NE Pacific Street

What is now Pacific Street was Harrison Avenue in the 1889 Latona Addition and Railroad Avenue in the 1890 Brooklyn Addition, corresponding to the eastern part of Northlake and to the University District, respectively. The road was built on either side of railroad tracks that were originally part of the independent Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway, but which were soon thereafter taken over by the Northern Pacific Railway. (The route of the SLS&E through and east of Seattle is now the Burke–Gilman Trail, the Sammamish River Trail, and the East Lake Sammamish Trail.)

In 1906, Harrison Avenue became Pacific Place and Railroad Avenue became Brintnall Place. (Why the opportunity wasn’t taken to match the names is unclear. Brintnall Place may have been named for Burgess W. Brintnall, who, according to the September 1912 issue of the Northwest Journal of Education, had been school superintendent for Olympia and Thurston County, founded the journal itself, and, after moving to Seattle in 1899, founded the Pacific Teachers Agency. He was murdered on July 3, 1912.)

At some point both streets became Pacific Street. Brintnall Place appears for the last time in The Seattle Times in October 1920, and Pacific Street for the first time in July 1921. The 1920 Kroll atlas shows all three names, including Pacific Place, indicating the change must have been planned at the time of its publication.

I haven’t seen any indication of why the Pacific name was chosen. Seattle got an Atlantic Street in 1895 — maybe it was thought the other major ocean deserved a street as well. But I wonder if it wasn’t named for the Northern Pacific, whose tracks the street ran along?

Street sign where NE Pacific Street becomes N Pacific Street on crossing 1st Avenue NE, August 2011. Photograph by Flickr user Panegyrics of Granovetter (Sarah C. Murray), licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Street sign where NE Pacific Street becomes N Pacific Street on crossing 1st Avenue NE, August 2011. Photograph by Flickr user Panegyrics of Granovetter (Sarah C. Murray), licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Today, NE Pacific Street begins at Montlake Boulevard NE, at the north end of the Montlake Bridge and the southeastern corner of the University of Washington campus, and goes ¾ of a mile to Eastlake Place NE, underneath the University Bridge, where it becomes NE Northlake Way. It begins again at NE 40th Street just west of the Ship Canal Bridge and goes another ¾ of a mile to N 34th Street just east of Meridian Avenue N.

Pacific Street’s current configuration is the result of a realignment that took place in the 1970s; originally, instead of turning west at University Way NE, it kept going northwest, cutting through what is now the University of Washington’s West Campus, and there was no interruption between the University and Ship Canal Bridges. The Burke–Gilman Trail follows the original railroad alignment, though, as does, for a few blocks, the campus road Cowlitz Road NE.

Eastern Avenue N

Just as with E North Street, one question that should spring to mind with a street name like this is Eastern side of what? — especially considering that it’s not too far from being equidistant from Lake Washington and Salmon Bay, measured along the east–west axis of 50th Street.

Local historian Rob Ketcherside explains in his blog post on “Renaming streets of Seattle’s Fremont to the U District”:

It was originally named East Street in the 1883 Lake Union Addition plat.… it was the street most east in the addition. That plat… [was] annexed into Seattle in 1891. Sometime apparently after 1893 and before 1895 East Street was renamed Eastern Avenue.… The streets running perpendicular to Eastern Avenue are labeled North until one block east. Then they are labeled Northeast. The first avenue east of Eastern is First Avenue Northeast. So the streets east of First Avenue Northeast are Northeast as well. Eastern Avenue and the avenues west are North.… Say that ten times fast.

So — Eastern Avenue is the easternmost avenue in the section of town where east–west streets carry the N prefix and north–south avenues carry the suffix N, though the actual dividing line is a block east at 1st Avenue NE.

Eastern Avenue N begins on Lake Union at Waterway 17, just south of N Northlake Way, where it essentially functions as a parking lot for the restaurant Westward (much like 5th Avenue NE, a few blocks to the east, does for Ivar’s Salmon House). It begins in earnest on the other side of the Burke–Gilman Trail at N Pacific Street and goes ⅞ of a mile north to N 50th Street.

Meridian Avenue N

As local historian Paul Dorpat writes in “Section lines on Wallingford Hill,”

The meeting of 45th Street and Meridian Avenue began in the forest, when federal surveyors carrying their Gunter chains described — and marked — the future streets as the west (Meridian) and north (45th) borders for the 640 acres of federal land section number 17. That done, the settlers could identify their claims with some precision.

Indeed, King County’s quarter section map covering the intersection shows that (going clockwise) sections 7, 8, 17, and 18 of Township 25 North, Range 4 East, Willamette Meridian, meet there.

