Piedmont Place W

Created in 1915 as part of the plat of Carleton Park, this street shares the mont element with a number of other streets in the subdivision, e.g., Viewmont Way W, Crestmont Place W, Eastmont Way W, and Westmont Way W. This because, as The Seattle Times wrote, the “entire district commands an unobstructible view of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.” I tend to think the element was overused in the neighborhood and would have liked more of its streets to be named after the actual mountains, e.g., Ellinor Drive W and Constance Drive W. But I do have to hand it to whoever came up with these names for their creativity in naming Piedmont Place W — not, I am sure, directly after the region in Italy or that in the United States, but rather because it lies at the eastern foot — pied in French — of the western Magnolia hill as it slopes down to Pleasant Valley.

Piedmont Place W begins at W McGraw Street between 36th Avenue W and 35th Avenue W and goes ¼ mile north to W Raye Street.

Topographic map of part of Carleton Park, from The National Map
Topographic map of part of Carleton Park, from The National Map

Crestmont Place W

This street was created in 1915 as part of the plat of Carleton Park. The Seattle Times wrote of the Magnolia subdivision that the “entire district commands an unobstructible view of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains” — hence the mont portion of its name. Why crest? Because, as you can see on the topographical map below, Crestmont Place W is located at the crest of Carleton Park. (The highest point in all Magnolia, however, is located a number of blocks to the north, close to 40th Avenue W and W Barrett Lane.)

Crestmont Place W begins at Westmont Way W north of Altavista Place W and goes ¼ northeast, then northwest, to W Raye Street, where it becomes 40th Avenue W.

Topographic map of part of Carleton Park, from The National Map
Topographic map of part of Carleton Park, from The National Map

Mount Adams Place S

Like Mount Rainier Drive S, Mount St. Helens Place S, and S Mount Baker Boulevard, this street was created in 1907 as part of the Mt. Baker Park addition, named for its view of Mount Baker in the North Cascades. Like the others, it was named after a prominent Cascade Range peak — in this case, Mount Adams.

At 12,281 feet, Adams is the second tallest mountain in Washington, behind Mount Rainier. Known by Native Americans as Pahto or Klickitat, it was named for President John Adams (1735–1826), in a rather roundabout way. Unlike Rainier or St. Helens, it was neither “discovered” by George Vancouver nor named by him; instead, the first non-Natives to spot it were Lewis and Clark, who at first thought they had spotted St. Helens. Then, as Wikipedia relates,

For several decades after Lewis and Clark sighted the mountain, people continued to get Adams confused with St. Helens, due in part to their somewhat similar appearance and similar latitude. In the 1830s, Hall J. Kelley led a campaign to rename the Cascade Range as the President’s Range and rename each major Cascade mountain after a former president of the United States. Mount Adams was not known to Kelley and was thus not in his plan. Mount Hood, in fact, was designated by Kelley to be renamed after President John Adams and St. Helens was to be renamed after George Washington. In a mistake or deliberate change by mapmaker and proponent of the Kelley plan Thomas J. Farnham, the names for Hood and St. Helens were interchanged. And, likely because of the confusion about which mountain was St. Helens, he placed the Mount Adams name north of Mount Hood and about 40 miles (64 km) east of Mount St. Helens. By what would seem sheer coincidence, there was in fact a large mountain there to receive the name. Since the mountain had no official name at the time, Kelley’s name stuck even though the rest of his plan failed. However, it was not official until 1853, when the Pacific Railroad Surveys, under the direction of Washington Territory governor Isaac I. Stevens, determined its location, described the surrounding countryside, and placed the name on the map.

Mount Adams Place S begins at Mount St. Helens Place S and goes ¼ mile southeast to S Ferris Place.

Mount St. Helens Place S

Like Mount Rainier Drive S and S Mount Baker Boulevard, this street was created in 1907 as part of the Mt. Baker Park addition, named for its view of Mount Baker in the North Cascades. The neighborhood featured a number of other streets named for mountains in the Cascade Range, including this one, named after Mount St. Helens.

St. Helens, of course, is best known for its volcanic eruption on May 18, 1980, “the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in U.S. history” according to Wikipedia. It was variously known by the Native Americans as Lawetlat’la (Cowlitz) and Loowit or Louwala-Clough (Klickitat), and, like Mount Rainier and Mount Baker, was given its official English-language name by George Vancouver on HMS Discovery in 1792. In this case, it honored his friend Alleyne FitzHerbert, 1st Baron St Helens (1753–1839), who at the time was British ambassador to Spain.

Mount St. Helens Place S begins at Cascadia Avenue S and goes just over ¼ mile south to Mount Rainier Drive S at 37th Avenue S.

