S Fidalgo Street

This street was created in 1889 as part of the Commercial Street Steam Motor Addition to the City of Seattle. It appears to have been named for Fidalgo Island in Skagit County, which is about 60 miles to the northwest, as S Orcas Street appears to honor Orcas Island and Padilla Place S, Padilla Bay. The island itself was named after Salvador Fidalgo y Lopegarcía, who explored the area for the Spanish in the early 1790s.

S Fidalgo Street begins at a shoreline street end on the Duwamish Waterway just west of Ohio Avenue S and goes 700 feet east to E Marginal Way S. It picks up again at 1st Avenue S and goes half a mile east, then southeast, to a dead end just east of Padilla Place S.

S Orcas Street

This street was created in 1889 as part of the Commercial Street Steam Motor Addition to the City of Seattle. It appears to have been named for Orcas Island, largest of the San Juan Islands, which is about 75 miles to the northwest, as S Fidalgo Street appears to honor Fidalgo Island and Padilla Place S, Padilla Bay. The island’s name, per Wikipedia, derives from that of “Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo, 2nd Count of Revillagigedo, the Viceroy of New Spain who sent an exploration expedition under Francisco de Eliza to the Pacific Northwest in 1791.” Eliza named the surrounding area Horcasitas, but in 1847 the British, who maintained their claim on the San Juans until 1871, assigned a shortened version — Orcas — specifically to the island. (It is a coincidence that Orcas Island is an excellent location for watching orca whales; the two names are completely unrelated.)

S Orcas Street begins at E Marginal Way S and goes ¾ of a mile east, then southeast, to Corson Avenue S, where it becomes S Doris Street. It picks up again east of Interstate 5 at 15th Avenue S and goes three blocks east to 18th Avenue S. Its longest and final stretch begins just west of 20th Avenue S and goes 2¼ miles east to Lake Washington Boulevard S just west of Seward Park.

Intersection of S Orcas Street and Rainier Avenue S
Intersection of S Orcas Street and Rainier Avenue S, Columbia City, September 2008. Photograph by Flickr user Matthew Rutledge, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

Seola Beach Drive SW

According to Seattle parks historian Don Sherwood’s sheet on Seola Park, this street began as a logging railroad. It was then replaced by the Charles Arey county road (“recently surveyed,” according to an article in the August 26, 1893, Seattle Post-Intelligencer), which was renamed Qualheim Road in 1914 by Carl Olsen Qualheim. It received its current name in 1956 when that portion of Arbor Heights was annexed to Seattle. “Seola” itself was the product of a naming contest:

In 1893, a family named Kakeldy built the first home on the beach.… Before long, children in the vicinity school referred to residents of Kakeldy Beach as the “Cackilty Chickens.”… In 1910 the beach residents sponsored a renaming contest which was won by Mel Miller, friend of the school’s teacher of Spanish, Agnes Quigley; his suggestion: “Se-ola = to know the wave.”

Seola Beach Drive SW begins at SW 106th Street between 28th Avenue SW and 31st Avenue SW and goes ⅞ of a mile south, then southwest, to a dead end at the beach, just past SW Seola Lane.

For its entire length, Seola Beach Drive SW forms the southern city limits of Seattle, separating it from Burien and unincorporated King County (White Center). (Unlike the northern city limits, formed by 145th Street, Seattle’s southern city limits are jagged. If they went due east from Seola Beach, Seattle would encompass large portions of Burien, Tukwila, and Renton; whereas if they followed a parallel set at the city limits’ northernmost point, everything south of Kenyon Street [approximately the north end of the South Park Bridge] would be lost to Seattle.)

Sign reading Privately Owned Beaches, No Public Access at Seola Beach
Seola Beach, April 8, 2011. Unfortunately, this is not a case where a street was platted into the water, creating a shoreline street end; the right-of-way explicitly ends at the fence, and this portion of the beach belongs to the property owners to the south. Photograph by Flickr user NabeWise, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Lake Shore Drive S

This street, created in 1926 as part of the plat of The Uplands (S Upland Road), was so named because it runs along the Lake Washington shoreline just south of Seward Park.

