Latona Avenue NE

This street, which originated in the 1889 Latona Addition to the City of Seattle, was named for the steamer Latona, described by Howard Droker in Seattle’s Unsinkable Houseboats, quoted in A Preliminary Sketch of Wallingford’s History 1855–1985, thus:

The sleek Latona was originally built as a pleasure craft for businessman James Colman to use on the Sound. Dr. E.C. Kilbourne, a dentist with extensive real estate holdings north of Lake Union, purchased the Latona and took her to Lake Washington by way of the Duwamish River and Black River, the lake’s outlet. After a few years of serving farms, mining camps, and logging operations around Lake Washington, the Latona came through the narrow channel dug in 1886 to Portage Bay and thereafter served Lake Union.

According to local historian Paul Dorpat, via Sophie Frye Bass, the boat itself was named for the Roman goddess Latona (Leto in Greek, mother of Apollo and Artemis).

Today, Latona Avenue NE begins as a shoreline street end just south of NE Northlake Way and goes nearly 1¾ miles north to 2nd Avenue NE and Woodlawn Avenue NE near the eastern end of Green Lake. It reappears on the other side of the Green Lake Park playground and community center at E Green Lake Drive N, and goes a further ⅓ of a mile to just past NE 77th Street, where it is stopped by Interstate 5. Finally, on the north side of I-5, it goes nearly ½ a mile from NE 81st Street to NE 91st Street, interrupted by a half-block segment just north of NE 88th Street where it takes the form of a footpath, and a half-block segment just north of NE 90th Street where it appears to have been incorporated into neighbors’ yards and driveways.

Latona Avenue NE right-of-way between NE 90th Street and NE 91st Street in Maple Leaf. The northern half is paved, but ends at an unpaved alley; the southern half appears to be serving as neighbors’ driveways at either end, the remainder being treated as part of their yards.

Loyal Avenue NW

Loyal Avenue NW, named by Edward B. Cox, Harry Whitney Treat (1865–1922), and Treat’s wife, Olive Marion Graef Treat (1869–1945) in the 1907 plat of Loyal Heights, was named, as was the subdivision and Loyal Way NW, after the Treats’ newborn daughter, Loyal Graef Treat Nichols (1906–2004). It connects Golden Gardens Drive NW to View Avenue NW and is just over 850 feet long.

Priscilla Van Sickler and Loyal Nichols at the Olympic Riding and Driving Club, Seattle, 1932
Loyal Graef Treat Nichols (right) and her elder sister, Priscilla Grace Treat Van Sickler, at the Olympic Riding and Driving Club, Seattle, 1932

E Louisa Street

Louisa Street was named for Louisa Boren Denny (1827–1916), who was 24 years old when she and her future husband David Thomas Denny (1832–1903) arrived in Seattle as part of the Denny Party. Their marriage in 1853 was the first in King County. The street name originates in the 1890 plat of the Denny-Fuhrman Addition to the City of Seattle, filed by the Dennys, Henry Fuhrman, and his wife, Carrie Fuhrman.

Daguerreotype portrait of Louisa Boren Denny, no date
Undated daguerreotype portrait of Louisa Boren Denny

Today, E Louisa Street begins at Minor Avenue E and goes a block east to Yale Avenue E. It resumes half a block east at the alley west of Eastlake Avenue E and makes it 2½ blocks before being stopped by Interstate 5 at Boylston Avenue E. Resuming in the Montlake neighborhood just west of W Montlake Place E, it then goes ¼ mile east to 25th Avenue E.

Perkins Lane W

This Magnolia street boasts one of the best views in all of Seattle — a completely unobstructed vista of Elliott Bay, Puget Sound, the Kitsap Peninsula, and the Olympic Mountains — if you’re fortunate enough to own property there. The view from the street itself is mostly of houses to the west, forested slope to the east. Notable Seattleites such as developer Martin Selig, broadcaster Kathi Goertzen, musician Ryan Lewis, and co-founder of Starbucks and Redhook Ale Brewery Gordon Bowker have called the winding lane — and it truly is a winding lane, hugging the bluff with barely enough room for two cars to pass each other — home.

