Seattle Now & Then: A Footprint of Love

(click to enlarge photos)

MINOR-&-THOMAS-P-patch-THEN-mr
THEN: Part of the roofline of Cascade School - the school that named the neighborhood - rises above a tight ensemble of workers homes in 1937-8. (Courtesy Washington State Archive, Bellevue Community College branch)
NOW: The school was damaged by the 1949 earthquake and removed.  These homes were razed in the early 1980s and replaced first by a play area for day care.  Since 1996 the corner has shined with one of the city’s many community gardens or P-Patches.  Jean Sherrard’s winter repeat may be complemented with the Cascade P-Patch’s own blog at http://cascade-ppatch.blogspot.com/  (Now photo by Jean Sherrard)
NOW: The school was damaged by the 1949 earthquake and removed. These homes were razed in the early 1980s and replaced first by a play area for day care. Since 1996 the corner has shined with one of the city’s many community gardens or P-Patches. Jean Sherrard’s winter repeat may be complemented with the Cascade P-Patch’s own blog at http://cascade-ppatch.blogspot.com/ (Now photo by Jean Sherrard)

For a moment, only, this historical photographer paused on Minor Avenue about 40 feet north of Thomas Street and aiming east snapped this official record of lot 5 in the tenth block of the Fairview Homestead Association’s addition to Seattle.  The addition was filed in the mid-1880s but the photograph was taken in 1937 as part of the depression-time Works Progress Administrations picture-inventory of every taxable structure in King County.

The tax assessment here was not very high for these are four nearly identical 900-plus square foot homes squeeze onto one lot, the second lot north of Thomas.  The tax card indicates that they were built in 1900.  (Perhaps, but they do not show up in the ordinarily trustworthy 1912 Baist Real Estate map.)  The intentions of the original pioneer developers were to help working families stop paying rents and start investing in their own homes. Innovative installment payments made the lots affordable and many of the homes were built by those who lived in them, although probably not this quartet.

If we may trust the 1891 Birdseye view of Seattle – and it is splendid to study – Minor Avenue was then part of a shallow ravine or very near it, which gathered run-off in this Lake Union watershed.  And since 1996, as part of the Cascade Neighborhood’s public garden that spreads 50 lovingly tended p-patches across this 7000 sq. ft. corner, rain water for the garden is collected into big barrels from the roof of the nearby Cascade Peoples’ Center.

I am a very small part of the footprint of this corner, having lived from 1978 to 1980 in the house immediately to the rear of principal home shown.  My desk sat inside the longer window there and looked out on a coiling blackberry patch where now are many kinds of berries, and veggies, and flowers tended with the meditative pleasures of gardening.  JoJo Tran, one of the gardeners here, plants for his table and many others.  He reflects, “If you love nature, the environment, the colors of the plants, it you can see the beauty of the garden, you feel the beginning of love.”

WEB EXTRAS

Jean writes: Visiting this sacred corner of Paul’s personal history on a sodden day at the end of December was a mini-revelation. Here, Paul lived with his dear friend Bill Burden (whose wise and scintillating blog can be found here and through the button ‘Will’s Convivium’ at upper right) and I snapped him looking bemusedly  from the spot he identified as having once contained Bill’s room.

Paul sits where Bill's room once stood
Paul sits where Bill's room once stood

Paul brought along a photo he’d taken from his own bedroom window of the church across the road. We include it again, below.

Paul holds up a photo taken from his window
Paul holds up a photo taken from his window

Here’s a repeat I did of the photo in Paul’s hand above:

Repeat of Paul's original photo
Repeat of Paul's original photo

Anything to add, Paul? Or to correct?

BLOG EXTRAS we call them Jean.  And yes I have a few – a slew even – of other pictures that catch this corner or nearby.  I will given captions for them, but little ones I hope.  I have also written a few now-thens (other ones) about landmarks within a block of this corner but I’ll not include them here.  I mention that only to inspire longing in the reader or readers if we have more than one, which is to say more than you.

I’ll begin with two of the south side of 306&1/2 Minor, where Bill and I lived in the late 1970s.  My desk – with its Selectric typewriter – sat at the larger of the windows on that wall.  I looked out across the vacant ans sunken blackberry snarled corner lot to Thomas Street, and to the left of Thomas still stands Immanuel Lutheran Church.   After the views of the window, I’ll place one that looks from it to the church on a night of snow, then others photographed in the late 90s and early 2ooos of the p-patch development.  I will date them as best as I can.  I believe a highlight of what follows will be my snapshot of Bill trucking down the Minor Avenue sidewalk.

