Seward Park Road

This road is named after Seward Park, which occupies all of Bailey Peninsula’s 300 acres, as envisioned by the Olmsted Brothers. The park itself was bought by the city in 1911 and named after William Henry Seward (1801–1872), who was governor of New York from 1839–1842, senator from New York from 1849–1861, and secretary of state under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson from 1861–1869. His negotiation of the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 proved to be a major boon for Seattle, which nearly doubled its population between 1890 and 1900 due in no small part to the Klondike Gold Rush, and remains a gateway to Alaska to this day.

Seward Park Road begins at Lake Washington Boulevard S and S Juneau Street and winds for ⅓ of a mile into the park’s interior, where it becomes a ¾-mile-long loop. (It should not be confused with Shore Loop Road, which runs along the park’s perimeter on the Lake Washington shoreline and is not open to vehicle traffic. Like all park roads in Seattle, Seward Park Road carries no directional designation)

Article in June 11, 1911, Seattle Times on naming of Seward Park
Article in The Seattle Times on the naming of Seward Park, June 11, 1911. William Elder Bailey paid $26,000 to buy Bailey Peninsula in 1889 and the city began to consider it a potential park shortly thereafter. (It had previously been known as Graham Peninsula, after early settler David Graham, and Andrews Peninsula [though no one is sure who this Andrews might have been].) Bailey made it difficult for the city, finally offering to sell it for $430,000 in 1908, but the city ended up acquiring it for a more reasonable $322,000 in early 1911. Read more at HistoryLink.org and Friends of Seward Park.
Aerial view of Seward Park from the south
Aerial view of Seward Park from the south, circa 1965–1966. The Martha Washington School for Girls, (closed 1971, now Martha Washington Park) is in the foreground. Mercer Island and Lake Washington are in the background. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 192974.
Sign at corner of Lake Washington Boulevard S, S Juneau Street, and Seward Park Road, January 7, 2012
Sign at corner of Lake Washington Boulevard S, S Juneau Street, and Seward Park Road, January 7, 2012. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2012 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Cowen Place NE

This street was created as part of the 1906 plat of Cowen’s University Park, filed by the Sylvester-Cowen Investment Company, of which Charles Cowen (1869–1926) was president. Originally Ravenna Place, it received its current name in 1918, according to an article in the January 29 issue of The Seattle Times. (This article also reported that the names of the individual streets that made up Queen Anne Boulevard would be restored and that Oriental Avenue [counterpart of the still-existing Occidental Avenue S] would become Third Avenue S). Whether it honors Cowen or the park named after him, which he donated to the city in 1906, is unclear.

Article in September 22, 1917, issue of The Seattle Times on Charles Cowen and his bounty on German leaders during World War I
Article in September 22, 1917, issue of The Seattle Times on Charles Cowen and his bounty on German leaders during World War I

Cowen was born in England, moved with his family to South Africa, and came to the United States in 1890, arriving in Seattle in 1900. Dotty DeCoster writes for HistoryLink.org:

Cowen was, by many accounts, a lively and active participant in developing the University District. According to architectural historian Shirley L. Courtois, he was British and had grown up in South Africa, where his family members were diamond miners and merchants. In 1890 he was sent to New York to purchase equipment for the mines. He never returned to South Africa. He apparently broke with his family, changed his name from Cohen to Cowen, and settled first in New York State, then in Florida, and finally in Seattle. Cowen reportedly retained a distinctively English style throughout his life.

The facts that his surname was originally Cohen and that his family was involved in diamond mining in South Africa led me to think he must have been Jewish, but I could find no definitive mention of his ethnicity online. However, in the March 19, 1926, issue of The Seattle Times, I found an article on the probate of his will, which mentioned that $2,000 of his $50,000 estate would go to the Hebrew Benevolent Society (today known as Jewish Family Service). That makes Cowen and Henry Fuhrman (1844–1907) (Fuhrman Avenue E) the only Jews I am aware of who have Seattle streets named after them.

Cowen Place NE begins at NE Ravenna Boulevard and University Way NE and goes just over 325 feet northeast to 15th Avenue NE, at the south end of the Cowen Park Bridge.

