‘Outsiders’ helped Seattle grow
A look at what was the “far north” of the city of Seattle in 1925: North 85th Street, now a bustling thoroughfare in the Greenwood neighborhood.
Special to The Seattle Times
THE SEATTLE Times’ special attention to city neighborhoods reached Greenwood on Oct. 11, 1925. This “then” look east, taken on North 85th Street from Palatine Avenue, was the largest of five neighborhood scenes the newspaper published on page 26 of that Sunday edition. The headline for the story reads, “North End District is Growing at Amazing Pace” and continues below the photo with, “Star of Seattle Empire Goes Steadily Northward; Hundreds Demand Homes.”
Seattle’s boundaries first reached this corner officially in 1891. With an act of territorial bravado, the city annexed much of the north end, where stumps still far outnumbered citizens. Hardly a road then, North 85th Street was agreed to by vote as the expanding city’s new northern border, but with exceptions: Ballard, known as the “shingle capital of the world,” kept to itself; and the Webster Point peninsula dividing Lake Washington proper from Union Bay was still many years from being promoted as the exclusive Laurelhurst — it was first annexed in 1910.
In 1910, the trolley first reached North 85th Street on Greenwood Avenue — one block east of The Times photographer’s position. But in 1925, the city still stopped at the centerline of 85th. Consequently, the structures on the left had King Country addresses and would keep them until Jan. 4, 1954. P.M. Morrow built the almost-finished frame and brick-veneer building at the northeast corner of 85th and Palatine with plate-glass storefronts, apartments upstairs and a movie theater — the Grand — at his building’s eastern end.
Morrow also owned a truck farm behind the Morrow Block. Earlier in that 1925 summer, Morrow explained at a Greenwood meeting called to consider annexation into Seattle that he was against it. “I didn’t come out to avoid high taxes ... I came out in the spirit of the pioneer to pick up better and cheaper land and to blaze the trail.” Morrow concluded, “We on the outside have contributed largely to Seattle’s growth.”
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