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

S Kenny Street

This street was created in 1903 as part of the plat of Hillman City Division № 5, filed by real estate developer Clarence Dayton Hillman (1870–1935) and his wife, Bessie Olive Kenny (1879–1947). Hillman also named the Renton neighborhood of Kennydale after his wife’s maiden name.

S Kenny Street begins on Beacon Hill at 21st Avenue S and goes two blocks east to 23rd Avenue S. It resumes in Hillman City at 42nd Avenue S and goes ¼ mile east to a dead end east of Rainier Avenue S. Its final segment, just under 400 feet long, lies west of 51st Avenue S and dead-ends at some private driveways.

C.D. Hillman, Bessie Kenny Hillman, and family
Bessie and C.D. Hillman and family, from a 1910 abstract of title for C.D. Hillman’s Birmingham Water Front Addition to the City of Everett
Bessie and C.D. Hillman
Bessie and C.D. Hillman and children, n.d., courtesy of his great-granddaughter

Airport Way S

Airport Way S does not, as one might expect, go from the city to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (known to locals as Sea–Tac), but rather to King County International Airport (better known as Boeing Field). It got its current name in 1931 at the request of the Georgetown-South Seattle Improvement Club, which, according to an article in the April 12 issue of The Seattle Times,

…asked the City Council to merge portions of Seattle Boulevard, Eighth and Ninth Avenues South and Duwamish Avenue, leading from the central business area to Boeing Field, into a new highway, to be known as Airport Way.… [They contended] that strangers are confused in efforts to find the airport by lack of any specifically designated street leading to it.

Seattle Boulevard originated as

The Beach or River Road… [which] skirted the shore of the bay at the foot of the high Beacon Hill bluff, east of what is now Airport Way, and ran south along the Duwamish.… Built in the early fifties, [it] was a hard road to keep in good condition.… In 1886, a road was built on piling over the mud flats a little west of the Beach Road to avoid the slides and floods. This street became known as the Grant Street Bridge.

Sophie Frye Bass, Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle

I elaborate in Diagonal Avenue S that

Essentially, there were a series of roads following the semicircular curve of Elliott Bay from Downtown to the Duwamish River before the tideflats were filled in: first Beach Road (or River Road), then the Grant Street Bridge, which in turn became Seattle Boulevard once the fill was complete. Sometime before 1918… the portion of Seattle Boulevard that ran northeast–southwest (the southern third of the semicircle) was renamed Diagonal Avenue. (In 1931, the rest of Seattle Boulevard was renamed Airport Way.)

View from Beacon Hill looking northwest over Grant Street Bridge and Elliott Bay tideflats, circa 1900
This photograph, taken circa 1900 by Anders Beer Wilse, looks northwest from Beacon Hill over the Grant Street Bridge and the Elliott Bay tideflats. At upper left is West Seattle; at upper right is Magnolia. From this perspective, Downtown Seattle appears just below Magnolia. Bainbridge Island is in the distance across Puget Sound.

Once Sea–Tac fully opened in 1949, Airport Way S no longer led to the region’s primary airport, which was more directly reached via U.S. 99, but no further name changes took place.

Today, Airport Way S begins at Seattle Boulevard S and 6th Avenue S and goes 6⅗ miles southeast, then south, then southeast again, ending at Boeing Access Road. Its lower 2½ miles parallel the eastern boundary of Boeing Field.

Boeing Field aerial
Aerial of Boeing Field, looking northwest, December 2014. In the foreground is Interstate 5; just to the west are the BNSF Railway tracks, then Airport Way S, then Perimeter Road S. Photograph by Wikimedia Commons user Bernstea, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

S Corgiat Drive

This street was created in 1905 as part of the Corgiat Addition to Georgetown (then an independent town), filed by John Corgiat (1858–1936) and his wife, Caroline Genasci Corgiat (1866–1954).

Born Giovanni Domenicio Corgiat in Italy, John was a real estate investor who, according to his Seattle Times obituary, was also notable for “establish[ing] the Louvre Restaurant, the first French-Italian eating place in Seattle, in 1888.” (It was destroyed the next year in the Great Seattle Fire.) He was also apparently involved in a number of legal cases relating to the explusion of restaurateur John Cicoria from the Joseph Mazzini Society in 1907: not only the lawsuit demanding Cicoria’s reinstatement in the Italian-American fraternal organization, but one in which the society succeeded in making him pay its legal fees, and three libel suits — one which Cicoria won against Corgiat, and two which Corgiat filed against The Seattle Times and the Message-Vero-Italo-Americano with Cicoria as co-defendant in each. The suit against the Times was dismissed at Corgiat’s request; I haven’t been able to find any more information about the other.

