Seattle Now & Then: Fire Station No. 5

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Frank Shaw’s late winter composition of waterfront landmarks at the foot of Madison Street in 1963.  (Photo by Frank Shaw)
THEN: Frank Shaw’s late winter composition of waterfront landmarks at the foot of Madison Street in 1963. (Photo by Frank Shaw)
NOW: Jean Sherrard’s repeat shares a modern concrete Fire Station No 5, which although less charmed than was Shaw’s station made of brick veneer and plaster panels, is surely more functional.
NOW: Jean Sherrard’s repeat shares a modern concrete Fire Station No 5, which although less charmed than was Shaw’s station made of brick veneer and plaster panels, is surely more functional.

This Sunday Jean and I return with another vibrant Kodachrome from Frank Shaw’s imagination – and camera.  We know from Shaw’s notes that he recorded this “foot of Madison Street” at 2 on the afternoon of March 4. 1961.

The gentle backlight of a mother of pearl sky comforts both the scene’s centerpiece, the closed Fire Station No. 5, and beside it to the left, the Grand Trunk Pacific Pier.  Between them, and half hidden behind an Alaska Way Viaduct Pier, is a line of red Northern Pacific boxcars parked on the railroad spur that snuggled to the apron along the north side of the wharf.  Transshipment was once the primary business of this waterfront, moving materials between Railroad Avenue (Alaska Way) and the line-up of finger wharfs controlled for the most by railroads.  Now it is entertainment that moves the central waterfront.

When the Grand Trunk opened in 1911 it was by several descriptions the largest wooden pier in world – North America and the West Coast.  Three years later in 1914 it burned to its pilings and was then rebuilt but without its former grand tower for the Harbor Master.

Frank Shaw's look north at Fire Station No. 5 from the west end of the Marion Street viaduct, on March 4, 1961.
Frank Shaw’s look north at Fire Station No. 5, also on March 4, 1961.
Shaw's station has got its reacoat after Ivar's Century 21 activism, or preparations for it.  This view from the viaduct too, in 1962.  Ivar has also added a gaudy rooftop sign to his Acres of Clams on the far side of the station.
Shaw’s station got this Redcoat after Ivar’s Century 21 activism, or preparations for it. This view from the Marion St. viaduct, in 1962. Ivar has also added a gaudy rooftop sign to his Acres of Clams on the far side of the station.
The second plant for Station No. 5, and below it 1916 new of its condemnation.
The second plant for Station No. 5, and below it the 1916 news of its condemnation.
A Seattle Times clip from March 17, 1916.
A Seattle Times clip from March 17, 1916.
Seattle Times, March 7, 1917.
Seattle Times, March 7, 1917, only a year later than the condemnation news above.

Shaw’s No.5 was the third of now four fire stations at the “foot of Madison.”  Dedicated in 1917 it was described in this newspaper then as “Seattle’s New Building Novelty.”  City Architect D.R. Huntington designed it to roll temporarily to one side when – if ever – it was time to replace the station’s supporting piles. The station was closed in 1959, although the attached dock continued to service the force’s fireboats.

The slip with Fire Station No. 5 between Pier 3/54, right-of-center, and the Grand Trunk dock that replaced the one destroyed by fire in 1914 (see soon below.)
The slip with Fire Station No. 5 between Pier 3/54, right-of-center, and the Grand Trunk dock that replaced the one destroyed by fire in 1914 (see soon below.)  Dated June 24, 1935, three years before Ivar opened his Pier 3 Aquarium on the sidewalk at it the pier’s northeast corner.
Ivar's Pier 3 Aquarium was open from 1938 to 1956.  The Acres of Clams opened in 1946.
Ivar’s Pier 3 Aquarium was open in 1938 with Ivar’s first fish ‘n chips stand on Pier 3/54.   The aquarium closed in 1956. The Acres of Clams opened in 1946.

In 1961 the fire department shared its surely dull drawings for the “modern concrete structure” it planned as a replacement.  Unlike this No. 5 it featured neither brick veneer nor ornamental masses. With a sustained howl from the city’s then brand new cadres of historic preservation, a new design by local architect Robert Durham was chosen.  While still concrete, it was less boxish.  Its chilly 15min dedication on Dec. 27, 1963 was serenaded by Ivar Haglund, No. 5’s popular neighbor to the north since 1938.  The “king of clams” wrote a special song for the ceremony; however, the lyrics seemed to have gone missing.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Sure Jean and we will begin again with some links to other and more recent features that cover the neighborhood, ones that Ron Edge will link through their subjects.   I’ll follow that with a few features from long ago – or longer ago.

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The Snoqualmie fire boat with Pier 3/54
The Snoqualmie fire boat with Pier 3/54

FIRST FIRE BOAT: The SNOQUALMIE

(First appeared in Pacific, Nov. 7, 1982)

 

         Seattle’s Great Fire of 1889 burned 130 acres of the central business district and left the city’s fire department red-faced. There wasn’t enough pressure to conjure a flood against the flames, and there wasn’t a hose strong or long enough to reach the fire with salt water pumped from the· pay.  When the ‘ smoke cleared the message was obvious. The then mayor, Robert Moran, told the inflamed citizens assembled at the armory at Union Street and Fourth Avenue that rebuilding a city should also include a professional and well-equipped fire department.

         Within a year the city had five new firehouses, an electric alarm system with 31 boxes, and the first fire boat on the West Coast: the Snoqualmie. Designed by William Cowles, a New York naval architect as a 91-foot, coal burning, tug-shaped, the Snoqualmie would did 11 knots and shot 6,000 gallons of saltwater per minute.  When the sealed bids were accepted the low one entered was from Mayor Moran.

         The first fire boat’s trial run was a celebrated affair. On the dock for a look was T.J. Conway, assistant manager of the Pacific Insurance Association. He later announced to the press, “She did very well – splendidly! In fact. l· shall feel justified in recommending a liberal reduction in insurance rates here.” It was happy news for the businessmen on the waterfront. More than 60 wharves and warehouses with frontage of more than two miles had·been put up since the fire flattened everything south of Union Street. With the presence of the Snoqualmie, insurance rates dropped by 20 percent.

         The Snoqualmie made its home in a slip next to Fire Station No.5 at the foot of Madison Street. For 37 years she partroled the waterfront looking for small fires to put out and big ones to contain. It. was also used to rescue ships in the sound and even salvage them, using its strong pumps to raise sunken vessels. ‘

         The Snoqualmie fought its last fire on Elliott Bay in 1927, the year it gave up its slip to the new fireboat in tow, the Alki. For the next 47 years’ the Snoqualmie continued to helped lower insurance rates – on Lake Union.  Its last service was as a small , freighter between here and Alaska. The last fire the Snoqualmie attended was its own in 1974. She burned for 36 hours off shore of the fuel dock at Kodiak, Alaska.

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ABOVE:  The stern-wheeler Capital City maneuvers at the end of Pier 3 circa 1902, her Seattle port of call.   Courtesy Museum of History and Industry.  BELOW:  In the intervening century Pier Three has been extended considerably to the south (right) and also some to the north (left).  The primary builder of this expansion was Ivar Haglund who first moved onto the Pier in 1938 with an aquarium.  He later purchased the pier. 

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CAPITAL CITY at PIER 3

[Renumbered Pier 54 in 1944]

 

            As the name suggests (on the stern-wheel) the “Capital City” is here either arriving from or returning to Olympia.  She is at the end of Pier 3 (renumber Pier 54 during WW2) early in the 20th Century. 

            The Seattle-Olympia packet, with a half-way stop in Tacoma, was not the one originally envisioned for her.  When the stern-wheeler was built in 1898 during the Klondike gold rush she was christened the Delton and prepared to head north for work on the Stikine River out of Wrangell, Alaska.   Instead she was sold to a Puget Sound company that changed her named and kept her on these inland waters that are ordinarily hazard free – unless a vessel is carelessly steered into something that is also moving. 

            For the Capital City that was the Trader.  In late October, 1902, the two vessels collided off of Dash Point.  With a large hole torn in her hull, the stern-wheeler began to sink.   Quoting from Gordon Newell’s “McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest,” the stern-wheeler’s “Capt. Mike Edward rang for full speed ahead” and aimed for the beach. The steamer’s engineer Scott “in the best tradition of the steamboat engineer, remained at the throttle, waist-deep in water, and the Capital City managed to beach herself on the last of her expiring steam.”   Saved, she was repaired and returned to the Olympia run.   

The Capitol City negotiating with the water end of Pier 3/54.
Lewis Wittlesey’s record of the Capitol City negotiating at the water end of Pier 3/54.

         What makes the second photograph of the Capital City rare is its depiction of the passengers’ random arrangement at the stern-wheeler’s bow.  Many of these sightseers are probably out for a weekend excursion to the Capital City’s regular ports of call, Tacoma and Olympia.  The “Mosquito Fleet” of small steamers was still  the preferred and sometimes the only way to get around Puget Sound in the early 20th Century.  Most of the smaller ports had no rail connections. Although the Northern Pacific could get one to Olympia quicker than the Capital City, the ride was neither as smooth nor as exhilarating.  

