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Powell Barnett

I recently discovered that the paper archives of the Leschi Community Council (originally known as the Leschi Improvement Council, LIC) are lodged in the Special Collections of the University of Washington Library. One can arrange to inspect them over a video conference call, so I selected one of the four boxes to browse through, with a librarian turning the pages for me.

It was pretty routine stuff until I came upon some pages about Powell S. Barnett (1883–1971), who in 1959 was the founding president of the LIC.

What first caught my eye in the files was a 1967 letter from the then-president of the council to the city’s Board of Public Works. In this document, the council requests that Lake Dell Avenue, which runs down the hill from Leschi School until it becomes East Alder Street, be renamed Powell Barnett Way. The Board of Public Works agreed that Barnett deserved recognition for his “long and unselfish