Full-page ad for The Uplands in The Seattle Times, September 27, 1925
Full-page ad for The Uplands in The Seattle Times, September 27, 1925. Lake Shore Drive is at the lower right-hand corner of the plat.

Lake Shore Drive S begins at Seward Park Avenue S and S Hawthorn Road and goes ¼ mile south to S Eddy Street.

Upland Terrace S

This street, like S Upland Road, was created in 1926 as part of the plat of The Uplands, so named for its location on a hill overlooking Seward Park. This portion of the neighborhood, however, wasn’t developed until the early 1950s, after having been replatted in 1949 as Vista Mountain.

Ad for the Vista Mountain subdivision, The Seattle Times, February 12, 1950
Ad for the Vista Mountain subdivision, The Seattle Times, February 12, 1950

Upland Terrace S begins at 52nd Avenue S just north of S Graham Street and goes around 1,500 feet north to 51st Place S at S Juneau Street.

S Upland Road

This street was created in 1926 as part of the plat of The Uplands, so named for its location on a hill overlooking Seward Park. Designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm, it was advertised as “a highly restricted residential park” (see below, The Seattle Times, September 27, 1925). A separate advertisement that ran on September 30 of the same year spoke of the “protective restrictions by which the home sites are safeguarded,” and another one on October 9 described The Uplands as “a residential district so carefully planned and highly restricted the home owner may look into the future with full knowledge and assurance that his property will, for all time, be safeguarded and protected.”

Full-page ad for The Uplands in The Seattle Times, September 27, 1925
Full-page ad for The Uplands in The Seattle Times, September 27, 1925

Neither the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks nor the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project have found any evidence of racial restrictive covenants for The Uplands, though it’s marked in the latter’s database as “restrictions were advertised in newspapers and enforced by realtors, but deed records have not yet been found in partial search.” As the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks’ history of Seward Park notes,

…In 1960 a group of white neighbors, led by realtor John L. Scott, tried to prevent an African American physician and his family from moving in. The Civic Unity Committee (CUC) documented what happened. Dr. J.R. Henry ultimately moved his family in without disturbance that December, though Scott delivered a parting message saying Henry was “no gentleman” for refusing Scott’s offer (to buy him out).

You can learn more about the Henrys’ story in this article by KUOW’s Isolde Raftery.

Today, S Upload Road begins at Wilson Avenue S and goes 1,000 feet northeast to S Hawthorn Road.

Vashon View SW

This cul-de-sac, which goes just about 375 feet northwest from SW Donovan Street between 41st Avenue SW and 42nd Avenue SW, was created as part of the Robert E. Thomas Addition in 1959. Its original name was Fauntlee Place SW, but this was changed in 1963, presumably to avoid confusion with the nearby Fauntlee Crest SW. (No confusion was anticipated with the nearby Vashon Place SW, it seems.) Like Vashon Place, it is named after Vashon Island, located 4 miles to the southwest, across Puget Sound. The island itself was named for Royal Navy Admiral James Vashon by his friend, Royal Navy Captain George Vancouver, in 1792.

Unlike Vashon Place SW, Vashon View SW actually has a view of Vashon Island, though not the one you see below!

(While there are plenty of streets, avenues, and places, and not a few drives, roads, and boulevards in Seattle, this is the only view in the city. [You may be interested in seeing the United States Postal Service’s list of recognized street types and abbreviations, in which view is VW.])

Aerial view of Vashon Island from the northwest
Aerial view of Vashon and Maury Islands from the northwest. Photograph by Flickr user Travis, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

S Mount Baker Boulevard

This street, along with Hunter Boulevard S, was created in 1907 as part of the Mt. Baker Park addition, filed by the Hunter Tract Improvement Company and Rollin Valentine Ankeny (1865–1934) and his wife, Eleanor Randolph Ankeny (1868–1947). (Hunter had been founded in 1905 by J.C. Hunter, Daniel Jones, F.L. Fehren, and Clare E. Farnsworth.) The addition was named for its view of Mount Baker in the North Cascades, itself named for Joseph Baker, who sailed into Puget Sound with George Vancouver and Peter Puget on HMS Discovery in 1792. The actual roadway was built in 1908 and 1909.

