Eastlake Neighborhood History

From the Seattle PI:

Working lake transformed into eclectic, quirky community

Founded about 1890, Seattle's Eastlake community is one of its oldest and quirkiest neighborhoods, located between the University District and downtown, flanking the east side of Lake Union.

The Boeing Co. built its first airplane factory there in 1917. In the early 1960s, Interstate 5 cut through the community's eastern flank and now marks its eastern border.

Other factories and canneries followed. So did homes and apartment complexes. The neighborhood had its first boom in 1919, when the University Bridge opened. The drawbridge still operates today.

But in the 1950s, the development of homes pushed large industry south of downtown and into Ballard. More apartments sprang up. And one of the area's defining characteristics its houseboat community began to grow.

Gathered in clusters mostly along the lake's eastern and northern flanks, the houseboats are that in name only. While it's true they float, they are much more home than boat, replete with multiple stories, gardens, interconnected plank boardwalks and pricey values. The community received brief fame in the frothy romantic flick, "Sleepless in Seattle."

The neighborhood now has about 5,000 residents in a mixture of single-family homes and apartments. It has one of Seattle's finest Italian restaurants, Serafina, and one of its most entrenched taverns, The Eastlake Zoo. The Zoo boasts a giant paper mache dragon and is Seattle's only bar that operates as a cooperative.

Voting records indicate that politically, Eastlake leans to the left not so far as Fremont or Capitol Hill, but with a greater tilt than Wallingford or Ballard.

It has a community organization, The Eastlake Community Council, and a bimonthly newspaper, the Eastlake News.

To learn more, check out www.historylink.org

source: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/webtowns/town.asp?WTID=5

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