HELIX – The Return of the REDUX From Paul Dorpat and Bill White
The five issues of Helix freshly posted below are a continuation of what was posted previously – where we let off many months ago. With this return we embrace again our intention to post them all, although most likely with less rigor. It may be a month or more before we post another one. In this we also depend upon Ron Edge who has done the scanning, and so well. Bill and I hope that you will also respond and reflect on what you read – any or all parts of it. Record your comments on anything you read in these Helixes, and send the MP3 to Bill at BWhi61@hotmail.com by the end of April, at which time Bill will edit audio histories from the MP3’s he receives and post them here with the Helix issues. If you prefer to post a written commentary or response, please join our Helix Redux Facebook site, home of lively conversations on all things Helix and related. https://www.facebook.com/groups/217636941681376/
POSTSCRIPT: MP3’s received after the end of April may be included in the next issue to be posted.
Below is a photograph of the concert advertised at the bottom of the back cover of Vol. 4 No.8
There’s a popular and abiding Ballardian legend that when still young and independent of Seattle, the “shingle capitol of the world” had as many bars as churches – or, alternately, as many churches as bars. Most of the dives were on Ballard Avenue, but churches seemed to be on every Ballard block.
This week’s historical photograph was shared by Kristine Leander, the Executive Director of the local Swedish Club. It is but one print of about ninety included in a large album of subjects recorded mostly in the 1920s by Klaes Nordquist, a professional photographer with studios both downtown and on Market Street in Ballard. Many of the prints are of Swedish subjects, such as the Swedish Hospital, the Swedish Business Men’s Association posing at Snoqualmie Falls Lodge – with women – and this Baptist church.
When Director Leander and I first thumbed through the album I was startled by the size of this church and the sinking sense that in spite of having an enduring memory for churches, especially ones with soaring towers, and having bumped about Ballard for years, still I did not know it. However, the name came quickly with the help of magnification and Nordquist’s fine grain print. On the reader board to the right of the smaller door, far-right, the name, Ballard Swedish Baptist Church can be read.
When the tall church was going up (for $20,000) in 1910 on the northwest corner of 20th Avenue NW and NW 63rd Street, the “superstructure” was touted as the “second largest in the state of Washington.” While we may doubt that claim, we are still impressed. In addition to the hundred-foot tower, the sanctuary featured a 900-seat auditorium for the then 200 ambitious and hopeful members of a different congregation, the Second Baptist Church. The Swedish Baptists were meeting two blocks south in a modest timber church built in 1904 at NW 61st Street. Two years after Second Baptist’s dedication of their oversized sanctuary, the congregation was still struggling to pay the mortgage. In three years more they swapped this landmark, still with its tower intact, on 63rd with the flourishing Swedes on 61st. The Swedes , of course, also assumed the debt on the house of worship for which they traded.
In the mid-1920s the church’s tradition of scheduling the Swedish service on Sunday mornings and the English for the evenings was reversed. Of course, by then the church families were raising kids routinely using English in the public schools, and probably at home as well. According to Don Duncan, minister at Ballard Baptist since 1981, “Swedish” was excused from the name in 1934. By the memory of Alice Anderson, the oldest member of Ballard Baptist, the ornate top of the tower was removed after it was damaged in the earthquake of Nov. 12, 1939.
I’ll lead off by throwing down a couple of interior photos.
Then I’ll up the ante with a shot of the spare church on 61st!
Call, raise, or fold, fellahs?
Jean and Dear Readers. While the former – Jean, for himself and his family – is off to the Islands for a vacation, the latter – Ron and I, while holding to the mainland and working for the readers, will first put up eight or nine links to past Ballard subjects – Ballard and Phinney Ridge. Surely those are not all we have, even of those cozy in our scanned library. Like those in past blog features, these nine will proliferate with their own links and so on and on. We will follow these with a few features so distant (to the rear or ago) that until now they have not made it into this useful, that is scanned, library. All of it will be concluded first with a 1919 clipping of a few church alternatives, and last with a 2006 photograph of three members of the Ballard Sedentary Marching Band, standing in Meridian Park, ca. 2008, and so not in Ballard but rather here in Wallingford, the Gateway to Ballard. And that’s it.
