Seattle Now & Then: Poetry and Prose at 1st and Madison

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THEN: Looking south on First Avenue from its northwest corner with Madison Street, circa 1905.  (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)
THEN: Looking south on First Avenue from its northwest corner with Madison Street, circa 1905. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: The entire block bordered by First and Second Avenues and Marion and Madison Streets was cleared in the late 1960s for the construction of architect Fred Bassetti’s Henry M. Jackson Federal Office Building, which opened in 1974.
NOW: The entire block bordered by First and Second Avenues and Marion and Madison Streets was cleared in the late 1960s for the construction of architect Fred Bassetti’s Henry M. Jackson Federal Office Building, which opened in 1974.

Through the late 1880s this east side of First Avenue – its was still called Front Street then — was distinguished by George Frye’s Opera House (1884-85).  This grand pioneer landmark filled the southern half of the block until June 6, 1889, when Seattle’s Great Fire reduced it to ashes.  While these were still cooling, Frye hired John Nestor, an Irish-born architect who had designed his Opera House, to prepare drawings for the Stevens Hotel, which we see here also at the south end of the block, which is the northeast corner of First Avenue and Marion Street.

Next door to the north, the Palace Hotel, with 125 guest rooms, opened on the Fourteenth of April, 1903.  The owners announced that it was “Artistically decorated and comfortably furnished, and equipped with every modern convenience.”  They listed “elevators, electric lights, call bells and rooms with baths.”  The owners boasted that their hotel had the “finest commercial sample rooms in the city, which makes it an ideal hotel for commercial travelers.”  In the spring of 1905, the most northerly of the hotel’s three storefronts was taken by Burt and Packard’s “Korrect Shape” shoe store.  For $3.50 one could purchase a pair of what the partnering cobblers advertised as “the only patent leather shoe that’s warranted.” Also that year, the New German Bakery moved in next door beneath the Star Theatre, which had recently changed its name from Alcazar to Star.

On February 21, 1905, The Seattle Times printed “Vaudeville at the Star,” a wonderfully revealing review of the Star’s opening. “Vaudeville as given at the 10-cent theatre may not be high art, but it is certainly popular art . . . The performance started exactly at the appointed time, but long before that a squad of policeman had to make passage ways through the crowd of people on Madison Street.”

The hour-and-a-half performance consisted of nine acts, and The Times named them all.  “Claude Rampf led off with some juggling on the slack wire.  Richard Burton followed with illustrated songs. Third came the Margesons in a comedy sketch, a little boy proving a clever dancer.  Fourth were the dwarfs, Washer Brothers, who boxed four rounds. They were followed by Daisy Vernon, who sang in Japanese costume, followed by Handsen and Draw, a comedy sketch team, followed by Wilson and Wilson, consisting of a baritone singer and a negro comedian, and then by the lead liner, Mme Ziska, the fire dancer.  The performance concluded with several sets of moving pictures.”

Until it went dark in 1967, the venue at the southeast corner of First and Madison had many names. In addition to the Alcazar and the Star, it had been called the State Ritz, the Gaiety, the Oak, the State, the Olympic, the Tivoli, and in its last incarnation as a home for burlesque and sometimes experimental films, the Rivoli.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?

In Memory of Dawn Sears

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John Owen of Pineola, who gave a stellar performance at yesterday’s Rogue’s Christmas show at Town Hall, remembers the great Dawn Sears:

“On December 11, 2014 one of the greatest singers who ever set foot on this planet left us. Dawn Sears was an unassuming, humble person who you could easily walk past without even noticing…unless she was singing. If she was singing, you couldn’t notice anything else. She could make every person in the room feel like she was singing directly to them and them alone. Dawn was best known as a member of The Time Jumpers and as a backup singer for Vince Gill.

“Here is a link to a YouTube clip of her performing Sweet Memories with Time Jumpers. This clip pairs Dawn with another great who passed on not long ago – John Hughey on pedal steel. Both Dawn and John left an amazing amount of beauty behind. Live fully.”

Seattle Now & Then: 1st and Virginia and an invitation!

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THEN: In 1910, a circa date for this look north on First Avenue across Virginia Street, the two corners on the east side of the intersection were still undeveloped – except for signs.  The Terminal Sales Building, seen far right in Jean Sherrard’s repeat, did not replace the billboards that crowd the sidewalk in the “then” until 1923.  (Seattle Municipal Archive)
THEN: In 1910, a circa date for this look north on First Avenue across Virginia Street, the two corners on the east side of the intersection were still undeveloped – except for signs. The Terminal Sales Building, seen far right in Jean Sherrard’s repeat, did not replace the billboards that crowd the sidewalk in the “then” until 1923. (Seattle Municipal Archive)
NOW: The early-twentieth century promoters of the Denny Regrade – including this part of it in Belltown – expected that the central business district would soon move north and develop the diminished blocks with high rises.  Only their timing was wrong.  Now, at last, the Denny Regrade is gaining altitudes much higher than those of the lost Denny Hill.
NOW: The early-twentieth century promoters of the Denny Regrade – including this part of it in Belltown – expected that the central business district would soon move north and develop the diminished blocks with high rises. Only their timing was wrong. Now, at last, the Denny Regrade is gaining altitudes much higher than those of the lost Denny Hill.

