Seattle Now & Then: “Murder” on Aurora

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Like violence in a classic Greek play, the carnage suggested by this 1934 crash scene on the then new Aurora speedway was kept off stage, either behind the city’s official photographer, or in the county morgue.   (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.)
THEN: Like violence in a classic Greek play, the carnage suggested by this 1934 crash scene on the then new Aurora speedway was kept off stage, either behind the city’s official photographer, or in the county morgue. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
NOW:  In the mid-1970s the three- mile long “Jersey Barrier,” named for the state where it was first used, was installed down the center-line of Aurora Avenue, north of the Battery Street subway, to the southern boundary of Woodland Park.  Each of the barrier’s pre-cast 20-foot long segments weighed about three tons.
NOW: In the mid-1970s the three- mile long “Jersey Barrier,” named for the state where it was first used, was installed down the center-line of Aurora Avenue, north of the Battery Street subway, to the southern boundary of Woodland Park. Each of the barrier’s pre-cast 20-foot long segments weighed about three tons.

Few Seattle streets – perhaps no other Seattle street – have accumulated such a record of carnage as its first “speedway,” Aurora Avenue.  From Broad Street north to the then new Aurora Bridge, the speedway opened to traffic in the spring of 1933.

FK-Aurora-lk-n-thru-Broad-&-Mercer-ca1933-WEB

ABOVE: Looking north from the new speedway’s beginnings just north of Denny Way, and thru one of the city’s busiest  intersections where both Broad and Mercer Streets crossed Aurora through traffic lights, years before both streets were routed below Aurora and its only stop-and-go light south of the Aurora Bridge.   BELOW: The nearly new Aurora Bridge, the north end of the speedway’s first section, the one opened in 1933, although this record was made later – late enough for the speedway to be extended through Aurora Park.

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A traffic expert from Chicago described this nearly two-mile long speedway as “the best express highway in the U.S.”  Its exceptional qualities were the six lanes – eight counting the two outside lanes for parking or rush hour traffic – and the speed limit of 30 mph. Still, Aurora had the arterial worries of cross-streets, left turns, and head-on traffic, plus the extraordinary risk of pedestrians negotiating the ninety feet from curb to curb.  For these endangered pedestrians traffic engineers built what they called “safety islands.”   You see one above (at the top), looking north from the Crockett Street crosswalk in 1934.  Just below is the same (if I’ve figured it correctly) island, only looking at it from the north and four years later on Sept. 21, 1938.

Looking south along the not-so-safe center-line of Aurora towards the Crockett Ave. safety island.  Below, is a detail from the same 1938 negative.
Looking south along the not-so-safe center-line of Aurora towards the Crockett Ave. safety island. Below, is a detail from the same 1938 negative.
A detail of the subject above it.
A detail of the subject above it.

No pedestrian was injured in the mess recorded at the top.  It was made around 2:30 in the morning on January 19, 1934.  Rather, it was 37-year-old Carl Scott who, heading south from the Aurora Bridge in his big Packard, crushed the north reinforced concrete pole of the safety island.  The Times, then an afternoon daily, explained front page: “Autoist Dies Instantly in Terrific Crash.”  Photographers from both The Times and the city’s department of public works reached the island after Scott’s body had been removed, but not the scattered parts of his sedan. In the accompanying photo at the top, the city’s photographer aimed north with his back to the intact south pole, possibly with its red light still blinking.    Interested readers will find The Times photos in this newspaper’s archive for the date of the crash.  (Ask your Seattle Public librarian – the archive can be accessed with a computer and a library card number.)

Some of The Seattle Time Jan. 19, 1934 coverage of
Some of The Seattle Time Jan. 19, 1934 coverage of Carl Scott’s crash and death.
The same section of speedway recorded in the primary photo at the top.
The same section of speedway recorded in the primary photo at the top.
A long Seattle Times clip from Dec. 8, 1937, which seeks and finds a variety of local opinions of what to make of the "safety islands."
A long Seattle Times clip from Dec. 8, 1937, which seeks and finds a variety of local opinions of what to make of and do about the “safety islands.”   CLICK TWICE TO ENLARGE

After a few more speedway accidents and deaths (see more clips below), The Times turned from seeking advice on how to improve and protect these imperfect pedestrian bulwarks to a campaign for getting rid of these targets for “the brotherhood of bad drivers . . . careless, reckless, defective, drunken and sleeping.”  Headlines for the December 2, 1937, issue read, in part “Stop Murder On Aurora – Center-Pillars Are Death Magnets.”  The following March, after another motorist lost his battle with a safety island, the newspaper’s librarian calculated that thirty-eight persons had died in Aurora Ave. traffic accidents since the highway was opened in 1932.  Eighteen of these were killed hitting “safety” islands.  By then, Times reporters were instructed always to put safety in quote marks when running with island, as in “safety” island.

Most of Times reporter
Most of Times reporter Robert A. Barr’s Feb. 14, 1973 summary of safety island history on the eve of the installation of the “Jersey Barrier” down the center of the by then forty year old speedway.   Directly below is a detail of a section of center-stripe that was meant to alert drivers with a grid of raised bumps.   This subject dates from July 25, 1945.
The installation of this bumpy center strip failed to stop the carnage.
The installation of this bumpy center strip failed to stop the carnage.
From The Times, May 30, 1949.
From The Times, May 30, 1949.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?

Jean as sure as something has to give, we will too.  Below, Ron Edge has again put up some fertile links: eight of them, and we may add one or two  more tomorrow.   If you click to open the first of these, which features the Arabian Theatre, it will include (as we hope some of you will already anticipate) its own “web extras.”  We will name these added features as lures to clicking.  They are illustrated stories about the nearby intersection of Aurora and 84th Ave., a feature about the swath of clear-cutting that ran through Woodland Park in prelude to cutting the park in two with the paving of Aurora Avenue.  Next you will find the story of the Twin T-P’s restaurant, a local landmark which was razed in the night, unannounced.  Green Lake’s northwest swimming beach follows, and then also the story of Maust Transfer’s original flatiron quarters (before moving to Pier 54) at Winona and 73rd.

Continuing our promotion of links, the Signal Station story below, includes within it features about two once cherished speedway cafes: the Igloo, and the Dog House.   It includes as well features on the Aurora Speed Bowl and the pedestrian overpass between Fremont and Wallingford – although some Fremont partisans will insist that it is between two Fremonts: Central and East.   And as a lesson in our oft-quoted mother’s truism that “Repetition is the mother of all learning.” Ron has included down below the overpass link on its own.  It will surely have other links within it.   After the links we will finish with a few more Times clips and more speedway photos too.  A trip to nighty-bears follows, and eight hours more some proof-reading too.

aurora-broad-speed-web

41st-aurora-pedes-overpass-10-22-36mr

Not to click for more story - only to enlarge.  The subject here is below the viaduct and on its east or Wallingford* side.  * aka East Fremont.
Not to click for more story – only to enlarge. The subject here is below the viaduct and on its east or Wallingford* side. * aka East Fremont.

THEN:

THEN: Far-left, Playland’s Acroplane, a carni’ flight-simulator, stands admired by future pilots in 1932. Behind them sprawls the amusement park’s fated Fun House. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: Chalk-written real estate notices to the sides of Seattle’s Aurora Speedway in 1937 prelude by several decades the profession’s book and computer listings and the expectation of some that an agent will now be driving a Mercedes.  (Courtesy, Washington State Archives, Bellevue Community College branch.)

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Roughed at its foot but not fallen, an Aurora Safety Island on Dec. 3, 1937.  (Courtesy the Seattle Times)
Roughed at its foot but not fallen, an Aurora Safety Island on Dec. 3, 1937. (Courtesy the Seattle Times)
Today's Traffic Lesson on March 27, 1939.
Today’s Traffic Lesson on March 27, 1939.
Looking south on Aurora thru Roy and more safety islands on Dec. 8, 1938.
Looking south on Aurora thru Roy and more safety islands on Dec. 8, 1938. {Click to Enlarge]
A Seattle Times clip frm January 22, 1940.
A Seattle Times clip from January 22, 1940.
Aurora, looking north towards Ward Street on June 19,1940.
Aurora, looking north towards Ward Street on June 19,1940.
The Seattle Times, August 18, 1941
The Seattle Times, August 18, 1941
A City Light Clerk's shunned solution.
A City Light Clerk’s shunned solution.
North towards Valley and Aloha, on August 26, 1940
North towards Valley and Aloha, on August 26, 1940
Again near Crockett, this time two injured.  In The Times, August 25, 1950.
Again near Crockett, this time two injured. In The Times, August 25, 1950.
I expect by some its rarity but cannot prove it with any convincing negtive evidence (but it ever?) that such a press photo as this one for our local daily that depicts or reveals or exposes a victim-corpse is rare. The photo was printed on July 28, 1950.
I suspect but cannot prove that such a press photo as this that depicts or reveals or exposes a dying victim that has met an  irresistable object, including a safety island, is rare. The photo was printed in The Times on July 28, 1950.