         A carpenter remodeling a Capitol Hill home discovered the glass negative for this rare second view. The photographer, Lewis Whittelsey, was a bookkeeper for the Seattle Water Department. His identification was traced through the coincidental discovery of two more sources of Whittelsey’s work.  Harold Smith belonged to the same church, Plymouth Congregational, as Whittelsey and had been given two albus of his photographs.  Lawton Gowey – my greatest help through nearly 40 years of studying and publishing – also worked as an accountant for the Seattle Water Department.  Lawton uncovered three more albums of Whittelsey’s work at City Hall years after his death in 1941.

            A larger sign is above the steamer, fixed to the water end of Pier 3. It promotes the hay, grain and feed business of James E. Galbraith and Cecil H. Bacon.  Bacon was a chemical engineer and capitalist who in 1899 partnered with Galbraith. a hay and feed merchant on the Seattle waterfront since 1891.  In 1900 as principal renters, the new partners moved into this then new Northern Pacific Railroad pier at the foot of Madison Street and began selling building materials like lime, cement and plaster, as well.   The partnership held until 1918 when Bacon left it.  His name was then subtracted from the sign. 

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Above: The Big Snow of early February 1916 may have been the city’s greatest photographic subject – of relatively short duration.   Here Herbert R Harter who described himself as a photographer in the 1915 city directory pointed his camera north on Railroad Avenue from the Marion Street overpass.   (Photo courtesy, Dan Kerlee)  Below: In 1935 when motor vehicles already dominated the waterfront Railroad Avenue got its name changed to Alaskan Way.

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SNOW on SNOW on SNOW

            One of the marks for the community’s passage of time is our Big Snow of 1916.  While still celebrated it is, of course, increasingly not remembered.   A very small circle of Seattle “natives” now recalls events of 90 years ago vividly.  

            Not so long ago the 1916 blizzard was still remembered.  Ten years ago during our latter day big snow of 1996, any born and bred local of, say, 90 would have remembered the snowfall that began in earnest on the late afternoon of Feb. 1, 1916.   By 5 pm on Feb. 2 the Weather Bureau at the Hoge Building at Second Ave. and Cherry Street measured 26 inches.  This is still our 24-hour record.   Five hours later the depth reached 29 inches. 

            This view of the historic pile-up looks north up the waterfront from the Marion Street overpass.  Here are the several “railroad piers” built early in the 20th Century with boom-time profits increased by the Yukon/Alaska gold rush of the late 1890s.  Most survive.  The smaller structure right of center is an earlier version of Fire Station No. 5.

            Canada’s Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad built the ornate pier filling the left foreground in 1914.  Here passengers could board the railroad’s own “mosquito fleet’ of sleek steamers for a scenic ride north to the railroads west coast terminus at Prince Rupert and there make connections for “all points east.”   The railroads first pier here was built in 1911 but destroyed by fire only three years later.  This replacement was built in the style of the original designed by Seattle architect James Eustace Blackwell, and survived until 1964, when it was razed for the staging of vehicles waiting to board Washington State Ferries.  

The Grand Trunk Pier in 1911 during the celebration of Seattle's first staging of the Golden Potlatch Days, the city's first multi-day summer festival.   A highlight were the aeroplane antics overhead. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)
The Grand Trunk Pier in 1911 during the celebration of Seattle’s staging of the Golden Potlatch Days, the city’s first multi-day summer festival. A highlight were the aeroplane antics overhead. Revived Vikings also made it to the celebration. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)

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Then and Now Captions Together – Perilously stuck between the Alaska Steamship pier on the right and the blazing Grand Trunk dock on the left, the smoldering tower of Colman Dock is the centerpiece of this 1914 scene shot from off shore.  The contemporary repeat was recorded with the help of an Argosy waterfront tour boat.  (Historical view courtesy Dan Kerlee)

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FIREMAN SPARE THAT TOWER! 

The destruction of the Grand Trunk Dock at the foot of Madison Street on July 30, 1914 was the most spectacular single fire in the history of the Seattle waterfront.  The “single” condition is important, for the city’s “Great Fire” of June 6, 1889 consumed the entire waterfront south of University Street – about 15 blocks worth.  That inferno did not discriminate.  (Lest someone complain, I have not included the 1910 fire on Wall Street in this ranking because a stiff wind off Elliott Bay kept its impressive incineration to the east side of Railroad Avenue.)   

On the far left – nearly out of the picture – is the 108-foot blazing skeleton of the Grand Trunk tower.  This view of its destruction is unique, for the unnamed photographer has turned to shoot what then may have seemed to be the imminent destruction of Colman Dock. And the fireboats Snoqualmie and Duwamish have joined the photographer to also shoot the dock that is not yet doomed. It seems two of their three visible streams are aimed at Colman Dock, one of them reaching the clock tower that is as yet merely smoldering. 

When its namesake Canadian railroad completed the Grand Trunk Pacific Dock in 1910 it was the largest wooden finger pier on the West Coast.  Four years later its charred piles were recapped and topped with another long and ornate terminal of the same footprint but without the tower. (This somewhat less distinguished replacement survived until 1964 when it was cleared away for an expanded loading lot north of Colman Dock.)

With the fireboats help Colman Dock escaped its neighbor’s fate.  Badly scorched, the top of the tower was rebuilt and survived until this Spanish-style home of the Black Ball fleet was replaced in the mid-1930s with an art-deco terminal in the style of the fleet’s then new flagship, the Kalakala.  

The above look at the three towers in 1913 (or very late 1912) with the Smith Tower under construction and the recently rebuilt Colman Dock with its new tower on the far right.  Below it the Grand Trunk fire of 1914.
The above look at the three towers in 1913 (or very late 1912) with the Smith Tower under construction and the recently rebuilt Colman Dock with its new tower on the far right. Below it the Grand Trunk fire of 1914.

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Looking across Railroad Avenue from the open second floor portico of the then brand new Grand Trunk pier, Phillip Hughett’s snapshot form late 1910 or early 1911 reaches from the Maritime building on the left to nearly new Marion Street overpass on the right.    His intended subject at the scene’s center skyline is the just topped-off steel skeleton of the Hoge Building still at Second Avenue and Cherry Street. (Picture courtesy of Jim Westall)
Looking across Railroad Avenue from the open second floor portico of the then brand new Grand Trunk pier, Phillip Hughett’s snapshot form late 1910 or early 1911 reaches from the Maritime building on the left to nearly new Marion Street overpass on the right. His intended subject at the scene’s center skyline is the just topped-off steel skeleton of the Hoge Building still at Second Avenue and Cherry Street. (Picture courtesy of Jim Westall)
Jean used his 10-foot camera extension pole to reach the elevated but long since lost platform used by Hughett.  The Marion Street viaduct seems further away because it is.  The passenger bridge was pivoted south some during the 1951-52 construction of the Alaskan Way viaduct.
Jean used his 10-foot camera extension pole to reach the elevated but long since lost platform used by Hughett. The Marion Street viaduct seems further away because it is. The passenger bridge was pivoted south some during the 1951-52 construction of the Alaskan Way viaduct.

SNAPSHOT TO MARION STREET

(First appeared in Pacific during the Spring of 2008)

            One of about 300 prints in a family photo album most likely glued to its black pages by Phillip Hughett, the amateur snap-shooter.  Mixed with the family pictures are many Seattle scenes and some of them quite unique like this view across Railroad Avenue (Alaskan Way) to Marion Street.

           The 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo, the Denny Regrade, and the startling build-up of the city skyline are Hughett’s favorite subjects, and all are given terse captions, but without dates.  But judging from the internal evidence of the pictures themselves Hughett was snapping Seattle from 1909 to 1911.  In 1911 he is listed as a salesman working for the Standard Furniture Company, and his grandson Jim Westall has him also living in Bellingham and California and performing as a pastor or preacher.  And given Hughett’s inclination to take photographs from the rooftops I can imagine him as comfortable in a pulpit.

           This view the photographer-preacher captions simply “Hoge Building, Seattle Wn.” Like many others, Hughett watched the Hoge’s steel frame ascend in a record time 30 days to its 18 stories, the tallest in town until the Smith Tower outreached it by more that 20 stories in 1913.  Hughett’s album includes a half dozen snapshots of the Hoge ascension from different perspectives.

            It is, however, the intimate early view of the Marion Street Trestle that makes this scene unique.  With a helpful hand from city archivist Scott Cline, we learn that the viaduct to Colman Dock was agreed to in late 1908 by the city and the Great Northern Railroad, and built in time to handle the crush of tourists here in 1909 for the AYP and the many Puget Sound excursions that steamed to and fro from the dock that summer.

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The KITSAP at the Fire Station side (south) of Pier 3/54 ca. 1912.
The KITSAP at the Fire Station side (south) of Pier 3/54 ca. 1912.

