On the recent afternoon of one of our inconstant autumnal days Jean Sherrard joined author Rob Ketcherside on the roof of the Alaska Building to repeat the ca. 1904 subject that Ketcherside has placed on the front cover of his first book, the new “Lost Seattle.”
What by now is lost here? Besides West Seattle, most of which is hidden behind a deep cloud bank, Jean’s look west from the top of Seattle’s first skyscraper (1904) is missing most of the long wall of brick structures that in the decade following the city’s “great fire” of 1889 were squeezed along the east side of First Avenue to both sides of Cherry Street. Surely many Pacific readers will remember when these ornate red brick beauties were replaced with the big buff parking garage, showing here on the right.
It could make you nostalgic, and those pining feelings are surely what the many titles included in the London publisher, Pavilion’s series on lost cities (Including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and many others) is, in part, counting on. And it works. Ketcherside has chosen his subjects well for this polished hard back, and orders them by decades, beginning with the effects of that “great fire” in 1889.
The new book’s subjects are a mix of local classics and the author’s favorites. For instance, Ketcherside’s sidewalk display of Seattle’s old street (aka Jeweler’s) clocks is a refined pleasure and, again, not a little nostalgic. (Surely many Pacific readers could be of some help with the author’s continuing research on the subject of these “pedestal clockworks.” Readers with pictures of street clocks and/or stories to share may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Besides working full time managing programs and programmers for a computer services company, and raising a family, Rob has taken an active roll in the local heritage community. For instance, he is an appointed member of the Mayor’s Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board. Happily for us and himself, Rob Ketcherside continues his research and writing. Let’s support him and go out and find his Lost Seattle.
Anything to add, Paul? Certainly Jean, and as has become our custom we begin with Ron Edge’s help with links (pictures to tap) that will take our readers to a few other relevant features from the neighborhood.
Join Jean and Paul at Town Hall for their eighth annual ‘Rogue’s Christmas’ at Town Hall. An evening of delightfully unconventional stories read by Frank Corrado, Cheyenne Casebier, Jean and Paul, accompanied by the homegrown music of Pineola.
If one gives little attention to the homes on the hill and none to the junk dumped into this waterway then these adventurous young boys captaining their crafts might remind Pacific readers of their own youthful adventures or of those shared with them by Mark Twain. This, however, is not the Mississippi, but one of the last evidences of the mudflats south of King Street where for millennia twice every 25 hours – about – the waters of Puget Sound sloshed as far east as Beacon Hill, here on the right.
This summer subject was first printed in The Times on August 24, 1945, the day that Gen. Douglas MacArthur announced that an advanced party would land in Japan two days later to prepare the way for occupation. A half-century earlier the reclamation of these tideflats began in earnest. There is with this vestige no longer any direct connection to the tides, and so no chance that these lads will drift into the shipping lanes. Most likely this is a catching basin for run off – a big one. In a 1946 aerial photograph it can be measured reaching thru most of this 660-foot long block east of Airport way and between Holgate and Massachusetts Streets
The Times headline for this subject (on top) does not celebrate youth and its summer recreations, but reads, “Where Death May Be A Playmate.” The paper shared Seattle Police Chief Herbert Kinsey’s claim that his forces were frequently called upon to rescue children who fall into this pond. A survey of tragic accidents since the first of the year named five children who had downed in backyard lily ponds or in Seattle’s wetlands like this one – although not in this one. William Norton, City Council’s chair of its public safety committee, speculated “between 50 and 60 small children have met death in such ponds in recent years.” If true, this home front statistic is at once grotesque and fantastic.
Throughout most of the Great Depression one of the lesser Hooverville communities of shacks scavengered by homeless men crowded the west shore of the pond (to the left). Roughly one hundred of them can be counted in a 1936 aerial (not reprinted here).
A FEW MORE HOOVERVILLES, without explanation
Anything to add, Paul? A few more from the neighborhood and its hydraulic puzzles, Jean.
