The University District (commonly, the U District) refers to a collective of neighborhoods in Seattle, Washington, so named because the main campus of the University of Washington (UW) is located there. The UW moved in two years after the area was annexed to Seattle, while much of the area was still clear cut forest or stump farmland. The district of neighborhoods grew with the university to become like a smaller version of urban American cities. [ full citation needed ]
Neighborhoods within the district include University Park (east from 15th to 25th Avenues N.E., north from N.E. 50th Street to N.E. Ravenna Boulevard), Greek Row (N.E. 45th to N.E. 50th Streets, 15th to 22nd Avenues N.E.), University Heights (north of N.E. 45th Street and west of 15th Avenue N.E.) and the Brooklyn Addition (residential and Bohemian area west of 15th Avenue N.E. and south of N.E. 45th Street); as well as the Main, West, and South campuses of the University of Washington.
Like all Seattle neighborhoods, the boundaries of the University District are informal; by common usage, the University District is bounded on the west by Interstate 5; on the east by 25th Avenue NE; on the south by the Lake Washington Ship Canal; and on the north by NE Ravenna Boulevard. It also includes, east of these boundaries, a small district on the north shore of Union Bay, bounded on the north by NE 45th Street and on the east by 35th Avenue NE. This extension consists mainly of the "east campus" and extensive parking lots of the University.Its main commercial street, University Way NE, is known throughout the city as "The Ave" in the "U District".
Some parts of the University District have had names of their own. For example, today "University Heights" mainly designates a former school used as a community center, University Heights Center for the Community; a 1905 map shows the name as applying specifically to the area bounded by what are now NE 45th Street to the south, NE 55th Street to the north, Brooklyn Avenue NE to the west, and 15th Avenue NE to the east.
What is now the University District has been inhabited since the end of the last glacial period (c. 8,000 BCE—10,000 years ago). Prominent Native American Duwamish villages of the Lushootseed (Skagit-Nisqually) Coast Salish nations were on a then-larger Portage Bay at what is now called Brooklyn Avenue, and the other on a larger Union Bay, near the present UW power plant (which is across from the UW IMA building), around the north shores a mile farther than today, and shores east of what is now the Union Bay Natural Area. (See also adjacent Ravenna neighborhood.) The Duwamish,("People of the Inside") tribe had the prominent village of SWAH-tsoo-gweel ("portage") on then-adjacent Union Bay, and what is now Ravenna was their backyard before the arrival of European settlers. Villages were diffuse. In spring, people dispersed from their winter villages of longhouses to camps, gathering in summer for salmon. Gaps in the forest were maintained to encourage game and food supplies. Such "prairies" (anthrogenic grasslands) were cultivated in what is now the University District. They were connected by a well-travelled path along what is now the Lake Washington Ship Canal (1883, 1916).
Surveyors noted several large Douglas-firs and western red cedars (given that large trees were not unusual back then, these must have been especially large). The U. District was first surveyed in 1855, and its first white settlers arrived 12 years later. In 1890, that part of the neighborhood due west of the present UW campus was laid out as the Brooklyn Addition. One year later much of the land north of the Ship Canal, including Brooklyn, was annexed to Seattle. The UW moved from Downtown in 1893, and the first university building was built in 1895.
An 1894 report describes a train wreck just west of the current University District. Latona has now been cut off from the University by Interstate 5.
August 20, 1894. Wreck on [the] Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern just west of Latone [now Latona Avenue]. Freight train from Gilman [now Snoqualmie ] hit a cow. [Trainload was a] [m]ixer freight train, 10 co[a]l cars, logs and box cars. Train had slowed down at Brooklyn [Avenue] for cows. Engineer saw cows on a bank beyond Latona looking (?) one another[!]. One cow was tossed over [the] bank and hit the track just as [the] engine came by. [The] [e]ngine was raised off the track[,] and when it came down [the] wheels went off the rails. Engineer reversed but [it] was too late. [The] [c]oal tender shot ahead[,] tearing part of [the engine] car [(cab)] off and decapitating [the] fireman and killing [the] brakeman. Engineer and coal passer [were] unhurt. Steam and dust enveloped the derailed cars. Engineer ran to Fremont to telegraph to stop [the] evening passenger train[;] also [illegible] Engineer claimed train going 20 miles per hr.
