This month in history: Nagle Place created

On November 15, 1899 -- one hundred and eighteen years ago this month -- Nagle Place was dedicated by the Seattle City Council in ordinance 5630.

This article also ran on Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.

Where it's at

Nagle Place is among the shortest streets in Seattle. It's bounded by Pine Street on the south and Denny Way on the north, just three blocks long. It's intersected only once, by Howell Street. The former Olive Street right of way brings a staircase down from Broadway which continues as a path through Cal Anderson Park to the east.

Kroll Map book from SPU Eng Vault, updated through 1980s

What's a Nagle?

John H. Nagle came to Seattle in 1853 as the pioneers were first staking their land claims and filing "plats", the first official maps of roads and property to be sold. The land that Nagle claimed was more than a mile northeast of the main town, centered on current Cal Anderson Park. He built a homestead and he worked a farm on the land.

We don't know exactly what afflicted him but in 1874 Nagle was committed to the Washington Territory Insane Asylum, deemed a "dangerous man". His stay at the asylum was funded by renting and then slowly selling his property.

After Nagle died in 1897 his remaining property was sold. The city purchased land for a new high school, Seattle's first dedicated building for High School. It was later known as Broadway High, currently part of Seattle Central College's campus.

Land was also purchased for a water reservoir for the planned Cedar River pipeline system. To make space for the reservoir, 10th Avenue was removed between Denny and Pine. The city replaced it with a narrow lane mid-block between Broadway and where 10th should have been. It was named Nagle, after the plat and after the man.

Contractor Spencer F. Mougin of Tacoma won the bid to build Nagle Place in August 1901. In 1909 Nagle was revisited for paving, drains, sidew