Ridgemont Way N

This street was created in 1925 as part of the plat of Ridgemont. Unnamed at the time, it was presumably later named after the subdivision. I say “presumably” because there is no record of its being named in Seattle’s online legislative database, which there should be if this was done after this part of town was annexed in 1953, and King County’s only goes back to 1969.

Ridgemont, as the below advertisement implies, was named for its location atop a ridge “commanding a magnificent view of Puget Sound and the Olympics.”

Ridgemont Way N begins at Greenwood Avenue N just south of N 125th Street and goes just over 425 feet southwest to N 122nd Street.

Advertisement for the Ridegmont subdivision, The Seattle Times, October 11, 1925
Advertisement for the Ridegmont subdivision, The Seattle Times, October 11, 1925. It would remain outside of the city and “out of the bounds of high taxes” for 28 years.

Alpine Way NW

This street, like NW Culbertson Drive, was created in 1955 as part of the plat of Llandover-by-the-Sound, and was presumably named for the property’s view of the Olympic Mountains to the west. (I say property, singular, because there is only one house with an Alpine Way address).

Alpine Way NW begins at NW Culbertson Drive and goes just over 325 feet south to NW Northwood Road.

Stadium Place S

This private street begins at 2nd Avenue S and S King Street and goes 300 feet south to the north parking lot of Lumen Field. It was created in 2011 as part of the Stadium Place development, after which it was named. The development, in turn, was so named for its proximity to Lumen Field, known as Seahawks Stadium from 2002 to 2004, Qwest Field from 2004 to 2011, and CenturyLink Field from 2011 to 2020.

“The Wave” — the west tower of the Stadium Place complex — as seen from the parking lot of Lumen Field in August 2017
“The Wave” — the west tower of the Stadium Place complex — as seen from the parking lot of Lumen Field in August 2017. Stadium Place S is the street to the north of the parking lot, where the white van is parked behind the orange bollards. Photograph by Wikimedia Commons user Joe Mabel, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

Convention Place

This street was created in 1966 as Union Place, a state-owned frontage road for the recently constructed Interstate 5. (Construction of an earlier, nearby Union Place had been approved and then repealed in 1902.) It was renamed Convention Place in 1988 when the city took ownership as part of the construction of the Washington State Convention Center, which became the Seattle Convention Center in 2022.

Formerly open to the air, Convention Place became a tunnel during the construction of the convention center, which was built over it and Interstate 5. It begins at the intersection of 9th Avenue and Pike Street and goes ⅛ of a mile southwest to Union Street just before its intersection with 7th Avenue.

convention center lid looking south
Looking south from the I-5 Pine Street overpass toward Pike Street and the Convention Center, June 2015. The Paramount Theatre is just visible at far right, and just to the left of that, at 9th Avenue and Pike Street, is where Convention Place begins. Photograph by Flickr user SounderBruce, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
convention center looking west down pike
Looking southwest down Pike Street from Hubbell Place, May 2017. Convention Place begins at the traffic signal. Photograph by SounderBruce, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Sound View Terrace W

This street was created in 1905 as part of the plat of the Sound View Addition to Queen Anne. Originally a loop off 11th Avenue W and carrying that name, at some point it was renamed after the addition — which itself was named for its fine view of Puget Sound. (I have been unable to find the renaming ordinance, so don’t know exactly when the change was made.)

Smith Cove from Soundview Terrace Park, July 2008
Smith Cove, Interbay, and Magnolia from Soundview Terrace Park, July 2008. The industrial area at center is the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 91, the BNSF Railway’s Balmer Yard, and the Washington National Guard’s Seattle Readiness Center. Beyond the Magnolia Bridge is the Elliott Bay Marina. Photograph by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Soundview Terrace playground
Soundview Terrace Playground, July 2015. Sound View Terrace W is between the playground and the houses, all of which have Westview Drive W or 11th Avenue W addresses. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 178590
Portion of 1905 Plat of Sound View Addition to Queen Anne
Portion of the 1905 plat. Smith and Wild Rose Streets are now W Wheeler Street; the curving portion of 11th Avenue W is now Sound View Terrace W.

Dzidzilalich

As I wrote in “Dzidzilalich” to be honorary name for Elliott Way, Alaskan Way, the Lushootseed place name Dzidzilalich has become Seattle’s newest honorary street name. Pronounced dzee-dzuh-lah-leech, it means means “Little Crossing Over Place,” and is the name of a Duwamish village whose site is now covered by Downtown Seattle.

Mockup of a brown street sign reading Dzidzilalich

The designation applies to Elliott Way for its entire length, beginning at Western Avenue and Bell Street and heading southeast to where it meets Alaskan Way at Pine Street. It then continues on Alaskan Way to its intersection with S Dearborn Street, for a total length of 1¼ miles. (Why it doesn’t apply to Alaskan Way for its entire length, I am not sure.)

