The Seattle neighborhood smartly tucked between Green Lake and Lake Union gets its own historic organization.

Share story

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., from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 6, for a lively introduction to the newly formed Historic Wallingford organization. It’s about time.

The Seattle neighborhood, which looks south to the city skyline while sitting comfortably with its feet in the foot-bath of Lake Union, 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 30 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.)

The neighborhood’s first homebuilders promoted it as Wallingford Hill, and north of North 40th 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 North 50th Street. This is mildly embarrassing, because the Wallingford Addition was first platted north of North 50th Street in the southeast Green Lake neighborhood, although Wallingford Avenue does run the entire journey north-south from Green Lake to Lake Union.

First printed in The Times Rotogravure Pictorial Section on Oct. 25, 1925, this week’s “Then” photo looks east on North 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 hardware/auto-supply store (see signs) for 45 years at the same address, 1720 N. 45th St.

Note that while North 45th Street 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 the Aurora bridge and its speedway cut through Woodland Park.

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