Detail of Charles Cowen memorial at entrance to Cowen Park
Detail of Charles Cowen memorial at entrance to Cowen Park, June 1, 2009. “In memory of Charles Cowen who in 1906 gave to the city of Seattle the twelve acres comprising this park. ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2009 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.
Signs at corner of NE Ravenna Boulevard, University Way NE, and Cowen Place NE, August 24, 2009
Signs at corner of NE Ravenna Boulevard, University Way NE, and Cowen Place NE, August 24, 2009. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2009 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

NW Carkeek Park Road

This street was named for Carkeek Park, which encompasses 216 acres in the Broadview neighborhood, including Pipers Creek and nearly ½ a mile of Puget Sound waterfront (though the usable beach is much shorter, as the main line of the BNSF Railway cuts off public access to the rest). It was one of the “46 new street names to simplify street addresses” The Seattle Times reported on in its issue November 6, 1960, and was made up of “Sixth Avenue Northwest from West 110th to West 111th Streets, West 111th Street from Sixth to Seventh Avenues Northwest, Seventh Avenue NW from West 111th to West 114th Streets, and West 114th Street from Seventh Avenue NW to West 116th Street.” (Part of this route was once Puget Drive, part of the 1911 View-Lands Addition.)

The park itself opened in 1929 and was named for Morgan James Carkeek (1847–1931) and his wife, Emily Gaskill Carkeek (1852–1926). According to the Museum of History & Industry, “Morgan… was an accomplished stonemason and successful building contractor who built several of Seattle’s early stone buildings, such as the Dexter Horton Bank, and large office buildings, including the Burke and Haller buildings.” In 1918, he and Emily donated land to the city for the first Carkeek Park, located along Lake Washington where Magnuson Park is today, but soon thereafter plans were made to develop Naval Air Station Seattle on the land, and the park was taken over by the Navy in 1926. The Carkeeks donated $25,000 to the city to purchase land elsewhere, and with the addition of $100,000 in public funds the city was able to buy Piper’s Canyon.

Report in The Seattle Times, May 28, 1927, on the Carkeeks' contribution of funds to buy Piper's Canyon
Report in The Seattle Times, May 28, 1927, on the Carkeeks’ contribution of funds to buy Piper’s Canyon. The Seattle Historical Society, which they had a hand in founding, never did build a museum in Carkeek Park, but ended up building the Museum of History & Industry in Montlake’s McCurdy Park instead. MOHAI opened in 1952 and moved to Lake Union Park in 2012 after having to make way for the expansion of Washington State Route 520.

NW Carkeek Park Road begins at NW 110th Street and Puget Drive NW and winds ½ a mile northwest to the entrance to Carkeek Park at NW 114th Street. Within the park, it goes a further ½ mile west, ending at a parking lot, picnic area, and playground. (This portion appears to have once been known as Piper’s Canyon Road or Pipers Road.) From here, there is a bridge over the BNSF Railway tracks to a beach along Puget Sound and the mouth of Pipers Creek.

Aerial view of Carkeek Park, 1969
Aerial view of Carkeek Park, looking southeast, July 9, 1969. The valley and outlet of Pipers Creek are clearly visible, as is the main line of the BNSF Railway that separates the park’s wooded and grassy areas from Puget Sound. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 77628.

Montana Circle

Like almost every other street in Fort Lawton (1900−2011), which became Discovery Park, Montana Circle was named after a state of the Union. Unlike almost every other street in Discovery Park, however, Montana Circle is a private road and in fact not part of the park at all. This is because the houses here, originally built for non-commissioned officers, were in use as military housing at the time the Army officially closed the fort. According to Monica Wooton of the Magnolia Historical Society, writing in the Queen Anne & Magnolia News, this meant that the property had to be sold at market rate instead of returned to the city as surplus, as most of the rest of the park had been. The city did manage to come up with $11 million to demolish some non-historic housing and restore the forest, but

Friends of Discovery Park could not get a partnership with government and other entities needed to purchase the Officer’s Row and NCO housing because of the cost mandated by the Privatization Act [while] the economic recession was taking hold.

As the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reported in April 2016,

The 13 homes in Montana Circle at Fort Lawton all have sold in about three months, and prices on the ones that have closed average $484 a square foot. Prices ranged from $799,000 to $1,050,000.

