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

(click to enlarge photos)

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.

Seattle Now & Then: The Swedish Baptists

(click to enlarge)

THEN: The Ballard Public Library in 1903-4, and here the Swedish Baptist Church at 9th and Pine, 1904-5, were architect Henderson Ryan’s first large contracts after the 20 year old southerner first reached Seattle in 1898.   Later he would also design both the Liberty and Neptune Theatres, the latter still projecting films in the University District. (Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey)
THEN: The Ballard Public Library in 1903-4, and here the Swedish Baptist Church at 9th and Pine, 1904-5, were architect Henderson Ryan’s first large contracts after the 20 year old southerner first reached Seattle in 1898. Later he would also design both the Liberty and Neptune Theatres, the latter still projecting films in the University District. (Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey)
NOW: High rises continue to advance on the parking lot that took the place of the Swedish Baptist Church in the early 1970s. (Photo by Jean Sherrard)
NOW: High rises continue to advance on the parking lot that took the place of the Swedish Baptist Church in the early 1970s. (Photo by Jean Sherrard)

When Seattle became a boisterous “boom town,” especially following its “great fire” of 1889, the immigrant Euro-American communities that fed the growth rarely created neighborhoods of size that were clearly theirs.  However, they could organize churches and did.

The Swedish Baptists are an example. Organized as a mission in 1881 for a Seattle of about five thousand, it was “instituted” in 1889 for a community of over 30,000.   A stately if typical frame sanctuary with soaring steeple was built on then still affordable land at Olive Way near 5th Avenue.   Fifteen years more and the ballooning opportunities of land values moved the congregation five blocks east into this spectacularly towered church of pressed brick and stone at the northwest corner of 9th Avenue and Pine Street.

At its dedication on July 16, 1905, addresses were given in both Swedish and English.  Thirty years later, Dr. Emil Friburg, by then its pastor for 24 years, announced to his congregation that Sunday evening services, which for 55 years had been given in Swedish, would from then on be delivered in English only.  The immigrant’s children, of course, were not so disappointed.  Raised in Seattle and its public schools – more than in the church – their principal language was English.

In 1970 the congregation sold its corner to the Vance Corporation, which given the then slumping economy probably got a deal.  It has, I believe, been a parking lot ever since.  Many of the church’s members and assets joined with Seattle First Baptist on the northern “ledge” of First Hill.

WEB EXTRAS

At the opposite corner stands the Paramount Theatre, newly signed.  Its beautifully wrought fire escapes remain unchanged.

The Paramount Theatre
The Paramount Theatre
Fireoglyphs
Fireoglyphs

Anything to add, Paul?

Yes Jean, here’s something we might call . . . CAN YOU FIND THE SWEDISH BAPTISTS? Remember Jean to click to enlarge.  It will help you find the Baptists. 

Cap-Hill-fm-NewWhtl-'11-WEB

Here we look west towards a Capitol Hill horizon from the nearly new New Washington Hotel, still standing at the northeast corner of Second and Stewart although long since renamed the Josephinum.  The Swedish Baptist Church at its new location, the northwest corner of 9th Avenue and Pine Street, appears here left-of-center.  It can be best identified by the shine of its tower arches.  They are small from this distance but still sparkle. Beginning in this scene at 5th Avenue, Pine Street cuts across the scene from its bottom-right corner.   Some of Olive Way appears on the left.

The likely date for this is 1911 (but possibly 1910), for the rear unadorned facade of the Seattle Electric Company’s new administration building appears far left at the southwest corner of 7th Ave and Olive Way.  See how the fresh sidewalk on Olive Way shines at the base of the new headquarters.  The same company’s old trolley car barn is to this side of 6th Avenue.  The new – since 1906 – cut of Westlake is twice evident: in both the bottom-right and bottom-left corners.  Broadway High School at Broadway and Pine just touches the horizon, left-of-center.   Also up there, but not reaching the horizon, is the wide west facade of Summit School, right-of-center, at 1415 Summit Avenue.  It is still in use as Northwest School.