John Corgiat, from his obituary in the Seattle Times, December 10, 1936
John Corgiat, from his obituary in the Seattle Times, December 10, 1936

Originally Corgiat Street, S Corgiat Drive begins at the railroad tracks just east of Airport Way S and goes 300 feet northeast to just past Ursula Place S, at which point it turns northwest and becomes S Corgiat Drive (not in the original plat). From there, it goes ⅖ of a mile to S Albro Place, just west of Interstate 5.

S Spokane Street

I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks because I’ve been in Spokane, visiting my wife’s family for the holidays and attending the memorial service of my sister-in-law, may her memory be for a blessing. Since there is no Emily Street in Seattle, why not return, then, with a post on Spokane Street?

S Spokane Street looking west from 1st Avenue South, July 5, 2013
S Spokane Street looking west from 1st Avenue South, July 5, 2013. Photograph by Flickr user Curtis Cronn, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic. The barcodes on the support columns for the Spokane Street Viaduct was, in the words of the artwork’s creators, Claudia Reisenberger and Franka Diehnelt, intended “to ‘label’ the many layers that constitute SoDo’s history”; the word visible at upper left, ‘slóóweehL’, is a Lushootseed-language word that, according to Coll Thrush, author of Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place, “refers to channels, or ‘canoe-passes’, in the grassy marsh through which canoes can be pushed to effect a shortcut,” and was a Duwamish place name referring to what is now approximately 4th Avenue S and S Spokane Street. (Incidentally, this is the same word rendered as sluʔwiɫ in the IPA-based Lushootseed alphabet, which was also used as a name for what is now University Village, and is now the official name of a street on the University of Washington campus.)

Spokane Street appears to have been created in 1895 as part of the Seattle Tide Lands plat. Streets in this plat that were not extensions of already existing ones, such as Commercial Street, were named after letters of the alphabet, American cities, American states, prominent local politicians, and places in Washington. The letters of the alphabet and the American cities appear in alphabetical order, but the states appear neither in alphabetical nor geographic order, and the places in Washington do not appear to be in any order whatsoever (except that a number beginning with Q are physically clustered together). They are as follows, listed alphabetically:

* Still exists

(I leave out West Point Avenue [which still exists, but only as a paper street] and Seattle Boulevard [now Airport Way S and Diagonal Avenue S] because the former was named for its proximity to West Point and the latter, it seems, for its prominence.)

It isn’t a list entirely composed of cities, islands, peninsulas, lakes, or rivers… the only things I notice are ⅔ of them are in Western Washington, with Chelan, Klickitat, and Wenatchee being in Central Washington and Spokane being in Eastern Washington; plus half the Western Washington locations (those beginning with Q) are on the Olympic Peninsula. It seems what is today Spokane Street could just as easily have been something else, and what is today such a prominent street wasn’t purposefully named after what was then the state’s third largest city (today, it ranks second).

Trestles over the Elliott Bay tideflats, 1905
Trestles over the Elliott Bay tideflats, 1905. Photograph by Ira Webster and Nelson Stevens. According to the Wikimedia Commons entry for a similar photograph, the trestle in the foreground, running right to left (north to south), is today’s Airport Way S; the parallel trestle in the distance is 4th Avenue S; and running perpendicular from lower left to upper right (east to west, toward West Seattle) is S Spokane Street. The Seattle Box Company plant is visible at 4th and Spokane.
Industrial District, Harbor Island, and West Seattle from above Beacon Hill, with Interstate 5, West Seattle Bridge, and Spokane Street Viaduct, August 15, 2010
A modern view of the Industrial District, Harbor Island, and West Seattle from above Beacon Hill, August 15, 2010. Photograph by Flickr user J Brew, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. The freeway in the foreground, running right to left (north to south), is Interstate 5. Airport Way S is visible just west of the freeway. The Spokane Street Viaduct and West Seattle Bridge can be seen at left heading from Beacon Hill to West Seattle. 4th Avenue S is still a major arterial, though it isn’t nearly as prominent in this photograph as the one taken 105 years earlier.

