Green Lake: “Seattle’s Most Flourishing Suburb”

While on the reference desk this afternoon, a patron returned our copy of the one year anniversary edition of The Green Lake News. Any Seattlite readers will be familiar with Green Lake, home of “the busiest park in the state.” This anniversary issue, dated 26 November 1903, was devoted to celebrating and promoting life in Green Lake, and several tidbits caught my eye, this one in particular:

From “Green Lake = = An Ideal Home Place” by A. H. Rogers

It is the purpose of this article to set forth with as much brevity and conciseness as is possible, a few reasons which will serve to explain the fact that the writer has chosen Green Lake as a place of residence.

In search of a permanent home I came to Puget Sound in 1891, after visiting all the larger cities and most of the smaller towns of the Northwest.

Something worthy of praise was found in each, but concluding that there will be one city destined to lead all others, we located in the Queen City, Seattle.

Our next move was to determine what part of this fair city should we adopt as our future home. We looked Seattle over from every view point but it was the beautiful mirrored Green Lake district, that completely captured us and we never have had occasion to regret our decision.

Very nice, very nice. Then comes the interesting bit:

Gradually the whole civilized world has come to believe that every human being has a right to a decent and healthful place to eat and sleep in if for nothing more… Every business man of common sense knows that the farther away he gets in the evening from his daily commercial associations the better off he is and the wiser life he leads. As to the women, it is a safe assertion that the great majority, if given their own free choice, would live out in the suburbs, away from the nerve-distracting tumult and hubub of the city…

Laying aside the amusing comment implying that women’s “free choice” was something to be given or withheld, this passage interests me because of its contrast to the contemporary trend of living as close to work as possible, even to the point of working from home, which is increasingly common and desirable. Whether we are “better off” or “wiser” for it, I leave to your speculation!


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