ADDENDUM – MORE MADISON PARK

Last leg on Wagon Road to the McGilvra homestead on Lake Washington and at the future Madison Park.
Last leg on Wagon Road to the McGilvra homestead on Lake Washington and at the future Madison Park.

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THE MCGILVRA ESTATE

(First published in Pacific, March 4, 1990)

 

         In 1867 John and Elizabeth McGilvra moved into the first ome on the Seattle shore of Lake Washiongton.  Six years earlier, John had been appointed the first United States attorney to Washington Territory.  His friend Abraham Lincoln had given him the job and McGilvra responded by trekking the entire territory twice a year as both federal judge and attorney.  It was an exhausting task for which McGilvra did not seek reappointment, In 1864, the McGilvras moved to Seattle and, once John had completed a wagon road to the their 450 lake shore acres, they moved in.

         This, apparently, is the oldest surviving view of the McGilvra home.  It was photographed around 1880, or about the time the McGilvras began running a sonce-a-day  round-trip stage coach to Seattle.  Most of their paying passengers were persons who had settle somewhere on or near the lake, man of them on the east side.  Throughout the 1880s the McGilvra dock was the busiest on the lake.

Or might this be the earliest recording of the McGilvra estate?
Or might this be the earliest recording of the McGilvra estate?   Nah.  It seems newer to me –  the big home, the road, the fence.  And beyond, the mountains are a picturesque fantasy without any similarity to the “Cascade Curtain” as we know it from Seattle.

         The wagon road and the daily stage were abandoned in 1890 with the completion of the Madison Streete Cable Railway, an enterprise in which the McGilvras made a sizeable investment and which included Madison Park, the grounds for many amusements.  Beisdes a large dance pavilion, lakeside bandstands and boathouse, exotic gardens and promenades, the park included a baseball diamond, and after 1890 connection with the city’s growing system of bike paths.

Madison Park from the Lake.
Madison Park from the Lake.
Two Madison Park Beach subjects from the Lowman family album.  (courtesy, Michael Maslan)
Two Madison Park Beach subjects from the Lowman family album. (courtesy, Michael Maslan)

         In the summers Elizabeth and John’s acres became the site of a tent city raised on platforms provided by the McGilvras.  The couple also allowed the construction of cottages, but not houses, on their land.  It was a peculiar arrangement: the builders were not sold the land but were required to pay a yearly tithe.  One local newspaper of the time described the McGilvras’ development as “perhaps the only feudal estate in the U.S.”  This arrangement held until the 1920s, long after John McGilvra’s death in 1903.

Elizabeth and John McGilvra "at rest" in Lakeview Cemetery.
Elizabeth and John McGilvra “at rest” in Lakeview Cemetery, ca. 1995.  I embarrassed that I no longer remember the name of the researcher between Mother and Father.  She  joined me at this time in preparing and giving a lecture on the history of the Madison Park neighborhood  before a short-lived group with an interest in the same.
The McGilvra home - late
The McGilvra home – late  (Courtesy – again! – of Ron Edge, bless him.)

 

I'm posing here in 2003 with a few of the Daughters of the Pioneers at Pioneer  Hall beside Madison Park.  For many years I visited with the daughters once a year carrying with me a slide show of some interest to them.
I’m posing here in 2003 with a few of the Daughters of the Pioneers at Pioneer Hall beside Madison Park. For many years I visited with the daughters once a year carrying with me a new slide show of some interest to them. They were always the best of audiences, vigorously adding to the stories.  Alas 20 years before this visit, there were many more Daughters than here.

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Looking east on Madison to Lake Washington ca. 1890.
Looking east on Madison to Lake Washington ca. 1891.
West on Madison from near 39th, 1999
West on Madison from near 39th, 1999

MADISON STREET CABLE, ca. 1891

(First appeared in Pacific, Feb. 9, 1992)

         Judge John J. McGilvra, the pioneer who laid out the line of Madison Street, wanted to get to his homestead on Lake Washington the quickest way possible.  So after climbing First Hill and crossing Broadway, Madison street continues on its own way cutting through the city grid.  East of First Hill Madison Street was “first,” and the developing of the grid on Second Hill and beyond it to Lake Washington followed.  McGilvra’s short-cut negotiated the city’s ups and downs with considerable ease, and, of course, still does.  Beginning in 1890, these gradual grades helped considerably in the construction of a cable railway the entire length of Madison from salt water to fresh.

Madison Cable Railway on the turntable at the Lakeside end.
Madison Cable Railway on the turntable at the Lakeside end.
The Madison Cable Railway powerhouse near 21st. Avenue
The Madison Cable Railway powerhouse near 21st. Avenue

         In the early 1890s passengers enroute to the excitements of McGilvra’s many lakefront attractions, after first passing though still largely forested acres, dropped into the scene recorded here: grounds cleared primarily for the enterprises of leisure.  The view at the top looks along Madison Street from near its present intersection with Galer Street. The Madison Park Pavilion, left of center, and the ball park – the bleachers show on the far left – were the cable company’s two largest enclosed venues.  But the beach itself was an equal attraction with floating bandstands and stages for musicals, farces, and melodramas in which the villains might end up in the lake.

The Madison Park waterfront by LaRoche
The Madison Park waterfront by LaRoche

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The Madison Park beach well after the 1916 nine-foot lowering of Lake Washington for the ship canal.
The Madison Park beach well after the 1916 nine-foot lowering of Lake Washington for the ship canal.

