A Look Back at Madrona School Desegregation

What did the Madrona neighborhood look like fifty years ago when desegregation was first implemented in Seattle School districts? According to the Seattle Times, a group of folks who were actively involved, either as parents, kids or teachers gathered together to reminisce and preserve their memories so that we can learn from what worked and what was difficult to know.

The group gathered at a residence in Capitol Hill to watch a film that presented the struggles constantly evolving desegregation efforts, which was the plan that was implemented in 1962, geared to attract middle class white families to accept integration. In 1968 the Madrona neighborhood experienced the Madrona-Lowell exchange, which some of the folk attending expressed “caused alot of grief from  the white parents when children were bussed though the mostly black neighborhood,” (The Madrona Elementary School was 87% black at the time). At a time when Seattle School districts were taking a stance to end segregation, the Madrona neighborhood was at the heart of the experimental phase. To learn more about what the historical neighborhood experienced, take a look at the full article here.

Madrona Area Then & Now

Madrona HistoryThe Seattle P.I. has featured several Seattle neighborhoods with a photo shoot of then & now pictures of local buildings.  Recently they featured the “Madrona and Mann Neighborhoods.”  To be honest, I have lived in the area my whole life and I did not know exactly where the Mann neighborhood was – but I looked it up and determined that the Mann neighborhood is part of what is commonly known as the Central District.  No matter what you call the area, there are some cool old photos of Seattle real estate.  I was personally disappointed because none of the pictures are what I consider Madrona – but it is still interesting nonetheless.  The photos I found the most interesting are the photos of the old Madrona Theatre which was located near the corner of Cherry and Martin Luther King Jr Way – although back when the building was still in existence Martin Luther King was still called Empire Way.

Note:  If you click on the link to the Seattle P.I. and hover over the pictures in the film strip below the large photo, descriptions will pop up about each building.  Enjoy.

Madrona Building Featured in Seattle Times

Madrona Gas Auto StationOn the front page of the Seattle Times Local Section today was a good article about the old gas station on the corner of 34th and Pike that will be torn down this Wednesday.  It will be replaced by mixed-use building named the “Pike Station” with retail on the ground floor and townhomes above.

The article’s theme was: sometimes it is okay to see local Seattle “landmarks” go.  (The building is not an official landmark).  The article spoke about how the Madrona neighborhood has been accepting of the change to its real estate unlike other Seattle neighborhoods such as Green Lake with the “Twin Teepees trama” or Ballard with the “Sunset Bowl bluster.”  The Seattle Times also gave a good history of the Madrona property with interviews with the current owner Tom Flood (owner since 2002) and previous owner Marjorie Lutton (owner from 1966-2002).

Check out the first link above to the Seattle Times’ article to learn about a sliver of Madrona’s history and to get ready for the newest addition to the Madrona Business District.

Saturday’s Happenings for Very Merry in Madrona

Madrona Brass Rings

Madrona Brass Ring

Tomorrow will be a fun-filled day in Madrona with the continuation of Very Merry in Madrona.   Events may have been added, but the last list of events I saw included all of these things for Saturday, December 3rd:

9 am – 1 pm: Book sale at Madrona Elementary School

10 am – 12 pm: Ornament making class at Arts Aloft

11 am: Celebration and tour of the sidewalk bronze rings project

12 pm: Ribbon cutting and kick-off of Very Merry in Madrona!

12-2 pm: Free wine tasting at Wilridge Winery

12-3 pm: CleanScapes booth – grab your paper and crayons to do rubbings of the rings, get your picture taken on their recycling truck, grab a giveaway!

1-3 pm: Madrona Holiday Home Tour featuring 14 Madrona homes-for-sale

2-4 pm: Free wine tasting at Madrona Wine Merchants

3-5 pm: Free wine tasting at Bottlehouse

8:45 pm: Candlelight walk to Christmas Ships at 9:25 pm

To help celebrate, Madrona businesses are offering specials throughout the day:

Live music and caroling

Guesthouse will have a one-day-only sale on holiday decor

Conrow Porcelain Studio will be showcasing local artists at their annual holiday show and sale

Glassybaby will be giving away a gourmet nut mix made by St. Cloud’s and will be offering free ribbon on their gift boxes

Hitchcock will be serving champagne

Cupcake Royale will have a special sidewalk sale and will have plenty of hot cider, cocoa and holiday babycakes!

Driftwood will have bubbly – sparkling water and sparkling wine

Cameos & Crowns will have giveaways and holiday treats

Also, check out the Madrona library’s special Madrona history display in honor of the event!

Where the Rivalry Began…

UW CrewThis weekend will be the 100th regular season dual race between University of Washington and Cal when the two schools’ varsity eight boats line up.  The race, that will begin this Saturday around 10:20 AM at the Montlake Cut, is one of the most storied rivalries in college rowing and it all began in 1903 just down the hill from Madrona at Leschi Park (map).

Back then Seattle was still a young city, and Madrona was even a younger neighborhood.  Madrona, which was platted in 1889, was considered way out of town and the developer had to create a trolley car and entertainment at the beach to draw prospective residents to the neighborhood.  (Click here to read the history of Madrona.)  A little over a decade later, in 1901, the University of Washington formed their crew team and in 1903 Cal came to Seattle by steamship to race them.  I can only assume Cal, who had a crew team since 1868 was the favorite to win.  The race was delayed because the UW equipment failed, and the Cal crew did a 1.5 mile exhibition run in which I assume went in front of Madrona since that is where more people would have lived.  Eventually, UW fixed their equipment and won the race and the rivalry began.

This weekend, UW and Cal will meet for the 100th time.  Cal, ranked #2 nationally, will arrive by plane and with a team made up of people from across the globe, facing the #1 Huskies ….. and all of this started 108 years ago on the shores of Lake Washington in front of the Madrona / Leschi area.

Click here for tomorrow’s schedule of crew events.

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.