Which came first…?

You may have wondered if the West Woodland Neighborhood took its name from the local Elementary School, or perhaps was simply named after the zoo?

West Woodland School - 1910 opening unsure

1910 photo of West Woodland School & students taken from the SE corner of 5th Ave NW & NW 58th Street.  Photo courtesy Seattle Public Schools.  

West Woodland hasn’t always been a Ballard Neighborhood.  In 1889, when homesteader Rasmus Peter Jensen first staked his claim near what would become the corner of 7th Ave NW and NW 60th Street, West Woodland was part of the frontier wilderness north of the City of Seattle.  The original name, “West of Woodland Park District”, perfectly describes the original territorial boundaries which stretched down the west side of Phinney Ridge ending at Division Avenue (today’s 8th Ave NW).   In 1891, the original West Woodland District was annexed into the City of Seattle.  This was 16 years before Seattle annexed the City of Ballard.

Pioneers began to move to the area and built farm houses on lots which were also home to cows, chickens and other livestock. Many residents planted gardens as well as orchards of apple and pear trees. Cedar trees were being logged from the hillside and a small community hall, “Woodland District Hall“, was built in 1906 on the SE corner of 5th Avenue NW and NW 60th Street. The building still stands today at 419 NW 60TH ST and is currently being used as multi-family housing.

During those early years as the community began to grow and prosper, neighbors discussed the need for a local school.  Children in the West Woodland Neighborhood were walking to schools far from home, including Phinney Ridge, Queen Anne and other neighborhoods.

Parents petitioned the city regarding this need and out of their effort Ross School Annex was built in 1905 for grades 1 and 2. The school was very small and needed to be replaced almost immediately.  Later, a three story brick school building was constructed. This new, larger building opened in 1910 and was named after the neighborhood that worked so hard to bring it to life – West Woodland Grade School.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of West Woodland School, visit: http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=10610  


1928 photo of West Woodland School taken from the SW corner of 5th Ave NW & NW 58th Street.  By this date two wings had been added to the original school building.  Photo courtesy Museum of History & Industry, Seattle.

WWES - Then - SPS aerial photo

July 1960 aerial photo of West Woodland School is courtesy Seattle Public Schools.  Learn more HERE

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