This provided a nice profit for the real estate firm that bought Officer‘s Row and Montana Circle from the military for $9.5 million.

Montana Circle begins at Discovery Park Boulevard just east of Kansas Avenue and loops around to rejoin Discovery Park Boulevard around 100 feet to the east.

Street sign at corner of Montana Circle and Utah Street, January 15, 2011
Street sign at corner of Montana Circle and Utah Street (now Discovery Park Boulevard), January 15, 2011. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2011 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Bernie Whitebear Way

This Discovery Park road was named for Bernie Whitebear (1937–2000), a Native American activist who co-founded the Seattle Indian Health Board, the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, and the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. Originally part of Illinois Avenue, this portion of the street was renamed for Whitebear in 2011. (Like all streets in Discovery Park except for 45th Avenue W, Bernie Whitebear Way has no directional designation.)

Today, Bernie Whitebear Way begins at Texas Way and Illinois Avenue and goes ½ a mile northwest, then west, to Daybreak Star.

Bernie Whitebear and Senator Henry Jackson
Bernie Whitebear speaking to Senator Henry M. Jackson during the Daybreak Star lease signing ceremony, November 14, 1971. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 193058
Signs at corner of Texas Way and Bernie Whitebear Way, October 30, 2011
Signs at corner of Texas Way and Bernie Whitebear Way, October 30, 2011. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2011 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Texas Way

As I note in Illinois Avenue, most streets in Fort Lawton (1900−2011), which became Discovery Park, were named after states, and this one is no exception. According to this map, the southernmost part of what is now Texas Way was originally Indiana Avenue and Delaware Avenue — the three were consolidated some time before 1967, when this map was made by the Fort Lawton Office of the Post Engineer. (As with Illinois Avenue and every other street in Discovery Park except for 45th Avenue W, Texas Way has never carried a directional designation.)

Street sign at corner of Texas Way and Discovery Park Boulevard, October 30, 2011
Street sign at corner of Texas Way and Discovery Park Boulevard, October 30, 2011. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2011 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Today, Texas Way begins as a pathway south of the Discovery Park playground and goes ¼ of a mile east, then north, to 36th Avenue W just south of its intersection with Discovery Park Boulevard and W Government Way. It resumes as a paved road just to the north at Discovery Park Boulevard and goes just over ⅔ of a mile north, then northwest, to Illinois Avenue at the entrance to the park’s North Parking Lot. Here, it once again becomes a pathway and continues another ¾ of a mile northwest, then south, to rejoin Discovery Park Boulevard just west of the Utah Wetlands.

Signs at corner of Texas Way and Bernie Whitebear Way, October 30, 2011
Signs at corner of Texas Way and Bernie Whitebear Way, October 30, 2011. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2011 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Illinois Avenue

This street, like most others in Fort Lawton (1900−2011), which is now Discovery Park, was named by the United States Army after a state of the Union. I am not sure when the post’s streets were so named or who made the decision, but it can have been no later than 1944, when this map was made by the Army Corps of Engineers. (Here’s a much higher-resolution version from the Seattle Municipal Archives, created in 1973 but based on the older map.) One can see there that what are today Illinois Avenue and Bernie Whitebear Way were originally Vermont Way, Illinois Street, Lawton Road, and Florida Avenue. At some point before 1967 (see this map made by the Fort Lawton Office of the Post Engineer) the four were combined, and in 2011 the middle portion was renamed after Native American activist Bernie Whitebear.

Sign at corner of Illinois Avenue and Texas Way (mislabeled as Kansas Avenue), Discovery Park, October 30, 2011
Sign at corner of Illinois Avenue and Texas Way (mislabeled as Kansas Avenue), Discovery Park, October 30, 2011. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2011 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Today, the eastern section of Illinois Avenue begins at Discovery Park Boulevard and goes ¼ of a mile north to Texas Way, where it turns into Bernie Whitebear Way. (Except for 45th Avenue W, no street in Discovery Park carries directional designations, nor did they when it was still a fort.) The western section, which is closed to traffic, begins at Texas Way and Discovery Park Boulevard and goes ¼ mile north to connect with footpaths that themselves connect to the North Beach Trail.