The name "Brooklyn" began to fade soon thereafter. Electric trolley tracks had been laid up Columbus Avenue (later 14th Avenue) in 1892, and the neighborhood soon began to be called "University Station" after the heated waiting house at the corner of what is now NE 42nd Street (1895). The name Brooklyn is not lost, however, for Brooklyn Avenue NE runs parallel to University Way, one block west.North and west of the campus, within the University District, the University Heights—a name now little used—was named for its elementary school (1903–c.1988; since 1990 the University Heights Center for the Community Association, hosts numerous activities small and large from the University District Community Clean Up to the University District Farmer's Market.
But for the trolley, in early decades of the U. District Downtown was a trek, a boat, and a horsecart ride away. Given these early transportation difficulties, the U. District was largely self-sufficient, with area businesses for people with ties to the University. Construction of family homes increased in the early 1900s, as did churches, theaters, stores, and a YMCA. The district's first bank and the first local public library opened in 1906, the modest library organized by local merchants.
As a result of a contest held by the University Commercial Club in 1919, 14th Avenue (by then already known as "The Avenue" or "The Ave") was renamed University Way, and the neighborhood was renamed the University District (1919).The neighborhood's north-south arterials are (from west to east) Roosevelt Way NE (southbound)), 11th Avenue NE (northbound), Brooklyn Avenue NE, University Way NE, and 15th Avenue NE. NE Pacific, 45th, and part of 50th streets are principal east-west arterials, NE Campus Parkway is a minor east-west arterial, running only west of the campus.
Every May, U District hosts an annual street fair, the first of its kind in 1971,started by local merchant and dedicated peace activist Andy Shiga in 1970, and the University District Farmers Market, Seattle's first (1993) and largest local farmers-only neighborhood market. Andy Shiga (1919–1993) of Shiga's Imports and local attorney Calmar McCune (1911–1996) long supported development of the alternative character of the U District. The ASUW Experimental College, founded in the college culture of 1968 by a group of UW students seeking education in areas not found in the traditional university environment, is now the largest nonprofit student-run program of its kind. Open to all, it has contributed to the cultural ambience of the U District ever since. The Blue Moon Tavern has become an unofficial cultural landmark, since 1934. Big Time is Seattle's original brewpub (1988). Opened in 1966 Dante's Bar&Nightclub is another popular venue and is known as "a U-District tradition." Six theatres (including the Neptune built in 1921, the Varsity since 1940; the Grand Illusion Cinema (founded in a former dental lab in 1968 by Randy Finley, now owned and run by dedicated volunteers); and the (locally-owned) Scarecrow Video, the largest video store on the West Coast further characterize the neighborhood.
The neighborhood's skyline landmarks (other than the UW campus) are its tallest buildings: UW Tower (formerly Safeco Plaza) and the Meany Hotel (which became the Best Western University Tower and is now known as Hotel Deca). The former, originally headquarters of Safeco Corporation, is located at the corner of Brooklyn Avenue NE and NE 45th Street. It was built in 1973, and at 22 stories high is the city's tallest building outside Downtown. The latter is Art Deco (1931, restored). The architect Robert Reamer gave every room a corner window.A jewel of the neighborhood is the formal Neo-classical Carnegie Library (1910) on Roosevelt Way at 50th Street.
In recent decades, the University District has suffered commercial decline, due at least in significant part to the more competitive planning, capital investment, and popularity of the University Village shopping center east of the campus, and Northgate Mall about 1-1/2 miles (2-1/2 km) north beside I-5. From 2002 to 2004, the city and the neighborhood have made some steps countering this trend by giving the Ave a repaving facelift including the addition of benches, bus bulbs, and period lighting. The addition of benches represented the reversal of a decades-long neighborhood trend away from providing free places to sit.
