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.

Marion Street

Marion Street, like James Street, was one of the first streets platted in Seattle on May 23, 1853. It, too, was named by Arthur Armstrong Denny after his younger brother, James Marion Denny (1824–1854). 

Marion Street runs ⅖ of a mile from Alaskan Way to 6th Avenue, where it is interrupted by Interstate 5. It picks up again at 7th Avenue and runs about the same distance to Broadway, where the Seattle University campus begins. East of there it runs in sections of varying lengths until it ends for good at 38th Avenue and Madrona Park.

James Street

James Street, one of the first streets platted in Seattle on May 23, 1853, was named by Arthur Armstrong Denny after his younger brother, James Marion Denny (1824–1854). Histories of Seattle report that James was too sick to leave Oregon and come to Puget Sound with the Denny Party and, indeed, he died in the town of Sublimity, Oregon, just a year after the street was named for him. Nothing I have found reports an actual cause of death. Marion Street is also named after this brother.

James Street runs ¾ of a mile from Yesler Way just east of 1st Avenue to an alley just east of Broadway. It appears east of there in a few short stretches and finally as a stairway from 38th Avenue to Lake Washington Boulevard at Madrona Park.

Dorffel Drive E

This street runs just over ¼ of a mile from 37th Avenue E in the north, by Lakeview Park, to E Howell Street and 39th Avenue in the south. It was named for George and Otilde Dorffel, who might otherwise be best known for giving Ravenna its name.

In the original 1901 plat of Denny-Blaine-Lake Park, the Dorffel Drive name was given to what is now Madrona Place E, and what is now Dorffel Drive was then 37th Avenue. The change, which took place in 1906, would seem to have been done to eliminate the oddity of 39th Avenue becoming 37th Avenue as it crossed E Howell Street.

Erickson Place NE

This street, which runs around 675 feet from 35th Avenue NE at NE 135th Street to Lake City Way NE at NE 137th Street, connecting the two arterials, was named, as local historian Valarie Bunn tells us in Gerhard Ericksen’s Good Road, after Norwegian immigrant Gerhard Johan Ericksen (1860, Molde, Norway – 1920, Bothell, Washington). 

Parade float, July 4, 1908, for Gerhard Ericksen’s Mercantile, Bothell; Ericksen at far left
Parade float, July 4, 1908, for Gerhard Ericksen’s Mercantile, Bothell; Gerhard Ericksen at far left, son George Ericksen at far right

Ericksen, a Bothell merchant and Washington state legislator, was behind the creation of what is now the Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Gerhard Erickson Road (sic) was named in his honor. Bunn writes:

This road preceded the creation of Victory Way (Bothell Way/Lake City Way.)… In Wedgwood today, the Erickson Road route still exists as part of Ravenna Avenue NE north of NE 83rd Street.… as far as NE 110th Street. At the corner where Nathan Hale High School is located… the Erickson Road route took an eastward turn over to what is now 35th Avenue NE. At NE 135th Street, the 35th Avenue NE arterial angles over and merges with Lake City Way NE. The two-block portion from NE 135th to 137th Streets is still called Erickson Place NE.

Why the street is spelled Erickson instead of Ericksen is unknown.

N Clogston Way

N Clogston Way, which runs a mere 200 feet east from Green Lake Way N to a dead end, between N 54th and N 55th Streets, was named after a Union veteran of the Civil War, as Valarie Bunn of Wedgwood in Seattle History notified me tonight.

John D. Clogston served “with the 9th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry. On the 13th of December, 1862, Clogston was wounded in battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia, losing part of his right hand. His injury was so severe that he was discharged on February 6, 1863.” He and his bride, Lucinda, moved to Seattle in 1889, just a few months after the Great Seattle Fire; he died 20 years later at the age of 71.

Seattle Times article, January 27, 1903, on naming of what was then Clogston Place, now Clogston Way
Seattle Times article, January 27, 1903, on naming of what was then Clogston Place, now Clogston Way

Bunn also pointed me in the direction of this Seattle Times article that appeared January 27, 1903, which explains how the street got its name:

Someone, in platting land at the south end of Green Lake, near North Fifty-fifth street, omitted to name a street extending some blocks of a certain addition. The other day when J.D. Clogston called upon the building inspector for a permit to erect a house, he could neither give the name of the street nor the number of his premises. Such an obstacle had never been presented to the building inspector, and the only way to overcome it was to pass an ordinance of council giving a designation to the street. For want of a better name the street was called Clogston Place. Thus it has happened that an humble laborer in the city street department, waking from his dreams this morning, finds himself famous and his name perpetuated in municipal history. Only a few days ago Dewey, of Manila fame, was honored in a similar way by the Seattle City Council.

S Angelo Street

This street, which runs not quite a tenth of a mile from Ellis Avenue S in the west to 13th Avenue S in the east, was named by Angelo Boitano after himself as part of Boitano’s Supplemental Addition to the City of Georgetown in 1906. (Incidentally, if I ever had the opportunity to name a street after myself, I would call it Lukoff, not Benjamin.)

There isn’t much on the internet about him, but apparently he was interested in chestnut growing, and was in a bad buggy accident in 1908.

July 19, 1908 article in The Seattle Times on buggy accident that injured Boitano
July 19, 1908 article in The Seattle Times on buggy accident that injured Boitano

S Carstens Place

This short street — just over 300 feet long — runs from Airport Way S in the east to Corson Avenue S in the west. It was established in 1903 as Carstens Street, part of Carstens’ Addition to Georgetown, “filed for record at the request of Thomas Carstens on the 4[th] day of June 1903 at 49 Min. past 9 A.M.” This is the first time I’ve seen the actual time of filing on a plat!

Thomas Carstens, born in 1865 in Husum, Germany, near Denmark, came to the Pacific Northwest in 1884, and in 1890 established a butcher shop with his brother, Ernest, which later grew into the Carstens Packing Company.

Carstens Packing Company Matchbook
Carstens Packing Company matchbook. Photo by Oliver Hammond, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Clinton A. Snowden, author of History of Washington: The Rise and Progress of an American State, wrote in 1911 of Carstens:

Mr. Carstens, besides being president of the Carstens Packing Company, is president of the Tacoma Wheat Land Company, president of the Pacific Oil Mills, and director of the National Realty Company of Tacoma. He is a member of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Commercial Club, Arctic Club of Seattle, Seattle Manufacturers’ Association, Duwamish River Improvement Club, Tacoma Commercial Club, and Tacoma Chamber of Commerce.

Prefontaine Place S

This street, which runs just under 400 feet from Yesler Way and 3rd Avenue S in the northwest to S Washington Street and 4th Avenue S in the southwest, cutting a skewed diagonal through the block, is named for Father Francis X. Prefontaine, Seattle’s first Catholic priest. In 1870, he founded Seattle’s first Catholic church, Our Lady of Good Help, on the block Prefontaine Place cuts through today.

Postcard of Father Francis X. Prefontaine and Our Lady of Good Help, first Catholic church in Seattle

Prosch Avenue W

Thomas Prosch, who named Conkling Place W after his mother, didn’t neglect to name something after himself. Prosch Avenue W runs about ¼ mile from W Barrett Street in the north to 13th Avenue W in the south. It appears as Prosch Place in Prosch’s Queen Anne Addition to the City of Seattle in 1909.

Thomas Wickham Prosch, 1890
Thomas Wickham Prosch, 1890
Portion of Prosch's Queen Anne Addition to the City of Seattle, 1909
Portion of Prosch’s Queen Anne Addition to the City of Seattle, 1909