Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Shoreline's Ronald Place, aka "Red Brick Road" Gets Recognition

Ronald Place facing N 
The "Red Brick Road" in Shoreline has been quietly enduring obscurity for the over half a century. 
Ronald Place facing S from N 175th with access still available
This section of the Ronald Place (North Trunk Road as it was known at the time it was built) was "vacated" and purchased by Aurora Rents owners last year. The owners had to temporarily move 
their store to accomodate the Aurora Phase II Project, since the Right of Way (ROW) would have intruded into the existing building, which had been permitted by King County many years ago.

But now, instead of being hidden, fenced and facing ignominy as merely a "parking lot" for the new Aurora Rents store, it will receive recognition through a special interpretive plaque.  The City of Shoreline has ordered "mitigation" to the SEPA Threshold Determination on the Aurora Rents
Building and Site Development Permit.  The mitigation is to be as follows:
Given the historical interest of the exposed red bricks of the original North Trunk Road located on the subject property (Aurora Rents), the applicant shall work with City staff on appropriate design and placement of a commemorative plaque noting the significance and location of the road and honoring Shoreline pioneer, Judge James T. Ronald, to be installed prior to Certificate of Occupancy."
 The North Trunk Road (now named after Judge Ronald who pushed to have it built to serve the area), as it was officially known when constructed in 1913, has already been badly impacted by planning and development in Shoreline. In 2005 it was listed by the WA Trust for Historic Preservation on its Most Endangered List
The Most Endangered Property List stated that it "is the last exposed section of the first paved highway through northwest King County making it one of the most historic and significant features in Shoreline. The road's two-fold significance lies in its association with the history of transportation in King County and its association with Judge James T Ronald, a pioneer and prominent local resident." 
That was because, the Walgreen's store was slated to remove an important link in the road. Now it is 
truncated by that development and has two isolated sections. One is next to the Aurora Rents property and one is still to the north of the Walgreens and is oddly meaningless next to the "Interurban Park" which is still not officially named or developed. The park is in discussion presently as a part of the new Town Center planning process.
"End of the Road" courtesy of Ronald Bog Blog
But, as the Aurora Rents Permitting process has unfolded, citizens and experts have implored the City to
ensure that this historic asset of our community is clearly identified for its significance and for its founder.
Shoreline Preservation Society is one group that has helped make that effort, by writing comment letters
into the official record. Other citizens have advocated and fought to save this piece of history over the last 30 years or more.  

Now thanks to citizens efforts, and the City of Shoreline's good sense, the road will finally have a clearly defined place in history.  It is a unique historical element of the fabric of our community, with its own beauty, texture, strength and timeless quality.  When you walk on it, you feel an immediate connection to the past.  

It is also recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as eligible for listing.  
It is clearly something of value that gives Shoreline its own character.
Looking North Towards the New City Hall

Here's hoping this time, it will really be saved!

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