Chestnut District

The Chestnut District?

If you live just south of Ravenna Park in Seattle you might think you live in Ravenna. After all, a mile away at NE 70th St and 32 Ave NE is still in the city's definition of Ravenna. But no, a block south of the park and you're in the University District. Sure, there are a couple of municipal signs that say "University Park," and there's even the University Park Community Club. But aside from real estate agents (the people that call 23rd and Jackson part of Capitol Hill) no one really calls it that.

A little over hundred years ago it must have been covered with Douglas-firs, bigleaf maples, red alders, and vine maples. Back in 1906 there was hardly a tree to be seen:

Today Ravenna Boulevard and 17th Ave NE, the two boulevards in this little corner of the city, are lined with chestnut trees. Aesculus hippocastanum, the Common Horse-chestnut predominates, but there are other chestnuts species too.

Aesculus hippocastanum

In addition to being slightly arch, the name Chestnut District has the virtue of accuracy, unlike Magnolia (which was meant to be named for its Madrones) and Maple Leaf (which could have been anywhere in Seattle).

2 Comments (Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom])

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the chestnuts edible?

March 20, 2007 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

It depends. The chestnuts in the Chestnut District are Horse Chestnut trees and are inedible.

There are edible chestnuts at Laurelhurst Playfield.

March 30, 2007 at 7:01 PM  

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