Queen Anne Hill is the highest named hill in Seattle, Washington, with a maximum elevation of 456 feet (139 m), though the highest point in the city is the aptly named High Point in West Seattle, at 520 feet (158 m). It is situated just north of Seattle Center and just south of Fremont across the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The hill early became a popular spot for the city's economic and cultural elite to build their mansions (the name derives from the architectural style, typical of so many of the early homes).
As a neighborhood toponym, Queen Anne can refer either to the entire hill or to the central residential and business district at the top of the hill. It is to be distinguished from Lower Queen Anne, which refers to the area at the southern base of the hill, just north of Seattle Center. They are connected by an extremely steep section of Queen Anne Avenue N. known as the Counterbalance, in memory of the cable cars that once ran up and down it.
Queen Anne is bounded on the north by the Fremont Cut of the Ship Canal, beyond which is Fremont; on the west by 15th Avenue W. and Elliott Avenue W., beyond which is Interbay and Elliott Bay; on the east by Aurora Avenue N. (Washington State Route 99), beyond which is Westlake and Lake Union; and on the south by Denny Way, beyond which is Belltown. Seattle Pacific University is located on its north slope across from Fremont.
Its main thoroughfares are Gilman Drive W.; 15th, Elliott, 10th, 6th, and 3rd Avenues W.; and Queen Anne, 5th, Taylor, and Aurora Avenues N. (north- and southbound) and Denny Way; Mercer, Boston, W. McGraw, and W. Nickerson Streets; and Queen Anne Drive (east- and westbound). Portions of several of these streets reflect a comprehensive boulevard design by Frederick Law Olmstead, intended as a 3-mile loop around the crown of the hill, though the design was never fully executed.
White settlement of Queen Anne stemmed from the arrival of the Denny Party at West Seattle's Alki Point in November 1851. The next year, David Denny staked a claim to the 320 acres (1.3 km²) of Lower Queen Anne land today bounded by Elliott Bay to the west, Lake Union to the east, Mercer Street to the north, and Denny Way to the south. Development of the hill, called at various times North Seattle, Galer Hill, and Eden Hill, was slow, but the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway (1883) and the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad (1887), the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, and the opening of three cable car lines to the top of the hill (1902), improved matters. The hill began to be called "Queen Anne" by 1885, after the Queen Anne style houses that dominated the area.
The first television broadcast in the Pacific Northwest originated from KRSC's facilities at 3rd Avenue N. at Galer Street in 1948. In 1949, KING-TV bought KRSC; this was the first such transaction in the country's history. Three years later, KOMO installed its own tower, and KIRO followed suit in 1958.
In 1962, Lower Queen Anne became the site of the Century 21 Exposition, a World's Fair. The fairgrounds are now the campus of Seattle Center, home to the Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project, Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, the north terminal of the Seattle monorail, and KeyArena, home of the Seattle SuperSonics, Seattle Storm, and Seattle Thunderbirds sports teams.
Lower Queen Anne
Lower Queen Anne is a neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, at the base of Queen Anne Hill. While its boundaries are not precise, the toponym usually refers to the shopping, office, and residential districts to the north and west of Seattle Center. The districts to the west of the Center are also known as Uptown. The neighborhood is connected to Upper Queen Anne--the shopping district at the top of the hill--by an extremely steep section of Queen Anne Avenue N. known as the Counterbalance, in memory of the cable cars that once ran up and down it.
While "Lower Queen Anne" and "Uptown" are rarely used to refer to the grounds of Seattle Center itself, many of Seattle Center's leading attractions abut the neighborhood; these include KeyArena (home of the Seattle Supersonics, Seattle Storm, and Seattle Thunderbirds sports teams), the Exhibition Hall, McCaw Hall (home of the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet), the Intiman Playhouse (home of the Intiman theater company), and the Bagley Wright Theater (home of Seattle Repertory Theater), as well as the Mercer Arena.
Lower Queen Anne also has a three-screen movie theater, the Uptown, and On the Boards, a center for avant-garde theater and music.
Largely because of its proximity to Seattle Center, Lower Queen Anne is home to some 100 restaurants, bars, and fast-food locations. It is also home to numerous small-to-medium-sized high-tech companies, several of them with major investments from Paul Allen. It was the home of Quicksoft, the first company to score commercial success with shareware.
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