CONCLUDING with a planned wreck from 1979.

Can you dear reader place this?
Can you dear reader place this?

 

 

Seattle Now & Then: Anderson Hall

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Named for a lumberman, and still home for the UW’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, the upper floor’s high-ceilinged halls, including the Forest Club Room behind Anderson Hall’s grand Gothic windows, were described for us by the department’s gregarious telephone operator as “very popular and Harry Potterish.”   (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
THEN: Named for a lumberman, and still home for the UW’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, the upper floor’s high-ceilinged halls, including the Forest Club Room behind Anderson Hall’s grand Gothic windows, were described for us by the department’s gregarious telephone operator as “very popular and Harry Potterish.” (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
NOW: With many new campus structures built nearby along Stevens Way, Anderson Hall holds to its elegance while waiting for its turn at restoration.
NOW: With many new campus structures built nearby along Stevens Way, Anderson Hall holds to its elegance while waiting for its turn at restoration.

While driving West Stevens Way, the loop that nearly circles within the UW’s original interlake campus, both Jean and I were startled by the campus’s many new, and to us, seemingly instant landmarks – until we reached the familiar charms of Anderson Hall. There we settled down and Jean took this “repeat.”

With the Columns on the right holding the southeast border of the Sylvan Grove Theatre, the unnamed photographer looks southwest on S.Stevens Way NE to the east facade of Anderson Hall.
With the Columns on the right holding to the southeast border of the Sylvan Grove Theatre, an unnamed photographer looks southwest on S.Stevens Way NE to the east facade of Anderson Hall.
Another early view of the Columns in a ritual enactment of ecstatic dance exposed under a full moon.  The flower, we don't know.
Another early view of the Columns in a ritual enactment of ecstatic dance exposed under a full moon. The flower, we don’t know.

The hall is an exquisite example of Collegiate Gothic design.  It holds it pose at the most southern point in the loop, where West and East Stevens Ways merge. From Jean’s prospect, the landscape around the now 90-year-old Anderson Hall has been allowed to flourish, creating a fitting milieu for what was first called the University’s Department of Forestry but is now its School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. The Hall rests just west of Rainier Vista, that nearly 1500-foot-long green sward that opens and protects the University’s view of “The Mountain,” as seen from Drumheller Fountain.

Another Academic Gothic creation on the U.W. campus, but this time - 1928-29 - not by Bebb and Gould but by John Graham, Sr.
Another Academic Gothic creation on the U.W. campus, but this time – 1928-29 – not by Bebb and Gould but by John Graham, Sr.     Note the Engineering Department’s Sieg Hall on the far left.  It was a modern effort to keep the on-campus Gothic going.  It has not worn well, and yet survives.
Sieg Hall photographed by Victor Lygdman in the early 1960s, when it was new.
Sieg Hall photographed by Victor Lygdman in the early 1960s, when it was new.
Sieg Hall's Gothic variations resemble those used in the early 60's for the construction of Seattle Center's Science Center for the 1962 world's fair.  To one writer* the texture and coloring imply another variation, one of a Formica countertop or ashtray.   *this writer.
Sieg Hall’s Gothic variations resemble those used in the early 60’s for the construction of Seattle Center’s Science Center for the 1962 world’s fair. To one writer* the texture and coloring imply another variation, one on a Formica counter-top or ashtray.  On the inside, the windows “work,” but so does the commonplace wit that students have learned to use for this building, when asked how they liked it.  The answer, of course, being that inside Sieg Hall one does not have to look at it.  The first use of this joke may have been, if memory serves, by some famous Parisian, when asked what he thought of the Eiffel Tower when it was new.   *this writer.
Robert Bradley's ca. 1955 look southeast in line with the campus' Rainier Vista.
Robert Bradley’s ca. 1955 look southeast in line with the campus’ Rainier Vista.
I snapped this look back towards the center of campus from Stevens Way in 1985, I think.  Or near it.  I was on my was to Hub's parking lots for a rear approach to the Suzallo Library.  On such a snow-bound day, I figure, surely the campu police would not be checking my lack of credentials for parking in that most - of all - convenient lots.
I snapped this record of Rainier Vista with my back to the mountain, looking back towards the center of campus from Stevens Way in 1985, I think. Or near it. I was on my way to the Hub’s parking lots for a rear approach to the Suzallo Library. On such a snow-bound day, I figured, surely the campus police would not be checking anyone for credentials for parking in that most  convenient of lots.   And there was room.  And I got away with it.   Here, if we were to to pivot to the left and look west on Stevens Way we would be looking over the prospect used in our feature this week for both the Webster and Stevens and Jean Sherrard recordings.

Anderson Hall was a gift to the UW by Agnes Anderson, a Vassar graduate, who, it seems loved both higher education and her 6’5” tall husband, the “lumber king” Alfred H. Anderson. They came west in 1886, settled first in Shelton where they helped form the Simpson Logging Company, and then moved to Seattle’s somewhat exclusive First Hill. There they erected a big home made from lumber of many sorts, including panels of Honduran mahogany, rosewood, and Siberian oak.  (The Anderson home is featured in one of the Edge links below.)  Perhaps most famously, although rarely seen, was a marble bathroom with a ten-foot long bathtub for Alfred.  A hole was cut in the outer wall to install it.

To a trained eye - and by now your's too - Anderson Hall can be locateed in this 1937 aerial
To a trained eye – by ow your’s – Anderson Hall can be locateed in this 1937 aerial just below the subject’s center.   Note also the long swath of green lawn running southeast from the campus Drumheller Fountain, aka  Frosh Pond.
A 1939 vertical aerial of the campus, Anderson Hall included
A 1939 vertical aerial of the campus, Anderson Hall included.  A golf course covers the South Campus now given to the health sciences, and the wetlands of Union Bay are still free of the east campus parking – parking not nearly as convenient as that beside the HUB.
An Ellis aerial looking east over the UW campus
An Ellis aerial looking east over the UW campus in the 1950s.   Anderson Hall shows to the right.  Early conversion of the Montlake Dump for UW parking proceeds on the far left.
An aerial with a splendid witness to Anderson Hall on the left and the new UW Medical School above it.  Can you name the ship resting on Portage Bay?  Watch for clues on local billboards.
An aerial with a splendid witness to Anderson Hall on the left and the new UW Medical School above it. Can you name the ship resting on Portage Bay? Watch for clues on local billboards.

After her Alfred died in 1914, Agnes turned to philanthropy.  Among her beneficiaries is the on-going Agnes Healy Anderson Research Fellowship and, in 1925, Anderson Hall, her tribute to her husband.  Anderson Hall is one of the eighteen buildings that architect Carl Gould completed on the UW campus between 1915 and 1938.  Gould founded the school’s Department of Architecture in 1914.

The entrance off Red Square into the Suzzallo Library, March 1987.
The entrance off Red Square into the Suzzallo Library, March 1987.

Suzzallo Library (1922-27) and Anderson Hall (1924-25) are probably the most admired examples of Collegiate Gothic buildings that distinguish the campus core. University Press recently release a ‘bigger and better’ second edition of Shaping Seattle Architecture, edited by Jeffrey Karl Ochsner.  Authors T. William Booth and William H. Wilson, the book’s essayists on Gould and his partner Charles Bebb, describe Anderson Hall as the partners’ “most suavely detailed” contribution to the campus.

Album art for the Husky Cello Sextet's live dedicatory performance of Bachiana Brasileiras  in the U.W. underground parking lot below Red Square.  Good acoustics and free parking for the players who brought their own instruments.
Album art for the Husky Cello Sextet’s live dedicatory performance of Bachianas Brasileiras in the U.W. underground parking lot below Red Square. The event featured both good acoustics and free parking for the players.  And they brought their own instruments. (dedicated to Stephan Edwin Lundgren)

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?

Yes, but first Jean congratulations on your successful stage direction this Saturday afternoon of composer and librettist Jay Hamilton’s opera “The Map” in the Cornish auditorium – the one we fondly remember and still serving in the school’s old plant on Harvard Avenue.   Your good taste and stoic strengths have again proven themselves up for moving singers around the stage in, to complete its name,  this “opera with moments of comedy and Epicurean philosophy.”

This week, like others,  Ron Edge has put up several links to past features.  Again, some of them will be repetitive, like operatic leitmotifs, but others will be new to the blog.  Most will feature subjects from the U.W. campus.

As you know, in preparation for the book we hope to publish later this year, we have just completed making a list of all the weekly Pacific features we have put up since the early winter of 1982.  Of the – about – 1700 features handled, roughly fifty of them were about UW campus subjects.  Perhaps for a while we should slip out of that gown and keep to the town.    And yet fifty in thirty-three years only amounts to about one and one-half a year.  We’ll keep the robes on.  The campus deserves it.

THEN: An estimated 50 percent of the materials used in the old Husky Union Building were recycled into its recent remodel.  The new HUB seems to reach for the roof like its long-ago predecessor, the AYP’s landmark Forestry building.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Above Lake Washington’s Union Bay the Hoo-Hoo Building on the left and the Bastion facsimile on the right, were both regional departures from the classical beau arts style, the 1909 AYPE’s architectural commonplace. Courtesy John Cooper

THEN: For the four-plus months of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the center of commerce and pedestrian energy on University Way moved two blocks south from University Station on Northeast 42nd Street to here, Northeast 40th Street, at left.

