While Seattle was building long piers with landmark towers on the central waterfront and first staging Golden Potlatches, the week-long summer festivals that began in 1911, on city streets, an alert and now nameless photographer produced a collection of sharp negatives enamored with schooners, steamers and Potlatch parade floats.
The window shot at the top, however, is unique for her or him. From the northwest corner of First Ave. N. and Denny Way, the subject looks southeast from a fourth floor window – perhaps the photographer’s apartment.
The Regent Apartments were built in 1908. From the prospect, here at the top, one got an unimpeded view of the razing of Denny Hill for the Denny Regrade until 1910, when the Raymond Apartments, whose rear wall is seen here kitty-corner and beyond the billboards, opened its 37 two-room units to renters. The Regent was considerably larger with 59 units. These two apartment houses were part of the earliest brick reconstruction of this “North Seattle” neighborhood that had been swiftly built of wood during Seattle’s first boom decades of the 1880s and 1890s.
The Regent’s managers did not promote this view south into the business district but rather that to the west. A Dec. 15, 1912, classified ad for the Regent reads, “Commanding a view of the Sound and being within easy walking distance of the city, or excellent car service, this building is exceptionally well located. The apartments are first class and modern in every respect. Three rooms at $15 and $20. Four rooms, $27.50 and $30.”
In 1925, after the apartments were sold to a San Francisco investor for “a consideration of $110,000,” the name was changed to the Arkona. This was short-lived. After John and Winifred Paul purchased the Arkona Apartments in 1927 for $150,000, they whimsically changed its name to Pauleze. Winifred died there in 1932, but Paul continued living in and managing their apartment house until 1957, when he too died, but not the punning name. It remained the Pauleze until the late 1970s, when, for reasons we have not found, the name Arkona Apartments was revived.
In the mid-1980s, with the help of Dave Osterberg, a friend who was then the development manager for Environmental Works, acting as guide for the transfer, the collection of negatives of which this subject was one, “came home” to Seattle from the Museum of North Idaho. With a donation to the museum from Ivar Haglund, the negatives were purchased for the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.
Anything to add, dear Paul? At first – and perhaps last – look Ron and I have found a dozen links to past features, all from within the still brief life of this blog: a few years. They are packed with Queen Anne – both upper and lower – history.
The first of these twelve includes brief illustrated essays on sever other Seattle apartment houses, including the Raymond, which is the pie-shaped brick apartment at the corner of Warren and First that partially blocks the view from our window above into both the regrade and the central business district. Following the links I’ll hang a some more images from the neighborhood, either before climbing to nighty-bears, or tomorrow. Meanwhile there is enough included in the dozen links below to keep one engaged for a long as it once upon a time took one to sit thru “Meet the Press.”
This picturesque pioneer snapshot was copied from a family album filled with prints, interpreted with terse captions hand-written on their borders. It reads simply “Salmon Bay, 1887,” a date used on several other photographs protected within the album’s covers. If correct, then this is a rare early photographic record of Salmon Bay.
To the inevitable “where on Salmon Bay?” there are two choices. The forested hill across the waterway must be either Queen Anne or the part of the Magnolia headland above where the Salmon Bay channel begins out of Shilshole Bay – near Ray’s boathouse. Both sites would have required James Lowman, the owner of the photo album and probably both the camera and the sailboat, to reach the bay by sailing from the Seattle waterfront around the Magnolia peninsula. The voyage may well have begun at Yesler’s Wharf, which Lowman managed for his uncle, Henry Yesler.
Jean and I chose the Queen Anne site, largely on the evidence of the timber trestle that runs beside the distant shoreline. It was also in 1887 that the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad completed its line from the Seattle waterfront north through Interbay to Salmon Bay, and then east to Lake Union along Ross Creek, the lake’s outlet below the north end of Queen Anne Hill. In 1887 there may have been some settlers’ docks beside Salmon Bay, but no extended trestles except this one.
In 1946, after greeting his 89th birthday with a morning visit to his barber, James Lowman returned to his First Hill mansion, The Seattle Times reported, to spend “several hours . . . reminiscing over a volume containing pictures of Seattle’s pioneer residences. In it is a picture of his home.” Somewhere between “very likely” and “highly possible,” the album that Lowman lost himself in was the one uncovered by friend Michael Maslan, a collector and dealer in vintage photographs and posters.
In the early 1980s Mike shared the Lowman album with me for copying and study. I have often used it in these pages. Included are pictures of Mary Emery Lowman, whom James married two years after he, we assume, photographed this Salmon Bay scene. Perhaps Mary is sitting in the sailboat and being courted. She would have been 24 years old. Married in 1889, they lived together for a half-century on First Hill, until Mary’s death in 1939. Still living in his mansion, James died eight year later at age 90.
Anything to add, Paul?