I think it likely that this candid photo of a lone pedestrian on a bright sidewalk was snapped to show off the new streetlights.  Recorded by a municipal photographer, the view looks north on First Avenue from its southeast corner with Virginia Street.  The city’s first ornamental light standards, of City Light’s own design, were introduced in 1909-10, and on Seattle’s busiest streets featured five-ball clusters like these.  Here the elegance of the new lights is interrupted by the somewhat comedic counterpoint of older and much taller power poles – all in the name of progress.

Above and below: First Ave. looking north from Virginia Street during the BIG SNOW of 1916 and recently.
Above and below: First Ave. looking north from Virginia Street during the BIG SNOW of 1916 and recently.   On the right, note the HOTEL PRESTON, a later name for the RIDPATH seen in the featured photo on top.

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Detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map.  The Hotel Ridpath appears near the center with the Troy Hotel acroos First Ave. from it.   The Livingston Hotel at the southwest corner of Virginia and First  has been home for the Virginia Inn Tavern now for many years.  We include directly below an interior from the bar photographed in 2006 with Jean Sherrard and Berangere Lomont, both of this blog.  BB was visiting from Paris.
Detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map. The Hotel Ridpath appears near the center with the Troy Hotel across First Ave. from it. The Livingston Hotel at the southwest corner of Virginia and First has been home for the Virginia Inn Tavern now for many years. We include directly below an interior from that bar photographed in 2006 with Jean Sherrard and Berangere Lomont, both of this blog. BB was visiting from Paris.
Jean and Berangere at the Virginia Inn on Oct. 12, 2006.  It was BB's first visit to Seattle after our time with her in Paris a  year earlier.  Oh what joy!
Jean and Berangere at the Virginia Inn on Oct. 12, 2006. It was BB’s first visit to Seattle after our time with her in Paris a year earlier. Oh what joy!

This neighborhood was sometimes named North Seattle on early maps, but more popularly it was also called Belltown, for the family that first claimed and developed it.  Like many of the first settlers, William and Sarah Ann Bell kept two homes, one in the platted village that was growing to the sides of Pioneer Square and Henry Yesler’s sawmill, and the other on their claim, in order to “prove” it.  (Virginia Street was named for their long-lived third daughter, Mary Virginia,1847-1931).

Four pages merged from Seattle Now and Then Vol. 3.  Click to enlarge, and perhaps read.  The panorama looks north from the back porch of the Bell Hotel at the southeast corner of First and Battery.  The still somewhat forrested Queen Anne Hill marks the horizon at the center.  First Ave. (Front Street) extends north on the left, and Battery Street runs east, on the right.  There also Denny School stands out at the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and Battery.  The photo was taken by Morford, courtesy Kurt Jackson.
Four pages merged from Seattle Now and Then Vol. 3. Click to enlarge, and perhaps read. The panorama looks north from the back porch of the Bell Hotel at the southeast corner of First and Battery. The still somewhat forrested Queen Anne Hill marks the horizon at the center. First Ave. (Front Street) extends north on the left, and Battery Street runs east, on the right. There also Denny School stands out at the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and Battery. The photo was taken by Morford, courtesy Kurt Jackson.  (Click this you will probably be able to read it – if you wish.)

Seattle’s first major public work was the 1876 regrading of Front Street (First Avenue) between Pioneer Square and Pike Street. Soon after it continued with an improved path over the western side of Denny Hill, meant to help the Bells develop their claim.  In 1884, First Avenue was lowered and improved north of Pike Street with a cut that allowed the community’s then new horse-drawn street railway to continue north to Belltown and beyond, as far as the lower Queen Anne Neighborhood. Then in 1898-99, this cut was deepened to the grade we see here, leaving a cliff along the east side of First Avenue.

The temporary bluff along the east side of First Avenue, ca. 1902.  The view looks north from near Virginia Street.
The temporary bluff along the east side of First Avenue, ca. 1902. The view looks north from near Virginia Street.
The cliff along the east side of Second Avenue, looking south from near Bell Street.  The Moore Theatre and beyond it the New Washington Hotel are evident beyond Virginia Street.
The cliff along the east side of Second Avenue, looking south from near Bell Street. The Moore Theatre and beyond it the New Washington Hotel are evident beyond Virginia Street.

In 1903 the earnest (and long) razing of Denny Hill began by moving that cliff to the east side of Second Avenue.  By 1911 the regrading reached the east side of Fifth Avenue with another cliff, and there it rested for seventeen years.

