Fremont is a neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. Originally a separate city, it was annexed to Seattle in 1891, and is named after Fremont, Nebraska, the hometown of two of its founders L. H. Griffith and E. Blewett.
It is situated along the Fremont Cut of the Lake Washington Ship Canal to the north of Queen Anne, the east of Ballard, the south of Phinney Ridge, and the southwest of Wallingford. Its boundaries are not formally fixed, but they can be thought of as consisting of the Ship Canal to the south, Stone Way N. to the east, N. 50th Street to the north, and 8th Avenue N.W. to the west.
The neighborhood's main thoroughfares are Fremont and Aurora Avenues N. (north- and southbound) and N. 46th, 45th, 36th, and 34th Streets (east- and westbound). The Aurora Bridge (George Washington Memorial Bridge) carries Aurora Avenue (State Route 99) over the Ship Canal to the top of Queen Anne Hill, and the Fremont Bridge carries Fremont Avenue over the canal to the hill's base. A major shopping district is centered on Fremont Avenue N. just north of the bridge.
Sometimes referred to as "The People's Republic of Fremont" or "The Artists' Republic of Fremont," and at one time a center of the counterculture, Fremont has become somewhat gentrified in recent years. The neighborhood remains home to a controversial statue of Lenin salvaged from Slovakia by a local art lover who was teaching in the area at the time. After the 1989 fall of the Communist government, he brought the statue to Fremont with money raised through a mortgage on his house. In addition to Lenin is the Fremont Troll, an 18-foot-tall (5 m) concrete sculpture of a troll crushing a Volkswagen Beetle in its left hand, created in 1990 and situated under the north end of the Aurora Bridge. The street running under the bridge and ending at the Troll was renamed Troll Avenue N. in 2005. In addition, signs throughout Fremont give such helpful advice as "Set your watch back five minutes" and "Throw your watch away." Other landmarks include the Fremont Rocket, a Fairchild C-119 tail boom modified to resemble a missile, and the outdoor sculpture Waiting for the Interurban.
Since the early 1970s some Fremont residents have been referring to their neighborhood as "The Center of the Universe" (which also appears on a large "Welcome" sign). An unofficial motto "De Libertas Quirkas" ("Freedom to be Peculiar") appears in brochures and websites about the area.
The Fremont Arts Council sponsors several highly attended annual events in Fremont. One of those events is the Summer Solstice Parade & Pageant, which has made Fremont famous for its nude Solstice Cyclists. Another event is the Troll-a-ween.
Also important to Fremont is the large block on Linden Avenue N. that contains the B.F. Day Elementary School and B.F. Day Playground, two separate entities. B.F. Day is the longest continually operating school in the Seattle school district, having been founded in 1892.
Another longstanding institution is the Fremont branch of the Seattle Public Library. An informal library predated the 1891 annexation of Fremont to Seattle, and annexation made it the city's first branch library. The present structure dates from 1921.
Besides the B.F. Day playfield, Fremont has two small public parks, Fremont Peak Park just south of N. 45th Street and A.B. Ernst Park next to the library. The Burke-Gilman Trail passes through Fremont just north of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The large Gas Works Park is just east of Fremont on the north shore of Lake Union.
Adobe Systems' Seattle offices, Tableau Software's headquarters, BEA Systems' Seattle office, golf and daywear label Cutter & Buck's corporate headquarters, and Hale's Ales brewery are in Fremont. Google opened offices there in 2006. The original Redhook breweries were located in Fremont until their closures in 1988 and 2002, respectively.
A growing number of technology companies have a presence in Fremont, including Adobe Systems, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Google, SDL PLC, Groundspeak, Impinj, Tableau Software, and others. Most of these offices are along the Lake Washington Ship Canal. As a result, the Southern edge of Fremont is now sometimes locally referred to as the "Silicon Canal".
The neighborhood is home to a number of nonprofit organizations, including Literacy Source and Provail, a provider of social services to people with disabilities and an affiliate of the United Cerebral Palsy network.
A wedge-shaped building on the diagonal street Leary Way that cuts across Fremont from the adjacent Ballard neighborhood was once home to legendary Seattle producer Jack Endino's Reciprocal Recording studio, where he recorded (among many other records) Nirvana's first demos and the band's debut on Sub Pop records, Bleach.
Statue of Lenin
The Solstice Cyclists are known for riding nude through the neighborhood
Fremont Branch of the Seattle Public Library
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