The KITSAP

(First appear in Pacific, 9-10-1989)

         The Kitsap was both trim and dauntless. In 20 years of rate wars, races, collisions, and switching routes, the steamer energetically participated in the wildlife of Puget Sound waterways. At 127&1/2 feet and 195 tons, the Kitsap was an average-sized steamer – about 12 feet longer than the Virginia V, the last survivor of Puget Sound’s “Mosquito fleet.”   The steamer was built in Portland for the Kitsap Transportation Co., one of the two strong arms of Puget Sound navigation. For a quarter century, the KTC competed with the Puget Sound Navigation Co. Oddly, at the Kitsap’s 1906 launching, the presidents for both companies, KTC’s W.L. Gazzam and PSNC’s Joshua Green, were on board.

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         Four years later Gazzam and Green traded abusive language when the Kitsap was sent to compete with Green’s much plusher and larger but slower Chippewa on the Bellingham run. Green complained to Gazzam that the fleet Kitsap represented a general threat to business because it taught patrons to expect speed. Green also responded by scheduling a steamer on Gazzam’s Bainbridge Island route. This route-and-rate-war featured at least two bumps between vessels, safety hearings, suspended captains and ruinous effects on Green’s Seattle to Vancouver route. In the rate war that ensued, both companies lowered the fare to Bellingham to a quarter. Smart customers would take either of the competing cheap trips to Bellingham and catch the train from there to Canada. In above view of the Kitsap, the banner strapped to her starboard side reads, “Bellingham-Anacortes-Seattle 25 Cents.”

The steamer Indianapolis underway.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
The steamer Indianapolis underway. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

         On Dec 14, 1910, Green inadvertently got even when three days after the Kitsap punched and sank the launch Columbia, the PSNC’s Great Lakes steamer Indianapolis rammed the Kitsap about 400 yards off Pier 3, and sent it to the bottom of Elliott Bay. The Kitsap was raised and then towed to West Seattle where it was patched up and ready to compete by the following May.

The Kitsap in line for repairs in West Seattle.
The Kitsap in line for repairs in West Seattle.

         In its remaining 15 years of service, the Kitsap steamed a variety of courses – her owners acting like coaches looking for winning match-ups with the opposition. Its packets included Poulsbo and Port Blakely, and a longer round trip from Seattle through Harper, Colby, Port Madison and back to the company’s depot at Pier 3 -now Ivar’s Acres of Clams.

The Kitsap, right-of-center, joins the 1911 flotilla celebrating the year's Golden Potlatch celebration.
The Kitsap, right-of-center, joins the 1911 flotilla celebrating the year’s Golden Potlatch celebration.

         In the 1920s, cars became a factor. In 1925, 40 minutes were cut from the car ferry Washington’s run between downtown Seattle and Vashon Island when the then-new Fauntleroy ferry dock allowed it to make the crossing in 17 minutes. The Washington’s old route from the foot of Marion Street was picked up by the Kitsap, by then renamed the Bremerton. A year later, in November 1926, the Kitsap-Bellingham caught fire while laid up at the Houghton shipyards on Lake Washington, and was destroyed along with two other vessels.

A busy afternoon at Pier 3/54 ("At the Foot of Madison") for the Kitsap Transportation Company.
A busy afternoon at Pier 3/54 (“At the Foot of Madison”) for the Kitsap Transportation Company.

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The Gorst Air Ferry at its dock in a slip shared with the fire department's fire boats.
The Gorst Air Ferry at its dock in a slip shared with the fire department’s fire boats.

GORST AIR FERRY

         On June 15, 1929, within a quarter tank of the Great Depression, Gorst Flying Service began its round trip service to Bremerton from Pier 54 “at the foot of Madison Street.” In the beginning its eight-seaters took off from the dock shown here tied to the southwest corner of Pier 3. Remarkably, the service kept on for nearly five years. In his company’s first year Verne Gorst claimed to have carried more than 25,000 passengers on 2,700 round trips across Puget Sound. The time of transit for what Gorst claimed was the “world’s first air ferry” was whimsically calculated as 51 minutes less than was needed by the best of the Black Ball’s ferries to plough the same distance. The reason for this popularity was, of course, both the thrill of the fight and the Navy Yard at Bremerton, then a popular tourist magnet. The early success of Gorst’s service allowed him to build a sizeable covered hangar that he anchored at the water end of Pier 4. It can be seen in the accompanying detail lifted from an early 1930s aerial photograph (below) of the Seattle waterfront.The sheltered floating hanger for Gorst's planes was tied to the water end of Pier 3/54.

A detail from the above aerial showing the Gorst hanger at the outer end of Pier 3/54, next door to the Grand Truck wharf.

A detail from the above aerial showing the Gorst hanger at the outer end of Pier 3/54, next door to the Grand Trunk wharf.    When the Gorst operation moved to Lake Union it towed its hanger through the ship canal.  Here, on the right, the hanger floats near the southwest corner of the lake.  It seems to have been somewhat enlarged.

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A scene from one of the Acres of Clams Clam Eating Contests stage on a barge while sharing the slip on the south side of Pier 54 with the fire boats.
A scene from one of the Acres of Clams Clam Eating Contests stage on a barge temporarily sharing the slip on the south side of Pier 54 with the fire boats.

Seattle Now & Then: The First Fire Department HQ

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Constructed in 1890 as the Seattle Fire Department’s first headquarters, these substantial four floors (counting the daylight basement) survived until replaced by Interstate Five in the 1960s.  (photo by Frank Shaw)
THEN: Constructed in 1890 as the Seattle Fire Department’s first headquarters, these substantial four floors (counting the daylight basement) survived until replaced by Interstate Five in the 1960s. (photo by Frank Shaw)
NOW: To reach a proper “now” required Jean Sherrard to cross traffic and explore the underbelly of the Seattle Freeway.  Columbia Street does not make it through the freeway.
NOW: To reach a proper “now” required Jean Sherrard to cross traffic and explore the underbelly of the Seattle Freeway. Columbia Street does not make it through the freeway.

For this Sunday and following it for two more, Jean and I will lean on the substantial record of Frank Shaw, the Boeing retiree who as an itinerate photographer armed with his Hasselblad sensitively helped document this city from the 1950s into the mid-80s.  Many of his thousands of contributions are of landmarks, like this eleventh hour study of what began as the first “permanent” headquarters for Seattle’s first professional fire department.  Well, not so permanent. In 1903 a new headquarters was opened at 3rd Ave. S. and Main Street

The top-most timbered part of the station's tower shows at the very top of this early look.  And here the grade on Columbia Street is still level or nearly so.
The top-most timbered part of the station’s tower shows at the very top of this early look. And here the grade on Columbia Street is still level or nearly so.

In the first year following Seattle’s “Great Fire of June 6, 1889” the city built five fire stations.  Four were built of lumber for economy, all with impressive towers for drying hoses, bell ringing, watching the city and being watched by it.  One of the five – this one at the southwest corner of Columbia Street and Seventh Ave. – was faced mostly with brick and stone by its architects, Saunders and Houghton. At a cost of $20,000, it was the fire department’s architectural plumb for that year’s bidding.

A. Wilse's late 1890s look southeast across Columbia Street.
A. Wilse’s late 1890s look southeast across Columbia Street.

It may be thought that housing a horse-drawn service on the side of a hill was dim. Not so. This first station needed to reach both the city’s business district below it and Seattle’s first neighborhood of fine (expensive) homes further up First Hill.  When the arched brick bays facing Columbia Street were first opened for fire fighting on Nov. 1, 1890 they faced a grade that was manageable.  North of James Street the block between 6th and 7th Avenues was generally relaxed.  For instance, one block south of the station at Cherry Street, Seventh even slumped – lost altitude – going east.

Another detail from the 1950 aerial shared by Ron Edge, this time for finding the fire station.
Another detail from the 1950 aerial shared by Ron Edge, this time for finding the fire station.

Although for fighting fires the station was closed for good in July of 1937, it continued to perform a variety of public services thereafter including, as the sign on its east (left) façade in Frank Shaw’s recording indicates, headquarters for Seattle Civil Defense.  For instance, scheduled here for the evening of June 6, 1951 was a

A Seattle Times clipping from June 13, 1951 invites citizens to a free showing of films instructive in how to survive an atomic attack in, we presume, the Central Business District.
A Seattle Times clipping from June 13, 1951 invites citizens to a free showing of films instructive in how to survive an atomic attack in, we presume, the Central Business District.
More instruction on what we need in the summer of 1951,
More instruction on what we were told we needed in the summer of 1951.  (From grade school I remember “Duck and Cover.”)

“special showing of four films on protection against the atomic bomb.”  Almost certainly the sensitive Shaw was drawn to this corner ten years later on March 4, 1961 not for civil defense but for a farewell with some lamentation.  Frank Shaw loved this building, and made this splendid record of it months before its majestic brick pile was razed for the freeway.

