History of the Haller Lake Community


On July 29, 1921, thirty-six residents gathered at the home of Ferdinand J. Hahn and organized the Haller Lake Improvement Club, citing a need for an organized voice for the community to push for road construction, street lighting, and the opening of a school. Officers were elected two weeks later, and articles of incorporation were requested from King County in a letter dated July 27, 1922. Dues began at fifty cents per month, but were halved the following April to stimulate more membership.

A building committee for the construction of a clubhouse gathered the following January, and residents were requested to invest in a building fund. The fund grew rapidly, and the building site was purchased that summer for $800 from a certain Mr. Anderson. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 4, 1922. The building was projected to cost $8000. Although the club’s board started holding meetings in the building in mid-1923, a celebratory event marking its final completion was held on May 16, 1925, at a final cost of $12,000.

– Greg Dziekonsk, HLCC Historian


Theodore N. Haller owned and developed the real estate around the lake which bears his name. Although born in York, Pennsylvania in 1864, Haller arrived in the Pacific Northwest when he was an infant. His father, Granville Haller, was an army officer assigned to command Fort Townsend, whose site is now a state park. Upon leaving the military, Granville settled in Seattle, and built a mansion on First Hill, the first of many elaborate dwellings which were later to make up the neighborhood of Seattle’s elite. Named Castlemount and built on the corner of Minor Avenue and James Street, it dominated the view of the top of the hill from Elliot Bay for years. Educated at elite private schools in Portland and at Yale University, Theodore became a lawyer, learning the profession in Seattle at the firm of his brother, George. After briefly practicing law in Port Townsend, he eventually settled in Seattle following his brother’s death. Arriving to a charred ruin of a city immediately following the great fire of 1889, Theodore moved into his parents’ mansion and began to manage the family’s extensive real estate holdings, completing a downtown office building which he named after his late brother, and overseeing agricultural land spanning several counties. About this time, he married Constance Reed. They had no children and later divorced.

Theodore’s platting of the Haller Lake Tracts around Haller Lake in 1905 was one of his many business transactions, probably representing the only geographical landmark in the area which still bears the Haller name. Castlemount gave way to a federal housing project during World War II, and its site is now occupied by a medical clinic. By the time of Theodore’s death at Providence Hospital in 1930, the Haller Building on 2nd and Columbia had already been renamed the Title Trust Building. Its Romanesque-type architecture, reflective of many buildings in Chicago, languished, and the site is now occupied by the Norton Building, erected in 1959, whose developer was former Governor Booth Gardner’s stepfather.

– Greg Dziekonski, HLCC Historian

Edward S. Ingraham Biography

Ingraham High School is named after an adventurous gentleman who engaged in many careers but is remembered for being the first superintendent of Seattle Schools. Born in Maine in 1852, he was educated at a teachers’ college where he claimed that incessant reading injured his eyes, giving him an excuse to go west to visit his brother. Ten days after arriving on Yesler’s wharf on August 26, 1875, he was hired as a teacher at Central School, which was on 3rd and Madison. A certain Miss Chatham was the only other teacher in the building. At the time, there were two other schools in Seattle, each with two teachers: North School at 3rd and Pine, and South School at 6th and Main. Both were on the edge of virgin forest. The Belltown School at 3rd and Vine opened one year later. Total enrollment was about 150. Schools were heated by stoves, water was available at a pump, and janitors, electric lights, and telephones were nowhere to be found. Ingraham mostly taught art and history, requiring his students to recite the United States Constitution verbatim.

A grading system was first introduced by Ingraham in 1876, and the first trappings of high school courses commenced shortly thereafter. He was named superintendent of Seattle Schools in 1883, a position he had held in everything but name until that time. He presided over the graduation of Seattle’s first high school class in 1886, which numbered twelve. When the Central School burned in 1888, Ingraham took the initiative to arrange its students’ accommodation in the other facilities until Central School was replaced.

Ingraham resigned the superintendency shortly thereafter and went into the printing business, a vocation in which he had apprenticed before embarking on his teaching career. He also found time to serve on the state board of education following Washington’s admittance into the union, and was elected to the city council.