Where springs of clear water bubbled from the earth and the beach was sandy and free from rocks, there the Indians camped. Such a choice spot was Tzee-tzee-lal-litch, which Arthur Denny called Spring Street.

Sophie Frye Bass, “Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle

Elliott Way

Seattle’s newest street opened to traffic May 1 — but it has a rather old name.

Elliott Way, which also carries the honorary name Dzidzilalich, is named for Elliott Avenue, which in turn was named in 1895 for Elliott Bay — itself named in 1841 after Midshipman Samuel Bonnyman Elliott (1822–1876), part of the Wilkes Expedition.

The new road begins at the intersection of Western Avenue and Bell Street and goes ⅓ of a mile southeast to Alaskan Way and Pine Street.

Elliott Way, spring 2023, looking north
Looking north on Elliott Way, shortly before opening, spring 2023. The Lenora Street pedestrian bridge can be seen crossing the railroad tracks at center; the Norwegian Bliss cruise ship is at upper left, docked at the Bell Street Cruise Terminal (Pier 66). Photograph courtesy of Ryan Packer. Copyright © 2023 Ryan Packer. All rights reserved.
Elliott Way, spring 2023, looking south
Looking south on Elliott Way, shortly before opening, Spring 2023. The Elliott Pointe building is at right and the “Blanchard Street Opportunity Site” at left. The intersection of Elliott Way and Elliott Avenue is at center. Photograph courtesy of Ryan Packer. Copyright © 2023 Ryan Packer. All rights reserved.

Montavista Place W

Created in 1915 as part of the plat of Carleton Park, this is one of the many streets in the subdivision that features the mont element ― Piedmont Place W, Viewmont Way W, Crestmont Place W, Eastmont Way W, and Westmont Way W among them ― a reference to the “entire district[’s]… unobstructible view of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains” (The Seattle Times).

Montavista Place W begins at Magnolia Boulevard W and goes ⅖ of a mile northeast, then northwest, to 38th Avenue W.

E Shore Drive

This private road in the gated Broadmoor neighborhood goes just under 800 feet from Broadmoor Drive E in the west to just east of Waverly Way E in the east. The northernmost street in the development, it runs parallel to the Union Bay shoreline about 950 feet to the northwest, whence its name.

“Dzidzilalich” to be honorary name for Elliott Way, Alaskan Way

Contrary to what I wrote in “Elliott Way” just a placeholder name, it sounds like the new road connecting Western Avenue at Bell Street to Alaskan Way at Pike Street will in fact carry the official name of Elliott Way. To quote from a post on Mayor Bruce Harrell’s blog,

Mayor Bruce Harrell, City Council President Debora Juarez, and key waterfront leaders are proposing to establish an honorary name for Alaskan Way and Elliott Way, between S Dearborn St and Bell St. “Dzidzilalich” (pronounced: dzee-dzuh-lah-leech) means “Little Crossing Over Place” in the Coast Salish language Lushootseed. This honorary name would recognize the deep tribal history and culture on Seattle’s waterfront. The Dzidzilalich street name designation would be honorary; the legal name of “Alaskan Way” would not change nor would the official addresses on the street.

As I wrote in Rob Mattson Way, honorary renamings differ from official (re)namings in three important ways:

  • They are done via resolution rather than ordinance
  • They do not replace the original street name in official records and addresses
  • They appear on brown, rather than green, signs

The Waterfront Seattle page on Dzidzilalich notes that “The Suquamish and Muckleshoot Tribal Councils provided guidance to the city of Seattle’s Mayor’s Office, the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects, and the Seattle Department of Transportation in the process of selecting Dzidzilalich as the honorary name for this roadway.”

Mockup of a brown street sign reading Dzidzilalich

I am glad to hear that this new street will carry a Lushootseed name. To the best of my knowledge only Duwamish Avenue S and Shilshole Avenue NW do so currently. To have a major downtown street with a name like this is long overdue.

I should also note that, if this is what the tribes want, I support the proposal — and though I have some issues with it, it is not my place to tell tribal members they deserve more. I have no idea what the negotiations looked like. That said, I do have some issues with the proposal.

First, “Elliott Way” remains an incredibly uncreative name for the new roadway. I said it before and I’ll say it again: “This is a [missed] opportunity to commemorate someone, or something, new, rather than Jared, George, Samuel, or Jesse Elliott (apparently no one is sure just which Elliott the bay is named after)!” There is nothing wrong with dead white men, but take a look at the tag cloud at the bottom of this post for proof that they are far overrepresented when it comes to Seattle street names.