THEN: The Gothic University of Washington Campus in 1946 beginning a seven-year crowding with prefabricated dormitories beside Frosh Pond. In the immediate background [on the right] is Guggenheim Hall.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

https://sherrlock.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/wash-state-bldg-then-mr1.jpg?w=812&h=463

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Seattle Now & Then: The SINGULAR TRAFFIC TOWER at FOURTH and PIKE

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking west on Pike Street from Fourth Avenue, the variety in the first block of this retail district includes the Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Mendenhall’s Kodaks, Fountain Pens and Photo Supplies, Remick’s Song and Gift Shop, the Lotus Confectionary, Fahey-Brockman’s Clothiers, where, one may “buy upstairs and save $10.00”.  (Courtesy, MOHAI)
THEN: Looking west on Pike Street from Fourth Avenue, the variety in the first block of this retail district includes the Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Mendenhall’s Kodaks, Fountain Pens and Photo Supplies, Remick’s Song and Gift Shop, the Lotus Confectionary, Fahey-Brockman’s Clothiers, where, one may “buy upstairs and save $10.00”. (Courtesy, MOHAI)
NOW: Celebrating its centennial, the Joshua Green Building (1914), on the left at the southwest corner of Fourth and Pike, still lights up the corner with its brilliant terra-cotta tile facade.
NOW: Still celebrating its centennial, the Joshua Green Building (1914), on the left at the southwest corner of Fourth and Pike, brightens the corner with its terra-cotta tile facade.

A good date for this Webster and Stevens Studio photo is July 20, 1925, a Saturday. The Seattle Times had announced (more than reported) on the preceding day: “Traffic Ruler To Mount Tower, New System In Use Tomorrow – ‘Stop’ And ‘Go’ Signals For Blocks Downtown Will Be Regulated From Fourth And Pike – Pedestrians Must Obey, Too.”

A 1924 traffic jam at the south end of the Fremont Bridge.
A 1924 traffic jam at the south end of the Fremont Bridge.

By 1925 motorcars had been on Seattle streets for a quarter-century, but except for frightening horses, their disruption was tolerable through the first decade of the 1900s.  But then the horseless carriers got faster, heavier and multiplied at a rate that even then famously booming Seattle could not match.  Especially following World War I, having one’s own car became a matter of considerable urgency for both modern mobility and personal status.  Quoting from “Traffic and Related Problems,” a chapter in the 1978 book Public Works in Seattle, the citizen race for car ownership was revealed in the records for the 15-year period between 1922 and 1937, when “the number of motor vehicles increased by 211 per cent, as against a 22 per cent increase in population.”  Fatal accidents became almost commonplace.

Hardly a statistic, it made it to the driveway - somewhere on First Hill, perhaps.
Hardly a statistic, it made it to the driveway – somewhere on First Hill, perhaps.

Consequently, on this Saturday in the summer of 1925 the nearly desperate hopes of Seattle’s traffic engineers climbed high up the city’s one and only traffic tower with the officer (unnamed in any clippings I consulted), seen standing in the open window of his comely crow’s nest.  Reading deeper into the Friday Times, we learn that this ruler would have powers that reached well beyond this intersection.  From high above Fourth and Pike he was assigned to operate all the traffic signals on Fourth Avenue between University and Pine Streets, and on Pike Street between First and Fifth Avenues, while watching out for disobedient pedestrians.  And no left turns were allowed.  Were you heading north on Fourth here and wanting to take a left on Pike to reach the Public Market?  Forget it. You were first obliged to take three rights around the block bordered by Westlake, Pine, Fifth, and Pike.

Wreck-Blog-#1-WEB

It was primarily the “morning and evening clanging of the bells,” about which the pedestrians and merchants of this retail district most complained.  The hotels particularly objected. The manager of the then new Olympic Hotel, two blocks south of the tower, described customers checking out early and heading for Victoria and/or Vancouver B.C. rather than endure the repeated reports of the “traffic ruler’s bells.”  As Seattle’s own “grand hotel,” when measured by size, service and sumptuous lobby, the Olympic was heard. (See the Thurlby sketch, three images down.)

Olympic Hotel Lobby
Olympic Hotel Lobby
A Seattle Times clipping from December, 7, 1923
A Seattle Times clipping from December, 7, 1923  [Click to ENLARGE]

In early June, 1926 after a year of irritating clanging at Fourth and Pike, Seattle’s Mayor Bertha Landes summoned heads of the street, fire, and municipal trolley departments to dampen the cacophony escaping from both citizens and signals.  The three executives’ combined acoustic sensibilities first recommended brass bells.  These would report “a much softer tone, and more musical too, than the harsh, loud-sounding bell now in use.”   J. W. Bollong, the head engineer in the city’s streets department, advised that the new bells ringing be limited to “two short bells at six-second intervals,” instead of a long continuous ball.  The new bells would also be positioned directly underneath the signals to help muffle the sound.  Bollong noted, that with the bells and lights so placed both pedestrians and motorists would get any signal’s visual and audible sensations simultaneously.  Putting the best construction on this package of improvements, Bollong concluded, “That’s like appreciating the taste of a thing with the sense of smell.”

Time's Bell coverage from July 13, 1926, with a sketch from the paper's then popular political cartoonist, Thurby.
Time’s Bell coverage from July 13, 1926, with a sketch by the paper’s then popular political cartoonist, Thurby. [Click to ENLARGE]
Bertha Landes shaking hand of Mayor Ed.Brown whom she defeat in the 1926 mayoral election.
Bertha Landes shaking hand of Mayor (and dentist)  Ed.Brown whom she defeated in the 1926 mayoral election.
Nearby traffic light at Westlake and Pine,
Nearby traffic light at Westlake and Pine.
Taffic light at 5th and Olive, looking north from Westlake Ave., 1939.
Traffic light at 5th and Olive, looking north from Westlake Ave., 1939.

Also in 1926, the city’s public works figured that the its rapidly increasing traffic had need of “stop-and-go lights” at 50 intersections. Engineer Bollong had done some traveling, and concluded that Seattle was lagging.  “Los Angeles now has 232 lights, or one to every 3,000 citizens. Seattle has only 30 lights, one for every 16,000. “

Some years after this photograph was recorded looking north on 15th Ave. NW from 64th Street, the next intersection at 65th was determined by crash statistics to be the most dangerous in Seattle.  It cannot be seen here if the intersection has, as yet, a stoplight in 1938.
Some years after this photograph was recorded looking north on 15th Ave. NW from 64th Street, the next intersection at 65th was determined by crash statistics to be the most dangerous in Seattle. It cannot be seen here if the intersection has, as yet, a stoplight in 1938.

While Seattle’s traffic lights proliferated along with its traffic, the towers did not. By 1936 there were 103 traffic signal controlled intersections in the city – none of them with towers.  Much of the left-turn nuisance was ameliorated in 1955 when the city’s one-way grid system was introduced.

Not finding a 1955 example I substituted this snapshot I made in the late 1970s under the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Not finding a 1955 example I substituted this snapshot I made in the late 1970s under the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, boys?    Jean, yes.  We are startled about how much attention we have given to this intersection over the years.  Recently, within the last year or two, two or more features have been contributed for subjects either directly on this five-star corner or very near it.  Here Ron Edge has put up links to eight of them.  The top two are recent, indeed.

THEN: This rare early record of the Fourth and Pike intersection was first found by Robert McDonald, both a state senator and history buff with a special interest in historical photography. He then donated this photograph - with the rest of his collection - to the Museum of History and Industry, whom we thank for its use.  (Courtesy MOHAI)

THEN: A motorcycle courier for Bartell Drugs poses before the chain’s Store No. 14, located in the Seaboard Building at the northwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Pike Street, circa 1929.  (Courtesy Bartell Drugs)

THEN: We are not told but perhaps it is Dora and Otto Ranke and their four children posing with their home at 5th and Pike for the pioneer photographer Theo. E. Peiser ca. 1884.  In the haze behind them looms Denny Hill.   (Courtesy Ron Edge)

THEN:  Built in 1888-89 at the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Pine Street, the then named Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church marked the southeast corner of Denny Hill.  Eventually the lower land to the east of the church (here behind it) would be filled, in part, with hill dirt scraped and eroded from North Seattle lots to the north and west of this corner.  (Courtesy, Denny Park Lutheran Church)

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SEATTLE, 1924 aerial looking north over business district to Lake Union and Green Lake.
SEATTLE, 1924 aerial looking north over business district to Lake Union and Green Lake.  [Click to Enlarge]
Seattle, 1925 Birds-eye
Seattle, 1925 Birds-eye [CLICK – twice maybe –  to ENLARGE]
Mid-20's chorus line - or posing players - at one Seattle's busiest vaudeville stage.  [Courtesy, MOHAI]
Mid-20’s chorus line – or posing players – at one of Seattle’s busiest vaudeville stages then. [Courtesy, MOHAI]

Seattle Now & Then: Going Postal at Marion & Western

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Arthur Denny named both Marion and James Streets for his invalid brother, James Marion Denny, who was too ill to accompany the “Denny Party” from Oregon to Puget Sound in 1851.  (Courtesy, Gary Gaffner)
THEN: Arthur Denny named both Marion and James Streets for his invalid brother, James Marion Denny, who was too ill to accompany the “Denny Party” from Oregon to Puget Sound in 1851. (Courtesy, Gary Gaffner)
NOW: The Colman Annex was razed for a parking lot in the 1970s, but the Colman Building survives with the four brick stories added to its brownstone base in 1909.  The year the Marion Street pedestrian viaduct to Colman Dock was also added.
NOW: The Colman Annex was razed for a parking lot in the 1970s, but the Colman Building survives with the four brick stories added to its brownstone base in 1909. The year the Marion Street pedestrian viaduct to Colman Dock was also added.

