Seattle Now & Then: Wallingford Call

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking east through Wallingford’s central intersection of N. 45th Street and Wallingford Avenue in 1925. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: The “repeat” was recorded earlier this fall.

This week we hope to encourage our readers, and especially the Wallingfordians among them, to join our welcoming cadre at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N., on Saturday, January 6, 2:30-4:00 o-clock for a lively introduction to the newly formed Historic Wallingford.  It’s about time.

Portland Poet Claire Sykes visits Wallingford

We embrace Wallingford, the Seattle neighborhood that looks south to the Seattle skyline while sitting comfortably with its feet in the foot-bath of Lake Union.  It is a neighborhood of mostly modest homes and always has been. It’s a stable place to tenderly raise a family while still being close to almost everything.  Did you know that “surveys show” that Wallingford residents are often considered learned by reason of their proximity to “higher education.”  Having lived in Wallingford for more than thirty years, I’m counting on it. I hope to have picked up on some of the smarts regularly pushing west over Interstate-5 from the atmosphere circulating above the University of Washington.  (Note: one does not move into Wallingford from that direction without also battling the air and audio pollutants contributed by the freeway.)

QFC, formerly the Food Giant, adding a story and safer parking in 2009.

The neighborhood’s first homebuilders promoted it as Wallingford Hill, and north of N. 45th Street, it surely does rise high above its eastern border, the freeway.  But Wallingford is uncertain about its northern limits.  By now, after waves of planners, promoters and Green Lake advocates have massaged the neighborhood’s shoulders, its north end is generally set at N. 50th Avenue.  This is mildly embarrassing, because the Wallingford Addition was first platted north of N. 50th in the southeast Green Lake neighborhood, although Wallingford Avenue does run the entire inter-lake journey north-south from Green Lake to Lake Union.

Above the Times sampler on Wallingford’s 45th Street in 1925. Below repeats of the same properties about a dozen years ago. (Well, I forget when the Blue Star on Stone Way opened, and these were part of the neighborhood exhibit I mounted for its walls.  The film “Singles” is running at the Guild 45.  It was released in the early 1990s, but this showing at the neighborhood’s theatre was probably not its first run, especially given that the film was shot in Seattle.  You remember.  Note that this week’s featured photo appears top-left in the top montage from 1925.) CLICK TO ENLARGE

First printed in The Times Rotogravure Pictorial Section on October 25, 1925, this week’s featured photo looks east on N. 45th Street to Wallingford Avenue.  The still-standing apartment house at the northwest corner was blessed with tenants James and Carrie Straker. The steadfast Strakers lived in one of the eight apartments and ran their mixed hardware store and auto supply (see signs) for 45 years at the same address, 1720 N. 45th Street.  Note, that while N. 45th is busy, the namesake arterial that crosses it is at rest, at least when compared to Stone Way, Wallingford’s next north-south arterial to the west. Stone Way is still considered by some Fremont folk as Wallingford’s western border. It largely lost this distinction to Aurora Avenue in the 1930s with the building of both the Aurora high bridge and its speedway cut through Woodland Park.

Wallingfordians planting extra produce for the hungry, and with these women behind it, the hungry got the harvest.
Good Shepherd seen from the Tilth garden in January and May 2007.
Lincoln High School enlarged to the north (left) but still without paved streets.
A Gasworks sunset with Capitol Hill glowing behind it above the east shore of Lake Union., ca. 2000.   CLICK TO ENLARGE
Latona School. The salvaged front door to the otherwise razed brick wing on 42nd Street. . It was moved to the corner. The school’s restored clapboard part appears in part through the terracotta passage. The photograph dates from September 6, 2006. I videotaped much of the changes on this campus with interviews for one of the several films-videos for which there may well be too little time left to fulfill. Such as it is.
The restored Latona School with the next addition attached to its south side, center-right. This photo was taken from near the arch shown above.

