News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Maple Leaf used to be shorter – and taller – than it is now

July 3rd, 2010 · 1 Comment

In days of yore – in fact, apparently up until this century – Maple Leaf was thought to contain only the fourth-highest spot in Seattle.

But we now know that we’re actually No. 3, at 466 feet above sea level. At least, so we think.

What happened? It’s a popular question, dating back to when most people thought Queen Anne hill was the tallest in town.

That still wasn’t true, but for years the city said the high point was in High Point, in West Seattle, at 512 feet above sea level, followed by Bitter Lake at 475 feet, Queen Anne at 456 feet and Maple Leaf at 455 feet.

That changed, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote in 2004, when Albert Gonzales looked into heights as an information systems specialist for Seattle Public Utilities. Using a different set of criteria – the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 – he came up with this list:

No. 1:  High Point at 520.7 feet.

No. 2:  Bitter Lake at 508.2 feet.

No. 3:  Maple Leaf at 473.3 feet.

No. 4:  Queen Anne at 470.3 feet.

Problem is, somewhere in the last few years that changed. Again. Here’s the current list. We’re still No. 3, but we’ve gained and lost several feet over the past decade and a half.

We’ll try and find out how.