He caught gold rush fever in 1898, and he and his party of 16 embarked on the schooner Jane Grey. The ship foundered 100 miles off Cape Flattery, and 34 of the 61 aboard drowned. Ingraham’s tenacity revealed itself as he managed to cut a launch loose, reach Vancouver Island with 26 others, and swiftly organize a second party which reached Kotzebue Sound. While in Alaska, he led a rescue mission 175 miles up the Selawik River in order to save some miners who were dying of scurvy.

After mining and prospecting in Nome, he returned to Seattle with his family in 1901. He was an avid mountain climber, Ingraham Glacier on Mount Rainier being named for him, and was later instrumental in establishing Seattle’s first Boy Scout chapter. He continued to teach part time, and passed away in 1926.

A school board report from Ingraham’s tenure as superintendent contains resolutions prohibiting the use of rawhide for corporal punishment and the playing of marbles during school hours. This seems tame in comparison to the ban on the instruction of the German language during World War I because it was offensive. Nowadays the school board bans Indian mascots for the same reason.

– Greg Dziekonski, HLCC Historian


When the author of the newspaper article announcing the passing of Ferdinand Hahn used “Death of F.J. Hahn Shocks Community” for its headline, he could not have chosen better words. Although Hahn was by no means the only individual behind the creation of what was eventually called the Haller Lake Improvement Club, his perseverance and dedication were instrumental in its birth and the eventual construction of its clubhouse.

On July 29, 1921, thirty-six Haller Lake residents gathered at Hahn’s house, whose address would later be 13053 Meridian Avenue North, and the Haller Lake Improvement Club was born. Hahn had lived in the community barely a year. Officers were elected a month later, and by the following January a building committee had already been formed to prepare for construction of a clubhouse. By the time the club held its first meeting at the clubhouse on June 1, 1923, membership stood at 138 and the club had already successfully secured the installation of sixteen streetlights and other road improvements. The club’s original purpose, to secure the construction of a school, would be fulfilled by 1925, when Haller Lake School opened for the first six grades. After meeting at Hahn’s house for nearly two years, the club had many accomplishments under its belt.

Hahn went on to serve two terms as club president, and was instrumental in the creation of the Associated Clubs of the North End, an umbrella organization of improvement clubs throughout neighborhoods just north of Seattle. The Associated Clubs held their first meeting at the Haller Lake clubhouse on February 4, 1924, largely due to Hahn’s organizational efforts and the assistance of two other Haller Lake residents, James Moore and Maurice Frank. Hahn went on to serve as one of Haller Lake’s representatives at the Associated Clubs’ gatherings.

Hahn was born in Berlin, Germany and initially settled in Chicago in 1892. While residing there, he married, and started an architectural firm with a business partner. He migrated to Seattle in 1906 to open a branch unit, and took over as sole owner two years later. After living in the Green Lake district, he moved to the Haller Lake area in 1920. While examining a blueprint at his office at 358 Nickerson Street on August 30, 1929, Hahn suffered a stroke and collapsed at his bureau. Only that morning he had remarked to a friend how well he was feeling. Nevertheless his lifelong wish to die at his desk fully clothed was fulfilled.

Hahn’s son, Fritz, inherited Ferdinand’s house, eventually building himself another just to the north in 1949 (1915 N. 133rd). Around this time, Ferdinand’s original house was razed. Ferdinand’s original house was one of two houses originally constructed between what are today the Ingraham High School playfield and Meridian Avenue North, and N. 130th and N. 133rd Streets. The other house survives as of this writing. Now bearing the address 1746 N. 130th St., it rests on a parcel heavily reduced by subdivisions.

– Greg Dziekonski, HLCC Historian

John Noble Wallingford Biography

Wallingford Avenue is named for John Noble Wallingford, who platted the Seattle neighborhood which bears his name. He was born and raised on a farm in Athens, Maine in 1833. His grandfather had immigrated to New Hampshire from Britain and his father served in the Revolutionary War. John Wallingford’s father was 71 at the time of John’s birth. He had nine siblings.

Following the death of his father, Wallingford settled in western Massachusetts, and then moved to Minnesota. In 1861, he enlisted in the Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, which engaged in military action in the Civil War. Following the war, he settled in Rochester, Minnesota, where he owned a mercantile store and operated a farm. Tiring of the cold winters in Minnesota, he moved to Napa City, California in 1873, where he went into the lumber business. Upon arriving in Seattle in 1888, he went into the real estate business.