With the Good Shepherd Center, Lincoln High School, the Gas Works, and, maybe your home – perhaps a bungalow – Wallingford is landmark-rich.  There will be plenty of parking at the Good Shepherd Center on the afternoon of Saturday, January 6.

Back-lit and posing in the Good Shepherd’s pergola on August 9, 2008..
The Pergola’s surrounds on November 2, 2008 still dappled with fallen plums.
Foodland at the northeast corner of 45th Steet and Wallingford Avenue. {Click to Enlarge)


Anything to add, lads?  Again and again from Ron Edge and myself – Ron First with the more recently published links picked from the blog.  Some, we hope, will be familiar to you.

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)



Temporarily untended the Good Shepherd orchard awaits its fate, ca. 1978.

4719 Thackeray Place NE.  The 1938 WPA tax photo.

THEN: The Latona Bridge was constructed in 1891 along the future line of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge.  The photo was taken from the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway right-of-way, now the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail. The Northlake Apartment/Hotel on the right survived and struggled into the 1960s.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: The historical view looks directly south into the Latona addition’s business district on Sixth Ave. NE. from the Northern Pacific’s railroad bridge, now part of the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Long-time Wallingford resident Victor Lygdman looks south through the work-in-progress on the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge during the summer of 1959.  Bottom-right are the remnants of the Latona business and industrial district, including the Wayland Mill and the Northlake Apartments, replaced now with Ivar’s Salmon House and its parking. (Photo by Victor Lygdman)

THEN: From 1909 to the mid-late 1920s, the precipitous grade separation between the upper and lower parts of NE 40th Street west of 7th Ave. NE was faced with a timber wall. When the wall was removed, the higher part of NE 40th was shunted north, cutting into the lawns of the homes beside it. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

THEN: The 1906-07 Gas Works at the north end of Lake Union went idle in 1956 when natural gas first reached Seattle by pipeline. In this photo, taken about fifteen years later, the Wallingford Peninsula is still home to the plant’s abandoned and “hanging gardens of metal.” (Courtesy: Rich Haag)

Then: The thousands of skaters on Green Lake in this late January 1916 view could not have known that the skating would soon be over, one of the victims of the Big Snow of 1916. Courtesy Fairlook Antiques


THEN: The rear end of the derailed trolley on N. 35th Street appears right-of-center a few feet east of Albion Place N. and the curved track from which the unrestrained car jumped on the morning of August 21, 1903. (Courtesy, Fremont Historical Society)

THEN: Roosevelt Way bustling after the war.  This subject first appeared in The Seattle Times on July 7, 1946.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: sliver of the U.W. campus building called the Applied Physics Laboratory appears on the far right of this 1940 look east towards the U.W. campus from the N.E. 40th Street off-ramp from the University Bridge. While very little other than the enlarged laboratory survives in the fore and mid-grounds, much on the horizon of campus buildings and apartments still stand. (Courtesy, Genevieve McCoy)







It is now a quarter century since I joined Frank before the home in which he was raised on Wallingford’s Eastern Avenue.




GASWORKS from Queen Anne Hill, 1959.
ca. 1912
Grandmas Cookies look over the closed gas plant near the beginning of its dismantling. Note the rising hill on the left of this Wallingford Peninsula.
For one of the Gasworks last post-gas but pre-park uses, the Butterfat Band performs a rock version of Humpty Dumpty, with the “lesser” cloth rendering of a “Universal Worm” hanging beside them from the tank, all of it done for a scene in the film SKY RIVER ROCK FIRE, a movie still in production forty years later! (Frankly, it needs funding.)
The Butterfat Volunteer Chorus
First appeared in The Times on the Sunday of November 26, 2006.


A multiplied detail of a Wallingford Landscape incision built from a digital slice of its ground cover.


A Wallingford detail. And a quiz. Can you identify its corner?


One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: Wallingford Call”

  1. Love running into my own house on your posts! I didn’t expect it. The house is still a Wallingford classic and your Then and Now from 2010 was so nice, made my year!

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