Madrona is a neighborhood with an interesting history and a future based on housing prices that have gone crazy the past few years. It is part of the core of original Seattle--the strees in Madrona are labeled neither North nor South. Pike and Pine, the same streets that anchor the Pike Place Market, lead straight through downtown and over Capital Hill to Madrona and into Lake Washington. Many of the homes in Madrona were built of old growth timber in the early 1900s, and several are now listed as historic.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Madrona was home to many Jewish families. In the 1960s, the Black Panthers had their headquarters in Madrona, and practiced their drills in the Madrona Playfield. At that time, much of Madrona was "red lined" by banks and people who lived here--many of them Black--could not get loans to improve their homes and properties, especially if they lived west of 34th Avenue. By the 1970s, Madrona was very racially mixed, and the people here, Black, White, and Asian, worked together to make their neighbhorhood welcoming to all.
In the 1980s, as the Seattle housing market got hotter than a triple short, Madrona was discoverd by those looking for an established family-friendly neighborhood close to downtown Seattle. Homes that a few years earlier were almost given-away, suddenly were selling for $200 to $300K. In one of those brick tudors with a lake view, the Goldmark family was murdered on Christmas eve of 1985. In the '90s, as the home prices rose, many long-time residents cashed in and walked away from Madrona with pockets full of gold. Their large, rambling, multi-ethnic families were replaced by White families of means, with one or two children and their possessions easily filling the space that was previously plenty for families with five and six kids.
Still, despite the influx of new people, in the new millenium Madrona continues to be a neighborhood of neighbors. An e-group called the Madrona Moms connects people via the Internet, and a monthly community newsletter, the Madrona News, is produced by a cadre of neighborhood volunteers and sent to every home in Madrona, free of charge. Downtown Madrona, on 34th Avenue between Marion and Pike, is an eccletc assembly of restaurants and small shops, mostly owned and run by people who live in the neighbhorhood. The scones at the Hi-Spot cafe draw people from far and wide, but the locals still drop in for coffee and a chat with whoever is sitting in the window seat. Once a week, volunteers come to St. Clouds restaurant and cook meals that are donated to homeless shelters. People walk their dogs up and down the hilly streets, and MOST of them Scoop the Poop. The public elementary school Madrona K-8 is bursting at the seams with kids from the neighborhood, and the community raised over $500,000 to renovate the Madrona Playfield and recover it from the drug dealers and creepy folks who hung out there. There are too few Madrona Trees in Madrona, but the neighbors working to return Madrona Woods to the wild are also working to bring a stream up and out of the storm drains and teach it to flow back into Lake Washington.
Madrona has had a history of ups and down and today, in 2006, it is definitly on the rise. Learn more about Madrona at the Madrona community website.