The steel frame for the New Washington Hotel appears on the far left.  The view looks west on Virginia Street with the photographer Louis Whittelsey's back near Fourth Avenue.  The structure, upper-right, is at the northwest corner of Third Ave. and Virginia Street.  Small although still easily seen at the scene's center if the old Central School that was moved to this site in the early 1880s from its original location near the northeast corner of Third Ave. and Madison Street.  (see below)
The steel frame for the New Washington Hotel appears on the far left. The view looks west on Virginia Street with the photographer Louis Whittelsey’s back near Fourth Avenue. The structure, upper-right, is at the northwest corner of Third Ave. and Virginia Street. Small although still easily seen near the scene’s center, is the old Central School that was moved to this site in the early 1880s from its original location near the northeast corner of Third Ave. and Madison Street. (see next photo below)   It sits here near the northeast corner of First and Virginia and so behind the billboards that crowd the same corner at the far right of the featured photo on top.  The structures that seem to extend from the school to the New Washington’s frame, are actually on the west side of First Avenue between Virginia and Stewart Streets.   The Alaskan  Building breaks the horizon, right-of-center, at the northwest corner of Second and Virginia. You can find it in the 1912 Baist detail printed above, and it is also seen in the second photo below this one, which photo dates from 1908.   This scene dates from ca. 1907.
In this look south on Fourth Avenue from the Terretorial University Building at Seneca, Central School appears right-of-center near the northeast corner of Madison and 3rd Avenue.
In this look south on Fourth Avenue from the Territorial University Building at Seneca, Central School appears right-of-center near the northeast corner of Madison and 3rd Avenue.
Date 1908, bottom-right corner, this view looks north from near Stewart Street at the crowds probably gathered to witness the parade celebrating the 1908 visit of the "Great White Fleet" to Puget Sound.
Dated 1908 at the bottom-right corner, this view looks north from near Stewart Street through the crowds both standing on Second Avenue and sitting in the bleachers on the left.  The have probably gathered to witness the parade celebrating the 1908 visit of the “Great White Fleet” to Puget Sound.
The Puget Sound News Company building "filled the bleachers"
The Puget Sound News Company building, at the southwest corner of Virginian and Second, “filled the bleachers” sevens years after the 1908 crowd scene above this clipping.

While construction of the brick Hotel Ridpath, center-right in the featured subject at the top, waited for the cliff to be pushed east to Second Avenue, the ornate clapboard Troy Hotel across the street, far left, was built soon after the 1898-99 regrade.  The Troy survived into at least the late 1940s.  The Ridpath, long since renamed the Preston, I remember almost like yesterday.

The Ridpath/Preston seen from Western Avenue about a quarter-century ago.
The Ridpath/Preston seen from Western Avenue about a quarter-century ago.

In the featured photograph from about 1910, First Avenue’s Belltown blocks were mostly given to hotels and shops and a few vacant lots. Some of the latter were fitted with elaborate billboards, like the one on the right, which is stacked with exotic murals promoting popular habits, like vaudeville, cigarettes and chewing gum.

An advertisement posted in the May 5, 1916 Times for the Puget Sound Marble and Granite Company, which by then had filled the northeast corner of Virginia and First with its stones.
(Above) An advertisement posted in the May 5, 1916 Times for the Puget Sound Marble and Granite Company, which by then had filled the northeast corner of Virginia and First with its stones.
Since 1923 Seattle architect Henry W. Bittman's Terminal Sales Building has held the southeast corner of First Avenue and Virginia Street.
Since 1923 Seattle architect Henry W. Bittman’s Terminal Sales Building has held the southeast corner of First Avenue and Virginia Street.

WEB EXTRAS (featuring story and song!)

Paul-and-Jean-in-grotto

Paul, I know you and Ron have much to add. Please do so, but let me interject a touch of Public Relations for our annual Town Hall program ‘A Rogue’s Christmas‘.

Terrifying Santa at Seattle bus stop. Paul Dorpat, 1976
Terrifying Santa at Seattle bus stop. Paul Dorpat, 1976

As you well know, this Sunday at 2 PM, you and I, Marianne Owen and Randy Hoffmeyer, will be reading stories and poems from E.B. White, Nabokov, Ken Kesey, and much more, including original music by Pineola, for this event – the eighth we’ve presented in collaboration with ACT Theatre.  Join us for an antidotal and deliciously subversive holiday treat!

I’ll be there Jean.  Remember you are picking me up.   Here, repeating our by now weekly path, are a few relevant past features pulled and placed by Ron Edge.   Ron might also come to the Rogue’s show.  He took his then 96-year old mother last year.

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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THEN: Looking south from Pine Street down the wide Second Avenue  in 1911, then Seattle’s growing retail strip and parade promenade.  (courtesy of Jim Westall)

THEN: In 1913, or near to it, an unnamed photographer recorded this view southeast across the Lower Queen Anne corner of Denny Way and First Avenue North. Out of frame to the left, the northeast corner of this intersection was home then for the Burdett greenhouse and gardens. By its own claim, it offered plants of all sorts, “the largest and most complete stock to choose from in the state.”   Courtesy, the Museum of North Idaho.

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Seattle Now & Then: Fourth and Pike

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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: 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)
NOW: Westlake was cut through from Fourth and Pike to Denny Way in 1906-7.  The Seaboard Building (1907-9) replaced the small storefronts on the northeast corner.
NOW: Westlake was cut through from Fourth and Pike to Denny Way in 1906-7. The Seaboard Building (1907-9) replaced the small storefronts on the northeast corner.

Through the 1890s Pike Street was developed as the first sensible grade up the ridge, east of Lake Union before the ridge was named Capitol Hill by the real estate developer, James Moore.  As a sign of this public works commitment, Pike Street was favored with a vitrified brick pavement in the mid-1890s.  As can be seen here, Fourth Avenue was not so blessed.  The mud on Fourth borders Pike at the bottom of this anonymous look north through their intersection and continues again north of Pike beyond the pedestrians, who in this scene are keeping to the bricks and sidewalks.

