In 1907, Anna Sophia Brygger (1852–1940) (NW Brygger Place, Brygger Drive W) filed the plat of Lawton Heights in Magnolia. Because a good portion of it was taken up by what is now known as Kiwanis Ravine, many of the streets were only partially built (Fort Place, 35th Avenue W, 34th Avenue W, Brygger Drive) or never built at all (Northview Place, Albert Street [Alberta is a typo], Byers Place). For some reason, they have never been vacated, making them all paper streets, and unlike W Semple Street, they don’t even have any buildings with addresses.
Brygger had seven children, one of whom was named Albert (1887–1977). According to Paul Dorpat, he was at one point president of Peoples National Bank (now part of U.S. Bank). It seems a fair bet that she named Albert Street after him.
“Street” appears above in quotation marks because there is no W Semple Street — not a physical one, anyway, making Semple a paper street. It does, however, still exist as a public right-of-way, as do most of the other streets on the plat, whether or not they were built. (As anyone who has been to Magnolia knows, its tidelands — intended to become industrial land as part of the rejected Bogue Plan — were never filled in, with the late exception of the Elliott Bay Marina.) Three residences even have a W Semple Street address, though they are only accessible from a private roadway off 45th Avenue W.
As can be seen below in the North Magnolia section of the plat map, a great many blocks were created as part of the process. Most of the unfilled tidelands are owned by the city (many of them forming Magnolia Tidelands Park), but some of the lots remain to this day in private ownership. There have been attempts to build on them, but none recently, and I can’t imagine such a thing being permitted in the future. So W Semple Street is likely to remain one of the few unbuilt streets in this plat to have addresses, and W Cole Street, Puget Avenue W, West Point Avenue W, and their ilk will forever remain streets on paper only.
W View Place, formerly an unnamed block-long alley between 28th Avenue W and 29th Avenue W just south of W Elmore Place, was named in 1950 at the request of Norman E. Boor, et al. The houses at 2805, 2815, and 2829 were all built in 1947, according to county records; I suppose this necessitated that the street be named, and for some reason no one could come up with anything more interesting than “View,” for the view of Ballard residents were able to enjoy.
Given the choice between W Boor Place and W View Place, I’d take the latter, but really… I’m surprised this was approved, especially given the existence of View Avenue NW near Golden Gardens Park.
To reach their homes, residents of Bay Terrace — east of Lawtonwood and west of Land’s End at the northern tip of Magnolia — must drive through Discovery Park. Within the park, their street (the narrow neighborhood only has one) is known as Bay Terrace Road, but changes to 42nd Avenue W north of the park boundary. Similarly to Lawtonwood Road, it does not appear to have been officially so designated until 2007, when ordinance 122503 was passed. Also similarly to Lawtonwood Road, it carries no directional designation, since it is a park boulevard.
Bay Terrace Road runs ¼ mile north from Lawtonwood Road just west of 40th Avenue W, and then becomes 42nd Avenue W, which continues on for another ⅕ of a mile to a viewpoint overlooking Shilshole Bay.
The neighborhood of Lawtonwood, or Lawton Wood — both spellings have been in use over the years — is perched atop Discovery Park north of W Cramer Street. Lawtonwood Road, which goes through the park, is the only way in or out. It would have been a natural part of Fort Lawton, and it certainly would have made a great addition to the park, but as local historian Paul Dorpat explains in his introduction to the neighborhood,
Steady white settlement started in 1875 when German immigrant Christian Scheuerman moved to the area, cleared the timber and married a native woman who had ten children before she died in 1884. In 1895 Seattle boosters organized to attract a military post to the area and gathered the acreage that is now Fort Lawton–Discovery Park. The part of it that is now Lawton Wood… is not part of the military holding because Scheuerman withheld it.
Soon after the military moved in next door, this protected enclave was improved with mansions of a few of Seattle’s elite. In 1952 these neighbors — about 30 houses sparingly distributed about a generous 30 acres – organized the Lawton Wood Improvement Club, waving the motto “To Beautify and Develop Lawton Wood.” By the time that the last of the Scheuermans, Ruby, moved out in the late 1970s, the beautifying had turned more to developing, and the lots got smaller.
The first reference to Lawtonwood Road I was able to find in The Seattle Times or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is from 1935, but it does not appear to have been officially so designated until 2007. According to ordinance 122503, park roads “are considered ‘private’” — technically residents of Lawtonwood and Bay Terrace had no legal right to transit the park to reach their homes, though of course they had never been prevented from doing so. To rectify this and other issues, and in anticipation of the privatization of the residences on Officers’ Row and Montana Circle, the ordinance made Lawtonwood Road, Bay Terrace Road, Utah Street, Washington Avenue, California Avenue, Iowa Street, Illinois Avenue, Texas Way, Idaho Avenue, and 45th Avenue W “public park boulevards.”
Note, by the way, that none of these streets except 45th Avenue W contain a directional designation. Ordinarily one would expect to see W Lawtonwood Road, or Lawtonwood Road W, but park roads in Seattle carry no directional designation. An exception seems to have been made for 45th Avenue W, presumably because a numbered avenue with no directional designation “belongs” in Madrona or Leschi, seven miles to the southeast.