WEB EXTRAS

Our server went down overnight, preventing us from getting this post up until this Sunday morning. While we await Paul’s elaborations, let me post a few shots taken near the same location.

Another possible perspective of the firehouse, blocked by a freeway wall
Another possible perspective of the firehouse, blocked by a freeway wall
Looking west at the homeless encampment under the freeway
Looking west at the homeless encampment under the freeway
Looking east, back towards last week's 'then', the Zindorf Apartments. The homeless encampment has, over the last few days, been dismantled. Access is now restricted by a chain link fence.
Looking east, back towards last week’s ‘then’, the Zindorf Apartments. The homeless encampment has, over the last few days, been dismantled. Access is now restricted by a chain link fence.

‘Tis to ask at this late hour, anything to add, Paul?
Surely Jean.  We shall fasten a few related features and more.  The server has, you know by now, revived.  Hopefully the homeless, dispossessed of their handy “covered parking” beneath the freeway will find a warm revival in another otherwise free corner of this district.

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STATION NUMBER ONE

(First appeared in Pacific January 5, 1992)

                The fancy brick façade of Seattle’s first dedicated Engine house faced Columbia Street west of Second Avenue.  It was built in 1883 to house the fire department’s Washington No.1 – most likely the steam fire engine posed here with its crew.

The front facade of the fire station on Columbia appears near the center of this look south into Seattle's oldest neighborhood from the roof of the Frye Opera House at Front (First Ave) and Marion Street, ca. 1886.  The ornate Occidental Hotel appears far right, and Beacon Hill, much of it still forested, on the horizon.
The front facade of the fire station on Columbia appears near the center of this look south into Seattle’s oldest neighborhood from the roof of the Frye Opera House at Front (First Ave) and Marion Street, ca. 1886. The ornate Occidental Hotel appears far right (now home of the Sinking Ship Garage), and Beacon Hill, much of it still forested, brushes the horizon.

                Earlier, the department’s other engine, the smaller man-powered Washington No. 2, was also housed here – in a bar.  In the summer of 1882, when No. 2 attempted to answer an alarm on the waterfront – without horses – the weight of the rig dragged the men holding its pole down Columbia Street and into the bay.  Fortunately, both the firemen and the fire engine were pulled from the water with little injury.

2. Columbia-Street-Fire-Station-'Rebuilt-in-1888'-WEB

                By the time of the city’s “Great Fire of June 6, 1889”, the Seattle Fire Department had a half-dozen pieces of apparatus, but only one, No. 1 on Columba Street, was horse-drawn.  The ornate brick station that No. 1 left on the afternoon of June 5 to fight the Great Fire would not welcome it home.  Some thirty city blocks were destroyed that night, including this one and all those south of Spring Street and west of Second Avenue.

Pity the poor birdseye artist and his agent who prepared this detailed sketch of the Seattle existing before the Great Fire of June 6, 1889, only to have the most detailed and closet part of it all - the Central Business District - be razed to smoldering ruins, which the artist, perhaps in an effort to salvage some of his efforts represent with a cloud of smoke circling the burned district - about 30 blocks of it - like a soiled nimbus.  We have marked the fire stations position on Columbia Street with a red dot.
Pity the poor birdseye artist and his or her agent who prepared this detailed sketch of the Seattle existing before the Great Fire of June 6, 1889, only to have the most rendered part of it all – the Central Business District – be razed to smoldering ruins, which the artist, perhaps in an effort to salvage some of her/his efforts, represents with a rope of smoke fencing the burned district – about 30 blocks of it – like a shred from broken and soiled nimbus. We have marked the fire station’s position on Columbia Street with a red dot. [CLICK to Enlarge]
The Seattle Rifles, protecting the ruin property, stand on guard at the northeast corner of Columbia St. and Front or First Avenue.  Had it survived the first, the rear of the station would appear on the far left.  Note near the subject's center the tower of the Yesler Mansion on 3rd at Jefferson.
The Seattle Rifles, protecting ruined property, stand on guard at the northeast corner of Columbia St. and Front or First Avenue. Had it survived the fire, the rear of the fire station would appear on the far left. Note near the subject’s center the tower of the Yesler Mansion on 3rd at Jefferson.
Columbia Street, on the right, heads west to Front Street (First Ave.) and what remains of Seattle's brick show strip in the late 1880s.  The ruins of the fire station on the south side of Columbia have been cleared - it seems - and work on a temporary platform for the raising of a business tent shows bottom-right.  (Courtesy Michael Maslan)
Columbia Street, on the right, heads west to Front Street (First Ave.) and the monolith ruins of what remains of Seattle’s brick show strip in the late 1880s. The ruins of the fire station on the south side of Columbia have been cleared – it seems – and work on a platform for the raising of a temporary business tent shows bottom-right in this view looking west from the east side of Second Avenue. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)
One half of a Peterson & Bros stereo card of the waterfront at the foot of Columbia Street recorded from the dogleg end of Yesler's Wharf.   The Elephant Store, at the southeast corner of Columbia and Front (First) stand in front of the future site of the first fire station.  Curiously, even here in 18978 there is a tower showing its head behind the store.  Curious.  The clump of trees on the horizon is near 7th/8th Avenue.  Soon we may have this estimate refined as we (Rod Edge, Greg Lange and I) are now studying the deforestation of First Hill, but not quite yet.
One half of a Peterson & Bros stereo card of the waterfront at the foot of Columbia Street recorded from the dogleg end of Yesler’s Wharf. The Elephant Store, at the southeast corner of Columbia and Front (First) stands in front of the future site of the first fire station. Curiously, even here in 1878 there is a tower showing its head behind the store. Yes curious. The clump of trees on the horizon is near 7th/8th Avenue. Soon we may have this estimate refined as we (Rod Edge, Greg Lange and I) are now studying the deforestation of First Hill, but not quite yet.   (Courtesy Ron Edge)
Another of either Robert Bradley or Horace Sykes slides taken from the Alaska Way Viaduct when it was open to strolling photographers before the motorcars.  While not directly above the former site of the dogleg in Yesler's Wharf it was and is close.  Here the look up Columbia surely includes some small touch (the red of bricks) of the first station at Seventh Avenue.
Another of either Robert Bradley or Horace Sykes slides taken from the Alaska Way Viaduct when it was briefly opened to strolling photographers in 1953 before the motorcars. While not directly above the former site of the dogleg in Yesler’s Wharf (see above) it is close. Here the look up Columbia surely includes some small touch (the red of bricks) of the fire station at Seventh Avenue.

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Churchill Warner's look east on Columbia from Second Avenue to a First Hill horizon.
Arthur Churchill Warner’s look east on Columbia from Second Avenue to a First Hill horizon.
Appeared early (for this feature) in Pacific on May 15, 1983.
The above appeared early (for this feature) in Pacific on May 15, 1983.
The intersection of Third Ave. and Columbia Street is bottom-center. In the place of the Rainier Hotel, the block has been graded with a plateau, of sorts - above the center of the subject.
The intersection of Third Ave. and Columbia Street is bottom-center.  Above the center of this subject, the former block of the Rainier Hotel,  bounded by Columbia, Marion Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues,  has been graded with a plateau, of sorts.
Much of the same neighborhood, this time from the nearly new Smith Tower, ca. 1914.  The terrace block that once held the Rainier Hotel is just left-of-center.
Much of the same neighborhood, this time from the new Smith Tower, ca. 1914. The terraced block that once held the Rainier Hotel is left-of-center.   The fire station tower can be found.
Lawton Gowey's capture of First Hill in its last weeks before construction on the Seattle Freeway here.  The fire station and its tower is still around.
Lawton Gowey’s capture of First Hill in its last weeks before construction on the Seattle Freeway thru the neighborhood. The fire station and its tower are still around.  The terraced block that once held the Rainier Hotel has by the time of this June21, 1961 record been entirely committed to parking with one attending service station.  The grass-covered northeast corner of Columbia Street and Fourth Avenue has not yet been paved for a small VIP parking lot connected to the Rainier Club.  (This corner is treated with one of the “Edge Links” put up near the bottom of this production.)  .
Central School, on the right, and the Rainier Hotel, on the left, photographed during an unidentified snow from the 1890s.  The photographer stood on 8th Ave. south of Columbia Street.   Had the camera been turned a few degrees to the left, it would have included some of the Fire Dept. Headquarters.
Central School, on the right, and the Rainier Hotel, on the left, photographed during an unidentified snow from the 1890s. The photographer stood on 8th Ave., south of Columbia Street. Had the camera been turned a few degrees to the left, the subject would have included some of the Fire Dept. Headquarters.
Central School looking south from 7th and Madison.  The stand alone smaller school structure on the left, survived the razing of the towered school.  We have two late looks at it below by Frank Shaw.
Central School looking south from 7th and Madison. The stand alone smaller school structure on the left, survived the razing of the towered school. We have two late looks at it by Frank Shaw directly below.
What is left of the Central School campus as of March 30, 1962.  Photographed by Frank Shaw.
What is left of the Central School campus as of March 30, 1962.  The prospect looks northwest from the corner of 7th and Marion. Photographed by Frank Shaw.
The remains from the other side - looking east up Marion Street with the north tower of St. James showing, far left.
The remains from the other side – looking east up Marion Street with the north tower of St. James showing, far left.
Frank Shaw has captioned this "Fire Station rear, Dec. 6, 1962, from 620 Cherry Street."
Frank Shaw has captioned this “Fire Station rear, Dec. 6, 1962, from 620 Cherry Street.”
Another of Frank Shaw's freeway coverage.  This from Jan. 1, 1963 looking north from Jefferson Street.
Another of Frank Shaw’s freeway coverage. This from Jan. 1, 1963 looking north from Jefferson Street.  The fire station ruins-in-progress show far right.
Frank Shaw's advancing concrete recorded on August 15, 1964, looking north from near 7th and Jefferson.
Frank Shaw’s advancing concrete recorded on August 15, 1964, looking north from near 7th near Jefferson.