S Mount Baker Boulevard at 33rd Avenue S, September 22, 2018
S Mount Baker Boulevard at 33rd Avenue S, September 22, 2018. Photograph by Jon Roanhaus, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commmons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

S Mount Baker Boulevard, intended to connect Lake Washington Boulevard to Beacon Hill, begins at S McClellan Street and Lake Park Drive S (the latter of which leads to Lake Washington Boulevard) and goes just over ½ a mile west to Rainier Avenue S and Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. West of the intersection, the boulevard continues as S Winthrop Street, which connects to Cheasty Boulevard S leading up Beacon Hill.

Advertisement for Mt. Baker Park addition, headlined "Spend Your Money and Your Life," The Seattle Times, September 30, 1906
Advertisement for Mt. Baker Park addition, headlined “Spend Your Money and Your Life,” The Seattle Times, September 30, 1906

Point Place SW

This street, which was created in 1936, was named after Alki Point. Alki Avenue SW runs southwest from Duwamish Head to about 450 feet northeast of the point, where it turns south for a block and then becomes Beach Drive SW; Point Place continues another 200 or so feet toward Alki Point.

Alki Point Lighthouse, May 4, 2011. The first light here was supposedly hung in the 1870s; the U.S. Lighthouse Board installed an official one in 1887. The present lighthouse was built in 1913 and automated in 1984. Access is from Alki Avenue SW rather than Point Place SW. Public domain photograph by U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Robert Lanier.
Arthur Armstrong Denny (1822–1899), the leader of the Denny Party that landed at Alki Point on November 13, 1851, helped build this cabin. Most of the party moved to what is now Pioneer Square the next spring. Photograph by Frank LaRoche, no date (though no later than 1891, when the cabin, shown here in ruins, was demolished).
Aerial view of West Seattle, March 17, 2009. Alki Point is in the lower-left-hand (west) corner; Duwamish Head is in the upper-left-hand (north) corner. The green spaces in the foreground, from left to right (north to south), are the Duwamish Head Greenbelt, Schmitz Preserve Park, and Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park. Elliott Bay lies north and east of Alki Point; the rest of the water is Puget Sound. Public domain photograph by Dcoetzee, Wikimedia Commons.

Alki Avenue SW

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:

Apparently the Denny descendants (Bass was the daughter of Louisa Catherine Denny, herself the daughter of Arthur Armstrong Denny and Louisa Catherine Boren) still prefer — nay, insist — on ALkee:

Birthplace of Seattle monument, 1926. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 46980
Birthplace of Seattle monument, 1926. Originally dedicated in 1905 on the 54th anniversary of the landing of the Denny Party at Alki Point, it reads “At this place on 13 November 1851 there landed from the Schooner Exact Captain Folger [and] the little colony which developed into the City of Seattle.” It was rededicated, with a new foundation, on September 4, 1926 (likely the date of this photograph). A stone from near Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, was put in the foundation, and the new plaque reads “From Plymouth Rock to Alki Point: Honoring pioneers on the American shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the above stone was brought from Plymouth Rock by the First Transcontinental Motorized Caravan, managed by James H. Brown, and endorsed by the American Automobile Association. This tablet was furnished by the Automobile Club of Washington. The unveiling ceremonies on September 4, 1926, was participated in by officers and citizens of. the City of Seattle, the County of King and the State of Washington.” Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 46980

As noted in Harbor Avenue SW and Beach Drive SW, the Alki Avenue name once stretched from Lincoln Park around Alki Point and Duwamish Head to the industrial area near Harbor Island, but sometime between 1912 and 1920 the name was reduced to the portion between Alki Point and Duwamish Head.

Today, Alki Avenue SW begins at Harbor Avenue SW by Duwamish Head and goes 2⅕ miles southwest to Beach Drive SW.

Beach Drive SW

Like Harbor Avenue SW, Beach Drive SW was once part of Alki Avenue SW. It became Beach Drive sometime between 1912 and 1920. In contrast to Alki and Harbor Avenues, most of Beach Drive’s beaches are private, though there is a long public stretch at the Emma Schmitz Memorial Outlook, as well as Lowman Beach Park at the south end.

