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Originally published Friday, March 15, 2013 at 10:01 AM

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Service with a smile at Aurora and N. 80th, ca. 1937

The opening of Aurora directly through Woodland Park, poured a flood of commercial opportunities onto Aurora's long commercial strip north of Green Lake.

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SIGNAL STATION'S aging tax card shows the Art Moderne landmark at the southeast corner of Aurora Avenue North and North 80th Street. It was built in 1929, the upsetting year that set loose the Great Depression. Still, the businesses along Aurora then were excited by what was coming. The 1932 completion of their new highway's great bridge over the Lake Washington Ship Canal, followed by the May 14, 1933, opening of Aurora directly through Woodland Park, poured a flood of commercial opportunities onto Aurora's long commercial strip north of Green Lake.

"Cunningham Service" is signed on the station in this 1937 tax photo, and all the Cunninghams — Agnes, William and their then-15-year-old twins, Bob and Bill — worked the station together. Bob, now a resident of Horizon House on First Hill, recalls how patrons enjoyed the double vision as he and his brother helped wash windshields inside and out. Service stations were then still "full service," although rarely by twins.

The Cunninghams lived in the neighborhood. The twins' mother, Agnes, took them to the grand Feb. 22, 1932, dedication of the Aurora Bridge, and they joined thousands to walk across it. Bob and Bill attended Daniel Bagley Elementary School, although in the brick plant on Stone Avenue, not the 1907 frame schoolhouse seen, in part, here on the far right.

After about 20 years pumping gas on the corner, Agnes and William Cunningham "retired" to developing apartment houses on the south side of Woodland Park. By then the Signal Station had become the Flying A.

On Feb. 3, 1965, traffic on Aurora suddenly slacked when Miss Sno-King, Rose Clare Menalo of Meadowdale High School, opened the 19.7-mile section of Interstate 5 between Seattle and Everett.

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard's blog at www.pauldorpat.com.

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