Fourth Avenue between Pine and Pike Streets begins, in this "birdseye" from Denny Hill, to the right of the Lutheran church with the steeple, far left, right to the intersection with Pike, which is just right-of-center.  The structures on the east side of Fourth Avenue seen here in the 1890s match those in the feature photo.  The Methodist Protestant church, on the right, is at the southeast corner of Third Ave. and Pine Street.   The larger light brick building, left of center, is named for its builders/owner, Otto Ranke.
(CLICK to ENLARGE)  Fourth Avenue between Pine and Pike Streets begins, in this “birdseye” from Denny Hill, to the right of the Lutheran church with the steeple, far left.  Fourth continues to the right, reaching the intersection with Pike, which is just right-of-center. The structures north of Pike and on the east side of Fourth Avenue seen here in the 1890s match those in the feature photo. The Methodist Protestant church, on the right, is at the southeast corner of Third Ave. and Pine Street. The larger light brick building, left of center, is named for its builders/owner, Otto Ranke.  Its west facade appears upper-right in the featured photo at the top.
While the northwest corner of Fourth Ave. and Pike Street is hidden in this early 20th Century look east on Pike from Second Ave, the west facade of the Ranke Building at the northwest corner of 5th and Pike does show.
While the northwest corner of Fourth Ave. and Pike Street is hidden in this early 20th Century look east on Pike from Second Ave, the intersection sits immediately above the subject’s center.  Standing on both of the trolley tracks, a team and wagon are heading north (to the left) on Fourth.  The nearly new Seattle High School (Broadway Hi) is at the center  horizon.  First Hill is on the right and Capitol Hill on the left.   They are, of course, parts of the same ridge.

At the intersection’s far northeast corner dark doors swing beside the Double Stamp Bar’s sign, which pushes Bohemian Beer at five cents a mug. The first storefront to the right (east) of the bar and its striped awning is the Frisco Café, Oyster and Chop House, whose clam chowder can be had for a dime and “oysters in many styles” for a quarter.  Far right on the sidewalk at 404 Pike, a general store sells both new and used, and advertises a willingness to barter with cash-free exchanges.  Its merchandise is a mix of soft and hard: hanging buckets and baskets are seen through the windows, as well as a pile of pillows.  These storefronts and two more are sheltered in five parallel, contiguous sheds, modest quarters that are given stature with the top-heavy false façade they share above the windows.

This Times clipping from 1910 suggests that the Frisco Bar found a new home near First and University.  The classified also offers up its bar furniture for sale, which is not a good sign.
This Times clipping from 1910 suggests that the Frisco Bar found a new home near First and University. The classified also offers up its bar furniture for sale, which is not a good sign.

The bookends here are the Ranke Building, far right, and the Carpenter’s Union Hall, far left.  Otto and Dora Ranke were the happy German-born and wed builders who staged plays and light operas in their home and performed in them, too.  When the Ranke’s built their eponymous big brick building. it featured a hall and stage for productions of all sorts, including musicals.

The Ranke home at the northwest corner of Pike and 5th.  A past feature about this Peiser photograph is attached below near the top of the string of the relevant links.
The Ranke home at the northwest corner of Pike and 5th. A past feature about this Peiser photograph is attached below near the top of the string of the relevant links.

In 1906, beginning at this intersection, an extension of Westlake Avenue was cut and graded through the city grid to Denny Way, where it joined the ‘old’ Westlake that is now ‘main street’ for the south Lake Union Allen-Amazon Neighborhood. As part of this Westlake cutting, Carpenter’s Hall was razed, and a landmark, the Plaza Hotel, took its place in the new block shaped by Fourth Avenue, Pine Street and the new Westlake Avenue.  The Carpenters moved one block north on Fourth Avenue where they built a new brick union hall.  Then in 1907 Fourth Avenue was continued for two blocks north from Seneca Street, through the old territorial university campus, to Union Street.  As a result of these two regrades, in less than two years the crossing of Pike Street and Fourth Avenue developed into one of the busiest intersections in the city.

The Plaza Hotel underconstruction during the 1906 paving of the then brank new Westlake.  The view looks north from 4th and Pike.  On the left, Fourth Avenue still climbs Denny Hill.
The Plaza Hotel underconstruction during the 1906 paving of the then brank new Westlake. The view looks north from 4th and Pike. On the left, Fourth Avenue still climbs Denny Hill.
 On the left Fourth Avenue still climbs Denny Hill ca. 1908 - but not for long.  (Courtesy, THE MUSEUM of HISTORY and INDUSTRY "also known as" MOHAI)
On the left Fourth Avenue still climbs Denny Hill ca. 1908 – but not for long. (Courtesy, THE MUSEUM of HISTORY and INDUSTRY “also known as” MOHAI)
The American Hotel at the northeast corner of the new Fourth Ave. and Pike Street configuration.  Building on the future Seaboard building soon resume with many floors added above these five.
The American Hotel at the northeast corner of the new Fourth Ave. and Pike Street configuration. Building on the future Seaboard building soon resume with many floors added above these five.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Again and again – thru ten clicks – one may proceed with Ron Edge’s pulls, this week, of appropriate links to past features at and/or near Fourth Avenue and Pike Street.  Following those we may find a few more fitting ornaments at these by now late hours allow.