While none of the names for this team and the driver of this U.S. Post wagon are known, the intersection is. The view looks east-southeast  on Marion Street and across Western Avenue, in about 1903, to a three-story stone structure advertising the Seattle Hardware Company(The business was so prosperous that it required an 1100-page hard-bound catalog to cover its inventory.) James Colman built the rustic stone structure across narrow Post Alley from his Colman Building, and named it, perhaps predictably, the Colman Annex.  The Puget Sound News Company, a retailer of stationary, books and periodicals, was the Annex’s first tenant. The hardware store soon followed, the tenant until 1906 when the Imperial Candy Company moved in after Seattle Hardware moved to its own new home at First Ave. S. and King Street.  With its popular Societe Chocolates, Imperial became the Colman Annex’s most well-known and abiding tenant.

A detail selected from the 1884 Birdseye of Seattle to look down at the intersections of Front Street (First Ave.) and Marion (left w. "9" written on it) and Colubmia, right.  In 1884 the northwest corner of Marion and Front was grandly improved with the Frye Opera House, which kitty-korner the future site for the Colman Building was a long line of commercial sheds given a sometimes unifying front facade.  From the bottom of this detail to two block east at Second Avenue, the 1889 fire consumed it all.
A detail selected from the 1884 Birdseye of Seattle to look down at the intersections of Front Street (First Ave.) and Marion (left w. “9” written on it at the original location of Arthur and Mary Denny’s cabin and so the community’s first post office.) and Colubmia, right. In 1884 the northwest corner of Marion and Front was grandly improved with the Frye Opera House, which kitty-korner the future site for the Colman Building was a long line of commercial sheds given a sometimes unifying front facade. From the bottom of this detail to two block east at Second Avenue, the 1889 fire consumed it all.
An unidentified photographer has climbed a ruin on the west side of Front Street (First Ave.) to look north along the waterfront following the Great Fire of 1889.  The already filled street ends on Columbia and Marion are evident just north or beyond the ruins.
An unidentified photographer has climbed a ruin on the west side of Front Street (First Ave.) to look north along the waterfront following the Great Fire of 1889. The already filled street ends on Columbia and Marion are evident just north or beyond the still somewhat standing ruins.  Columbia street cuts thru the photograph left-right just above its its center.   Upper-right stands the tower of the Stetson-Post Block, a subject recently covered here.

After the city’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889, most of the streets between Yesler Way and Madison were extended east into Elliott Bay, as far as the fire’s dumped rubble would support themSoon both Post Alley and Western Avenue were extended off-shore and between the streets on rows of pilings driven into the tideflats.  More than pilings, heavy stone and/or brick structures like the Annex also needed a hard packing of earth for their foundations.  Colman built his Annex from stone delivered around the Horn that was intended for a new central post office at Third and Union, but the stone was rejected as too soft for a government building.  Colman got it cheap.

Central Post-Office at the southeast corner of Union Street and Third Avenue.  This is the accepted Chuckanut stone, while the Colman Annex is made of the first stone ordered for the P.O., but then rejected by the Feds.
Central Post-Office at the southeast corner of Union Street and Third Avenue. This is the accepted Chuckanut sandstone, while the Colman Annex is made of the first stone ordered for the P.O., but then rejected by the Feds.

We’ll note that this “studio” location for a mail wagon’s portrait has a fine coincidence.  Arthur Denny, the city’s first postmaster, built his family’s cabin two short blocks to the east of this intersection, at the northeast corner of First Avenue (originally Front Street) and Marion Street.  It was also the first Post Office. The party of pioneers led by the Dennys, Bells and Borens had moved over from Alki Point early in 1852 to mark their claims.  The first mail to arrive in Seattle came later that year by canoe from Olympia.  Robert Moxlie, the mailman, may have paddled his dugout through this intersection.  The future foot of Marion Street was a low point on the beach where it was easy to step ashore. When Arthur and David Denny’s parents later joined them from Oregon, they built their home at the southeast corner of Union Street and Third AvenueIn 1908 the new Post Office and Federal Building opened on that corner.  It was made of nearby Chuckanut sandstone, apparently harder stuff than that salvaged by James Colman.

In this look east on Marion from Railroad Avenue, work on the Colman Annex (above the team) is still progressing.  The Methodist spire stands at the southeast corner of Third Ave. and Marion Street.
In this look east on Marion from Railroad Avenue, work on the Colman Annex (above the team) is still progressing. The Methodist spire stands at the southeast corner of Third Ave. and Marion Street. [CLICK TO ENLARGE]
A clipping from Pacific: the Methodists at the southeast corner of Third and Marion.  This Gothic head piece (for the corner) was built in the late 1880s and survived the 1889 fire, but not the regrade on Third Avenue, 1907.
A clipping from Pacific: the Methodists at the southeast corner of Third and Marion. This Gothic head piece (for the corner) was built in the late 1880s and survived the 1889 fire, but not the regrade on Third Avenue, 1907.

The Polson Implement Hardware Company, far-right, prospered by facing the Great Northern Railroad’s tracks on Railroad Avenue, here out-of-frame.  Established in 1892, Polson sent its farm machinery throughout the west by rail.  By 1906, the year this rudimentary structure of corrugated iron was replaced with the brick building on the right in our “now,” Polson had moved south to another train-serviced warehouse on the tideflats.

Some of the Post-Office rolling stock that replaced the teams.   (This first appeared in Pacific, Nov. 24, 2002)
Some of the Post-Office rolling stock that replaced the teams. (This first appeared in Pacific, Nov. 24, 2002)
[Courtesy, Carol Gaffner]
[Courtesy, Carol Gaffner]
The mid-1880s Mail line leading into the pioneer P.O. on Mill Street (Yesler Way) between Post and Western.
The mid-1880s Mail line leading into the pioneer P.O. on Mill Street (Yesler Way) between Post and Western.
POST OFFICE ON COLUMBIA
POST OFFICE ON COLUMBIA

POST-OFFICE-on-Columbia-clipping-WEB

[DISREGARD the video order DIRECTLY above.  I’ve changed my box from the University District to Wallingford where it is Box 31636, which I must right down for I have had a hard time memorizing it. ]

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, history hucksters?  Hubba-hubba-hubba Yes Jean, and once again Ron starts it by rolling out some relevant links.  Please Click Them.

THEN:In late 1855 the citizens of Seattle with help from the crew of the Navy sloop-of-war Decatur built a blockhouse on the knoll that was then still at the waterfront foot of Cherry Street. The sloop’s physician John Y. Taylor drew this earliest rendering of the log construction.  (Courtesy, Yale University, Beinecke Library)

THEN: Looking south on First Avenue from its northwest corner with Madison Street, circa 1905.  (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: In this 1887 look up Columbia Street from the waterfront is the bell tower of the fire station, tucked into the hill on the right. It would soon fail to halt the city’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889. The station and everything between it and Elliott Bay were reduced to ashes, smoldering bricks and offshore pilings shortened like cigars. (courtesy, Kurt Jackson)

THEN: Frank Shaw’s late winter composition of waterfront landmarks at the foot of Madison Street in 1963.  (Photo by Frank Shaw)

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To be continued sometimes on Sunday, March 8 . . .

Seattle Now & Then: The Boone Home

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Sometime around 1890, George Moore, one of Seattle’s most prolific early photographers, recorded this portrait of the home of the architect (and Daniel Boone descendent) William E. Boone.  In the recently published second edition of Shaping Seattle Architecture, the book’s editor, UW Professor of Architecture Jeffry Karl Ochsner, sketches William E. Boone’s life and career.  Ochsner adds, “Boone was virtually the only pre-1889 Fire Seattle architect who continued to practice at a significant level through the 1890s and into the twentieth-century.”   (Courtesy MOHAI)
THEN: Sometime around 1890, George Moore, one of Seattle’s most prolific early photographers, recorded this portrait of the home of the architect (and Daniel Boone descendent) William E. Boone. In the recently published second edition of Shaping Seattle Architecture, the book’s editor, UW Professor of Architecture Jeffry Karl Ochsner, sketches William E. Boone’s life and career. Ochsner adds, “Boone was virtually the only pre-1889 Fire Seattle architect who continued to practice at a significant level through the 1890s and into the twentieth-century.” (Courtesy MOHAI)
NOW: During its construction of Interstate-5, the state’s Department of Highways set free the springs of First Hill, a fluid dynamics that required more pumping, concrete and time than expected.
NOW: During its construction of Interstate-5, the state’s Department of Highways set free the springs of First Hill, a fluid dynamics that required more pumping, concrete and time than expected.

