This street was created in 1905 as part of the Steel Works Addition to West Seattle by Albert C. Phillips. Originally Cityview Street, it formed a trio with Grandview Street and Bayview Street, which are today SW Hinds Street and SW Spokane Street, and was named for its view of Seattle, to the northwest across Elliott Bay.
SW City View Street begins at 35th Avenue SW as a driveway and foot path which becomes a paved street just before 34th Avenue SW and extends just beyond, about 325 feet in all. The right-of-way continues through a greenbelt, and the road picks up at again at SW Admiral Way, where it goes 500 feet east to end at 30th Avenue SW.
This West Seattle street is really more of a footpath, being narrow, unpaved, and closed to motor vehicles. The public right-of-way runs about 450 feet northwest from Bonair Drive SW as it descends through the Duwamish Head Greenbelt from Sunset Avenue SW to Alki Avenue SW, and the path continues for some 1,150 feet more through property owned by the parks department.
Clarmar Place SW was created in 1941 as part of the plat of Clarmar Crags, which name appears to be a combination of Clara Coumbe (died 1975?), landowner, and mar, for its location above Elliott Bay and Puget Sound.
I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks because I’ve been in Spokane, visiting my wife’s family for the holidays and attending the memorial service of my sister-in-law, may her memory be for a blessing. Since there is no Emily Street in Seattle, why not return, then, with a post on Spokane Street?
Spokane Street appears to have been created in 1895 as part of the Seattle Tide Lands plat. Streets in this plat that were not extensions of already existing ones, such as Commercial Street, were named after letters of the alphabet, American cities, American states, prominent local politicians, and places in Washington. The letters of the alphabet and the American cities appear in alphabetical order, but the states appear neither in alphabetical nor geographic order, and the places in Washington do not appear to be in any order whatsoever (except that a number beginning with Q are physically clustered together). They are as follows, listed alphabetically:
(I leave out West Point Avenue [which still exists, but only as a paper street] and Seattle Boulevard [now Airport Way S and Diagonal Avenue S] because the former was named for its proximity to West Point and the latter, it seems, for its prominence.)
It isn’t a list entirely composed of cities, islands, peninsulas, lakes, or rivers… the only things I notice are ⅔ of them are in Western Washington, with Chelan, Klickitat, and Wenatchee being in Central Washington and Spokane being in Eastern Washington; plus half the Western Washington locations (those beginning with Q) are on the Olympic Peninsula. It seems what is today Spokane Street could just as easily have been something else, and what is today such a prominent street wasn’t purposefully named after what was then the state’s third largest city (today, it ranks second).
Today, SW Spokane Street begins in West Seattle at Beach Drive SW, ½ a mile southeast of Alki Point, then goes nearly ½ a mile east to Schmitz Park, the block between 61st Avenue SW and 60th Avenue SW being a stairway. It resumes on the other side of the park at 51st Avenue SW and goes another ½ mile to 42nd Avenue SW. After a few interrupted segments between 35th Avenue SW and 30th Avenue SW, including another stairway, it begins again in earnest at Harbor Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way. From here it goes a full 2¼ miles east to Airport Way S, crossing the Duwamish Waterway and Harbor Island on the Spokane Street Bridge, and for this entire length runs either underneath or in the shadow of the West Seattle Bridge or the Spokane Street Viaduct, the latter of which leads to S Columbian Way on Beacon Hill.
After a short segment between Hahn Place S and 13th Avenue S, S Spokane Street begins again at 14th Avenue S and S Columbian Way and goes ⅔ of a mile east to 24th Avenue S. With the exception of an even shorter segment hanging off 25th Avenue S north of the Cheasty Boulevard greenspace, it next appears in Mount Baker, where it runs for two blocks between 33rd Avenue S and 35th Avenue S (part of this being stairway); then two more blocks between 36th Avenue S and York Road S (featuring another stairway); and two final blocks between 37th Avenue S and Bella Vista Avenue S.
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.
