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Seattle’s Greenwood-Phinney Neighborhood debuts as the latest book to document early Seattle
By Julie Gangler   - 02/05/2008

North Seattle Journal

Those who grew up in Seattle nostalgically remember their childhood neighborhoods. Those who have moved here in recent years may wonder about the history of their current locale.

Both can "step back in time" with a wonderful series of affordable books from Arcadia Publishing, the most recent being Seattle's Greenwood-Phinney Neighborhood by local author Ted Pedersen. To date, Arcadia has published a total of 21 such books on various Seattle neighborhoods, including Vanishing Seattle.

"Vanishing Seattle sparked my interest in researching the Greenwood-Phinney neighborhood where I grew up," said Pedersen. "I had spent 25 years in Los Angeles as a TV script writer and book author before moving back to my Northwest roots in 2004.

"I was surprised by all the changes in Seattle, but also by how much the Greenwood-Phinney neighborhood had remained the same. It still looks a good bit like it did when my family moved there in 1947, and it still has a true sense of neighborhood. So I queried Arcadia Publishing about writing a book on Greenwood-Phinney and had a wonderful time researching my old neighborhood."

One of his great discoveries was A History of Greenwood written by Greenwood School students in 1948 as their class project. He obtained rare photos to illustrate the book from the Phinney Neighborhood Association, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle Municipal Archives, University of Washington and Northwest Theater Organ Society. Total, he spent about six months researching and writing the book.

"All of Arcadia Publishing's books are 128 pages in length and include approximately 200 photos," said Pedersen. "Each book tells the story of a neighborhood or local topic from its beginning to the present. Mine begins with the building of Greenwood over a marsh and two cemeteries, which had to be relocated. Phinney owes its name to Guy Phinney, a wealthy immigrant from Nova Scotia who developed the private estate that became Woodland Park.

"I also learned of some amazing additions to these two neighborhoods, which grew into one over the years. For example, the area is now home to the only Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the world outside of Tibet."

Pedersen's book includes personal experiences such as catching pollywogs as a child in a gully that is now filled in and paved over as the Fred Meyer store parking lot. He remembers the various storefronts and theaters along Greenwood and Phinney Avenues, some of which appear the same albeit with new merchant tenants.

Now living in Ballard, Pedersen is considering writing another Arcadia book on Seattle's grand old movie theaters, which he frequented while growing up. He is also working on a science-fiction screenplay and a "tween" mystery novel set against the backdrop of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.

Pedersen previously has written 16 books, including the best-selling Internet for Kids and Cybersurfers series and four Star Trek young-adult novels. During his Los Angeles days, he garnered more than 100 television scriptwriting credits for shows including "The Bionic Woman," "Space Academy" and "Kojak." He has also written several screenplays and more than 200 animated cartoons such as Centurions, X-Men and Flash Gordon.

Seattle's Greenwood-Phinney Neighborhood officially debuted Jan. 26 and is now available in both major and independent bookstores. It can also be ordered online - as can the other Seattle neighborhood books - at www.arcardiapublishing.com. All the books are priced at $19.99.

Five other Arcadia books document the early Seattle neighborhoods of Ballard, Beacon Hill, Belltown, Fremont and Green Lake. Nearby communities are also featured in books about Alderwood Manor, Boeing Field, Camano Island, Issaquah, the Key Peninsula, Redmond and Snohomish.

Arcadia's topic books include The Cemeteries of Seattle, Foss Maritime Company, Hockey in Seattle, Hydroplane Racing in Seattle, Irish Seattle, Maritime Seattle, Music in Washington: Seattle and Beyond, and The Seattle Fire Department.

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