Arboretum Drive E

This street in the Washington Park Arboretum was, like E Foster Island Road, originally unnamed. It received its current name in June 1957. The Arboretum itself was established in 1934 on the western half of a tract that had been logged by the Puget Mill Company; the eastern half became the gated Broadmoor neighborhood and golf course (see Broadmoor Drive E).

The street, which begins at Lake Washington Boulevard E opposite the Washington Park Playfield, goes nearly a mile north to E Foster Island Road just west of the north entrance to Broadmoor. All but the very northernmost portion, which leads to the Graham Visitors Center, has been closed to motorized traffic for over a decade.

Arboretum Drive E, October 2017. Photograph by Flickr user Steve Ginn (public domain).

E Foster Island Road

This street, which runs about ¼ mile from Lake Washington Boulevard E to the beginning of the Foster Point Trail, all within the Washington Park Arboretum, was without a name until 1968, when it was named for the island in Union Bay to which it led. (It remained unsigned until a few decades later, however. There was no sign at the intersection until at least the 1990s, as I know since my parents’ house was at the south end of the Arboretum and I drove or biked by there weekly, if not more often, while I was growing up.)

Foster Island is known by the Duwamish tribe, who once used it as a burial ground, as Stitici, or ‘little island’. It was named by the settlers for Joel Wellington Foster, who came to Washington in the 1870s from St. Joseph, Missouri. He is said to have donated the island to the city in one HistoryLink article, but another says the city bought it in 1917.

(Note added November 6, 2022: David B. Williams, the “Street Smart Naturalist,” recently posted The Lost Islands of Seattle, in which he wrote that he had seen various sources for the name Foster but none with good documentation. I asked him about the HistoryLink article I cite above:

I’m embarrassed to have missed that, but of course he’s right. So if not Joel Wellington Foster, then who? The search continues