The district is served by two Link light rail stations: University of Washington Station near Husky Stadium opened in 2016 as part of the University Link Extension; as of 2020 [update] .and U District on Brooklyn Avenue near NE 45th Street which opened in October 2021 as part of the Northgate Link Extension. Light rail service connects the U District to Capitol Hill, Downtown Seattle, Rainier Valley, and Sea-Tac Airport. The area around U District Station was upzoned to allow for taller buildings in 2017, and 12 new high-rise buildings are planned to begin construction
The local year-round and seasonal homeless population, referred to as "Ave Rats", is well-known around Seattle. (See The Ave.)
Fraternity and sorority members make up a sizeable portion of the local cafes' and bars' clientele, especially such establishments as Earl's and Fourno's, though well outnumbered by the Seattle campus student body of more than 39,250.Other bars have a wider base of patrons, including the College Inn (built for the Alaska-Yukon Exposition in 1909) and the Irish Emigrant. The University District is home to all of the UW's fraternity and sorority houses, most of them clustered along 17th Avenue NE between NE 45th and 50th Streets ("Frat Row" or "Greek Row").
The Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA) in Seattle, Washington, also known as Union Bay Marsh, is the restored remainder of the filled former Union Bay and Union Bay Marsh. It is located at the east end of the main University of Washington campus, south of NE 45th Street and west of Laurelhurst. Ravenna Creek is connected to University Slough, thence to Union Bay, and Lake Washington. Drainage Canal is one of three or four areas of open water connected with Lake Washington around Union Bay Marsh. The canal extends from NE 45th Street, between the driving range and IMA Sports Field 1, south to the bay, ending southeast of the Husky Ballpark baseball grandstand. The Drainage Canal that carries Ravenna Creek past UBNA to Union Bay is locally sometimes called University Slough.
Union Bay is a body of water located in Seattle, Washington. Part of Lake Washington, it is bounded by the Laurelhurst neighborhood to the north and the Montlake and Madison Park neighborhoods to the south. The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, which carries State Route 520, crosses over a portion of the bay.
Roosevelt is a neighborhood in north Seattle, Washington. Its main thoroughfare, originally 10th Avenue, was renamed Roosevelt Way upon Theodore Roosevelt's death in 1919. The neighborhood received the name as the result of a Community Club contest held eight years later, in 1927.
The street layout of Seattle is based on a series of disjointed rectangular street grids. Most of Seattle and King County use a single street grid, oriented on true north. Near the center of the city, various land claims were platted in the 19th century with differently oriented grids, which still survive today. Distinctly oriented grids also exist in some cities annexed by Seattle in the early 20th century, such as Ballard and Georgetown. A small number of streets and roads are exceptions to the grid pattern.
The Burke–Gilman Trail is a rail trail in King County, Washington. The 27-mile (43 km) multi-use recreational trail is part of the King County Regional Trail System and occupies an abandoned Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway corridor.
Northgate is a neighborhood in north Seattle, Washington, named for and surrounding Northgate Mall, the first covered mall in the United States. Its east-west principal arterials are NE Northgate Way and 130th Street, and its north-south principal arterials are Roosevelt Way NE and Aurora Avenue N. Minor arterials are College Way-Meridian Avenue N, 1st, 5th, and 15th avenues NE. Interstate 5 runs through the district. Besides the eponymous mall, the most characteristic distinctions of the area are North Seattle College (NSC) and the south fork of the Thornton Creek watershed and Seattle Kraken Iceplex center.
University Village is a shopping mall in Seattle, Washington, United States, located in the south corner of the Ravenna neighborhood to the north of the Downtown area. It is an open-air shopping center which offers restaurants, locally owned boutiques, and national retailers, and is a popular retail destination in the region for home furnishings, popular fashions, gift items and restaurants.
Ravenna is a neighborhood in northeastern Seattle, Washington named after Ravenna, Italy. Though Ravenna is considered a residential neighborhood, it also is home to several businesses, many of which are located in the University Village, a shopping mall.
