Most of the seats were already taken before the launch party of the Historic Wallingford neighborhood organization at the Good Shepard Center had even started Saturday afternoon, Jan. 6. By the time it did start, it was standing room only.

Many people like myself didn’t even live in Wallingford but had ties to it. The couple sitting next to me, for instance, had met at Lincoln High School; they’d lived in separate neighborhoods outside Wallingford, the husband told me, and rode the bus to school graduating in the early 1950’s.

For me it was a shared rental house, a bungalow, on Bagley Ave. with some great housemates in the late 1980’s before a real estate boom pushed us out with the landlord planning to sell the place for an outrageous $80,000 or more! We still occasionally see each, calling ourselves Bagley House alums.

Someone in the crowd noted that Seattleites had so many ties to Wallingford that if you had a reunion it’d draw half the city at least.

The designated landmarks help feed that connection. The historic schools; Lincoln, Hamilton, Latona, and Interlake; the Good Shepard Center; and Gas Works Park. Plus, Wallingford has the most craftsman bungalows in the state. One of them makes up the image of the eye-catching Historic Wallingford logo. (Expect to see that image in yards around Wallingford as it was for sale as a yard sign and selling briskly as were the two poster size prints.)

After an introduction of board members and their credentials by Rhonda Bush (president), there was a brief slide show by board member Tom Veith, author of A Preliminary Sketch of Wallingford History. Besides Ms. Bush and Mr. Veith the board is made up of Paul Dorpat, Mike Ruby, Sharon V. Scherer, Pam Singer, Carl Slater, Kim England, Matt Hallett, and Sarah J. Martin.

During the slideshow, a lively discussion ensued. Someone opened a window to let in some cool winter air. There was a question about a certain apartment building featured that Mr. Veith tried to answer. “Well wait a minute,” said Paul Dorpat, “we have an expert on Seattle apartments in the audience.” It was Diana James author of Shared Walls – A history of Seattle apartment living. I didn’t catch her response but it drew a laugh.

One question that did give everyone pause was what are the boundaries of Wallingford? They’ve shifted over the years – stopping at Latona and Stoneway but now extending to I-5 to the west and Aurora to the east and to the lake, south and 56th to the north (the old Interurban helped to define that northern boundary due to its wider than average street).

The launch was a chance to get people together and involved. There were informational display tables around the room for people to browse and activities to sign up for. Historic Wallingford is planning several events in the coming months, including talks by Paul Dorpat, Keith Veith, and a bungalow tour. Stay tuned.

It’s an all-volunteer run organization at this point and volunteers encourage people to join on-line. Like any good structure, Historic Wallingford, looks to be well thought-out and designed, and the foundation that this meeting set, sound.

 

The room quickly became standing room only.

The room quickly became standing room only.

Afterwards people helped put chairs away and then looked at display tables around the room.

Afterwards people helped put chairs away and then looked at display tables around the room.

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The august Paul Dorpat, board member and author of the Seattle Times column Now and Then, ears always open, also had a table.

The august Paul Dorpat, board member and author of the Seattle Times column Now and Then, ears always open, also had a table.