NW Blue Ridge Drive

This winding, semicircular street runs almost ⁹⁄₁₀ of a mile from 15th Avenue NW and NW 100th Street in the east to Triton Drive NW, NW Neptune Place, and NW 100th Street in the west, descending 300 feet to Puget Sound along the way. Named after the Blue Ridge community, it was established in 1930 as part of the plat of Blue Ridge, an Addition to King County, Washington (rather than to Seattle, as the far northwestern section of the city wouldn’t be annexed until 1953).

Blue Ridge Realty office building, 9925 15th Avenue NW, Seattle
Blue Ridge Realty office building, 9925 15th Avenue NW, July 2021. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, Copyright © 2021 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Blue Ridge was founded by aviation pioneer William Boeing (1881–1956), founder of what is today The Boeing Company. According to the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project at the University of Washington, marketing of plots began in 1934, and “sales began in earnest in 1938” when this racial restrictive covenant was established:

No property in said Addition shall at any time be sold, conveyed, rented, or leased in whole or in part to any person or persons not of the White or Caucasian race. No person other than one of the White or Caucasian race shall be permitted to occupy any property in said addition or portion thereof or building thereon except a domestic servant actually employed by a person of the White or Caucasian race where the latter is an occupant of such property.

Uniquely, as they note, the restrictions on membership in the Blue Ridge Club, established in 1941 and forerunner of today’s homeowner association, were slightly different:

No Asiatic, Negro or any person born in the Turkish Empire, nor lineal descendant of such person shall be eligible for membership in the Club.

They speculate this restriction on Ottoman citizens and descendants thereof was aimed at Sephardic Jews (Seattle is said to have the third largest population in the country), although if that is the case, I wonder why the restriction wasn’t against all Jews, as was done in Broadmoor and the Sand Point Country Club. At any rate, it would seem to have affected not only Sephardim but Arabs, Levantines, and North Africans in general. These restrictions were finally lifted in 1989, decades after they became unenforceable.

Blue Ridge says that “The development of the Blue Ridge community and the government-engineered policies of segregation brings some controversy to the early days of the neighborhood. However, today Blue Ridge is diverse and welcoming to anyone wanting to share in all that it has to offer.” As the interactive map on the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project page on Blue Ridge shows, though, the covenants had the desired effect — the neighborhood is still around 81% white, 12% Asian… and just 0.5% Black.

As far as being an “exclusive” neighborhood goes, Blue Ridge is more like Windermere than the above-mentioned Broadmoor and Sand Point Country Club; it features a private waterfront park, but all the streets are public, and there are even two very small public parks (Blue Ridge Circle and Blue Ridge Places) plus the wooded Mary Avenue Trail to the southern boundary of Carkeek Park.

Ten or so years ago I saw a Private Property sign at the trailhead, put up by the Blue Ridge Club, but it was gone the next time I visited — I can’t remember if I complained or someone else did. (The woods are private, but the trail is Mary Avenue NW right-of-way.) This wasn’t in the original plat, but according to an old Flickr chat I had with Andreas “Severinus” Breuer, “there was apparently a WPA project approved to install a 30′-wide gravel road between 100th and 110th (apparently now NW Carkeek Park Road).… I imagine the ravine would look quite different if a 30′ gravel road had been put in, so presumably this plan wasn’t carried out. But a 1940 engineering map shows a surveyed ROW from 105th to the Carkeek border, and in Carkeek there seems to be a route that follows the WPA route (Clay Pit Trail > Hillside Trail > Brick Road Trail > Road). Perhaps the trail that exists today was made by the original surveyors or by WPA men?”

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.

NE Campus Parkway

This street begins at an interchange with Roosevelt Way NE, Eastlake Avenue NE, and 9th Avenue NE at the north end of the University Bridge and runs ¼ mile east to 15th Avenue NE, in front of the Henry Art Gallery of the University of Washington. It was created pursuant to a state law — Chapter 27, Laws of 1945, “Maintenance of approaches to higher educational institutions” — which read in part that:

The Director of Highways is hereby authorized and directed to select and locate a suitable and fitting street and highway approach to the University of Washington campus in the City of Seattle, from Roosevelt Way to Fifteenth Avenue northeast, including an underpass beneath the surface of Roosevelt Way, and necessary approaches to said underpass.

