Seattle Washington Neighborhood Series-Fremont, The Center of the Universe

By
Real Estate Agent with Seattle Realty Group

Fremont is one of your more ‘funkier' neighborhood in Seattle. Originally a separate city, it was annexed to Seattle in 1891. Named after Fremont, Nebraska, the hometown of two of its founders, L. H. Griffith and E. Blewett, it is situated along the Fremont Cut of the Lake Washington Ship Canal to the north of Queen Anne, the east of Ballard, the south of Phinney Ridge, and the southwest of Wallingford. Its boundaries are not formally fixed, but they can be thought of as consisting of the Ship Canal to the south, Stone Way N. to the east, N. 50th Street to the north, and 8th Avenue N.W. to the west. Sometimes referred to as "The People's Republic of Fremont or "The Artists' Republic of Fremont, and at one time a center of the counterculture, Fremont has somewhat gentrified in recent years.

The neighborhood remains home to a controversial statue of Lenin salvaged from Slovakia by a local art lover who was teaching in the area at the time. After the 1989 fall of the Communist government, he brought the statue to Fremont with money raised through a mortgage on his house.

In addition to Lenin is the Fremont Troll, an 18-foot (5 m) tall concrete sculpture of a troll crushing a Volkswagen Beetle in its left hand, created in 1990 and situated under the north end of the Aurora Bridge. The street running under the bridge and ending at the Troll was renamed Troll Avenue N. in 2005. In addition, signs throughout Fremont give such helpful advice as "Set your watch ahead five minutes", "Set your watch back five minutes" and "Throw your watch away." Other landmarks include an old rocket fuselage and the outdoor sculpture Waiting for the Interurban. The Burke-Gilman Trail passes through Fremont just north of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Gas Works Park is just east of Fremont on the north shore of Lake Union.

Since the early 1970s some Fremont residents have been referring to their neighborhood as "The Center of the Universe" (which also appears on a large "Welcome" sign. An unofficial motto "De Libertas Quirkas" ("Freedom to be Peculiar") appears in brochures and websites about the area. The Fremont Arts Council sponsors several highly attended annual events in Fremont. One of those events is the Summer Solstice Parade & Pageant, which has made Fremont famous for its nude Solstice Cyclists.

With increased information technology development, Fremont has become increasingly gentrified with the departure of some traditional industries and the growth of quaternary industries. The world headquarters of Getty Images is located in Fremont, as well as Adobe Systems' Seattle offices, BEA Systems' Seattle office, golf and daywear label Cutter & Buck's corporate headquarters, and Hale's Ales brewery. Google opened offices there in 2006. Google has expanded their presence in Fremont by leasing 60,000 square feet (6,000 m2) of the Getty building in July 2007. The original Redhook breweries were located in Fremont until their closures in 1988 and 2002, respectively.

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