Got names? Ideas for new Seattle street names

Here's a roster of Seattle worthies who could be immortalized on our city maps, honored by signs on streets or unnamed alleyways.
Crosscut archive image.

Kurt Cobain, front, with Krist Novoselic during the 1991 MTV awards

Here's a roster of Seattle worthies who could be immortalized on our city maps, honored by signs on streets or unnamed alleyways.

If we're going to consider naming Seattle's unnamed features, from alleys to bike paths, or open the can of worms of changing the city street names and numbers, you offer a few ideas. So I queried a number of friends, authors, historians and others who tossed names into the mix. It's instantly apparent that there is a huge untapped heritage resource out there. What is offered here is just the tip of the iceberg.

Among those I consulted were historian Paul Dorpat, Starbucks co-founder and professional namer Gordon Bowker, longtime Seattleite Kenan Block, Museum of History and Industry historian Lorraine McConaghy, historian Mildred Andrews, Crosscut's David Brewster, bookseller Taylor Bowie, architect and preservationist Larry Johnson, UW architectural historian Jeffrey Oschner, preservationist-developer Kevin Daniels, artist Patricia Fels, writer Peter Jackson, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation's Chris Moore, and authors Bruce Barcott and Roger Sale. A much wider net should be cast (yes, please weigh in Crosscut readers), but these folks have given us a start. I learned a lot about Seattle just tracking down the links.

So here, in no particular order, is a selective, preliminary list of names of the living and dead who we might consider weaving into the odonymic fabric of Seattle:

Arts booster Betty Bowen, downtown couturier John Doyle Bishop, author and enviro activist Harvey Manning, restaurateur Victor Rosellini, historian Walt Crowley, UW professor Giovanni Costigan, architect Ibsen Nelsen, artist Helmi Juvonen.

Longtime city councilman Sam Smith, artist James Washington, Jr., Indian activist Bernie Whitebear, pioneering cartooning weatherman Bob Hale, popular Seattle historian Bill Speidel, Northwest "mystic" artist Morris Graves, Filipinio author Carlos Bulosan, Scandinavian accordionist and comic kid's show host Stan Boreson, poet Denise Levertov.

Singer Ernestine Anderson, Washington Post editor Meg Greenfield, artist Guy Anderson, "Joe Hill" composer Earl Robinson, architect and Pike Place market preservationist Victor Steinbrueck, architect Lionel Pries, dancehall singer Ron Holden, Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston, civic leader and United airlines CEO Eddie Carlson, columnist and Lesser Seattle guru Emmett Watson, art school founder Nellie Cornish.

Aircraft company founder Bill Boeing, Seattle's first woman mayor Bertha Knight Landes, broadcast exec, developer, author and "man of parts" Stimson Bullitt, kiddie TV idol Sheriff Tex, killer whale Namu, beloved gorilla Bobo, country singer Bonnie Guitar, Seattle mayor, editorialist and People's Ticket candidate Beriah Brown, music industry giant Quincy Jones, singer Ray Charles, railroad and roads baron Sam Hill.

Bandleader/politician Vic Meyers, restaurateur Peter Canlis, poet Gary Snyder, characters George and Pansy, musician Guitar Shorty, Seattle Times's Col. Alden J. Blethen, engineer and city-shaper R.H. Thomson, author Mary McCarthy, Dune novelist Frank Herbert, fruit-of-the-month founders Harry and David, salty frontier madame Mother Damnable, iconic DJ Pat O'Day.

Hydroplane pioneer Stan Sayres, hydro driving legends Bill Muncey and  

Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.