For Jean Sherrard to record his repeat of George Moore’s historical portrait of Mercy and William Boone’s big home required both prudence and pluck.  The latter took Jean to the edge of the concrete retaining wall that rises at least forty feet above the north-bound lanes of the Interstate Five Freeway.  But it was prudence that kept him from leaning over the edge to reach closer to the prospect that George Moore took in the early 1890s.  Both the home site and Moore’s position on Alder are now up in the air.

The Boone home is found in this early-1890s Sanborn map
The Boone home is found in this early-1890s Sanborn map at the center, to the right of the block number 325, and the footprint for the King Country Court House is across Seventh Avenue in block 326.   (Courtesy MOHAI)  [To read the map – try CLICKING it. ]

The Boone home was constructed at the northwest corner of 7th Avenue and Alder Street in 1885.  Boone was almost certainly the architect.  During the summer of 1886, The Post-Intelligencer reports in its popular “Brevities” section that the fifty-four year old architect, “while working on his residence yesterday, fell from a ladder and sustained severe bruises about the legs.  His injuries are not considered serious.”

The Boone home appears i this ca.1890 look east from the King Street Wharf to the First Hill horizon and the Construction there of the King County Court House.  The big home is in the half hidden in trees and its own dark covering at the lower-right (northwest) corner of the Court House.  The dark spreader leaning left from the mist on the right points directly at and on the Boone home.  The Terrace streets steps to the Court House seem to emerge from the smoke stack at the subject's center.
The Boone home appears in this ca.1890 detail, which looks east from the King Street Wharf to the First Hill horizon and the Construction there of the King County Court House. The big home is half hidden in the trees and its own dark covering at the lower-right (northwest) corner of the Court House. The dark spreader leaning left from the mast on the right points directly at and even on the Boone home. The Terrace streets steps to the Court House seem to emerge from the smoke stack at the subject’s center.  It was climbing those that in part inspired one of the most popular names for the first hill east of pioneer Seattle: Profanity Hill.
Another and only somewhat later of the Court House also from the King Street Wharf.  Here are the wide but long wooden steps up Terrace Street, on the left, another mast (but no pointing spreader) and the Boone home, also half-hidden in the landscape.
Another and only somewhat later detail of the Court House also from the King Street Wharf. Here too  are the wide but long wooden steps up Terrace Street, on the left, another mast (but no pointing spreader) and the Boone home, also half-hidden in the landscape.

Without committing itself to “First Hill,” the name with which we are accustomed, the January 29, 1886, issue of The Post-Intelligencer referred to the Boone residence as one of the “new buildings on the hill top.”  Well into the 1890s the more popular name for this most forward edge of the first hill behind the waterfront was Yesler Hill.  A name used in honor of Seattle’s pioneer industrialist – and employer – Henry Yesler.  From the time he built his first steam saw mill in 1852-3, it was assumed that he would eventually clear the hill of its timber.

King County Courthouse look northeast from the corner of Seventh Ave. and Alder Street.   The Boone home is out-of-frame to the left.
King County Courthouse look northeast from the corner of Seventh Ave. and Alder Street. The Boone home is out-of-frame to the left.

Sometime after the 1890-91 construction of the King County Courthouse, across 7th Avenue from the Boone home, a more playful place name, Profanity Hill, was inspired by the language used by lawyers and litigants who climbed the hill to deny and confess in the halls and chambers of the Courthouse.

The Yesler-Leary building design by Boone when he was new to Seattle.
The Yesler-Leary building designed by Boone when he was new to Seattle.
The Toklas and Singerman Department store at the southwest corner of Front Street (First Ave.) and Columbia Street, destroyed by the 1889 fire.
The Toklas and Singerman Department store at the southwest corner of Front Street (First Ave.) and Columbia Street, destroyed by the 1889 fire.
Henry and Sara Yesler's new mansion was one of the first of Boone's designs on settling in Seattle.  This view looks at it southeast across James Street (and its cable car tracks), and includes the new (in 1891) King County Court House on the  horizon.
Henry and Sara Yesler’s new mansion was one of the first of Boone’s designs on settling in Seattle. This view looks at it southeast across James Street (and its cable car tracks), and includes the new (in 1891) King County Court House on the horizon.   The Boone home is also on the First Hill horizon in the trees to the right of the Court House.  (Courtesy, MOHAI)

Married in California in 1871, William, a Pennsylvanian, and Mercie, originally from New York, came to Seattle for good in 1882.  That year he designed the landmark Yesler-Leary Building in Pioneer Square.  Like the Toklas and Singerman Department Store (Boone’s design from 1887), it did not survive the city’s Great Fire of 1889.  The mansion by Boone and partner then, the Californian George C. Meeker, was designed for Henry and Sara Yesler in the mid-80s just survived the greater fire ’89, but not its own on the morning of New Year’s Day, 1901.  A few of Boone’s landmarks that are still remembered, but lost, are Central School, Broadway High School, and the New York Block.

Central School, designed by Boone, seen looking southeast across the intersection of 6th Avenue and Madison Street.
Central School, designed by Boone, seen looking southeast across Madison Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.  Note the Madison Street cable car tracks.
Broadway High School looking northwest over the intersection of Broadway Avenue and Pine Street, from the Odd Fellows Hall.
Broadway High School looking northwest over the intersection of Broadway Avenue and Pine Street, from the Odd Fellows Hall.
Boone's New York Block during its destruction, Nov. 15, 1923.
Boone’s New York Block during its destruction, Nov. 15, 1923.

William died in 1921 one year before his New York Block was razed for another and greater of the terra-cotta buildings that were then favored for the business district.  Mercie died in 1923. They were both ninety-one years old.  Although without children, Mercie was a leader in local charities, including the Seattle Children’s Home, whose first quarters her husband designed.

[We’ll add pictures of the first and second quarters for the Children’s Home.   Most likely it it the first of these that Boone designed – and  yet perhaps both.    The first was built on property at the southwest corner of Harrison and 4th Ave. N., that was given and chosen by David and Louisa Denny from their donation claim.  It is now part of Seattle Center.  The second and grander home is on Queen Anne Hill property that is still home for the charity, although now in a newer plant.   I worked there in 1966 as a house parent – the most demanding job I ever had.  It soon turned me to painting canvases – and  houses. ]

Seattle Childrens Home at 4th North and Harrison Street.
Seattle Children’s Home at 4th North and Harrison Street.
Seattle Children's Home on Queen Anne Hill.
Seattle Children’s Home on Queen Anne Hill.

WEB EXTRAS

Just paused for a bite in the I.D. and looked down King Street at our very own not-so-leaning tower with the Olympics looming behind.

And the spring rolls weren't bad either....
And the spring rolls weren’t bad either….

I had to include a detail from the clock tower – note the support struts in the windows below (for an interior, flip down through this post from the past).

Clock tower close-up
Clock tower close-up

Anything to add, lads?  Sure Jean but first such a luxurious recording or our tower.  It takes more than the right gear, light, atmosphere and mobility to record such a shot, it also requires meditation on that golden bar that mysteriously (we agreed) cuts through the tower and illuminates it’s golden clockworks, and so reminds us – some of us – that time is precious and we had better leave this scene and get with it.  Here at my desk I have a bowl of Narcissus Daffodils for sniffing the early Spring – while writing.

Again, here are a few relevant Edge-links (named for Ron Edge who pulled and grouped them).  Open these links and you will surely find other features with their own lists of relevant links and those links with theirs.   The lead photo for the top link looks from the west side of 7th Avenue (like Boone’s home) north across Jefferson Street, or almost two blocks north of the Boones.    The next link of the Sprague Hotel at Yesler and Spruce is about two blocks south of the Boones.   And, again, so on.

THEN: The Sprague Hotel at 706 Yesler Way was one of many large structures –hotels, apartments and duplexes, built on First Hill to accommodate the housing needs of the city’s manic years of grown between its Great Fire in 1889 and the First World War. Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey

THEN: On his visit to the Smith Tower around 1960, Wade Stevenson recorded the western slope of First Hill showing Harborview Hospital and part of Yesler Terrace at the top between 7th and 9th Avenue but still little development in the two blocks between 7th and 5th Avenues.  Soon the Seattle Freeway would create a concrete ditch between 7th and 6th (the curving Avenue that runs left-to-right through the middle of the subject.)  Much of the wild and spring fed landscape between 6th and 5th near the bottom of the revealing subject was cleared for parking.  (Photo by Wade Stevenson, courtesy of Noel Holley)

THEN: Harborview Hospital takes the horizon in this 1940 recording. That year, a hospital report noted that "the backwash of the depression" had overwhelmed the hospital's outpatient service for "the country's indigents who must return periodically for treatment." Built in 1931 to treat 100 cases a day, in 1939 the hospital "tries bravely to accommodate 700 to 800 visits a day."

