Arboretum Drive E

This street in the Washington Park Arboretum was, like E Foster Island Road, originally unnamed. It received its current name in June 1957. The Arboretum itself was established in 1934 on the western half of a tract that had been logged by the Puget Mill Company; the eastern half became the gated Broadmoor neighborhood and golf course (see Broadmoor Drive E).

The street, which begins at Lake Washington Boulevard E opposite the Washington Park Playfield, goes nearly a mile north to E Foster Island Road just west of the north entrance to Broadmoor. All but the very northernmost portion, which leads to the Graham Visitors Center, has been closed to motorized traffic for over a decade.

Arboretum Drive E, October 2017. Photograph by Flickr user Steve Ginn (public domain).

McGraw Street

This street is named for John Harte McGraw (1850–1910). In Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle, Sophie Frye Bass writes of McGraw:

All in one year John McGraw was Chief of Police, Marshall, Sheriff, Harbor Master and Fire Warden. Later he was Governor of Washington and in between, bank president and attorney-at-law — quite a career.

The second governor of Washington after statehood (1893–1897), he had been King County sheriff during the anti-Chinese riots of 1886. He defended Chinese laborers from the mob that was trying to expel them from the city, although, according to The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1877–1945, he initially sympathized with the rioters and allowed them to force the Chinese (without physically harming them) to the waterfront to be loaded onto the steamship Queen of the Pacific. Both he and Mayor Henry Yesler lost their bids for re-election that summer in what the book calls “a resounding show of support for anti-Chinese forces.”

John H. McGraw
John H. McGraw

Today, W McGraw Street begins as a shoreline street end on Elliott Bay in Magnolia west of Perkins Lane W. It begins in earnest at the intersection of Westmont Way W, Montavista Place W, and Rosemont Place W and goes ⅘ of a mile east to 24th Avenue W, forming the heart of Magnolia Village, the neighborhood’s commercial district, from 35th Avenue W to 32nd Avenue W. It resumes on the other side of Interbay in Queen Anne, beginning at 11th Avenue W and going 1⅛ miles east to the Northeast Queen Anne Greenbelt east of Bigelow Avenue N. There are a few block-long segments heading down the hill to Westlake and, like Blaine Street, a right-of-way platted into Lake Union that serves as a driveway and affords no actual lake access.

E McGraw Street doesn’t appear again until 15th Avenue E and Boyer Avenue E in Montlake, where it goes ⅔ of a mile east to 26th Avenue E at the west end of the Washington Park Arboretum, becoming a stairway for a short distance just before 19th Avenue E. It ends for good in Madison Park as a two-block stretch between 38th Avenue E and 40th Avenue E.

View looking south from the W McGraw street end: Elliott Bay, Puget Sound, and West Seattle
View looking southeast from the W McGraw street end: Elliott Bay, Puget Sound, and West Seattle, November 5, 2014. Photograph by Flickr user Seattle Parks and Recreation, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Blaine Street

This street is named for Catharine V. Paine Blaine (1829–1908) and her husband, David Edwards Blaine (1824–1900). Methodist missionaries from Seneca Falls, New York, where, in 1848, Catharine signed the Declaration of Sentiments at the first women’s rights convention, the Blaines came to Seattle in 1853 but left in 1856, not to return until their retirement from missionary work 26 years later. During their short initial stay in Seattle, however, they managed to build Seattle’s first church (the Little White Church, predecessor of today’s First United Methodist Church of Seattle), and Catharine became Seattle’s first schoolteacher, making $65 a month. Catharine Blaine School in Magnolia is named in her honor.

Catharine and David Blaine
Catharine and David Blaine at their 1853 wedding

Unfortunately, though the Blaines may have been feminists, they, according to HistoryLink.org, had no love for Native Americans (or, for that matter, the Irish). Their departure in 1856 was prompted by the Battle of Seattle. Junius Rochester writes:

On January 20, 1856, a son John, was born to Catharine and David Blaine. Six days later the Battle of Seattle erupted. David had duty at one of the blockhouses, but managed to get Catharine and their babe aboard the Decatur in Elliott Bay. David had described the Indians as a “poor degraded race,” which would “soon disappear.” Catharine compared their “stupidity and awkwardness” to that of the Irish. The Indian uprising confirmed their worst fears and prejudices.

