Seattle Now & Then: Seattle General Hospital

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking northwest to Seattle General Hospital at the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Marion Street, circa 1909. (Courtesy of Michael Maslan)
THEN: Looking northwest to Seattle General Hospital at the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Marion Street, circa 1909. (Courtesy of Michael Maslan)
NOW: In 1974, the Union Bank of California Center opened, filling the block once used in part by Seattle General Hospital.  After many name changes this skyscraper is now called the 901 Fifth Avenue Building
NOW: In 1974, the Union Bank of California Center opened, filling the block once used in part by Seattle General Hospital. After many name changes this skyscraper is now called the 901 Fifth Avenue Building
The feature cornering its closest neighbors in the 1912 Baist real estate map.
The feature cornering its closest neighbors in the 1912 Baist real estate map – remembering now that the hospital was on the northwest corner of Marion and 5th.

As I remember, the first question about local history that I was ever asked was. “What became of General Hospital?”  While I did not know, yet I answered, “Has it changed channels?”  I was, of course, alluding to the soap opera, General Hospital. The real Seattle General Hospital had its beginnings in 1895 when a group of women rallied for a second, and protestant, hospital for the city. After two earlier locations, the building in today’s photo opened in November of 1900.

Seattle General Hospital can be found in this 1930 look northwest from Harborview Hospital.  It is the darker architectural mass just above the center of the subject.  Above it and to the left of it is the Northern Life Tower (1928), far right the Washington Athletic Club (1930) and far left, the Exchange Building (1931).  Some of most rumpled housing here on Yesler Hill (this part of First Hill) is revealed bottom-center across James Street from Trinity Episcopal.  It was structures like these that rationalized the razing of the neighborhood - much of its otherwise filled with housing stock much better than this -
Seattle General Hospital can be found in this 1930 look northwest from Harborview Hospital. It is the darker architectural mass just above the center of the subject. Above and to the right of it is the Northern Life Tower (1928), far right the Washington Athletic Club (1930) and far left, the Exchange Building (1931). Some of most rumpled housing here on Yesler Hill (this part of First Hill) is revealed bottom-center across James Street from Trinity Episcopal. It was structures like these that soon rationalized the razing of the neighborhood for Yesler Terrace, while much of it was otherwise filled with housing stock much better than this.

In those early years of acting like a pubic historian, I was repeatedly asked questions about Seattle General. Someone in the enquirer’s family had been born there – or died there.  So what became of Seattle General?  Now I suspect that that commonplace curiosity was generated in part because after seventy years of serving on Fifth Avenue, directly across Marion Street from its spiritual and fiscal advisor, the First Methodist Church, this brick landmark was sold to the Bank of California for about one million dollars.  After the patients were moved to the former Maynard Hospital on First Hill, demolition began on April 29, 1971.  Soon the slender bank, which Jean shows in part with his repeat, took to the sky.  And the old brick landmark?  It was missed.

Doctors Hospital.  Sculptor Dudley Pratt's relief panels, to the side of the hospital's main entrance, were unveiled in 1944.
Doctors Hospital. Sculptor Dudley Pratt’s relief panels, above the hospital’s main entrance, were unveiled in 1944.

In October 1975 the governing boards of three Seattle hospitals – Doctors, Swedish and Seattle General – agreed to merge under the name Swedish Medical Center.  To me, a Dane, the Scandinavian choice was a wise one, with connotations of competence, compassion and surely for some, strong broad-shouldered nurses with hair that reflected the sun.  By now we know Swedish very well, but it seems, no one – or only a few – still ask about Seattle General.

It was once typical for local papers to report on the progress of patients, and through its many years, Seattle General garnered lots of news.  For instance, in the Seattle Times for March 26, 1905, we learn under “Society”, that “Mrs. George B. McCulloch, who underwent a successful operation for appendicitis Tuesday, is at the Seattle General Hospital, where she will remain until convalesant.”  News about celebrity appendectomies, like that on April 1, 1903, for Puget Mills owner E.G. Ames, were often headlined in bold type.

The producer asks . . .
The producer asks . . .

Concluding now with the other General Hospital, by now the oldest TV soap opera that is still breathing, perhaps due to its proximity to the latest in expensive life-support devices.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Surely

When Ron Edge gets up at his usual morning hour – around 5 – he will insert a few links that relate to the above feature on Seattle General.   I’ll add a few subjects now (after midnight) but this week they will, I expect, be more about hospitals than Seattle General’s historical neighbors, which, you may have noticed and/or know, included the Lincoln Hotel, the Seattle Public Library, the First Methodist Church, the Rainier Club, the Elks Club, First Presbyterian Church, and certainly many others.  I’ll work an hour or so but then pause to watch the last of 26 one hour episodes of the original and captioned Swedish serial Wallander.

harborview-aerial-ca39-web

childhaven-then-lr

THEN: The Perry Apartments is nearly new in “postcard artist” M. L. Oakes look at them south on Boren to where it intersects with Madison Street. (Courtesy John Cooper)

perry-hot-details-1_2_3web

PERRY HOTEL as COLUMBUS HOSPITAL, Southwest corner of BOREN & MADISON: Crossroads of FIRST HILL

Columbus Hospital at the southwest corner of Madison Street and Boren Avenue.  Photo by the prolific postcard photographer, Ellis.
Columbus Hospital at the southwest corner of Madison Street and Boren Avenue. Photo by the prolific postcard photographer, Ellis.

