Lawton Street originated as Lawton Place in the 1905 plat of Lawton Park, an Addition to the City of Seattle. Like Government Way and Fort Street, it was named for its proximity to Fort Lawton, which had been opened by the U.S. Army in 1900. The fort itself was named for Major General Henry Ware Lawton (1843–1899), who was killed in December 1899 in the Battle of Paye of the Philippine–American War.
The bulk of W Lawton Street comes not from the Lawton Park plat, which covered 34th Avenue W to 36th Avenue W, but from a grant from the federal government in 1909 for sewer and street purposes. Lawton Street was laid out along the north edge of the fort, from its northwest corner at 36th Avenue W to what is now 40th Avenue W. There is a short discontinuity beginning about 250 feet east of 40th Avenue W consisting of a footpath and stairs; I’m not sure when that was created, but I don’t think it was the original configuration, as that would have defeated the purpose of the street.