This means Meridian Avenue N is named after meridian, but not the Willamette Meridian (which, once it reaches the latitude of Seattle, is on the Kitsap Peninsula), the Puget Sound Meridian, or the City Standard Meridian. As this overlay map I made shows (see below for the section of the map showing the intersection of 45th and Meridian), Fairview Avenue N follows the same alignment between Denny Way and Valley Street.

Overlay of 1863 cadastral survey of Township 025-0N Range 004-0E, Willamette Meridian, with modern map of Seattle, showing alignment of Meridian Avenue N and N 45th Street with section lines
Overlay of 1863 cadastral survey of Township 25 North, Range 4 East, Willamette Meridian, from the Bureau of Land Management, and modern map of Seattle, showing alignment of Meridian Avenue N and N 45th Street with section lines, generated at Georeferencer.com

Meridian Avenue N begins at N Northlake Way just north of Gas Works Park and goes 1½ miles north to N 55th Street, where it becomes Kenwood Place N. It resumes at Kirkwood Place N just north of N 59th Street, and goes ¼ mile north to E Green Lake Way N. On the north side of the lake, there is a block-long stretch from E Green Lake Drive N to N 75th Street, and a longer, ¾-mile one from N 77th Street to N 92nd Street and North Seattle College. Meridian begins again at the north end of College Way N at N 103rd Street, and goes just under a mile to N 122nd Street, south of Haller Lake. It resumes on the north shore of the lake as a shoreline street end (though not on the city’s official list) and goes a mile north to the city limits at N 145th Street. As with most North Seattle avenues, the name continues into Shoreline, and in this case the arterial street itself keeps going for 3 more miles to the King–Snohomish county line at N 205th Street.

Street sign at N 45th Street and Meridian Avenue N, Seattle, October 13, 2021
Street sign at N 45th Street and Meridian Avenue N, Seattle. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, October 13, 2021. Copyright © 2021 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Burke Avenue N

This street is named for Judge Thomas Burke (1849–1925), after whom the Burke–Gilman Trail and Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture are also named. In 1875, Burke, who was friends with the Bagley family, came to Seattle from Michigan, where he had attended law school. He began working with John McGilvra and ended up marrying his daughter, Caroline. He and Daniel Gilman were two of the founders of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway in 1885; the Burke–Gilman Trail today runs over the old railroad right-of-way. The Burke Museum, founded in 1885 by the Young Naturalists’ Society as Naturalists’ Hall, became the Washington State Museum in 1899 and took Burke’s name in the 1960s as part of a bequest from Caroline, who died seven years after her husband. He is also remembered for his defense of the rule of law during the period of peak anti-Chinese agitation in the 1880s. (He wanted the Chinese laborers to leave Seattle, but for this to happen non-violently, as opposed to what had happened in Tacoma.)

Thomas Burke, circa 1910
Thomas Burke, ca. 1910

Burke Avenue N begins at N Northlake Way and the Burke–Gilman Trail just north of Gas Works Park, and goes 1¼ miles north to N 50th Street. It resumes for a block at the north end of Green Lake between N 80th Street and N 82nd Street, and picks up again north of Bishop Blanchet High School at N 85th Street, going ⅓ of a mile north to N 92nd Street, where it becomes College Way N. With the exception of a few short segments, its next appearance is at N 135th Street, where it goes ½ a mile north to the city limits at N 145th Street. As with many other North Seattle avenues, the name continues on into Shoreline, and last appears as a short stub just north of N 203rd Street.

Bagley Avenue N

When I first posted this article, I wrote that Bagley Avenue N was named for Reverend Daniel Bagley (1818–1905) and his son, Clarence B. Bagley (1843–1932). That, after all, is what Sophie Frye Bass says in Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle, which I pretty much took as gospel growing up. Junius Rochester says the same thing in his HistoryLink.org article on the Bagleys (using, I think, Pig-Tail Days as a reference.) And C.T. Conover (himself namesake of E Conover Court) repeats the story on two separate occasions for The Seattle Times — on February 18, 1950, and April 11, 1960.

However, today (September 10, 2021), I noticed that Conover had written a follow-up to his April 11 article. On April 25, 1960, he wrote that Clarence’s son, Colonel Cecil Clarence Bagley, had sent him a letter saying that, decades previous, he had asked his father if Bagley Avenue was named for his family. Daniel said no, it was named for Dr. Herman Beardsley Bagley (1845–1899). He had filed the plat of Bagley’s Addition in 1883. A small tract northeast of what is today Gas Works Park along the Lake Union shoreline, one of its streets was named Day Street. This later needed to be changed as it was duplicative of another Day Street elsewhere in the city. (I presume this is the S Day Street in Mount Baker that was almost entirely obliterated by the construction of what is now Interstate 90.) I can’t find the ordinance in question but, Conover continues, “as this was the central street in Dr. Bagley’s addition, it was considered appropriate to rename it Bagley Avenue in his honor, and that was done.”

