Main Street Madrona - Cafe Verite & architect Marty Leibowitz's new multi-family building
The Madrona neighborhood of Seattle is not the richest, though some of its residents certainly are. The neighborhood is, in my opinion, the very best in the City. I am of course biased. I'm prompted to write this by a recent piece in Crosscut, by Knute Berger, talking of history in Seattle and the Mount Baker neighborhood, where he grew up.
Mt. Baker is one of Seattle's finest neighborhoods, but it is perhaps a bit of a 'show' horse. Madrona, to the north, is perhaps Seattle's best example of a 'work' horse neighborhood. At the end of the bus line, above Lake Washington, the neighborhood straddles some of the finest waterview homes in the City as well as one of its historically poorest neighborhoods..
Though many casual observers would come to the quick conclusion that any growth in a neighborhood would be perceived as bad, it has happened here, and it was done well, including involvement by some folks living in the area.
On two full blocks there is a thriving business district, with offices, studios and 3 story residential developments. The transitional blocks adjoining have seen development, including an elementary school, but this is broken up by neighborhood parks as well.
Wilridge Winery and the Hi-Spot Cafe, North Madrona
Upper Madrona Park & the Meeting Room
And, go figure, it works.
This is Crosscut founder David Brewster's neighborhood (I believe still), as well as the neighborhood of Mt Zion Baptist leader Rev. Samuel McKinney, and Democrat party 'boss' Dwight Pelz. FWIW, in four years of active residence in the area, just prior to its recent blossoming, I never ran into a single one of them. Joel Connelly, political columnist with the P-I, out walking his dog, was the only 'connected' celebrity of the batch.
I was back there for the first time in quite a while on a recent Wednesday, got lunch at the iconic 30 year old institution the High Spot, where I once sipped at the espresso bar on a daily basis. My place, a duplex conversion across from the elementary was once, as I was told, HQ for the Seattle Black Panthers, circa the Boeing bust. At that time houses could be had in the area for 30k.
My Black Panther Duplex
The house still bears the paint job I did with thanks to my landlord during a tougher period for me. The park's neighborhood meeting room still holds the pew we carried down the street from a rehab being done for a certain streaming company start-up - and perhaps most importantly, the neighborhood artist operating from the 'Creative Manifestations' storefront still holds court across the street from the Conley Hat manufacturing Company.
Sally Goldmark Library, a converted Fire Station In Front is the 'Peaceable Kingdom' Sculpture from the Children's book, by the 'Waiting for the Interurban' artist.
BTW, Leschi's pretty decent too, just south of the recently daylighted Madrona Creek, on the lake.