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OTHER BOONE DESIGNS

The Marshall-Walker Block (built 1890-91) on the right at the southeast corner of Main Street and First Avenue South.   Long the home of the Elliott Bay Book Store, Allied Arts, and Jim Faber's office.  Jim wrote "The Irreverent Guide to Washington State, although he was himself a saint.
The Marshall-Walker Block (built 1890-91) on the right at the southeast corner of Main Street and First Avenue South. Long the home of the Elliott Bay Book Store, Allied Arts, and Jim Faber’s office. Jim wrote “The Irreverent Guide to Washington State,” although he was himself a saint.
Plymouth Congregational Church, northeast corner of University Street and Second Avenue.   You will find many stories that include it, if you key word them with this blog.
Plymouth Congregational Church, northeast corner of University Street and Second Avenue. You will find many stories that include it, if you key word them with this blog.
The Wa-Chong Building in the old Chinatown at the northeast corner of Second Avenue and Washington Street, before the Second Ave. Extension.  Part of the building survives.  Here the Frye Hotel towers above and behind it.
The Wa-Chong Building in the old Chinatown at the northeast corner of Second Avenue and Washington Street, before the Second Ave. Extension. Part of the building survives. Here the Frye Hotel towers above and behind it.
The Territorial Insane (they still called them in 1886-7 when it was bu ilt)) Asylum in Steilacoom.
The Territorial Insane (they still called them in 1886-7 when it was bu ilt)) Asylum in Steilacoom.

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BEFORE THE BOONES and AFTER

A panorama of Seattle seen from First Hill and painted in the 1870s.  It hangs in the New  York Public Library - either from the wall or in storage.
A panorama of Seattle seen from First Hill and painted in the 1870s. It hangs in the New York Public Library – either from the wall or in storage.  Church in the shows and near the center of the canvas is the First Baptist Church at the corner of James and 4th Avenue, now site of the Seattle City Hall.  Yes that’s the Olympics and not the Cascades, but how sweet it is to be so surrounded.
The First Hill Horizon in 1881 from Pioneer Place (Square) during the 1881 memorial service for the slain President Garfield.  In the past decade the hill was cleared of its forest and in the following decade it will be filled with homes, like the Boones, and institutions, like the Court House.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
The First Hill Horizon in 1881 from Pioneer Place (Square) during the 1881 memorial service for the slain President Garfield. In the past decade the hill was cleared of its forest and in the following decade it was filled with homes, like the Boones, and institutions, like the Court House. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
The encroaching 1-5 Freeway, upper-left, and Yesler Terrace Housing, upper right.   The corner of Yesler Way and 7th Avenue is bottom-right with the old City Light transfer station to the west (left) of it.
The encroaching 1-5 Freeway, upper-left, and Yesler Terrace Housing, upper right. The corner of Yesler Way and 7th Avenue is bottom-right with the old City Light transfer station to the west (left) of it.
Freeway Construction showing the construction of the retaining wall below what was 7th Avenue.
Freeway Construction showing the construction of the retaining wall below what was 7th Avenue.
Freeway construction, recorded by Frank Shaw on April 16, 1964.
Freeway construction, recorded by Frank Shaw on April 16, 1964.   Shaw looks south thru – or nearly thru – the former site of the Boone home at the northwest corner of Alder and Seventh.

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Now up the stairs to Nighty-bears – leaving proof-reading until tomorrow.  It’s nearly 3am.

Daffodiles and dessert, formerly on Julie Pashkiss' kitchen table.
Daffodils and dessert recently on artist Julie Paschkis’s’ kitchen table.   And those napkins are also of her design.

 

Seattle Now & Then: The Stetson and Post Block

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN:
THEN: The photographer David Judkins arrived here in 1883 and recorded this portrait of “Seattle’s first apartment house” sometime soon after. (Courtesy MOHAI)
NOW: The First Interstate Center, renamed the Wells Fargo Center, was completed in 1983, the centennial for Seattle’s first apartment house.
NOW: The First Interstate Center, renamed the Wells Fargo Center, was completed in 1983, the centennial for Seattle’s first apartment house.

This quintet of front doors, beneath a central tower shaped like a bell and a mansard roof that billows like a skirt in a breeze, was long claimed to be Seattle’s first apartment house.  (It might, however, be better to call these row houses, each with its own front door.) The group was built at the northeast corner of Second Avenue and Marion Street in 1883*, a busy year in which Seattle also acquired street numbers and fifty-nine new neighborhood additions.  It was also easily the largest city in the territory, with a census count that year of 6645 over Tacoma’s 3108, Port Townsend’s 1300 and the 1169 living in Spokane.

* We have learned in the first hour of posting this blog that it also slogs.  The date of construction is off.   First Dennis Andersen, the regional authority on architectural history, sends from Portland this letter to me here in my Wallingford basement.  Dennis writes  “Great image of the Stetson-Post townhouse row!  But perhaps a small edit for the date, from the Seattle PI. ‘July 30, 1881, p.3 col 1: ‘Moving in. The resident block of Stetson and Post, on Second Street, is now ready for occupancy.  Mr. Post’s family have moved into the building on the south.   Governor Ferry’s family have got the carpets down and are preparing to move into the one selected by them.  The finishing touches are being put on the other three, and they will be occupied soon’.”  Thanks again, Dennis.  Next, Ron Edge (who also put up the links below, most of them on row housing ) found another PI citation in the National Archives, this one from September 29, 1880, and we attach it directly below.    Thanks again, Ron.

An entrance into the construction of the Stetson-Post "town-house row" clipped from the September 29, 1880 issue of the Post-Intelligencer.
An entrance into the construction of the Stetson-Post “town-house row” clipped from the September 29, 1880 issue of the Post-Intelligencer.
The Stetson-Post row is easily distinguished in this 1882 photo by Watkins about one-fourth of the way in (to the right) of the left border.  Watkins took his panorama - this is but one part - from the King Street Coal Wharf.  The new Ocean Dock is under construction in the foreground.
The Stetson-Post row is easily distinguished in this 1882 photo by Watkins about one-fourth of the way in (to the right) of the left border. Watkins took his panorama (this is but one part of many) from the King Street Coal Wharf. The new City Dock is under construction in the foreground.
1884 Sanborn map with the Stetson-Post row lower-left.
1884 Sanborn map with the Stetson-Post row lower-left.

Both “Stetson & Post Block” and “French Row Dwellings” are hand-written across the structure’s footprint in the 1884 Sanborn real estate map.  It is named for its builders, George W. Stetson and John J. Post.  Renting a shed on Henry Yesler’s wharf in 1875, and using Yesler’s hand-me-down boiler, the partners first constructed a gristmill for grinding grain into feed and flour, but soon switched to

Early intelligence of the partners Stetson and Post published in the Post-Intelligencer for February 8, 1878.
Early intelligence of the partners Stetson and Post published in the Post-Intelligencer for February 8, 1878.
Stetson and Post Mill photographed from the King Street Coal Wharf.
Stetson and Post Mill photographed from the King Street Coal Wharf.

making doors and window sashes.  By 1883 they had the largest lumber mill over the tideflats then still south of King Street. The Stetson & Post mill was equipped for shaping wood into the well-ornamented landmark that was their then new terrace here at Third and Marion.

It seems like this view of the row was photographed from about the same time as the featured photo on top - but what year?  Our approximation 1884.
It seems like this view of the row was photographed from about the same time as the featured photo on top – but what year? Our approximation: 1884.  Note the home far left at the northeast corner of Madison Street and Second Ave, the home first of Dr. and Mayor Weed and later of John Leary, who moved from Stetson-Post with Weed moved out – most likely to his home at the northwest corner of Union and First Ave., or Front Street as it was then still called.
The Weed-Leary home at the northeast corner of Madison and Second.  Compare the bay window here on the Madison Street side, with that in the same home showing on the left of the photograph printed above this one.  It has been "elaborated" - extended up to enclose the top floor too.
The Weed-Leary home at the northeast corner of Madison and Second. Compare the bay window here on the Madison Street side, with that in the same home showing on the left of the photograph printed above this one. It has been “elaborated” – extended up to enclose the top floor too.

The Seattle city directory for 1884 has the partners living in their stately building, along with Thomas Burke, perhaps the most outstanding among the city’s “second wave” of pioneers. Other tenants were the dry goods and clothing merchants Jacob and Joseph Frauenthal, who had their own business block near Pioneer Square. The lawyer and future Judge Thomas Burke had his office in the Frauenthal Block.

