The Last Rainier Valley Trolley Stop

The Last Rainier Valley Trolley Stop

By Amber Campbell

Did you know the last of Seattle’s trolley stops still exists on Rainier Avenue South near South Holden Street in the Othello area?

The trolley stop — used as a bus stop since the closure of the Seattle and Rainier Valley Railway on January 1st, 1937 — sits at the bottom of Wildwood Lane — a walkway between Seward Park Avenue South and the east side of Rainier Avenue South.

While the exact date of the trolley stop’s construction is unknown, it is believed to have been built in the late 1910’s or early 1920’s.

In the early 1900’s, the land was deeded to the city for park purposes and an ordinance passed in 1954 enabled the Parks Department to transfer ownership to the Engineering Department for maintenance. The Engineering Department has since become the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

Fast forward more than a century, and a small group of south-end neighbors are working with SDOT and Seattle Neighborhood Group to refurbish the shelter over the old stop.

“It has been kind of a slow process but it is nearing completion,” said Mount Baker neighbor and longtime RVP contributor Mark Beavon, who’s helping with the project. “This is a little piece of history that no other neighborhood has, and I believe it is worth our neighborhood getting behind.”

But he also says that the structure looks less than inviting lately and even exudes an air of neglect, which has him thinking about the “broken window theory” — the idea that maintaining and monitoring urban environments to prevent small crimes such as graffiti, vandalism and public drinking helps to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes from happening.

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“Some of the graffiti has been there since January and has been partially covered in a somewhat piecemeal fashion,” he added. “There are also scraps of wood left behind from the installation of lighting in the structure back in January.”

According to the City of Seattle, property owners should remove trash and graffiti within 10 days of being notified.

Beavon says the City should start following its own rules.

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“As hundreds of passengers board METRO buses from this stop daily, I think it is important that they feel safe while waiting for their bus, but when graffiti — gang or otherwise — goes unchecked, it detracts from that feeling of safety.”

The existing bus shelter located at northbound Rainier Avenue and South Wildwood Lane formerly served as a trolley stop.  The current bus stop serves passengers who ride Metro Routes 7 and 9. Nearly 200 passengers board at this location every day. Top photo/SDOT. Bottom photos/Mark Beavon

 

 

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