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)

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THEN: While visiting Seattle for some promoting, silent film star Wallace Reid shares the sidewalk at 4th and Olive with a borrowed Stutz Bearcat.  (Courtesy, Museum of History & Industry)

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)

THEN: Sometime between early December 1906 and mid-February 1907 an unnamed photographer with her or his back about two lots north of Pike Street recorded landmarks on the east side of Third Avenue including, in part, the Washington Bar stables, on the right; the Union Stables at the center, a church converted for theatre at Pine Street, and north of Pine up a snow-dusted Denny Hill, the Washington Hotel.  (Used courtesy of Ron Edge)

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NEARBY ON PIKE

A troublesome hydrant at the corner of 6th Ave. and Pike Street on March 3, 1920.
A troublesome hydrant at the corner of 6th Ave. and Pike Street on March 3, 1920.
This first appeared in Pacific on Jan 19, 1997.
This first appeared in Pacific on Jan 19, 1997.

 THREE SECURE HYDRANTS in WALLINGFORD taken during my “Wallingford Walks” between 2006 and 2010.

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The Northeast corner of Meridian and 45th Avenue.
The Northeast corner of Meridian and 45th Avenue.
Framed by "Chenical Hill" at Gas Works Park Sept. 10, 2006.
Framed by “Chenical Hill” at Gas Works Park Sept. 10, 2006.

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ANOTHER LEAK ON PIKE

3. Trolley-flood-on-Pike web

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First appeared in Pacific on Jan 29, 1995
First appeared in Pacific on Jan 29, 1995

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TWO PIKE PAGES OF SIX in PIG-TAIL DAYS

Below we have pulled Sophie Frye Bass's description of Pike Street - the first two of six pages on pioneer Pike.   The reader is encourage to find the other four, and then to read all of this well-wrought book by a daughter of the pioneers.
Below we have pulled Sophie Frye Bass’s description of Pike Street – the first two of six pages on pioneer Pike. The reader is encourage to find the other four, and then to read all of this well-wrought book by a daughter of the pioneers.

Pike-St.-Pigtail-Days-p70-71-(of-6)WEB

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Now up the stairs to nighty-bears.  We will re-read and proof tomorrow.

Seattle Now & Then: Seventh & Seneca

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THEN: Looking north-northeast from a low knoll at the southwest corner of Seneca Street and Seventh Avenue, circa 1916.  By 1925, a commercial automobile garage filled the vacant lot in the foreground.  [Courtesy, Ron Edge]
THEN: Looking north-northeast from a low knoll at the southwest corner of Seneca Street and Seventh Avenue, circa 1916. By 1925, a commercial automobile garage filled the vacant lot in the foreground. [Courtesy, Ron Edge]
NOW: With the historical prospect long lost, first to a garage and then to the Interstate 5, Jean Sherrard took his repeat from near the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Spring Street.  Moving left to right from the center, crowding the right horizon are the Tudor-Gothic styled Exeter House, the nearly completed Cielo Apartments, and the terra-cotta-tile clad Town Hall, all rising from their respective corners at Eight Avenue and Seneca Street.
NOW: With the historical prospect long lost, first to a garage and then to the Interstate 5, Jean Sherrard took his repeat from near the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Spring Street. Moving left to right from the center, crowding the right horizon are the Tudor-Gothic styled Exeter House, the nearly completed Cielo Apartments, and the terra-cotta-tile clad Town Hall, all rising from their respective corners at Eight Avenue and Seneca Street.

We may puzzle over why the unnamed photographer of this wide look through a First Hill intersection chose also to feature the trash and weeds in the foreground.  As revealed in Jean’s repeat, this intersection at Seventh Avenue and Seneca Street became a small part of the concrete ditch cut for the Seattle Freeway.  In the early 1960s, here at Seneca Street, Interstate 5 construction through the central business district turned due north and continued along the green-belted side of Capitol Hill.

An aerial of the future freeway route through the Central Business District, including planned freeway's curve to the northeast north of Spring Street.  The curve that will cut through the southeast corner of Seneca and 7th Avenue  was marked here  near the center by someone long ago.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
An aerial of the future freeway route through the Central Business District, including the planned freeway’s curve to the northeast north of Spring Street. The curve that will cut through the southeast corner of Seneca and 7th Avenue was marked here near the center perhaps before the cutting began. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
A portion of the Central Business District, circa 1972
A portion of the Central Business District, circa 1972

Although the freeway took this entire intersection, it needed only a slice of its southeast corner, the part shown here on the right of the “then” with the small grocery.  “Homemade Bread” is signed below the corner window, and directly above it, “Sanitary Grocery” is printed on the window.  In the commercial listings of the 1918 Polk’s City Directory, it was but one of more than 750 small grocery stores that the ‘invisible hand’ of capitalism had scattered through Seattle.

Often referred to as “mom and pop stores” – in part because it usually took a family to run one – the First Hill neighbors of this grocery located at 1122 7th Avenue would likely have found Katherine and Jewett Riley behind the counter.  Jewett, at least, was an old hand at mercantile, having helped his brother Silvanus run a store at the Leschi Landing soon after the Yesler Cable line was completed to Lake Washington in 1888.  In 1918 Katherine and Jewett conveniently lived in unit 104 of the Touraine Apartments at 711 Seneca.  Directly behind the grocery, the Touraine is four stories tall.