Jean here, with a quick note on behalf of dorpatsherrardlomont. Our server has once again become somewhat unstable, preventing the addition of the usual Web Extras which accompany ‘Seattle Now & Then’. We apologize for this disruption of our regular service, but will try our best to get things back up and running smoothly as soon as possible.
(That last concerned “interruption” came from Ron Edge, but the disciplined Edge soon fixed the problem and we are back.)
Directly below is a feature from Jan. 2012 that had its own timing puzzle. The view from Denny Hill is part of the first panorama of the city recorded from there, and it also reveals in the distance the unfilled tideflats (or lands) south of King Street. Following this Feature are – as is our custom – several more that dwell on the neighborhood. Each of the subjects – and their extras as well – are reached through a single appropriate image, most likely the primary image used when the feature was first presented. Any reader aroused to study these tideland subjects should also browse the Pictorial History of Seattle’s Waterfront. Handily it is posted on this blog.
(click to enlarge photos)
We preface the unmarked historical view below with this painted one above, because we got a note from a reader (of both the smaller version that appears in Pacific and the larger one in this blog below), asking for some pointers for finding many of the landmarks noted in the text below: for instance, Second Ave., Union Street, the Denny barn, the Methodist church and the the future site of Plymouth Congregational Church’s first sanctuary. Here it is, the marked version. Have the site/server not given us so much trouble we would have added all sort of other pans and details of the neighborhood. Now that will need to come later, and there will most likely be other opportunities to add such stuff then.
THEN: The still forested First Hill, upper left, and Beacon Hill, center and right, draw the horizon above the still sparsely developed north end of Seattle’s residential neighborhood in 1872-73. Second Avenue angles across the center of the subject, and also intersects there with Union Street. (Courtesy, Seattle Public Library)
NOW: Looking south through the alleyway between Pine and Stewart Streets. The rear concrete wall of the Nordstom Rack appears center-left. It was completed in 1907 at the northwest corner of Second Ave. and Pine Street, a ten-story home for “Your Credit is Good,” Standard Furniture.
Here an unnamed pioneer photographer has chosen a prospect on the southwest slope of Denny Hill to look south through what was then Seattle’s “north end.” This may be the first look from an elevation that was understandably for years after – until it was regraded away – a favorite platform for recording the city.
The photograph was taken mid-block (block 27 of A.A. Denny’s 3rd Addition) between Pine and Stewart Streets and First and Second Avenues. Jean Sherrard’s now is adjusted to both use and relish the alleyway that runs thru the center of the block. The historical photographer stood a few feet left, behind (or embedded in) the concrete wall, and somewhat closer to Pine Street. He was also thirty or forty feet above Jean, for this part of Denny Hill was graded away between 1903 and 1905.
By a mistake of my own I’d considered 1875 a most “deserving” date for this subject, but I preferred 1876, a boom year for Seattle, and an annum that “explains itself” with Seattle’s first city directory. I was wrong by three or four years. The date here is the blooming months of either late 1872 or early 1873, and the evidence is in two churches – one showing and the other not.
Second Avenue angles through the center of the scene. On August 24, 1873 Plymouth Congregational Church dedicated its first (of now four) downtown sanctuary on Second a little ways north of Spring Street. It would – but does not – appear above the roofline of Arthur and Mary Denny’s barn, here right-of-center at the southwest corner of Second and Union.
Appearing – but barely – also above the Denny barn, but to its right, is the Methodist Protestant Church near the northeast corner of Second and Madison. In 1871 its pastor Daniel Bagley gave it a “remodel,” a second floor with mansard windows. Both additions are showing.
In “This City of Ours,” J. Willis Sayre’s 1936 school textbook of Seattle historical trivia, Sayre makes this apt point about the Second Avenue showing here. “In the seventies it had narrow wooden sidewalks which went up and down, over the ungraded surfaces, like a roller-coaster . . . The street was like a frog pond every winter.”
I thought I’d throw in a related picture with a short sketch. City alleys provide us with back doors, service entrances, garages – but also occasionally reveal darker aspects. Looking for this week’s ‘now’, I took several photos up and down the alley between Pine and Stewart, and snapped ( and eavesdropped on) two kids, boyfriend and girlfriend, just arrived from a small town by bus. Something heartrending here, with that little pink backpack bobbing down the alley.
