Nestled along Aurora Avenue North reposes an isle of peace, a North Seattle neighborhood equally renowned for its greenery and quietude — Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery, home to about 200,000 souls.
Some may balk at living near a cemetery, but not Colleen Stevens. She and her husband moved to the area a year after taking a drive and seeing "a nice little cemetery and dead end streets — and we liked it a lot."
They still do.
Actually, the "little" cemetery isn't that little. It covers 144 acres — the largest cemetery in the city.
By comparison, the Seattle Center is 87 acres.
Straddling Aurora from 110th to 125th streets, and spreading from North Meridian Avenue on the east to North Fremont Avenue to the west, the cemetery has been the ultimate destination for many Seattleites since 1885.
The cemetery is the final resting place of some members of Seattle's pioneering Denny family — David Denny owned the land that is now the cemetery. And many members and descendents of Seattle's pioneer Jewish families are buried at the adjacent Bikur Cholim Cemetery.
The surrounding neighborhoods also are popular.
Today, the area includes portions of Northgate, North Park, Bitter Lake, Haller Lake and Broadview neighborhoods, but at least one resident calls his area "Deadtown."
But it's not. For a dead zone, the North Seattle neighborhood offers many attractions for the living.
Northgate is nearby
Northgate is near, but many prefer the lively shops to the west along Greenwood Avenue North.
Aurora offers a quick — at least quicker than I-5 — path into downtown Seattle.
Aurora also offers a direct route to the northern suburbs of Shoreline, Edmonds and Lynnwood.
Some of the residents who live near the cemetery say they enjoy taking walks through it.
"When you walk through a cemetery, you're walking through a lot of history — forgotten history," Terri Meier said.
And a history of land prices in the Seattle area. In the 1920s, a cemetery plot would have cost about $40. By 1990, the price was $1,495. Today, it's about $3,200, according to Paul Elvig, general manager of Evergreen-Washelli.
Outside the fence, where new town houses have gone up, it's the same story.
The median price of a home in the North Seattle area west of Interstate 5 was $439,000 in November, up 12.3 percent from the year before, according to figures compiled by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
For this story, the neighborhood boundaries are North 105th Street to North 125th Street, from Eighth Avenue Northwest to Meridian Avenue North.
Population: 5,561 (2006 est.)
Distance to downtown Seattle: about 8.5 miles
Schools: Nearby public schools include Northgate Elementary, Viewlands Elementary, Broadview-Thomson Elementary, Ingraham High School and Middle College High School.
Parks and recreation: Parks include the 4-acre Mineral Springs Park, with wooded trails and paths, picnic area, and one of two disc golf courses in Seattle. Also nearby is Bitter Lake Playfield, Northacres Park, and Helene Madison swimming pool.
Noteworthy facts: The neighborhood is home to Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery, which includes the Veterans Memorial Cemetery with 5,000 white marble markers and the well-known "Doughboy" sculpture and two cannons from the legendary frigate USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides").
— Seattle Times news researcher Gene Balk