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5. Freeway-Park-7_4_76-THEN-mrWEB

ABOVE: In the thirty two years between Frank Shaw’s dedication picture and Jean Sherrard’s dance scene, Freeway park has gained in verdure what it has lost in human use. (Photo by Frank Shaw courtesy of his nephew, Mike Veitenhans.) BELOW: Weekly summer dances are one of the many joyful strategies for returning people to the park.  (photo by Jean Sherrard)

5. Freeway-park-3-NOW-WEB

FREEWAY PARK REVIVAL

(First appeared in Pacific, Sept. 28, 2008)

           By the evidence of his negatives Frank Shaw loved to explore the city from his lower Queen Anne apartment, carrying his Hasselblad camera and economically planning the views he recorded so that he did not waste film — (a discipline that was abandoned by the rest of us with the introduction of the digital camera.)  Shaw especially liked the waterfront, Pioneer Square, parks of all sorts, including Seattle Center, and if there was an important event connected with them, a record of it has a chance of being included in his meticulously organized binders.

           Just so, on July 4, 1976, Shaw entered Freeway Park from its southwest corner off Seneca Street during the park’s bi-centennial dedication.  Carefully, he exposed two negatives. As revealed in Shaw’s record, the architectural clarity of the landscape, in spite of the dedication day crowd, might startle readers who are familiar with the woodsy commotion that has since, perhaps, overdosed this freeway-covering retreat.  From Shaw’s prospect, Jean Sherrard would have been looking into branches.  Instead he moved forward about twenty yards, put his Nikon on his extension pole, and looked down on the couples, most of them “in something white,” enjoying The Ball Blanc. It was an August evening and the group KGB played selections, which Jean reviews as “marvelous subtle tangos – good good good.”

Frank Shaw, Freeway Park, 1976.
Frank Shaw, Freeway Park, 1976, above and below.

5. Freeway-Pk-waders-FS-7_76-WEB

           For about three years Freeway Park has been joined by a growing cadre of boosters: persons and institutions, like Town Hall, Horizon House, Home Street Bank, and other activists in the Freeway Park Neighborhood Association.  They want to repair the park and return to it a daily flow of people and some of the thousand of gallons of circulating water that once splashed through its waterfalls and pools. These regular free summertime “Dancing Til Dusk” dances are an important part of this revitalization, and they each begin with an hour of instruction.  The teachers, and musicians will return again next summer when the floor is again unrolled.

5. Freeway-Park-cannonballWEB

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A King County tax photo from Dec. 2, 1909, looking northwest across Columbia Street from 5th Avenue on Dec. 4, 1909.
A King County public works photo looking northwest across Columbia Street from 5th Avenue on Dec. 4, 1909.
First appeared in Pacific, Oct. 1, 1995.
First appeared in Pacific, Oct. 1, 1995.

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8. Marion-near-7th-ca-WW2-WEB

The obvious continuities between this week’s photographs, above and below, are the monumental twin towers of St. James Cathedral, upper right, at 9th and Marion and far left the unadorned rear west wall and south sidewall of the Lee Hotel that faces 8th Avenue.  Judging from the cars, the older scene dates from near the end of World War Two. The weathered two-story frame building at the scene’s center also marks time.  It was torn down in 1950 and replaced with the parking lot seen in the “now.”

Historical photo by Werner Lenggenhager, courtesy of Seattle PublicLibrary.
–>8.-Marion-Near-8th-NOW-WEB

NOSTALGIC RECORDER

(First appeared in Pacific, late 2004

 

         In 1949 architects Naramore, Bain and Brady began construction on new offices for themselves at the northeast corner of 7th Avenue and Marion Street. Their new two-story building filled the vacant lot that shows here, in part, in the foreground of the older scene. Consequently if I had returned to the precise prospect from which Werner Lenggenhager (the historical photographer) recorded his view ca. 1947 I would have faced the interior wall of an office that was likely large enough to have once held several draughting tables. Instead I went to the alley between 7th and 8th and took the “now” scene about eight feet to the left of where the little boy stands near the bottom of the older view.

         That little boy is still younger than many of us – myself included – and he helps me make a point about nostalgia. The less ancient is the historical photograph used here the more likely am I to receive responses (and corrections) from readers. Clearly for identifying photographs like the thousands that Lenggenhager recorded around Seattle there are many surviving “experts.” And more often than not they are familiar not only with his “middle-aged” subjects but also with the feelings that may hold tight to them like hosiery – Rayon hosiery.

         Swiss by birth Lenggenhager arrived in Seattle in 1939, went to work for Boeing and soon started taking his pictures. He never stopped. Several books – including two in collaboration with long-time Seattle Times reporter Lucile McDonald – resulted and honors as well like the Seattle Historical Society’s Certificate of Merit in 1959 for building a photographic record of Seattle’s past. The greater part of his collection is held at the Seattle Public Library. For a few years more at least Lenggenhager will be Seattle’s principle recorder of nostalgia.

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FREEWAY LAUNDRY

9.  6th-&-Cherry-near-it-condemned-houses-WEB

Above: The grades up First Hill from the Central Business district involved a variety of uneven dips that can scarcely be imagined since the construction of the Seattle Freeway Ditch.  If preserved these old clapboards would have been suspended several stories above Interstate Five.  (Pix courtesy Lawton Below: Jean Sherrard’s contemporary view repeats the presentation of the Harborview Hospital tower, upper-right, while looking north from the Madison Street bridge over the freeway.  Two blocks south of Jean’s prospect Columbia Street climbs First Hill.  The Skyline senior retirement condominiums are under construction, upper-left.    Most of the Lindorf apartments appear above the freeway far right.

9. Freeway-Laundry-NOW2-WEB

  

         Here is yet another unattributed, undated, and unidentified historical photograph from the neighborhood with yet very helpful clues – this time two of them.

           First is the obvious one, the tower of Harborview Hospital upper-right, which was completed in 1931.  We may compare the tower to a fingerprint, for when Jean Sherrard visited 6th Avenue, which we agreed was a likely prospect for this view of the tower, he first discovered that when he set his camera on 6th about 20 yards north of Madison Street that the basic forms in his view finder of Harborview tower and the tower in the historical photograph lined up.    But it still “seemed” that he was too far from the tower to, for instance, imagine having a conversation in normal tones with the unnamed historical photographer across – I’ll estimate – about seventy years.  Jean needed to move south.

           The second helpful clue is the sign on the wall of the frame building right of center and above the hanging wash.  It reads, “Admiral Transfer Company – Day – Night – Holiday Service.”   The address for Clyde Witherspoon’s Admiral Transfer in 1938 is 622 Columbia Street, which puts it at the northwest corner with 7th Avenue and Columbia.   Now we may move south from Jean’s original position on 6th Ave. to the alley a half block south of Marion Street and between 6th and 7th Avenues.  If Jean could have managed to make it there he would have been suspended sixty feet or so above the center of the Interstate-5 ditch.    Instead, for his second look to the tower he stood on the Madison Street overpass.

           The houses on the left are in the 800 block on Seventh Avenue.  Real estate maps show them set back some from the street.  And whose uniformly white wash is this?   Again in the 1938 city directory the laundryman Charles Cham is listed at 813 7th Avenue.  Perhaps this is part of Cham’s consignment from a neighborhood restaurant.

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EDGE LINKS

As is our happy weekly habit, here are some relevant neighborhood links found and attached by Ron Edge.

 THEN: The city's regrading forces reached Sixth Avenue and Marion Street in 1914. A municipal photographer recorded this view on June 24. Soon after, the two structures left high here were lowered to the street. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

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STILL on COLUMBIA  – The BAR

Crossing the Bar, 1912
Crossing the Bar, 1912

 

 

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Seattle Now & Then: The Zindorf Apartments

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: A close “read” of this concrete pile at 714 7th Ave. will reveal many lines of tiles decorating its gray facades.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
THEN: A close “read” of this concrete pile at 714 7th Ave. will reveal many lines of tiles decorating its gray facades. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey) 
NOW:  One of the Zindorf’s prides, its colored tiles, survive now but under colored coats of what appears to be impervious paint.  The real color of the tiles survives for study and touch in the arching entrance.
NOW: One of the Zindorf’s prides, its colored tiles, survive now but under colored coats of what appears to be impervious paint. The real color of the tiles survives for study and touch in the arching entrance.

