S Henderson Street

This street is named for Catherine Henderson (1822–1891), wife of Joseph Dunlap (1818–1893), who gives his name to Dunlap Elementary School and the Dunlap section of Rainier Valley. HistoryLink writes of the couple, who came to Seattle from Fontanelle, Iowa:

Joseph and Catherine (Henderson) Dunlap arrived in the Puget Sound region in September 1869, having traveled by covered wagon from Iowa. According to family legend, when they arrived in the Puget Sound region, they followed a road over Beacon Hill and sent their son George up a tree to view the land to the south and east. There he spotted a flat valley and Lake Washington. The Dunlaps decided to homestead in that valley, located to the south of the Van Asselt and Mapel families. They claimed 120 acres extending east toward Rainier Beach.

It appears to have been Lake Street in the original Dunlap’s Plat of Land on Lake Washington (1889) but was likely changed when Rainier Beach was annexed to Seattle in 1907.

Today, S Henderson Street begins at Seward Park Avenue S, just west of Be’er Sheva Park, and runs ¾ of a mile west to Carkeek Drive S. On the other side of Interstate 5 and the Duwamish River, it runs ⁹⁄₁₀ of a mile through South Park from just east of 14th Avenue S to just west of 2nd Avenue S, the portion over Highway 99/W Marginal Way S being a footbridge. Once in West Seattle, SW Henderson Street runs ⅔ of a mile from 8th Avenue SW, just west of Westcrest Park, to 21st Avenue SW, where the arterial turns into SW Barton Place, and is then a two-block residential street from 22nd Avenue SW to 25th Avenue SW, where it is blocked by the Westwood Village shopping mall. On the other side of the mall, it’s ⅘ of a mile from 28th Avenue SW to SW Barton Street at Fauntleroy Park, and then a final couple of blocks from 43rd Place SW to Fauntleroy Way SW, just north of Washington State Ferries’ Fauntleroy Terminal.

 

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.) 

Yukon Avenue S

This very short street (375 feet long) in the Dunlap neighborhood runs from Spear Place S in the south to S Henderson Street in the north. Like Valdez Avenue S, which it intersects, it was established in 1905 as part of Dunlap’s Supplemental to the City of Seattle, and was named after the Yukon River, likely due to the recent Klondike Gold Rush (ended 1899).

Yukon Avenue S, incidentally, holds the distinction of being the at the very end of the list of Seattle streets taken in alphabetical order — hence the tagline for Streets of Seattle, a blog from 2012 that sadly never seems to have gotten off the ground: “Seattle street names, from Adams to Yukon.”

Valdez Avenue S

This short street (just ⅛ of a mile long) connects Martin Luther King Jr. Way S to Yukon Avenue S in Seattle’s Dunlap neighborhood. Established in 1905 as part of Dunlap’s Supplemental to the City of Seattle, it was named after Valdez, Alaska, which was itself named after Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán. (Other streets in the plat include the above-mentioned Yukon Avenue as well as Tanana Drive, Fairbanks Drive, and Rampart Drive. Tanana Drive is now part of S Henderson Street; Fairbanks Drive is now S Fairbanks Street; and Rampart Drive is now part of S Director Street.)

I haven’t been able to find a specific connection the Hulbert or Dunlap families might have with Alaska, but 1905 was just six years after the Klondike Gold Rush ended, and just four years before the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition. Seattle’s population went from 42,837 in 1890 to 80,671 in 1900 — an increase of 88% — and much of this was due to its central role in the gold rush as “the premier supply centre and the departure point for the gold fields.”

Island Drive S

There are only a handful of islands within Seattle city limits, and of them just one — Harbor Island — is large enough to have streets on it. But Island Drive S isn’t on Harbor Island — rather, it’s along the shore of Lake Washington, 5½ miles to the southeast. What gives?

As it turns out, Island Drive once was on an island — Pritchard Island. Known as tleelh-chus (‘little island’) by the Duwamish tribe, it was bought in 1900 by Alfred J. Pritchard (grandfather of Joel Pritchard, who was a congressman from Washington state in the 1970s and 1980s and its lieutenant governor in the 1980s and 1990s). In 1916, Lake Washington was lowered by 9 feet as part of the construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and Pritchard’s island became part of the mainland.

It’s still known as Pritchard Island, though. Today, Pritchard Island Beach, Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, and Be’er Sheva Park separate the island from the mainland.