College Way N

This street was named in 1971 as part of a project to connect Meridian Avenue N at N 103rd Street to Burke Avenue N at N 100th Street; the newly constructed street took the name, as did Burke Avenue south to N 92nd Street. For its entire ½-mile length, College Way N is the western boundary of the campus of North Seattle College, known at its 1970 founding as North Seattle Community College.

Entrance to North Seattle Community College
Entrance to North Seattle Community College, as it was then called, February 7, 2013. Photograph by Wikimedia Commons user Iain Laurence, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
Aerial view of North Seattle College campus
Aerial view of North Seattle College campus, September 16, 2018. Licton Springs Park is in the foreground; North Seattle College is above (east), and Northgate Station and Thornton Place are across Interstate 5. Photograph by Flickr user Atomic Taco, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

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.)

Stanford Avenue NE

Another one of the “university” streets in the Hawthorne Hills subdivision, created in 1928, Stanford Avenue NE was named for Stanford University in Stanford, California. It runs ⅓ of a mile in a semicircle from NE 60th Street near 45th Avenue NE in the west to NE 60th Street at 50th Avenue NE in the east.

Oberlin Avenue NE

Oberlin Avenue NE is another one of the “university” streets in the Hawthorne Hills subdivision, created in 1928. It was named for Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and runs around ⅕ of a mile from 45th Avenue NE in the northwest to Princeton Avenue NE in the southeast.

Wellesley Way NE

Wellesley Way NE is another one of the “university” streets in the Hawthorne Hills subdivision, created in 1928. It was named for Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and runs around ⅕ of a mile from NE 65th Street in the north to NE 60th Street and Ann Arbor Avenue NE in the south.

Vassar Avenue NE

Vassar Avenue NE, another one of the “university” streets in the Hawthorne Hills subdivision, created in 1928, was named for Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. It runs almost ⅖ of a mile from NE 65th Street in the northwest to Stanford Avenue NE in the southeast.

Street sign at corner of University Circle NE and Vassar Avenue NE, October 6, 2010
Street sign at corner of University Circle NE and Vassar Avenue NE, October 6, 2010. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2010 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

Ann Arbor Avenue NE

Another one of the “university” streets in the Hawthorne Hills subdivision, created in 1928, Ann Arbor Avenue NE was named for the University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It runs nearly ½ a mile from Pullman Avenue NE in the south to NE 65th Street in the north.

Purdue Avenue NE

Purdue Avenue NE is another one of the “university” streets in the Hawthorne Hills subdivision, created in 1928. It was named for Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. It runs almost ½ a mile from NE 58th Street and 45th Avenue NE to from NE 60th Street and 51st Avenue NE.

NE Tulane Place

Another one of the “university” streets in the Hawthorne Hills subdivision, created in 1928, NE Tulane Place was named for Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. It runs diagonally a mere tenth of a mile from NE 57th Street and 45th Avenue NE to NE 55th Street.

Pullman Avenue NE

This is another one of the “university” streets in the Hawthorne Hills subdivision, created in 1928. It was named for Washington State College, now Washington State University, in Pullman, Washington.

Pullman Avenue NE begins as an extension of NE 55th Street east of Princeton Avenue NE and goes ⅓ of a mile northeast to NE 60th Street, where it becomes 52nd Avenue NE.

 

Princeton Avenue NE

This is one of the “university” streets in the Hawthorne Hills subdivision, created in 1928. It was named for Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.

Princeton Avenue NE begins in the south as a bridge crossing the Burke–Gilman Trail just north of Sand Point Way NE, and goes ½ a mile north to NE Princeton Way.

Princeton Avenue Bridge, January 28, 2003.
Princeton Avenue Bridge, January 28, 2003. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, identifier 141197
Street sign at corner of University Circle NE and Princeton Avenue NE, October 6, 2010
Street sign at corner of University Circle NE and Princeton Avenue NE, October 6, 2010. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff. Copyright © 2010 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

University Circle NE

An article in the July 8, 1928, issue of The Seattle Times describes the new subdivision of Hawthorne Hills thus:

The property is situated on a “hogback” between East 55th and East 65th Streets just east of 35th Avenue Northeast.… It is the largest single piece of undeveloped residence property in the city limits.… Because of its proximity to the University of Washington a community center at the highest point on the property has been designated “University Circle.” At this point, 200 feet in diameter, the principal thoroughfares, named after well-known universities and colleges, converge.

University Circle park is ringed by 400-foot-long University Circle NE, which is approximately 125, not 200, feet in diameter. Vassar Avenue NE, Ann Arbor Avenue NE, and Princeton Avenue NE converge on the circle, while Wellesley Way NE, Stanford Avenue NE, Purdue Avenue NE, Pullman Avenue NE, NE Tulane Place, and Oberlin Avenue NE curve through the rest of the neighborhood. (There does not appear to be any organizing concept behind the selection of schools other than the fact they are institutions of higher education. Pullman and Ann Arbor represent state schools; Princeton, Stanford, Purdue, and Tulane private schools; and Vassar and Wellesley women’s colleges; but why these in particular were chosen, I am not sure. Incidentally, Dartmouth, Harvard, Cornell, Yale, Columbia, and Amherst were already in use elsewhere.)

