32nd and Harrison Sinkhole is Fixed

32nd and Harrison SeattleI warned Madrona and Seattle drivers about the sinkhole on 32nd and Harrison a month ago, although it was hard to miss.  Back then I thought they were almost done.  They had laid asphalt and had just left a small hole which I assumed they were going to fill with gravel or something like that.  Then the big guns came out.  Several diggers were stationed at the corner for an extended period of time and they excavated the entire street corner and filled the area below.

The corner is back to normal and it has been for at least a week.  I had concerns when I saw it half done before, but now have no worries after seeing everything they did.  Happy driving Madrona.

Two More Chances to Tour Madrona K-8 School

Madrona SchoolTwo more chances to tour Madrona K-8 Elementary School are in the coming two weeks.  Day tours are scheduled this Wednesday, March 2nd and the following Tuesday, March 8th – both are from 9:15 AM to 10:15 AM. Tours are intended for parents/guardians and are generally geared towards incoming kindergarten families, but the entire school will be toured.  If you are considering Madrona School for your K-8 child, come and see classes in session, meet the principal and teachers, and hear from current families.

Tours start in the school library.

For further questions, check the Seattle Public School’s Madrona PTSA website.

St. Therese Auction Big Success

St Therese SeattleSaint Therese is a catholic church and elementary school in the middle of Madrona.  For 80 years, St. Therese School has worked to build a school in Madrona that supports students across ranges of racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds and the school’s annual auction helps achieve that goal.  Last night, Saint Therese had its annual auction at the W Hotel in Downtown Seattle, and while I am not privy to any of the financial information, it seemed to be nothing less than a big success.  The auction started at 5 PM and two silent auctions took place before dinner began at 7 pm.  The dining room had at least 25 tables with 10 people per table.  Around the outside walls of the dining room were “almost live” auction items, and as dinner started the live auction began.  Many items had fierce bidding wars but maybe none as entertaining as the Kenyan Dinner for up to 14 prepared by parish priest Father Okumu.  The bidding reached $1,800 when Father Okumu agreed to prepare two separate dinners allowing two groups to win the bid.

Congratulations to Saint Therese.  St. Therese has been a part of the Madrona community since 1927; here’s to the next 80 years.

The Integrated History of Madrona and Denny Blaine

Denny Blaine

Denny Blaine Lake Park

One of Seattle’s most exclusive neighborhoods, Denny Blaine owes thanks to its adjacent neighbor: Madrona.  Charles L. Denny and Elbert F. Blaine were among some of the first developers to plat subdivisions in the area, although they benefited from an even earlier developer, J.D. Lowman, who first platted Madrona around 1889. While today Denny Blaine and Madrona are in the middle of Seattle, back then the neighborhoods were “way out of town” and only accessible over a few rutted and muddy roads.   In order to draw people to Madrona, the developers created a park on Lake Washington and a trolley car line from the north side of the park up through the “deep wild canyon” that was described as “one of the most scenic trolley rides to be had in the city.”  To this day the #2 Metro bus line runs along the same path (now Madrona Drive, Denny, and 34th Avenue) as those trolley cars once did, and the buses still turn around at the north end of Madrona Park.

C.L. Denny and E.F. Blaine benefited from the trolley line since they owned adjacent real estate at the head of the ravine.  In 1901, they named their subdivision Denny-Blaine Lake Park and built their sales office along side the cable line.  Their office was built with a waiting area for the trolley car as well as place to picnic.  To make the wait more enjoyable, they created a small park characterized by a fountain which was named Minerva Fountain, after Minerva Stone Blaine, Elbert’s wife.  Today, the waiting area is still used to wait for the bus and children still enjoy “The Duck Pond” where you can find ducks and their ducklings swimming among the lily pads.  This park is still referred to by its original name “Denny Blaine Lake Park” although the name has often been confused with the “Denny Blaine Park” which is on Lake Washington.  An attempt was made in 1961 to remove the sign and presumably the confusion, but the Park Board decided to leave the sign and the name of the park as it was.

Click the links to learn more details about Madrona History or Denny Blaine History.

