Seattle Now & Then: The Latona Bridge

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The Latona Bridge was constructed in 1891 along the future line of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge.  The photo was taken from the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway right-of-way, now the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail. The Northlake Apartment/Hotel on the right survived and struggled into the 1960s.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
THEN: The Latona Bridge was constructed in 1891 along the future line of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge. The photo was taken from the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway right-of-way, now the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail. The Northlake Apartment/Hotel on the right survived and struggled into the 1960s. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
NOW: Knowing the shared line-up of the two bridges, and the footprint of the Northlake Apartments on what is now the parking lot for Ivar’s Salmon House, it was easy for Jean to make his confident repeat from the old railroad bed at the top of the 5th Avenue N.E.steps.
NOW: Knowing the shared line-up of the two bridges, and the footprint of the Northlake Apartments on what is now the parking lot for Ivar’s Salmon House, it was easy for Jean to make his confident repeat from the old railroad bed at the top of the 5th Avenue N.E.steps.   John Sundsten came along as beholder.

This, I believe, is the oldest surviving photograph of the Latona Bridge.  For the 27 years following 1891 it was the only span where Lake Union conveniently channels into Portage Bay.  The pile-driven bridge was constructed to carry David Denny’s electric trolley into the then new Latona and Brooklyn (University District) additions and to real estate as far north as Ravenna Park, the trolley terminus.

Another early look at the Latona Bridge - but not as early.  This view from the cupola of Denny Hall dates from 1896 when the campus opened or soon after.  Queen Anne  Hill covers most of the horizon, although West Seattle takes some of it rare left.  The "Wallingford Peninsula" and future home of the Gas Works holds above the bridge.  The north end of Capitol Hill enters from the left to connect with the bridge.(Courtesy University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections)
Another early look at the Latona Bridge – but not as early. This view from the cupola of Denny Hall dates from 1896 when the campus opened or soon after. Queen Anne Hill covers most of the horizon, although West Seattle takes some of it far left. The “Wallingford Peninsula” and future home of the Gas Works, holds above the bridge. The north end of Capitol Hill enters from the left to connect with the bridge. (Courtesy University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections)

The state legislature’s Feb. 23rd 1891 recommendation that this “Interlaken” neighborhood become the University of Washington’s new home was encouraging to all north end developers, Denny included.  After the university’s 1895 move to the new campus most of the students rode the trolley to school. However, by then the earnest but in the end naïve younger of the pioneer Denny brothers, was bankrupt.

The nearly new Latona Bridge and much else can be found on this "Real Roads Map" from 1894.
(Click to Enlarge) The nearly new Latona Bridge and much else can be found on this “Real Roads Map” from 1894.   A rail head or spur off of the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern RR line leads to what in 1894 was the new U.W. Interlaken Campus construction site for the Administration Building, aka Denny Hall.   There is as yet no neighborhood named Wallingford, but Latona, its southeast corner, is there with its bridge.  “Ross” and “Boulevard” are map names here of size – names hardly known now.  And note, far right, how Foster Island is treated with bold type.  The “Shingle Capitol of the World,” Ballard, is well lined and dotted.
Five or six years later and the UW campus is dotted with its few first structures.
Five or six years later and the UW campus is dotted with its few first structures.  The future University District is still Brooklyn, the name chosen by its developer.  Latona abides, and its bridge too.  And here is Edgewater claiming much of Wallingford, which is still not named.  Fremont and Ross hold sides to a straightened Ross Creek, or Lake Union outlet.  It is shown or imagined as a “regularized ” channel, but in 1899 that is still a few years away.

A combination of the nation’s 1893 financial panic and poor investments quickly led to what Seattle trolley historian Leslie Blanchard rates as “unquestionably the most disastrous venture of its kind in the city’s history.” Much of the route was “inhabited only by squirrels and gophers.”  In 1890 David Denny, with Henry Fuhrman, opened the 160 acres of their namesake addition at the north end of Capitol Hill, here on the far south side of the Latona Bridge.  But where are the homes?  It is hard to find here any potential passengers or purchasers.

With meager evidence of the ambiguous captions in the Lowman family photo album, we will describe this view as looking south from north lake to the north end of Capitol Hill, which is
With meager evidence of the ambiguous captions in the Lowman family photo album, we will describe this view as looking south from north lake to the north end of Capitol Hill, which is the Denny Fuhrman addition in 1887, three years before it was opened, and four years before our “first photo” of the Latona Bridge.
A kind of "now" from Ivar's Salmon House and a few  years ago.
A kind of “now” from Ivar’s Salmon House and a few years ago.

But then where are the trolley wires on the Latona Bridge on our “first picture” of it?  Perhaps the photo was taken before the poles, rails, wires and hopes were in place for the bridge’s July 1, 1891 dedication.  Is that snow in the foreground or an extended spring puddle chilling enthusiasm?  By 1913 the spot got hot.  The Super of Public Utilities then counted an average of 23,058 passengers crossing the bridge every 24 hours, with the ironic result that in 1919 the at last bustling Latona would lose its bridge on 6th Avenue to the University District and its new and surviving cantilever span on 10th Avenue.