Similar to other figures after whom streets are named in the Haller Lake area, Wallingford reflects their commitment to public service. He served on the Seattle city council and also served two terms as police commissioner. He lived in the Green Lake area on Woodlawn Avenue, until moving to the central area in 1909. Wallingford had two children with his wife, Arabelle De Groot. His daughter, Emma, married William Wood, who was elected mayor of Seattle in 1896, resigning after only a few months in order to go seek his fortune in the Alaska gold rush.

Wallingford’s obituary in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on March 10, 1913 was headlined: “Bury Pioneer Tuesday.” His mortuary? Bonney-Watson, which deaths have kept in business to this very day.

William Ashworth Biography

As is the case with many men after whom streets are named in this area, William Ashworth dabbled in the real estate business. Born in southern England in 1840, Ashworth came to the United States when he was 21. In 1870 he crossed the plains to California, and came to Seattle two years later.

Ashworth platted a town called Edgewater on the northern shore of Lake Union. Edgewater seems to have been bounded by what is today Woodland Park Ave, N. 45th St, and Carr Place. This area is now roughly the eastern part of Fremont and western portion of Wallingford. He established the railroad station on the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern line, now the Burke Gilman trail. Although this area is no longer referred to as Edgewater, legal descriptions of the real estate in this area still bear the Edgewater name. Ashworth served as Edgewater’s only postmaster from 1889 until the area was annexed to Seattle two years later. As real estate development moved northward, so did the street bearing Ashworth’s name. Ashworth continued to live in Edgewater until his death in 1906.

For those who believe the Haller Lake community was slighted by having a street bearing the name of someone who never lived here, don’t fret. Revenge later revealed itself in a way no one could have imagined possible. Following the Haller Lake community’s successful cancellation of the city’s plan to build a transfer station on the former dump site in the mid-1960s, the refuse facility was instead built at the very site upon which Ashworth’s residence formerly stood.

Herbert Edwin Orr Biography

The next time many Haller Lake residents glance through papers related to the real estate they own, they may come across the name of “H.E. Orr.” Since he at one time owned about one third of what is the area embraced by the Haller Lake Community Club, the presence of his name somewhere in the legal description of many Haller Lake residents’ properties should come as no surprise.

Herbert Edwin Orr’s success in the real estate business in the Seattle area in many ways reads like a Horatio Alger novel. Born in Canada, Orr arrived in Seattle in 1901 with ten dollars to his name, and worked for a time as a barber in downtown Seattle. Orr’s grandfather had fought on the British side in the War of 1812, while the head of the family of the previous generation had espoused the royalist cause during the French Revolution and had fled to Britain to avoid execution.

Upon his arrival in Seattle, Orr began dabbling in insurance, loans, real estate, and rentals, incorporating the H.E. Orr Company in 1906 with offices in the Alaska Building. Orr purchased 400 acres in the Haller Lake area, land which he platted and sold by 1911. Despite his extensive work in the sub-division of the area, it is unlikely that he ever lived here, nor is it likely that he ever oversaw the construction of any structures in north Seattle. In 1911 he built a house for himself on Capitol Hill at 2339 11th Avenue East, still standing today. A member of the Arctic Club, he moved into the just-opened Arctic Building on 3rd Avenue and Cherry Street by 1916. Listings for both him and his real estate company disappear from Seattle directories by 1918. It is likely that he moved away from the area, and probably settled in the Midwest.

William Cole Biography

Those who faithfully attended Husky football games in the 1960s recall the resonance of the University of Washington marching band permeating through the noise of the raucous crowd. Its director, William Cole, a Haller Lake resident, must have used ear protection.

A native of Norton, Kansas, William Cole got a job playing trumpet in Les Brown’s band following graduation from the University of Illinois in 1946. While the band was touring in Seattle the following year, he hooked up with an old friend from army service and local bandleader, Ken Cloud, and decided to settle here. Cole auditioned for the Seattle Symphony, where he played principal trumpet for the next seventeen years. In a day and age when Seattle Symphony musicians were lucky to make $1200 a year, Cole also worked as a band teacher at Lake Washington High School from 1948 to 1954. During this time, he even managed to obtain a masters degree from the University of Washington.

