Seattle Now & Then: 85th and Palatine

(click to enlarge photos)

85th-&-Palatine-THEN-MR
THEN: The two motorcars parked irregularly in the foreground at the northeast corner of Palatine Ave. and N. 85th Street, are – I think – both Model-T Fords. Behind them the nearly completed Morrow Block reaches second floor apartments. Beyond the Fords are more Fords and examples of Greenwood commerce in 1925. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
85th-&-Palatine-NOW-MR-
NOW: The Morrow Block survives in Jean’s repeat, with changes, although theatre is still alive in the building. In 1995 Taproot Theatre started performing on the stage of what was once the Grand Theatre and then the North End Cinema. The marquee can be seen behind the trees.

The Seattle Times special attention to Seattle neighborhoods reached Greenwood on Sunday Oct. 11, 1925.  This look east on N. 85th Street from Palatine Avenue was the largest of five neighborhood scenes that the daily newspaper grouped on page 26 within a decorative montage.  The generous feature included many inches of copy – about 35.  The headline for the story runs above this street scene and reads, “North End District is Growing at Amazing Pace” and continues below it, “Star of Seattle Empire Goes Steadily Northward; Hundreds Demand Homes.”

The TIMES coverage on Greenwood from Oct. 11, 1925 - DOUBLE-CLICK IT!
The TIMES coverage on Greenwood from Oct. 11, 1925 – DOUBLE-CLICK IT!

Seattle first reached this corner officially in 1891. With an act of territorial bravado the city annexed much of the north end where stumps still far outnumbered citizens. Hardly a road then, 85th Street was agreed to by vote as the expanding city’s new northern border, but with exceptions.  Ballard, the “shingle capitol of the world”, kept to itself, and the Webster Point peninsula dividing Lake Washington proper from its Union Bay was still many years from being promoted as the exclusive Laurelhurst, which was first annexed in 1910.

In 1910 Trollies first reached N. 85th Street on Greenwood Ave – one block east of the Times photographer’s position.  Here 15 years later the city still stops at the centerline of 85th.  Consequently, the structures on the left have only King Country addresses and taxes and would remain so until Jan 4, 1954.  P.M. Morrow built the almost finished frame and brick veneer building here at the northeast corner of 85th and Palatine with plate glass storefronts, apartments upstairs, and a movie theatre – the Grand – at his building’s eastern end.

Looking west on 85th thru its intersection with Greenwood in 1939, and so near the end of its rails.
Looking west on 85th thru its intersection with Greenwood in 1939, and so near the end of its rails.

Morrow also owned a truck farm behind the Morrow Block. Earlier that summer – in 1925 – Morrow explained at an open Greenwood meeting called to consider annexation into Seattle that he was against it. “I didn’t come out to avoid high taxes . . . I came out in the spirit of the pioneer to pick up better and cheaper land and to blaze the trail.” Morrow concluded, “We on the outside have contributed largely to Seattle’s growth.”

The Greenwood page from Stetson and Post's pattern book of typical home types to build with their lumber.
The Greenwood page from Stetson and Post’s pattern book of typical home types to build with their lumber.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?   Sure Jean, in spite of the troubles we are having with this program, we may start with Ron Edge’s help.  He has pulled 4 past features that are relevant to the Greenwood Neighborhood, meaning in or near it.  Then as time and this machine allows I’ll add some others below the Edge Four.   For those, just click the pictures.

THEN: Far-left, Playland’s Acroplane, a carni’ flight-simulator, stands admired by future pilots in 1932. Behind them sprawls the amusement park’s fated Fun House. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

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