         McGilvra’s fiefdom – he would only lease lots, not sell them – and the railway’s end-of-the line attractions also featured dance floors, bath houses, canoe rentals, restaurants, promenades, a greenhouse filled with exotic plants and a dock from which the “Mosquito Fleet” steamed to all habitable point on Lake Washington. 

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A NEIGHBORHOOD ECCENTRIC

(First appeared in Pacific, Feb. 20, 2005)

         It is pleasure to have stumbled upon another neighborhood eccentric. This one appears on page 99 of “Madison Park Remembered,” the new (in 2005) and good natured history of this neighborhood by one of it residents, Jane Powell Thomas. The author’s grandparents move to Madison Park in 1900. In her turn Thomas raised three children in the neighborhood and dedicated her history of it to her seven grandchildren. (The historical photo is used courtesy of the Washington State Archive – Puget Sound Regional Branch.)

 

         Much of the author’s narrative is built on the reminiscences of her neighbors.  For instance, George Powell is quoted as recalling that the popular name for this dye works when it still showed its turrets was the “Katzenjammer Castle.”  Seattle’s city hall between 1890 and 1909 was also named for the fanciful structures in the popular comic strip “The Katzenjammer Kids,” and George Wiseman, the Castle Dye Works proprietor in 1938 (when this tax photo of it was recorded) certainly also traded on this association.  

 

 

City Hall, aka the Katzenjammer Kastle, on 3rd at Jefferson, ca. 1905.
City Hall, aka the Katzenjammer Kastle, on 3rd at Jefferson, ca. 1905.

         The vitality of this business district was then still tied to the Kirkland Ferry.  Wiseman’s castle introduced the last full block before the ferry dock.  Besides his castle there was a drug store, two bakeries, a thrift store, a meat market, two restaurants, a tavern, a gas station, a combined barber and beauty shop, and a Safeway.  And all of them were on Wiseman’s side of the street for across Madison was, and still is, the park itself.   

The ferry Leschi, here by evidence of the caption, at the Madison Street dock. Normally the Leschi used the Leschi Park dock.
The ferry Leschi, here by evidence of the caption, at the Madison Street dock. Normally the Leschi used the Leschi Park dock.

         Studying local history is an often serendipitous undertaking charmed by surprises like Dorothy P. Frick’s photo album filled with her candid snapshots of district regulars and merchants standing besides their storefronts in the 1960s.  Introduced to this visual catalogue of neighborhood characters by Lola McKee, the “Mayor of Madison Park” and long-time manager of Madison Park Hardware, Thomas has made good use of Frick’s photos.  

 

A detail of Madison's "castle" appears as backdrop to this ca.1900 portrait of a cable car. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
A detail of Madison’s “castle” appears as backdrop to this ca.1900 portrait of a cable car. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

         “Madison Park Remembered” is now (in 2005) in its second printing, and although it can be found almost anywhere, Jane Thomas was recently told that her book had set a record by outselling Harry Potter — at Madison Park Books.      

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MADISON PARK PAVILION

(First appeared in Pacific, Dec. 19, 2004)

 

         Like Leschi Park, Madison Park was developed as an attraction at the end of a cable railway line.  Both featured exotic landscapes, waterside promenades, gazebos, greenhouses, refreshment stands, garden-lined paths, bandstands, and boat rentals, even lodging.  Leschi’s early novelty was its zoo.  Madison Park’s was the baseball diamond.  (The roof of the bleachers can be seen on the far left of the historical scene.)  

 

An early 20th Century birdseye sketch promoting Washington Park, but showing the primary landmarks then of Madison Park.
An early 20th Century birdseye sketch promoting the ambitious Pope and Talbot development of Washington Park, but showing the primary landmarks then of Madison Park including the Pavilion, bottom-center.  Also note the log canal at Montlake, and the islands in Union Bay.  .

         Both parks featured monumental-sized pavilions with towers on top and great ballrooms within. The theatre-sized room in this landmark could also seat 1400 for melodramas, minstrel shows, musicals, farce, vaudeville and legitimate theatre.   For many years members the ever-dwindling mass of the Pioneer Association chose the Madison Park Pavilion for their annual meetings and posed for group portraits on the front steps.   

 

         Here the grand eastern face of the pavilion looks out at Lake Washington.  The pleasurable variety of its lines with gables, towers, porticos and the symmetrically placed and exposed stairways to its high central tower surely got the attention of those approaching it from the Lake.  (For many years beginning about 1880 Madison Park was the busiest port on Lake Washington.)  

 

Some of you may have the talent for seeing this in stereo without the benefit of special classes.  Now relax and cross your eyes.
Some of you may have the talent (or knack)  for seeing this in stereo without the benefit of special classes. Now relax and cross your eyes.

         However, most visitors came from the city and the real crush was on the weekends for ballgames, dances, band concerts (most often with Dad Wagner’s Band), theatre, and moonlit serenading on the lake — ideally with a mandolin and receptive ingénue looking for pointers on how to navigate a rented canoe.  

 

         The Pavilion stood for a quarter century until destroyed by fire on March 25, 1914. The attentive eye may note how the Seattle Park Departments playground equipment at Madison Park repeat the lines of the grand central tower of the Madison Park Pavilion. (Historical photos courtesy of Lawton Gowey and Larry Hoffman)

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The posers here are Nina and Bill, friends visiting from California and feeling at home.
The posers here are Nina and Bill, two blonde friends visiting from California and yet feeling at home.