Mathew Partrick Zindorf, the sturdy builder-developer of these namesake apartments, ran a classified in The Post-Intelligencer for Sept. 19, 1909 that trumpeted the qualities of his then modern four-story (with basement) creation on the east side of 7th Avenue, mid-block between Cherry and Columbia Streets.  Distributed throughout were seventy-one apartments, 40 of two rooms, 28 of three, and 3 of four.  Everyone of them had disappearing beds, tiled and enameled bathrooms, kitchenettes fitted with gas ranges and refrigerators, and every apartment was entered thru the elegance of doors aglow with art glass, and along floors, halls and stairs finished in Alaska marble and art tiling.

Preservationish Diana James, quoted here, recorded this peek into the Zindorf entrance while researching for her history of Seattle apartment house, "Shared Walls" and often shared with this blog.  Three details follow, also by James.
Preservationist Diana James, quoted here, recorded this peek into the Zindorf entrance while researching for “Shared Walls,” her history of Seattle apartment houses, and often shared with this blog. The three details follow, are also by James.

Zinborn-entrance-tiled-by-D.James-No.-2WEB

Zindorf-entrance-tiles-by-D.James-No.-2-WEB Zindorf-entrance-titles-by-D.-James-No.-3-WEb

A Seattle Times early clip on the "new Zindorf."
A Seattle Times early clip on the “new Zindorf.”
The 1912 Baist map locates the Zindorf.
The 1912 Baist map locates the concrete Zindorf and its brick neighbor the Columbia at the southeast corner of Columbia St. and 7th Avenue..

The apartment’s accompanying portrait – from about 1911 – reveals that it was lavishly decorated with art tile on the outside as well.  But most importantly, these apartments were made of fireproof reinforced concrete.  It was a point of such gravity to the long-lived Zindorf that the first line in his Seattle Times obituary for April 13, 1952 reads, “93.  Long-time Seattle construction engineer, who built

1-obit-ST-4-13-1952-Zindorf-WEB

the first reinforced concreted structure here . . .the Zindorf Apartments.”  Historian Dianna James, author of “Shared Walls,” a history of Seattle’s apartment buildings, doubts it.  She nominates the Waldorf apartment-hotel for that distinction.  Built a few blocks north of Zindorf at the northeast corner of 7th and Pike and about three years earlier in 1906, in a Times report from 1907, the Waldorf is also described as strictly fireproof . . . built of reinforced concrete . . . There is no wood of any kind, except the flooring.”

A July 11, 1909 clip from the Times.
A July 11, 1909 clip from the Times.

Zindorf seems to have had some uncertainty about his namesake apartments before they opened.  In a July 11, 1909 Times classified the developer indicates a willingness “to lease for a term of years” his “strictly first-class building and very close in. . .”  However, the offer did not, it seems, indicate an impasse, for the 1909 Times classified noted above promised that “the apartment house will be ready for occupancy in October.”  Next in the Times classifieds for December 12, a self-acclaimed “first class dressmaker, Mrs. Amsbury, was advertising her services from Zindorf apartment 1-b.”  Early in January a “professional masseur and chiropodist” was offering rheumatism massage in a Zindorf apartment.

Seattle Times, Jan. 7, 1910.
Seattle Times, Jan. 7, 1910.

A century ago the neighborhood was distinguished by the brick Monticello Hotel, directly across 7th Ave. from the Zindorf; the Seattle Fire Department’s headquarters, at the southwest corner of

Seattle's post-1889 fire headquarters at the southwest corner of 7th Ave. and Columbia Street, and so for most of its life - although not in this early Wilse shot form the 1890s - across 7th Avenue from both the Zindorf and Columbia Apartment.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
Looking southeast across Columbia Street at Seattle’s post-1889 fire headquarters at the southwest corner of 7th Ave. and Columbia Street, and so for most of its life – although not in this early Wilse shot from the 1890s – across 7th Avenue from both the Zindorf and Columbia Apartment.  One of Jean’s and my Pacific Features upcoming will show this station in its last days during the building of the freeway, with another transparency by Frank Shaw.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

7th and Columbia; the brick Columbia Bldg. (also showing here), next door at the southeast corner of the same intersection, and nearby both St. James Cathedral and Trinity Episcopal Church.  And being “very close in” to the business district was made nearly immediate by Cable Railways on both James and Madison Streets.  For the second half of its life, the Zindorf has faced the freeway, and heard it too.

Zindorf's neighbor the Columbia at the southeast corner of 7th and Columbia.  This view of its recorded by public works photographer James Lee in 1911.
Zindorf’s neighbor the Columbia at the southeast corner of 7th and Columbia. This view of it was recorded by public works photographer James Lee in 1911.   The Zindorf appears far right.
Looking northwest towards First Hill from the top floor of the old City Hall.  I no longer remember the occasion for my visiting that exterior balcony, but it was probably during the Royer administration.  Here the tops of both the Zindorf and the Columbia peek above Interstate-Five aka The Seattle Freeway within the city.
Looking northeast towards First Hill from the top floor of the old City Hall. I no longer remember the occasion for my visiting city hall’s exterior balcony, but it was probably during the Royer administration. Here the tops of both the Zindorf and the Columbia peek above Interstate-Five aka within the city as The Seattle Freeway.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?   Yes Jean, but with a confession that we have, again, given most of our time to research and this show-tell (the sensational rewards of research) will suffer some because of it.  We don’t have time for it all it seems, however, Ron Edge’s help is typically redeeming in this, and so below we will include a number of aerials got from Ron and from the edges of other collections. To these we will join a few past features from the neighborhood – most of them linked by Ron – and a few other features pulled from this computer.  Also we will leave much of the interpretation to the readers.  They may feel confident that most likely the Zindorf will figure into what we add – either directly or as a neighbor.   What follows, then, is something of a challenge.  To repeat, we  will begin with the links, continue on then to some aerials and then find a few more neighborly features.  (The last may be added later in the week, depending, this evening, on the nighty-bear*  impulses.)
* Coined and used by Bill Burden to describe or indicte anything that may have to do with going to bed.

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FIVE LINKS

 

THEN: The city's regrading forces reached Sixth Avenue and Marion Street in 1914. A municipal photographer recorded this view on June 24. Soon after, the two structures left high here were lowered to the street. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

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1950 AERIALS

 

The Zindorf and much else is revealed in this 1950 aerial.
The Zindorf and much else is revealed in this 1950 aerial.  Click TWICE to enlarge and explore. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
Another 1950 aerial of the looking east here over Pioneer Square, up First Hill and beyond it.  This is dated August 11, 1950. and it does include the Zindorf, barely.
Another 1950 aerial, looking east here over Pioneer Square, up First Hill and beyond it. This is dated August 11, 1950. and it does include the Zindorf, but barely.  It appears far left about one/third down from the top.   Columbia Street climbs First Hill far-left.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

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The TWO from 1929  CHALLANGE

Looking east over much of the business district in an aerial (and damaged print) from 1929.  The reader is encouraged to try some hide-and-seek when comparing with oblique aerial with the vertical "map aerial" that follows covering much of the same neighborhood.
Looking east over much of the business district in an aerial (and damaged print) from 1929. The reader is encouraged to try some hide-and-seek when comparing with oblique aerial with the vertical “map aerial” that follows covering much of the same neighborhood.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
This, again, is a portion of the Municipal Archive's 1929 mapping aerial survey of the city and its environs.  Ron Edge both scanned and merged it.
This, again, is a portion of the Municipal Archive’s 1929 aerial survey of the city and its environs. Ron Edge both scanned and merged it.  CLICK TWICE to EXPLORE.

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We hope to soon include what remains.  But now we climb the stairway to nighty-bears*

* compliments Bill Burden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle Now & Then: Amundsen's 'Maud'

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Tied momentarily to the end of the Union Oil Co dock off Bay Street, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s ship Maud prepares to cast-off for the Arctic Ocean on June 3, 1922.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
THEN: Tied momentarily to the end of the Union Oil Co dock off Bay Street, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s ship Maud prepares to cast-off for the Arctic Ocean on June 3, 1922. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
NOW: Jean Sherrard took his “repeat” from the outer or western end of Pier 70.  Most of the Union Oil wharf was removed for the original 1934-36 construction of the waterfront seawall.  What was left of Unocal’ waterfront facilities were removed for the building of the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, which opened on a freezing January 20, 2007.
NOW: Jean Sherrard took his “repeat” from the outer or western end of Pier 70. Most of the Union Oil wharf was removed for the original 1934-36 construction of the waterfront seawall. What was left of Unocal’ waterfront facilities were removed for the building of the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, which opened on a freezing January 20, 2007.
The June 4, 1922 Seattle Times report - including the featured photograph - on the MAUD's send-off.
The June 4, 1922 Seattle Times report – including the featured photograph – on the MAUD’s send-off.  (CLICK-CLICK to enlarge)

By June 4, 1922, the Sunday this waterfront scene first appeared in The Times under the banner “In Quest of Great Unknown,” its principal subject, Capt. Roald Amundsen, was long known to readers – from pole to pole.  Twenty years earlier with provisions for four years and a crew of seven aboard a converted herring boat, the Gjoa, the “athletic Viking” set out from Oslo, Norway to locate the magnetic North Pole.    While it did not reach the North Pole on this try, this Amundsen’s expedition was the first to complete the Northwest Passage by ship alone in 1906.  The Norwegian’s name then rose to the top of the long list of explorers who had bundled their bodies in bear skins for sailing thru freezing seas in the service of science and self.