In 1954, Cole was hired as the band teacher at Stadium High School in Tacoma. With Seattle Symphony rehearsals and performances on weeknights and weekends at a time when Interstate 5 was hardly in the planning stage, he must have spent most of his life in his car. What a relief it must have been for him when he joined the University of Washington faculty in 1957 as director of the marching band and professor of trumpet, moving into a house at 527 NE 124th St.

Members of the Husky marching band paid a surprise visit to Cole at his house on the evening of December 11, 1965 serenading the Cole family with Christmas carols. As the occasional sour note wafted through the cold air, Cole queried diplomatically: “Who did the arranging?”

Tragedy struck the Cole family in 1969, when Cole’s 11- year-old daughter, Wendy, was killed when a car in which she was a passenger was hit by a drunk driver while she was en route to a recreational outing on Camano Island. “He never was the same after that,” recalled Haller Lake resident Warren Dawson.

Cole was hired as Director of Bands at Western Washington University in Bellingham in 1970, a position he retained for the rest of his life. Cole conducted the Seattle Junior Symphony from 1965 to 1974, and again from 1978 to 1979. He returned to the Haller Lake area on June 2, 1979 to conduct a Junior Symphony concert at Ingraham High School. Ironically, it was his last public performance. Cole succumbed to colon cancer one month later at the age pof 59.

Cole was an inspiration to so many young musicians, as his talents as a music educator revealed themselves in his ability to combine a sense of humor, compassion, and impatience with mediocrity. He would be proud of the valuable legacy he left behind.

David Denny

Strange as it may seem, one original 1851 Alki Beach pioneer has at least a peripheral connection with Haller Lake, and it is not solely because he is buried at Evergreen-Washelli.

David Denny purchased 160 acres from the US government in the Licton Springs area in 1870 for $1.25 an acre, and built himself a summer cabin on the property. His plans for a health resort to exploit the reddish water which bubbled up from the springs never materialized, but the name “licton,” meaning “color,” has survived as one of the few Salish words to survive on a local landmark.

His success in business ventures allowed him the luxury of eventually building himself a less rustic cottage, which fortuitously served as his permanent residence in his waning years. After losing his shirt in the depression of 1893, Denny and his wife, the former Louisa Boren, were forced to abandon their mansion on Queen Anne Hill and settle in the cottage for good. Denny vowed in bitterness to never look at Seattle again, feeling a city he helped build had betrayed him.

Denny died at Licton Springs in 1903, and his daughter Emily sold his remaining holdings to a developer in 1909 for $75,000 after the city had declined her offer to sell them to the city for $40,000. Ironically, the city purchased the 6.3-acre area of what is now Licton Springs Park in 1960 after years of damage from filling, rechanneling, and septic tanks.

And the Denny cottage? It is still standing at 9702 Densmore Avenue North.

The Dump

For many years, the area between Aurora Avenue and Haller Lake was used as a dump. It caused a great deal of anxiety among residents, many of whom recall the nuisance it posed. The property between N. 125 th and N. 130 th Streets was purchased for landfill usage in 1927, when press reports referred to the area as an “old gravel pit.” Although this is hardly believable today, landfill was often welcomed to even out ground levels. A foot of topsoil was often viewed as enough protection from the refuse below.

These attitudes began to change as generation of household waste increased during and after World War II. Garbage began coming in at increasing levels at Haller Lake during this time, prompting Haller Lake Improvement Club ex- president Walter Bosworth to complain at a 1947 meeting of the King County Commission. “We’re ashamed about it. We have to tell our friends: ‘Come out Aurora Avenue and turn right at the dump.’” At one time raw sewage was dumped at the site, and several fires broke out there, which on one occasion required the attention of a Haller Lake resident in lieu of an aloof fire department.

As dumps within the city limits reached capacity by the early 1960s, dumping ceased at Haller Lake, and the city began to have garbage trucked out of town. This required the construction of transfer stations, and the natural location for these transfer stations were former dump sites.

In 1965, the City of Seattle announced plans to build a transfer station on the Haller Lake property. Opposition to this scheme was almost spontaneous from the community, resurrecting memories of rodents, stench, sea gull droppings and other health hazards from the days when the landfill was in operation. Club president Harry Harkness was active in an arduous effort to stop the transfer station plans. An attorney was hired, and threats abounded of a lawsuit if the city council went along with plans for the transfer station.