Puget Sound shore looking northwest along Beach Drive with Alki Point in distance, August 2007
Puget Sound shore looking northwest along Beach Drive toward Alki Point, August 2007. Photograph by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Beach Drive SW begins at Alki Avenue SW just south of Alki Point and goes just over 3 miles southeast to Trail #1 at Lincoln Park.

Signs at Beach Drive SW road end, March 2013
Signs along Beach Drive SW a little under 1,000 feet north of Lincoln Park. The park boundary sign is unofficial. Its placement appears to imply that the tail end of Beach Drive is private, which it’s not. Nor is the driveway (SW Othello Street) on the left. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, March 10, 2013. Copyright © 2013 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Queen Anne Boulevard

Like Queen Anne Avenue N, Queen Anne Boulevard is named for the neighborhood and hill, themselves named for the Queen Anne architectural style popular with builders in the 1880s. Unlike the avenue, though, the boulevard is not one single street, but a scenic loop incorporating many streets (and hence has no directional designation, such as Queen Anne Boulevard W).

The legislation establishing Queen Anne Boulevard was passed in 1907, and construction took place from 1911 to 1916. The Seattle Department of Transportation has had jurisdiction over the streets since 1942; jurisdiction over the landscaping remains with Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The loop is slightly over 3⅔ miles in length; the ordinance gives its route as follows (edited for style and current street names and directional designations, with notes added):

Extending from Prospect Street between Warren Avenue N and 2nd Avenue N, in a northeasterly direction*, to an intersection with Galer Street near Bigelow Avenue N; thence northerly following the general direction of Bigelow Avenue N as nearly as the contours of the ground will permit, to Wheeler Street; thence westerly to Nob Hill Avenue N; thence southerly to McGraw Street; thence westerly to 2nd Avenue N; thence northwesterly to Smith Street, west of Warren Avenue N; thence westerly along Smith Street to a point east of 1st Avenue W; thence southerly to W McGraw Street and 2nd Avenue West; thence westerly to 3rd Avenue W; thence northwesterly to 5th Avenue W and W Smith Street§; thence northerly to W Raye Street; thence westerly to 8th Avenue W; thence northerly to W Armour Street; thence northwesterly to W Fulton Street; thence westerly to 9th Avenue W; thence southwesterly to 10th Avenue W and W Armour Street; thence southerly to W Wheeler Street; thence easterly to 8th Avenue W; thence southerly to W McGraw Street; thence easterly to 7th Avenue W; thence southerly to W Blaine Street; thence westerly to 8th Avenue W; thence southerly to W Lee Street; thence southeasterly to W Highland Drive and 7th Avenue West.

* Now the southern extension of Bigelow Avenue N.
Now McGraw Place.
Now the east half of W McGraw Place.
§ Now the west half of W McGraw Place.
Now 8th Place W.

Notably, there is a gap in the loop; Highland Drive between 7th Avenue W and Warren Avenue N could have made it closed, but this was not done.

As noted in Bigelow Avenue Nneighbors’ yards often encroach on the public right-of-way, leading, among other things, to confrontations over chestnuts…

Queen Anne Boulevard street sign, corner of 5th Avenue W, W Smith Street, and W McGraw Place, September 2015
Street sign, corner of 5th Avenue W, W Smith Street, and W McGraw Place, September 2015. The signs for 5th and McGraw are brown because of Queen Anne Boulevard’s status as a parks boulevard; note also the distinctive Queen Anne Boulevard sign beneath that for McGraw. Photograph by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
Queen Anne Boulevard Seattle Historic Landmark Parks Department sign, 1st Avenue W and W Smith Street, July 2015
“Queen Anne Boulevard, Seattle Historic Landmark” Parks Department sign, 1st Avenue W and W Smith Street, July 2015. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 178301
Queen Anne Boulevard at night: 8th Place W just north of Marshall Park, July 2015
Queen Anne Boulevard at night: 8th Place W just north of Marshall Park, July 2015. Note the Wilcox Wall supporting the light fixtures. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 178303

Queen Anne Avenue N

Originally Temperance Street and Villard Avenue, Queen Anne Avenue N was given its current name in 1895 as part of the Great Renaming. It was named after Queen Anne Hill and the Queen Anne neighborhood. Originally called Eden Hill or Galer Hill, they were themselves renamed after the Queen Anne architectural style that became popular in the 1880s.