A Seattle Times clipping from Nov. 20, 1913.
A Seattle Times clipping from Nov. 20, 1913.  The clip’s band wagon claim that the canal is “within a twelve month of completion” exhibits industry about two years quicker than the canal’s builders.
Getting more service from our oft-used Baist Real Estate Map of 1912.  Note the yellow footprint for the hotel on Northlake Ave. between 4th and 5th Avenues, on lots 8 and 9 of the Latona Addition's 6th block.
Getting more service from our oft-used Baist Real Estate Map of 1912. Note the yellow footprint for the hotel (right-of-center) on the north side of Northlake Ave. between 4th and 5th Avenues, on lots 8 and 9 of the Latona Addition’s 6th block.   The north end of the Latona Bridge is illustrated, bottom-right.
A aerial of the Latona Hotel from the early 1930s - it seems.  4th Ave on the left and 5th at the top enter Northlake to the two sides - west and east - of the hotel.  Across Westlake is the cedar mills that Ivar razed for his Salmon House, which opened in 1969.
A detail of the Latona Hotel from an aerial of the early 1930s – it seems. 4th Ave on the left and 5th at the top enter Northlake to the sides – west and east – of the hotel. Across Westlake is the cedar mill that Ivar later purchased and razed for his Salmon House, which opened in 1969.
Another aerial of the neighborhood - perhaps from the same flight as that penultimate to this.  Note that the University Bridge at the bottom is two bridges.  The small two lane span was built for temporary service during the years that the wooden pilings of the original bridge's approaches were replaced in 1932-33 with the concrete pilings that still support it - we believe.
Another aerial of the neighborhood – perhaps from the same flight as that penultimate to this. Note that the University Bridge at the bottom is two bridges. The small two lane span at the bottom was built for temporary service during the years – 1932-33 – when the wooden pilings of the original bridge’s approaches were replaced in with the concrete pilings that still support it – we believe.
The Latona watefront ca. 1952, with Green Lake on top.
The Latona waterfront ca. 1952, with Green Lake on top.
This for some agoraphobic look north through the construction line for the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge includes a late glimpse of the Latona Hotel, far-right, across Northlake from it the Wigwam Shingle Mill.  This rare capture is shown again in one of the three linked photos featured below.
This for some agoraphobic look north through the construction line for the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge includes a late glimpse of the Latona Hotel, far-right, across Northlake from it the Wigwam Shingle Mill. This rare capture is shown again in one of the three linked photos featured below.
Robert Bradley's look over Grandma's Cookies and the Latona waterfront on January 17, 1960, to the University District, the Laurelhurst ridge and a Cascade horizon.
Robert Bradley’s look over Grandma’s Cookies and the Latona waterfront on January 17, 1960, to construction on the Ship Canal aka Freeway bridge, the University District, the Laurelhurst ridge and a Cascade horizon.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Surely Jean – a few more pictures and stories from the neighborhood – my neighborhood too, now for more than 30 years.  I was awakened by Mt. St. Helens in a Wallingford bed.   We wlll begin again with Ron Edge’s enterprise.  Ron shook this blog for past features that best fit this feature, which he introduced immediately below with three photo-links.  Following those we will lay out more from North Lake.

=====

Latona Bridges, side by side, ca. 1918
Latona Bridges, side by side, ca. 1918

BRIDGE to BRIDGE

(First appeared in Pacific, Jan. 13, 1991)

            The Latona Bridge, in its 11th hour, was two bridges whose antipathetic designs were best detected when they were opened – a here – to permit passage of any vessel that required the bridge tender to plod through the steps required to one bridge  (for trolleys) and swing the side (for everyone else).

            The original Latona Bridge was simple, with a fixed span.  The complicated mechanics shown here were required when the completion of the Ship Canal in 1916 opened Lake Washington to ocean-going ships. (The canal was dedication on July 4, 1917, but its use earlier, in the fall of 1916.) 

            The Latona Bridge was dedicated July 1, 1891 – 28 years to the day before the University Bridge, which replaced it, was opened with m8sic and speeches.  University of Washington history professor Edmond Meany was at both dedications and was the principal speaker at the second.

            The above view (with two bridges) was photographed from the University Bridge while it was under construction.  (The accompanying photo directly below looks north through the line of the University Bridge during its construction.)  The ridge lines of Wallingford and Queen Anne Hill are in the background.  

Construction of the University Bridge, recorded on March 21, 1918 from the south - Capitol Hill - side. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)
Construction of the University Bridge, recorded on March 21, 1918 from the south – Capitol Hill – side. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

 

Upper-left, Latona Bridge seen from the heights of a tank at the Gas Works, ca. 1907.
Upper-left, Latona Bridge seen from the prospect of a steel tank at the Gas Works, ca. 1907.
From Queen Anne Hill, ca. 1911, most of Wallingford with the temporary Stone Way Bridge (1911-1917) lower left, and the Latona Bridge (1891-1918) upper-right, in the distance beyond and above the Gas Works.
From Queen Anne Hill, ca. 1912, most of Wallingford with the temporary Stone Way Bridge (1911-1917) lower left, and the Latona Bridge (1891-1918) upper-right, in the distance beyond and above the Gas Works.

 

LATONA BRIDGE EDGE CLIPPINGS

A clipping from the very new Latona-Brooklyn news - Dec. 1, 1890.
A clipping from the very new Latona-Brooklyn news – Dec. 1, 1890.
An advertisement from the 1890 Polk City Directory, page. 35
An advertisement from the 1890 Polk City Directory, page. 35

 

From The Seattle Times, June 11, 1901.
From The Seattle Times, June 11, 1901.
 A clip from March 25, 1902
[Click Twice to Enlarge] A clip from March 25, 1902
The Seattle Times, June 10, 1902
The Seattle Times, June 10, 1902
From The Seattle Times, January 17, 1914
From The Seattle Times, January 17, 1914

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: The Latona Bridge”

  1. When my father attended UW in 1946-49. He recalled picnicking on the golf course (where the medical center is now) with my mother and a fellow engineering student when the other man began telling of the great plans in store for a new bridge. He waved at the area above University Bridge and said someday there would be a much higher, bigger bridge crossing the canal going right up into the hillside. It seemed unbelievable at the time that there could ever be a need for such a big bridge project, and anyway, what road would ever connect to either end?? They figured he was spinning a tale.

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