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A Neighborhood History

Native American History

The Denny Family

Licton Springs Development & Park

Farming and Related Activities

Seattle-Everett Interurban

Aurora Avenue North

About this History


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Farming and Related Activities

In early years, small truck farms, dairies, chicken farms and greenhouses prospered in Licton Springs. On the community college site, the Kumasaka family operated a thriving greenhouse business. The Japanese language school on their property served as a community center for Japanese families throughout the North End; the structure burned while the family was interned during World War II. The agricultural legacy is virtually forgotten today, obliterated by post-war development.

One of the larger operations, Pilling's Dairy, evolved into a unique neighborhood attraction with an international reputation. In 1909, James A. and Marietta Pilling moved into a house at North 90th Street near Densmore that had been built by the Denny family in the 1880s. The dairy closed in 1933, a victim of the failing economy and increasing regulation. About that time, James' son, Chuck, dammed the creek that ran through the property, forming a pond to provide water fowl habitat. He attracted worldwide attention as the first successful breeder of the hooded merganser, bufflehead and harlequin ducks. The pond is a major community attraction, with people stopping to look at the unusual assortment of water birds, both tame and wild. This school boy's hobby has become a unique treasure enjoyed by the entire community. Today, the community is uniting to assure that the pond is maintained for future generations.

J.A. Pilling
J.A. Pilling and assistant in front of Pilling's Dairy
delivery wagon, circa 1915

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