FOUR MORE CHURCHES RELATED EITHER TO BALLARD OR SWEDES
BALLARD BRIDGE – FIRST AND LAST TRACK-BOUND TROLLEYS
Here stands, and it seems also poses, the St. Vincent de Paul’s truck in front of its thrift store at the southeast corner of First Avenue and Battery Street. With help from MOHAI librarian Carolyn Marr, we know the date of this Webster and Stevens studio photo is1926. And from Jim McFarland, director of communications for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County, we learn that on the first of April of that year the Society opened its Salvage Bureau in Belltown. This first storefront was in the grand hotel that Seattle pioneer William Bell built in 1883. Aside from its busy months following the city’s Great Fire of 1889, the Bellevue Hotel, with its distinguishing central tower, never flourished, nor did the Belltown neighborhood.
We may prefer to imagine that this delivery van is painted red, the color now long-associated with St. Vinnie’s rolling stock. The truck is packed with items we might still expect to find in a St. Vinnie’s thrift store: a bird cage or two, some furniture, and, probably for the presentation of this portrait, a man’s coat and vest hanging unbuttoned above the rear wheel. Through the windows of the Salvage Bureau we can find more of the things commonly available from this not-for-profit economy, noted for its low prices, useful employment, and array of charitable services. The china, utensils, books (on the table) and framed art (on the wall) are the first examples of what by now for eighty-eight years have been effectively transformed into the Society’s social services, often carried to families in need by the Society’s more than 1000 volunteers here in King County.
In 1931, from its location in Bell’s hotel, by then renamed the Bay State (razed in 1937), St. Vincent conducted a clearance sale here while preparing to move its Salvage Bureau, first to a warehouse at Valley Street and Taylor Avenue, then on to a home many of us still fondly remember: St. Vinnie’s sprawling market of thrift at the southeast corner of Lake Union. (The very last of the Edge Links, attache below, is of a Times now-and-feature about the Lake Union St. Vinnies.)
Here I will make something like a full disclosure by noting a ‘family resemblance’ that Jean Sherrard and I share. Both Jean’s father Don and my oldest brother Ted and sister-in-law Klarese shopped for household goods at St. Vinnie’s while attending the UW Medical School and interning at Harborview Hospital. Both families made their first homes, conveniently and inexpensively, at the nearby Yesler Terrace. That was in the early 60s for Don and the 1950s for Ted. St. Vincent de Paul now runs thrift stores in Kent, Burien and Kenmore and in Seattle at 575 Rainier Avenue North and at 13555 Aurora Avenue North. You can either carry your donations to any one of the Society’s stores or call 206 767 3835 for a visit from the bright red truck.
I’ll include a snapshot from our First Avenue session with the Red Truck:
Anything to add, boys? Yup. With four hands Ron and I have pulled up ten links that are filled with Belltown Neighborhood links, the last one generously considered, as noted, on the south shore of Lake Union. Ten links yes, but only on the face of it. If they are explored, they include among them more than 55 features including a few Belltown waterfront essays pulled from our illustrated history of the Seattle Waterfront, which can be explored in-toto through our books botton – somewhere on this page. After the links – if time allows – we’ll put a up a few more relevant brevities. We begin it all again with a snapshot found while searching for this and that. Just below is the famous “Dude” and I at the Belltown Cafe across First Avenue from the hotel in 1979 or perhaps 1980. Note the wonderful rendering of an business-sized stove above Jeff’s head. And my one-of-a-kind down vest designed and sewn by Kathy Hope. The Belltown Cafe is remember with great fondness by many.
BELLTOWN CA. 1887 – LOOKING NORTH From SECOND & BLANCHARD
Below: FURTHER UP THE HILL and LATER: APRIL 13, 1912 (Courtesy MOHAI) CLICK to ENLARGE
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Suzzallo Library (1922-27) and Anderson Hall (1924-25) are probably the most admired examples of Collegiate Gothic buildings that distinguishthe 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.
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.
A good date for this Webster and Stevens Studio photo is July 20, 1925, a Saturday. The Seattle Times hadannounced (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.”
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.
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.
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.)
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.”
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. “
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.
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.
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.
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 them. Soon 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.
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 Avenue. In 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.
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.
[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. ]
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.
To be continued sometimes on Sunday, March 8 . . .