Phillip Ritz purchases site of Wallingford business district (Seattle) for settlement on June 3, 1869.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 3/13/2001
  • Essay 3091

On June 3, 1869, Phillip Ritz purchases 80 acres from the federal government in what would become the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. (Ritz's land extends from the future Woodlawn to Meridian Avenue N and from N 40th to N 45th streets.) The following year, Dexter Horton (1825-1904) purchases 160 acres adjacent to Ritz's acreage. (Horton's land extends from the future N 42nd to 57th Street and from Meridian to 5th Avenue N.) They each paid $1.25 per acre.

The Land Survey: 1855

The land had to be surveyed by the office of the Surveyor General of the United States before such purchases could be made. The future Wallingford was surveyed in August and September 1855.

On August 7, 1855, William A. Strickler was awarded the first contract to survey a township in King County. The township, which included Wallingford, extended from Puget Sound to Lake Duwamish (also called Lake Washington), and from the future Yesler Way (in Seattle) to just north of Green Lake and Sand Point.

During the next two weeks, Strickler hired five members for the survey crew: David Phillips as compassman, W. H. Gilliam and Walter Graham as axemen, and Henry G. Parsons and Asa Fouler (Fowler?) as chain carriers. On August 23, 1855, the Strickler crew started surveying the township, which was designated 25 North Range 4 East.

The survey noted Indian trails between Lake Union and Green Lake, as well as trees, brush, berries, briers, and other flora, and the terrain.

On September 22, 1855, Phillips set a corner post at what would become the corner of N 45th Street and Meridian Avenue N in Wallingford. Phillips describes the land as level, with first rate timber consisting of fir, cedar, hemlock, maple, and alder. He encountered cedar trees 40 inches in diameter along his survey sights.


"The Washington Tract Books," Vols. 126 and 127, Record Group 49, Pacific Northwest Region National Archives, Seattle, Washington; U. S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, "Cadastral survey field notes and plats for Oregon and Washington," Township 25 North, Range 4 East," University of Washington Microfiche M-3066, Newspapers and Microform, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, Washington.

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