Following a ruling that a transfer station would defy zoning regulations, city planners contemplated changing the stipulations for a zoning classification of “manufacturing” to allow refuse dumps. The City Planning Commission recommended the zoning change that November.

Although the zoning change passed by a vote of 7 to 2, a provision which aborted consideration of the Haller Lake site passed by a vote of 6 to 3, prompting Councilwoman Myrtle Edwards to comment that if Haller Lake residents backed council incumbents in the next election in the same manner they had opposed the dump site, their re-election was assured. Dissenting Councilman Eckmann railed against nimbyism, a term he hardly could have known.

Who got dumped with the dump? The Fremont district.

Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery

From its first inhumation in 1884 to the present day, Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery has been a fixture in the Haller Lake area, even though its present name has not. At the time of the removal of most of the graves in Seattle’s original cemetery, presently the site of Denny Park on Denny Way and Dexter Avenue, to what is today Volunteer Park, David and Louisa Denny decided to move the body of their infant son to property which they owned. Thus the eastern portion of the Evergreen-Washelli graveyard originated as Oak Lake Cemetery, named after a body of water formerly in the vicinity of N. 107th St. and Midvale Ave N. Other Dennys followed, as did many of the bodies which had been interred at the original Washelli Cemetery at the present site of Volunteer Park. Not to be confused with the present Lake View Cemetery, which was established by Freemasons, the first Washelli Cemetery was municipally owned and was discontinued in 1887.

The Dennys operated Oak Lake Cemetery until David’s son, Victor, sold it in 1913 for $27,500. Its eventual owner, the American Necropolis Corporation, resurrected the Washelli name, a Makah Indian word meaning “west wind.” The company created an endowment fund from the sale of plots to facilitate maintenance of the cemetery. The Evergreen Cemetery Company took this idea a step further when it purchased land on the other side of the Pacific Highway in 1920 on property originally designated for housing development by ensuring that its endowment money would be used for cemetery maintenance after its graveyard had filled to capacity. The wrought iron fence which delineates its western boundary is a legacy of the Seattle-Everett Interurban which ran alongside. The former Interurban stop known as Groveland lined up with the turnstile still standing today situated in a break in the fence. Evergreen purchased Washelli in 1922, and the two cemeteries have been managed by one entity ever since.

Walking through Evergreen-Washelli, one notices a Veterans Memorial Cemetery which commenced in 1927, and various graveyards separated according to religion, ethnic group, and fraternal organization. A portion containing the remains of police officers and firefighters who have lost their lives heroically constitutes a civic memorial section. In 1998, Evergreen-Washelli received and re-dedicated the statue of the World War I doughboy which had been erected on the grounds of the Civic Auditorium seventy years before.

The Aurora Drive-In Theater

Although the first drive-in theater opened in 1933 in Camden, New Jersey, economic malaise and World War II retarded the drive-in’s development. It was not until the late 1940s that the number of drive-ins began to multiply nationwide as sales of automobiles skyrocketed and the novelty of the car suddenly provided a market for recreation oriented toward it. The Aurora Drive-In (originally called the “Aurora Motor-In”) formerly at N. 135 th and Aurora Avenue, was constructed at that time.

The drive-in was marketed as an outing for the entire family lasting an entire evening. Prompted by a skeptical movie industry still hooked on indoor theaters, drive-in owners were plagued with high rental fees on second-run features. Since the primary source of profits was concessions, owners encouraged families to arrive early in order to get a good parking space and to eat dinner before the first feature. Hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, as well as popcorn and candy were standard menu fare. Some drive-ins even offered bottle warming services for mothers with infants. It is very likely that the Aurora Drive-In was the first business establishment on this stretch of Aurora Avenue to serve pizza. Pizza parlors such as Shakey’s were a thing of the future, and frozen pizzas were nowhere to be found at Dondell’s Grocery just up the street.

The family orientation of the drive-in was not lost on the owner of the Aurora Drive-In, Dwight Spracher, when he came up with a marketing gimmick in which he got some teenage girls to “picket” the theater, waving signs reading:




This “story” made the front page of the Seattle Times. As the baby boomers grew up and parents stayed home to watch Ed Sullivan, drive-ins gradually transformed into havens for teenagers seeking privacy. Since patrons started paying more attention to themselves than to the movie, the films increasingly became forgettable fare.