306&1/2 Minor North looking north from Tomas, ca. 1938.  A tax photo.
306&1/2 Minor North looking north from Tomas, ca. 1938. A tax photo.
306&1/2 Minor in 1958 with "War Brick", a popular aspestos covering sold by door-to-door salesman in the 1940s.
306&1/2 Minor in 1958 with "War Brick", a popular asbestos covering sold by door-to-door salesman in the 1940s.
Looking from my bedroom window to Immanuel Lutheran Church on a snowing night of the 1977-78 winter.
Looking from my bedroom window to Immanuel Lutheran Church on a snowing night of the 1977-78 winter.
1997 building of the Cascade P-Patch
1997 building of the Cascade P-Patch
April 2001.  The lot has been raised to street grade.  When I lived there it was a pit deep enoiugh for a basement but not necessarily built for one.  I'll put in a 1891 birdseye that shows a ravine here or very near hear that ran south to Lake Union.
April 2001. The lot has been raised to street grade. When I lived there it was a pit deep enough for a basement but not necessarily built for one. Next, I'll put in a 1891 birdseye that shows a ravine here or very near here that ran south towards Lake Union.
Cascade neighborhood detail from the 1891 Birdseye View of Seattle.  Depot renamed Denny Way runs along the bottom border.  Lake Union at the top.  Rollins now Westlake is on the far left.  Near the center a ravine runs north-south from Thomas Street to Lake Union.  The big house hanging there above the east (right) right side of the ravine is near the northeast corner of Minor and Thomas.
Cascade neighborhood detail from the 1891 Birdseye View of Seattle. Depot St., since renamed Denny Way, runs along the bottom border. Lake Union at the top. Eastlake is far right with the trolley tracks. Rollin, now Westlake, is on the far left. Near the center a ravine runs north-south from Thomas Street towards Lake Union. The big house hanging there above the east (right) right side of the ravine is near the northeast corner of Minor and Thomas, the P-Patch corner.
August 2002
August 2002
Jan. 30, 2005
Jan. 30, 2005
Immanuel Lutheran at southwest corner of Thomas and Pontinus, early 20th Century.
Immanuel Lutheran at southwest corner of Thomas and Pontius, early 20th Century.
2001 pan of the corner from Minor Ave. sidewalk looking southeast with Cascade Playfield on the left and corner of Minor and Thomas, far right.
2001 pan of the corner from Minor Ave. sidewalk looking southeast with Cascade Playfield on the left and the corner of Minor and Thomas, far right.
306&1/2 interior with the door to my bedroom behind me.  I am looking northwest to Jean's desk.  Jan and Jack Arkills, old friends visiting from Spokane are on the left.  Paul Calderon Kerby is on the right.
306&1/2 interior with the door to my bedroom behind me. I am looking northwest to Bill's desk. Bill's bedroom was off-camera to the left, and the kitchen to the right. Bill did the cooking, and fine cooking it was. Jan and Jack Arkills, old friends visiting from Spokane are on the left. Paula Calderon Kerby is on the right writing a letter it seems.
Paula and Bill head for faux stairway to Cascade Playground on Minor Avenue.  Our home was to the right.  1977 snow.
Paula and Bill head for faux stairway to Cascade Playground on Minor Avenue. Our home was to the right. 1977 snow.
Unable to reach the Cascade Playfield by its Ceta Mural stairway (ca 1975 creation) Bill Burden continues to truck north on Minor Avenue towards Republican Street.
Unable to reach the Cascade Playfield by its Ceta Mural stairway (ca 1975 Seattle Arts Commission granted creation) Bill Burden continues to truck north on Minor Avenue towards Harrison Street.
Stairway off Minor Avenue to Cascade Playfield twenty-two years later still in good repair.
Stairway off Minor Avenue to Cascade Playfield twenty-two years later & still in good enough repair.
Same wall along the east side of Minor Ave. between Thomas and Repubican Streets during its depression-time 1930s construction for the Cascade Playfield (to service, in part, the children of Cascade School, which was directly to the east across Pontinus Avenue.)
Same wall along the east side of Minor Ave. between Thomas and Harrison Streets during its depression-time 1930s construction for the Cascade Playfield (to service, in part, the children of Cascade School, which was directly to the east - right - across Pontinus Avenue.)
Looking north from the Roosevelt Hotel over the Cascade Neighborhood to Lake Union in 1959.  Still no hint of the freeway.
Looking north from the Roosevelt Hotel over the Cascade Neighborhood to Lake Union in 1959. Still no hint of the freeway. Immanuel Lutheran (painted brown) can be seen but with difficlty - about one-fourth of the width of the slide to the left of its right border. The landscape on the distant north shore of Lake Union (in Wallingford) is a half century younger here than now, and its relative lack of verdure shows. The houses - their roofs - still dominate the 1959 scene.
Freeway construction looking south from near Republican. Photo by Frank Shaw, 5/30/62.
Freeway construction looking south from near Republican. Photo by Frank Shaw, 5/30/62. Only now do I notice that at the bottom left-of-center is part of the stonework on the old Republican Street Hill climb that for pedestrians once extended from Eastlake up to Melrose and so through the steepest part of the climb from the Cascade neighborhood to the attractions of Capitol Hill.
Also by Frank Shaw - Freeway construction sometime later.
Also by Frank Shaw - Freeway construction sometime later.
Another Frank Shaw of the I-5 "Seattle Freeway" construction.  This one looks north from near Olive and over the Denny Way temporary timber trestle (I believe).  It dates from 1963.
Another Frank Shaw of the I-5 "Seattle Freeway" construction. This one looks north from near Olive and over the Denny Way temporary timber trestle (I believe). It dates from 1963.
Cascade neighborhood and beyond it freeway construction and Captiol Hill in 1967 as seen from the Space Needle.
Cascade neighborhood and beyond it the I-5 freeway construction effectively cutting off the Cascade neighborhood from Capitol Hill. Photo taken by Robert Bradley in 1967 - as seen from the Space Needle. The green lawn of the Cascade Playfield can be easily found right-of-center. Thomas Street rises from the photograph's bottom border about one-third of the way across it from the right side.