If memory serves, that is Caroline Burke coming down the long stairway for her ride, perhaps.
If memory serves, that is Caroline Burke coming down the long stairway for her ride, perhaps.
Here from about 1887 (I'm growing increasingly anxious about dates) the Stetson-Post appears to the right of the grand mansard-roofed Frye Opera House.  Central School at 6th and Madison, appears on the far-right horizon (it burned down in 1888), and the dome of the Territorial University appears on the far left horizon.  The city's "Great Fire" of June 6, 1889 started in the joined buildings on the left with ten windows showing on the second floor. Budlongs Boat House in the forground was saved - being towed off-shore.
Here from about 1887 (I’m growing increasingly anxious about dates) the Stetson-Post appears to the right of the grand mansard-roofed Frye Opera House. Central School at 6th and Madison, appears on the far-right horizon (it burned down in 1888), and the dome of the Territorial University appears on the far left horizon. The city’s “Great Fire” of June 6, 1889 started in the joined buildings on the left with ten windows showing on the second floor. Budlongs Boat House in the foreground was saved by being towed off-shore. [CLICK to ENLARGE]
The south facade of Stetson-Post appears on the left in this late-1880s parade scene photographed from Peiser's "Art Studio."
The south facade of Stetson-Post appears on the left in this late-1880s parade scene photographed from Peiser’s “Art Studio.”
A Sherrard repeat of the Peiser.
A Sherrard repeat of the Peiser.
Looking back over Second Avenue at Peiser's Art Studio on the second lot south of Marion Street.  Note te tent roof rigged for lighting.
Looking back over Second Avenue at Peiser’s Art Studio on the second lot south of Marion Street. Note te tent roof rigged for lighting.

Following the city’s Great Fire of 1889, which the wooden row houses escaped, the city rapidly rebuilt in brick and stone, expanding in every direction, including up.  The Stetson & Post Block, which started as an elegant landmark visible from Elliott Bay, was soon hiding in the shadow of a seven-story business block, which was directly across Second Avenue, and named for Thomas Burke. The

The Burke Building northwest corner of Marion and Second, with a corner of Stetson-Post at the bottom-right corner. A. Wilse photographed this most likely in the late 1890s.  He returned to Norway in 1900.
The Burke Building northwest corner of Marion and Second, with a corner of Stetson-Post at the bottom-right corner. A. Wilse photographed this most likely in the late 1890s. He returned to Norway in 1900.

row houses then added commerce.  In place of the five grand stairways to the five apartments, five uniformly designed storefronts were built facing the sidewalk on Second.  And the city’s first row house or apartments (you choose) also changed it’s name to the New York Kitchen Block, after the restaurant that was its principal tenant.

The Stetson-Post with the commercial conversion of its stairs to shops.  This dates from 1906 when the Empire Building behind it here at the southeast corner of Madison and Second, was still under construction. [Courtesy, Michael Maslan)
The Stetson-Post with the commercial conversion of its stairs to shops. This dates from 1906 when the Empire Building behind it here at the southeast corner of Madison and Second, was still under construction. [Courtesy, Michael Maslan)
A look north on Second Ave. from the roof of the then new Hoge Building, with the Burke Building here on the left, and both the Stetson-Post and the Empire Building filling the block on its east side between Marion and Madison.
A look north on Second Ave. from the roof of the then new Hoge Building, with the Burke Building here on the left, and both the Stetson-Post and the Empire Building filling the block on its east side between Marion and Madison. [CLICK to ENLARGE]

As noted by now far above, the 1884 Sanborn real estate map calls these attached homes “French Row Dwellings.”  The Brits called them terraced housing. The many brownstones of New York are similarly arranged, and both San Francisco and Baltimore have rows of their architectural cousins – attached or semi-detached houses that are variations on a theme or several themes.  Perhaps the most distinguished of the French rows is in Paris, the Place des Vosges, a 17th century creation.

The Burke and Stetson-Post looking across Second Ave at each other, cira 1903.  The Empire is still four years in the future.
The Burke and Stetson-Post looking across Second Ave at each other, cira 1903. The Empire is still four years in the future.
The Golden Potlatch Parade of 1913, the "Dad's Day" floats are in the foreground.
The Golden Potlatch Parade of 1913, the “Dad’s Day” floats are in the foreground.
Two years earlier for the 1911 Golden Potlatch parade, the Afro-American float passed in front of the Stetson-Post.
Two years earlier for the 1911 Golden Potlatch parade, the Afro-American float passed in front of the Stetson-Post.
The Stetson-Post and the Empire Bldg made a background for Uncle Sam appearing also in the 1911 Potlatch parade. [Courtesy Michael Maslan]
The Stetson-Post and the Empire Bldg made a background for Uncle Sam appearing also in the 1911 Potlatch parade. [Courtesy Michael Maslan]

In 1919 the seventy-five-year-old George Stetson succumbed, as did his and John Post’s wooden block.  A dozen years earlier, the critic F. M. Foulser, writing a nearly full-page essay on “How Apartment Houses are Absorbing Seattle’s Increasing Population,” in The Seattle Times for December 8, 1907, imagined the Rainier Block (the last of Stetson & Post Block’s three names) as “some aristocratic little lady of by-gone days, who has been compelled to remain among the influx of vulgarly new associates . . . and drawing her skirts about her, remains in solitary retrospection.”  Some day, the essayist mused, “when the owner of the land on which ‘The Terrace of Past Memories’ stands, decides to accept the fabulous sum which is bound to be offered him, the old building will give way to a modern skyscraper.”  It took some time.  While the first replacement of 1919 gleamed behind terracotta tiles, it was, even when discounting the lost tower, still shorter than the row house.  The forty-seven floors of the First Interstate Center followed in 1983.

However hard to read, even with double mouse clicks perhaps, here's the full
However hard to read, even with double mouse clicks perhaps, here’s the full Foulser feature from the Seattle Times for December 8, 1907.
A fine if modest two-story (or three) terra cotta adorned Watson Moore Stockbrokers home succeeding the Stetson-Post aka N.Y. Kitchen Block  aka Rainier, here left-of-center.  The Empire Bldg is far left.
A fine if modest two-story (or three) terra cotta adorned Watson Moore Stockbrokers home succeeding the Stetson-Post aka N.Y. Kitchen Block aka Rainier, here left-of-center. The Empire Bldg is far left.
The First Interstate Bank was the last occupant of the corner, serving from a modern remodel of the ornate tile cover.  Lawton Gowey took this on July 26, 1981.
The First Interstate Bank was the last occupant of the corner, serving from a modern remodel of the ornate tile cover. Lawton Gowey took this on July 26, 1981.   And he recorded its wreckage below on February 2, 1982.
Looking east on Marion with the barely surviving south facade of the Interstate Bank at the center.  (Lawton Gowey, 2/5/1982)
Looking east on Marion with the barely surviving south facade of the Interstate Bank at the center. (Lawton Gowey, 2/5/1982)
In the fall of 1974 Frank Shaw framed the front door of the Pacific National Bank, precursor of the Interstate Bank at the northeast corner of Second Ave. and Marion Street.
In the fall of 1974 Frank Shaw framed the front door of the Pacific National Bank, precursor of the Interstate Bank at the northeast corner of Second Ave. and Marion Street, with the arch saved from the front entrance of the Burke Building with the construction of the Federal Building.

Z [The-Stetsonand-Post-Idea-build-practical-homes-WEB

A survivor, the Stetson and Post Mill Company began promoting a “new plan” of delivering a “home from the forest to you.”   It was a success.   The company explained, because of its “ability to furnish the materials at prices well within reach” This, they explained, was possible because “the company owns its own timber, windows, doors, frames etc., employs no solicitors and sells for cash direct from the forest.”   In 1926 Stetson and Post published a pattern book to encourage locals to build a variety of homes that were named, for the most part, after Seattle’s neighborhoods.  Below are two examples.  None of the forty-five or more “carefully devised plans” featured row-houses.

Z Stetson-and-Post-pattern-book-page-for-The-Greenwood-WEB

z Stetson-and-Post-pattern-book-page-for-The-Montlake-WEB

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Yes Jean Ron and I though it  most appropriate to feature a few past contributions that include some row houses.  The last feature picked is the first we did on subjects included in Diana James recent history of Seattle’s apartment houses.  It is titled, you will remember, SHARED WALLS.

And now we are going to climb the stairs to join the bears, so we will proof this after a good – we hope – night’s sleep.

THEN:  Louis Rowe’s row of storefronts at the southwest corner of First Ave. (then still named Front Street) and Bell Street appear in both the 1884 Sanborn real estate map and the city’s 1884 birdseye sketch.  Most likely this view dates from 1888-89.  (Courtesy: Ron Edge)

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Seattle Now & Then: The Gardner Home on Boren Avenue

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Built in the early twentieth century at the northeast  corner of Jefferson Street and Boren Avenue, Bertha and Frank Gardner’s residence was large but not a mansion, as were many big homes on First Hill.   (Courtesy Washington State Museum, Tacoma)
THEN: Built in the early twentieth century at the northeast corner of Jefferson Street and Boren Avenue, Bertha and Frank Gardner’s residence was large but not a mansion, as were many big homes on First Hill. (Courtesy Washington State Museum, Tacoma)
NOW: The Minor and James Clinic opened its new block-size brick home in 1988.
NOW: The Minor and James Clinic opened its new block-size brick home in 1988.