Besides the beach party fad, cheaply produced monster flicks brought in lots of money.

When the movie industry abandoned self-censorship and established a rating system in the late 1960s, the Aurora Drive-In mirrored trends in the outdoor theater business, featuring films bearing titles such as Pompom Girls and The Cheerleaders whose subject matter requires little elaboration. The King County Council even considered legislation to try and prevent passers-by from viewing nude drive-in scenes in 1970. At the time, Jerry Foreman, spokesman for the Aurora Drive-In, stated: “If we didn’t play these films we would just have to close. For the general family films, we just don’t get the support we used to.” Drive-ins were disappearing as patronage dropped and real estate became too valuable. Although you could still get a hot dog, grills for burgers and fries gave way to high insurance costs.

On June 9, 1983, the Seattle Film Festival rented the Aurora Drive-In and indulged in its nostalgia for all-night back-to- back drive-in marathons. Charging $5 per carload, the evening featured a succession of kitsch, including Death Race 2000, The Little Shop of Horrors, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper starred in the evening’s final feature, The Trip, a highly successful 1967 flick whose title said it all and script penned by Jack Nicholson said nothing. After the Aurora Drive-In closed for the season, the reader board’s message stating:


suddenly became


in early 1984. The Aurora Drive-In was dead.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Restaurant

A non-descript, functional retirement complex now occupies the space at 1236 NE 115th Street, once the site of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a restaurant noted for its homemade food. Tom Gaynor opened Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the the mid-1920s in a rustic log cabin surrounded by firs and cedars.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was one of many diners which once graced major thoroughfares whose menus featured chicken, biscuits, salads, mashed potatoes or french fries, and mouthwatering pies. A far cry from today’s pre-packaged fare, everything was prepared on the premises. Many of these eateries graced the old Pacific Highway, including the Farm, Feasters, the Green Parrot Inn, Hildegard’s, and Rose’s Hi- way Inn. A trip north on the Bothell Highway featured the Coon Chicken Inn, Mammy’s Shack, and Bob’s Place.

There is little doubt that these diners were geared toward families. Meals were generally served family style, and although menus at all of them were almost identical, each had its own “diversion” for kids waiting for the food to be prepared, including horses and playgrounds. Uncle Tom’s Cabin featured a large fireplace and stuffed wild animals.

Tom Gaynor died in 1954, and the restaurant was sold. A disastrous fire in 1960 which destroyed the building and the surrounding picturesque grounds portended the demise of the mid-20th century roadside diner. Hildegard’s, on Aurora Avenue and Winona Avenue, succumbed in 1957, and Bob’s Place became the Mia Roma in 1972. The Farm closed the following year. The only holdout was Rose’s Hi-way Inn on the Pacific Highway in Federal Way. Originally opened in 1939, Rose’s stubbornly continued the tradition until March 17, 2003, when a fire destroyed the building and the last vestige of an already bygone era was snuffed out for good.

Where’s Foy?

The Automobile Club of Washington indicated Foy on its map of Washington in 1955, though it is likely that most of the people living there at the time probably no longer referred to it by that name, much less had even heard of it. A large red circle marking Foy was at N. 145th and Aurora Avenue North. Its designation was just as prominent as those of Kenmore and Richmond Beach.

Foy was originally at N. 145th and Linden Avenue, where it served as a stop for the Seattle-Everett Interurban. David and Henrietta Foy owned a house at about N. 150th Street between Dayton and Greenwood Avenues a century ago where they operated a ten acre chicken ranch. The station at Foy served as a junction for a spur line which ran westward along what is today N. 145th Street to the Seattle Golf Club. Foy Station must have bustled in the 1910s, when building materials for the houses in the Highlands arrived via the interurban tracks.

The Foys eventually moved to California, selling out to a certain Dr. Little, who started subdividing the property, and the Foy name has since drifted into oblivion. Since the Seattle Golf Club traced its origins to Laurelhurst, there is reason to assume that its clientele traveled long distances to the Highlands via Foy. The Russian word for “train station,” vokzal, comes from “Vauxhall,” a suburb of London and former manor which served as a rail terminus for an expansive amusement complex for the rich. Ironically, Vauxhall later became the site of an automobile factory, lending its name to a make of a British automobile, which became a subsidiary of General Motors in 1925. It epitomizes the eventual eclipse of public transportation for recreation in favor of the private automobile. When the Seattle Golf Club spur was abandoned in 1921, Foy Station moved two blocks southward to N. 143 rd Street, presumably because this was the only east-west road in the vicinity accessible by car.