Jean I hear the pacing of soft pads with retracted claws signaling me to nighty-bears. It is 3am, but Ron Edge will be up soon – most likely around 5am – and put up, I believe, no less than NINE relevant links. Early Sunday afternoon I’ll return for proofreading and with two features printed now long ago in the Times, and one of them also in the second Seattle Now and Then volume. Both are short essays on two more of Lowman’s nature subjects – Lake Union shorelines – and like our feature at the top, both are dated from or in 1887.
In response to our last blog feature, the one about the Fremont Car Barn and the rest, an old friend and officer in these trenches, archivist Ernie Dornfield, answered our question regarding what was the use of those ghost-colored solid forms in the otherwise vacant lot between the house on the left of the subject and the car barn beyond both? Here’s Ernie’s letter plus a “grab” from this computer’s screen of a City Archive photograph that shows one of those “gray things” being installed. If you follow his advice and access the city clerk’s information service you will find many more and even much more beyond gray concretions.
The negative for this scene of industrial clutter is marked “Fremont Barn – N.E. Corner, Dec. 11, 1936.” “Barn” is short for “trolley car barn,” that long and well-windowed brick structure that fills the horizon from N. 35th Street on the right to the interrupting house on the left. It was photographed without credit, although most likely by an employee of Seattle’s municipal railways. From mid-block, the prospect looks west through the long block on Fremont’s 35th Street between Evanston and Phinney Avenues.
The featured photo was one of a few taken the December day centering on “barn.” We will follow here with three more.
When it was completed in 1905, the ornate barn, along with the B.F. Day School nearby on Fremont Avenue, was one of the few brick structures in this mill town neighborhood. Inside the barn there were accommodations for the trainmen and also three bays for trolley car repairs. Most of the homes built in the Fremont neighborhood, after 1888 when the lumber mill opened, were modest residences for workers. In 1936 there were sixteen houses on this long block. Now, it seems, only six have endured.
As can be seen in the primary feature photo at the top, between the home and the barn there was room for both a yard of well-packed trollies, and closer to the photographer, an uncovered storage for stacks of what appear to me to be trolley-car-wide blocks of formed concrete. (Perhaps a reader will know and share their use.) With the help of a 1936 aerial photograph, we can see both the stacks of concrete and count a dozen rows of trollies resting on their tracks – spurs off N. 34th Street – in the yard between the barn and the stacks. The twelve tracks were all five cars long, and so this parking lot could accommodate a maximum of 60 trolley cars tightly fit like these.
In 1936 the municipal system ran 410 often-dilapidated electric trolleys over its worn 224 miles of tracks. Leslie Blanchard, Seattle’s trolley historian, described 1936 as “the beginning of one of the most violent and spectacular political free-for-alls ever witnessed in the city of Seattle.” The fight was over whether to keep to the tracks and fix-up the system or convert it entirely to rubber, with busses and trackless trollies. Of course, the latter won, and between 1940 and 1942 the tracks were pulled up and the trollies scrapped. The Fremont Barn was then purchased by the army for wartime storage.
Friday the eleventh of December 1936 is well remembered on both the sentimental and scandalous sides of world history. While the photographer for this Fremont scene was, perhaps, having breakfast, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Windsor, explained to the British Empire by radio from Windsor Castle, that the burden of being king was a “heavy responsibility too great to bear without the help and support of the woman I love.” The trouble, of course, was that “that American woman,” Mrs. Wallace Simpson, was already married.
Anything to add, Paul?
JEAN, as our readers may suspect, we often return to Fremont. Still this week for Ron “EDGE-LINKS” we will restrain ourselves and include only a half-dozen or so. In this conspiracy, for reasons we will make clear below, we have an eye out for the blog you did years ago recording (with whatever Nikon you had at the time) one of the Fremont Solstice Day parades. We will not fail in this. In our several years of producing dorpatsherrardlomont it has been easily the most viewed – or goggled – post we have put up. This shaking of hits has more to do with hirsute than heritage Following the links we will chain a few Fremont strays to this barn. First, the reader is encourage to click on the seven pictured links below. They all include Fremont features and more. Of the seven we have put at the bottom the recent feature on they day the Fremont Dam broke in 1914.
After calls for help and hours of research on line and off, this subject still puzzles me. The prospect is easy enough to describe, and I soon will. Rather it is the subject: seven women sitting on handsome horses who have been trained to stay balanced on those odd pedestals. Who are they – the women and the horses? That the riders are dressed up in the style of the time – ca. 1910 – we can corroborate by comparing them to the tiny pedestrians, far left, walking west beside Republican Street. They are draped the same.
