Seattle Now & Then: Beacon Hill Traffic

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: A speeding coupe convertible heads north on Beacon Hill’s 15th Ave. S. in 1937.
THEN: A speeding coupe convertible heads north on Beacon Hill’s 15th Ave. S. in 1937
NOW: For his “now” Jean was careful to both align the decorative 1930s light standards along the east side of 15th Avenue S., - here right-of-center - with their similar but not duplicate contemporary “repeats,”  and stand clear of the speeding cyclist.
NOW: For his “now” Jean was careful to both align the decorative 1930s light standards along the east side of 15th Avenue S., – here right-of-center – with their similar but not duplicate contemporary “repeats,” and stand clear of the speeding cyclist

The sporty motorcar, here flying north thru Beacon Ave. on 15th Avenue S., is blurred by its speed.  And so we cannot read the year on the license plate, but we don’t need to.  The original negative has it “Sept. 16, 1937.”  It was seven years into the Great Depression.”

That day The Seattle Times reported that the 2,000,000 W.P.A. check in Washington State had just been paid out.  It was the fourth year for the “New Deal,” Pres. Roosevelt and the Democrats federal programs to spirit the economy and make work for the out-of-work.  The Works Progress Administration (WPA) made the federal government by far the largest employer in the Union.

This Thursday in the late summer of ’37, the Times also reported that the fresh but already effective Congressman Warren G. Magnuson had coaxed WPA funds from Roosevelt for “beautification” of Seattle’s libraries and their grounds.  The day’s issue also printed a photo of the newly elected Girls Club officers at Broadway High School. We learn in the caption that they too were committed to beautification. The new officers urged Broadway Co-eds, all 1595 of them, to wear “middy blouses and skirts to school for uniform attractiveness.”

By The Seattle Times’ theatre listings this day we discover that the Beacon Theatre, here on the left, featured tough guy George Brent in Mountain Justice. Including the Beacon, eleven of King County’s sixteen Sterling Theatres were neighborhood venues, showing features second run.

The Piggly Wiggly, far right, was part of a market chain that flourished by promoting self-service in grocery shopping.  By 1937 most of Seattle’s Piggly Wigglys had been converted into Safeway stores, a fate that soon fell on this little Beacon Hill Piggly Wiggly.  Beacon Hardware, just beyond the grocery, opened in the mid 1920s, and stayed so though the Great Depression.  It is last listed in this newspaper in 1965.

Proof that the towered manse seen in the feature photo survives on the east side of 15th Ave. South.  (Courtesy of Google Earth)
Proof that the towered manse seen in the feature photo survives on the east side of 15th Ave. South. (Courtesy of Google Earth)

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?

Yup Jean.  First Ron Edge will again insert a feature – with its own additions – that we put up a few months past, which was for the most part about the Beacon Hill prospect of Seattle.   Then from the Washington State Archive I’ll put up a few WPA Tax photos out of of the same Beacon Ave. intersection as our above feature.  These additions will feel at home – and also in need – for our primary image has also been pulled from the shadows of the Great Depression.  I’ll conclude with a key-word search for “Beacon” and see what might come forward from with tiring MAC worth mounting.  No doubt, Ron will have already uncovered some of it in what follows.

====

TAX PHOTOS HIDE-&-SEEK

We hope – or imagine – that what follows might be treated by the reader as a hide-and-seek.   Pull out your Google Earth or slippers and visit the north Beacon Hill intersection of Beacon Ave., 15th Ave. S. and Bayview Street.   All of the tax photos that follow – from the Washington State Archive – are of structures at or near that corner, and most of them date from the late 1930s – like our primary feature at the top.   And we will begin with two snippets for Beacon Ave. and 15th Ave. S. clipped from the continuous street listings of the 1938 Polk Business directory. [Click to Enlarge - Click Twice, perhaps]

Polk-listings-for-BEACON-AVE-pars-1938--WEB

1912 Baist Real Estate Map detail centered on Bayview, Beacon Ave. S. and 15th Ave. South.
1912 Baist Real Estate Map detail centered on Bayview, Beacon Ave. S. and 15th Ave. South. (15th climbs thru the center of the map detail.)
As the tax caption notes this 2517-19 15th Ave. S. and so just south of Beacon Avenue.
As the tax caption notes this 2517-19 15th Ave. S. and so just west of Beacon Avenue, which is off-frame to the right.