Van Siclen Apartments facing 8th Avenue between Seneca and University Streets.
Van Siclen Apartments facing 8th Avenue between Seneca and University Streets.
Later
Above: Later
Judkins 1887 panorama looking north from the Central School tower on the south side of Madison Street between Marion and Madison shows Seventh Avenue ,on the right, heading north towards its intersections with Spring and Seneca Streets.  At
Judkins 1887 panorama looking north from the Central School tower on the south side of Madison Street between Marion and Madison shows Seventh Avenue ,on the right, heading north towards its intersections with Spring and Seneca Streets.   The little home on lots north of the northeast corner of Seneca and Seventh can be found in both Jjudkins pan and in the feature photograph at the top.  CLICK TO ENLARGE – by all means.

The oldest subject here is the comely little home to the left of the big box of a boarding house at the intersection’s northeast corner.  It dates from the mid-1880s. To the right of the boarding house, the concrete Van Siclen Apartments (1911), with rooftop pergola and ornate row of arched windows, faces Eighth Avenue between Seneca and University Streets.  It is a block so steep that the paved Eighth cannot be seen from this prospect.  In the vacant corner lot to the south (right) of the Van Siclen, the Alfaretta Apartments at 802 Seneca was built in 1918.

Jean's 2012 portrait of the Alfaretta's deconstruction, with the Exeter House beyond it on the west side of Eighth Avenue.
Jean’s 2012 portrait of the Alfaretta’s deconstruction, with the surviving Exeter House beyond it on the west side of Eighth Avenue.

The Van Siclen (later renamed the Jensonia) and the Alfaretta missed reaching their centennials.  Both were razed in anticipation of the rising of the 323-unit Cielo Apartments at the northeast corner of Eighth and Seneca.  As a work-in-progress, the Cielo can be readily found in Jean’s repeat, rising above the Exeter House (1928) and Town Hall (completed in 1924 as the Fourth Church of Christ Scientist).

Freeway Park waders in the summer of 1976.  Photo by Frank Shaw.
Freeway Park waders in the summer of 1976. Photo by Frank Shaw.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul and Ron?   Surely, starting and perhaps ending with the dozen links below.  They are, again and again, well stacked with relevance – sometimes repeating it.   For instance, beginning with the first link below.  You can find, surely, the Christian Scientists on the left – now TOWN HALL – but also the rear of the of the Van Siclen apartments on the far right.  Until only a few years ago they faced 8th Avenue mid-block between Seneca and University Street.  The view to the bay over the retail district was wonderful until the Freeway overpass blocked it in the 1960s.   Somewhere in the links below the fuller Van Siclen story is told.

THEN: Looking west on Madison Street from Seventh Avenue circa 1909.  (Courtesy, Washington State Museum, Tacoma)

THEN: Looking east on University Street towards Ninth Avenue, ca. 1925, with the Normandie Apartments on the left.

THEN: The city's regrading forces reached Sixth Avenue and Marion Street in 1914. A municipal photographer recorded this view on June 24. Soon after, the two structures left high here were lowered to the street. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

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THE BARK MONTCALM ADDENDUM

Before this coming Sunday’s feature is published we want to insert an addition to last week’s feature about the Galbraith and Bacon Wall Street Wharf and the Bark Montcalm that was tied to her south side most likely in early November, 1910 and not “circa 1912″ as we speculated last Sunday.   Here’s the feature photo, again.

Courtesy, Lawton Gowey
Courtesy, Lawton Gowey

We received three letters responding to our uncertainties about which Montcalm this was and, as noted, the date it visited Seattle.  Reader Kyle Stubbs was first to respond, and noted that “I am only aware of one Montcalm that was a barque-rigged sailing vessel.  That is the Montcalm of 1902, 2,415 tons built at Nantes, France, which was used in around Cape Horn service by La Societe des Voiliers Nantais.  The vessel was broken up in the Netherlands in 1924.”

The next letter came from Douglas Stewart, a seasoned cardiologist with the University Medical School and hospital, whom I first met last winter after I fell to the kitchen floor, tripped by my oxygen gasping heart’s tricks with consciousness, or loss of it.   The good doctor is also an enthusiast for most things maritime, and even rows to work from his home, which like the hospital sits beside Portage Bay.   He found that the original nitrate negative for this photograph is in the keep of the University Libraries Special Collections. In their terse cataloging of it a librarian concludes that this was the “decommissioned sailing ship Montcalm at dock, probably in Seattle ca. 1912.”   The date is almost certainly wrong, and the “decommissioned” attribute is unclear or uncertain.   Decommissioned when?   The library’s data also describes this Montcalm as an “armored sailing corvette . . . originally built for the French Navy in 1865.”  While a Google search for everything that is a Montcalm and floats will surface a French corvette with that heroic name dating from the 1860s, it is, again, almost certainly not this Montcalm.  The first French corvettes of the 17th century were much smaller than this bark or barque and were built to carry cannons.  They got bigger, surely, but not this big. and continued to be built for cannons not concrete and wheat like our Montcalm.