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Seattle Now & Then: Fairgrounds at Madison Park

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN:  Looking southeast over the open acres of the Western Washington Fair Grounds following the matinee performance of Cheyenne Bill’s Wild West Show during the summer of 1909.   (Courtesy, Old Seattle Paperworks)
THEN: Looking southeast over the open acres of the Western Washington Fair Grounds following the matinee performance of Cheyenne Bill’s Wild West Show during the summer of 1909. (Courtesy, Old Seattle Paperworks)
NOW: For want of a railroad connection to deliver livestock to its shows, the fair grounds were moved to Puyallup – where they survive.  The Madison Park site and stadium continued to be used for professional motorcar and motocycle racing.  Many of the homes developed later were built in the late 1930s and soon after World War 2.  This repeat looks southeast across McGilvra Blvd. East.
NOW: For want of a railroad connection to deliver livestock to its shows, the fair grounds were moved to Puyallup – where they survive. The Madison Park site and stadium continued to be used for professional motorcar and motocycle racing. Many of the homes developed later were built in the late 1930s and soon after World War 2. This repeat looks southeast across McGilvra Blvd. East.

Distributed like figures in a well-stocked sculpture garden, the human pillars in this open field also stir a nostalgia in me for the big shows of my youth: big top circuses, county fairs, and later music festivals improvised in farmer’s fields.  Ordinarily, as here, there were no paved parking lots then, but here there are, as yet, no cars either.

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This is an afternoon in July, 1909. Most of these fashionable figures arrived here either on a Madison Street cable car or by small steamer to the Madison Park waterfront.  A few came for the assorted pleasures of the park, which between 1909 and 1913 added the sensations of White City.  The park trees on the left are interrupted by the truly Grand Arch into the enclosed “city.”  Inside and too the right of center are the merry-go-round (the conical roof) and the roller coaster.  Beyond it all is Lake Washington. Most of these strollers are not heading for White City but rather leaving the grandstand of the Western Washington Fair Grounds – behind the photographer.

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There between July 17 and August 1, within a white canvas fence that encircled the public, the performers, and the fair grounds new 5000 seat stadium (with 52 private boxes), Cheyenne Bill’s Wild West Show and Congress of Rough Riders put on several sensational reenactments of western stories.  Included were the “Fight Over the Waterhole,” the “Attack on the Overland Stage Coach,” and the “famous Mountain Meadow Massacres and ten other events of equal interest.” Tom Mix, one of Cheyenne Bill’s rougher ropers and riders later become a great star of the silent screen. (Surely many Pacific readers know of him still?) A few of the Sioux Indians who had parts in the show’s “Wild West” reenactments had earlier as young braves “played” real parts in the Battle of Little Big Horn aka Custer’s Last Stand.  Still standing in 1876 after Col. Custer had fallen, they lived to play again.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Well, Jean, we are a bit tardy this Saturday night and so will continue on the morrow.  Then I will continue to put up a few related features from Pacific Mags past, although I  may not finish with them until mix-week.  (Sometime also later this week, or perhaps next week – or next year even – we will attempt to correct the typos, I mean if there are any.) Tomorrow Ron Edge will again assemble a few revealing aerials of the neighborhood that show its development at least between 1912 (with the Baist Real Estate Map) and mapping photos from 1929,  1936, 1949 and 1952.  If I have the dates wrong I’m confident that Ron will correct them.  Here follows an example of how we often “talk” with one another about the “repeats” for Seattle Now and Then – a mix of marked maps, aerials and subjects.

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NOW we will follow with TWO FEATURES that display two landmarks noted in the text on top although not as monumentally as in their own features now below.  First, the use of the same stadium for motorcycle races, and second, some close-ups of White City.

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RACING AT MADISON PARK

(First appeared in Pacific, August 4, 2002)

         By my modest calculation the motorcycles on McGilvra Boulevard East in the “now” view are posing very near the spot in the “then” view where cyclists are rushing around the south corner of a fenced track that, in 1911, was part of what was called the Western Washington Fair Grounds.  But this is Madison Park, not Puyallup.

         Before most of the neighborhood was developed for homes adison Park was one of the primary Seattle cneters for recreation and amusement of all sorts, including professional baseball, Wild West shows, carnival booths and rides, dancing, promenading and here motorcycle racing.

         McGilvra Boulevard was named for J.J. McGilvra, the pioneer federal judge who in order to settler there, first blazed a wagon road to Lake Washington at the site of the future Madison Park and its surrounds.

         Motorcycle historian and collector Thomas Samuelsen, who leads the pack in the “now” scene, has identified the racer at the head of the pack in the historical scene.  He is Archie Taft, one of the Northwest’s great early enthusiasts for wind in your face.  The photograph was first published in a motorcycle periodical of the day.  The original caption reveals that here Taft established a new state record for the distance on a two-lap dirt track. 

         An enlargement of this photograph and many more are included in the Museum of History & Industry’s presently (in 2002) most popular exhibit, “Fastest Corner in the Northwest: Motorcycle Racing Around Seattle 1910 to 2000.”  The exhibit was mounted in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest Museum of Motorcycling, with a lot of help from its members, including Samuelsen.  Besides the photos, racing memorabilia and readable interpretations, the exhibit features 12 historical motorcycles, most driven repeatedly to victory by a pantheon of Northwest winners.

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A daring-do interlude - something called a ROMAN RACE performed at Madison Park.  The competing riders each stand on the backs of two galloping horses.  We don't know the date.
A daring-do interlude – something called a ROMAN RACE performed at Madison Park. The competing riders each stand on the backs of two galloping horses. We don’t know the date.