NW Canoe Place

Like NW Sloop Place, its twin on the south side of Salmon Bay Park, this street was created in 1890 as part of the plat of Salmon Bay Park, which featured east–west streets after watercraft: Schooner, Canoe, Sloop, Brig, and Ship. When Seattle annexed Ballard in 1907, these streets became 75th, 73rd, 70th, 67th, and 65th Streets, respectively, but the names of Sloop and Canoe were preserved: South Park Place became Sloop Place and North Park Place became Canoe Place.

Today, NW Canoe Place begins at 21st Avenue NW, at the northwest corner of the park, and goes two blocks east — just over 500 feet — to 19th Avenue NW, at its northeast corner.

Plat of Salmon Bay Park

NW Sloop Place

When Elon W. Denton filed the plat of Salmon Bay Park in 1890, he named his east–west streets after watercraft: Schooner, Canoe, Sloop, Brig, and Ship. To the north of Salmon Bay Park was North Park Place, and to its south, South Park Place.

The annexation of Ballard by Seattle in 1907 required that Denton’s street names be changed. Sloop Street became 70th Street, but its name was preserved by changing South Park Place to Sloop Place. (To the north of the park, North Park Place became Canoe Place.)

Today, NW Sloop Place begins at 21st Avenue NW, at the southwest corner of the park, and goes two blocks east — just over 500 feet — to 19th Avenue NW, at its southeast corner.

Plat of Salmon Bay Park

Lewis Place SW

This West Seattle street was created in 1919 as part of the plat of Kirkwood, an Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by Isabell A. Kirkwood (1833–1926), who named the nearby Rutan Place SW after her maiden name. The plat document was notarized by lawyer Frank Pardee Lewis (1851–1938), and since I can find no connection to any other Lewis, I assume Kirkwood named it after him. According to Capitol Hill Seattle, Lewis, who lived at the corner of 18th Avenue E and E Denny Way,

…was from Triangle, New York, and moved to Seattle in 1887. He was a prominent attorney with offices in the Lowman Building downtown starting in 1890. He went to the office almost every day until his death in 1938. Mr. Lewis was elected to the Washington State Legislature in 1895; he was also a member of the Scottish Rite Masons.

Lewis Place SW begins at SW Hudson Street between Erskine Way SW and California Avenue SW and goes just over 550 feet northwest, then north, to Erskine Way SW just west of California.

Frank Pardee Lewis, from his Seattle Times obituary, April 12, 1938

Rutan Place SW

This West Seattle street was created in 1919 as part of the plat of Kirkwood, an Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by Isabell A. Kirkwood, née Rutan (1833–1926), widow of William W. Kirkwood (1835–1915).

Rutan Place SW goes around 350 feet south from SW Edmunds Street between 44th Avenue SW and 45th Avenue SW to a dead end just short of 45th, though the undeveloped right-of-way does continue to that street.

Northrop Place SW

This West Seattle street was created in 1907 as part of the plat of Adams 1st Addition to Fauntleroy Park, filed by John F. Adams (1860–1954) and his wife, Maggie W. True Adams (1864–1941). The document was notarized by Bert Avery Northrop (1880–1963), who was the husband of the Adamses’ daughter Abbie T. Adams (1888–1984). In his Seattle Times obituary, we learn that John Adams was “one of Fauntleroy’s first residents, [who]… came here in 1897. He first was in the grocery business and entered the real-estate business in 1903.… Mr. Adams was known as the ‘mayor of Fauntleroy.’” Meanwhile, Northrop’s Times obituary reports he came to Seattle in 1902 and began practicing law in 1906; he married Abbie Adams in 1909.

Bert A. Northrop

Northrop Place SW begins at SW Thistle Street and goes a block north to SW Southern Street.

Arapahoe Place W

This street was created in 1890 as part of the plat of the Bluff Park Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by Avery Parker of Arapahoe County, Colorado. Originally Arapahoe Avenue, it appears to have been named after that county, whose seat at the time was Denver. (The city was split off from the rest of the county in 1902.) Arapahoe County was itself named in 1861 for the Arapaho, a Native American people whose territory once included the area, but were subsequently forced onto reservations in Wyoming and Oklahoma.

Today, Arapahoe Place W begins at W Dravus Street and goes 450 feet north to just beyond W Prosper Street. It then resumes half a block north at W Bertona Street and goes ¼ mile north to W Emerson Street, along the south edge of Discovery Park.

Padilla Place S

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 Padilla Bay, which lies between Guemes and Fidalgo Islands and the mainland and is about 60 miles northwest of Seattle, as S Orcas Street appears to honor Orcas Island and S Fidalgo Street, Fidalgo Island. Like Orcas Island, it was named after Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo, 2nd Count of Revillagigedo, Viceroy of New Spain, who sent an expedition to explore the area in the early 1790s.