Looking up the Counterbalance (Queen Anne Avenue N), 1910
Looking north up the Counterbalance (Queen Anne Avenue N), 1910
Looking south down Queen Anne Avenue N, April 2012
Looking south down Queen Anne Avenue N, April 2012. Photograph by Flickr user Joe Wolf, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Queen Anne Avenue begins at Western Avenue, less than 100 feet south of Denny Way, and becomes Queen Anne Avenue N as it crosses Denny. From there it goes 2⅕ miles north to Bertona Street and the Ship Canal Trail.

Signs at corner of Comstock Street and Queen Anne Avenue N, June 17, 2011
Signs at corner of Comstock Street and Queen Anne Avenue N, June 17, 2011. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2011 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Viewmont Way W

This street was created in 1915 as part of the plat of Carleton Park, a replat of much of southwest Magnolia (basically a triangle formed by W Raye Street, 34th Avenue W, and Magnolia Boulevard W). Arthur A. Phinney (1885–1941) led the project, named after his father, Guy Carleton Phinney (1851–1893) (Phinney Avenue N, Phinney Ridge). As The Seattle Times reported:

The old plat was executed thirty years ago without regard to the preservation of the naturally beautiful contour of the land.… In the new plat the streets and boulevards curve and swing about the bases of elevated portions, escaping the deep cuts and heavy fills that would be necessary in conforming to the strict, rectangular plans of the old plat, and affording a scenic frontage for every building lot in the addition.… This entire district commands an unobstructible view of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, the state university, Laurelhurst, Denny-Fuhrman addition, the entire waterfront and manufacturing district of Seattle, St. James Cathedral, 42-story L.C. Smith Building, Alaska Building, majestic Mt. Rainier, and about every other phase of natural scenery that has made Seattle attractive as a place of habitation.

Article on Carleton Park, Seattle Times, April 25, 1915
Article on Carleton Park, Seattle Times, April 25, 1915

Viewmont Way was obviously named after its view of the mountains, and is of a piece with other Carleton Park streets like Montavista Place, Westmont Way, Eastmont Way, Altavista Place, and the like.

Viewmont Way W begins at the intersection of 34th Avenue W, W Lynn Street, and Montvale Place W in Magnolia Village, and goes ¼ mile southwest to Constance Drive W, where it becomes W Viewmont Way W. The name initially continued about the same distance northwestwards, where the street became 41st Avenue W, but this portion and the rest of 41st Avenue as far north as Fort Lawton (now Discovery Park) were apparently changed at some point to W Viewmont Way. In 1961, the streets became Viewmont Way W and W Viewmont Way W.

Terrace Street

This street — named Pine Street in Terry’s Second Addition to the Town of Seattle, filed in 1872 — was renamed Terrace in 1876, presumably to avoid duplicating the Pine Street to the north. My assumption is it was given this name because of how steep First Hill is at this point — Paul Dorpat, writing for HistoryLink, says “Except at Terrace Street on the south and near Union Street on the north, the hill was readily negotiable first by hikers and later by street graders and trolley tracks.” One can see in the image below the long, steep stairway in the Terrace Street right-of-way “from 5th Avenue east to beyond 7th Avenue,” as Dorpat writes on his own blog.

Official from Seattle Weights and Measures Division with confiscated scales standing in Terrace Street
Seattle Weights and Measures Division officials standing with confiscated scales in Terrace Street, 1917. Note long stairway in upper-right corner. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 1210.

Today, Terrace Street begins at Yesler Way above 4th Avenue and goes a block and a half up the hill before being blocked by Interstate 5. It resumes just east of Harborview Medical Center and goes ⅓ of a mile east to 12th Avenue. There is another short stretch of E Terrace Street from 20th Avenue to 23rd Avenue by Garfield High School, and then a final ½ mile from 30th Avenue to Lake Washington Boulevard in Leschi, the portion between 36th Avenue and Randolph Avenue being a stairway.