Second, honorary names simply don’t carry the same heft as official ones. No one calls 19th Avenue between E Madison Street and E Union Street “Rev. Dr. S. McKinney Ave,” or 15th Avenue S between S Nevada Street and S Columbian Way “Alan Sugiyama Way.” But they do call Mary Gates Memorial Drive NE, E Barbara Bailey Way, Edgar Martinez Drive S, S Roberto Maestas Festival Street, etc., by those names… because they have no other choice.

I do like the idea of giving Alaskan Way an honorary name. It is far too long and important a street to officially rename without causing a lot of issues. The last time we did something like that was when Empire Way became Martin Luther King Jr. Way in the 1980s. I’m glad that happened, but think the process would be even more drawn out and controversial today. (However, if the street that runs along our waterfront carried the name of, say, a Confederate general, I’d be among the first to call for those signs to come down.) But why just this portion of Alaskan Way? To the best of my knowledge we’ve never given an existing street an honorary name for its entire length. Why not start here, from E Marginal Way S all the way to W Garfield Street?

In addition, one reason behind honorary namings is that existing addresses don’t need to be changed. But Elliott Way is new. There are no existing addresses. Why not, then, simply call it Dzidzilalich, and give Alaskan Way another honorary name? Or, why not give Alaskan Way the honorary name Dzidzilalich for its entire length, and give Elliott Way a different name that “elevate[s] Coast Salish tribal history and culture,” as the mayor’s blog puts it?

A few asides: I, personally, would prefer the spelling Dᶻidᶻəlalič, which uses Lushootseed orthography. (If Port Angeles can do it with their Klallam-language street signs, so can we!) And I notice that only the Suquamish and Muckleshoot tribes are mentioned as having been consulted. I wonder if representatives of the Duwamish Tribe were given a chance to weigh in as well. (My guess is they weren’t, as they are not federally recognized, while the Suquamish and Muckleshoot are, and oppose the efforts of the Duwamish to gain recongition. There is a long-standing controversy regarding the legitimacy of the Duwamish as the present-day representatives of Chief Seattle’s people. See The Politics of Paying Real Rent Duwamish in Seattle Met for an interesting take on the issue.)

Regardless of what happens, though, I am glad to see “Dzidzilalic” return to Seattle’s waterfront.

Where springs of clear water bubbled from the earth and the beach was sandy and free from rocks, there the Indians camped. Such a choice spot was Tzee-tzee-lal-litch, which Arthur Denny called Spring Street.

Sophie Frye Bass, “Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle

Lake Dell Avenue

This street was created in 1890 as part of the Lake Dell Addition to the City of Seattle, the lake in question being Lake Washington, and the dell being the valley through which Lake Dell Avenue runs.

Lake Dell Avenue begins at 32nd Avenue just north of E Yesler Way and goes ⅓ of a mile to E Alder Street just west of 35th Avenue, forming part of the arterial connecting Yesler Way to Lakeside Avenue.

Portion of 1912 Baist real estate atlas of Seattle showing Lake Dell Addition
Portion of 1912 Baist real estate atlas of Seattle showing Lake Dell Addition
Landslide along Lake Dell Avenue, December 1933. Looking south from near the E Spruce Street right-of-way. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 8255
Lake Dell Avenue retaining wall, April 2012. Looking north from near the E Spruce Street right-of-way. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 174892

W Laurelhurst Drive NE

W Laurelhurst Drive NE and E Laurelhurst Drive NE were originally Olympic View Drive and Cascade View Drive, respectively, in the 1906 plat of Laurelhurst, an Addition to the City of Seattle. I am unable to tell exactly when the change was made: I first find “Laurelhurst Drive” being referred to in The Seattle Times in 1920, though a Kroll map from the same year shows the streets as 45th Avenue NE and 47th Avenue NE, respectively.

Laurelhurst itself was annexed to Seattle in 1910 (which makes me wonder why the plat was labelled as an addition to the city four years earlier). “Laurel” must refer to the tree, and “hurst” is an archaic word meaning “wooded hill.” However, as the English Language & Usage Stack Exchange thread that gives that definition notes, “in street names, [hurst is] likely to be a modern invention,” being part of “a name made up from old roots to imbue a sense of history and rootedness” (or, in cases like these, Britishness and stateliness). (I had thought that “Laurel” might refer to a girl or woman [cf. Loyal Avenue NW], but neither of the developers — Joseph Rogers McLaughlin [1851–1923] and Robert F. Booth [1875–1918] — appear to have had a relative by that name.)

(As an aside, the Wikipedia article on the Laurelhurst neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, citing Eugene E. Snyder’s 1979 Portland Names and Neighborhoods, says that “the name Laurelhurst was borrowed from a residential development in Seattle that Laurelhurst Company general manager Paul Murphy had recently completed. The name combined a reference to the laurel shrubbery near the Seattle development with the Old English hurst, denoting a wooded hill.” However, I have my doubts that there were actually enough laurels nearby to warrant the naming [in contrast to Magnolia, which was {mis}named for the plentiful madronas that lined the bluff].)