Cascade is an urban neighborhood abutting Downtown Seattle, Washington, United States, located adjacent to South Lake Union. It is bounded by: Fairview Avenue North on the west, beyond which is the rest of the Cascade Neighborhood; the Interstate 5 interchange for Mercer St to the north, beyond which is Eastlake; Interstate 5 on the east, beyond which is Capitol Hill; and Denny Way on the south, beyond which is Denny Triangle. It is surrounded by thoroughfares Mercer Street (eastbound), Fairview Avenue N. and Eastlake Avenue E., and Denny Way. The neighborhood, one of Seattle's oldest, originally extended much further: west to Terry Avenue, south to Denny Hill on the South, and east to Melrose Avenue E through the area now obliterated by Interstate 5. Some recent writers consider Cascade to omit the northern "arm", while others extend it westward to cover most of South Lake Union.
Wedgwood is a middle class residential neighborhood of northeast Seattle, Washington with a modest commercial strip. Wedgwood is located about two miles (3.2 km) north, and slightly east, of the University of Washington; it is about six miles (9.7 km) northeast of Downtown. The neighborhood is further typical of Seattle neighborhoods in having more than one name and having different, overlapping, but well-documented definitions of the neighborhood.
Lake City is the northeast region of Seattle, centered along Lake City Way NE (SR-522), 7–8 miles (11–13 km) northeast of Downtown Seattle. A broader definition of the Lake City area includes all the land between 15th Avenue NE and Lake Washington, and between NE 95th and 98th streets to the Seattle city limits at NE 145th Street. Lake City encompasses much of the Thornton Creek watershed, the focus of a long restoration campaign by citizens and Seattle Public Utilities staff to enhance the residential environment of Lake City.
Bryant is a residential neighborhood in northeast Seattle, Washington. According to the City of Seattle's neighborhood maps, it is bounded by 35th Avenue NE and NE 45th Place on the west, beyond which is Ravenna; Sand Point Way NE and 45th Ave NE on the east, beyond which are Laurelhurst and Windermere; and NE 75th Street and NE 65th Street on the north, beyond which are View Ridge and Wedgwood.
Delridge is a district in West Seattle, Washington, United States that stretches along Delridge Way, an arterial that follows the eastern slope of the valley of Longfellow Creek, from near its source just within the southern city limits north to the West Seattle Bridge over the Duwamish River.
Matthews Beach is a neighborhood in Seattle, Washington; it and Meadowbrook are the southern neighborhoods of the annexed township of Lake City (1954). Matthews Beach lies about 2 miles (3.2 km) northeast of the University of Washington, about 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Downtown.
University Way Northeast, colloquially The Ave, is a major street and commercial district in the University District of Seattle, Washington, located near the University of Washington (UW) campus. Once "a department store eight blocks long," The Ave has gradually turned into what now resembles an eight-block-long global food court. The story of The Ave reflects the dynamics of many urban neighborhoods and the social and economic problems of countless American cities, though it is also a crossroads of diverse subcultures. It is patronized by many of the nearly 96,900 students, faculty, and staff of the UW and by a population of homeless or transient individuals, most of whom are youth.
Meadowbrook is a neighborhood in the Lake City district of Seattle, Washington. Meadowbrook is centered on open fields adjacent to the Community Center, Meadowbrook swimming pool, and Nathan Hale High School. It is bounded on the south by NE 95th Street and the Wedgwood neighborhood, on the north by NE 120th Street and Cedar Park, on the west by Lake City Way NE and Victory Heights, and on the east by 35th Avenue NE and Matthews Beach.
U District station is a light rail station on Line 1 of Sound Transit's Link light rail system in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is located in the University District neighborhood, near the University of Washington campus. The underground station has two entrances along Brooklyn Avenue NE at NE 43rd and 45th streets.
The Campus of the University of Washington is located in the University District of Seattle. Campus buildings are categorized by the major street or vicinity on which they are located on campus. In 2011, Slate magazine and Travel+Leisure described the Seattle campus as one of the most beautiful university campuses in the United States.
The University Link tunnel is a 3.15-mile (5.07 km) light rail tunnel in Seattle, Washington. The twin-bore tunnel carries Link light rail service on the University Link Extension of Central Link, running from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to University of Washington station via Capitol Hill station. The 21 ft-wide (6.4 m) tunnels are lined with precast gasketed concrete segments connected with steel bolts and was excavated using three tunnel-boring machines in 2011 and 2012. Light rail service began on March 19, 2016.
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