Lake Shore Boulevard NE

This street, created in 1906 as part of the Lake Shore View Addition to Seattle, begins in the north at NE 105th Street and Exeter Avenue NE, and curves south for a mile along the Burke-Gilman Trail, which parallels the Lake Washington shoreline, to a dead end at the north boundary of Matthews Beach Park. Unlike most, though not all, boulevards in Seattle, this one is not one of the Olmsted boulevards designed by John Charles Olmsted in 1903.

Riviera Place NE

This narrow street, created in 1926 as part of Riviera Beach, an Addition to King County, Washington, Divisions № 1, 2, 3, and 4, and situated between the shoreline of Lake Washington and the right-of-way of the Northern Pacific Railway, appears on the plats simply as “Road” — it first appears in The Seattle Times on July 20, 1930, as “Riviera Beach Road,” and then on July 2, 1932, with its current name. The name simply means ‘coastline’ in Italian.

Today, Riviera Place NE begins at the north city limits, where Seattle meets Lake Forest Park at the NE 145th Street right-of-way, and goes nearly a mile south along the Lake Washington shoreline to a spot a few houses north of NE 125th Street, where it ends at one house and picks up again on the other side of its neighbor. From there, it runs 1¼ miles south to its end at Lake Shore Boulevard NE between NE 100th Street and NE 103rd Street. The portions between the NE 135th Street right-of-way and NE 125th Street are private.

Riviera Place NE is probably most notable to the city at large for being the location of the NE 130th Street End park, which became an official park in 2019 after years of controversy. It’s not, strictly speaking, a shoreline street end, because it’s owned by Seattle Parks and Recreation, rather than being a right-of-way under the jurisdiction of the Seattle Department of Transportation. This is because it was never properly dedicated to the public in 1932 (see background and court filings). For years, it had been treated as just another shoreline street end, but in 2012, when the city announced its intention to make improvements to the beach to improve public access, the neighbors on either side filed suit, and ended up having their ownership of the lot confirmed. The city ended up having to exercise its right of eminent domain, condemned the property, and paid the neighbors $400,000 each. (As unfortunate as it was to have to pay $800,000 for the street end, I’d say it was worth it, as NE 130th is the only accessible shoreline street end north of NE 43rd Street, and the only public lake access, period, north of Matthews Beach [around where NE 95th Street would be if it had been platted into the water].)

View of NE 130th Street park on Lake Washington east of Burke-Gilman Trail and Riviera Place NE, June 18, 2019.
View of NE 130th Street End park on Lake Washington east of Riviera Place NE, June 18, 2019. Photograph by Flickr user Seattle Parks and Recreation, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

NW Blue Ridge Drive

This winding, semicircular street runs almost ⁹⁄₁₀ of a mile from 15th Avenue NW and NW 100th Street in the east to Triton Drive NW, NW Neptune Place, and NW 100th Street in the west, descending 300 feet to Puget Sound along the way. Named after the Blue Ridge community, it was established in 1930 as part of the plat of Blue Ridge, an Addition to King County, Washington (rather than to Seattle, as the far northwestern section of the city wouldn’t be annexed until 1953).

Blue Ridge Realty office building, 9925 15th Avenue NW, Seattle
Blue Ridge Realty office building, 9925 15th Avenue NW, July 2021. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, Copyright © 2021 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Blue Ridge was founded by aviation pioneer William Boeing (1881–1956), founder of what is today The Boeing Company. According to the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project at the University of Washington, marketing of plots began in 1934, and “sales began in earnest in 1938” when this racial restrictive covenant was established:

No property in said Addition shall at any time be sold, conveyed, rented, or leased in whole or in part to any person or persons not of the White or Caucasian race. No person other than one of the White or Caucasian race shall be permitted to occupy any property in said addition or portion thereof or building thereon except a domestic servant actually employed by a person of the White or Caucasian race where the latter is an occupant of such property.

Uniquely, as they note, the restrictions on membership in the Blue Ridge Club, established in 1941 and forerunner of today’s homeowner association, were slightly different:

No Asiatic, Negro or any person born in the Turkish Empire, nor lineal descendant of such person shall be eligible for membership in the Club.