Hawthorne Hills sign, detail of photograph of Princeton Avenue Bridge, January 28, 2003.
Hawthorne Hills sign, January 28, 2003. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, identifier 141197

Unfortunately, Hawthorne Hills — named for Hawthorne Kingsbury Dent, founder of what is today Safeco Insurance — was among the subdivisions in Seattle to which the developers attached racially restrictive covenants. In fact, according to the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, “Seattle’s first known racial restrictive covenant was written in 1924 by the Goodwin Company,” which also developed Hawthorne Hills, and

No property in this subdivision could be “sold, conveyed, rented, nor leased, in whole or in part, to any person not of the White race; nor shall any person not of the White race be permitted to occupy any portion of said lot or lots or of any building thereon, except a domestic servant actually employed by a White occupant of such building.”

Two good articles on Hawthorne Hills are “Names in the Neighborhood: From Keith to Hawthorne Hills,” by Valarie Bunn, and “Squatting in Hawthorne Hills,” by Zach van Schouwen.

University Street

University Street was established as part of the Plat of an Addition to the Town of Seattle as Laid Out by A.A. Denny on November 16, 1861. It was named for the Territorial University of Washington, which had opened 12 days earlier on a 10-acre site atop “Denny’s Knoll.”

Plat of an Addition to the Town of Seattle as Laid Out by A.A. Denny, November 16, 1861
Plat of an Addition to the Town of Seattle as Laid Out by A.A. Denny, November 16, 1861
Territorial University on opening day, showing south and west sides of main building, November 4, 1861
Territorial University of Washington on opening day, November 4, 1861

Even though the University of Washington moved to its current location on Portage and Union Bays in 1895, the name was not changed. Nor did the university relinquish the land, though not for lack of trying. This turns out to have been fortunate. The UW owns the Metropolitan Tract to this day, and it earned $25 million in rent on the property during fiscal year 2020 alone.

The street, which originally ran from Front Street (now 1st Avenue) to the university campus, just northeast of 3rd Avenue, today begins at Alaskan Way on the Elliott Bay waterfront, and makes it just one block, to Western Avenue, before it becomes the Harbor Steps. From 1st Avenue, it’s about a third of a mile to 7th Avenue, where University Street is blocked by Interstate 5. It resumes at 9th Avenue and goes for another third of a mile to Boylston Avenue.

Portion of King County quarter section maps covering Metropolitan Tract
Portion of King County quarter section maps covering Metropolitan Tract

Incidentally, you’ll notice in the map above that 4th and 5th Avenues between Seneca and Union Streets, as well as University Street between 4th and 5th Avenues, plus half a block on either end, are marked private way subject to public use — long term grant of use for street purposes. This fact — that the University of Washington still owns all the land within the Metropolitan Tract and never formally dedicated those streets to the public — was something I never knew until I started taking close looks at King County’s quarter section maps as part of my local history research. It might seem an academic distinction, but as The Seattle Times reported in 2015, there are very real financial consequences.

In 2008… the UW wanted the city to interpret the tract as one undivided lot, streets and all. That novel argument would benefit the UW in calculating the development footprint, or base.… The bigger the base, the logic went, the more square footage a developer could build before triggering affordable-housing fees under the city’s formula.… The university held a heavy hammer in negotiations. Because the UW owned development rights for the land under Fifth Avenue and University Street, it could make the city compensate it, one way or another, for using those streets.

University Way NE

This street runs 1¼ mile from NE Pacific Street in the south to NE Ravenna Boulevard and Cowen Park in the north. Until 2001, it was a block longer, starting farther south at NE Boat Street, but that portion was vacated as part of the development of the University of Washington campus.

Originally Columbus Avenue and then 14th Avenue NE, it was renamed University Way in 1920 after the University of Washington, which had moved to the neighborhood from its original home downtown in 1895. As local historian Paul Dorpat explains in this HistoryLink essay,

[In 1919] the University Commercial Club… ran [a contest] to rename 14th Avenue…. Club member Arthur Quigley’s “University Way” won the street name contest easily. To deflect any charges that the contest was fixed, Quigley donated the prize money to charity.

Even though it’s been a “way” for 101 years now, to locals University Way has always been, and always will be, “The Ave.” And that in itself will always cause some confusion, as this street sign demonstrates.

Even the city gets street names wrong sometimes. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, May 23, 2008. Copyright © 2008 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.
Even the city gets street names wrong sometimes. Photograph by Benjamin Lukoff, May 23, 2008. Copyright © 2008 Benjamin Lukoff. All rights reserved.

University View Place NE

This short street, which runs from NE 50th Street just south of Calvary Cemetery to NE 45th Place, is named for its view of the University of Washington campus to the southwest. It was laid out in 1907 as part of the Exposition Heights addition, which was named after the upcoming Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition on the UW campus.

Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition Seattle 1909