Padilla Place S begins at S Homer Street and goes two blocks southwest to S Fidalgo Street, crossing S Orcas Street on the way.

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.

Leroy Place S

This street, like Cecil Avenue S, was created in 1905 as part of the plat of Southside Garden Tracts, filed by Crawford & Conover, a partnership of Samuel Leroy Crawford (1855–1916) and Charles Tallmadge Conover (1862–1961). It appears to have been named after Crawford’s middle name.

Samuel Leroy Crawford, 1890
Samuel Leroy Crawford, 1890

Leroy Place S begins at the end of S Ronald Drive and goes around 375 feet southeast to a dead end.

Benton Place SW

This street was named by and for Miles P. Benton (1860-1913) and his wife, Ida Belle Rinker Benton (1860-1919), when they filed the plat of Benton’s “Shore Acres” Addition to Alki Point in 1906.

In History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Clarence Bagley writes that Benton, who was born in Iowa and came to Seattle in 1890 from Montana,

…spent many years with different railroad companies. For a time he was connected with the Great Northern and later he became general passenger and freight agent for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad at Seattle. The last few years of his life were spent in connection with the safe and lock trade. He was associated with the Norris Safe & Lock Company… Later Mr. Norris took over the safe and lock company and Mr. Benton the desk department of the business, after which he was joined by Edward Herald in a partnership that was continued under the name of the Benton-Herald Desk & Safe Company until [his death].

Miles P. Benton
Miles P. Benton, 1906. Artwork by Edwin Frederick Brotze.

SW Benton Place begins at Beach Drive SW across from Constellation Park and goes just shy of 300 feet north to a dead end next to one of King County’s combined sewer overflow treatment facilities.

SW Teig Place

According to Phillip H. Hoffman, director of the Alki History Project, in his paper “What’s in a Name?,” SW Teig Place was created in 1916 as part of the Olson Land Company’s 3rd Addition to Seattle. At the time, Jacob Larson Teig (1865–1945) was vice president of Olson Land. He was also the husband of Clara Isabelle Olson (1864–1944), daughter of Knud Olson (1830–1919), who had platted Alki Point in 1891.

SW Teig Place begins at 57th Avenue SW just north of SW Stevens Street and goes around 450 feet northeast to 56th Avenue SW just north of SW Lander Place.

SW Campbell Place

This street was created in 1914 as part of the plat of Admiralty Heights, filed by William T. Campbell (1870–1951); his wife, Jennie Bennett Campbell (1874–1948); and Arthur L. Stewart. According to Phillip H. Hoffman, director of the Alki History Project, in his paper “What’s in a Name?,”

W.T. Campbell was a long-time West Seattle resident living on the hillside above Alki. He was an early advocate for Alki annexation to the City of West Seattle, a real estate developer, early West Seattle school principal, banker, and a member of the Seattle City Council beginning 1924. He would serve as a city councilmember until 1929.

W.T. Campbell
W.T. Campbell, from the October 11, 1933, issue of The Seattle Times

SW Campbell Place begins at SW Lander Street a block west of SW Admiral Way and goes just over 550 feet southwest to 56th Avenue SW at the north edge of Schmitz Park.

Weedin Place NE

Originally Ravenna Avenue in the 1890 plat of the Woodlawn Addition to Green Lake, Weedin Place NE was named for the Weedin brothers, early settlers of the area. (Weedin’s Homestead Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by Robert Weedin, his son, and their wives in 1904, lies to the south; it would seem that when Ravenna Boulevard NE was established slightly to the west, Ravenna Avenue needed a new name, and that of the Weedins was chosen.)

Louis Fiset writes for HistoryLink.org:

In the fall of 1879, 10 years after the first homesteader arrived at Green Lake, a newly erected, simple log cabin schoolhouse opened its doors to 11 pupils.… This was the first Green Lake School.… The children came from four households on the east side of the lake: seven were sons and daughters of the brothers W. L. and Robert Weedin.… Thus began public school education in the territorial School District № 25.

And Valarie Bunn tells us on her blog, Wedgwood in Seattle History, that Robert Joseph Weedin (1842–1910) and William Luther Weedin (1845–1930) were Civil War veterans from Missouri who “did not have to take a full five years to ‘prove up a claim’ and be awarded ownership of land, according to the Homestead Act of 1862,” but could count their time in the service toward that total. Robert’s claim, as noted above, was southeast of Green Lake, while William’s was further east, in Wedgwood and Bryant.