This prospect can be figured within a half-block. Looking east, Capitol Hill is on the horizon, and the three-story structure above the posing line of equestriennes is the Roslyn Hotel at the southeast corner of Republican and Fifth Avenue. A Roslyn classified first appeared in The Times for Feb. 3, 1909, promising “elegant furnished rooms, electric lights, steam heat, hot and cold water in every room, absolutely the best in Seattle: rates $3 to $5 dollars per week; only 50 cents extra for two persons in the same room.”
The hotel’s sign is centered along its rooftop cornice, just above rider number two – from the left – one of the three riders in white and mounted on dark horses. A friend, the writer-collector Stephan Lundgren, first alerted me to the “gray scale rhythm” of this tableau. It alternates women in white on dark mounts with women in black on white ones (in black and white photography). Lundgren concludes, “That’s not random, those are costumes.” The novelist is pleased that the one dappled steed, third from the left, syncopates the otherwise regular rhythm of the line.
The pedestrians, far left, in the featured photograph at the top, are almost certainly either headed for a circus or leaving one. But which circus and when? Two experts (and past subjects of this feature) might have helped, but both died years ago. Michael Sporrer knew circus history hereabouts in great detail, and it was the historian Mike Cirelli who first shared this photograph with me. At that time, without much study, Cirelli knew where it was but not yet, very well, who or what it was.
After studying the Seattle Times for the years 1909 thru 1913 – I used The Seattle Public Library’s access to the newspaper’s archive – I conclude that in those years there were three “big top” circuses that set up their train loads of animals, performers, canvas, and feed. The biggest, Barnum and Bailey, “The Greatest Show on Earth,” performed on this site in 1910, 1912 and 1914. The other two were the Sells-Floto Circus, last here in 1913 for its fourteenth annual Seattle engagement, and the Norris and Rowe Circus, which last performed on these grounds in 1909.
Although the smallest of the three, Norris and Rowe came on two trains to these “old circus grounds at Fourth Ave. and Republican Street” with “herds of elephants, camels, and llamas, two rings and an elevated stage, one four-mile hippodrome track, acres of tents and seats for all.” In 1909 the trains also transported 600 persons and 500 ponies and horses, including, perhaps, these fourteen.
Anything to add, Paul? We love to answer “yes” Jean. Ron’s links to other relevant features will go up first. Since we did that Golden Anniversary reporting on Seattle Center in 2012 we are well stocked with features from ground-sixty-two, but will only feature two of the twenty-plus “Fair and Festival” offerings from 2012. One could key-word the others. We have included here four other features that relate – two of them about circuses.
[A Prompt Reminder: The next SIX photographs are LINKS TO DISCOVERIES, if you TAP THEM.]
If you are inclined to write a history of Seattle then you must include the three bodies hanging here between two of Henry and Sara Yesler’s maples on the early afternoon of January 18, 1882. The trees were planted in 1859; and they appear first as saplings in the earliest extant photo of Seattle, which was recorded that year. By 1882, the shade trees were stout enough to lynch James Sullivan and William Howard from a stanchion prepared for them between two of the Maples.
As ordered by the judge, the accused couple expected to be returned to jail when their preliminary trail in Yesler’s Hall at First Ave. and Cherry Street was completed. Instead the vigilantes in attendance covered Territorial Supreme Court Judge Roger Sherman Green with a hood, bound the guards, and dragged like the devil the doomed couple up the alley to James Street. There the leafless maples suddenly exposed their terrifying landscape to Sullivan and Howard. Soon after being violently pulled from court – in a few pounding heart beats – these two prime suspects of the daylight killing the day before of a young clerk named George B. Reynolds, were lifeless and their swinging corpses played with.
In a few minutes more, the by now hungry mob pulled from jail a third suspect, a “loafer” named Benjamin Paynes, who was accused of shooting a popular policeman named David Sires weeks before. For a while the hanging bodies of the three were raised and lowered over and over and in time to the mob’s chanting, “Heave Ho! Heave Ho!” Children who had climbed the trees to cut pieces of rope from the cooling bodies tied them to their suspenders or, for the girls, to the pigtails of their braided hair. It was, we are told, for “show and tell” in school.
Although there were several photographers in town, none of them took the opportunity to record – or expose – a lynching. Who would want such a photograph? Judging from the local popularity of these killings of accused killers, probably plenty. A few weeks following the stringing, Henry Yesler was quoted in Harpers Weekly, “That was the first fruit them trees ever bore, but it was the finest.” It was Seattle’s first really bad nation-wide publicity.
In Andrew William Piper’s cartoon of the event, the easily identified Henry stands in the foreground busy with his favorite pastime: whittling wood. The cartoonist Piper was a popular confectioner who loved dancing and singing with his wife and eleven children. He was also a practical joker and the first socialist elected to the Seattle City Council. We don’t know if Piper also joined the local chorus of acclaim for the hangings. Judge Green more than objected. Once free of his hood, he rushed to the lynching and tried to cut the ropes, but failed.