That is all for now Jean.  Is it too much?  When I find one of Cascade School I’ll attach it.

FOUND the school Jean.  Twice – back and front.  And another looked at Bill on site in 2006 at the bottom.

Cascade School looking northeast from Thomas and Pontius
Cascade School looking northeast from Thomas and Pontius
Cascade School backside looking west.
The source of the Neighborhood's name, Cascade School backside looking west. A south wing on the left has been added.
This new one was taken by Berangere - of this blog - in 2006 when both were visiting:  the one from Paris and the other from California.  Here is Bill kissing a sunflower in the Cascade P-Patch and not far from where his bedroom was comfroted him at night.
This new one was taken by Berangere - of this blog - in 2006 when both were visiting: the one from Paris and the other from California. Here is Bill smelling and perhaps preparing to buss a sunflower in the Cascade P-Patch and not far from where his bedroom was comforted him at night.

Two by Harold Pinter

Frank-&-SuzanneWe are delighted to recommend for your enjoyment, Shadow and Light Theatre, a groundbreaking new theatre company presenting two one-act plays by Harold Pinter.  Paul and I will be attending next week – the production runs through Feb. 7th at ACT’s Bullitt Theatre – and we urge anyone interested in ‘da real magilla’ to join us for a provocative and haunting theatrical experience.

Directed by Victor Pappas and featuring Frank Corrado and Suzanne Bouchard, this production offers theatregoers an opportunity not only to encounter masterpieces of the theatre (A Kind of Alaska, staged at ACT in 1985; and Ashes to Ashes, receiving its Seattle premiere), but to do so in the company of some extraordinary artists.

Winter Color

Below are several winter colors photographed this day, the 25th of January, 2010, on a short walk of five blocks here in Wallingford.  I have named none of them, for the reason, I confess, that I know the names of very few of them.  Perhaps you will help with a comment.  But  how can we indicate them?  If I can number them below I will. [Carolyn Honke has sent a few names this way from the Azores, where she lives, and we wil include them.]

