Seattle Now & Then: Wallingford Rising

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking west down Ewing Street (North 34th) in 1907 with the nearly new trolley tracks on the left and a drainage ditch on the right to protect both the tracks and the still barely graded street from flooding.  (Courtesy, Michael Maslan)
THEN: Looking west down Ewing Street (North 34th) in 1907 with the nearly new trolley tracks on the left and a drainage ditch on the right to protect both the tracks and the still barely graded street from flooding. (Courtesy, Michael Maslan)
NOW: After visiting the site together, Jean and I are somewhat confident that it is Densmore Avenue that intersects with N. 34th Street in the historical scene.  However, in the event a reader can convince us that it is Woodland Ave. instead, one block to the west of Densmore, Jean has in reserved another repeat to cover it.
NOW: After visiting the site together, Jean and I are somewhat confident that it is Densmore Avenue that intersects with N. 34th Street in the historical scene. However, in the event a reader can convince us that it is Woodland Ave. instead, one block to the west of Densmore, Jean has in reserved another repeat to cover it.

This look west on Wallingford’s N. 34th Street was copied from an album of snapshots taken in 1906 and 1907.  Most are of the Seattle Gas Company’s many early-century sites, including the building then of its new factory on the north shore of Lake Union, since 1975 our Gas Works Park.  For this cityscape the unnamed photographer, almost certainly employed by the company, left its construction site beside the lake for a short climb north up what real estate agents sometimes referred to as the Wallingford Ridge, but more often the Wallingford district.

Looking east from the Fremont low bridge (one of them) to the dam at Fremont - the one that gave way in 1914. (Use the keyword search box to find the recent feature about that wipe out.)  This view dates from 1906 or 1907, and appears in the same Seattle Gas album (courtesy of Mike Maslan) as the featured photo at the top and a few more below.
Looking east from the Fremont low bridge (one of them) to the dam at Fremont – the one that gave way in 1914. (Use the keyword search box to find our recent feature about that wipe out.) This view dates from 1906 or 1907, and appears in the same Seattle Gas album (courtesy of Mike Maslan) as the featured photo at the top, and a few more below.
The Fremont low bridge (one of them) from its north side.  The use of the pile driver in the foreground is not explained.  The date on this one is.  It is April, 1907, and the same day that the featured photo (at the top) was recorded.
The Fremont low bridge (one of them) from its north side. The use of the pile driver in the foreground is not explained. The date on this one is April 27, 1907, the same day that the featured photo (at the top) was recorded.
Another from the Gas Company albums.  This looks east from the trolley bridge to the Wallingford peninsula with its "fresh" Gasworks still under construction in 1907.
Another from the Gas Company albums. This looks east from the trolley bridge to the Wallingford peninsula with its “fresh” Gasworks still under construction in 1907.

On the featured – at the top – snapshot’s border (here cut away), a helping hand has dated the subject April 27, 1907.  North 34th Street was then called Ewing Street, and the photographer stands a few yards east of its intersection with Densmore Avenue. The neighborhood in the foreground is a roughed-up construction zone, as were most of the additions then north of the lake.  The mill town Fremont was an exception. The mill opened in 1888, and so was almost old in 1907. Using the trolley tracks on the left as a pointer, Fremont’s smoking lumber mill is seen across the northwest corner of Lake Union.

Click or “click click” to enlarge this melding of two pages from the 1908 Baist Real Estate Map (used often here.) Ewing and Densmore are easily found as is the Fremont Mill and, by then, the first high bridge too
Click or “click click” to enlarge this melding of two pages from the 1908 Baist Real Estate Map (used often here.) Ewing and Densmore are easily found as is the Fremont Mill and, by then, the first high bridge too
On this north shore map from the 1890s Wallingford is not  yet noted.  Rather, Edgewater stretches from Fremont as far east as Latona.
On this north shore map from the 1890s Wallingford is not yet noted. Rather, Edgewater stretches from Fremont as far east as Latona, which lies snug beside Brooklyn, an early name for the University District..

Edgewater, a name rarely used or even remembered today, was Fremont’s suburb to the east.  Far right – in the feature photo at the top –  the distant structures seen climbing Phinney Ridge to the left and right of the outhouse and behind the blossoming fruit trees, are a blend of Edgewater and Fremont residences.  At the beginning of 1907 most locals would have considered this intersection also part of Edgewater, although, because of the rails on the left, not for long.