View of Perkins Lane, Elliott Bay, and West Seattle from Discovery Park
View of Perkins Lane houses from Discovery Park, with Elliott Bay and West Seattle in background, January 2021. Photograph by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

The street was created as part of Carleton Beach Tracts, an Addition to the City of Seattle, Washington, on New Year’s Eve, 1920. The owners were Arthur Alexander Phinney (1885–1941), son of Guy Carleton Phinney, after whom Phinney Ridge and Phinney Avenue N are named; his wife, Daisy Euphemia Phinney (1884–1950); the Phinney Realty and Investment Company; and Oscar E. Jensen & Co., Inc. It begins at W Emerson Street in the north, just south of Discovery Park, and goes 1⅖ miles southeast to a roadblock a few feet beyond the bottom of the Montavista Stairs (more on that later). The roadway continues about 250 feet past the roadblock — all the buildings and lots on the west side belong to Martin Selig — and the right-of-way continues a little over 800 feet beyond that (see below for why).

The lane’s namesake had been a mystery to me for a long time, until I came across the Phinneys’ wedding announcement in the May 11, 1913, issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Formal announcement made yesterday of the marriage at Victoria, B.C., May 2, of Miss Daisy E. Perkins, of Portland, to Mr. Arthur A. Phinney, of Seattle, contained the first intimation to local friends of Mr. Phinney of the nuptial event. The bride and groom had laid their plans in secret and protected this secret against all inquiring friends.

It seems, then, that we have a case similar to that of Thorndyke Avenue W — naming a prominent street after the wife’s maiden name.

For all its advantages, though — view, privacy (though it’s a public street, there are only a couple of ways to drive there from the rest of the city, plus two rickety staircases down from Magnolia Boulevard) — Perkins Lane has its faults, as the headline ‘Perkins Lane: Seattle’s Poster Child for Landslide Risk’ implies. A major landslide at the end of 1996 took out five or six houses, depending on whom you ask, at the southeast end of the street, and the adjoining roadway — hence the aforementioned roadblock. A lawsuit against the city, of course, was filed, but was dismissed at summary judgment. Slides had been a problem for the seven decades of Perkins Lane’s existence before that, as the images below attest. (The statute of limitations for false advertising has long elapsed, alas…)

Perkins Lane Slide at W. Ray St. (displacement of utility poles), March 22 1925, from http://archives.seattle.gov/digital-collections/index.php/Detail/objects/77613, Seattle Municipal Archives Identifier 38072
Landslide at W Raye Street, with tilting utility pole, March 22, 1925. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 38072
Sign reading "For sale by owner — best buy, best view on Perkins Lane — No slides — Civil engineer says "Good condition to build on" — ME. 3843, MA. 8847 — 150 ft. frontage — will divide" at 2461 Perkins Lane W
Land for sale! Who was that civil engineer, I wonder…
“No slides — Civil engineer says ‘Good condition to build on,’” 2461 Perkins Lane W, April 14, 1938. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 12194
Landslide at 2445 Perkins Lane W
Landslide at 2445 Perkins Lane W, January 27, 1954. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, Identifier 44997
Ruins of house destroyed in Perkins Lane landslide on Magnolia beach in front of Magnolia bluff
Ruins of house destroyed in Perkins Lane landslide on Magnolia beach in front of Magnolia bluff, Photograph by Flickr user Whitney H, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

In fact, as the map below shows, there have been numerous slides over the years along the entire length of the road.

Perkins Lane W is also home to six of Seattle’s shoreline street ends — at W Bertona, Dravus, Barrett, Armour, Raye, and McGraw Streets, though McGraw is the only one currently accessible from land. The project to improve it back in 2013 and 2014 was not without opposition, but ultimately the threats never materialized (nor did the opponents’s fears). It’s well worth a visit.

View looking south from the W McGraw street end: Elliott Bay, Puget Sound, and West Seattle
View looking southeast from the W McGraw street end: Elliott Bay, Puget Sound, and West Seattle, November 5, 2014. Photograph by Flickr user Seattle Parks and Recreation, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Fourmile Rock by Wikimedia Commons user Dennis Bratland, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fourmile_Rock,_Magnolia_at_low_tide,_with_yardstick.JPG, licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en, April 6, 2015
Fourmile Rock (native name reportedly LE’plEpL, La’pub, or Tc!ě’tla), northwest of the W McGraw street end, April 6, 2015. Photograph by Dennis Bratland, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Mary Gates Memorial Drive NE

This street, which runs ⅕ of a mile from the “five corners” intersection with NE 45th Street, NE 45th Place, and Union Bay Place NE in the northwest to NE 41st Street in the southeast, was created in 1911 as an extension of Union Bay Place. It was renamed in 1995 in honor of Mary Maxwell Gates (1929–1994), mother of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and a member of the University of Washington Board of Regents from 1975 to 1993.