 

Later but famiiar - Petrams at 2517-19 15th Ave. S., 1958
Later but familiar – Petrams at 2517-19 15th Ave. S., 1958
More of the west side of 15th Ave. S. and Beacon Ave. S. at 2515 Beacon Ave.  Note the remodel of a what appears to be a residence for incarnation as a shop, right-of-center.
More of the west side of 15th Ave. S. and Beacon Ave. S. at 2515 Beacon Ave. Note the remodel of what appears to be a residence for incarnation as a shop, right-of-center.
Same 2500 block on Beacon Avenue, but now with the remodel work far left.
Same 2500 (even east side) block on Beacon Avenue, but now with the remodel work far left.
1513-15 Beacon Ave. with remodeled storefront right-of-center.  Dated 1957.
1513-15 Beacon Ave. with remodeled storefront showing its years, right-of-center, in 1957.  The faux stone asbestos above Petram’s 10-cent Store lends its effects as well.
2502 - 2506 Beacon Ave.
2502 – 2506 Beacon Ave, with early Safeway on far right – the southeast corner of 15th Ave. S. and Bayview Street.
South on 15th Ave. S. thru Beacon Ave. S., 1924.
South on 15th Ave. S. thru Beacon Ave. S., 1924. [Not a tax photo]
2510,-12,-14 Beacon Ave. with an early Safeway.
2510,-12,-14 Beacon Ave. with an early Safeway.
A torn print for 1949 record of 2516-18-20 Beacon Ave.
A torn print for 1949 record of 2516-18-20 Beacon Ave.
A newer Safeway at 2523 15th Ave. S. mid-block to Lander, 4-29-1938.
A newer Safeway at 2523 15th Ave. S. mid-block to Lander, 4-29-1938.
Across the street at 2533 15th Ave.South.
One door south of Safeway (eventually)  at 2533 15th Ave.South.
2520 Beacon Ave. tax photo
2520 Beacon Ave. tax photo
Later at 2524 Beacon Ave.S.
Later at 2524 Beacon Ave. S.
And later yet - late enough for landscape at 2530 Beacon Ave S. and a destingished City Light standard.
And later yet – late enough for landscape at 2530 Beacon Ave S. and a distinguished City Light standard.
2524 Beacon Ave. S. with Bug May 12, 1965.
2524 Beacon Ave. S. with Bug May 12, 1965.
2538 Beacon Ave. S.
2538 Beacon Ave. S.

 

2538 Beacon Ave. S. Nov. 1, 1957
2538 Beacon Ave. S. Nov. 1, 1957
2538 Beacon Ave. S. Jan 12, 1960
2538 Beacon Ave. S. Jan 12, 1960

 

2542 Beacon Ave. S.
2542 Beacon Ave. S.
2544 Beacon Ave. S.
2544 Beacon Ave. S. with Ellis Repair Sign facing Beacon Ave. S..  There is also a shop in back facing 16th Ave. S. with the Beacon Hill Primary School (seen here in part) across 16th to the East.
The 16th Ave. S. side of the Ellis Repair Shop.
The 16th Ave. S. side of the Ellis Repair Shop.
The Beacon Hill School Store, nearby to Ellis and also on 16th Ave. S.
The Beacon Hill School Store, next door to Ellis and also on 16th Ave. S.
The Shell Station at 2535 Beacon Ave. S., in the now lost triangle south of Bayview Street.
The Shell Station at 2535 Beacon Ave. S., in the now lost triangle south of Bayview Street.  The two-story brick apartment, right of center, is at the southwest corner of 15th Ave. S. and Lander Street.
The station at 2531 Beacon in1961.  The house south of the station is still in place facing 15th Ave. South.
The station at 2531 Beacon in 1961 with a “Free Car-A-Month.” The house south of the station is still in place facing 15th Ave. South.  (In this later tax print you can see the mutilations of scotch tape.)
Shell not longer - but the home beyond abides.
Shell no longer – but the home beyond abides.
The "abiding" home at 2536 15th Ave. S.
The “abiding” home at 2536 15th Ave. S.
The neighbor to the south at 2538 15th Ave. S.
The neighbor to the south at 2538 15th Ave. S.
The neighbor at the northeast corner of Lander St. and 15th Ave. N.. addressed 1502 Lander Street.
The neighbor at the northeast corner of Lander St. and 15th Ave. N.. addressed 1502 Lander Street.
2336 to 2344 Beacon Ave. S., the east side of Beacon north of Bayview.
2336 to 2344 Beacon Ave. S., the east side of Beacon north of alley north of Bayview.

 

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