A Wallingford car on Wallingford Ave., I believe.  At least I think it likely that the photographer's back is to Ewing Street.  If I can prove it later, we will make a celebrating addendum out of it.  Otherwise we will stick with the hunch or be effectively corrected. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
A Wallingford car on Wallingford Ave., I believe. At least I think it likely that the photographer’s back is to Ewing Street. If I can prove it later, we will make a celebrating addendum from it. Otherwise we will stick with the hunch or be effectively corrected. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

By February trollies to and from downtown Seattle were swaying on these tracks and along this rutted road.  Less than two blocks behind the photographer the tracks turned north up Wallingford Avenue, and thereafter nearly every agent who sold lots between Edgewater and the University District made a point of noting the conveniences offered by the Wallingford Car Line.  It was for that gently climbing and, for the passengers, effortless trip up the spine of Wallingford Ridge that the neighborhood took its name.  John Wallingford, the namesake developer, former city councilman, and Green Lake resident, was rarely remembered.

A detail of our featured neighborhood near Densmore and Ewing as recorded by Oakes, a purveyor of real photo postcards, from the Queen Anne side of Lake Union.  This dates from a few years later than 1907.
A detail of our featured neighborhood near Densmore and Ewing as recorded by Oakes (a producer and  purveyor of real photo postcards)  from the Queen Anne side of Lake Union. This dates from a few years later than 1907.
Here in the spirit of our Mr. Wallingford forgetfulness is the Seattle City Council in 1889 - or near it - with Wallingford sitting among them.  Alas I know longer remember which of these is our namesake, but I'm pretty sure that that is Mayor Moran in the middle, bottom row.  Moran was mayor during the city's Great Fire of 1889.
Here in the spirit of our Mr. Wallingford forgetfulness is the Seattle City Council in 1889 – or near it – with Wallingford sitting among them. Alas I no longer remember which of these is our namesake, but I’m pretty sure that that is Mayor Moran in the middle, bottom row. Moran was mayor during the city’s Great Fire of 1889.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?

I like your title for this Jean, “Wallingford Rising.”  And I hope to now rise to your request and find some more photos, clips or features lying about.   First, Ron Edge will put up three (only) links, which will however include within them other links, and most of these will have something to do with the neighborhood widely cast to include Wallingford and Fremont with the Edgewater valley (or slump) between them.   Here’s Ron links.  Click to open.  Again,  I hope to find more – beginning my search now at 7:35 pm Saturday the Sixth.

edgewater-nef-40-then-mr

 =====

Four blocks north on Densmore,
Four blocks north on Densmore, the pioneer home of  Ted Carlson .  My good friend Stan James lived there for many years, and Easter Day breakfasts were a celebrated event for his family and a few friends. In a dark blue shirt, Stan stands below at the center.  Stan James was one of the best loved folk singers of the region.   You may have the pleasure of watching a YouTube of his singing, which was edited by Jean for this blog and posted some few days after Stan’s sudden – but ultimately expected – death by a heart attack in 2008 –  and in his chair.   Again, you can find the video of Stan and others by using the key word search offered above.

DENSMORE -Stan-James-Home-now-33197-WEB

The story of Stan's home as first published in Pacific on April 4, 1999.
The story of Stan’s home as first published in Pacific on April 4, 1999.
I visit the home site in 2010 and found the pioneer landmark replaced with this McMansion, which looks more comfortable than the James digs, which were drafty.
I drove by the home site at 3729 Densmore in 2010 and found the pioneer landmark replaced with this McMansion, which looks more comfortable than the James digs, which were drafty.

====

NIGHTY BEARS

It is time once again to climb the stairs to Nighty Bears, which we always do also thinking of the world traveler Bill Burden, our California friend who first shared this chummy name for going to bed and who has recently moved to a country home beside the “gold rush river” of 1849, the American River.  Nighty Bears to William too.  For the record, tomorrow we intend to return with an illustrated feature on the Gasworks, another neighbor.

We close for the moment with this reminder that Wallingford's micro-climate, rising to the east and above the shade of Fremont, is a most temperate one.
We close for the moment with this reminder that Wallingford’s micro-climate, rising to the east and above the shades of Fremont, is a most temperate one.

2 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Wallingford Rising”

  1. I think that the poles curving to the right indicate this is looking at Woodlawn rather than Densmore. In the Now photo, the street is looking due west for a full two blocks before the bend. Also in the map included below, it shows there would be a building at this NW corner of Densmore and Ewing. Finally, I think if t was Densmore, the high roofline of 3428 Woodlawn (built in 1902) might be visible here at the right. My 2 bits.

  2. I agree that the old photo was not taken from same point as the new photo but instead farther to west at or near woodkawn. The curve of the road plus view of Fremont mill are what make me agree.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s