[Click to Enlarge]

No. 1
No. 1 (vinca major L.)
No.2
No.2
No. 3
No. 3 (Origanum vulgare L, majoram)
No. 4
No. 4 (camelia)
No. 5
No. 5 (dandilion)
No. 6
No. 6 (salix, willow)
No. 7
No. 7
No. 8
No. 8
No. 9
No. 9
No. 10
No. 10
No. 11
No. 11 (crocus)
No. 12
No. 12 (crocus)
No. 13
No. 13 (crocus)
No. 14
No. 14
No. 15
No. 15 (snowdrops)
No. 16
No. 16 (forsythia)
No. 17
No. 17 (ericace)
The southeast corner of First Ave. N.E. and 44th Street where the recording began.
The southeast corner of First Ave. N.E. and 44th Street where the recording began.

Seattle Now & Then: Built Around the Organ

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THEN:  Seattle Architect Paul Henderson Ryan designed the Liberty Theatre around the first of many subsequent Wurlitzer organs used for accompanying silent films in theatres “across the land”.  The Spanish-clad actor-dancers posed on the stage apron are most likely involved in a promotion for a film – perhaps Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925) or Douglas Fairbanks’ The Gaucho (1929) that also played at the Liberty.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
THEN: Seattle Architect Paul Henderson Ryan designed the Liberty Theatre around the first of many subsequent Wurlitzer organs used for accompanying silent films in theatres “across the land”. The Spanish-clad actor-dancers posed on the stage apron are most likely involved in a promotion for a film – perhaps Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925) or Douglas Fairbanks’ The Gaucho (1929) that also played at the Liberty. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
NOW:  The curving glass curtain on the west façade of the new Fifteen Twenty-On Second Ave. building can be seen to “repeat” somewhat the symmetry of the Liberty’s proscenium arch.  (photo by Jean Sherrard)
NOW: The curving glass curtain on the west façade of the new Fifteen Twenty-On Second Ave. building can be seen to “repeat” somewhat the symmetry of the Liberty’s proscenium arch. (photo by Jean Sherrard)

In the now 55 years since the Liberty Theatre was razed for the big snuggery of parked cars across First Avenue from the Public Market, a few oil-stained stalls have taken the places of the Liberty’s 1600 seats.  “The only theatre built around an organ!” Is how popular organist Eddie Clifford described the Liberty in 1954, which was forty years after it opened as one of the first big theatres built in Seattle for movies rather than some mix of film and variety.

The organ sat front-center – as you see it here – and from its seat some of the best players of its silent film glory days accompanied the films. Half-hidden behind the grills to the sides and above the grand and gilded proscenium arch that framed the movie screen were the pipes and special machines the made the romantic Wurlitzer sounds, and effects like cooing doves, marimbas (you could see the hammers through the grill), canary trills, the sound of surf, and much more. The tallest pipe – 32 feet – was removed for repairs when its dangerous vibrations cracked the plaster.

In 1929, only the 15th year of its joyful noisemaking, the Wurlitzer was quieted as the talkies took over and the screen was widened.   Still depression-time attendance was good as management bucked Hollywood’s price policy with its own “New Declaration of Independence” that announced a reduction in ticket prices.  The theatre prospered.  In 1937 some press agent figured that “if all the money the Liberty has made was laid end to end it would stretch from here to a point twenty-seven miles southwest of Honolulu” – thereby floating a vision of great prosperity with one of a tropical vacation.

While planning to widen the screen for Cinemascope in 1955, management changed its mind and razed the Liberty instead complaining that there were “not enough good films” but plenty of cars needing to be parked.  It did not think to revive the Wurlitzer for a new era of silent films – something that is happening now in other venues.  The organ was first saved – 15 truckloads – by the music department at Pacific Lutheran University. Now it is at home at Spokane’s First Nazarene church, where it has its own activist chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society.  One of the highlights of the American Theatre Organ Society 2010 convention this summer in Seattle will be a cross-state bus excursion to Spokane and the Liberty’s born again Wurlitzer.

WEB EXTRAS

Jean contributes a somewhat wider view:

Liberty-Theatre-wide
Liberty's lot

Anything to add, Paul? You might at least compliment me on my double entendre in the caption.

YES JEAN WE HAVE SOME EXTRAS (& continue to click once and sometimes twice to enlarge)

But first our well wishes for you and your puns, may they be as supportive of you as a mother, for one good pun is as good as a mother.