W Laurelhurst Drive NE begins at 43rd Avenue NE just south of NE 38th Street and goes ½ a mile southeast to just east of Webster Point Road NE, where it becomes E Laurelhurst Dr NE. From there, it goes nearly ⅖ of a mile northeast to a dead end just past 47th Avenue NE.

Aerial view of Laurelhurst from the south, 1938
Aerial view of Laurelhurst from the south, 1938. Webster Point dominates the view; W Laurelhurst Drive NE becomes E Laurelhurst Drive NE in front of the house that prominently appears at the southern end of the point. Photograph from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, Museum of History and Industry, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Map of Laurelhurst, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 21, 1906
Part of an advertisement for the new Laurelhurst subdivision, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 21, 1906. Laurelhurst is called “the most beautiful and high-class residence district in Seattle… that peninsula separating Lake Washington from Union Bay.” Prospective buyers were directed to take the Madison Street Cable Railway to its terminus at Madison Park, from which they could take a 5-minute ride on a steamer to Laurelhurst.

Mountain Drive W

This Magnolia street, created in 1915 as part of the plat of Carleton Park, was originally known as Mt. Olympus Drive. Because not all Seattle ordinances have been scanned, I am unable to tell when the change was made (and am unsure why it was made, as the old name doesn’t appear to conflict with anything).

The Seattle Times wrote of Carleton Park that the “entire district commands an unobstructible view of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains” ― being on the west side of the hill, the view here is of the Olympics, of which Mt. Olympus is the most prominent.

Mountain Drive W begins at Westmont Way W and Altavista Place W and goes ⅕ of a mile to Westmont Way W just east of W Viewmont Way W.

Chelan Avenue SW

This street was created in 1895 as part of the plat of Seattle’s tide lands, which featured streets named for letters of the alphabet, American cities, American states, prominent local politicians, and places in Washington. Among the latter were S Spokane Street, Duwamish Avenue S, Klickitat Avenue SW, and our current subject, Chelan Avenue SW. It appears to have been named for Lake Chelan (an anglicization of ščəl̕ámxəxʷ, meaning ‘deep water’ in Nxaʔamxcín, the language spoken by the Chelan people) — the largest natural lake in Washington and the third deepest lake in the United States (after Crater and Tahoe).

Chelan Avenue SW begins at SW Spokane Street and goes ¼ mile northwest to the West Duwamish Waterway.

Klickitat Avenue SW

Like S Spokane Street, Colorado Avenue S, and Utah Avenue S, this street was created in 1895 as part of the plat of Seattle’s tide lands. As I wrote in S Spokane Street,

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.

Those places in Washington were Chelan, Duwamish, Kitsap, Klickitat, Queets, Quilcene, Quileute, Quinault, Spokane, Vashon, Wenatchee, and Whatcom, many (though not all) of which were themselves named after Native American groups or people. (Chelan, Duwamish, Klickitat, and Spokane are the only street names that remain.) In this particular case, we have the Klickitat River, a tributary of the Columbia in south central Washington, itself named for the Klickitat people.

Klickitat Avenue SW begins at 16th Avenue SW and goes around ⅖ of a mile southeast to SW Manning Street, all on Harbor Island.

Seattle skyline from Klickitat Avenue
Looking northeast toward the Seattle skyline from Harbor Island, December 2011. The Klickitat Avenue Bridge is in the foreground. Photograph by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

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

Eastmont Way W

Like its twin, Westmont Way W, this street was created in 1915 as part of the plat of Carleton Park, which “afford[ed] a scenic frontage for every building lot in the addition,” according to The Seattle Times. Just as Westmont faces the Olympic Mountains to the west and southwest, Eastmont faces the Cascades to the southeast.

Beginning at Eastmont Place, a pocket park at the south end of Westmont Way W, it goes around 850 feet northeast to W McGraw Street, where it becomes 36th Avenue W.

Westmont Way W

In Viewmont Way W, I discuss the 1915 plat of Carleton Park, in which, as The Seattle Times reported,

The streets and boulevards curve and swing about the bases of elevated portions, escaping the deep cuts and heavy fills that would be necessary in conforming to the strict, rectangular plans of the old plat, and affording a scenic frontage for every building lot in the addition.

Many streets in the subdivision were named in reference to these views, Westmont Way W among them. Beginning at Eastmont Place, a pocket park at the south end of Eastmont Way W, it goes ⅖ of a mile north, then northwest, to W Viewmont Way W, providing westerly and southwesterly views of the Olympic Mountains for its entire length.

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.