The Montcalm at the Wall Street Pier as illustrated in the Seattle Times for Nov. 2, 1910, and as mistakenly titled the Antwerp.  (Courtesy, Seattle Public Library and The Seattle Times)
The Montcalm at the Wall Street Pier as illustrated in the Seattle Times for Nov. 2, 1910, and as mistakenly titled the Antwerp.  The professional headline or title writer did not consult the reporter or caption writer, a common enough mistake in newspapers.  Almost certainly the feature photo on top was recorded by the same photographer.  (Courtesy, Seattle Public Library and The Seattle Times)

The third and last contributor to this quest for a proper caption is our old friend Stephen Lundgren, who for this sort of investigation into maritime history prefers the sobriquet Capt. Stefan Eddie.   I confess to having used the Captain at times as a capable “World Authority on Everything,” resembling the Professor played by Sid Caesar on his TV show in the 50’s – the best part of that decade.  Capt. Eddie also did what I should have done, which is consult the Seattle Public Libraries assess to the key-word search opening into The Seattle Times on-line archive between 1900 and 1984.  Stephen found, for instance, the clipping above, which was almost certainly photographed by the same camera or camera person as the featured photo on top.   From reading the Times reporting during the Montcalm’s few days stay in Seattle, the Captain concludes, “Took about an hour trolling the Times database and verifying the ship history facts.  That it is rigged as a bark, with a steel hull, narrows the search. It’s at the Galbraith Dock probably between discharging the cement cargo in West Seattle and before loading outbound wheat at Smith Cove.  The Galbraith Co. dealt in Cement.  Question is what buildings were constructed with this Belgium-shipped concrete?”  Capt. Stefan Eddie’s last question really goes too far.   How could anyone be expected to follow the concrete from ship to foundations?

An early record of the West Seattle elevator.
An early record of the West Seattle elevator.  Why we wonder did the Montcalm unload its concrete here, an elevator for grain,  when it was Galbraith and Bacon at Mill Street that was the dealer in concrete?

Finally, Captain Stephan Eddit added to his missive something more  of his charming familiarity with the Montcalm subject.   He explains, “Lars Myrlie Sr. tells me (in Norwegian) ‘I gots off that damm frenchie ship as soon as it gots to Seattle, it was a hell ship and I damm near gots my head stove in off the coast when the load shifted and knocked the other cargo loose cement in bulk, which meant our sure deaths if we gots a leak.  Sure it was a steel ship but them damm rivets popped when a hard one hit, like a bullet they was and then came the squirt.  My brother gots me off the Galbreath dock and over to Port Blakely and no more damn frenchies for me, Tusende Tak Gotts!”

It took the Montcalm 195 days to carry its 3,000 tons of concrete from Antwerp to Seattle.   The ship was registered at 1,744 tons, so the concrete gave it lots of steadying ballast for the storms.   However, there were no storms except the expected ones around Cape Stiff, the sailors’ name for Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America.   Otherwise her crossing of the Atlantic was one of constant calms and so not of great speed.

Two months before "our" Montcalm visits Elliott Bay another French Montcalm called on us and stayed and partied long enough to qualify as a floating embassy.
Two months before “our” Montcalm visits Elliott Bay another French Montcalm called on us and stayed and partied long enough to qualify as a floating embassy.

Seattle Now & Then: The Wall Street Pier

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: A circa 1912 look at the Wall Street finger pier from the foot, not of Wall, but Battery Street. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
THEN: A circa 1912 look at the Wall Street finger pier from the foot, not of Wall, but Battery Street. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
NOW: Galbraith and Bacon built their pier between Battery and Wall Streets. From this Battery side we see the Edgewater’s south façade.  From the Wall Street side one looks directly to the front of the Edgewater, and prior to the hotel, the Galbraith and Bacon pier shed. Consequently, the pier is named for Wall Street.
NOW: Galbraith and Bacon built their pier between Battery and Wall Streets. From this Battery side we see the Edgewater’s south façade. From the Wall Street side one looks directly to the front of the Edgewater, and prior to the hotel, the Galbraith and Bacon pier shed. Consequently, the pier is named for Wall Street.

The Galbraith Bacon dock, like most others built on the Seattle waterfront after 1900, was positioned at a slant off Railroad Avenue (Alaskan Way) for two sensible reasons. First, such a dock allowed railroad spurs an easier angle for reaching the aprons to the sides of the wharves.   Second, at such a slant the end of a long dock was closer to shore and so did not require unnecessarily long piles to support it.

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Having dealt feed on the waterfront since 1891, James Galbraith was the ‘old timer’ in this partnership.  Cecil Bacon, a chemical engineer with some extra capital, arrived in Seattle in 1899.  Deep pockets helped Bacon persuade Galbraith to make a bigger business with him by adding building materials, like lime and concrete, to the established partner’s hay and feed.  In 1900, they were the first signature tenants in the Northern Pacific Railroad’s newly constructed finger pier No. 3 (now 54) at the foot of Madison Street.  The partners prospered and soon added to their enterprise this pier at the foot of Wall Street.

An early record of Pier 3 (54 since 1944) and its first tenant Galbraith and Bacon.  The photo was taken in 1900, some little while before the photographer, Aders Wilse, return to Norway and the call of his wife who left Seattle first for a visit back to the homeland and then decided to not return here.   Wilse then obeyed she who must be.  Soon he became a Norwegian national treasure, and the photographer to its King and Queen and all their little princes and princesses.
An early record of Pier 3 (54 since 1944) and its first tenant Galbraith and Bacon. The photo was taken in 1900, some little while before the photographer, Aders Wilse, return to Norway and the call of his wife who left Seattle first for a visit back to the homeland and then decided to stay.. Wilse then obeyed she who must be. In time  he became a Norwegian national treasure, and the photographer to its King and Queen and all their little princes and princesses.
The Northern Pacific Docks (mostly) between First Station No. 5 at the foot of Madison Street and Pier 6/57 near the foot of Union Street.
The Northern Pacific Docks (mostly) between Fire Station No. 5 at the foot of Madison Street and the Milwaukee Railroad’s Pier 6/57 near the foot of Union Street.

