(click to enlarge photos)
THEN: We are not told but perhaps it is Dora and Otto Ranke and their four children posing with their home at 5th and Pike for the pioneer photographer Theo. E. Peiser ca. 1884. In the haze behind them looms Denny Hill. (Courtesy Ron Edge)
NOW: Changes on the northwest corner of Pike Street and 5th Avenue have now come to – or reached – the Loft, a women’s wear purveyor. For many years the corner was home for Nordstrom.
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.)
The Yesler-Leary Building on the northwest corner of what was then Front Street (First Ave. – on the right) and Mill Street (Yesler Way – on the left) Built by Ranke in the mid-1880s, razed by the 1889 fire.
Boston Block, built by Ranke (as contractor, not owner) at the southeast corner of Columbia and Second Ave. shortly before the 1889 fire, which it just “missed” – not entirely. The windows were blown out by the heat. Saved from the inferno it was stuffed with businesses following it, with companies sharing offices and desks. For a time it was also the home of the Post Office.
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.
One of our stock subjects – which is you may have been it before. The Frye Opera House at the Northeast corner of Marion and Front (First Ave.) ca. 1886).
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.
A ca. 1885 pan of the city from Denny Hill, with the Ranke home indicated with a red dot on the left. A detail of its place near the northwest corner of 5th Ave. and Pike Street is printed below the pan, and a detail from the 1888 Sanborn Real Estate map below it. The enlarged home is fenced in red. (Double-click the pan to enlarge it.)
The home is no more in the 1904 footprint. In its place three store fronts. that three years later would face-off with the city’s plans to widen Pike Street by 10 feet. Note that Westlake has not as yet been cut thru from 4th and Pike northeast to Lake Union. That opened in 1907.
A Seattle Times clip from Jan. 23, 1907, introducing the stresses between the city, with its plans to widen Pike Street, and Dora Ranke’s tardy behavior.
In its edition for March 19, 1907 The Seattle Times reveals that Dora Ranke gets some support from City Council.
Revealing the Ranke Building’s sidewalk commerce, the Woodhouse and Platt Furniture’s exploitation of the reader’s imagination for its big sale during the building’s 1907 commotion with the widening of Pike Street. The Times clip dates – it reads – from June 2, 1907.
An enlarged Ranke Bldg now covering the northwest corner of Pike and 5th Avenue, left-of-center. The 1912 Baist map below shows it in red – built with brick – and next door to the Northern Bank and Trust Co., a mix of brick and stone. The Westlake cut is already six/seven years old in the Baist.
The 1912 Baist Real Estate Map – again.
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.
News of Dora Ranke’s planned 1907 visit to Paris – for a year.
(Double click it to enlarge) An early promotion for a Ranke Hall masquerade ball and Cake Walk (look it up) accompanied by the music of Wagner. The clipping also reveals what was then a popular diversion, and hysteria for some, the readings of mediums. Note the column far right filled with them. The choices are not tough for how could one miss Miss Clark, the greatest and most wonderful medium on earth, unless it was to attend the “materializing seance” called forth or produced by Mrs. Elsie Reynolds in town from California, but not forever.
The “highest and best” Ranke building at the northwest corner of 5th Ave. and Pike Street. It survives, although mostly covered with new skin facing both 5th and Pike.
A kitty-korner look at the Ranke Bldg with the same sidewalk businesses. Far right is a glimpse of the Coliseum Theatre, and far left the Seaboard Building, all still standing.
An “aerial” from the top of the then new Washington Athletic Club at the southeast corner of 6th and Union. Please take note of both the Blue Mouse Theatre and to its side Don’s Seafood Restaurant, both on the west side of 5th between Union and Pike. Don’s was later purchase by Ivar Haglund for his first “classy” restaurant, Ivar’s Fifth Avenue. It later got a name change to the Captain’s Table before it was moved to the waterfront near the foot of Denny Way.
Looking west through the intersection of 5th and Pike on Feb. 10, 1926. This is another of many negatives made for the Foster Kleiser billboard company. The centerpiece here is the smart Camel smoker.
Earlier and a block east on Pike St. a hydrant is broken on the southeast corner of Pike and Sixth on March 3, 1920.
FOUR More TIMES classifieds Heralding ENTERTAINMENTS at the RANKE in the First Cold Days of the 20th CENTURY
SeattleTimes Jan 3, 1900
The Seattle Times, Jan. 6, 1900
The Seattle Times, Jan. 26, 1900
The Seattle Times, March 10, 1900
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.
No. 33 of 1944/45 series on Margaret Pitcairn Strachan’s elaborately helpful features on Seattle’s EARLY-DAY MANSIONS. [Double-Click to ENLARGE]
Below a Capitol Hill horizon (along 15th Ave.), Broadway High School, the Lincoln Park Reservoir fountain, in the foreground a small circle of big First Hill homes forms to the sides of Madison Ave., on the far left, with the Ranke home bottom-left. Behind the Rankes are the Hanfords (before replace with the Perry Hotel) and at the scene’s center the northeast corner of Boren and Madison, the Stacy Mansion, soon and still the University Club and, far-right, at the southeast corner of Madison and Boren, the Carkeek Mansion.
The Ranke mansion at the southeast corner of Madison and Terry with the Perry Hotel (later the Columbus Hospital) behind it at the southwest corner of Boren and Madison.
The Ranke mansion with the Perry Hotel behind it.
First appeared in Pacific, Jan. 29, 1995.
(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.
FEB. 4, 1951, The Seattle Times