Kids in the alley
Anything to add, Paul?
This time Jean’s question is rhetorical. We have had such a time with this blog and its “server” that it is ordinarily impossible to get on it. The chances are that what I am writing here will not be saved. I’ll keep it brief. It seems we must find a different server. This may take a while. Again, if any of your have suggestions in this regard please share them with us. Meanwhile please check the blog daily – if you will – but know that nothing new might appear, and you too may not be able to open it, for instance for browsing through past features. Hopefully we will escape these problems early in February, and come back with a site that is confident and stable.
“2013, and 1966 was a long time ago…but what an outstanding experience in my life. I was privileged to be hired by Ted Griffin to work with Namu at Smith Cove in the early part of 1966 until Namu was brought to Seattle. Then, I was given a wireless microphone and said to present demonstrations of Namu to the public…which I did many times that summer.
“I really came to love Namu with the closeness of feeding, petting, scratching his back, sides and belly. Many times I was able to get very close to Namu while feeding him with a slice of salmon. I was 21 at the time, and really enjoyed the people who came to see the show.
“At times, Namu, when demonstrating a high jump, would go back into the water without hardly a splash. Other times, however, he would come down kinda falling over so as to completely soak the ones in the way of the huge wave & spray! One incident in the evening took place with no one there, but two men and a lady who were dressed to the hilt for a night on the town. For them, I’m sure it was as memorable an evening as it was for me. When I cautioned them they’d be safer from getting wet if they went up the ramp and observed from there, they decided to take a chance and see at float level. You guessed it…it was the greatest of Namu’s jokes on the crowd…the got entirely drenched. Their reaction??? They all, after catching their breath from the cold water drench, broke out laughing, and even grateful for this fantastic memory…seeing the huge body of Namu nearly leap completely out of the water (after having carefully popped his head out of the water prior to the jump, scoped out the situation…including the three observers and the ball held out high above the water by yours truly). Then, with no time to react, they saw Namu falling toward them! You can well imagine the rest…as I see it still clearly in my minds eye.
Both born in Germany in the early 1840s, Otto Ranke and Dora Duval, met, married early and soon immigrated first to Chicago, ca.1862, and then on to Seattle by 1881. The couple raised four children while Otto, a skilled contractor, also raised many of the then boomtown Seattle’s more imposing structures, including the Yesler-Leary Building and the Boston Block. (The former in Pioneer Place was destroyed by the city’s Great Fire of 1889, and the latter survived it, barely.)
Otto was known for his singing, and Dora for her dancing. Together with their children and other local talents they produced theatre and light opera, often here in their big home on the northwest corner of Pike Street and Fifth Avenue. With the help of a theatre coach imported from the East, the couple staged Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera Patience at the Frye Opera House on Dec. 30, 1888. The place was nearly packed to witness the performance by the Seattle Juvenile Opera Company. Surely many of its members had parents in the audience.
The record of the posing Ranke family – or part of it – at the top, dates from ca. 1884. Another look at the home – down from Denny Hill – in 1885 shows it nearly doubled. By one report that enlarged pioneer clapboard had 11 rooms. In 1889 the prospering Rankes joined the by then smart move of Seattle’s “better-offs” to First Hill. They purchased there the southeast corner of Madison Street and Terry Avenue, and built a truly baronial mansion ornamented with carved panels, Oriental rugs, stained glass, and oil paintings for all the halls and eleven bedrooms.
Otto did not live long enough to enjoy the family’s new mansion for the musicales and theatrics he almost certainly had planned for it. He died of a “throat ailment” in 1892. Dora lived on until 1919 – and well off. In 1907 her vacation to Europe included a one-year stay in Paris. (This may be the first time I have truly felt envy for one of my subjects.) The four-story Ranke building that replaced this home on Pike included a venue large enough for masquerade balls. Long accompanied there by the city’s popular and long-lived Wagner’s First Regiment Orchestra, the balls at Ranke’s hall became a local tradition. The brick Ranke Building was razed in 1927 for a “higher and best use” of the corner.