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…])
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.
This street, which was originally named Lake View Lane in the 1920 plat of Victory Heights, appears to have received its current name no later than August 1943, when it first appears in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as part of the obituary of Dr. Lewis R. Dawson, “dean of Seattle physicians and surgeons.” (Victory Heights was itself named for Victory Way, known today as Lake City Way NE within Seattle city limits and as Bothell Way NE in Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and Bothell. The road was given this name in the wake of the Allied victory in World War I.)
My first thought was that Lake View Lane had been renamed Victory Lane to preserve the Victory Way name after the highway became Bothell Way, but it turns out that happened a number of years later, so I am unsure as to the reason for this name change.
This street was named in 1968 for Northgate Station, which opened in 1950 as the Northgate Center shopping mall. According to HistoryLink.org, it was “the country’s first regional shopping center to be defined as a ‘mall’ (although there were at least three predecessor shopping centers).” Newspaper archives show that it became known early on as Northgate Mall, and that became its official name in 1974. As of this writing, the property is in the midst of a massive redevelopment project that began in 2019.
Prior to 1968, Northgate Way was known as (from west to east) N 105th Street, Mineral Springs Way N, N 110th Street, NE 110th Street, and Chelsea Place NE. Today, it begins at N 105th Street and Aurora Avenue N and goes 2⅕ miles east to NE 113th Street and Lake City Way NE.
Digging into the newspaper archives, The Seattle Times of February 22, 1948, published a big spread on the plans for the shopping center. The story quoted one of the developers, a local investor named Ben Ehrlichman (the uncle of future Watergate figure John Ehrlichman). “The name Northgate was chosen, Ehrlichman [told The Seattle Times], because the development ‘will be the most important northerly business district serving Seattle and vicinity and the gateway to metropolitan Seattle.’” Though a 30th anniversary story in the same paper in 1980 credited Ehrlichman for coming up with the name — based on the 1948 story — we may never know for certain whose idea it was.
This street is named after the city of Renton, Washington, located southeast of Seattle at the southern end of Lake Washington. The city was itself named after Captain William Renton (1818–1891). Born in Nova Scotia, he came to the Puget Sound area in the mid-1850s and founded the Port Blakely mill on Bainbridge Island in 1864. Erasmus Smithers founded the Renton Coal Company with Captain Renton’s financial backing in 1873 and filed the first town plat in 1875.
A Renton Avenue existed in Seattle before this one, but not for very long — it was established in 1894 from streets on Capitol Hill “now called in various portions thereof Black Street, Joy Street, Renton Avenue and Eighteenth Avenue.” (Part of this area had been platted by Captain Renton, and was known at the time as Renton Hill.) It was changed the next year to 16th Avenue as part of the Great Renaming.
King County Road No. 1 ran east down from Beacon Hill at about the location of today’s Cheasty Boulevard, and then followed the approximate line of today’s Renton Avenue South to Renton. It also had been an earlier Indian trail route. Renton Avenue South is the remnant of this original county road to Renton. While portions of this road still exist, some are now incorporated into Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.
Today, Renton Avenue S begins at Martin Luther King Jr. Way S just south of S Walden Street and goes ¾ of a mile southeast to 33rd Avenue S just north of S Alaska Street. It resumes at 35th Avenue S just south of S Hudson Street and goes another ½ mile to S Juneau Street west of 39th Avenue S. It then starts up again at Martin Luther King Jr. Way S and S Webster Street and goes nearly 3 miles to the city limits south of S 116th Place. (Renton Avenue continues beyond there another 2 miles to — of course — Renton, where at 90th Avenue S and Taylor Avenue NW it becomes the Renton Avenue Extension and goes a further ⅛ of a mile to Rainier Avenue S and Airport Way.)
