NeighborHuh?: Victory Heights and the Moon, a Comparative Study

Welcome to NeighborHuh?, a new series that looks at the more obscure neighborhoods in Seattle and asks: "Is that really a place?"

Shaped like a plastic bag of milk that someone’s about to pour, Victory Heights poses an existential question: Can a neighborhood which is purely residential be classified as a “neighborhood”? Does its identity rest on the exchange of goods and services, or on its homes?

Victory Heights is a residential reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Northgate and Lake City Way (what?), sitting between them. It does have a few restaurants, a couple of minuscule parks, Thornton Creek (good creek), a Dick’s, and one or two random businesses at its borders of 15th Avenue Northeast and Lake City, but that’s about it.

What distinguishes Victory Heights among small neighborhoods is that not a single building bears its name (though I didn’t look everywhere). Even little old Bryant has Bryant Elementary School (see “NeighborHUH?”, July 8). If not for the Victory Heights Playground sign, you’d never know you were here. (To be fair, the same could be said about the moon. There are no signs on the moon indicating that you’re on the moon—though I didn’t look everywhere—so it would have a tough time applying for neighborhood status as well.)

Originally conceived as a 220-acre residence park in 1920, its namesake was the Victory Highway, now known as Lake City Way. (Victory Highway is better.) A Seattle Times ad from that year describes Victory Heights thus: Exceptionally high and dry. Lies beautifully. Rich garden soil. That’s got to count for something, even if it’s not a proper haiku.

Verdict: Since it’s mostly houses and mature evergreens, Victory Heights tends to be the forgotten little sibling of Northgate and Lake City Way. But what’s so good about Northgate? Now that the Arby’s on Meridian is closed, I have little reason to go there. Don’t take shit from anyone, Victory Heights. You’re not the platonic ideal of a neighborhood, but you’ll do, probably because of Thornton Creek. The moon doesn’t have a creek.

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