(A separate section appears to have been responsible for the creation of Stadium Way in Pullman as an approach to Washington State University.) A Seattle ordinance passed the same year committed the city to build and maintain the road, as required by the law, and NE Campus Parkway opened in 1950 — HistoryLink refers to it as a “long-proposed ceremonial gateway to the University.” In 1954, the roadway was deeded to the city.

Portion of the Regents Plan showing planned route of Campus Parkway
Portion of the Regents Plan showing planned route of Campus Parkway

NE Campus Parkway was described in one historical survey as “not liv[ing] up to President Suzzallo’s original vision of a grand gateway,” and in another thus:

In 1925 Bebb and Gould proposed a revision to their earlier Regents Plan of 1915, which included a formal boulevard that extended from the University to the west to serve as a principal entry to the campus from the city. Campus Parkway, the formal axis envisioned in the Regents Plan to the west, was constructed finally in the 1940s. It extended the University campus into its surrounding city neighborhood in a monumental and somewhat strident manner. Construction in the 1970s of an underground parking garage, below the Central Quadrangle [actually the Central Plaza, or Red Square], provided a primary vehicle entry south of Denny Hall, and reduced vehicular traffic along the campus ring road.

Traffic to and from lower campus and the lower University District via the University Bridge does necessarily take NE Campus Parkway, but it hardly functions as a gateway, ceremonial or otherwise. The entrance to the above-mentioned parking garage is at NE 41st Street, a block to the north; the west entrance to campus is a block to the south at NE 40th Street, which turns into W Stevens Way NE. One must take a narrow pedestrian bridge over 15th Avenue NE to walk from the parkway onto campus. The pedestrian-only southeast entrance at Rainier Vista and the north entrance at 17th Avenue NE, which turns into Memorial Way NE, fulfill the function far better.

Not even the UW Visitor Center is on NE Campus Parkway, having moved to Odegaard Library a number of years ago. Schmitz Hall, one of the university’s main administrative buildings, remains, between University Way NE and 15th Avenue NE, and with it the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Office of the University Registrar — and the university’s “generic address for forms,” 1410 NE Campus Parkway.

(An aside — NE Campus Parkway was once home to the International Friendship Grove of Trees [see articles by Arthur Lee Jacobson and Dick Falkenbury] but many of the trees have since died or been removed.)

Lawtonwood Road

Lawtonwood Road is one of the many Magnolia streets, like W Government Way, W Fort Street, and W Lawton Street, related to Fort Lawton, which was opened by the U.S. Army in 1900 and is now Discovery Park. (The fort itself was named for Major General Henry Ware Lawton [1843–1899]). It runs ⅓ of a mile northwest from 40th Avenue W to the intersection of 45th Avenue W and W Cramer Street.

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.

It should not be thought that Scheuerman cared nothing at all for the defense of Seattle — he and his family did donate 26.13 acres to the cause — though that made up less than 4% of the 704.21 acres given in total. (The single largest contributors of land were Thomas W. Prosch and his wife, Virginia, who gave 330.97 acres, a full 47%.)

Dorpat continues:

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.

Scheuerman Creek just east of 45th Avenue W in the Lawtonwood neighborhood. 45th Avenue W is part of Discovery Park, but the creek is on private property. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, January 31, 2021. Copyright © 2021 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.
Scheuerman Creek just east of 45th Avenue W in the Lawtonwood neighborhood. As noted above, 45th Avenue W is part of Discovery Park, but the creek is on private property. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, January 31, 2021. Copyright © 2021 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

W Lawton Street

Lawton Street originated as Lawton Place in the 1905 plat of Lawton Park, an Addition to the City of Seattle. Like Government Way and Fort Street, it was named for its proximity to Fort Lawton, which had been opened by the U.S. Army in 1900. The fort itself was named for Major General Henry Ware Lawton (1843–1899), who was killed in December 1899 in the Battle of Paye of the Philippine–American War.

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.


W Fort 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.

W Government Way

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.

Street sign at the corner of W Government Way, 36th Avenue W, and Discovery Park Boulevard, October 30, 2011. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2011 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.
Street sign at the corner of W Government Way, 36th Avenue W, and Discovery Park Boulevard, October 30, 2011. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2011 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.