Judging from Asahel Curtis’s negative number 5479, inscribed at the bottom-right corner, this photograph of the home of Dr. and Mrs. Frank Gardner was taken on or very near 1906, the year which the King County tax records claim it was built.  A more likely date for the construction is 1905.  On the Society Page for The Seattle Times on March 10, 1905, Betha Gardner – then still more regularly called Mrs. Frank P. Gardner – is credited with hosting in her home, here at the northeast corner of Jefferson Street and Boren Avenue, the annual “at home” meeting for the “ladies of the Sorosis Club.” The Times added that “The subject of the afternoon will be the ‘Religion and Music of Russia.’”

This is NOT the clip
[CLICK TO ENLARGE] This is NOT the 1905 Times clipping noted above, but another from nine years later in which Bertha Gardner and her Sorosis Club are noted.   While enjoying a hide-and-seek for Gardner and her club  you will  survey a typical society page from The Seattle Times a century ago.   Besides the long list of club activities there are some commonplaces, like the sensational advertisement at the bottom-left corner, and the seeming promise for a stretched figure from the adver. top-right promoting I. Isbin & Co, a ladies tailors on Third Avenue, and another fountain of youth (for your face) at the bottom-right corner.  .
Sophie Gardner's portrait published in the Dec. 22, 1922 issue of The Seattle Times.
Bertha Gardner’s portrait published in the Dec. 22, 1922 issue of The Seattle Times.

Pennsylvanians Frank and Bertha Gardner first lived on Capitol Hill in a more modest home.  (Should you like to check it, you will find it surviving at 1629 13th Avenue.)  By First Hill’s often sumptuous standards, their second home was neither small nor grand with ten rooms, five upstairs and five down.  But the whole effect was pleasing in its symmetry, especially this west façade facing Boren Avenue, with its elegant but restrained ornamentation.  There was nothing here so assertive, for instance, as the central tower on the Granville Haller home, seen peeking around the corner at the left of the Cardner home.

At the top of the hill, Granville O. Haller's tower extended the superlatives of his big home at the northwest corner of James and Minor.
At the top of the hill, Granville O. Haller’s tower extended the superlatives of his big home at the northeast corner of James and Minor.
A helpful detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map - even without the street names.  The bigger red dot marks the northeast corner of Boren and Jefferson, the site  of the Gardner home, and the small dot rests beside the footprint for the Haller mansion at the northeast corner of Minor and  James.  [courtesy, Ron Edge]
A helpful detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map – even without the street names. The bigger red dot marks the northeast corner of Boren and Jefferson, the site of the Gardner home, and the smaller dot rests beside the footprint for the Haller mansion at the northeast corner of Minor and James. Note, the red footprint upper-left for the Colony Apartments.  It is one of the relevant Edge- links attached below.   An essay – or perhaps even two – treating on the Haller home “Castlemount” will also be found in one – or perhaps more – of the links below.  [courtesy, Ron Edge]

When the Haller home was built at the top of First Hill in 1883-5 at the northeast corner of Minor Avenue and James Street, some of the fir and alder forest that once covered the hill was still standing.  While clearing the site, Colonel Haller’s workers uncovered the skeletons of two Native Americans, casualties, perhaps, of the 1856 U.S. Navy’s howitzer bombardments at the hill during what is popularly called the “The Battle of Seattle” in 1856.  Known as the “old Indian Fighter,” Haller crassly kept the skulls in his tower for the amusement of the neighborhood’s children.

Boren-&-James-TAX-card-WEBThere is now a fine opportunity to study the diverse history of First Hill with Historic Seattle’s recently published book on the subject, whose title, while long, is both descriptive and pleasing to the ear: Tradition and Change on Seattle’s First Hill, Propriety, Profanity, Pills and Preservation.  Both Pill and Profanity have been popular names for Seattle’s First Hill or parts of it, as have Yesler and, more recently, even Goat.

The increasingly "Pill Hill" part of First Hill photographed from Haborview Hospital in 1956, the year Bertha Gardner died.   The Gardner home appears here directly below the large and dark three story (or four) apartment, upper-right.   Her physician husband's death precede Bertha's by many decades.  By 1956 she had moved to the University District.
The increasingly “Pill Hill” part of First Hill photographed from Haborview Hospital in 1956, the year Bertha Gardner died. The Gardner home appears here directly below the large and dark three story (or four) apartment, upper-right. Her physician husband’s death preceded Bertha’s by twenty-six years. By 1956 she had moved to the University District. [CLICK TO ENLARGE]

Bertha and Frank shared their comely First Hill home until 1930 when the doctor died at the age of sixty-one. At some time during the 1930s, Bertha was joined by her brother Wilmer Kahle, president of the Crescent Manufacturing Company; following his death in 1943, she sold the house.  We learn from her Times obituary of April 10, 1956, that at the time of her death she lived across from the UW campus in the Malloy Apartments on 15th Avenue NE, and that she had been a charter member of the Sorosis Club, and so dedicated to bringing together “representative women in art, literature, science, and kindred spirits.”

A Times clipping from Nov. 2, 1954 shows Bertha voting at
A Times clipping from Nov. 2, 1954 shows Bertha Gardner voting at the Wesley House polling station, which was one block south of her apartment in the Malloy, both directly across 15th Ave. from the U.W. campus.  Bertha is fourth from the right and fifth from the left.  The Churchill report on the left, may also be worth your time.  CLICK TO ENLARGE
The Campbell home at the southwest corner of James and Minor.  Their long front yard, which reached the block to Boren Avenue, was the Gardner's "next door" neighbor.
The Campbell home at the southwest corner of James and Minor. Their long front yard, which reached the block to Boren Avenue, was the Gardner’s “next door” neighbor.   Across Minor Ave stands the Phinney home, far left.   [Courtesy Lucy Campbell Coe]

WEB EXTRAS

Lots to add this week…eh, Paul?

Before we begin, however, I thought I would answer your request for more material with a feat of whimsical legerdemain. As you know, I teach drama and writing at Hillside Student Community. This past Friday, I took a few of my 5th and 6th graders on a field trip to the Woodland Park Zoo and through the miracle of photoshop, converted several into lion cubs.

Your students as metamorphs see wary, but not quite ready to leave the nest for the next step where it will be every cat for him or herself.   We do have seven links Jean.  Any reader who consults them thoroughly will find within most of the features we have done thru the years on subjects that border Boren.   There are more than a dozen of them – unless I am contradicted.   At the bottom we will ad a feature done first in 1985 about the Campbell home.  With its park-sized front lawn it took the entire north-half of the block on which the Gardners built there home about twenty years after Campbell, a hardware merchant, built his in the mid-1880s.   The youngest daughter, Lucy, was one of my earliest mentors on Seattle’s pioneer history.

And now for something completely different...
And now for something completely different…

Back to our regularly scheduled program. Take it away, boys.

THEN: First Hill’s distinguished Old Colony Apartments at 615 Boren Avenue, 1910.

BOREN-&-University-Denny-&-Ainsworth-Homes-THEN-mr

THEN: The Perry Apartments is nearly new in “postcard artist” M. L. Oakes look at them south on Boren to where it intersects with Madison Street. (Courtesy John Cooper)

https://sherrlock.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/mrs-anderson-then-mr1.jpg?w=912&h=640

THEN:

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The Campbell home at the southwest corner of James (on the left) and Minor (behind it).
The Campbell home at the southwest corner of James (on the left) and Minor (behind it).

[Please note that the number 24 in the header refers to the chapter number in the book from which this was scanned, Seattle Now and Then, Volume Two, first published in 1987 - if memory serves.]
[Please note that the number 24 in the header above  refers to the chapter number in the book from which this text was scanned, Seattle Now and Then, Volume Two, first published in 1987 – if memory serves.]
Campbell-home-in-snow-WEB

The clinic that replaced the home.  I took this sometime in the 1980s.  Perhaps the car is a clue.
The Minor an d James Clinic that replaced the home. I took this in 1985.

Campbell-home-text-PART-2-WEB

Lucy Campbell Coe in her Washington Park Home ca. 1985 - with a student.
Lucy Campbell Coe in her Washington Park Home ca. 1985 – with a student.
Seen from Denny Hill, Seattle in 1885, the year of Lucy Campbell's birth.
[CLICK & CLICK TO ENLARGE] Seen from Denny Hill, Seattle in 1885, the year Jesse, the Campbells oldest of three children, was born.  On the right horizon stands the forest on Beacon Hill.  Both the Minor and tower-topped Haller First Hill mansions appear on the left horizon – remembering that the Campbells lived kitty-corner to the Hallers. both  at Minor and James.  The “other tower” is Coppins Waterworks at the southeast corner of 9th and Columbia.    Central School is temporarily near the center horizon.  It burned to the ground in 1888.  Second Ave. descends (in elevation only) from the lower-right corner.

 

Now & Then here and now

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