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Aurora Avenue

Former Names of Aurora Ave.

R. F. Morrow Road, 1901 - 1904
 North Trunk Road, 1905 - 1929
Woodland Park Ave. (to city limits) 1915 - 1930
Pacific Hwy 1 / US Highway 99, 1930 - 1969
Aurora Ave. (to city limits), 1930 - present
State Route 99, 1969 - present

Click here to view some pictures of the last remnant of the original North Trunk Road.

History of Aurora Aveune

In the 1880s Aurora Avenue began as a rough wagon road through the forest.

In September of 1884 Oak Lake Cemetery was founded by David Denny on the east side of 110th and Aurora. In 1893 he was forced to sell the cemetery due to a stock market crash in which he lost everything. The name of the cemetery was changed to Washelli by the new owners.

In the early 1900s a group of business people purchased the property on the west side of Aurora at 110th and tried to sell land for a housing development.

This development failed because it was too far out of town and so in 1919 the group formed Evergreen Cemetery. In 1927 the two competing cemeteries were joined and became Evergreen-Washelli.

In 1901 Aurora Ave. became the R. F. Morrow Road.

In 1911 Firlands Sanatorium for tuberculosis patients was established near the county line and a better road was needed to make it more accessible for staff and visitors. Firlands Way is part of the original North Trunk Road.

By 1912, the two-lane North Trunk Road extended from Greenlake to the county line making a more direct route to Everett than the Pacific Highway through Lake City.

In 1913, much of the road was paved with bricks.

In 1919 The Wickers Building was built. This was the first mercantile and post office on The North Trunk Road in Alderwood Manor (now 196th Street SW in Lynnwood).

In the 1920s. gas stations and auto repair shops of all descriptions were opening along The North Trunk Road.

In 1921 one of the first motels, which was probably the most distinctive feature of the early auto era was built by the Seattle Parks Department in Woodland Park.

For $.50 a night a car full of travelers could get hot showers, laundry facilities, a telephone, and enjoy the community building overlooking Green Lake, with its veranda and open-air fireplace.

Lodgings targeting motorists were originally called "tourist camps," "auto camps," and, later, "auto courts." Each night, local talent, amateur and professional, provided concerts, dances, movies, or other entertainment. By 1928, however, use decreased and the site was converted to tennis courts and a bowling green.

In 1925, portions of the North Trunk Road were widened and surfaced and in some areas rerouted. There is a portion of the brick North Trunk Road still visible at Ronald Place, east of the intersection of Aurora Avenue North and Ronald Place.

From 1926 to 1932 Dexter Ave N was used as the temporary route North until the Aurora Bridge was completed.

By 1928 all the bricks were replaced with concrete.

By the late 1920s, development became increasingly automobile oriented, and development spread farther east and west from the North Trunk Road.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s new businesses included cafes, roadhouses, and gas stations. For the most part, the commercial centers already formed at the Interurban stations remained the focus of the automobile-oriented commercial developments.

In 1930, The North Trunk Road became Aurora Avenue N. The state identified it as Pacific Highway 1, and until 1969, it was U.S. Highway 99.

On June 30, 1930 the Seattle City Council approved an ordinance extending Aurora Avenue through Woodland Park. The Council majority follows the advice of city and state highway engineers that the multi-lane Aurora "speedway" is needed to provide a direct approach from the George Washington Memorial (Aurora Avenue) Bridge.

The state Highway Department and "good roads" groups also wanted the new bridge to carry through traffic on Pacific Highway (later Highway 99), then the state's primary north-south route, more efficiently through Seattle.

In 1932 the George Washington Memorial Bridge over the Lake Washington Ship Canal opened offering a quick, direct auto route from North Seattle to downtown. 

In 1937 the Twin Teepees restaurant was established. This restaurant was once owned by Seattle restaurateur Walter Clark and one former cook went on to greatness by founding the Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food chain.

In 1947, the route was selected as a Blue Star Memorial Highway to honor of World War II veterans. City Engineer (later mayor) George Cotterill (1865-1958) chose the name early in the twentieth century to recognize it as the highway to the north, toward the aurora borealis.

The Route of the North Trunk Road.

The North Trunk Road started out on Westlake Ave. to Fremont Ave. then North on Fremont to 50th then left on 50th to Phinney Ave. then North as it turns into Greenwood Ave. then it continued North on Greenwood to 85th turned right on 85th then East to Aurora Ave.

The North Trunk Road then continued North to N. 185th St and veered to the left on Firlands Way N. then continued North on Firlands Way then back to Aurora Ave just past N. 195th. It then it continued North to 212th St. SW.

Then it turned right and continued East on 212th to 76th Ave. W. then turned left and continued North on 76th to 196th St SW. Then turned right onto 196th and continued East to 36th Ave. W.

The road then turned left onto 36th and continued North to 164th St. SW. Then it turned right onto 164h and continued East to the Pacific Hwy at Mill Creek. and then North via the Pacific Hwy to Everett.


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