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Now & THEN Captions together: Part of the roof of the Madison Park Pavilion shows bottom left in the historical photograph, and it was the Pavilion’s tower that allowed this soaring view south into the gated amusement part of White City.  The contemporary photograph was a low-elevation compromise taken from a Madison Park playground slide with the camera extended on a monopod.

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WHITE CITY

(First appeared in Pacific, January 28, 2005)

 

         For all its physical aplomb – especially the grand front gate shown here – White City at Madison Park was more fizzle than dazzle.  

 

         The amusement park began with a cartooned proposal.  In a 1906 advertisement that features a detailed birdseye sketch of the place, Emile Lobe, the Secretary for Borderland White City Company, announced, “Happy Days will follow the building of Seattle’s Big Amusement Park, a local enterprise that is now building on the shores of Lake Washington, south of Madison Street,”

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         Lobe, who was also known locally as a fine violinist, was fiddling here as well.  His illustrated promotion listed a June 1 opening while it promoted “White City Bonds . . . Not a speculation, but a certain money maker . . . the best investment offered thus far in 1906.”  But White City did not open any summer soon and is only listed in city directories for the years 1910 through 1912.  Through a short life its most popular amusement was the miniature “Lake Shore Railway” that was frequently stuffed with adults as kids yearned for the next go-round.

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Another of the mini-railroad at Madison Park
Another of the mini-railroad at Madison Park

       Admission to White City through its grand gate cost ten cents.  The carnival also had a roller coaster, a Ferris Wheel, scheduled performances and a few sideshow oddities.  Some of these were brought over from the Pay Streak, the carnival part of that grander Seattle “White City”, the Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition after it closed.  The AYPE was held on the campus of the University of Washington during the warmer months of 1909.

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Seattle Now & Then: Dorms near Frosh Pond

THEN: The Gothic University of Washington Campus in 1946 beginning a seven-year crowding with prefabricated dormitories beside Frosh Pond. In the immediate background [on the right] is Guggenheim Hall.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
THEN: The Gothic University of Washington Campus in 1946 beginning a seven-year crowding with prefabricated dormitories beside Frosh Pond. In the immediate background [on the right] is Guggenheim Hall. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
NOW: In order to reveal more of the historical subject, including Guggenheim Hall, Jean Sherrard moved his prospect to the south (left) and sites along Benton Lane into the older campus through some of the campuses more recent but equally brick additions.
NOW: In order to reveal more of the historical subject, including Guggenheim Hall, Jean Sherrard moved his prospect to the south (left) and sites along Benton Lane into the older campus through some of the campuses more recent but equally brick additions.

This week we return to 1946 (for many of us, not so long ago) and share another example of temporary U.W. student housing rushed to order after World War Two.  Unlike last week, these dorms are for singles, not marrieds.  (Any notion that the two sexes could live under the same on-campus roof was then distant.)

Appearing first in The Times for Wednesday, Jan. 30, 1946, this press photo was captioned, “First of 24 new housing units, these dormitories are shown being settled on their new foundations on the UW campus between Engineering Hall and Frosh Pond.”  Last Sunday’s “units” for the married vets of Lake Union Village were shipped by rail from Richland. These were readily barged from Renton, up the Cedar River and Lake Washington to the edge of campus, from where they were carefully hauled on trailers to here near the center of campus.

Frosh Pond housing from Renton reaches the U.W. campus by barge.
Frosh Pond housing from Renton reaches the U.W. campus by barge.
Times  Jan 30, 1946
Times Jan 30, 1946

Judging from a 1946 aerial photograph the two units seen here to the rear have found their proper footprints, while the unit in the foreground still awaits its last move.  The 24 units can be easily counted in the same aerial, assembled into four parts as regular as arms at the top of a telephone pole.  Squeezed as they were between the permanent brick Guggenheim, Johnson and Physics halls, they successfully disrupted the collegiate Gothic temper of the university’s churchly campus.  Thankfully, the five dorms were temporary, although thru their mere seven years the prefabricated dorms were absurdly named with the grand but regionally routine tags Chelan, Rainier, Olympia, Cascade and Baker Halls.

The Guggenheim in 1959 by Robert Bradley, where once nestled many of the temporary dormitories constructed on campus in 1946.
The Guggenheim in 1959 by Robert Bradley, where once nestled many of the temporary dormitories constructed on campus in 1946.

Pacific readers are invited to explore on-line the 1946 campus with its temporary prefabricated dormitory crush.  The noted aerial is generously featured near the top of the blog that is regularly listed at the base of this feature.  There you will also readily find the timely narrative noted and quoted last week, Richard Berner’s “Seattle Transformed,” our city’s history through World War 2 and well into the Cold War.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?   Surely Jean.  First, Ron Edge has put up a link to Rich Berner’s third volume “Seattle Transformed.”  It, again, covers Seattle history from 1940 to 1950 and so through World War 2 and well into the Cold War.  (Please be patient.  This is an entire book you are about to download.  And free too!  Once completed – in a few minutes – save it into its own folder for future delving.)

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Ron also has a sizable collection of aerials of the campus and has included a selection of those.   At least two them show the “Frosh Pond Housing” from the sky.   And I’ll look about for other illustrations and/or features that circle the Pond where once upon a time Freshmen were baptized.

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1909

1909 Panorama of Portage Bay and Capitol Hill shot from the AYP’s tethered balloon.  Lake Washington is on the far left, the Latona Bridge, far right.   Bottom right the Seattle and International Tracks (originally the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad and now the Burke Gilman Trail) run thru the fair and north of the AYP’s carnival, the Pay Streak.

