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Ave 101

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By: Sumner Ohye - 8.19.2004

It is all in the name

"The Ave" is often a place to cruise on a Friday night, or go an grab a bight for lunch. Today maps, buses, and street signs distinguish this street as University Way. So how does a street that is a way get called the Ave? University Way used to called Columbus Avenue. Upon the districts development the street was renamed 14th Avenue, to conform to Seattle's planning. The University Commercial Club, was created to advise business issues as well as social issues now University Chamer of Commerce, there were located on no other, but University Way. They voted to change the previous name 14th Avenue to University Way. From then on the street between the current Brooklyn Ave. and 15th Ave is known as University Way.


Building for lease     bbus.jpg     University Way


A Brief History of University Way

The underlying reasons why University Way seems to be the heart of University of Washington is clearly displayed upon examination of its history. Prior to, and even after 1891, transportation to U.W. was extremely difficult. Two sets of tracks were laid to improve transportation; the second set laid ran North South on University Way. In those times this made businesses close to trains and trolley cars a lot more convenient. It is hard to imagine how primitive the district was then, cows would graze across campus and the streets. The cows caused several disasters on University Way. University Way is a landmark, it has been the home for many firsts in the Northwest as well as the U district. University Way housed the first bank in the area, first public schools, after WWI - the first armistice parade of Seattle, Post Office, markets, a movie theater (which at the time was one of the largest in the PNW), and many other attractions. As the years continued, University Way continued to develop and prosper. Soon big names found their way onto "The Ave", such as Sears, Nordstrom, and J.C. Penny. The prosperity U Way experienced didn't last long, in the Fifties University Village opened on the East side of campus which provided a completive shopping environment. Also by the Fifties transportation had vastly improved making commuting much easier. Newer larger shopping was available at Northgate, Bellevue, and Downtown Seattle. If this wasn't enough the hippy movement in the sixties and seventies tainted University Way. Rebels littered, rioted, stole, and drove away business. The Chamber of Commerce continues to make attempts to rejuvenate University Way, but still hasn't flourished to the time of the early to mid 1900s. Today University Way is home to homeless and still the hangout for juvenile delinquents, like the sixties. The the present security of University Way is continue...