Digital Montage – 1 Multiplied to 16,384

Drops-on-TEAR-bit-WEB

[Click Once and Often Twice to Enlarge]

Below is the “base.” It is a detail from a neighbor’s bush that was planted as a screen between the sidewalk and the small house, which is one of the few in Wallingford that has gone vacant because of the burst bubble.

The bubbles – on the leaves – where photographed on an afternoon in the first week of January 2010.  Above is a detail from the same plant – or long young hedge – which was chosen because of its “scar.”  I use it as a detail in the montage that follows in order to break the regularity of it all.  (I see now that I appear hugging my camera in the biggest bubble.)  When I learn the more sophisticated powers of “Photoshop Layers” there will be more and less regular opportunities for introducing asymmetry into these montages.

Over the past three years I have done scores of these.  Much more than snowflakes they are all very different.  And they are all in process – often waiting for irregular and pleasantly confusing layers.  In four years of walking the neighborhood almost everyday I have “collected” a large library of subjects that were “captured” for these purposes.  Most of the bases are natural and photographed as found, like this one,  but a few others I have prepared by arranging sticks and flowers and such with an eye to how they will multiply.  But this multiplication is so transforming that really anything will bring forth modest and always, I think, stimulating revelations.  As you will note below the more you multiply through successive flip-flops these designs the more they head march towards texture.  With one more generation below we have a fabric suitable for a men’s sports coat (at 16,276) and with two more (as yet not rendered) perhaps a formal suit for wearing in tolerant society (65,104).  All of them from rain-splattered leaves on an unidentified bush.

Below the scar are the multiplications.  The first is a quartet.   From there we flip and flop and  jump to 4, 16, 64, 256, 1,024, 4096 and 16,384.  All have been layered with an asymmetrical piece copied and itself multiplied or flipped (or perhaps flopped) from the detailed “scar” at the top.  No. 256, especially, may be imagined as a quilt or a ceiling.  Some of this shares the pleasure of making quilts and even knitting – although it is much quicker.  Perhaps 65,104 will follow in a moment more idle than this.  If it is brought up it will seem to be nearly pure texture in which the parts cannot be seen clearly and are imagined to be in a chaotic distribution rather than arranged.  I think.  “All will be revealed.”

BASE
BASE
Drops-4-plus-WEB
4
16
16
64
64
256
256

drops-1024-verylr-WEB

1024

drops-4,009-VVverylr-WEB

4096 /  This 4096 montage may serve as an hour glass for me – a “Time Remaining” calendar that encourages me to not waste time.  Now 71 I could treat the above as a check-off list for time left – if I live as long as my two oldest brothers Ted and Norm and my father Theodore.  All three lived to within months of 80.   If I count everyone of the gray “hour glasses” in the montage above as representing three days, then I may there both purview and preview the sum I have remaining for abiding here in this often enough happy veil of tears, but only if I am as fortunate as the others and do not stumble into some misery that I would rather escape than abide.

drops-16,384-lres-WEB

16,384

Seattle Now and Then: A Wallingford Restoration

4719 Thackeray Place NE.  The 1938 WPA tax photo.
4719 Thackeray Place NE. The 1938 WPA tax photo. (Courtesy Washington State Archive, Bellevue Community College Branch)

Here’s a happy story now increasingly told throughout Seattle.  The names and places vary but the story is the same, and restoration is always in the title.

In this instance Claudia Levi purchased the Wallingford home seen in the second photograph (below), with a mind to restoring it.  She looked no further than the 1937-8 tax photo, printed on top, to determine what her home almost certainly looked like in 1909 when it was built.  Some of the original details were hidden under a cedar cladding that had been added in an effort to “modernize.” Other parts had gone missing, but after three summers of work Claudia Levi had her new old home.

What the house looked like in 1997 soon after Claudia purchased it.
What the house looked like in 1997 soon after Claudia purchased it. (photo by Claudia Levi.)