We have more – four more photographs of the Liberty.  First another close look at your organ, followed by a wide angle of another production and unidentified too! (something for our reading experts to ponder), followed by another mystery, ushers or performers, we do not know which, posing with an unexplained sign on the sidewalk in front of the Liberty Theatre, and finally a night shot with a happy crowd (we know) gathered to see what that blessedly egalitarian encyclopedia that is written and checked by enthusiasts identifies as “the second talkie photographed entirely in Technicolor.”   The blessed media is, of course, Wikipedia, and the film “Gold Diggers of Broadway”.

The LIberty Theatre stage with a scene of passion not identified and its famous organ too.
The Liberty Theatre stage with a scene of passion not identified and its famous organ too.
The Liberty's showy stage from the back of the theatre for another unidentified production.  We may remind readers who last last weeks insertion on the Swedish Baptist Church that like it the Liberty Theatre was designed by architect Henderson Ryan.
The Liberty's showy stage from the back of the theatre for another unidentified production. We may remind readers who visited last week's insertion on the Swedish Baptist Church that like it the Liberty Theatre was designed by architect Henderson Ryan.
We don't know, but it is on the First Avenue sidewalk  in front of the Liberty Theatre looking north.  What is the last time you made it to a movie that was so appointed?
We don't know, but it is on the First Avenue sidewalk in front of the Liberty Theatre looking north. When was the last time you made it to a movie that was so appointed?

Liberty-nite-1929-WEB

A happy crowd gathered in front of the Liberty Theatre for Gold Diggers of Broadway sometime after its Aug. 30, 1929 release.  This, of course, is only weeks before the great economic crash-panic that began that fall and lingered to the Second World War.  So the film’s enduring hits “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” and “Painting the Clouds with Sunshine” were not composed as diversions or compensation for the Great Depression, but would soon serve so.

Gold Diggers was a hit – “one of the ten best films of 1929″ as rated then by Film Daily. Wikipedia concludes “Contemporary reviews, the soundtrack and the surviving footage suggest that the film was a fast-moving comedy, which was enhanced by Technicolor and a set of lively and popular songs.  It encapsulates the spirit of the flapper era, giving us a glimpse of a world about to be changed by the Great Depression.”   To conclude and to repeat the historical point that was noted in the introduction to these four “extras”, Gold Diggers of Broadway was the second talkie photographed entirely in Technicolor.

Gold Diggers poster

Blogaddendum – Snow of Feb.1, 1937

Feb. 1, 1937 clipping from unidentified Seattle paper - Times, P-I, or Star.
Feb. 1, 1937 clipping from unidentified Seattle paper – Times, P-I, or Star.
Flip side of the same clipping - 2/1/37
Flip side of the same clipping – 2/1/37

This found fragment may be a reminder that February has typically been our cruelest month, and it is yet a week away, and looked to now from the warm days that have some camellias opening their red blooms early.   A reading of the preserved part of the story above reveals that Olympia had 19 inches, Lake Union had a sheet of ice on it although nothing one could walk upon, Portland was stuck in every way, the farmers in the vicinity of Spokane continued to be isolated from supplies and markets, that Seattle’s birds needed some food thrown their way in such a way that it is not buried by the snow, and that – showing at the bottom of the left column – something has happened to 53-year-old W.M. Littleton.  But what?  Perhaps some reader will get to the U.W. Library or the Seattle Public Library and search through microfilm for  the Feb. 1 1937 issues for The Seattle Star, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Seattle Times and share with us Littleton’s predicament or fate.  It might be wise to start with The Seattle Times, then still an afternoon paper.

(We will insert this into our History of Seattle Snows,  Part 6.)

A Wallingford Camellia from Jan. 20 last.
A Wallingford Camellia from Jan. 20.

Paramount – The Old Sign

Nine years ago, perhaps, after leaving the library at its temporary quarters on Pike, I took this photograph of the Paramount and its old sign warmed by a late-afternoon winter sunset.  The old sign may be compared to Jean's recent record of the new sign that replaced.  It is just below and part fo the Swedish Baptist insertion.
Nine years ago, perhaps, after leaving the library at its temporary quarters on Pike, I took this photograph of the Paramount and its old sign warmed by a late-afternoon winter sunset. This old sign may be compared to Jean's recent record of the new sign that replaced it, which is included just below as part of the Swedish Baptist feature.