Thurlby, The Seattle Times political cartoonist of that day, bids fair sailing to MAUD and her crew in the June 3, 1922 Times.
Thurlby, The Seattle Times political cartoonist of that day, bids fair sailing to MAUD and her crew in the June 3, 1922 Times.

Next in 1910 the fearless Viking left Oslo for Antarctica and reached the South Pole Dec. 14, 1911.  Amundsen later reflected, “The area around the North Pole  – devil take it – had fascinated me since childhood, and now here I was at the South Pole. Could anything be more crazy?”

The Nord Amundsen's ironic musing (in the Times for Dec. 14, 1921) on his earlier success in reaching the South Pole first.
The Nord Amundsen’s ironic musing (in the Times for Dec. 14, 1921) on his earlier success in reaching the South Pole first.
Amundsen and his familiar profile on the right on board the MAUD.
Amundsen and his familiar profile on the right on board the MAUD.
An earlier record of the Maud crew as was heading to Seattle for repairs and renewal.  (9-1-1921)
An earlier record of the Maud crew as was heading to Seattle for repairs and renewal. (9-1-1921)

1. maud

Here namesake the Danish Queen Maud, formerly of Whales.
Here namesake the Norwegian Queen Maud, formerly of Whales.

The explorer returned to his fixed fascination in 1918 with the Maud, a Norway- built ship meticulously designed by Amundsen to complete his arctic circumnavigation of the globe by sailing east from Norway across the top of Russia. Victorious with this Northeast Passage the Maud – named for the Norwegian Queen who had helped finance it –reached the Ballard Locks on Sept 11, 1921, and thereby made it onto the first Clemmer Graphic, the local newsreel produced for the Clemmer theatre, one of the larger motion picture houses in Seattle.

1. MOORE THEATRE lecture grab

The Seattle Yacht Club moored the Maud while Amundsen went lecturing and looking for more sponsors to make another run on the North Pole.  He reached but did not touch it at last on May 12, 1926, and not aboard the Maud but from the airship Norge with his American sponsor.  Piloted by the Italian Umberto Nobile, on May 12, 1926, their flyover was the first undisputed sighting of the North Pole. Two years later Amundsen disappeared with a crew of five while trying to rescue Nobile who went down while returning from another flight to the North Pole.

The eventual fate of the Maud when owned by the Hudson Bay Company.  For decades she rested off-shore in Cambridge Bay, aka Nunavnut, Canada.
The eventual fate of the Maud when owned by the Hudson Bay Company. For decades she rested off-shore in Cambridge Bay, aka Nunavnut, Canada.  It is on the Northwest Passage. (Courtesy, the World Wide Web)
A drawing of the Maud's wrecked position.
A drawing of the Maud’s wrecked position.
The MUAD at high tide.  It is possible that she has recently been saved by a Norwegian campaign to bringer he back to Norway and rebuild her.  In my own 11th hour I was not able to determine, as yet, if this had or has not been pulled off.  The projected cost was huge.
The MAUD at high tide. It is possible that she has recently been saved by a Norwegian campaign to bringer he back to Norway and rebuild her. In my own 11th hour I was not able to determine, as yet, if this had or has not been pulled off. The projected cost was huge.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?   Thanks for asking Jean.  The overnight shutdown of this program pulled me over a timeline of deadlines and I proceeded to work on our next submissive submission to the Times, the one on Lady Rainier, the brewery’s fountain sculpture  yearning now, its seems, to return to Georgetown, having some years back been sent north to South Seattle (&  Tullies) to rest in the landscape by the old Rainier Brewery there (like the Georgetown brewery, it too has been long abandoned by beer), and without her hydraulics.  As you know, although submitted this week it will not appear in the times for about one month.  That is what is called the “lead time.”

Returning now to the north Seattle waterfront in the block between Wall and Bay but most often associated with Broad Street, we have, again, Ron Edge’s help from the sky.  We will insert his polish of both the 1929 and 1936 vertical (map) aerials of the neighborhood and follow them with an elliptical aerial – also from Ron – of considerable detail, showing us the Union Oil installations in 1932, ten years after Amundsen and his Maud’s visit, and four years before the completion of the Seawall as far north as Bay Street.

The 1929 aerial with the Union Oil facilities and its Bay Street dock, left of center, and below it the Pier 70 dock (still name Pier 14 then) below it.  Denny Way runs across the top of the subject. The seawall here is still seven years from completion.  (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)
The 1929 aerial with the Union Oil facilities and its Bay Street dock, left of center, and below it the Pier 70 dock (still name Pier 14 then) below it. Denny Way runs across the top of the subject. The seawall here is still seven years from completion. ( Click Twice to enlarge – Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)
The 1936 aerial from the same sky but with a new Railroad Avenue beside a new seawall.
The 1936 aerial from the same sky but with a new Railroad Avenue beside a new seawall.
Union Oil dock at the foot of Bay Street in 1932 and its facilities to both sides of Bay.  (Courtesy again of Ron Edge)
Union Oil dock at the foot of Bay Street in 1932 and its facilities to the south side of Bay. (Courtesy again of Ron Edge)

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The Muthama Barrel factory as seen from its pier off the foot of Broad Street.
The Mattulath Barrel factory as seen from its pier off the foot of Broad Street.

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MATTULATH’S BUNCO BARRELS

(First appeared in Pacific, Feb. 9, 1997)

            The thought that pioneer Seattle had some sort of guardian ghost was supported by the young town’s relative prosperity in 1879, when elsewhere on Puget Sound, according to pioneer historian Thomas Prosch, “the times were exceedingly dull . . . the logging business was dead, the fisheries were unprofitable . . . and every trade was depressed or suspended. And yet the town grew right along, and seemed to flourish.”

            The Mattulath barrel factory was one of Seattle’s creations that year.  Built north of Belltown near where Broad Street now ends at Elliott Bay, the big factory was an impressive landmark, its pier extending a good way out form the shoreline.  Here barrels of cottonwood staves were manufactured in “impressive numbers,” most sent to San Francisco and Hawaii.  For two years the plant “gave employment to a hundred men and boys . . . and seemed very successful, but it suddenly collapsed.”  The factory and its wharf were deserted to “decay and ruin.”

            In this chronological history of Seattle, Prosch explains.  “It subsequently developed that the enterprise was a stock-jobbing affair. . .made to appear highly profitable when it did not actually pay expenses, and that the projectors slipped out with considerable money obtained in the doubtful manner indicated.” In other words, a common scam.  Bunco.

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A. Wilse's classic of a native waterfront camp north of Broad Street. (Courtesy MOHAI)
A. Wilse’s classic of a native waterfront camp north of Broad Street. (Courtesy MOHAI)
For this early look at the Waterfront Trolley, Lawton Gowey, rail fan and transportation historian, stood near where Wilse was standing to record his ca. 1899 view.  Lawton was here in the early 1980s.  Lawton died soon after, and would have been startled, as many of us still are, that the popular trolley was abandoned for - and not accommodated by - SAM's Sculpture Garden.
For this early look at the Waterfront Trolley, Lawton Gowey, rail fan and transportation historian, stood near where Wilse was standing to record his ca. 1899 view. Lawton was here in the early 1980s.  He died soon after, and had he kept on would have been startled, as many of us still are, that the popular trolley was abandoned for – and not accommodated by – SAM’s Sculpture Garden.

NATIVE CAMP BY ANDERS WILSE  ca. 1899

(First appeared in Pacific, Nov. 5, 2000)

            This photo of dugouts beside a temporary Indian camp on the Seattle waterfront has been published often, but not always captioned accurately.  Pioneer journalist-historian Thomas Prosch’s description of this site as in the vicinity of the “west end of Vine, Cedar and B road streets” is surely correct – or nearly so.  The top of Queen Hill may be glimpsed on the left horizon.  

            For the contemporary photograph I have chosen Broads street – near it.  Before the seawall was constructed here in the mid-1930s, the waterfront had a small point at the foot of Broad Street.  The little bay we see in the older picture most likely extends north from that point.