The History of Mount Baker and Madrona

Madrona TrolleyMadrona was first platted in 1889, almost 20 years before Mount Baker was platted (1907).  With Seattle still in its infancy, both Madrona and Mount Baker were considered far from town when they were incorporated.  To allow people to access the new neighborhoods, privately funded trolley car lines were built from central Seattle, but the developers of each neighborhood took different tacks to draw residences.  Madrona used motivations similar to Madison Park and Leschi to draw in residents: amusement parks.  The company that platted Madrona created a park open to the public with a boat dock, benches and paths along the shores of Lake Washington.  On the other hand, Mount Baker was created to be an exclusive residential area with a private beach and park.  The plan of the Hunter Improvement Co, the developer of Mt. Baker, was Seattle’s first attempt at city planning from streets to sewers to exclusive covenants.   To administrate and care for the community, the Mount Baker Improvement Club was organized in 1909 and incorporated in a holding company in 1914.

To learn more details about the histories of these respective neighborhoods click the links to Madrona History and/or Mount Baker History.

Leschi Market

Leschi MarketAlong the shores of Lake Washington, just south of Madrona lies the business district of the Leschi neighborhood.  There along Lakeside Avenue across from the public dock is a family owned neighborhood grocery store that has been a staple in Leschi for close to 70 years.  While the store, Leschi Market, carries everything you would expect a grocery store to carry, including a well stocked deli, they are probably best known for their on-site butcher that stocks all the usual meats one would expect plus many prepared specialties and a variety of home-made sausages.

The store has embraced organic food carrying a wide variety of organic meats and produce.

The Leschi Market also carries a wide array of wine.  The wine department carries over 1600 labels and the staff is available to assist with selections.

Whether you are looking for steak, wine or crackers, the Leschi Market is ready to assist you.

Leschi Market
103 Lakeside Avenue
Winter Hours
Mon-Sat 8AM – 8PM
Sunday 8AM – 7PM

Madrona Mom-To-Be Sale This Weekend at Buggy

Buggy SeattleStarting today and lasting through Sunday, Buggy is having a maternity sale for moms and babies.  Buggy mostly sells “nearly new” clothes for moms, kids, and babies – but also carries some new items including books and toys. The store is located in the middle of the Madrona Business District at 1422 34th Avenue.  The store is open until 6 pm on Friday and from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

If you have not been before, this is a great time to visit Madrona’s Buggy.

Madrona’s “Sweet Street”: 34th Avenue

madrona-neighborhood-awardSeattle Magazine’s March 2011 issue has an article entitle “Sweet Streets – Seattle’s Most Livable, Walkable Destination Neighborhoods” featuring 11 Seattle neighborhoods.  Madrona’s 34th Avenue had a one page spread listing all the usual shops that we all know so well.  Madrona restaurants mentioned were St. Clouds, Hi-Spot, Cupcake Royale, Naam, plus others.  Glassybaby, Hitchcock, Buggy and other shops also were discussed as well as other service oriented businesses.  The rest of Seattle is learning what most Madrona residents already know: Madrona is a great neighborhood.

Madrona American Idol

Molly SwensonA Seattle native, Molly Swenson grew up in the Central District and Madrona, went to Garfield High School, graduated from Harvard and landed in front of American Idol judges, trying out for the hit show’s 10th season this January.  Swenson, who currently has an unpaid internship with the White House, took some time off to pursue her longtime passion to tryout.  Molly was in multiple singing groups, a Seattle ensemble and the Garfield High School Jazz Choir, and joined an a capella group at Harvard.  Swenson made it through multiple rounds, but was cut last night after the Las Vegas Round.  This cut was that which would finalize the Top 24.  Making it past the first round is a feat, so congratulations to Molly Swenson on her success in the contest.

FYI: Comments on MadronaSeattle.com

Blog CommentI appreciate and encourage all comments on this Madrona blog.  But I want to apologize in advance when your comments do not get posted right away.  So far most of the comments are spam, so the comments are not posted unless I approve them.  My plan is to approve all legitimate comments, whether positive or negative (unless totally inappropriate).   Sometimes it is hard to determine if the comments are legitimate so I apologize if I do not approve your comment.  For example, this comment:

Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

That sounds legitimate, but there was no previous long comment from that person and based on other spam emails I have received that person does not seem to be genuine.

If I am mistaken on this or any other comment and you want take the additional time, please write another comment and I will try to make sure it gets posted on the Madrona blog.  In the future, I will look to streamline the blog by automating the comment verification.