Certainly it helped that as a member of the Business Faculty at Edmonds Community College, Ms Levi had economic savvy.  And in compliment to her restoration project she also taught a class in using salvage material to rebuild houses.

Claudia Levi’s 1937 evidence (top) comes from the Washington State Archive’s WPA survey of taxable structures from the late 1930s. There is a good chance that Pacific readers living in good old homes that have been altered will find their home “as built” in that collection.  Contact archivist Greg Lange at 425 564 3942, and have your home’s tax number or legal description (addition, block, lot) ready.   Prepare to restore.

A restored 4729 Thackeray Place during the summer of 2009 with a front porch crowded by friends celebrating its centennial.
A restored 4729 Thackeray Place during the summer of 2009 with a front porch crowded by friends celebrating its centennial. (This photo and the others not marked recorded by Paul.)
From left to right:  * On the left riser: Dick Barnes behind the balloons, Candy Barnes, and Claudia Levi  * On the steps clockwise starting left top:  Meg Pasquini, Gina McManus, Andy Williams, Brian McManus, Mazie McManus, Charlie McMansu and Gisela Levi  * On the right riser from top to bottom:  Jane Shapira, Cynthia Williams, Shaun Darragh, Chris Way, and Sam Miller
From left to right: * On the left riser: Dick Barnes behind the balloons (see the bottom), Candy Barnes, and Claudia Levi * On the steps clockwise starting left top: Meg Pasquini, Gina McManus, Andy Williams, Brian McManus, Mazie McManus, Charlie McMansu and Gisela Levi * On the right riser from top to bottom: Jane Shapira, Cynthia Williams, Shaun Darragh, Chris Way, and Sam Miller

Now the owner-restorer, Claudia Levi, (second from the right, below) adds her own testimony to the joy and work of restoration.

I bought 4719 Thackeray Place NE  in 1996.  Well, it was really ugly! All of the beautiful exterior trim and detail was removed or boarded over and it endured so for about 50 years, from the 1940s to 2000 when I had it restored to its original facade.

This was a beautiful house when it was built in 1909 and it was pretty much as built still in 1937.  After 1940 it lost a lot of its original charm in order to “modernize” for a “cleaner” look. The family that had the house from 1940 to 1992, was the longest consistent resident in the home, and they made a lot of the changes to the house.

One can see in the 1996 photo that the top half of the house was boarded over with dark cedar boards, and all of the original street-side windows were modernized.  They put a big picture window downstairs and made the upstairs window smaller to accommodate a big bed under the window.  The two oval windows on the sides of the second floor were simply boarded over.  Well just about everything was boarded over.  I am sure this was done for a heat savings.  It was considered “progress.”  All of the beautiful trim on the inside was also removed.   To restore its original charm the entire home needed work.

As part of the “young-over-zealous homeowner movement” of the 90’s and early 00’s, I brought the house back to its original charm removing its cedar mask.  Through multiple visits to ReStore (1440 NW 52nd St Seattle 206-297-9119) and Second Use Building Materials (7953 Second Ave. S.  Seattle 206-763-6929) the house regained its original exterior look, similar to 1909.  This included replacing both large windows, a new stucco job on the second floor exterior, and a four-color paint job.  There was an extensive interior restoration completed as well during this time.  The house will surely live another century to outlive me – and well you too!

Happy Birthday, 4719 Thackeray Place!  Wishing you another 100 years and more!

In the back yard, left to right:  Meg Pasquini, Jane Shapira, Claudia Levi and Gisela Levi
In the back yard, left to right: Meg Pasquini, Jane Shapira, Claudia Levi and Gisela Levi
A page from Claudia Levi's restoration journal - with timeline.
A page from Claudia Levi's restoration journal - with timeline and Claudia's forefinger.
Concluding with nearby neighbor Dick Barnes no longer behind the balloon.
Concluding with nearby neighbor and raconteur Dick Barnes out from behind the balloon.