Invention is the mother of necessity. Money was necessary to pay the rent so I got inventive. Thus the Fremont Walking Experience was born.
Fremont is this funky little neighborhood in Seattle that originally came about as a way station for the railroad. The Interurban Rail ran between Seattle and Everett with a stop in Fremont. In the late 1880’s Guy Phinney installed a spur to bring guests to his private woodland park, now Woodland Park and Zoo.
Fremont continued to thrive and grow until the 1930’s when the Aurora Bridge was finished. After the Interurban Rail that connected Seattle to Fremont and Everett was shut down, the town of Fremont started to decline. The low rents attracted more of the fringe culture of the 1960’s with artists, bikers, and bohemians bringing about a neighborhood renaissance.
From the 1960’s through the ’80’s Fremont supported its whimsical artists. The Fremont Art Council established a home in the Pump House and sponsored the Solstices Parade and the Sunday Fremont Market took off.
The Fremont Art Council encouraged art to be incorporated into the day to day activity. It was the art council that commissioned utility boxes to be turned into art pieces and businesses often added artistic elements to the exterior of their buildings. Artists performed “art attacks” by installing art pieces randomly, and without permits, around the area. On top of a building or under a bush, you never knows when you will stumble upon a piece.
The late 1990’s brought the tech industry not just to Seattle and Redmond but even to the banks of Ship Canal in Fremont. Adobe built a 300,000 square foot building along the canal and was quickly followed by other tech companies. Companies were encouraged to continue to incorporate art into their structures, but the playful spontaneity of art seems to have faded.
Today Fremont struggles to hold onto its unique vibe.