Lake Park Drive S

Like S Mount Baker Boulevard and Hunter Boulevard S, this street was created in 1907 as part of the plat of Mt. Baker Park, an Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by the Hunter Tract Improvement Company along with Rollin Valentine Ankeny and his wife, Eleanor Randolph Ankeny. It was so named for connecting the north end of the neighborhood to Lake Washington at Mount Baker Beach.

Aerial of Mount Baker Park, March 18, 1971
Aerial of Mount Baker Park, March 18, 1971. Lake Park Drive S is just east (toward the bottom of the photograph) of the green swath at center. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 78115

Lake Park Drive S begins at the intersection of S McClellan Street, S Mount Baker Boulevard, Mount Baker Drive S, and Mount Rainier Drive S, and goes ⅓ of a mile north to Lake Washington Boulevard S.

Shoreline Park Drive NW

This street was created in 1964 as part of the plat of Shoreline Park Estates. The subdivision was presumably named for Carkeek Park, which surrounds it on three sides and features a long Puget Sound shoreline.

Advertisement for Shoreline Park Estates, The Seattle Times, September 20, 1964
Advertisement for Shoreline Park Estates, The Seattle Times, September 20, 1964. The address and phone number of Royal Homes Realty — 14802 Westminster Way N., Seattle 33, EMerson 4-5180 — would today be Shoreline, WA 98133, 206-364-5180, because of the incorporation of Shoreline in 1995; the mandatory use of ZIP Codes by bulk mailers, which began in 1967; the transition to all-number calling, which was completed in Greater Seattle in 1972; and the mandatory use of 10-digit dialing, which began in Greater Seattle in 2017.

Shoreline Park Drive NW runs about 275 feet between NW 118th Street and NW 117th Street. The developers dedicated a walkway west of NW 117th Street to the public; this connects to the Grand Fir Trail, one of Carkeek Park’s many trails.

Twin Maple Lane NE

This private cul-de-sac at the end of 24th Avenue NE south of NE 60th Street appears, according to an article in the June 19, 1927, edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, to have been established that very year. According to James Bush writing for the Seattle Sun, Ravenna Park (or perhaps a portion thereof) was once known as Twin Maple Park, and

[William Wirt] Beck is officially remembered by two of the smallest civic gestures ever performed. In keeping with the early practice of giving names to small bits of park property, the concrete-covered triangle of land at the intersection of 15th Avenue Northeast and Cowen Place was dubbed Beck Place. And, his beloved Twin Maples Park is memorialized by Twin Maples Lane Northeast, a half-block street where 24th Avenue Northeast meets the park border.

Note that the typos are in the Sun article, not this post — the sign quite clearly says Maple, not Maples.

Park Road NE

Like its twin, NE Park Road, this street originates in the 1923 Park Home Addition developed by William Wirt Beck. They are the home of Candy Cane Lane, which has been a local Christmas attraction since 1948.

Park Road NE begins as an extension of 21st Avenue NE at NE Ravenna Boulevard and goes around 100 feet north to NE Park Road at Park Home Circle.

NE Park Road

This street and its twin, Park Road NE, date to 1923, when William Wirt Beck developed the Park Home Addition between NE Ravenna Boulevard and Ravenna Park. They are best known for being the location of Candy Cane Lane, which has been a local Christmas attraction since the late 1940s. (The Park Road house of one Eugene Shostrom frequently appeared on The Seattle Times’ Christmas Tree Trail list before then, but it wasn’t until 1948 that the neighborhood as a whole participated — and won the award for best community display. [I wonder where that loving cup is today…])

Candy Cane Lane Season's Greetings sign, December 2013
Season’s Greetings from Candy Cane Lane sign, December 2013. Photograph by Flickr user Frank Fujimoto, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

NE Park Road begins at NE Ravenna Boulevard just west of Ravenna Avenue NE and goes around 350 feet first north, then west, to Park Road NE at Park Home Circle.

Park Home Addition Ad, The Seattle Times, April 30, 1923
Park Home Addition Ad, The Seattle Times, April 30, 1923

E Park Drive E

This street, like W Park Drive E — its twin on the other side of Montlake Boulevard E — was created in 1908 as part of Montlake Park, an Addition to the City of Seattle, and was named after what is now East Montlake Park.