FOUR More TIMES classifieds Heralding ENTERTAINMENTS at the RANKE in the First Cold Days of the 20th CENTURY
Anything to add, Mistah Dorpat? Certainly Sur Sherrard! A few shots and subjects from nearby along Pike Street, and a visit (again) to the nearly royal Ranke Manse on First Hill. Here first is the 33rd installment of the often leaned-on Time series from 1944-45, EARLY-DAY MANSIONS by Margaret Pitcairn Strachan. Some of the stories will be familiar to you from my and other’s borrowing, but please do double-click here to see Strachan’s work.
(above) Looking west on Pike from had the home been preserved in the front lawn (remembering that Pike was widened) of the Ranke’s 1884 home.
Let us now celebrate Goat Hill, the latest of the imaginative names given to First Hill or parts of it since the original settlers first climbed it in 1852. They named it then for its obvious distinction. The about 366 foot high (near Broadway and James) ridge that lifted from the central waterfront like a green curtain of firs, cedars, hemlocks and alders was the first hill to climb and cross when either trailblazing east to the “big lake” eventually named Washington, or wisely following the “Indian Path’ that reached the lake roughly in line with the present Yesler Way.
I learned of the “Goat” tag only recently when railroad historian Noel Holley shared with me the photo printed here. His friend, Wade Stevenson while visiting Seattle from Othello, recorded it from the Smith Tower. Noel figures “it was about 1960.” This, then, is a late look at First Hill’s western face before the freeway was cut across it.
Another friend, First Hill historian Stephen Edwin Lundgren, first confirmed the hill’s newest moniker and then directed me to what we may fairly call its creator: Jim Napolitano. While working on King County’s newest additions to the hill – a multi-story parking garage at 6th and Jefferson and the County’s new Chinook Office Building at 5th and Terrace – Napolitano, a Major Project Manager for King County – heard enough variations on the same amused complaint “You needed to be a goat to get up there!” that he suggested that this new public works campus be named for the goats. And so it is now a new Goat Hill garage that clings to the steep southwest corner of 6th and Jefferson. (I knew the cheap thrills of that free but challenging dirt parking lot for I often used it in the 1970s while visiting city hall for research.)
Through its mere 162 years of development and complaints, First Hill – or parts of it – has had many names including Yesler, Pill and Profanity. This last was a folk creation of the late 1890s when lawyers and litigants started using “bad language” during their steep climb to the King County Courthouse which sat then on the brow of the hill about 300 feet above Pioneer Square. Now we have another ascribing folk name for the part of First Hill west of the I-5 Freeway and south of James.
Anything to add, old goat? Surely Jean, and we will start with a few goats, beginning with a goat on goats, one of the many Kodachromes left with us by Horace Sykes, whose transparencies we shared with the “Our Daily Sykes” feature that we ran for at least 500 days – we hope without missing any. Here first is a Sykes that we did not use, waiting we were for some Call of the Goat. Following that we will introduce a Wallingford goat on Eastern Ave. and accompany it will be a pony on Eastern Ave. as well and it’s own Pacific feature. Both of these neighborhood animals came from my neighbor Frank Debruyn, now passed. While his pony made it into Pacific on Nov. 15, 1992, I assured Frank that his goat would be used as well – sometime. Now’s the time Jean – and Frank.
Following the farm animals, Ron Edge will put up more links to related stories that have appeared on this blog previously. Most of these are on First Hill subjects. As with music these features are their own motifs and so gain new resonances and harmonies when mixed with other features. That, at least, is what we hope.
WEDDED BLISS BORN ABOVE
Above and below INTERSTATE FIVE (aka The Seattle Freeway) building south through Goat Hill in the early-mid 1960s.
In 1976 Ivar bought what he described as his “last toy” – the (about) 42-story Smith Tower, which as a child in West Seattle he watch ascending across Elliott Bay. Ivar was born in 1905. The tower was dedicated nine years later.
