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What’s In a Name? Maple Leaf

Posted by Johnine Larsen on November 18, 2014
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Settlers first moved to the Maple Leaf Neighborhood in the 1890s, back when the land was a developer’s hope and a homeowner’s gamble. Green Lake was the dominant northern neighborhood back then, and the Maple Leaf region was nothing but a rural addition. It needed a name. Eventually, one caught on.

Wait, wait… Don’t tell me! Here are three possible sources of the Maple Leaf name. Can you guess the right one?

 1) Maple Saw Mill

sawmill-maple-leafAt the end of the 19th century, the land north of Seattle was used primarily for timber harvesting. Sawmills fueled much of the local economy. One of the major sawmills north of Seattle was the Maple Saw Mill, located on Lake Washington. This mill brought workers and their families to what was later called the Maple Leaf neighborhood, a name adopted because of their employer.

2) Maple Trees

maple-leaf-treeThe area northeast of Green Lake was once, and to a lesser extent still is, covered in maple trees. Towering Bigleaf maples grow up to 100 feet tall, and beneath them, vine maples form tangled thickets. These trees inspired the neighborhood’s name.


3) Basically Canada

maple-leaf-canadaSeattle slowly sprawled north during the early 20th century. Back when lumberjacks and settlers were first spreading past Lake Union, Seattle proper was confined far to the south. Green Lake, and especially anywhere north of Green Lake, was little more than wilderness, “so far north, it might as well have been Canada.” That line sparked the name Maple Leaf, an inside joke that has lasted to this day.


So the real one?

It’s still up for debate. Historians can’t trace the Maple Leaf name back to any one of these three ideas, so instead, they hold them all up as plausible theories. Any one of them is as acceptable as the others. We Real Estate Gals are partial to #3, though. What’s your favorite?