It begins at the east end of E Hamlin Street by the old location of the Museum of History and Industry (currently a staging area for the Montlake Project portion of the rebuilding of Washington State Route 520) and goes 300 feet north to E Shelby Street.

East Montlake Park totem pole, July 2009
East Montlake Park totem pole, carved by John Wallace, July 2009. The pathway is the Lake Washington Ship Canal Waterside trail, which connects East Montlake Park to West Montlake Park along the Montlake Cut. Photograph by Flickr user camknows, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

W Park Drive E

This street was created in 1908 as part of Montlake Park, an Addition to the City of Seattle, and was named after what is now West Montlake Park. It has a twin, E Park Drive E, on the other side of Montlake Boulevard E.

W Park Drive E begins at the west end of E Hamlin Street by the Seattle Yacht Club and goes 300 feet north to E Shelby Street.

West Montlake Park, January 2013
West Montlake Park, January 2013. The body of water is Portage Bay (Lake Union); South Campus of the University of Washington is at right, across the Montlake Cut, and the University Bridge and Ship Canal Bridge are visible in the distance. Photograph by Orange Suede Sofa, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Hunter Boulevard S

Like S Mount Baker Boulevard, this street was created in 1907 as part of the plat of Mt. Baker Park, an Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by the Hunter Tract Improvement Company (Clare E. Farnsworth, president; C.W. Ferris, secretary; founded in 1905 by Farnsworth, J.C. Hunter, Daniel Jones, and F.L. Fehren) along with Rollin Valentine Ankeny and his wife, Eleanor Randolph Ankeny.

According to the Mount Baker Historic Context Statement, “Since Mount Baker Park was designed to be an exclusive single-family residential community, one of the early concerns of the Mount Baker Park Improvement Club was related to social issues, and what became known as the ‘Restrictions Committee’”:

[This committee] was involved in enforcing the restrictions contained in the deeds regarding single family housing only and the restrictive covenants that prevented non-whites from purchasing property in the area. The club passed a resolution stating that the club was against using any lot for clubs, schools, boarding or lodging houses, churches, charitable or religious societies or orders or for any other purpose than strictly detached family residences.

Discrimination in Mount Baker continued for decades, though it did eventually become a became a “locus for pushback against racial injustice.” The Seattle Star headlines below illustrate both the discrimination and early examples of resistance:

The first article, ‘Hunter Tract lots are not for colored people,’ appeared on April 2, 1909. An excerpt:

The owners of the Hunter tract, a fashionable residence addition overlooking Lake Washington, don’t intend to permit any colored people to build homes on their property.… F.H. Stone and Susie B. Stone are colored.… Arrangements were made by the Stones to erect a dwelling upon [their] lot. According to the officers of the investment company, it was then that they first discovered that the Stones were colored people.… [They] contended that if the Stones were permitted to build their dwelling and to occupy it, values of surrounding property would be decreased and a pecuniary hardship would therefore be worked upon the owners of the Hunter tract.

The case went to trial before Judge John F. Main. ‘No color line is drawn in Seattle’ appeared on November 6, 1909, the day after he rendered his decision:

The incident of color or race cannot of itself annul the terms of a contract, and there is no Mason and Dixon’s line in the residence district of Seattle. Judge Main held, in substance, that no negro, because of his color, is legally barred from acquiring property and holding the same in the most exclusive community or from residing next door to his white neighbor.

Meanwhile, another related case was working its way through the courts. ‘Negro given right to live in Mt. Baker’ read the headline on February 1, 1910:

David Cole, a well-to-do negro bought [a lot] from the Hunter Tract company. The officials of the company did not know that he was a negro until he came to the office to get his deed. Daniel Jones, agent for the firm, tried to buy him off Cole insisted on having his deed and Jones refused to give it to him. Cole took the case to court and Judge Frater this morning decided that Jones must give Cole the deed. Jones immediately gave notice of appeal. Jones contended that Cole’s presence in the tract would lower property values from 40 to 50 per cent but Judge Frater held that a contract is a contract.