Today, Montlake Boulevard E (as well as Washington State Route 513) begins at the intersection of E Lake Washington Boulevard and E Montlake Place E, just south of the Washington State Route 520 freeway, and goes 1⅓ miles north, then northeast, to NE 45th Street, just south of University Village. It becomes Montlake Boulevard NE as it crosses the Montlake Cut of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. (State Route 513 continues for another 2 miles along NE 45th Street and Sand Point Way NE, ending at NE 65th Street just west of Magnuson Park.)
This street was created in 1890 as part of F.D. Dibble’s First Addition to Ballard, which had just incorporated as a city that year, and would be annexed to Seattle 17 years later. It would, therefore, seem to be named after F.D. Dibble. But who was he? And who was J. Albert Jackson, who filed the plat?
Jackson first. The December 2, 1912, issue of The Sacramento Union refers to him as former vice president of the Washington-Alaska Bank of Nevada (based in Fairbanks). He was charged with falsifying the failed bank’s books and aiding and abetting its receiver, Frank W. Hawkins, in embezzlement. So much for his good name, which was used in one of the advertisements for the addition: “Title absolutely perfect; title comes from a bank president in Seattle.”
I was able to find out even less about F.D. Dibble. He appears to have been associated with Daniel Jones & Co., who were involved in the development of Mount Baker Park (see Hunter Boulevard S for more on Jones). But that’s it. I was able to find two mentions of Dibble & Wallace, a brick manufacturing company, which opened in 1882, but no first names of either proprietor. Dibble may have been F.D., or a relative — it’s impossible to say.
I also came across a book, Prairie Poems and Others, written by an F.D. Dibble and published in 1900. There is no biographical information included, but this Dibble plainly had been to Washington: among the many poems are “Lake Pend d’Oreille, Washington,” “Mt. Rainier,” and “Rainy Days in Seattle.” Could this have been the real estate man? Again — impossible to say.
We must leave it at this, then: Dibble Avenue NW was named for F.D. Dibble… full stop.
Today, Dibble Avenue NW begins at NW 65th Street and goes 1½ miles north to NW 95th Street. It begins again on the other side of Holman Road NW at NW 97th Street and goes ⅓ of a mile north to NW 105th Street.
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.
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).
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.
The settlement at Alki Point established by the Denny Party in 1851 was originally named New York. By a process that is not entirely clear, the name became New York–Alki, and then just Alki. Alki means ‘by and by’ or ‘someday’ in Chinook Jargon, the implication being that the settlement might rival New York… someday. Charles C. Terry officially applied the Alki name to the town plat he filed in 1853, and the point, street, and neighborhood were all named after it.
In the introduction to her 1937 book, Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle, Sophie Frye Bass writes:
Please everyone, pronounce Alki as the Indians did, as if it were spelled “Alkey.”
Hardly anyone does this anymore — in fact I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say /ælkiː/ in all seriousness when talking about West Seattle. /ælkaɪ/ is by far the preferred pronunciation, as shown by this informal Twitter poll I ran:
Seattleites! I’m willing to bet you’ve always pronounced Alki as AL-kye (ælkaɪ), never as AL-kee (ælkiː). So this poll isn’t about how YOU pronounce it, but rather how you’ve heard OTHERS pronounce it.
I think I’ve only heard AL-kee from presenters (Brewster Denny?). I listened to this recording of a Squamish elder speaking Chinook Jargon and that seems to be closest to his pronunciation. See 12:55 mark: https://t.co/dNgc7auFcu
As noted in Alaskan Way, Harbor Avenue SW was once part of Railroad Avenue. When the Elliott Bay tidelands were platted in 1895, Railroad Avenue stretched from (using current landmarks) the Magnolia Bridge along the waterfront to the Industrial District, then across Harbor Island to West Seattle, ending southwest of Duwamish Head. In 1907 the West Seattle portion was renamed Alki Avenue, and sometime between 1912 and 1920 it was given its current name.
Today, Harbor Avenue SW begins at SW Avalon Way and SW Spokane Street at the west end of the West Seattle Bridge and goes 1¾ miles northwest to Duwamish Head, where it becomes Alki Avenue SW.