THIS LOOK west on Wallingford’s North 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 of its factory on the north shore of Lake Union — since 1975 our Gas Works Park. For this cityscape the unnamed photographer left its construction site beside the lake for a short climb up what real-estate agents sometimes referred to as the Wallingford Ridge, but more often the Wallingford district.
On the snapshot’s border (not shown here), is the date 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. Using the trolley tracks on the left as a pointer, we can spot Fremont’s smoking lumber mill across Lake Union.
Edgewater, a name rarely remembered today, was Fremont’s suburb to the east. Far right, 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. Early in 1907 most locals would have considered this intersection also part of Edgewater, although, because of the rails on the left, not for long.
By February, downtown Seattle trolleys were swaying on these tracks. Less than two blocks behind the photographer the tracks turned north up Wallingford Avenue, and thereafter agents 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 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.
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