Although I like the featured photograph at the top for how it upsets our prepossession with the picturesque – I mean, of course, the askew yards on the sailing ship and its splotched starboard side – I neither know why the square-rigged Montcalm was tied to the Wall Street pier, nor which Montcalm it was.  Many ships bear the name, and probably all were named for Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, who until he was hit with an English musket ball in the Battle of Quebec, was New France’s Commander-in-Chief during its French and Indian War with the British in the 1750s.

Not the
Not the Montcalm, but another tall ship holding the same slip to the south of the Wall Street Pier.   Photo by Whitelsey.
The Galbraith and Bacon Wall Street Pier seen from the bluff.
The Galbraith and Bacon Wall Street Pier seen from the bluff.
Frank Shaw's record of the Wall Street Pier soon after it was cleared of the Galbraith & Bacon pier shed.  Feb. 26, 1961.
Frank Shaw’s record of the Wall Street Pier while being cleared of the Galbraith & Bacon pier shed. Feb. 26, 1961.
Shaw returned to take this snapshot of the completed Edgewater on a gray December 9, 1962.
Shaw returned to take this snapshot of the completed Edgewater on a gray December 9, 1962.

For some clue on the Montcalm’s condition I turned to Scott Rohrer, an old friend who is also celebrated hereabouts for his sailing and understanding of maritime history.  Scott tersely answered, “She’s steel and her crew is scaling and chipping her hull for primer and repainting after a long, apparently rough voyage.”

An early ideal Edgewater when it still had a chance of being named the Camelot.
An early ideal Edgewater when it still had a chance of being named the Camelot.
What became of Camelot, Lawton Gowey's - or perhaps Bob Bradley's - record of the Edgewater dated May 29, 1963.
What became of Camelot, Lawton Gowey’s – or perhaps Bob Bradley’s – record of the Edgewater dated May 29, 1963.
Either Jean or I recorded this repeat sometime in 2005, I think.
Either Jean or I recorded this repeat sometime in 2005, I think.

The Wall Street pier, about the size of a football field, was replaced in the early 1960s with what the waterfront long wanted: a big hotel.  First sketches of the Edgewater show it as the Camelot Inn.  The Edgewater is perhaps best known for the visiting Beatles, of whom the now common fish tale is told that they followed the instructions written on the waterfront side of the hotel and fished from their window.  We suspect that a trolling of the bottom might still catch some paint chips fallen a century ago from the worn sides of the Montcalm.

An early and passionate rendering of the  planned Edgewater - or Camelot.
An early and passionate rendering of the planned Edgewater – or Camelot.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Certainly, and beginning again with Ron Edge’s selection of links to other features we have had swimming in the Pacific in the past.  Ron has also put up the cover to our illustrated history of the waterfront.  I suspect that if it is clicked then several chapter choices will appear.  We remind the reader that this Waterfront History is always available in toto on this blog.  And was also propose again that when in doubt or squinting that readers should click twice and sometimes thrice.

THEN: Pier 70 when it was still Pier 14, ca. 1901, brand new but not yet "polished."  Courtesy, Lawton Gowey

THEN: Before this the first shovel of the last of Denny Hill was ceremonially dropped to the conveyor belt at Battery Street, an “initial bite of 30,000 cubic yards of material” was carved from the cliff along the east side of 5th Avenue to make room for both the steam shovel and several moveable belts that extended like fingers across the hill.  It was here that they met the elevated and fixed last leg of the conveyor system that ran west on Battery Street to the waterfront.  (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)

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waterfront-sketch-c1875-web

pike-wharf-ruins-c81-web1

north-beach-c1881-web

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THE WATERFRONT FIRE OF 1910 – at the FOOT OF WALL STREET

Looking west down Wall Street thru the popular ruins.
Looking west down Wall Street thru the popular ruins.

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A clip from the March 23, 2003 Pacific Magazine
CLICK TO ENLARGE – A clip from the March 23, 2003 Pacific Magazine
The ruins looking northeast from the waterfront.
The ruins looking northeast from the waterfront.
The 1910 fire's remains seen west over First Avenue.
The 1910 fire’s remains seen west over First Avenue.

====

RAILROAD AVENUE LOOKING NORTH FROM WALL STREET

Merged from two negatives, Railroad Avenue looking north over Wall Street.
Merged from two negatives, Railroad Avenue looking north over Wall Street.
Jean has a colored version of this repeat, and I shall encourage him to find it and following his discovery also erase this caption for the prospect is obvious.
Jean has a colored version of this repeat, and I shall encourage him to find it and following his discovery also erase this caption for the prospect is obvious.
You should probably CLICK-TO-ENLARGE this insert.
You should probably CLICK-TO-ENLARGE this insert.

=======

QUIZ  – SELF-CONFIDENCE WILL BE REWARDED TO THE READER WHO CAN REVEAL FROM WHAT THE HISTORICAL PHOTO BELOW WAS RECORDED.

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RR-Ave.-fm-Pike-trestle-NOW-WEB

Now & Then here and now

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