A photograph of brothers W.L. and Robert Weedin that ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 23, 1965, in an article about early schools in Green Lake
A photograph of brothers W.L. and Robert Weedin that ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 23, 1965, in an article about early schools in Green Lake

Today, Weedin Place NE begins at 5th Avenue NE and NE 70th Street and goes ¼ of a mile southeast to just past 8th Avenue NE and NE 66th Street, where the right-of-way becomes a park. It is notable for being the location of the Weedin Place fallout shelter, located under Interstate 5. Read more about it in “‘Lifeboat Ethics’ Under the Interstate: Seattle’s Prototype Highway Fallout Shelter,” by Washington State Department of Transportation historian Craig Holstine, who writes that

…The Weedin Place facility was apparently the first, and only, fallout shelter ever constructed in the U.S. under a public roadway. It was built under what would become Interstate 5 at the height of the Cold War in part as a way to demonstrate more effective uses of public rights-of-way.… The Commissioner of Public Roads… proposed putting shelters under the interstates as a way to save costs by combining needs of the national shelter and federal-aid highway programs and provide shelter for the traveling public.

Weedin Place Fallout Shelter
Weedin Place fallout shelter, May 2010. For more photos, see this 2018 article by Feliks Banel. Also see this 2010 blog post by the Washington State Department of Transportation, as well as their Flickr album, featuring 18 more photos of the shelter. Photograph by Flickr user Washington State Department of Transportation, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
Street sign at corner of Weedin Place NE, NE 66th Street, and 8th Avenue NE, January 30, 2010
Street sign at corner of Weedin Place NE, NE 66th Street, and 8th Avenue NE, January 30, 2010. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2010 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

NE Thornton Place

Thornton Creek runs 18 miles from Shoreline to Seattle, where it empties into Lake Washington at Matthews Beach Park. Its watershed, which drains 11.6 square miles, is the largest in Seattle. Yet until recently, no street bore its name — and the one that now does is a short private road.

The creek is named for John Q. Thornton (1825–1904), who, as Valarie Bunn tells us, never actually lived in the Seattle area, but in 1885 bought land near what are today Meridian Park and Twin Ponds Park, at or near the headwaters of Meridian Creek, a tributary of the North Fork of Thornton Creek. Bunn’s article includes a government land claim map from 1889 on which the creek is labeled with his name and speculates the mapmaker chose that name simply because of the proximity of Thornton’s property. (Note added July 23, 2022: Today, Valarie contacted me to tell me that she is no longer sure that Thornton owned land near the Meridian Creek headwaters, but still believes he is the Thornton after whom the creek was named, and has edited her article to that effect.)

NE Thornton Place, which runs not quite 500 feet between 3rd Avenue NE and NE 103rd Street, cuts through the Thornton Place development, built on the site of a former Northgate Mall parking lot under which Thornton Creek ran in a culvert. A portion of the creek was daylighted as part of the project. (Incidentally, I had the pleasure of seeing the IMAX version of The Beatles: Get Back – The Rooftop Concert at the Regal Thornton Place on January 30 of this year, the 53rd anniversary of the historic event. I am an even bigger fan of the Beatles than I am of odonymy!)

John Thornton
John Thornton

NE Belvoir Place

This street was created in 1926 as part of Belvoir, an Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by the executor of the estate of William Harvey “Uncle Joe” Surber (1834–1923) (Surber Drive NE). Surber had homesteaded what is now Laurelhurst in 1861, and an article in the September 19, 1926, issue of The Seattle Times noted that Belvoir was “one of the last, if not the last tract of land that [had] been held intact by its owners since pioneer days.”

Advertisement for Belvoir, The Seattle Times, September 17, 1926
Advertisement for Belvoir, The Seattle Times, September 17, 1926

NE Belvoir Place begins at Surber Drive NE and goes around 850 feet northeast to 41st Avenue NE. (There is also a park named Belvoir Place; located 1,000 feet to the southeast, it is a narrow parcel that stretches from 42nd Avenue NE to Union Bay.)

N Lucas Place

This street was created in 1911 as part of the Lucas Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by William Mortimer Lucas (born 1857 or 1858) of the W.M. Lucas Building Company. According to the National Register of Historic Places registration form for the Ravenna-Cowen North Historic District,

William Mortimer Lucas… was born in Illinois. Between 1908 and 1913 he was a speculative builder of houses in Seattle’s north end, houses that were financed by the sale of stock.… His office was located in the White Building in downtown Seattle. By 1912, the company was also selling plans for bungalows.

N Lucas Place begins at Stone Way N between N 40th Street and N 41st Street and goes about 375 feet east to Interlake Avenue N.