            For dating this scene, Prosch is not so helpful.  He describe it as a “common scene” between 1882 and1886.  “The canoes were those of Indians on their way from the north to the hop fields of the White and Puyallup valleys.”  Hop farming in the Puyallup and White River valleys did reach its peak in 1882, with large profits that were largely the gift of the Indians’ cheap labor.  At its height, the industry employed more than 1,000 Indians and many came by dugout canoes over long distance from villages far north along the Canadian coast.  The hop-louse infestation in 1899 and plunging prices stopped the boom.

            We learn from MOHAI Librarian Carolyn Marr, that the Norwegian photographer Anders Wilse gave this the negative number 1,010, and it is helpful for dating the subject.  All of Wilse’s negatives between Nos. 1,000 and 1,050 are of Indian-related subjects and at least two of these are copyrighted for 1899.

            The description on the negative sleeve for this image – although not in Wilse’s hand – supports both Prosch’s siting and my own speculations.  It reads, “Indian camp at North Seattle.” In 1899 the foot of Broad Street was still considered part of North Seattle.

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EAGLE COVE

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Then ABOVE:  Photographed from a railroad trestle and not a boat this ca. 1909 scene looks southeast from near the waterfront foot of Eagle Street. The brick warehouse on the far right survives as Seattle’s link in the Old Spaghetti Factory chain.   (Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey)

Now BELOW: This “repeat” was recorded soon after the Olympic Sculpture Park was opened in January last year when some of the construction fences were still in place.  The wider “now” view also shows a portion of Pier 70, far right, Alexander Calder’s sculpture Eagle, far left horizon, and in the foreground sculptor-architect Roy McMakin’s “Love & Loss” a mixed media installation made of both profound sentiments and concrete.   

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BELOW:  Frank Shaw’s snapshot of the “garden” mixed with concrete rubble along the future site of the Sculpture Park.  Frank recorded this on May 23, 1975.

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EAGLE COVE

(First Published, Jan. 2008)

          North of Broad Street, where the waterfront turns slightly north, was once a small cove where the Duwamish often beached their dugout canoes sometimes to walk a worn path to the fresh waters of Lake Union.  We might doubly call this Eagle Cove, first after Eagle Street that ends here and now also for Olympic Sculpture Park’s soaring piece of public art, Alexander Calder’s Eagle.

           The beach is still exposed in the historical scene, which was photographed from the railroad trestle that first crossed in front of the cove in 1887.  Here, a rough collection of modest residences, squatters’ shacks and floating homes are scattered about the two blocks between the beach and Western Avenue, to both sides of Eagle Street.   But this ca. 1909 scene is doomed.   The Union Oil Company purchased and cleared these blocks for the installation of its first waterfront row of tanks in 1910.

From the Union Oil "campus" and the future sculpture garden across "Eagle Cove" to the north face of Pier 70.
From the Union Oil “campus” and the future sculpture garden across “Eagle Cove” to the north face of Pier 70. The autos parked her are always waiting for a drive in my teen dreams.  Some of them can fly.)

           After the fuel facility closed in 1975 these predictably polluted acres were first scrubbed and then sold at a bargain price to the Seattle Art Museum and the city.  The result is another belated fulfillment first of the Olmsted Brothers 1903 description of a Harbor View Park running in part through these blocks and later for Park Commissioner Sol G. Levy’s radical proposal of 1951 that much of the central waterfront be ridded of its wharfs and railroads and seeded for a park.

           The city got its first central Waterfront Park at the foot of Union Street in 1974, but the greener visions of both the famous Boston brothers and the local Levi are better fulfilled with SAM’s new 9 acre sculpture garden especially when enjoyed in its verdant chain with the contiguous (to the north) Myrtle Edwards Park.  Like Frank Shaw – but not as often – I too walked the waterfront in the 70′s and 80s with my camera. The sectioned 76 Sign across a field – perhaps a hazard with carbon pollutants – I recorded at sunset, while wandering thru the nearly abandoned Union Oil site.  I consider it the first piece of sculpture in the new garden, although not one has as yet recognized it as such.  The generous genre is Found Art.

First contribution to the sculpture garden - later withdrawn.
First contribution to the sculpture garden – later withdrawn.

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Pier 14 (later renumbered 70)
Pier 14 (later renumbered 70)  Courtesy, Municipal Archives>

THE BLUE FUNNEL LINE

(First appeared in Pacific, Sept. 3, 1989)

            If color were available for this early 1920’s view of Pier 70 it would be dominated by the blue stacks of the Blue Funnel Line’s steamers Protesilaus andTyndareus

            The steamship company was formed in 1865 by two Englishman who named all their vessels after characters of Greek mythology.  The unfortunate Protesilaus was killed as he jumped ashore at Troy, fulfilling a prophesy that the first Greek to touch Trojan soil would die.  Tyndareus was a Spartan king.

            In 1911, the Protesilaus broke all previous records for speed in delivering raw silk from Yokohama to the Northern Pacific wharf in Tacoma.  Seventeen days after the vessel left Japan the fibers were in New York.

            Three years later, returning fro Asia, it was boarded by English officers at Victoria – the first steamer at a Pacific Northwest port requisitioned for war service.  After delivering its cargo to Seattle, the Protesilaus was reworked into a troop carrier.  Following the war it came back, posing for this picture.

            Pier 70 was built in 1901 by the salmon packers Ainsworth and Dunn, and the pier’s shed served, for a time, as a cannery.  It was primarily used as a shelter for the trans-shipment of cargoes like cotton, tea, rubber and soybeans.  The soybeans were quickly delivered directly across Railroad Avenue (Alaskan Way) for refining into plywood glue at  Lauck’s Mill, now the Spaghetti Factory. 

            During World War 2 the odors of Eastern spices inside the pier shed were exchanged for those of Western spirites when the dock was requisitioned as a warehouse fo the state’s Liquor Control Board. Its original pier number -14 – was changed to 70 when the army gave continuous numbers to all Elliott Bay piers near the end of the war.

            The construction work on Railroad Avenue in the foreground has not yet anything to do with the extending of the waterfront’s seawall north from Madison Street to Bay Street.  That pubic work was done from 1934 to 1936. 

The Seawall completed
The Seawall completed. (Courtesy Municipal Archives)
Seawall construction looking north from Lenora in 1934, 35 and 36.  (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)
Seawall construction looking north from Lenora in 1934, 35 and 36. (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)
Seawall construction, looking north from Pier 14/70 to the turn at Bay Street in 1935. Ron Edge reminds us of the dogs on Railrod Avenoe.
Seawall construction, looking north from Pier 14/70 to the turn at Bay Street in 1935. Ron Edge reminds us of walking the dogs on Railroad Avenue, lower-right.  You may notice the  by now familiar Union Oil plants on the upper right.  Sometime in 1935, and still courtesy of the Municipal Archive.)
Pier 70 with one of its many make-overs.  This one photograph by Frank Shaw on March 20, 1973.
Pier 70 with one of its many make-overs. This one photograph by Frank Shaw on March 20, 1973.

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PIER 70 FROM THE BAY

(First published, summer of 2009)

           It is very rare for this little weekly feature to get its present before its past, and yet for this comparison I photographed the “now” view of the water end of Pier 70 before I found the “then.”  Aboard an Argosy tour boat I prudently recorded everything along the waterfront.  That was in 2006 – about.  A sign for the law firm Graham and Dunn, the pier’s principal tenant since 2003, shares the west wall with the pier number.  Although it is not a perfect match with the “then,” it will do for studying the latest remodel of this big wharf at the foot of Broad Street.

           Constructed in 1901-2 for the salmon packers Ainsworth and Dunn, at 570 x 175 feet it was the first large pier at the north end of the waterfront. Here nearly new, it seems still in need of paint and shows no signs of signs and few of work.  On the left, Broad Street makes a steep climb to what is now Seattle Center. The northern slope of Denny Hill draws the horizon on the right.  (It is still several years before that hill was razed for the regrade.)

           Besides Salmon, through its first 70 years Pier 70 was the Puget Sound port for several steamship companies including the English Blue Funnel (as we know from above) and the German Hamburg American lines.  Among the imports handled here were cotton, tea, rubber, liquor (It was a warehouse for the state’s Liquor Control Board during Word War 2.) and soybeans.  The beans were processed across Alaska Way from Pier 70 in what is now the Old Spaghetti Works, although not for a nutritious gluten free noodle but for glue used in the making of plywood.

           Joining the general central waterfront tide from work to play, Pier 70 was converted to retail in 1970.  Still far from the central waterfront, it was no immediate success.  There was then no waterfront trolley, no Sculpture Garden, and, next door, no new Port of Seattle.  By now both the Belltown and Seattle Center neighborhoods above the pier are piling high with condo constructions and conversions and the waterfront foot of Broad is quite lively.

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  The same pier at the foot of Broad Street a few years after its 1999 remodel for the short-lived tenancy of Go2Net, one of the many local internet providers that faltered in the new millennium.  (dorpat this time)