1923

1923 is our circa date for this view to the east.  The University Bridge is bottom right.  Here it still leads to its old trolley and vehicular access to the campus on 40th Avenue.  The Campus Parkway is a thing of the future.

1937

1937: Note the nurseries upper right, future acres for University Village.

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(This one is for you – date it!) Clues include work on the east wing of the Suzzallo Library, upper-right.  The University Bridge, upper-left, shows it modern profile with the concrete piers that replaced the original wooden ones in 1932/33.

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ca. 1947 with the new U.W. Hospital at the center, but still to the upper-left some of the golf course it uprooted.   Frosh Pond peeks from behind the seaplane’s pontoon – it seems.

1946a

Ron Edge dates the above and below, circa 1946/47. Both include the 1946 Frosh Pond housing.

1946b

Above and below, both showing the Frosh Pond housing as well as Union Bay Village – the vets’ housing featured last week.

1946c

1958

1958 above – and you can find the 1957 contribution to the University Village.  Ron claims that you can blow this one up and find the Burgermaster.

Ellis aerial of U.W. Campus and Union Bay

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Jack Corsaw - and three others - featured in the Seattle Times for June 21, 1946.  I knew Jack - met him in his Pike Place Market studio in 1967.  A man on considerable zest, often eccentric.  Among other achievements, he designed the Post-Intelligencer globe that sat on the paper's roof through its residence at 6th and Wall.  Jack had included an apartment for himself inside the globe, but the management did not encourage it.  Earlier Jack was living at the top of the Smith Tower during the big 1949 earthquake.  He recounted his canaries strange behavior before the tremors.
Jack Corsaw – and three others – featured in the Seattle Times for June 21, 1946, above.  I knew Jack – met him in his Pike Place Market studio in 1967. A man of considerable zest, often eccentric. Among other achievements, he designed the Post-Intelligencer globe that sat on the paper’s roof throughout its residence at 6th and Wall. Jack wanted to include an apartment for himself inside the globe, but P-I management edited him out.  Earlier Jack was living at the top of the Smith Tower during the big 1949 earthquake. For one of his best short stories he recounted the strange behavior of his pet canary prelude to the tremors.

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The CAMPUS BAPTISMAL

By campus lore the baptismal potential of the Alaska  Yukon Pacific Exposition’s Geyser Basin was discovered soon after  “Seattle’s first world’s fair” closed in the fall of 1909.  A gang of  sophisticated sophomores corralled a few naïve freshmen grazing on  the lawn in front of Denny Hall and after some serious deliberation  threw them into the circular pond that is now one of the very few surviving artifacts from the AYPE.  Thereafter Geyser Basin became Frosh Pond.

The accompanying splash is but one of an unnumbered roll
of dunking photographs.  There are, of course, many more stories.  A
few are legendary – like the springtime afternoon ca. 1965 when
students launched about a dozen faculty into the pond en masse – or  nearly.  One of the lecturers prudently jumped in voluntarily.
Among the christened was a visiting German professor who brought with him a more deferential tradition about the behavior of students towards faculty.  Another honored member of this exclusive baptism  was the now Emeritus Professor of Architecture, Norman J. Johnston who told me the story with considerable delight and wrote an account  of it in his book “The College of Architecture and Urban Planning 75 Years at the University of Washington, A Personal View.”

For a time following the Second World War veterans
returning as freshman reversed the tradition and threw sophomores in  the pond, but this did not last.  Consider the poor freshman John
Stupey, who on his birthday, a freezing Dec. 10 1960, was dragged by “friends” from his warm bed in Lander Hall at 5:30 A. M., carried to  the pond and tossed on the count of three.  Reaching the pond Stupey first broke through the ice and a moment later lost his pajama  bottoms on the bottom.

Frosh Pond has also been used for log rolling and in the
hottest days of summer school spontaneous swimming.  At about six  feet the water is just deep enough for bobbing and safe shallow
plunging.  But no more.  In a security measure apparently not related  to 9/11 the UW Police Department started citing swimmers for  trespassing.  In the face of tradition the assistant chief explained
profoundly, “The purpose of the fountain is decorative.  The fountain itself is not a swimming pool.” What were they thinking?

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An early map for the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo on the U.W. campus in 1909.
An early map for the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo on the U.W. campus in 1909.

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Above are six of the seven primary structures surrounding the Cascades of the Arctic Circle at the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo., Seattle’s “first worlds fair” which also helped develop the University of Washington’s “Interlaken Campus.”  Below – the left – is the seventh building, the one devoted to Agriculture.  The long-time north end photographer named Price recorded this subject.

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GEYSER BASIN in the ARCTIC CIRCLE

(First appeared in Pacific, June, 27, 1982)

 

            In1907, a decade after the first rush north for gold, workers started transforming the still in many places wild University of Washington campus into a civilized stage.  Seattle was ready to celebrate its success in outfitting and exploiting Alaska and the Yukon, and it hoped Asia would join the list.

            When the Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition (AYP) opened on Jun 6,1909, the centerpiece was the Arctic Circle, shown at the top in a photograph by Frank Nowell, the AYP’s official photographer.  Here a semicircle of seven structures surrounded the Cascades and Geyser Basin.  The temporary buildings were designed in a variation of what was by then typical Beau Arts exposition style: neoclassical colonnades supporting great arching roofs decorated with profuse details.  The seven buildings were named, from left, Agriculture, European, Alaska, U.S. Government (the domed centerpiece behind the fountain), Phillippines and Hawaii, Oriental and Manufacturing.  Agriculture, the seventh building, is out of frame to the far left, but we have featured it with its own frame directly below the Nowell subject.  Under this cosmopolitan cover was a cornucopia of mostly local enterprise combined with products from the trans-pacific region Seattle hoped to tap. 