The original proposal was to also change the name of NE 41st Street between Union Bay Place NE and Surber Drive NE to NE Mary Gates Memorial Drive, but this was not done. An article in the March 14, 1995, issue of The Seattle Times reports that “City Councilwoman Sue Donaldson said the Laurelhurst Community Club, the university and its neighbors near Union Bay Place Northeast joined yesterday in asking” for the name change, and an article in the September 1995 issue of Columns, then the name of the University of Washington alumni magazine, reports Donaldson as saying “The new name is particularly fitting… because it was the route Gates took from home to campus.”

I have never seen an explanation as to why the proposed name wasn’t simply Mary Gates Drive NE — it is the only “memorial” thoroughfare in town.

Thorndyke Avenue W

This street was named for Grace Chalmers Thorndike (, who married Daniel Hunt Gilman (Gilman Avenue W) in 1888. It was created in 1890 as part of Gilman’s Addition to the City of Seattle. The original plan was that Gilman and Thorndyke Avenues would intersect each other at Grand Boulevard (now W Dravus Street), but this was changed, as can be seen in the plat map below, likely in the knowledge that the tracks of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway would soon multiply and make that impractical.

Gilman's Addition to Seattle, 1890, two sheets stitched together
Gilman’s Addition to Seattle, 1890

It’s not entirely clear why the street is named Thorndyke rather than Thorndike. There was an announcement of the Gilman–Thorndike wedding in the January 15, 1888, issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that spelled the name with a y, but otherwise the family’s name routinely appears in the Seattle press with an i. Yet we see that Grace’s sister Minnie — wife of James Bothwell (W Bothwell Street) — spelled her name with a y (at any rate, that is what appears on her tombstone).

(It’s also worth noting that Grace’s sister Estella married Captain William Rankin Ballard, after which the Ballard neighborhood is named, and her sister Delia married Ballard’s business partner Captain John Ayres Hatfield. The Thorndikes’ father was himself a ship’s captain, one Ebenezer Augustus Thorndike.)

Today, Thorndyke Avenue W begins at W Galer Street, at the west end of the Magnolia Bridge, and goes just over a mile northwest to 20th Avenue W and W Barrett Street. It picks up again as a minor road on the other side of the BNSF Railway tracks, going about ⅕ of a mile northwest from 17th Avenue W and W Bertona Street to a dead end under the 15th/Emerson/Nickerson overpass at the south end of the Ballard Bridge.

Lenora Street

This street is named for Margaret Lenora Denny (1847–1915), daughter of Arthur Armstrong Denny and Mary Ann Boren Denny. She, like Virginia Bell (namesake of Virginia Street) was just four years old when her family, as part of the Denny Party, settled at Alki Point in 1851. She was killed in a car crash that also took the life of Thomas W. Prosch (Prosch Avenue W); his wife, Virginia; and artist Harriet Foster Beecher.

Margaret Lenora Denny, circa 1900
Margaret Lenora Denny, circa 1900

Established as part of A.A. Denny’s 6th Addition to the City of Seattle in 1873, it begins at Alaskan Way as an (temporarily closed as of this writing) elevator and pedestrian bridge over the BNSF Railway tracks. The street proper begins just west of where Elliott Avenue ends at Western Avenue. From there it is just shy of ¾ of a mile to its end at Denny Way and Boren Avenue.

Virginia Street

This street is named for Mary Virginia Bell Hall (1847–1931), daughter of William Nathaniel Bell and Sarah Ann Peter Bell. Belltown and Bell Street were named for her father, Olive Way for her sister, and Stewart Street for her brother-in-law. She was just four years old when her family, as part of the Denny Party, settled at Alki Point in 1851.

Virginia Bell Hall, circa 1875
Virginia Bell, circa 1875

Established as part of the Plat of an Addition to the Town of Seattle, Washington Territory, Laid Off by the Heirs of Sarah A. Bell, Deceased in 1872, it begins at Western Avenue by Steinbrueck Park, at the northwest end of Pike Place Market, and goes ¾ of a mile northeast to Minor Avenue and Denny Way.