WADE STEVENSON’S WATERFRONT
Wade Stevenson also recorded the waterfront from the Smith Tower observatory, and included prints with those he gave to his friend Noel Holley. We print them now beside Jean’s recent coverage of the same sections of the waterfront nearest the Smith Tower and Pioneer Square. We will include a few other examples, as well.
On the Sunday morning of June 30, 1963, Frank Shaw loaded his Hasselblad camera with color film, and climbed a narrow driveway off 7th Ave. between Pike and Pine Street approaching the center of Block 66 of the Denny Addition. Although surrounded by hotels including the Waldorf behind him and above him the towering Art Deco landmark, the Roosevelt, (seen here across 7th Avenue), Shaw focused instead on this fading gray pioneer, for more than 70 years the clapboard home of the Anthony family. It was built ca.1887 on a 60×100 foot lot that the German immigrant Ferdinand Anthony purchased directly from Seattle’s “father-founder” Arthur Denny.
Anthony began his pioneer book binding business in the Frye Opera House in the early 1880s. Eventually the family business was moved into a long shed built for it behind their home. (Here the bindery is out-of-frame to the right, but it is included in two of the five transparencies of the home site that Shaw exposed this Sunday. We will attach them, with captions, following the text for this feature.) As his many surviving cityscapes confess, when Frank Shaw, a Boeing quality control inspector, was not out climbing with the Mountaineers, he liked to walk the city taking pictures of what he characterized for Bob Geigle, a friend at Boeing, as the “what is.” Shaw was a “realist” with his camera, who typically found something old more embodied than something new.
Robert Shaw consistently dated and named his negatives and transparencies. He did not, however, keep a photographer’s diary, and so we don’t know what he knew about the Anthony family – if anything. Following their father Ferdinand’s death in 1919, Robert, age 33, and his younger sister Julia continued to run the binding business, although Julia also gave 42 years to teaching in Seattle schools. Thru their many years on 7th Ave. Robert Anthony had denied a parade of agents with cash offers for his property, explaining that it “suited” him as is. Robert died less than half a year after Robert Shaw’s visit. The Anthony “compound” was soon razed in 1964, at first for more parking. Julia passed in 1970.
Anything to add, Paul? As always – almost – a few more samples from the neighborhood, illustrations and, this time, also four past features.
DANIEL & MARY JACKSON’S BIG HOME
(First printed in Pacific, July 17, 1988.)
The history of Seattle’s big homes began in earnest during the 1880s boom. Moneyed families, including the Yeslers, began building oversized homes right in town next door to smaller bungalows. As the town quickly grew into a city, First Hill developed as an almost exclusive neighborhood of mansions.
Later, the dispersal of First Hill society proceeded in many directions, including Lake Washington, Capitol Hill and walled-in enclaves such as Broadmoor and the Highlands. Today, there only a few surviving big homes on First Hill.Its transformation to apartments and clinics is long since completed.
The D.B. Jackson home was an exception to the practice of the rich gathering in plutocratic enclaves. It was neither in town nor on the hill. Sited at the southwest corner of Pine Street and Eighth Avenue, its construction in 1888 placed it at the expanding northern border of the city in a neighborhood lightly settled with workers’ homes and duplexes.
Captain Jackson was a lumberman, working through the 1870s as manager of the Puget Mill Company’s fleet of tug boats. The Jackson family home at Port Gamble is preserved there.
In 1882, Jackson formed the Washington Steamboat and Transportation Co. and won the mail contract for Puget Sound ports. This enlarged the so-called “Mosquito Fleet” of small steamers buzzing about the Sound. In 1889, Jackson expanded his operations into the very successful Puget Sound and Alaska Steamship Co.
The Jackson big home was begun by Fred E. Sander, a local trolley promoter, in 1888, but it was the Jacksons that finished it.The Mansion was lavishly appointed with stained glass, hardwoods, plush carpets and frescoed ceilings.It had 14 rooms, and each with its own fireplace, but the captain had little time to enjoy it. He died in 1895. His wife, Mary, lived on in the big home for another 20 years before moving to Captiol Hill in about 1914. Nearly back-to-back, she was neighbors with the Anthony family for a quarter-century.Mary Rowell Jackson died in 1927 at the age of 92, leaving 20 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren, including Sen. Dan Evans.