Eventually the entire Interurban became a victim of the automobile in 1939. For the well moneyed, there was once a day and age when taking public transportation for recreation was something to be esteemed. Can you imagine some rich dude doing that today?

Northwest Chrysler Plymouth


As the regional economy boomed in the late 1960s, the Chrysler Corporation decided that a market existed for a new auto dealership in north Seattle. In May 1968, Northwest Chrysler Plymouth opened at 13733 Aurora Ave N. Its owner, Ralph Williams, became a local celebrity advertising his cars on television commercials which also prominently featured his dog, whose name was Storm. Unfortunately, some of the cars Ralph Williams peddled never were on his lot. Customers were told upon arrival that the cars had already been sold, while the same commercials were still being aired one month later.

Within two years, complaints started coming in to the state attorney general’s office. Despite emphatic denials featured in the dealership’s commercials, one customer later testified that the dealership had refused to honor a 12-month warranty on a used car which he had purchased which conked out on his way home from the lot, forcing him to sell it two months later for a quarter of the original purchase price.

Another customer had traded in a Corvair for a used Valiant which would not start the next morning. The dealership would not fix it, so she spent $350 on repairs. She finally returned it to the dealership after six weeks worth of chronic problems, but lost her Corvair, the $493 down payment, and her first monthly payment.

Another customer returned a car which vibrated excessively at freeway speeds. After repeated refusals from the dealership to take it back, the salesman relented and offered another car in exchange…which wound up having the same problem. The customer took it to a mechanic, who discovered that all four tires had cuts and embedded glass in them and the shock absorbers were completely shot.

Agents of the state Department of Revenue appeared at the dealership on December 30, 1970 tacking lien notices all over its windows. By the next day, the agents were taking inventory of all of the dealership’s assets. It was revealed that Ralph Williams owed $143,347 in back taxes.

Storm’s short-lived career as a television personality was over since the dog was more ethical than its master. Meanwhile the state’s lawsuit against Williams for deceptive business practices continued. A plan was set up in which Williams would pay his delinquent taxes and also pay into a trust which would serve as restitution for the customers he had bilked. But Williams just refused to pay, and was held in contempt of court. Never having lived in Washington state, he could not be extradited, claiming that the court had no jurisdiction over him (Williams lived in California). It was already December 1974, and just the copying costs for all of the documents for the case had exceeded $15,000. Chrysler had also filed a separate suit against Williams for unpaid bills.

After a lengthy appeals process, the State Supreme Court upheld the rulings against Williams in July 1976, but by this time much of the money was uncollectible since none of Williams’s business enterprises existed anymore. He had moved to Texas, whose courts refused to enforce the payments. By this time, Williams’s former defense attorney was also suing him for unpaid legal bills.

The litigation lasted more than three times longer than the dealership had been in business under Williams’s tutelage. Despite the bad publicity, the dealership re-opened under different ownership in 1971 as Aurora Chrysler Plymouth.

Frances Osborne gets us a traffic light

On March 14, 1939, a lone widow was conducting a vigorous and profitable campaign to get a traffic signal installed at NE 125 th St. and Roosevelt Way. In her tiny office in her home at 12008 Roosevelt Way NE, Mrs. Frances Osborne, justice of the peace for Sunrise precinct, was doing a thriving business. At the rate of two or three an hour, motorists somewhat ruffled and at times indignant, entered her court with a yellow slip and deposited $5 bail. The slips would be presented the luckless motorists by Claude Rafter, the precinct constable, and his brother, Lester. When the unwary drivers going northbound on Roosevelt Way failed to make a complete stop at the stop sign at the intersection, the two, lying in wait in an auto parked unobtrusively nearby, would pounce out and make the arrests. Even the huge sign outside Mrs. Osborne’s home announcing that she performs marriages and gives a present to every bride did not stir any feelings of sentiment or romance in the hearts of the court’s clients. When the motorists’ predictable excuses of not seeing the stop sign would begin, Mrs. Osborne would retort:

That’s just the trouble. A lot of drivers don’t see it and that’s why we want a stop light at that corner. I’ve been trying for months to get them to put in a stop light there but the state patrol, the state highway department, the county, and the automobile club turned me down. So I’ve got to get the public aroused and that’s why we are making arrests…We are out to bring about a much needed reform and if we can get enough motorists to get indignant, we’ll get action.

