Happy Annexation Day West Woodland Neighbors!

Welcome to Seattle – West Woodland Neighborhood annexed on May 3, 1891

With the approval of City Ordinance 1695 the frontier district known as “West of Woodland Park” became part of the new and growing City of Seattle. It was 1891 and Washington had just become a state two years prior.  Ballard was still the ‘City of Ballard’ and would be so for another 16 years, until 1907, when they too would join the City of Seattle.

woodland hall

Photo of Woodland Hall courtesy MOHAI.  Woodland Hall is located at 419 NW 60th St. and acted as our neighborhood Town Hall.  

A Brief History of Seattle Annexations

Seattle was incorporated in 1869, eighteen years after the first white settlers arrived. From these beginnings, Seattle’s population grew to over 80,000 by 1900, tripled in the following decade, and expanded to about 550,000 people by 1960, a number that has remained relatively stable to the present. Seattle also expanded geographically, from its original territory around Downtown and the Central Area, through a wave of annexations in the early 1900’s that included the suburban towns of Ballard, West Seattle, Columbia, South Park, and Georgetown, and finally with several annexations in the 1940’s and 1950’s that brought in Arbor Heights and areas north of 85th and 65th Streets up to the current city limits at 145th Street.  The full list of annexations is available HERE.

The Original West Woodland Neighbor

While Guy C. Phinney was busy building on Phinney Ridge, Rasmus Peter Jensen was making a name for himself right here in the West Woodland Neighborhood.

Jensen

Photo of Jensen and his cows is courtesy Anna Jensen Kvan and was taken between 1903 & 1934 at the corner of 8th Ave NW & NW 58th Street.

Jensen immigrated to Seattle in 1889, the year Washington became a state, and homesteaded in the West of Woodland Park District.  He built a farm house located near today’s SW corner of NW 60th and 7th Ave NW and opened a general store, Woodland Grocery, Flour & Feed, at the SE corner of NW 60th & 4th Ave NW.  Jensen was also a carpenter by trade and owned a construction business.  He built several homes in the area, including 404 NW 60th Street, which was built about 1891 making it the oldest home in the neighborhood.  Jensen lived in this home until his death on January 9, 1943 at the age of 80.

Jensen married his sweetheart Marie in 1892. In their wedding photo, Jensen wears a formal coat and trousers and Marie wears a dark dress with a shaped bodice and puffed sleeves. At the time, many women still followed the custom of choosing a wedding dress that they could also wear at other times.

Neighborhood Boundaries

The original West of Woodland Park District included the frontier territory north of the old Ross neighborhood (West Fremont/ North Queen Anne) and the west-side of Phinney Ridge.  Approximate boundaries at that time were:

  1. West:  8th Avenue NW (formerly Division Ave. and Seattle City Limits)
  2. East:  Greenwood Avenue North
  3. South:  NW 55th or 50th Street
  4. North:  NW 85th Street (former Seattle City Limits)

I use the word approximate because most of these roads did not exist in 1891 when “West of Woodland Park District” was annexed into Seattle. They were simply plot lines on a surveyor’s map.

McKee’s Correct Road Map of Seattle, dated 1894, shows roads that were available in the neighborhood at that time. This map is available online, courtesy the Seattle Public Library.  Access the map HERE.

McKee's map of 1894

Side Bar:  “Greenwood Cemetery” located top/ middle of this map was originally “Woodland Cemetery”.

From Diana Wurn (special to the Seattle Times, October 28, 2007), “The commercial center of the (Greenwood) neighborhood is at Greenwood Avenue North and North 85th Street. But more than a century ago, it was a cemetery, known as Woodland Cemetery… The bodies were moved to Crown Hill Cemetery in 1907.”

A Seattle Times story covered the cemetery closure and relocation of the deceased:  ST – Woodland Cemetery – April 11 1907

West Woodland Today:

Today’s neighborhood map looks a bit different.  Reviewing old voting logs, Seattle Times articles, and city maps shows that our neighborhood boundaries have been fluid over the last 100 plus years, and included parts of today’s Whittier Heights, Greenwood, and Phinney Ridge.  Check out the current neighborhood map HERE.

Happy Annexation Day Neighbors!  

Aerial from above Ballard to Fremont - West Woodland April 25, 1947 (1)

This aerial photo above of the West Woodland Neighborhood is dated April 25, 1947 and comes to us courtesy Ron Edge.  16MB file available here.  

Post updated May 2, 2017

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