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Cornerspotted: It's MLK Way S and S Judkins St!

Written by Sarah Anne Lloyd

Yesterday, we asked you to guess the location of a central Seattle corner, pictured 60 years ago. Josh Cohen got it just under the wire on Twitter: Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S and S Judkins St, although at the time it was Judkins St and Empire Way.



Images: Seattle Municipal Archives, Google Maps At the time the "before" photo was taken, Martin Luther King Jr Way — whose namesake's birthday, while technically yesterday, is celebrated as a federal holiday this Monday — was once called Empire Way. The name change did not come easily.

After 4,000 residents signed a citizen petition in support, the City Council voted unanimously to rename the street in July 1982, causing a pretty big stir of controversy. Businesses along the corridor sued over the name change, claiming, among other, more procedural points, that it would be too expensive to change their addresses. As documented by HistoryLink, this did not go over well; proponents quickly called a boycott of businesses and, at one point, even put stickers over Empire Way signs with the new name. The last of the official, new street signs was installed, fittingly, on January 15, 1984.
· All Cornerspotter coverage [CS]