Another photo by Price, including the line-up, left to right, of the Hawaiian, European, and Oriental buildings.
Another photo by Price, including the line-up, left to right, of the Hawaiian, European, and Oriental buildings.

            The Hawaii Building, in Howell’s photo just to the right of the fountain, advertised the fertility of the islands with what The Times reported were “gigantic piles of fruits including a pyramid of coconuts and a pineapple 30 feet high composed of small pineapples cunningly arranged.” 

The AYP'S airship - other than its tethered balloon - is here either retouched into the scene or its admirers are folded in.
The AYP’S airship – other than its tethered balloon – is here either retouched into the scene or its admirers are folded in.

            The centrally placed U.S. Government Building featured at its entrance a marine hospital operating room with masked, life-size figures so real that the scene sent “shivers up the backs . . . of the bewildered visitors.” The Alaska Building, to the left of the Federal Building had a somewhat predictable display of $1 million in gold dust, nugget and bricks. Security measures for the display were advertised as much as its dollar value.

The Agriculture Building is far left.  Can you now name the others?
The Agriculture Building is far left. Can you now name the others?

            The Agriculture Building (again, “below the above Howell”), included the first display of clams ever shown at an exposition.  And across the Arctic Circle in the Manufacturing Building was a telephone switchboard and four workers handling the telephone company’s business.  The building also displayed the “disappearing bed” which, the inventor asserts, will revolutionize domestic architecture by making bedrooms unnecessary.”

AYP-VACE-w-trio-WEB

           

Many visitors preferred to simply stroll the grounds or on clear days to just sit around and watch crowds mill about the Arctic Circle, usually in their Sunday best.  And some, like those relaxing in Nowell’s photo, would look across the formal gardens and down the Rainier Vista to what the AYP publicists promoted as “the only real mountain an exposition has ever had.” Did PR miss Mt Hood at the Lewis and Clark Expo in Portland?

Years later, the Drumheller Fountain (a Spokane politician enamored with the UW) with
Years later, the Drumheller Fountain (a Spokane politician enamored with the UW) with “the only real mountain an exposition has ever had.”   By Robert Bradley

            But the Arctic Circle was not the whole show.  It was the center of elegance intended to raise the standards of popular taste.  Meanwhile, the popular taste was most most likely satisfied down at the sideshow of primitives and exotic carny attractions called the “Pay Streak” where those with pop proclivities would often pay extra not to be elevated.

Looking north along the Pay Steak, another photo by Nowell. (Courtesy, UW Libraries, Special Collections.)
Looking north along the Pay Steak, another photo by Nowell. (Courtesy, UW Libraries, Special Collections.)
Amusements on the Pay Streak (Another Nowell from the University Libraries Special Collections.)
Amusements on the Pay Streak (Another Nowell from the University of Washington Library’s Special Collections.)

            Exposition visitors went back and forth between the crowded excitement of the Pay Streak and the meditative pace of the dazzling “white city”” that surrounded the Geyser Basin.  At night this bright model of civilization instantly crystallized into the heavenly city on the hill when the elaborate covering of electric lights were turned on.

Cascades-Nite-Westall-WEB

    

        The AYP had its beginning in 1905 when Godfrey Chealander of Seattle returned home form Portland’s Lewis and Clark Exposition with his Alaska exhibit.  With help from then Seattle Times City Editor James Wood, Chealander’s desire turned into a 108 day affair that attracted nearly four million paid visitors.

1.-Artic-Circle-used-in-WTN-WEB

 

            In the contemporary scene, below, the Geyser Basis in the same, but now called both the Drumheller Fountain and Frosh Pond.  The temporary classical plaster of the Arctic Circle has been replaced by a more permanent brick architecture of Academic Gothic.

AYP-fountain-NOW-WEB-NOW

Guggenheim Hall in 1959, and so not long until abandoned by its crowding neighbors, the dorms of 1946.  Robert Bradley.
Guggenheim Hall in 1959, and so not long since it was abandoned by its crowding neighbors, the dorms of 1946. Robert Bradley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle Now & Then: Union Bay Village

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: On March 25, 1946, or near it, Wide World Photos recorded here what they titled “University Vet Housing.”   It would soon be named the Union Bay Village and house the families of returning veterans.  The first 45 bungalows shown here rented for from $35 to $45 dollars a month.  It would increase to a “teeming conglomerate of 500 rental units.”  With housing for both married students and faculty. The view looks north over a street that no longer exists.  The homes on the right horizon face the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail on N.E. Blakeley Street near N.E. 45th Place.  (Courtesy Ron Edge)
THEN: On March 25, 1946, or near it, Wide World Photos recorded here what they titled “University Vet Housing.” It would soon be named the Union Bay Village and house the families of returning veterans. The first 45 bungalows shown here rented for from $35 to $45 dollars a month. It would increase to a “teeming conglomerate of 500 rental units.” With housing for both married students and faculty. The view looks north over a street that no longer exists. The homes on the right horizon face the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail on N.E. Blakeley Street near N.E. 45th Place. (Courtesy Ron Edge)
NOW: After 35 years Union Bay Village was razed and replace with Laurel Village.  Mary Gates Memorial Blvd is on the left, and beyond it the University Ceramic and Metal Arts buildings.
NOW: After 35 years Union Bay Village was razed and replace with Laurel Village. Mary Gates Memorial Blvd is on the left, and beyond it the University Ceramic and Metal Arts buildings.