The bulk of W Lawton Street comes not from the Lawton Park plat, which covered 34th Avenue W to 36th Avenue W, but from a grant from the federal government in 1909 for sewer and street purposes. Lawton Street was laid out along the north edge of the fort, from its northwest corner at 36th Avenue W to what is now 40th Avenue W. There is a short discontinuity beginning about 250 feet east of 40th Avenue W consisting of a footpath and stairs; I’m not sure when that was created, but I don’t think it was the original configuration, as that would have defeated the purpose of the street.
Fort Street originated as Fort Place in the 1905 plat of Lawton Park, an Addition to the City of Seattle. It originally formed part of the “government roadway leading from the east boundary of the military reservation of Fort Lawton,” but in 1961 four of its blocks were officially renamed W Government Way. What remains today is a one-block stretch between 36th Avenue W and 35th Avenue W, a three-block stretch between Kiwanis Memorial Reserve Park and 32nd Avenue W, and a bridge over the BNSF Railway tracks from 28th Avenue W and Gilman Avenue W to 27th Avenue W.
In 1897 a number of Magnolia landowners deeded to the federal government land for “a government roadway leading from the east boundary of the military reservation of Fort Lawton,” which was to open in 1900, to a wharf at what is now 27th Avenue W and W Commodore Way. At some point between then and 1907, when it appears in in the plat of Lawton Heights, an Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by Anna S. Brygger (see Brygger Drive W and NW Brygger Place), it became known as Government Way. (There are similarly named streets in Spokane leading to the former Fort George Wright and in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, leading to the former Fort Sherman.)
The street was initially known as Government Way only from 32nd Avenue W to the east gate of the fort at 36th Avenue W (now the main entrance to Discovery Park), but in 1961 the name was extended to cover 32nd Avenue W north to W Fort Street as well as W Fort Street east to Gilman Avenue W, so today its length is about ½ a mile in total.
Technically, W Bertona Street begins as Bertona Street at the Ship Canal Trail around 80 feet east of Queen Anne Avenue N, but both streets there are little more than parking aisles nestled up against Seattle Pacific University’s Wallace Field. W Bertona begins in earnest at W Nickerson Street and goes ¾ of a mile west to 14th Avenue W, where it becomes a block-long stairway to 15th Avenue W. On the other side of 15th, it goes two more blocks before being stopped by the BNSF Railway tracks at 17th Avenue W; on the other side of the tracks it goes ⅗ of a mile west from 20th Avenue W to 30th Avenue W, becoming a stairway again for a block just about halfway. As with its Magnolia partner W Dravus Street, it’s ⅓ of a mile from 31st Avenue W to 36th Avenue W, where it becomes a stairway for a block, and then ½ a mile more from 37th Avenue W to 45th Avenue W. There is finally a 300-foot-long segment west of Perkins Lane W, where the roadway ends. (There is a shoreline street end beyond that, but it is currently inaccessible.)
As can be seen in the plat map above, Dravus is part of a series of streets — Aetna, Bertona, Cremona, Dravus, Etruria, and Florentia — that appear in alphabetical order and have the common theme of being locations in Italy, which had been unified 17 years earlier. I have yet to find a connection between Denny, Hoyt, the Blewetts, or Kilbourne and Italy. The closest I’ve come is an item in the February 28, 1903, issue of The Seattle Mail and Herald, which reports that “on February 27, the Woman’s Century Club met and discussed the subject ‘Italian Art and Literature.’ Mrs. Bessie L. Savage and Mrs. E.C. Kilbourne [Leilla Shorey] prepared papers relating to these subjects.” I would love to find out if there’s anything more solid!
The Drava River, which originates in the Italian region of the South Tyrol, flows from there through Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia, forming much of the border between that country and Hungary, and joining the Danube on the Croatia–Serbia border. It was known as Dravus in Latin and Δράβος in Greek.
Dravus Street begins in the east at Nickerson Street and goes ⅗ of a mile west to 8th Avenue W and Conkling Place W. It resumes for half a block at 10th Avenue W, is briefly a foot path and stairway, and then is an arterial connecting Queen Anne and Magnolia via Interbay, going just over a mile from 11th Avenue W to 30th Avenue W. (This section was originally known as Grand Boulevard, and indeed W Dravus is double the width of the other streets in the area, though it features wide planting strips instead of a central median.) It’s ⅓ of a mile from 31st Avenue W to 36th Avenue W, where it becomes a stairway for a block, and then ½ a mile more from 37th Avenue W to just west of Magnolia Boulevard W, where the roadway ends. (There is a shoreline street end off Perkins Lane W, but it is currently inaccessible.)
W Commodore Way, which runs 1⅓ miles along Salmon Bay from 21st Avenue W to 40th Avenue W, obviously has a nautical name, but is its backstory as simple as that, like NE Boat Street along Portage Bay? Or does it honor a particular person?
