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Naming Village Gardens: Celebrating the legacy of the neighborhood

Updated: Aug 24, 2020


“Village Gardens” was chosen as the name for this development following a community request for proposals that would honor the history of the neighborhood.


We are grateful to have received guidance from a diverse panel of community partners who reviewed and discussed six proposals.


The selected name honors the site’s history as an unofficial P-patch used by the diverse neighbors to the site in decades past. Italian, Jewish, Filipino, Japanese and African American residents have all lived in this neighborhood over the generations. The site has a steep slope and has never been used for residential purposes.

Village Gardens recognizes that in years gone by, neighbors from adjacent properties used the property to grow food, and planted fruit trees. In recent years, bramble and overgrowth have erased the signs of this history.


This project is located in the Central District, which has had a rich history of residents of many racial and ethnic identities. Although impacted by gentrification and displacement it is still recognized as a cultural hub for the African American community. K. Wyking Garrett, Executive Director of Africatown CLT, which is an outreach partner for this site, has said that when the area was majority African American, it functioned like a village. The name “Village Gardens’ recognizes the history of the Central District and the history of this particular property within the larger community.


Other names proposed included:

  • Unity Connection Place – Proposed to honor the Civic Unity Committee of 1944, a multiracial organization formed to combat fears of racial violence in Seattle. Submitted by Marie T. Kidhe & Jamala Myres

  • Colman Place/Hills – Proposed to honor what used to be called the “Colman Neighborhood,” a highly diverse neighborhood made up of Italian, African American, Filipino, Chinse and Japanese, and the Colman School. Submitted by Marie T. Kidhe & Jamala Myres

  • Central Place – Proposed to honor the historic name given to this neighborhood – the Central District. We will be looking for historical information on when this name first came into use. Submitted by Marie T. Kidhe & Jamala Myres

  • Narrow River Townhomes – Proposed to honor the Coast Salish people who first lived in this area. Narrow River is a translation of the word Yakima. Submitted by Marie T. Kidhe & Jamala Myres Other Indigenous place names for this according to historical records (provided by Ken Workman) are: Where the Wolves are, The Deepwater place, and The Monster place. Information provided by Ken Workman from T.T. Waterman's 1922 geographical review entitled "The Geographical Names used by Indians of Pacific Northwest" Volume 12.

  • Barangay Gardens – Proposed by the Tamayo/Dimalanta Family, recognizing the cooperative village of neighbors -- African American, Italian, Japanese and Filipino families -- especially those who lived near the development lot and used the vacant land for gardening.

Thank you to all those who submitted proposals to the process, and members of our community panel.

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Village Gardens  is a neighborhood of homes within the Homestead Community Land Trust

Homestead’s main office is at 412 Maynard Ave South, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98104

Homestead is a 501(c)(3) membership organization. Our tax ID is 91-1565651.

 

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Background photo: "Urban Peace Circle,” Gerald Tsutakawa, artist; Stop the Violence. Photo: Seattle Parks and Recreation Story behind the art