Mega Renton Crow Roost

Crow Gathering at dusk on 16th SW Renton
Crow Gathering at dusk on 16th SW Renton

The Roost in Renton is visiting the corner of 16th and Lind SW every night around quitting time.   Dusk seems to bring them from all directions but I see more coming from the North than South.  The trees in this parking lot are brilliant red/magenta and make some vivid pictures.

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Continuing the research on why they flock here to this corner I have found some more information to share.  This is  through the help of our Safety Manager at work and Liz Stewart from the Renton Museum.  I have sent off some requests for information to others but am still awaiting responses.

First, if you read the historical information (courtesy of HistoryLink.org) on the man who platted this area into Earlington Gardens Addition, you will find he was a real estate shark.   Clarence D. Hillman’s MO (mode of operandi) was to plat both desirable and undesirable land and then sold it to poor folks, some sight unseen.  He did this in several areas around Seattle and made himself very wealthy.

His subdivisions ranged from Hillman’s Schoolhouse Division, Greenlake Division, Kilbourne Division, Lake Front Division near Seward Park, South Shore Addition, Woodland Park Addition, Stinson’s Addition, and Evan’s Addition. Hillman did not limit himself to Seattle. He went into unincorporated areas such as the Rainier Valley where he platted Hillman City. He also laid out Kennydale (named for his wife, the former Bessie Kenny) and Hillman’s Mountlake Terrace.

The local newspaper ran articles about buyers who felt cheated and Hillman sued the paper for libel. U.S. District Attorney Elmer E. Todd was not fooled though. He tracked Hillman’s activities, until Hillman began to use the U.S. Mail to defraud his customers. Mail fraud was a federal offense and Hillman was indicted in August 1910.

In the January 1911 trial a jury convicted Hillman of 13 counts of mail fraud and he was sentenced to 2½ years in prison. Hillman appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which upheld the conviction and sentence in 1912. Hillman served 18 months at McNeil Island. His family waited for him in the opulent Hotel Coronado in San Diego.

This brings us back to Earlington Gardens.   In looking for old photos of the area my Safety Manager sent me a link to the King County Flood Web Page.  There we found photos of the December 1946 flood that covered the entire valley.   I am assuming this was not the first time this had occurred and that is why Earlington Gardens, Hillman plotted, never was fully developed.   Here are two photos showing you how bad the flooding was.   Since then extensive work has been done to protect the valley from floods.   The area is now built up with many warehouses and businesses in an area that was once not practical to build on.

Dec 1946 Flood - Renton - Grady Eastward view
Dec 1946 Flood – Renton – Grady Eastward view
Dec 1946 Flood - Renton - LongAcres area
Dec 1946 Flood – Renton – LongAcres area

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