H.B. Bagley — after whom Bagley Viewpoint on Capitol Hill is also named (I should note that parks historian Don Sherwood, even though I think he got the namesake of W Commodore Way wrong, got the namesake of Bagley Avenue right) — was, according to his biography in A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of the City of Seattle and County of King, Washington, Including Biographies of Many of Those Who Have Passed Awayan 1868 graduate of the Cleveland Homeopathic College who did postgraduate work at Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City the next year. He came to Seattle in 1874, two years after his father, Dr. Alvin Bagley, had moved here. (The elder Bagley’s Ohio home had apparently been a stop on the Underground Railroad.) He headed both the county and state homeopathic medicine societies, was a bank director, and was a city councilman in 1879 and 1880.

The biography also says he was president for a time of the Seattle Improvement Company, which appears to be another name for the Lake Washington Improvement Company, one of many schemes to build what is today the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Jennifer Ott writes for HistoryLink.org that David T. Denny, along with Bagley and J. W. George, Corliss P. Stone, Thomas Burke, Frederick H. Whitworth, Benjamin F. Day, Erasmus M. Smithers, G. M. Bowman, Guy C. Phinney, John W. Van Brocklin, and William H. Llewellyn, formed the company in 1883, and, using Chinese laborers digging by hand, dug early versions of what are now the Fremont Cut and Montlake Cut.

Dr. Herman Beardsley Bagley
Dr. Herman Beardsley Bagley

Even though it appears that Bagley Avenue N was not named for Daniel and Clarence Bagley, I’m leaving their biographical information as I originally wrote it, followed by the usual description of the street’s route.


The Bagleys came west in 1852 with, among others, Thomas Mercer and Dexter Horton, two other names familiar to those interested in Seattle history, but didn’t arrive in Seattle until 1860. The elder Bagley was one of the founders of the University of Washington in 1861; the younger was its first college student. Daniel Bagley also founded the Methodist Protestant “Little Brown Church” in 1865, so called to distinguish it from Seattle’s first church, the Methodist Episcopal “Little White Church.” (This church finally closed in 1993, by which time it had become the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church.) Clarence, who went on to marry one of Thomas Mercer’s daughters, is best remembered today for his multi-volume works on local history, including History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time and History of King County, Washington.

Bagley Avenue N begins at N 35th Street and N Pacific Street and goes a mile north to the Meridian Playground/Good Shepherd Center. It resurfaces north of Green Lake at E Green Lake Drive N and goes ½ a mile to N 85th Street. Besides a block-long stretch from N 106th Street to N 107th Street and another one north of N 133rd Street, it finishes up with a ¼-mile run from N 140th Street to the northern city limits at N 145th Street. Unlike many other North Seattle avenues, the name stops there and does not continue on into Shoreline, though there is a Bagley Drive N at the Ballinger Commons housing development.

Wallingford Avenue N

Wallingford Avenue and the Wallingford neighborhood are named for real estate developer John Noble Wallingford (1833–1913). Originally from Maine, he moved to Massachusetts, then Minnesota as a young man. He fought for the Union all four years of the Civil War, and later moved to California before coming to Seattle in 1888. He was a city councilman from 1889 to 1891 and also a police commissioner.

John Noble Wallingford, circa 1893
John Noble Wallingford, ca. 1893

Wallingford Avenue N begins as the Wallingford Steps at N Northlake Way, just north of Gas Works Park. It then goes 1⅔ miles north from N 34th Street to Woodlawn Avenue N, just south of Green Lake. At the north end of Green Lake, it goes 1⅓ miles north from E Green Lake Drive N to N 105th Street at Mineral Springs Park. It picks up again at N 135th Street, just north of Ingraham High School, and goes ½ a mile to the northern city limits at N 145th Street. As with many other North Seattle avenues, the name continues on into Shoreline; its northernmost appearance is at the King–Snohomish county line at N 205th Street.

Corliss Avenue N

Like Stone Way N, Corliss Avenue N is named for Corliss P. Stone (1838–1906), a member of the Seattle City Council from 1869 to 1872 and mayor of Seattle from 1872 to 1873, who was involved in the development of Fremont and Wallingford. 

