and Catherine (Henderson) Dunlap (of S Henderson Street). I listed her as the street’s namesake when I originally posted this article. However, S Pearl Street is quite a bit north of Dunlap’s Plat of Land on Lake Washington — about 2¼ miles from Henderson. The name appears to have originated in Hillman City Division 8, filed in 1903. As of May 19, 2021, neither I nor Valarie Bunn nor Rob Ketcherside nor Matt McCauley — who first called my attention to the fact that McDonald’s assertion was unsourced — have been able to find a connection between the Hillmans and anyone named Pearl. Nor does there appear to be any particular connection between the Hillmans and the Dunlaps or Hulberts, other than their all being active in Seattle real estate.

It seems, then, that the origin of Pearl Street should be regarded as an open question.

S Fontanelle Street

This fragmented street starts at Rainier Avenue S and travels two blocks west to 46th Avenue S. It makes its next appearance in Beacon Hill as a block-long street hanging off Military Road S, just east of Interstate 5. There are a few more blocks in South Park, from 5th to 2nd Avenues S, then half a block in West Seattle just west of California Avenue SW and a few final blocks from just east of Vashon Place SW to 47th Avenue SW at Lincoln Park. It is named for Fontanelle, Iowa, where Joseph and Catherine (Henderson) Dunlap (of S Henderson Street) lived before coming to Seattle in 1869.

S Fairbanks Street

This street runs not quite 300 feet from Martin Luther King Jr. Way S in the east to 42nd Avenue S in the west, just south of S Henderson Street. Like nearby Valdez Avenue S and Yukon Avenue S, it was established in 1905 as part of Dunlap’s Supplemental to the City of Seattle, and, in keeping with the Alaska theme, was named after the city of Fairbanks, which had been founded just four years earlier. (Fairbanks itself was named after Indiana Senator Charles Warren Fairbanks [1897–1905], who was vice president under Theodore Roosevelt from 1905 to 1909.) 

S Angeline Street

This street lies mostly in Columbia City, where its name originated, and Seward Park, with a few blocks in Beacon Hill and even fewer in West Seattle. It almost reaches Puget Sound at Beach Drive SW, and does reach Andrews Bay of Lake Washington at Lake Washington Boulevard S.

As noted, the name Angeline Street originated in Columbia City, in this 1891 Plat of Columbia, filed at the request of James Kippen Edmiston by Percy W. Rochester and John I. Wiley of the Washington Co-operative Home Company. 

Princess Angeline was born Kikisoblu, the daughter of Si’ahl [siʔaɫ], better known in English as Chief Seattle of the Duwamish and Suquamish Tribes. Her date of birth is unknown; Wikipedia gives it as ca. 1820, whereas this article posted by the Duwamish Tribe, written by elementary school students based on HistoryLink essays, gives it as 1828. She died May 31, 1896.

Princess Angeline received her English name from Catherine Broshears Maynard, wife of David Swinson (“Doc”) Maynard, one of the earliest Seattle settlers. As the HistoryLink Elementary article puts it,

Chief Seattle’s oldest daughter was named Kikisoblu. She became friends with many of Seattle’s founding families. One of her friends was Catherine Maynard. She felt that Kikisoblu should have a name that would let the white settlers know that she was the daughter of a great chief. So she called her Princess Angeline. She thought that name was prettier than the name Kikisoblu.

Photograph of Kikisoblu, or Princess Angeline, by Frank La Roche, ca. 1893
Photograph of Princess Angeline (Kikisoblu), by Frank La Roche, ca. 1893

Cheasty Boulevard S

This Olmsted boulevard was designed in 1910 as Jefferson Boulevard, the entrance to Jefferson Park. It runs about 1⅕ miles from Beacon Avenue S and S Alaska Street in the southwest to S Winthrop Street in the northeast, which also forms part of the park boulevard. After crossing Martin Luther King Jr. Way S and Rainier Avenue S, it continues on as S Mount Baker Boulevard, ending at Mount Baker Park.

In 1914, it was renamed Cheasty Boulevard after E.C. (Edward) Cheasty, who died that year. He had been police commissioner, commissioner of the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition, and a member of the park board from 1907 to 1910 and 1912 to his death, according to the Don Sherwood Park History Files. He also ran Cheasty’s Store, a downtown haberdashery, from 1888 until his death. 

E.C. Cheasty, photograph by Edward S. Curtis, from the University of Washington Libraries’ Portrait Collection

Speaking of his death, it sadly appears that it was due to suicide. He fell from the 10th floor of the Washington Hotel — the same hotel in which fellow businessman Frank B. Hubbell killed himself in 1905.

Seattle Star article on death of E.C. Cheasty
Front-page article on Cheasty’s death, The Seattle Star, June 13, 1914

SW Seattle Street

What better way to start things off than with SW Seattle Street?

SW Seattle Street is a minor residential street in West Seattle that runs about ³/₁₀ of a mile from 42nd Avenue SW in the east to Sunset Avenue SW in the west.

It might seem strange that such a short street would be chosen to bear the city’s name — it was the only one to do so until 2010, when the first two blocks of Airport Way S were renamed Seattle Boulevard S — but this has more to do with unimaginative naming than with civic pride.

On August 4, 1869, Ike M. Hall — the executor of the estate of Norman B. Judkins — filed the Judkin’s (sic) Addition to the Town of Seattle, located just southwest of where the interchange between I-5 and I-90 is today. From north to south, the east–west streets are named Norman, B, Judkins, Addition, Town, and Seattle.

Portions of the original Seattle Street were vacated over the years (for example, in 1900, 1957, and 2000), and the construction of I-5 took care of the rest. However, when the city annexed West Seattle in 1907 it changed the name of Maple Street to W Seattle Street as part of rationalizing the street grid… and so the name lives on.

(The city itself, of course, was named after Si’ahl [siʔaɫ], better known in English as Chief Seattle of the Duwamish and Suquamish Tribes.)

siʔaɫ, or Chief Seattle
The only known photograph of Chief Seattle (1786?–1866), taken by E.M. Sammis in 1864

So, why SW Seattle Street instead of Seattle Street SW?

In Seattle, east–west streets have the directional come first, and north–south avenues have it come last. The Wikipedia article “Street layout of Seattle,” which I helped write, has a more comprehensive description of Seattle’s addressing system, including the answer to this question:

Why was it W Seattle Street in 1907 but SW Seattle Street now?

In 1961, city ordinance 89910 “established a standard system of street name designations” so that in almost all cases streets within a given zone would carry the same directional. West Seattle avenues already carried the SW designation.