They speculate this restriction on Ottoman citizens and descendants thereof was aimed at Sephardic Jews (Seattle is said to have the third largest population in the country), although if that is the case, I wonder why the restriction wasn’t against all Jews, as was done in Broadmoor and the Sand Point Country Club. At any rate, it would seem to have affected not only Sephardim but Arabs, Levantines, and North Africans in general. These restrictions were finally lifted in 1989, decades after they became unenforceable.

Blue Ridge says that “The development of the Blue Ridge community and the government-engineered policies of segregation brings some controversy to the early days of the neighborhood. However, today Blue Ridge is diverse and welcoming to anyone wanting to share in all that it has to offer.” As the interactive map on the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project page on Blue Ridge shows, though, the covenants had the desired effect — the neighborhood is still around 81% white, 12% Asian… and just 0.5% Black.

As far as being an “exclusive” neighborhood goes, Blue Ridge is more like Windermere than the above-mentioned Broadmoor and Sand Point Country Club; it features a private waterfront park, but all the streets are public, and there are even two very small public parks (Blue Ridge Circle and Blue Ridge Places) plus the wooded Mary Avenue Trail to the southern boundary of Carkeek Park.

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?”

NW North Beach Drive

This short street runs just over 750 feet from Triton Drive NW in the west to NE 98th Street in the east, just west of 24th Avenue NW. It was established in 1926 as part of North Beach, an Addition to the City of Seattle; at the time, it extended farther south, but that section is now 26th Avenue NW. The beach being referred to is on Puget Sound, across the BNSF Railway tracks from what is now NW Esplanade.

Although it bears the neighborhood’s name, houses along North Beach Drive are actually only eligible for associate, not full, membership in the North Beach Club, as the community boundary map shows. This is because the club, which originated in 1927 as the Golden View Improvement Club, was formed by and for residents of the Golden View and Golden View Division № 2 subdivisions, platted in 1924 and 1926, respectively. (According to state records, the GVIC was administratively dissolved in 1982 and merged into the North Beach Club [founded 1990] in 2006. [No word on what entity managed affairs from 1982 to 1990.]) In 1930, the club took over responsibility for the subdivisions’ water system from the developer, who as part of the deal deeded 1,500 feet of Puget Sound beach to the organization. It is this private beach, accessible via a short path from NW Esplanade at 28th Avenue NW, that is the North Beach Club’s primary raison d’être today, the water system having been hooked into the city supply long ago. Today’s associate members are the “descendants” of those who were interested in the Golden View additions’ water system 91 years ago but lived outside the subdivision boundaries — including residents of NW North Beach Drive.

Ridge Drive NE

This private road, which lies entirely within the Sand Point Country Club, runs ⅖ of a mile from the main gate at NE 75th Street in the south to the intersection of Fairway Drive NE and Lakemont Drive NE in the north. It is so named for its central location atop the hill that gives the adjacent neighborhood, View Ridge, its name.

As local historian Valarie Bunn explains on her blog, the Sand Point Country Club, founded by Samuel E. Hayes, opened in 1927. As with two contemporaneous developments, Broadmoor and Windermere, its exclusivity was a selling point. An advertisement in the May 5, 1929, issue of The Seattle Times spelled this out more explicitly than usual: “Sand Point Country Club homesites are selling fast… because every homesite owner enjoys forever a close-in retreat from Seattle’s mobs of tomorrow… because every homesite owner is protected in his investment by carefully drawn restrictions against the admixture of objectionable buildings or races.” The racial restrictive covenant covering the neighborhood reads:

No tract shall be sold, conveyed, rented or leased in whole or in part to any Hebrew or to any person of the Malay, Ethiopian or any other Negro or any Asiatic race, or any descendant of any thereof. No tract shall be used or occupied in whole or in part by any Hebrew or by any person of the Malay, Ethiopian or any other Negro or any Asiatic race, or any descendant of any thereof, except only employees in the domestic service on the premises of persons qualified as herein provided as occupants.

Sign at corner of NE 75th Street and Ridge Drive NE, August 25, 2009
Signs at corner of NE 75th Street and Ridge Drive NE, August 25, 2009. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2009 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.