 

Olive Way

This street is named for Olive Julia Bell Stewart (1846–1921), daughter of William Nathaniel Bell and Sarah Ann Peter Bell. Belltown and Bell Street were named for her father, Virginia Street for her sister, and Stewart Street for her husband, Joseph. She was one of the younger members of the Denny Party, being five years old when they initially settled at Alki Point in 1851.

Olive Julia Bell Stewart, circa 1860
Olive Bell, circa 1860

Originally called Olive Street in the Plat of an Addition to the Town of Seattle, Washington Territory, Laid Off by the Heirs of Sarah A. Bell, Deceased in 1872, it begins at Stewart Street just east of 3rd Avenue and goes one mile northeast, then east, to Broadway E and E John Street.

On September 3, 1920, The Seattle Times reported that:

Extension of Olive Street, by the establishment of a diagonal thoroughfare to be known as Olive Way, running from the intersection of Olive Street in a northeasterly direction to Boylston Avenue North and East Denny Way, is provided in an ordinance completed yesterday afternoon by the city engineer’s office…. The purpose of the whole improvement is to afford an east and west arterial highway, leading from the business district into the residence section of the city, supplementary to Pike Street and Pine Street.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s June 24, 1923, issue, it “formally opened to traffic yesterday… a public improvement for which a fight extending over a period of fifteen years was waged,” so this 1920 ordinance was certainly not the first time an improved connection between Downtown and Capitol Hill was proposed. I’m not entirely sure what happened in 1908 the writer might have been referring to, but perhaps it was the Bogue Plan and he was off by a few years?

Route of Olive Way drawn on 1912 Baist Atlas plate of Capitol Hill
Portion of plate 7, Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Seattle (1912), planned route of E Olive Way drawn in pencil. The portion of E Olive St between Melrose and Bellevue Avenues is now E Olive Place.

It appears from the 1921 ordinance establishing the extension that the Olive Way name was originally only applied to the street east of Bellevue Avenue; it wasn’t until 1926 that it was extended west to the street’s origin.

One curiosity about E Olive Way addresses: the block numbers are out of sync with other east–west streets in the area. For example, the block east of Melrose Avenue is the 300 block, east of Bellevue Avenue the 400 block, east of Summit 500, east of Belmont 600, east of Boylston 700, etc. — for other streets. For E Olive Way, east of Melrose is 1300, east of Bellevue 1400 and 1500, east of Summit and Belmont 1600, east of Boylston 1700, etc. — essentially continuing on from Downtown, not starting over at what is now the route of Interstate 5, as the other streets do. 

S Henderson Street

This street is named for Catherine Henderson (1822–1891), wife of Joseph Dunlap (1818–1893), who gives his name to Dunlap Elementary School and the Dunlap section of Rainier Valley. HistoryLink writes of the couple, who came to Seattle from Fontanelle, Iowa:

Joseph and Catherine (Henderson) Dunlap arrived in the Puget Sound region in September 1869, having traveled by covered wagon from Iowa. According to family legend, when they arrived in the Puget Sound region, they followed a road over Beacon Hill and sent their son George up a tree to view the land to the south and east. There he spotted a flat valley and Lake Washington. The Dunlaps decided to homestead in that valley, located to the south of the Van Asselt and Mapel families. They claimed 120 acres extending east toward Rainier Beach.

It appears to have been Lake Street in the original Dunlap’s Plat of Land on Lake Washington (1889) but was likely changed when Rainier Beach was annexed to Seattle in 1907.

Today, S Henderson Street begins at Seward Park Avenue S, just west of Be’er Sheva Park, and runs ¾ of a mile west to Carkeek Drive S. On the other side of Interstate 5 and the Duwamish River, it runs ⁹⁄₁₀ of a mile through South Park from just east of 14th Avenue S to just west of 2nd Avenue S, the portion over Highway 99/W Marginal Way S being a footbridge. Once in West Seattle, SW Henderson Street runs ⅔ of a mile from 8th Avenue SW, just west of Westcrest Park, to 21st Avenue SW, where the arterial turns into SW Barton Place, and is then a two-block residential street from 22nd Avenue SW to 25th Avenue SW, where it is blocked by the Westwood Village shopping mall. On the other side of the mall, it’s ⅘ of a mile from 28th Avenue SW to SW Barton Street at Fauntleroy Park, and then a final couple of blocks from 43rd Place SW to Fauntleroy Way SW, just north of Washington State Ferries’ Fauntleroy Terminal.