Today, W Blaine Street begins in Magnolia at 36th Avenue W and goes a semicircular ⅕ of a mile to 34th Avenue W and W Howe Street. It resumes at 31st Avenue W and goes almost ⅓ of a mile to Thorndyke Avenue W. There is a stub of W Blaine east of 15th Avenue W that is quickly stopped by the Southwest Queen Anne Greenbelt. The street resumes at 12th Avenue W and goes just over a mile to 4th Avenue N, having briefly become a stairway at 9th Avenue W. After a series of short stretches serving as driveways and parking, the Blaine Street right-of-way resurfaces east of Westlake Avenue N and heads into Lake Union. Here, too, it serves as a driveway and offers no access to the water. East of Lake Union, E Blaine Street begins at Fairview Avenue E and goes ⅛ of a mile to Franklin Avenue E, where it becomes part of the I-5 Colonnade park underneath the freeway. From Lakeview Boulevard E to just west of 10th Avenue E it is a stairway, and then two blocks of roadway ending at 12th Avenue E and Lake View Cemetery. There is then a diagonal ¼-mile stretch from 19th Avenue E to E Howe Street in Montlake. E Blaine finishes up as a ⅕-mile stretch from 37th Avenue E to McGilvra Boulevard E and a final two-block run from E Madison Street to 43rd Avenue E, both in Madison Park.

Sign for E Blaine Street, April 22, 2010
Sign for E Blaine Street at Broadway E, April 22, 2010. Blaine is a stairway on both sides of Broadway, hence the double 🚶 icon. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2010 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Ward Street

This street is named for Dillis B. Ward (1838-1922). In Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle, Sophie Frye Bass writes:

Dillis Ward, when a young man, did his part in building the old University for he drove a team that hauled stone and lime for the foundation. After the building was finished, he entered as a pupil into the first class. He taught school later on, and many an old-timer can recall the genial, kindly school teacher.

According to this biography, Ward, who came to Seattle in 1859, also had a hand in founding both The Post (a predecessor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and The Seattle Daily Chronicle (a predecessor of The Seattle Times). However, his name does not appear in Professor Edmond S. Meany’s Newspapers of Washington Territory, in this article on the Post Building from the Pacific Coast Architecture Database, or in this HistoryLink article on the history of the P-I. All of them do mention brothers Kirk C. and Mark Ward, but Dillis’s entry at FamilySearch mentions no siblings, and Mark and Kirk’s entries do not mention Dillis. However, they do appear to have the same father, Jesse Ward. It looks as if Dillis was Jesse’s son from his first marriage, to Elizabeth Raley. As she died the same year Dillis was born, it may have been in childbirth. Kirk and Mark appear to be Jesse’s sons from his subsequent marriage to Exeline Cason. Exactly what part he may have played in the founding of the papers, and why this is missing from the articles above (and, incidentally, from Pig-Tail Days, which one would think might have mentioned this fact) is unclear.

Ward Street begins at Queen Anne Avenue N and goes ⅗ of a mile east to Aurora Avenue N. There is a short segment of E Ward Street on Capitol Hill between 14th Avenue E and 15th Avenue E, followed by another one, ⅓ of a mile long, from 23rd Avenue E and Turner Way E down the hill to 29th Avenue E and E Aloha Street, at the west end of Washington Park Playfield. There follows another one-block segment on the other side of the park, between 31st Avenue E and 32nd Avenue E, and a final segment from 34th Avenue E to 37th Avenue E.

Dillis B. Ward
Dillis B. Ward

McGilvra Boulevard E

This street, which appears to have been established as part of the 1906 Replat of McGilvra’s Addition and Second Addition to the City of Seattle (an abbreviation of its much longer name), was named for John J. McGilvra (1827–1903). Born in Livingston County, New York, McGilvra moved to Illinois at the age of 17, and became a lawyer nine years later. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln, who McGilvra reportedly knew as a fellow Illinois lawyer, appointed him United States Attorney for the Territory of Washington. In 1864, he moved to Seattle. That same year, he and his wife, Elizabeth, bought 420 acres of land in what is now Madison Park and became the area’s first settlers. McGilvra had Madison Street extended to the lakefront — it is still the only street to extend from Elliott Bay to Lake Washington without interruption — and later helped establish the Madison Street Cable Railway Company and Madison Park at its eastern terminus. In 1865 he relinquished the post of U.S. attorney. He was a member of the Territorial Legislature in 1866 and 1867, and Seattle city attorney in 1876 and 1877. He retired in 1890.