On the far right of his cartoon, the cartoonist-confectionaire Piper has included the sign of the Chronicle, a newspaper located in the alley behind the Yesler back yard. It was up this alley that the victims were rushed to their lynching. Printed next is a transcript from an 1883 issue of the Chronicle, which describes a resplendent new saloon in the basement of the new Yesler-Leary Building at the northwest corner of Front (First Ave.) and Yesler Way and so also at the foot of James Street.
Anything to add, Paul? Yes Jean, and most of it, again, links to past features related to the place and/or the subject. Most of extras – if one takes the opportunity to click and read – will be the several links that Ron Edge will be soon putting up directly below this exposition. Then, after the links, we will probably continue on with a few more features – if we can find them tomorrow (Saturday) night when we get to them. We should add that we do not encourage lynching of any sort, or for that matter capital punishment. It is all cruel, pathetic and even useless. Yes – or No! – we do not agree with the wood whittler Henry Yeslers. We have imprisoned within quote marks our title “finest fruit” borrowed from him.
The original print of this “real photo postcard” is bordered with the scribbled message that I have cropped away: “Remember me to any old class mates you happen to see.” The postcard shows another message as well, one that is most helpful, while still mildly mutilating the postcard’s face. It appears in the gray sky between the two homes. Although barely readable, you may decipher “Brooklyn Ave” written there. The postcard also shows a dimly drawn line leading to the street number 4703, nailed to the top of the front porch.
This then is 4703 Brooklyn Avenue in the University District, an identification I corroborated with a photograph of the same house attached to its assessor’s “tax card,” held in the Puget Sound Branch of the Washington State Archives in Bellevue. The tax records have the classic box built in 1902, a year in which the neighborhood was still as likely called Brooklyn as the University District. Brooklyn was the name given to it in 1890 by super-developer James Moore. He chose the name because his addition “looked across the water” to Seattle proper like the New York borough of the same name that looks across the East River to Manhattan. Brooklyn Avenue, its intended main street, was the first one graded in the addition, and it was at this intersection that Moore constructed a water tower.
The owners of this classic box were Amos and Alice Winsor. In his 1947 obituary (above) Amos is credited with having lived in the district for forty-four years and “built many of the early buildings on the University of Washington Campus, including Science (renamed Parrington) Hall.” Included among the Winsor family’s many celebrations held in their home was their daughter Olivia Rachel’s marriage to a Brooklyn neighbor, Vilas Richard Rathbun, on April 16,
1913. They were, The Times reported, “Surrounded by about fifty relatives and intimate friends.” The ceremony was conducted by Horace Mason, the progressive pastor of University Congregational Church. From both the congregation’s and the addition’s beginnings in 1890, the Congregationalists were effective at promoting the Brooklyn Community Club, the principal campaigner for neighborhood improvements.
In the “now” photograph, the by now half-century old plant of Carson Cleaners replaced the Winsor home in 1962. Bob Carson tells how his parents, Roy and Doris, were persuaded by the corner’s new owner, Helen Rickert, of Helen Rickert Gown Shop on the “Ave”, to open a cleaners at the corner. Richert was a fan, consistently pleased with how the Carsons handled her gowns and dresses in the cleaners Lake City shop. The Carsons agreed to the move and brought their modern corner sign with them. Bob half apologizes for the condition of the now also half-century old sign and reader board. “It needs to be repainted, but our lease is up in December and I’m retiring.” For Bob we add both our “congratulations” and a “whoopee.”
Anything to add, Paul? Surely Jean, with Ron’s help we have three links added that are well-appointed with University District features, although most of them stick to “The Ave.” or University Way, AKA, thru its now 124 years, as 14th Avenue and Columbus Street. But then Brooklyn was first named Broadway.
[CLICK & DISCOVER]
NOW THEN & MAYBE
NOW it has come to what we sometimes affectionately call Nighty-Bears, the wee-morning hour when we climb the stairs to what this night after a few hot days will be an warm bed. I am eager to retire, somewhat drained by a pursuit this afternoon of a few more sides for this week’s subject, the broad way of Brooklyn Ave. THEN after a late breakfast I’ll return and put up the “other sides” we, again, have prepared but for now not plopped because we are pooped. Nighty-Bears then, but with something entirely different at the temporary bottom: an unidentified “painted lady.” She is for me an exciting intimation of all the joyful work that is expected ahead while shaping MOFA: the Museum of Forsaken Art. And this place, below, if not forsaken is, at least, forgotten. I do not remember where or when I recorded it’s rhythms and tenderly abused symmetry, but almost certainly not on Brooklyn, not even MAYBE.
BROOKLYN AVE. CONTINUES after breakfast, SUNDAY JULY 13, 2014, 12:45 PM