Cascade is a small area abutting Downtown Seattle and surrounding the southern side of Lake Union. It is divided into three neighborhoods: South Lake Union, Eastlake and Westlake.
South Lake Union
South Lake Union is so named because it is at the south tip of Lake Union. It is bounded by Denny Way on the south, beyond which is Downtown, by Interstate 5 on the east, beyond which is Capitol Hill, by Aurora Avenue N. (Washington State Route 99) on the west, beyond which is Lower Queen Anne, and Aloha Street, Lake Union, and E. Garfield Street on the north, beyond which are Westlake and Eastlake.
Its main thoroughfares are Valley, Mercer, and Broad Streets (east- and westbound) and Dexter, 9th, Westlake, and Fairview Avenues N. and Eastlake Avenue E. (north- and southbound). The city is currently addressing transportation issues and considering changing Mercer Street into a two-way, six-lane, tree-lined boulevard. Valley Street would become a two-way, pedestrian friendly road.
Pioneer David Denny (of the Denny Party) opened his sawmill in South Lake Union in 1892, followed by the arrival of manufacturing at the turn of the century. This brought shipbuilding, Boeing seaplane fabrication and a regional Model T assembly plant in the historic building now occupied by the Shurgard Storage Centers headquarters. With industrial and commercial growth, residential centers sprang up to house company employees and other residents. South Lake Union evolved into an area of small business, warehouses and auto-oriented services.
Cascade is Seattle's second oldest residential neighborhood. It is the area of South Lake Union east of Fairview Avenue. A central neighborhood park, Cascade Playground, has two play areas, a wide field, a picnic table and restrooms. The park is adjacent to an active community P-Patch. Cascade Playground was purchased in the 1926. Cascade Playground enhancements were included in the Pro Parks Levy. Play area, field, and entrance improvements were unveiled in 2005.
Cascade is the home of the flagship R.E.I. store located at Eastlake Avenue E. and John Street. NBBJ architects will be moving into Alley24, a new office and apartment development currently under construction between John and Thomas Streets and Yale and Pontius Avenues. Alley24 will include the historic New Richmond Laundry Building. The Cascade People's Center is a volunteer organization that partners with over 100 businesses, churches, organizations, and community groups to address advocacy for social and economic justice.
During fall 2005, a new design of the South Lake Union Park will begin construction with a bridge across the western waterway, a walkway along the waterfront, open space, landscaping and much more. The historic ships wharf will provide long-term moorage for historic vessels; and the Maritime Heritage Center will provide an array of cultural, educational, and recreational activities. Vessels currently moored at the wharf include the steamer Virginia V, the lightship Swiftsure, the tug Arthur Foss, the fireboat Duwamish, and the salmon troller Twilight. The schooner Wawona is moored next to the Center for Wooden Boats.
South Lake Union is also home to Denny Park, the oldest park in the city.
Due to a large extent to recent, controversial development plans by Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc., South Lake Union is becoming a hub for life science organizations. Some in the area include: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (who formed the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance), Zymogenetics, Battelle, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Corixa, Rosetta, Merck & Co., and University of Washington Medicine. The new Department of Global Health at the University of Washington will have significant laboratory space in this area.
Plans for development of a biotechnology hub in South Lake Union has been somewhat controversial, as it is seen by some as an example of influential private companies receiving undue benefits from the city. Some argue that low-income housing is being destroyed and not replaced. Others support the development as a creator of high paying jobs and additional economic diversification for the city. Paul Allen's promotion of a trolley from Westlake Center to the south end of Lake Union, funded in part by the city, is also an issue of controversy.
Eastlake is so named because of its location on the eastern shore of Lake Union. Its main thoroughfare is Eastlake Avenue E., which runs from Howell Street at the northeast corner of Downtown north over the University Bridge to the University District, where it connects to Roosevelt Way N.E. and 11th Avenue N.E. A second thoroughfare is Boylston Avenue E.; as an arterial, it parallels Interstate 5 for the four blocks between E. Newton Street to the south and E. Roanoke Street to the north, acting as an extension of Capitol Hill's Lakeview Boulevard E.
Eastlake is bounded on the west by Lake Union; on the north by Portage Bay, beyond which is the University District; on the east by Interstate 5, beyond which is Capitol Hill; and on the south by E. Garfield Street, beyond which is the Cascade neighborhood.
The neighborhood contains a mixture of residential buildings, both houses and apartments, and small businesses, especially on Eastlake Avenue. Though populated by all manner of Seattleites, Eastlake is a particularly attractive location for people with ties to the University of Washington, which can be reached quickly by a number of bus routes. The neighborhood is also home to, among other things, Julia's 14 Carrot Cafe, The Lake Union Dry Docks, Louisa's Bakery and Cafe, Pazzo's Pizza, Serafina, Pete's (a small grocery store with a wide selection of wines), Daly's (famous for its hamburgers and fish and chips), the original Red Robin gourmet burger restaurant, numerous houseboats, and the annual Eastlake Shake fair (renamed Lake Fest in 2006), held in a closed-off section of Franklin Avenue E. between E. Roanoke and E. Louisa Streets on the playground of the TOPS at Seward public school. The fair features live music, local vendors, and--a neighborhood favorite--the Eastlake Shake Pet Parade.
Westlake is named after its location on the western shore of Lake Union. It is a relatively narrow neighborhood, there being only a few blocks between the shoreline and its western limit at Aurora Avenue N., beyond which is Queen Anne. To the south beyond Aloha Street is South Lake Union, and to the north across the Fremont Cut is Fremont. Its main thoroughfares are Dexter and Westlake Avenues N. (north- and southbound).
Tom Hanks' character in Sleepless in Seattle lived in a Westlake houseboat.
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