The FIRST AERIE – EAGLES at 7TH & PINE
(First appeared in Pacific, 8-25-2002)
In 1904, after renting space from the Masons, the burgeoning Eagles moved into their own hall at the southwest corner of Seventh Avenue and Pine Street. In the less than five years since their founding, they had added more than 1,000 members and enough cash to purchase the comely hall and crown Aerie No.1 with an eagle.
The Eagles were organized as an afterthought at a secret meeting of Seattle theater impresarios, John Considine and John Cort included. The group had met to plot ways of breaking the Musician’s Union strike against their houses. After deciding to fire their bands and use pianists alone to accompany variety acts, the founders then formed The Independent Order of Good Things and selected for a motto “Skin Em.”
At the founders’ second meeting they settled on “Eagles” for their name and dropped the bellicose motto for a merely secular maxim: “Not God, heaven, hereafter, but man, earth, now.” By one critic’s description, about a third of the original management “were the toughest crowd that could be dug up in Seattle.” At the Eagles’ 50th-anniversary celebration, William A. Fisher recalled, “When they initiated me, I almost resigned. The ceremonies were so rough I was on the shelf for three days.”
Part of the reason the Eagles grew at a record rate was because so many of them were entertainers who were always on the move. They also dropped the hazing. John Cort, the first president, explained: “We want to make life more desirable by lessening its evils and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.” Theirs was a politics of populism and patriotism. At one time or another the order promoted workers compensation, Mothers Day, old-age pensions and, briefly, a guaranteed annual income.
Twenty-two years after the Eagles in 1903 settle into their first permanent hall at Pine and Seventh, the club then moved two blocks south on Seventh to a much larger terracotta tile clad home at the northeast corner of Union and 7ths. That they sold the old hall for $231,000 was noted in a 1925 by a Seattle Times business reporter as an “outstanding example of the increase of real estate values in the district north of Pike Street.”They originally paid $11,500 for it.Another Bartells Drugs became the primary tenant of the converted hall for “man, earth, now.”
THE ‘Y’ OF HOWELL AND OLIVE LOOKING EAST FROM 8TH AVENUE.
(First printed in Pacific, June 23 1996)
Little block 28 of Sara Bell’s Second Addition is one of those pie-shaped oddities that offer relief from the predictable space of the American urban grid.The buildings on them seem to put on a show – sometimes, like here, pushing their faces into the flow of traffic.
Like the others of this flatiron class, what this three-story clapboard gives up in space it makes up in facades.Surely every room within is well-lit.Photographed here Nov. 18, 1910, this building also shows up in panorama recorded from the summit of Denny Hill 20 years earlier. (We will include it – when we find it.)
This mixed-class (retail and apartment) structure thrusts its forehead into the five-star corner of Olive Square.Here Howell Street, on the right, originates from the intersection of Eight Avenue and Olive Way.After Yesler Way running west from Broadway, Olive is the second odd tangent that enlivens the otherwise monotonous street configuration of Seattle’s central Business district.
The scene was probably recorded by the Public Works Department’s photographer, James Lee, which may explain the photograph’s enigmatic purpose as a record of something having to do with public use rather than private or architectural glory.Still this vain little clapboard is a pleasure – although it may be an idle one.The bright sign taped to the front door is a real-estate broker’s inquiry card.The only other sign showing is hung on the left over the sidewalk on Olive way.It is for the Angelo, the residential rooms upstairs.
ALL BUT 2 of the 7 SUBJECTS that FOLLOW, INCLUDE AT LEAST A GLIMPSE of the WEST FAÇADE of the ANTHONY FAMILY HOME mid-block on the East Side of Seventh Avenue Between PIKE & PINE STREETS.This is aTEST – WITHOUT THE ANSWERS. FAMILIAR as you are by now with the ANTHONY HOME, we are confident that if you SEEK YOU WILL FIND!