You can read more about the Stones’ and Cole’s cases in these by the Friends of Mt. Baker Town Center and HistoryLink.org, and read the actual decisions as well:

Advertisement for Mount Baker Park in the October 1, 1907, issue of The Seattle Star, headlined "There's Lots in Life"
Advertisement for Mount Baker Park in the October 1, 1907, issue of The Seattle Star

Hunter Boulevard S begins at Mt. Rainier Drive S and S Hanford Street and goes ¼ mile south to 38th Avenue S and S Spokane Street.

S Mount Baker Boulevard

This street, along with Hunter Boulevard S, was created in 1907 as part of the Mt. Baker Park addition, filed by the Hunter Tract Improvement Company and Rollin Valentine Ankeny (1865–1934) and his wife, Eleanor Randolph Ankeny (1868–1947). (Hunter had been founded in 1905 by J.C. Hunter, Daniel Jones, F.L. Fehren, and Clare E. Farnsworth.) The addition was named for its view of Mount Baker in the North Cascades, itself named for Joseph Baker, who sailed into Puget Sound with George Vancouver and Peter Puget on HMS Discovery in 1792. The actual roadway was built in 1908 and 1909.

S Mount Baker Boulevard at 33rd Avenue S, September 22, 2018
S Mount Baker Boulevard at 33rd Avenue S, September 22, 2018. Photograph by Jon Roanhaus, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commmons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

S Mount Baker Boulevard, intended to connect Lake Washington Boulevard to Beacon Hill, begins at S McClellan Street and Lake Park Drive S (the latter of which leads to Lake Washington Boulevard) and goes just over ½ a mile west to Rainier Avenue S and Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. West of the intersection, the boulevard continues as S Winthrop Street, which connects to Cheasty Boulevard S leading up Beacon Hill.

Advertisement for Mt. Baker Park addition, headlined "Spend Your Money and Your Life," The Seattle Times, September 30, 1906
Advertisement for Mt. Baker Park addition, headlined “Spend Your Money and Your Life,” The Seattle Times, September 30, 1906

Discovery Park Boulevard

Unlike Seattle’s other park boulevards, Discovery Park Boulevard is of recent creation. Ordinance 122503, passed in 2007, designated numerous streets within the park as park boulevards, one reason being that:

Public safety will be enhanced within Discovery Park as traffic codes and regulations are fully enforceable on Park Boulevards as they are on City of Seattle streets, but not necessarily on park roads which are considered “private.”

(More on this at Lawtonwood Road.) Among the streets so designated were Lawtonwood Road, Bay Terrace Road, Utah Street, Washington Avenue, California Avenue, Iowa Street, Illinois Avenue, Texas Way, Idaho Avenue, and 45th Avenue W. The ordinance specified that Washington Avenue from the park entrance to Illinois Avenue; Illinois Avenue from there to Utah Street; and Utah Street from there to King County’s West Point Treatment Plant were to be known as Discovery Park Boulevard (see this map for an illustration).

Discovery Park Boulevard, June 28, 2020
Discovery Park Boulevard, June 28, 2020. Photograph by Flickr user Neil Hodges, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

The park itself, 534 acres in the northwest corner of the Magnolia neighborhood, is the largest in Seattle. Opened in 1973, it occupies most of what was once Fort Lawton (1900–2011). It is said to have been named for HMS Discovery, Captain George Vancouver’s ship during the expedition that explored (and named) Puget Sound in 1792. However, according to “Discovery Park: A People’s Park in Magnolia,” a chapter from Magnolia: Memories & Milestones (2000),

The person who first suggested the name “Discovery Park” was U.S. District Judge Donald S. Voorhees, who had led the effort to create a park at Fort Lawton in 1968…. Voorhees was a student of Puget Sound history and Vancouver’s exploration. But he was also an avid follower of the philosophy of Frederick Law Olmsted, the famed American landscape architect. Voorhees believed the name combined the history of Vancouver’s exploration of Puget Sound on the HMS Discovery with the excitement of visitors when they discover the wonders of nature in the Park. When asked to make a choice between the meanings, Voorhees would choose the experience of “discovery” by citizens, particularly children, visiting the Park for the first time, over the historical connection with the HMS Discovery.

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.

