Site of Seattle's Phinney Ridge business district first acquired for settlement on October 4, 1879.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 3/15/2001
  • Essay 3107

On October 4, 1879, James Freed purchases 80 acres from the federal government in what would become the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle. The following year, Benjamin Freed purchases 160 acres. They each pay $1.25 per acre.

James Freed's land extended from NW 65th Street to NW 70th Street and from 8th Avenue NW to Greenwood Avenue N. Benjamin Freed's land extended from NW 70 to NW 75th and from 15th Avenue NW to Greenwood Avenue N.

The land had to be surveyed by the office of the Surveyor General of the United States before such purchases could be made. This portion of Greenwood Avenue was surveyed on August 17, 1855.

As the surveyors traveled north along the future Greenwood Avenue they found a three-foot diameter fir tree and a three-and-a-half-foot diameter cedar tree near N 70th Street. Near N 76th Street they found a dead fir tree nearly six feet in diameter. They described this portion of Greenwood as "land nearly level, [soil] second rate, timber -- fir, cedar, hemlock. Undergrowth -- Laurel, Fern, and willow."


"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 3 East," University of Washington Microfiche M-3066, Newspapers and Microform, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, Washington.

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