John J. McGilvra, circa 1890
John J. McGilvra, circa 1890

Today, McGilvra Boulevard E begins in the south at 39th Avenue E and Lake Washington Boulevard E and goes 1⅖ miles north to E McGilvra Street. Unlike most other boulevards in the city, it is not an Olmsted boulevard — McGilvra was reportedly opposed to the movement that resulted in the hiring of the Olmsted Brothers in 1903 (the year of his death) to design a system of parks and boulevards for Seattle, though there is no evidence the two are directly related.

Knox Place E

This street in Madison Park — one I remember from childhood, as I was interested in maps and streets even then, and this one wasn’t part of the regular grid — is essentially a driveway for three houses. Only 100 feet long, it hangs off E Lee Street between 42nd Avenue E and the Lake Washington shoreline like an afterthought, which indeed it was, appearing neither on the 1875 plat of John J. McGilvra’s 2nd Addition to the City of Seattle nor the 1908 Board of State Land Commissioners’ Map of Lake Washington Harbor. The first reference to it in The Seattle Times is in 1925. I couldn’t find an ordinance establishing it, but I did find Ordinance 63622, passed in 1933:

An ordinance accepting deeds from Hubert W. Youngs and Maude E. Youngs, husband and wife, Harry Richmond, William G. Knox, and Bessie S. Woodworth, for an easement for sewer over and across a portion of J. J. McGilvra’s 2nd Addition and Lake Washington Shore Lands.

Since Knox Place is very close to where the two plats meet, I figure it’s a good bet that William G. Knox has something to do with Knox Place. FamilySearch says a William Gifford Knox (1884–1964) lived in Seattle for a time, and even had a scan of his draft registration card for World War I, from September 12, 1918. He appears to have been a salesman for the Dennison Manufacturing Company downtown, and his address is given as 1836 Laurel Shade Avenue. That street is now 43rd Avenue E, putting his residence just a few blocks north of Knox Place E. So, although I don’t have the whole story, I think we now know who Knox Place is named for.

William Gifford Knox World War I Draft Registration Card, 1918
William Gifford Knox draft registration card for World War I, September 12, 1918

Newton Street

This street originates in the 1882 plat of Bigelow’s Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by Jesse W. George (1835–1895) and Cassandra Eckler George (1840–1920) at the request of Isaac Newton Bigelow (1838–1922). As the Queen Anne Historic Context Statement explains,

In the early 1870s, the Denny and Mercer families gradually began to systematically subdivide their large land holdings on the south and east slopes of Queen Anne Hill. When a severe windstorm blew down thousands of trees in the north district in 1875, views opened up and land seekers turned their attentions beyond Belltown. Real estate speculators new to the territory arrived and began to buy up property on the crest of Queen Anne Hill. Some of these speculators also became developers, such as George Kinnear, or builder-developers, such as Isaac Bigelow.

Though its proximity to Boston and Lynn Streets suggest a tribute to Newton, Massachusetts, neither the Georges nor the Bigelows appear to have a connection to the state, so it seems this one should be chalked up to Isaac Bigelow’s middle name.

Today, Newton Street begins in Magnolia as W Newton Street at 30th Avenue W, and goes nearly half a mile east to 23rd Avenue W. There is then a two-block stretch from 15th Avenue W to 13th Avenue W in Interbay, and then the “original” Newton Street, which stretches almost a half mile from 1st Avenue N to Taylor Avenue N, followed by another two-block stretch from Dexter Avenue N to just past 8th Avenue N. On the east side of Lake Union, E Newton Street picks up again at Terry Pettus Park, just west of Fairview Avenue E, and goes ¼ mile to Boylston Avenue E and Lakeview Boulevard E. There follows another ¼-mile stretch from Broadway E to Everett Avenue E. East of there, Newton exists in a number of short segments through Montlake, and then enjoys a run of ⅓ of a mile from 37th Place E to 43rd Avenue E in Madison Park. 

Broadmoor Drive E

This street runs just shy of a mile through the gated Broadmoor neighborhood and golf course from its south entrance at E Madison Street at 36th Avenue E to its north entrance at E Foster Island Road.