After collecting the $5 fee, Mrs. Osborne would tell the violators that they did not have to return for trial unless they really wanted to, knowing well that most would not. She claimed that arrests averaged about two an hour, but also declared that the Rafters did not stay on the job all day.

Of the $5 fee, Mrs. Osborne turned over half of it to the county. The other half she split between herself and Constable Rafter, not a bad deal in exchange for the time and effort to get a traffic signal installed, even though it smells of cynicism. She redeemed herself in a way, intimating to a Seattle PI reporter that she rebuffed attempts by a certain King County police officer to get her to “fix” tags for his friends. Some things never change, such as police corruption and the arduous efforts certain civic crusaders must endure to get something done which benefits their communities. But the traffic signal is still there, a monument to a woman who has faded into obscurity and whose house was leveled in the late 1980s to make way for apartments.

Delinquent Parent Night

At Haller Lake Community Club board meetings, we often discuss methods of generating more interest in the club and getting more residents to come to the general meetings to enhance interest in community issues in which we all have a stake.

Perusal of old issues of Splashes has revealed that our forefathers came up with a rather novel idea to facilitate this about sixty years ago, when the club sponsored “Delinquent Parent Night” on January 6, 1950. “You will be delinquent if you are not there,” Splashes revealed to its readers. The 8:30 meeting time followed by the word “sharp” emphatically underlined, implied that latecomers would probably be similarly branded.

The meeting boasted an “ALL-STAR cast,” including the chief of the Juvenile Division at the Sheriff’s office, and the assistant superintendent of Shoreline Schools (Myron Ernst, whose house is now occupied by the Knudsons). The purveyors of this meeting were even hinting at the presentation of a “corny” three-minute skit.

“If someone accused you of being a delinquent parent, or aunt, uncle, neighbor or grandparent the sparks would fly, wouldn’t they?” the Splashes writer surmised, “so how about bringing the neighbor that you don’t think brings up his children like you would?”

Now do we really need to resort to this to get people to come to meetings? I guess it would be kind of fun to watch neighbors pummel each other with accusations concerning their bratty kids. After all, the Hatfields and the McCoys lived next to each other as well. But doesn’t Melinda Jacobson, our public safety guru, have enough to do? “Some experts who say there are no delinquent children are set to pin our ears back,” Splashes reported at the time. Now how could those “experts” have been right if the city wanted to build a prison in our neighborhood fifty-eight years later? If a resident is not involved, isn’t that like “pinning your ears back”? Remember, an “expert” is someone who is one page ahead of you in the instruction manual. There are those who say Dr. Spock’s expertise on baby care screwed up a whole generation of kids, but he also reassured us that “you are smarter than you think.” We at the club agree with that last statement. So how about coming to our meetings so we can appreciate your intelligence so we can make intelligent decisions which benefit us all? We will not accuse you of being delinquent parents. Thanks!



In 1963, the Haller Lake Community Club sponsored the construction of a decorative wall at Northacres Park. The wall featured holes of various shapes and sizes through which children could crawl or poke their heads. According to Randy Harkness, his father, Harry, worked on the project, and each square section when poured into a mold was tinted concrete mix. A sand structure accompanied the wall, as well as a truck tire which children could climb. Randy’s mother, Doris, commented that the sand structure was a favorite of the neighborhood cats. “The wall, built by amateurs, didn’t take into consideration how kids climbing the wall could get their shoes wedged in the sharp-edged shapes cut in the wall, triangles, squares, etc. Those who tried to stick their heads in the shapes could get a scratched cheek when withdrawing them. It still stayed popular for years, with parents standing close by.” Additions to the park at that time also included a wading pool.

When the city proposed that the park be renovated in 2010 following a levy passed by the voters, the wall was relegated to the chopping block. After the wading pool was replaced with a spray park in 2012, the wall, “abandoned, faded, and raggedy, was hauled away.”

Here’s an article from the the Northgate Journal when the wall was built.