The only online mention I’ve seen of a possible specific referent of Commodore is in the Don Sherwood Parks History file for Commodore Park:
Who was particularly in mind when the street was named Commodore Way is not recorded. However, the choice of Commodore Peary’s flagship [the SS Roosevelt]… to participate in the dedication of the [Ballard] Locks is significant. Peary must have sailed from Seattle as the port nearest Alaska and the Arctic.
I first became aware of Smith’s connection to Seattle when I came across this line in the March 30, 1890, issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, while looking for a connection between Commodore and the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway: “Mr. J.S. Dunham, treasurer of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern, and Commodore Smith visited Snohomish yesterday.”
Before I go too much farther, I should note that the landowners in the plat of Gilman’s Addition were listed as Dr. Henry A. Smith and Franklin M. Jones and his wife, Carrie B. Jones. Franklin was a member of the New York banking firm Jameson, Smith and Cotting, financiers of the business ventures of Daniel Hunt Gilman, including the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway (SLS&E). Hence the search terms I’d been using at Washington Digital Newspapers.
This article from the June 17, 1897, issue of the P-I also came up, further associating Commodore Smith (to distinguish him from Dr. Smith) with the SLS&E and with New York:
Today, Gilman Avenue W begins at 20th Avenue W and W Bertona Street and goes ⁹⁄₁₀ of a mile northwest to 28th Place W, where it becomes W Government Way. The right-of-way continues on from there, though, and there is a 120-foot-long segment between 32nd Avenue W and Gay Avenue W and then, on the other side of Kiwanis Memorial Preserve Park, another 120-foot-long segment at the end of 34th Avenue W.
Originally, Gilman Avenue W existed east of the railroad tracks as well, but that section, between 15th Avenue W and 11th Avenue W, was changed to Gilman Drive W in 1961.
This Magnolia street, like W Tilden Street, was named by Dr. Francis G. Bryant as part of the 1877 Bay View Addition to the City of Seattle. As I noted in the Tilden Street article, he named his streets for prominent Democratic politicians of the era. Only Tilden and Grover remain. It would appear that the Grover in question was La Fayette Grover, governor of Oregon from 1870 to 1877 and senator from Oregon from 1877 to 1883.
As Wikipedia notes, “During the [disputed] 1876 presidential election, Oregon’s statewide result clearly favored Rutherford Hayes, but then-governor Grover claimed that elector John Watts was constitutionally ineligible to vote since he was an ‘elected or appointed official’. Grover substituted a Democratic elector in his place. The two Republican electors dismissed Grover’s action and each reported three votes for Hayes, while the Democratic elector, C. A. Cronin, reported one vote for Samuel Tilden and two votes for Hayes. The vote was critical because the electoral college without John Watts’s vote was tied 184–184.”
This Magnolia street was named by Dr. Francis G. Bryant as part of the 1877 Bay View Addition to the City of Seattle for Samuel J. Tilden, governor of New York from 1875 to 1876 and Democratic candidate for president in the election of 1876. The Compromise of 1877, according to Wikipedia, “resulted in the United States federal government pulling the last troops out of the South, and ending the Reconstruction Era. Through the Compromise, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was awarded the White House over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden on the understanding that Hayes would remove the federal troops whose support was essential for the survival of Republican state governments in South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana.” The plat was filed on February 17 — while the Electoral Commission was in session and had not yet awarded the election to Hayes.
Of the other named streets in the Bay View Addition, only Grover remains, but most of them appear to be named for prominent Democratic politicians of the era (Jackson excepted, as he died 32 years earlier). I left off the two I could not associate with anyone (Randall, Nichols) and am not as sure about Williams as I am about the others:
As for Dr. Bryant, I was unable to find out much about him other than he was some sort of doctor and filed a patent in 1877 for a new type of fire escape.
W Tilden Street begins at 28th Avenue W and goes just about 1,000 feet west to 31st Avenue W, its last hundred feet being a footpath through the landscaped right-of-way. On the other side of the valley, there is a 225-foot-long segment from 37th Avenue W to 38th Avenue W.
Anna Sophia Brygger, the Norwegian immigrant mentioned in NW Brygger Place, is also the namesake of Magnolia’s Brygger Drive W, a short street that runs not quite a tenth of a mile from 34th Avenue W just north of W Government Way to a dead end at Kiwanis Memorial Preserve Park. Many of the streets on the map below were either never built (Northview Place, Albert Street [Alberta is a typo], Byers Place) or were only partially built (Fort Place, 35th Avenue W, 34th Avenue W, and Brygger Drive itself.)
This street, which runs, with interruptions, for 2⅓ miles from Queen Anne to just short of Elliott Bay in Magnolia (though it is platted for several more blocks west over the tideflats) is named, as I learned from the Ruffner Family Association, for Presbyterian minister William Henry Ruffner. A slaveholder who “advocated the gradual emancipation and colonization of the state’s African Americans”, he was also, according to Encyclopedia Virginia, “the designer and first superintendent of Virginia’s public school system.”
The Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern became part of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1892. Today, the Interbay Car Shop of the BNSF Railway, successor to the NP, is located at the corner of W Ruffner Street and Gilman Avenue W.