Today, SW Spokane Street begins in West Seattle at Beach Drive SW, ½ a mile southeast of Alki Point, then goes nearly ½ a mile east to Schmitz Park, the block between 61st Avenue SW and 60th Avenue SW being a stairway. It resumes on the other side of the park at 51st Avenue SW and goes another ½ mile to 42nd Avenue SW. After a few interrupted segments between 35th Avenue SW and 30th Avenue SW, including another stairway, it begins again in earnest at Harbor Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way. From here it goes a full 2¼ miles east to Airport Way S, crossing the Duwamish Waterway and Harbor Island on the Spokane Street Bridge, and for this entire length runs either underneath or in the shadow of the West Seattle Bridge or the Spokane Street Viaduct, the latter of which leads to S Columbian Way on Beacon Hill.

After a short segment between Hahn Place S and 13th Avenue S, S Spokane Street begins again at 14th Avenue S and S Columbian Way and goes ⅔ of a mile east to 24th Avenue S. With the exception of an even shorter segment hanging off 25th Avenue S north of the Cheasty Boulevard greenspace, it next appears in Mount Baker, where it runs for two blocks between 33rd Avenue S and 35th Avenue S (part of this being stairway); then two more blocks between 36th Avenue S and York Road S (featuring another stairway); and two final blocks between 37th Avenue S and Bella Vista Avenue S.

Portion of 1895 plat of Seattle Tide Lands showing Spokane Avenue, now Spokane Street
Portion of 1895 plat of Seattle Tide Lands showing Spokane Avenue, now Spokane Street. The visible portion of Seattle Boulevard is now Diagonal Avenue S, and Whatcom Avenue is E Marginal Way S. Portions of Chelan Avenue, Klickitat Avenue, and Duwamish Avenue still exist, as do Oregon Street, Dakota Street, Idaho Street, Colorado Avenue, and Utah Avenue.

S Dean Court

This street, created in 1946 along with S Vern Court as part of the Wm Culliton Addition, was named by Jules Vern Nadreau (1894–1979) and his wife, Geraldine “Dean” Mable Harvey Nadreau (1897–1958), after Geraldine’s nickname.

S Dean Court begins at Beacon Avenue S and goes 285 feet west to an alley.

S Vern Court

This street was created in 1946 as part of the Wm Culliton Addition, filed by Jules Vern Nadreau (1894–1979) and his wife, Geraldine “Dean” Mable Harvey Nadreau (1897–1958). It appears to have been named after Jules’s middle name, Vern. (My assumption is that he was himself named after French novelist Jules Verne.) Its sister street, 300 feet to the south, is S Dean Court, named for his wife.

S Vern Court begins at Beacon Avenue S and goes 275 feet west to an alley.

Military Road S

In the late 1850s, the federal government began construction on a road connecting Fort Steilacoom in Pierce County to Fort Bellingham in Whatcom County. By the end of the decade, the military road had been finished (just in time for Fort Bellingham to close). The route it took through Seattle included what are now Beacon Avenue S, 1st Avenue, Dexter Avenue N, Westlake Avenue N, and Fremont Avenue N, among other streets. South of Seattle, much of the road still exists with its original name, but within the city limits, only a bit of Military Road S remains:

  • A 750-foot-long stretch between Beacon Avenue S at 27th Avenue S and Van Asselt Elementary School south of S Myrtle Street
  • A ½-mile-long stretch between S Othello Street just south of the school to the Union Pacific railroad tracks east of Airport Way S, just west of Interstate 5
Military Road on Beacon Hill, circa 1900, from https://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/digital/collection/imlsmohai/id/9883
Military Road passing through what may be the Comet Lodge Cemetery on Beacon Hill, circa 1900

S Graham Street

This street was named for Walter Graham (1828–1919), who came to Seattle in 1853. Three years later, he married Eliza Mercer, second daughter of Thomas Mercer (Mercer Street, Mercer Island), though she unfortunately died six years later. With his third wife, Elizabeth Crammond (or Crommon), he had a daughter, Nellie, who later married David Thomas Denny II, son of early settler David Thomas Denny (Denny Way). Graham’s brother, David, came to Seattle four years after his brother, and was one of the city’s first schoolteachers. He ended up marrying Eliza Mercer’s sister, Susannah.

Graham sold some of his southeast Seattle land in 1865 to Everett Smith, who filed the plat of Brighton Beach in 1890 on which what was then Graham Avenue appeared. He once owned what is today Seward Park on Bailey Peninsula, which was previously known as Graham’s Peninsula.

