Prosch Avenue W

Thomas Prosch, who named Conkling Place W after his mother, didn’t neglect to name something after himself. Prosch Avenue W runs about ¼ mile from W Barrett Street in the north to 13th Avenue W in the south. It appears as Prosch Place in Prosch’s Queen Anne Addition to the City of Seattle in 1909.

Thomas Wickham Prosch, 1890
Thomas Wickham Prosch, 1890
Portion of Prosch's Queen Anne Addition to the City of Seattle, 1909
Portion of Prosch’s Queen Anne Addition to the City of Seattle, 1909

Conkling Place W

This street runs just over a thousand feet from 10th Avenue W and W Bertona Street in the northwest to 8th Avenue W and W Dravus Street in the southeast. It was named after Susan Conkling Prosch, mother of Thomas Prosch, who filed Prosch’s Queen Anne Addition to the City of Seattle in 1909. (Prosch was a noted local journalist and historian, who didn’t neglect to name Prosch Avenue W after himself.)

Susan Conkling Prosch, 1897
Susan Conkling Prosch, 1897

Conkling Place was one of the streets retained when George E. Morford and Gertrude Keen Morford filed their plat of Queen Anne Park in 1926. The Queen Anne Historical Society has an extensive article on the latter subdivision, which was among those in Seattle with all-too-common racial restrictive covenants, in this case excluding Blacks and Asians.

Portion of Prosch's Queen Anne Addition to the City of Seattle, 1909
Portion of Prosch’s Queen Anne Addition to the City of Seattle, 1909.

Nickerson Street

This Queen Anne street runs 1½ miles from the meeting of 4th, Dexter, and Westlake Avenues N in the east (at the south end of the Fremont Bridge) to the 15th Avenue W interchange in the west. Some businesses in Fishermen’s Terminal have W Nickerson Street addresses, such as Chinook’s at 1900, but these few blocks of Nickerson are Port of Seattle roads that cannot be accessed directly from the public street.

Nickerson Street was named by Alfred A. Nickerson and Elmyra Nickerson, husband and wife, in their plat of Ross 2nd Addition to the City of Seattle in 1888.

W Ruffner Street

This street, which runs, with interruptions, for 2⅓ miles from Queen Anne to just short of Elliott Bay in Magnolia (though it is platted for several more blocks west over the tideflats) is named, as I learned from the Ruffner Family Association, for Presbyterian minister William Henry Ruffner. A slaveholder who “advocated the gradual emancipation and colonization of the state’s African Americans”, he was also, according to Encyclopedia Virginia, “the designer and first superintendent of Virginia’s public school system.”

How did this “Horace Mann of the South” end up with his name on a Seattle street? Apparently, in addition to being an educator, he was also a geologist, and so was hired by Thomas Burke and Daniel Gilman (of Burke–Gilman Trail fame), two of the founders of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway, to spend just over five weeks in 1887 surveying the area, the results of which were published in the SLS&E’s promotional book A Report on Washington Territory two years later. When it came time in 1890 for the plat of Gilman’s Addition to the City of Seattle to be filed, Ruffner’s name appeared on the map. 

The Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern became part of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1892. Today, the Interbay Car Shop of the BNSF Railway, successor to the NP, is located at the corner of W Ruffner Street and Gilman Avenue W.