The Backstory

It’s Halloween and Enjoy Lake City decided to find some good old spooky stories to share with you. Instead, we found something even spookier – there’s nothing spooky here!

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Nothing Spooky Here Folks!

ELC recently asked about 40 people in Lake City:

Seen anything spooky in Lake City lately? Ghostly sightings? UFO’s? Haunted houses? Weird power surges? An old ghost story your grandpa likes to tell?

The typical answers ELC heard over and over were:

(Pause…) “well ah (…. Pause…) “no, nothing spooky here!”

“Um, never heard anything like that here.”

“Nope. You could maybe ask someone else.”

and “Nope. Ha-ha ha-ha!”

Armed with this information, ELC did more research and discovered that the weirdest phenomenon in Lake City is … there IS no unusual phenomena here!

According to Liminal, Lake City is the only neighborhood in Seattle without even one report of the unexplained. Liminal should know. They host a map of the strange, wonderful, unusual and unexpected. The map includes sightings of ghosts, fairies, bigfoot, time travelers and even broccoli wizards. People send their stories to Liminal and Liminal posts the most maybe-plausible stories along with the neighborhood where the phenomena occurred.

One look at the Lake City section of Liminal’s map and you can see it is a Bermuda Triangle of non-existent spooky stuff. Here’s what the Liminal map looks like today:’s map shows no spooky stuff in all of Lake City. Nada! Zip!


That map’s pretty bare in Lake City folks! Every other northend neighborhood is admitting to odd goings on, but not Lake City! We are literally surrounded by odd stuff in other neighborhoods:

UFOs have been reported from over in Wedgewood, up on Phinney Ridge and down in Eastlake.

Ghosts have been spotted in Northgate, Wallingford, Ravenna and Crown Hill (that one was a ghost clad in t-shirt and jeans who showed up with “an eerie non-expression”, yikes!)

The College Inn in the U District, home of Howard the Ghost Fisherman

Over in the U District, a basement bar has a resident ghost fisherman who lives at the College Inn Pub. The Inn’s website says that Howard, (the ghost fisherman), was on his way to Alaska for gold in the 1900’s, but never made it because he was murdered in one of the rooms at the Inn, where his spirit remains today. He’s been heard to laugh a lot, drinks beer and plays the old piano in the back room around closing time.



Customers at the Kraken have seen straws move on their own!

And also in the U District, the Kraken Bar and lounge is said to be haunted by one or more spirits. People there have seen objects move inexplicably on their own and spotted shadowy figures lurking nearby.





Even Carkeek Park reports a demon who showed up just in time for a photo! Here’s the evidence for that one:

Wedgewood has the Wedgewood Rock, said to be the source of mystical energy and power. It’s the 19 foot tall rock deposited by a glacier back in the Ice Age onto what is now the parking strip at the corner of 28th

Wedgewood Rock – a cosmic power source?

NE and NE 72nd Street. A good place to renew your mystical energy when needed.


And for some really creepy stuff, Channel 13 reported a few years ago that up in Bothell, a man said his home was haunted by poltergeists who turned over his furniture, burned his Bibles and threw objects. A team from —  I kid you not — the Scientific Establishment of Parapsychology studied the home and released a report that says the disturbances and noises in the home may be from the spirits of Irish settlers.  The home apparently was built on settlements of people who had passed away.

But back to Lake City!

The most promising lead ELC had for spookiness in our neighborhood is a story from Imogene Inglet’s book, “Lil’ Ol’ Lake City”. It seems that back in the day during Prohibition, a couple named Abe and May ran a honky tonk on Lake City Way at 123rd Street. But their speakeasy days came to a quick end when May caught Abe “philandering with a lady from an establishment of ill repute down the street and let him have it with a .44 in true Frankie and Johnny fashion.”

Wouldn’t you think at least Abe’s ghost would have been spotted by now hanging out at Dick’s Drive In or something?

Nope. Nothing spooky here folks! (At least, that’s what Lake Citizens would have you believe…)

Happy Halloween!

The Backstory

The Backstory

They’re easy to miss if you don’t already know they’re there, embedded in the sidewalk next to the Seattle Mennonite Church. Thirty-two bronze leaves which, depending on the season and the time of day, can fade barely noticed into the background of the sidewalk, or shine as brightly as stars.

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The Leaves of Remembrance

Thirty-two Leaves of Remembrance are located in Lake City in front of the Seattle Mennonite Church, each one engraved with a name and year of birth and death, commemorating a life once lived in our community.

These Leaves are part of the Tree of Life project developed by WHEEL, a homeless women’s organizing effort. The Tree of Life sculpture in Victor Steinbrueck Park is the only permanent homeless memorial in the world.

The Tree of Life in Victor Steinbrueck Park near Pike Place Market.