An article in the May 18, 1924, issue of The Seattle Times noted that “[Broadmoor’s] roadways will not be public streets as in other residential sections of the city,” calling this “one of the unmatched features of this community,” and adds that “certain restrictions have been named both as to the class of residences that may be constructed as well as to those who will be admitted to membership.” The entire community being private was a first for Seattle, and in fact has never been repeated — the Sand Point Country Club was also established in the late 1920s, but was in unincorporated King County at the time and wasn’t annexed until 1953, whereas Windermere, established within Seattle city limits around the same time, was in fact platted as a traditional neighborhood, albeit one with private amenities.

Speaking of those “certain restrictions,” by the way, it seems that even in the 1920s one could not say openly in the press what one really meant. But Broadmoor deeds and their racial restrictive covenants are public record:

No part of said property hereby conveyed shall ever be used or occupied by any Hebrew or by any person of the Ethiopian, Malay or any Asiatic Race, and the party of the second part, his heirs, personal representatives or assigns, shall never place any such person in the possession or occupancy of said property or any part thereof, nor permit the said property, or any part thereof, ever to be used or occupied by any such person, excepting only employees in the domestic service on the premises of persons qualified hereunder as occupants and users and residing on the premises.

Broadmoor: Restricted Residential Park With Golf Course, 1924.
Broadmoor: Restricted Residential Park With Golf Course, 1924. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 1423.

The origin of the Broadmoor name is not entirely clear. Did it have anything to do with the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs, which opened in 1918? Or with the moors of Scotland, home of modern golf? The above-mentioned Seattle Times article, which is so similar to one in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer it must have been based on a Puget Mill Company press release, doesn’t say. (My friend, local historian Joe Mabel, notes the best-known Broadmoor in the U.K. is actually a high-security psychiatric hospital founded in 1863.) It may just be that “Broadmoor” was considered to be “elegant.” Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the personal papers of Edwin Gardner Ames, Puget Mill president and one of the developers of Broadmoor along with Grosvenor Folsom and George W. Johnson.

Madison Street

Madison Street — another of Seattle’s “first streets” — was named for James Madison, president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. It is the only street in town that stretches, uninterrupted, from the salt water of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound to the fresh water of Lake Washington.

Madison Street begins on the Elliott Bay waterfront at Alaskan Way and ends 3¾ miles northeast of there at a small fishing pier, just east of 43rd Avenue E and north of Madison Park Beach. Apart from a slight bend to the northeast at 22nd Avenue, it is as straight as an arrow from beginning to end.

Signs at corner of E Madison Street and 43rd Avenue E, October 11, 2009
Signs at corner of E Madison Street and 43rd Avenue E, October 11, 2009. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2009 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

E Foster Island Road

This street, which runs about ¼ mile from Lake Washington Boulevard E to the beginning of the Foster Point Trail, all within the Washington Park Arboretum, was without a name until 1968, when it was named for the island in Union Bay to which it led. (It remained unsigned until a few decades later, however. There was no sign at the intersection until at least the 1990s, as I know since my parents’ house was at the south end of the Arboretum and I drove or biked by there weekly, if not more often, while I was growing up.)

Foster Island is known by the Duwamish tribe, who once used it as a burial ground, as Stitici, or ‘little island’. It was named by the settlers for Joel Wellington Foster, who came to Washington in the 1870s from St. Joseph, Missouri. He is said to have donated the island to the city in one HistoryLink article, but another says the city bought it in 1917.

(Note added November 6, 2022: David B. Williams, the “Street Smart Naturalist,” recently posted The Lost Islands of Seattle, in which he wrote that he had seen various sources for the name Foster but none with good documentation. I asked him about the HistoryLink article I cite above:

I’m embarrassed to have missed that, but of course he’s right. So if not Joel Wellington Foster, then who? The search continues

Canterbury Lane E

This stub of a street in Madison Park serves mostly as a driveway to the Canterbury Shores Condominiums, although it is public right-of-way. It appears to have been dedicated to the public in 1965, and its name was changed from 40th Avenue E the next year.

My assumption is the street was named for the condominiums, and that the condominiums were named for the Canterbury subdivision to the south, which was laid out in 1951. According to Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects, John L. Scott’s Canterbury Land Company purchased the land in 1938. (My further assumption is that the subdivision was named for Canterbury, England.)