In “Seattle Transformed,” the last of his three-volume history of Seattle in the 20th Century, Richard C. Berner, gives his scholarly summary of the housing crises that greeted “the freshly discharged veterans” of World War Two. The retired University of Washington Archivist explains that Seattle’s dire straits in 1945 were built (or rather not built) upon the war’s own shortages.  Many of the thousands who had earlier come to Seattle to build ships and bombers had great difficulties finding affordable beds.

In spite of those discomforts, at war’s end most of these “visitors” wanted to stay in Seattle or in the charmed land that surrounds it.  Of the 5,352 families questioned by the Seattle Housing Authority, 4,841 answered that they wanted to make this their permanent home.  However, the need for constructing affordable housing got little help with peace. When the War Production Board lifted restrictions on construction materials, developers quickly purchased the released bounty, directing it for the more lucrative construction of commercial structures and upscale housing, of which these uniform huts at Union Bay Village are not examples.

Here from above we see the full Union Bay Village some months later.  The prospect is to the southwest with Union Bay on the left.
Here from above we see the full Union Bay Village some months later. The prospect is to the southwest with Union Bay on the left.  The 12 square blocks, below the scene’s center, are the original plat for Yesler Village.

For every patriotic reason imaginable – including Apple pies in the war surplus ovens – married veterans in pursuit of an education also needed to be sheltered.  Here in 1946 the solution for a least a few of them and their families came  – to not avoid the pun – as fallout from Hanford and Richland where these nifty quarters were first constructed for those who built the first atom bombs without knowing what it was they were doing.

The lucky vets at Union Bay Village knew what they were doing.  However, even with their $90 monthly GI-Bill, and cheap rents, they still needed extra part time work to raise their families.  At night they studied – here in the “Ravenna lowlands” near the north shore of Lake Washington’s Union Bay until 1981 when the Village was razed for another designed community – Laurel Village – with spiffier quarters but also still with controlled rents, late night study and insistent children.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Sure Jean, and again more from the neighborhood.  But first I will register my pleasure and admiration for the song, singing and playing by Pineola that you contributed to the blog one insertion before this.  We will hope that readers who have missed it will go visit it, perhaps first.  They [you] will find it below – at the bottom – the next post in space although the penultimate one in time.  [I honestly learned the meaning of “penultimate” while taking a course in classic Greek at Concordia Academy in Portland Oregon, 1958.]

The map of the union bay and its "connections" drawn from the first federal survey from the late 1850s, but with "modern" features added like the Seattle Lakeshore and Eastern Railroad line.
The map of the Union Bay and its “connections” drawn with the first federal survey from the late 1850s, but with “modern” features added like the Seattle Lakeshore and Eastern Railroad line.

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Plat for the Yesler Town Addition.
Plat for the Town of Yesler Addition.

TOWN of YESLER

[First appeared in Pacific March 24 1996]

            In “A History of Laurelhurst,” author Christine Barrett included the above photograph of the mill town Henry Yesler founded on Lake Washington’s Union Bay in 1888.  Most likely Yesler’s cousin J.D. Lowman, who was by then largely in charge of the Seattle pioneer’s business affairs, was responsible for naming the new town site after his older relative and benefactor. 

            Most of the Lake Washington shoreline was then still sided by old-growth timber.  The building of a mill town on Union Bay was made easier the preceding fall by the completion of the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad from the Seattle waterfront as far as the bay, and soon the new railroad continued north to Bothell and from there east into the Cascade foothills and eventually north to the Canadian border at Blaine.  The SLSSE carried logs to the mill and milled timber from it. The railroad, of course, also helped build both the mill and its town.

            This and practically all surviving early photographs of the area north of the then future Lake Washington Ship Canal were taken by a photographer who signed his negatives “Conn.”  He also taught school in a north end that was still mostly undeveloped.  This view dates from the early 1890s.  Conn sights his camera to the northwest, along the tracks that led from the SLSC mainline to the mill.  On the right, the earliest homes and businesses of the town of Yesler are grouped between Northeast 41st and Northwest 45th Streets to the sides of 36th Ave. Northeast, its principal avenue – its “Main Street.”  The line of white smoke behind the settlement is probably drawn by a locomotive heading north on the SLSE line – now the Burke-Gilman Recreation Trail. 

            Yesler’s first mill on Union Bay was destroyed by fire in 1895.  In 1916 this old wharf was exposed when Lake Washington was lowered nine feet for the opening of the Ship Canal.  A second mill, which produced shingles, burned down in the early 1920s.   The neighborhood, of course, survived, transforming from a mill town into a well kept addition of often modest homes, many of them homes for persons connected with the University of Washington.

 

The Town of Yesler
The Town of Yesler
Town of  Yesler, looking south to Union Bay
Town of Yesler, looking south to Union Bay
Town of Yesler wharf and mill, looking north.
Town of Yesler wharf and mill, looking north.
Looking north from Montlake to the mill Town of Yesler on the north shore of Union Bay. (Courtesy University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.)
Looking north from Montlake to the mill Town of Yesler on the north shore of Union Bay. (Courtesy University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.)  To the left is the entrance to the east end of the Montlake log canal.
Looking north thru Union Bay from the eastern border of the parking lots that once served MOHAI.   The wet land path to Foster Island appears at the center of the scene.
Looking north thru Union Bay from the eastern border of the parking lot that once served MOHAI. The bridge to the wet land path to Foster Island appears at the center of the scene.

