The area that is now the Maple Leaf neighborhood appeared on maps in 1894 as a plat by real estate promoters and was called the Maple Leaf Addition to the Green Lake Tract. The name may have come from the Maple Saw Mill that operated to the east on Lake Washington or from some maple trees that once grew in the area. There is also an apocryphal story that Maple Leaf was so far north of downtown Seattle that it got its name for being near Canada.
It wasn't until after World War II that the entirety of Maple Leaf neighborhood was within the Seattle city limits. Prior to 1954 the city line was located at 85th Street, but after a series of annexations took place the city limits moved to its current location of 145th Street.
Neighborhood of the Year
Boundaries and Geography
Although Seattle neighborhood boundaries are unofficial, Maple Leaf lies between Interstate 5 in the west and State Route 522 (also known as Lake City Way) in the east. The neighborhood goes as far north as Northgate Way and as far south as NE 75th Street.
Bordering neighborhoods include Roosevelt neighborhood to the south; Pinehurst and Victory Heights neighborhoods of the Northgate district to the north; Lake City and Wedgwood neighborhoods to the east; North College Park or Licton Springs neighborhood to the west.
The highest point in Maple Leaf, located on 92nd Street and Roosevelt Way, is 466 feet above sea level, making it the third highest point of elevation in Seattle.
Distinctive features of the neighborhood include the water tower and reservoir located at 85th and Roosevelt, plus historic Waldo Hospital at 85th NE and NE 15th. The water tower is painted with a distinctive coupling of maple leaves viewable from Interstate 5.
Park and Reservoir
The Maple Leaf reservoir was completed in 1910 with the purpose of creating a reservoir for residential and commercial water use. In 2009 the Seattle city government began plans to move the reservoir underground. This was part of a citywide plan to replace all open reservoirs with underground structures in order to improve the quality and security of the water supply and provide new public open spaces on reservoir lids throughout Seattle. In 2013 the 16-acre park was completed.
Schools and library
- Olympic View Elementary School is a 20-room, 2-story brick building located on the 500 block of 95th Street. Founded in 1903 as the East Oak Lake School, Olympic View is one of the oldest schools in the city. The current building was constructed in 1989.
- Sacajawea Elementary School opened in 1955 with nine portable buildings. The current building was completed in 1959 and is located on the 9500 block of 20th Avenue. The school was named after Sacagawea, a Shoshone Indian woman who helped to guide the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Along with the two public elementary schools Maple Leaf is home to a handful of private schools.
- The Fairview School: A K-8th grade school affiliated with the Church of God. The building was built in 1908 and housed a public elementary school for 70-years. After the school closed the site was put up for bid with the neighborhood fiercely opposing a plan to convert the school to low income housing units. Originally the site was sold to the Pacific Northwest Ballet but after that deal fell through the Woodland Park Avenue Church purchased the building.
- St. Catherine School: A Catholic school serving students ranging from K-8th grade. The school was founded in 1941 and was staffed by the Sisters of Providence for 35-years.
- The Perkins School: A K-5th grade school located on 9000 block of Roosevelt.
The Maple Leaf School
The Northgate Library, which is a branch of the Seattle Public Library system, is located on 10500 block of 5th Avenue, across from Northgate Mall. The library and the adjacent community center and park opened in July 2006.
- Wilma, David. "Seattle Neighborhoods: Maple Leaf -- Thumbnail History". History Link. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- Friedman, Spike. "How Seattle's Neighborhoods Got Their Names". Mental Floss. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- Sheridan, Mimi. "HISTORIC PROPERTY SURVEY REPORT: SEATTLE'S NEIGHBORHOOD COMMERCIAL DISTRICTS" (PDF). City of Seattle. p. 11. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- Case, Fredrick (June 26, 1986). "A PRIZE NEIGHBORHOOD - IT'S MAPLE LEAF'S HOME-SPUN CHARM THAT'S ATTRACTIVE". The Seattle Times. p. E1.
- "Neighborhood Map". Maple Leaf Community Council. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "Seattle City Clerk's Geographic Indexing Atlas". City of Seattle. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "We're No. 2! Actually Maple Leaf is a proud No. 3". Maple Leaf Life. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "Periodic Dam Safety Inspection Report" (PDF). Washington State Dept. of Ecology. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "Maple Leaf Play Area Renovation & Reservoir Park Development Parks and Green Spaces Levy Project Information". Seattle City Government. Seattle Parks and Recreation. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "Maple Leaf Reservoir Park". Seattle City Government. Seattle Parks and Recreation. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Olympic View School". Historylink.org. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Sacajawea Elementary School". Historylink.org. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "About the Fairview Church". The Fairview Church. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- Built for Learning: Seattle Public Schools History (PDF). Seattle Public Schools https://web.archive.org/web/20141222024036/http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/history%20book/fairview.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2013. Missing or empty
- "Our History". St. Catherine School. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- "History of The Perkins School". The Perkins School. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- "Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Maple Leaf School". History Link. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "About the Northgate Branch". The Seattle Public Library. Retrieved 1 January 2014.