Corliss P. Stone
Corliss P. Stone

Corliss Avenue N begins at N Northlake Way on the borth shore of Lake Union and goes nearly a mile north through Wallingford to the Good Shepherd Center just north of N 46th Street. There is another stretch from N 59th Street to N 65th Street in Green Lake. North of the lake, Corliss goes nearly another mile from East Green Lake Drive N to N 92nd Street and the North Seattle College campus. There are a few more segments through Haller Lake, the longest one being ¾ of a mile long from N 130th Street to the city limits at N 145th Street. As with other North Seattle avenues, the name continues on into Shoreline; its northernmost appearance is at N 194th Street.

Stone Way N

This street is named for Corliss P. Stone (1838–1906), a member of the Seattle City Council from 1869 to 1872 and mayor of Seattle from 1872 to 1873, who was involved in the development of Fremont and Wallingford. The standard story is that he embezzled $15,000 from his real estate development firm and abandoned his office — and the state — but the truth of the matter is unclear. He returned at some point to Seattle and helped found the Seattle Chamber of Commerce in 1882. His name also appears on Corliss Avenue N.

Corliss P. Stone
Corliss P. Stone

Stone Way N begins on the north shore of Lake Union at N Northlake Way and Waterway 22, and goes 1⅕ miles north to N 50th Street and Green Lake Way N. It forms an unofficial boundary between the Fremont and Wallingford neighborhoods.

Latona Avenue NE

This street, which originated in the 1889 Latona Addition to the City of Seattle, was named for the steamer Latona, described by Howard Droker in Seattle’s Unsinkable Houseboats, quoted in A Preliminary Sketch of Wallingford’s History 1855–1985, thus:

The sleek Latona was originally built as a pleasure craft for businessman James Colman to use on the Sound. Dr. E.C. Kilbourne, a dentist with extensive real estate holdings north of Lake Union, purchased the Latona and took her to Lake Washington by way of the Duwamish River and Black River, the lake’s outlet. After a few years of serving farms, mining camps, and logging operations around Lake Washington, the Latona came through the narrow channel dug in 1886 to Portage Bay and thereafter served Lake Union.

According to local historian Paul Dorpat, via Sophie Frye Bass, the boat itself was named for the Roman goddess Latona (Leto in Greek, mother of Apollo and Artemis).

Today, Latona Avenue NE begins as a shoreline street end just south of NE Northlake Way and goes nearly 1¾ miles north to 2nd Avenue NE and Woodlawn Avenue NE near the eastern end of Green Lake. It reappears on the other side of the Green Lake Park playground and community center at E Green Lake Drive N, and goes a further ⅓ of a mile to just past NE 77th Street, where it is stopped by Interstate 5. Finally, on the north side of I-5, it goes nearly ½ a mile from NE 81st Street to NE 91st Street, interrupted by a half-block segment just north of NE 88th Street where it takes the form of a footpath, and a half-block segment just north of NE 90th Street where it appears to have been incorporated into neighbors’ yards and driveways.

Latona Avenue NE right-of-way between NE 90th Street and NE 91st Street in Maple Leaf. The northern half is paved, but ends at an unpaved alley; the southern half appears to be serving as neighbors’ driveways at either end, the remainder being treated as part of their yards.

NE Northlake Way

As explained in NE Boat Street, NE Northlake Way was originally Lake Avenue in the 1890 Brooklyn Addition to Seattle, so named because it ran along the northern shore of Lake Union. I couldn’t find an ordinance changing its name from Lake Avenue (used elsewhere, notably for what are now Westlake Avenue and Fremont Avenue N and for part of Eastlake Avenue E) to Northlake Avenue, but the latter name begins to appear in local newspapers in 1901. (Complicating matters slightly, the street appears as North Lake Avenue in the state’s 1907 plat of Lake Union Shore Lands.) Northlake Avenue began being referred to as Northlake Way in 1935, and this was made official in 1956.

Today, NE Northlake Way begins at the west end of NE Pacific Street under the University Bridge at Eastlake Place NE, and continues 1½ miles west to just shy of the Aurora Bridge, where it becomes a private road through formerly industrial land developed by the Fremont Dock Company into a business park. (The Puget Sound Business Journal and The Seattle Times have good articles on how over the years Suzie Burke transformed her father’s Burke Millwork Co., which opened in 1939, into what is today home to local offices for Google and Adobe and corporate headquarters for Tableau and Brooks Sports, among other tenants.) This private roadway continues for ⅖ of a mile beyond the end of the public right-of-way to the intersection of N Canal Street, N 34th Street, and Phinney Avenue N.

NE Northlake Way once began ⅖ of a mile further east, at NE Columbia Road on the University of Washington South Campus, but this stretch was changed to NE Boat Street in 1962, not without some controversy.