Eastlake gained a new street and intersection this week: Omsted Avenue. The newly installed sidewalk cornerstone at East Shelby Street and Eastlake (just north of the new-to-be Little Waters Cantina) is the intersection of Omsted and Fairview Avenues. Never mind that Seattle’s avenues run North-South, Omsted Avenue doesn’t exist, and that the cornerstone is on Eastlake not Fairview — our E-Coli cornerstone has returned.
OK – perhaps Eastlake’s much-anticipated new restaurant might prefer distance from E-Coli, but the little squirmies are a valuable component of this little piece of neighborhood folklore.
Last century, an updated Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) tunnel was dug under Eastlake Avenue. Unfortunately, the person in charge of directing the remote-controlled tunnel boring machine forgot to calculate the dog-leg turn in Eastlake Avenue at Hamlin Street. So the boring machine, heading northbound, deviated from the street right-of-way and got stuck under the 1920s Bar-Mart building. Around this same time, the Cornerstone sidewalk art project was brewing. The CSO tunnelling and art projects might have been financially connected – a 1% For The Arts type of thing. Don’t know. Some say the E-Coli cornerstone was intended for Boston and Eastlake, but was deemed too close to Serafina’s. Others say the sewer tunnel’s abandoned boring machine adjacent to this location made the fecal matter hosting E-Coli bacteria cornerstone placement artfully appropriate. I don’t even know if the abandoned boring machine was removed when Bar-Mart was torn down and replaced with the Dog Building Apartments (my name – due to its wonderfully-high dog-to-human tenant ratio).
But whatever! Our E-Coli cornerstone is back into the sidewalk. And now Olmsted Avenue joins Red Avenue, East Nelson Place and Eastlake Avenue NE as obscure urban photo scavenger hunt destinations of our Eastlake.