Schmitz Boulevard

This road, and the park through which it runs, Schmitz Park (or Schmitz Preserve Park), was named for German immmigrants Ferdinand Schmitz (1860–1942) and his wife, Emma Althoff Schmitz (1864–1959). Ferdinand was a banker, city councilman, and parks commissioner. He and Emma donated land — mostly, though not entirely, old-growth forest — to the city in 1908, forming the core (just over 55%) of the present park.

The Schmitzes had four children: Dietrich, Henry, Emma Henrietta, and Ferdinand Jr. A banker, Dietrich (1890–1969) became president of Washington Mutual in 1934 and retired as chairman of the board two years before his death. He was also a member of the Seattle School Board from 1928 (or 1930; sources differ) to 1961. Henry (1892–1965) was president of the University of Washington from 1952 to 1958. Schmitz Hall, the university’s administration building on NE Campus Parkway, was named in his memory in 1970.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Seattle_-_Schmitz_Park_road_01.jpg
Schmitz Boulevard looking north toward SW Stevens Street and SW Admiral Way. September 2007. Photograph by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

According to the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks,

The roadway was originally envisioned as a continuation of the West Seattle Parkway, never realized, which would have connected Alki Beach to Lake Washington via a series of parkways. The built section is instead a short road that provided the only automobile entry to Schmitz Park, extending through an allée of trees and terminating at a pergola and shelterhouse.

Map of proposed West Seattle Parkway, cropped from a 1928 map of Seattle's park system
Map of proposed West Seattle Parkway, cropped from a 1928 map showing both existing (red) and proposed (red hatched) park features. Schmitz Park and Boulevard are at upper left. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 2333.

The portion between 59th Avenue SW and 58th Avenue SW in front of Alki Elementary School having been closed in 1949, Schmitz Boulevard today begins at 58th Avenue SW and SW Stevens Street and goes not quite half a mile east, then southeast, then north, to SW Admiral Way and SW Stevens Street. It is closed to automobile traffic.

Puget Boulevard SW

Puget Boulevard is a curious street, for a number of reasons:

  • The paved portions are only a few blocks long — hardly comparable to, say, Lake Washington Boulevard or Magnolia Boulevard;
  • Both east–west and north–south portions are called Puget Boulevard SW, contrary to the rule that directional designations precede street names for east–west streets (this is why Lake Washington Boulevard E becomes E Lake Washington Boulevard when it curves west on its approach to Montlake Boulevard E);
  • Despite its name, it has no view of Puget Sound, sitting as it does in the Longfellow Creek valley in the Delridge neighborhood of West Seattle;
  • And, as it turns out, it isn’t even named for Puget Sound, as might be expected, but rather for the Puget Mill Company (later part of Pope & Talbot and today part of Rayonier).

The Puget Mill Company, which once owned large swaths of land in the city (including what became the Washington Park Arboretum and the Broadmoor Golf Club), made two donations to the city in 1912, according to the Ninth Annual Report of the Board of Park Commissioners:

  • “A rugged tract of logged-off land south of Pigeon Point and Youngstown in the large unplatted area” (20.5 acres — this became Puget Park); and
  • “A strip of land 160 feet in width extending from Sixteenth Avenue Southwest and Edmonds Street (sic) to Thirty-fifth Avenue Southwest and Genessee Street, a distance of 8,500 feet, and comprising an area of about fifteen acres for parkway purposes. Under the conditions of this gift improvement work must be undertaken within five years. This acquisition forms an important link in the contemplated boulevard to West Seattle.”

This strip is today’s Puget Boulevard SW. Two things become apparent when looking at the King County Parcel Viewer map of West Seattle:

Map of Puget Boulevard, from King County Parcel Viewer
Map of Puget Boulevard, from King County Parcel Viewer

Once past the present site of West Seattle Stadium, the “contemplated boulevard to West Seattle” was to have run, as the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks puts it,

[Across] California Avenue a few blocks north of [the] present-day Alaska Junction, at that time part of the “Boston Subdivision.” It would have then headed northwest and down a ravine, eventually turning southwest to terminate at Alki Point.