The tree has two large branches with leaf-shaped holes stamped out of the iron. The fallen bronze Leaves of Remembrance symbolized by these holes are scattered throughout the City near places that people have felt connected to, including the Seattle Mennonite Church in Lake City.

The Mennonite Church became one of the first installation sites in 2012 when Sally Kinney, a member of WHEEL and founding member of the Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness, approached pastors Melanie and Jonathan Neufeld to ask for support for the project. Sally recently explained why she took her request to the Neufelds. “I have great admiration for Melanie and Jonathan and their work in Lake City”, she said.

“Over more than a decade, they have gathered the un-housed people in our area together, given them a home in God’s Little Acre, the Mennonites’ drop-in center, started first a night shelter in the church which graduated to a roving shelter in many different area churches, and perhaps most importantly, given them a voice in our community.”

“When I mentioned the Leaves project to them, it was with the intention of them adding another symbol of love they show to our outside neighbors: a place to permanently honor the fallen with these Leaves.”

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Q&A with Marie Spencer, Owner of Pony Express

Q&A with Marie Spencer, owner of Pony Express

All in a Day’s Work – Change, Challenges and Giant Bunnies

Marie and Rod Spencer, Owners of Pony Express, Lake City

Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Marie Spencer at Pony Express, a Lake City Shipping and Packaging store. Marie and her husband Rod have owned the store for over 22 years. Marie shared her thoughts on the changes, challenges and surprises that come with owning a business.


ELC: How did Pony Express get started?

It was 12 guys who got together one night in 1982 and thought it would be really cool if Grandma could send a gift to a grandson through UPS to make sure that it got there. But UPS wouldn’t work with anybody but businesses at that time, so these guys said, let’s open a business that ships for grandmas. So they all opened up around the Seattle, Everett, Lynnwood area just doing UPS and Fed Ex shipping. At that time, we co-opted together – the bookkeeper divvied out the bills so that each location paid their own bills. As we grew, we grew into our own entities and got our own account numbers, so now we’re an independent mail and parcel center.

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Q&A with Annette Heide-Jessen, Owner of Kaffeeklatsch

Kaffeeklatsch, the Coffee Shop & Bakery in the Hearts of Lake City

Annette Heide-Jessen, Owner of Kaffeeklatsch

Enjoy Lake City (ELC) visited Annette Heide-Jessen at her Lake City Way bakery and coffee shop to talk about social gatherings around coffee, cake stung by a bee, and the power of working together for a better future. Annette was recently named to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkans’ newly formed Small Business Advisory Council, which will provide policy recommendations and recommend resources to help small businesses thrive amid Seattle’s current growth and affordability crisis.


And don’t miss our Mystery Diner’s

“Rapid Restaurant Review”

following the interview!


ELC: How did you get into your own business?

I was born and raised in Berlin. I had two degrees as a registered nurse and a pediatric nurse.

When I got to the States, I was 27 and I had to refresh my degrees. I got an associate’s degree, then ran out of money, so I couldn’t do it. Then I volunteered at a local hospital and I did not like the system here at all! The way it’s run, the hierarchy, the 20 people that go through a room with one patient and I thought “I don’t want to do this”.

I tried a number of jobs and ended up at Columbia City Bakery as the retail manager. I was laid off in 2009, could not find a job for the life of me. My boyfriend Brian had also been laid off from his job in construction. We were thinking “what do we do now?” We started planning Kaffeeklatsch and opened the doors in 2011.

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Q&A with Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, Owner of Gyro on Lake City

Q&A with Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, Owner of Gyro on Lake City

A Little Taste of Egypt in Lake City

Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Mohamed Abdel-Aziz at his Lake City Way restaurant to talk about delicious Mediterranean food, growing up in Egypt and life in Lake City. The restaurant recently moved a few doors down from its old location and now has a bigger seating area and a larger kitchen. And don’t miss our Mystery Diner’s “Rapid Restaurant Review” following the interview!

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, Owner of Gyro on Lake City

ELC: How long have you been in the restaurant business?

It’s been 25 years since I came to the States from Egypt.

ELC: How did you decide to start your own restaurant?

That was the job I found months after I came to the States, first as a cook, then a lead cook, then a manager. But I found myself going nowhere and I just wanted to have my own thing and not have a boss anymore; to be my own boss.

ELC: Did you learn to cook when you came to the States or in Egypt?

I knew a little bit from back home in Egypt, but when I came here I learned from the different restaurants I worked in. Red Robin, Salty’s , Applebee’s. I managed Applebee’s so I learned everything about the business at Applebee’s and I trained everyone else. Meetings with the cooks about the new commercials, how to cook the new items, everything.

The restaurant has a fresh new look and a brightly painted façade (courtesy of LCFF).

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