 

The station and spur leading from the main line of the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern RR to the Town of Yesler and its mill.
The station and spur leading from the main line of the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern RR to the Town of Yesler and its mill.
First appeared in Pacific, Nov. 28, 1999
First appeared in Pacific, Nov. 28, 1999
Opened in the early 1890s, Yesler School was used until 1918.  It stood on what is now 36th Ave. Northeast, between Northeast 47th and Northeast 48th Streets.
Opened in the early 1890s, Yesler School was used until 1918. It stood on what is now 36th Ave. Northeast, between Northeast 47th and Northeast 48th Streets.

YESLER SCHOOL

[First appeared in Pacific, Feb. 2, 1997]

            Fire stations, churches and schools were common photographic subjects when cameras were still relatively rare.  Schools especially, since photograpahers, first itinerant and later resident, could hope to make as many prints from their negatives as the number of students posing in them.  It was, however, a hope rarely fulfilled unless, of course, the school’s administration was somehow involved in the negotiations.

            Here are the two photographs of the old Yesler School with which I am familiar. There are probably others secreted or forgotten in albums and attics.  This too appears in Christine Barrett’s book, “A History of Laurelhurst.” 

            Yesler School opened in the early 1890s to serve, of course, the families connected with old Henry Yesler’s nearly new company town on the north shore of Lake Washington’s Union Bay.  The site of Yesler’s downtown mill, the first spine in Seattle’s economic backbone (or heart in its thorax), was by then much too valuable for mere log cutting.  In 1888 Yesler moved his saws to this north shore of Union Bay, under the coaxing of his nephew and business manage, J.D. Lowman.  Getting to the mill town was made downright easy a year earlier with the laying of the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway, again, now the Burke-Gilman Recreation Trail.

6. Yesler-town-school-about-189-WEB

            The Yesler School did not close until 1918.  By then the mill town students –most of them from working families – probably sat side-by-side with those from a nearby neighborhood its promoters promised would be “the chief aristocratic section of the city.”  They called that 100-acres enclave of designer wealth Laurelhurst.

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The Environs from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
The Yesler Environs from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
The Town of Yesler neighborhood in the 1929 aerial photo survey.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge and the Seattle Municipal Archive)
The Town of Yesler neighborhood in the 1929 aerial photo survey. (Courtesy, Ron Edge and the Seattle Municipal Archive)
The 1936 aerial
1939 aerial
We have cut the borders of this detail from the 1952 aerial to conform to those in the 1912 Baist Map inserted three subjects up.
We have cut the borders of this detail from the 1952 aerial to conform to those drawn a half-century earlier in the 1912 Baist Map inserted three subjects up.  (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive with help in scanning and merging by Ron Edge.)

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UNIVERSITY VILLAGE

Construction of the 45th Street Viaduct between the "upper" University District and the U.W. Campus and the many plant nurseries fated for the development of University Village.  The Municipal Archive subject dates from 1939 and so too early to find in the distance any traced yet of the Union Bay Village, although its triangle has been cleared, top-right.
Construction of the 45th Street Viaduct between the “upper” University District and the U.W. Campus and below the many plant nurseries fated for the development of University Village. This Municipal Archive subject dates from 1939 and so it is too early to find in the distance any traces yet of Union Bay Village, although its triangle has been cleared, (turn earth) top-right.  What is evident is the commercial strip of mostly gas stations on the north side of 45th Street to the east of the viaduct, and the Laurelhurst horizon.

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An early aerial of the University Village, looking northwest with 45th Street, bottom-left.  Some of the Nursery culture survives above the Frederick and Nelson box and beside the bowling alley, top-center.  (And what a loss!)
An early aerial of the University Village, looking northwest with 45th Street, bottom-left. Some of the Nursery culture survives above the Frederick and Nelson box and beside the bowling alley, top-center. (And what a loss!)
A University Village adver-montage from 1975.
A University Village adver-montage from 1975.

FOLLOWS three Village-related photographs taken by photographer Doyal Cudjel for promotion of what the sign says: a Homecoming Express every ten minutes between Greek Row and University Village.  Cudjel has dated his snapshots, Oct. 7, 1959… (We suspect that these subjects are also cheerleaders.) Note the sign on the front of the bus in the last of the three shots.  It promotes KVI’S “New HI-FI”

7. RD---'Youngsters-entering-a-bus'-for-Kraft-Smith-&-Ehrig-(University-Village)-(a)-10-7-59

7. RD---'Youngsters-entering-a-bus'-for-kraft-Smith-&-Ehris-(University-village-(d)-10-7-59-WEB

7. RD---Youngsters-entering-a-bus'-for-Kraft-Smith-Ehris-(University-Village-(b)-10-7-59-WEB

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Union Bay on Opening Day, by Robert Bradley, ca. 1950
Union Bay on Opening Day, by Robert Bradley, ca. 1950

Pineola shines at Town Hall

Pineola! (photo: Julie Sotomura)
Pineola! (photo: Julie Sotomura)

 

We hope you made it to our Rogue’s Christmas show of short stories and music at Town Hall. If not, there’s always next year.

In the interim, however, I must share the attached live recording from the event. ‘The King of Everything’ was written by Leslie Braly to follow my reading of ‘The Birds for Christmas’ (about two boys in a charity hospital in Virginia whose only Christmas wish is to stay up late and watch Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’) and performed by Leslie, John Owen, Josh Woods, and Collin Schulze of Pineola.

Discovering hidden treasures is mostly the unlikely provenance of pirates;  but get an earful of the following song and encounter something fragile, hopeful, heartbreaking and joyful in equal measure. The real deal. Have a listen and exult.
11 – King Of Everything