Map of proposed West Seattle Parkway, cropped from a 1928 map of Seattle's park system
Map of proposed West Seattle Parkway, cropped from a 1928 map showing both existing (red) and proposed (red hatched) park features. Puget Park and Boulevard are at lower right. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 2333.

Returning to the question of the name — the Puget Mill Company was, of course, named after Puget Sound, which itself was named in 1792 by Captain George Vancouver of HMS Discovery for Lieutenant Peter Puget (1765–1822).

Today, the paved portion of Puget Boulevard SW begins at 23rd Avenue SW, about 1⁄10 of a mile north of SW Hudson Street, and goes ⅕ of a mile south to a dead end. After a very short section — not more than 150 feet long — east of Delridge Way SW, which serves as a driveway for a complex of townhouses, it resumes west of a foot path off Delridge and goes about 1⁄10 of a mile west to 26th Avenue SW. Along this stretch, there are houses to the north and the Delridge P-Patch and Puget Boulevard Commons to the south.

Queen Anne Boulevard

Like Queen Anne Avenue N, Queen Anne Boulevard is named for the neighborhood and hill, themselves named for the Queen Anne architectural style popular with builders in the 1880s. Unlike the avenue, though, the boulevard is not one single street, but a scenic loop incorporating many streets (and hence has no directional designation, such as Queen Anne Boulevard W).

The legislation establishing Queen Anne Boulevard was passed in 1907, and construction took place from 1911 to 1916. The Seattle Department of Transportation has had jurisdiction over the streets since 1942; jurisdiction over the landscaping remains with Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The loop is slightly over 3⅔ miles in length; the ordinance gives its route as follows (edited for style and current street names and directional designations, with notes added):

Extending from Prospect Street between Warren Avenue N and 2nd Avenue N, in a northeasterly direction*, to an intersection with Galer Street near Bigelow Avenue N; thence northerly following the general direction of Bigelow Avenue N as nearly as the contours of the ground will permit, to Wheeler Street; thence westerly to Nob Hill Avenue N; thence southerly to McGraw Street; thence westerly to 2nd Avenue N; thence northwesterly to Smith Street, west of Warren Avenue N; thence westerly along Smith Street to a point east of 1st Avenue W; thence southerly to W McGraw Street and 2nd Avenue West; thence westerly to 3rd Avenue W; thence northwesterly to 5th Avenue W and W Smith Street§; thence northerly to W Raye Street; thence westerly to 8th Avenue W; thence northerly to W Armour Street; thence northwesterly to W Fulton Street; thence westerly to 9th Avenue W; thence southwesterly to 10th Avenue W and W Armour Street; thence southerly to W Wheeler Street; thence easterly to 8th Avenue W; thence southerly to W McGraw Street; thence easterly to 7th Avenue W; thence southerly to W Blaine Street; thence westerly to 8th Avenue W; thence southerly to W Lee Street; thence southeasterly to W Highland Drive and 7th Avenue West.

* Now the southern extension of Bigelow Avenue N.
Now McGraw Place.
Now the east half of W McGraw Place.
§ Now the west half of W McGraw Place.
Now 8th Place W.

Notably, there is a gap in the loop; Highland Drive between 7th Avenue W and Warren Avenue N could have made it closed, but this was not done.

As noted in Bigelow Avenue Nneighbors’ yards often encroach on the public right-of-way, leading, among other things, to confrontations over chestnuts…

Queen Anne Boulevard street sign, corner of 5th Avenue W, W Smith Street, and W McGraw Place, September 2015
Street sign, corner of 5th Avenue W, W Smith Street, and W McGraw Place, September 2015. The signs for 5th and McGraw are brown because of Queen Anne Boulevard’s status as a parks boulevard; note also the distinctive Queen Anne Boulevard sign beneath that for McGraw. Photograph by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
Queen Anne Boulevard Seattle Historic Landmark Parks Department sign, 1st Avenue W and W Smith Street, July 2015
“Queen Anne Boulevard, Seattle Historic Landmark” Parks Department sign, 1st Avenue W and W Smith Street, July 2015. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 178301
Queen Anne Boulevard at night: 8th Place W just north of Marshall Park, July 2015
Queen Anne Boulevard at night: 8th Place W just north of Marshall Park, July 2015. Note the Wilcox Wall supporting the light fixtures. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 178303