He was present at the Battle of Seattle in 1856, and is pictured below with fellow survivors Ira Woodin and Carson D. Boren (Boren Avenue).

Ira Woodin, Carson Boren, and Walter Graham, November 3, 1905
Ira Woodin, Carson Boren, and Walter Graham at Alki Point, November 3, 1905

S Graham Street begins in the east at Wilson Avenue S and goes 2⅒ miles west to Swift Avenue S and 20th Avenue S, just east of Interstate 5. After a short segment between Corgiat Drive S and 16th Avenue S just west of the freeway, it next appears in West Seattle. Betwen 16th Avenue SW and 22nd Avenue SW, it alternates between roadway, stairway, and pathway, and there is a similar situation between 25th Avenue SW at Delridge Way SW and High Point Drive SW at Bataan Park. SW Graham Street begins again at High Point Drive SW and SW Raymond Street and goes 1¼ miles to its end at 50th Avenue SW,

Covello Drive S

This hook-shaped street on Beacon Hill begins where S Myrtle Street turns into Swift Avenue S, and goes just over 700 feet north, west, and then south to a point 300 feet to the northwest. It was created in 1967 as the only street in the plat of Covello Estates, filed by S.T. Covello, whose full name appears to be Salvatore Tony Covello (1913–1996). He was the son of Filippo and Josephine (Curreri) Covello, who came to the United States from Italy in 1908. An article in the September 25, 1946, Seattle Times mentions him as the owner of the Hillman City Radio and Electric Company, and one in the March 4, 1956, Times lists him as a candidate for the King County Board of Education.

 

S Pearl Street

This street, which is nowhere longer than a couple of blocks long, begins at 54th Avenue S in the east, just west of Andrews Bay and Seward Park, and finishes up at Corson Avenue S in the west, just east of Interstate 5.

According to Lucile Saunders McDonald, writing in The Seattle Times on January 1, 1956, it is named for Pearl Josephine Hulbert Faurote (1883–1981), granddaughter of Joseph and Catherine (Henderson) Dunlap (of S Henderson Street). I listed her as the street’s namesake when I originally posted this article. However, S Pearl Street is quite a bit north of Dunlap’s Plat of Land on Lake Washington — about 2¼ miles from Henderson. The name appears to have originated in Hillman City Division 8, filed in 1903. As of May 19, 2021, neither I nor Valarie Bunn nor Rob Ketcherside nor Matt McCauley — who first called my attention to the fact that McDonald’s assertion was unsourced — have been able to find a connection between the Hillmans and anyone named Pearl. Nor does there appear to be any particular connection between the Hillmans and the Dunlaps or Hulberts, other than their all being active in Seattle real estate.

It seems, then, that the origin of Pearl Street should be regarded as an open question.

S Angeline Street

This street lies mostly in Columbia City, where its name originated, and Seward Park, with a few blocks in Beacon Hill and even fewer in West Seattle. It almost reaches Puget Sound at Beach Drive SW, and does reach Andrews Bay of Lake Washington at Lake Washington Boulevard S.

As noted, the name Angeline Street originated in Columbia City, in this 1891 Plat of Columbia, filed at the request of James Kippen Edmiston by Percy W. Rochester and John I. Wiley of the Washington Co-operative Home Company. 

Princess Angeline was born Kikisoblu, the daughter of Si’ahl [siʔaɫ], better known in English as Chief Seattle of the Duwamish and Suquamish Tribes. Her date of birth is unknown; Wikipedia gives it as ca. 1820, whereas this article posted by the Duwamish Tribe, written by elementary school students based on HistoryLink essays, gives it as 1828. She died May 31, 1896.

Princess Angeline received her English name from Catherine Broshears Maynard, wife of David Swinson (“Doc”) Maynard, one of the earliest Seattle settlers. As the HistoryLink Elementary article puts it,

Chief Seattle’s oldest daughter was named Kikisoblu. She became friends with many of Seattle’s founding families. One of her friends was Catherine Maynard. She felt that Kikisoblu should have a name that would let the white settlers know that she was the daughter of a great chief. So she called her Princess Angeline. She thought that name was prettier than the name Kikisoblu.

Photograph of Kikisoblu, or Princess Angeline, by Frank La Roche, ca. 1893
Photograph of Princess Angeline (Kikisoblu), by Frank La Roche, ca. 1893