=====

3. Wayside-Hospital-ship-S.S.-Idaho-Whittelsy-WEB

From IDAHO to WAYSIDE

A CLIP from The Times, PACIFIC MAG. , Dec. 8, 1991
A CLIP from The Times, PACIFIC MAG. , Dec. 8, 1991

3. Idaho-Hospit-Pier-C-WEB

The Wayside abandoned
The Wayside abandoned
A page from the COMMENWEALTH, MAY 23, 1903
A page from the COMMONWEALTH, MAY 23, 1903 – CLICK TO ENLARGE!
CLICK TO ENLARGE - to read
CLICK TO ENLARGE – to read
Second Ave. North and Republican Street - keep reading below.  (courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
Second Ave. North and Republican Street – keep reading below. (courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
Clip from The Times, Pacific Mag.  click-click
Clip from The Times, Pacific Mag. click-click
The USS SOLACE, another hospital ship, this time visiting Seattle ca. 1905.  That seems to be "Seattle's battleship" the Nebraska to the stern.  The SOLACE was commissioned in 1898 in time for the Spanish-American War.  She was 377 feet long and cruised at 15 knots (17 mph).  The SOLACE was decommissioned in 1921 and sold for scrap to Boston Metals Co. in 1930 - cheap.
The USS SOLACE, another hospital ship, this time visiting Seattle ca. 1905. That seems to be “Seattle’s battleship” the Nebraska to the stern. The SOLACE was commissioned in 1898 in time for the Spanish-American War. She was 377 feet long and cruised at 15 knots (17 mph). The SOLACE was decommissioned in 1921 and sold for scrap to Boston Metals Co. in 1930 – cheap.

=====

GENERAL HOSPITAL AMBITIONS of 1925

Looking east across 5th Avenue from the First Methodist Church to the open block where the church's medical arm indicated its intention of filling the block with a new hospital, and so kitty-korner across the intersection of 5th and Marion from their 1900 plant.
Looking east across 5th Avenue from the First Methodist Church to the open block where the church’s medical arm indicated its intention of filling the block with a new hospital, and so kitty corner from their 1900 plant across the intersection of 5th and Marion. [Click to enlarge and read the Times report below.]
The Seattle Times long report on Seattle General's intentions in 1925 tells us that the hospital was getting a late start after postponing their own campaign for the benefit of Children Orthopedics health-wealth "hustle" then.
The Seattle Times long report on Seattle General’s intentions in 1925 tells us that the hospital was getting a late start after postponing their own campaign for the benefit of Children Orthopedics health-wealth “hustle” then.
Children's Orthopedic on Queen Anne.
Children’s Orthopedic on Queen Anne.
Another look east over 5th Avenue to the block planned for the new and larger Seattle General Hospital.  Note Central School with the towers, the McNaught home, top-center at the southeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Marion Street and the here brand new Central Seattle Gas Station on the east side of 6th Avenue.  A key word search will reveal it featured here (in this blog.)
Another look east over 5th Avenue to the block planned for the new and larger Seattle General Hospital. Note Central School with the towers, St. James Cathedral, also with towers, the McNaught home, top-center at the southeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Marion Street and the here brand new Central Seattle Gas Station on the east side of 6th Avenue – a key word search will reveal it featured here. (In this blog.) – and here on Fifth Avenue, on the left and watched over by the Red Cross symbol, someone with their hood up working on their motorcar.   And don’t miss the two tennis courts – perhaps for nurses – one with a net and the other, it seems, abandoned.   The dater her is also 1925.   (Thanks to Ron Edge – again)

====

Now I’ll retreat from the blog and prepare for nighty-bears with the prelude of a Swedish mystery.  Tomorrow I will return and add a few more health-related subjects.   Thanks for your patience and other’s patients.  (pause)  Up at noon and here come the marines.

======

MARINE HOSPITAL (First)

5.  - Social Service, Marine Hospital 19338_24_52_img0001641A

5. Marine-Hosptial-A.-Curtis-59789-WEB

Published in The Times, July, 28, 1935
Published in The Times, July, 28, 1935
Appeared first in PACIFIC on Oct. 13, 1994.
Appeared first in PACIFIC on Oct. 13, 1994 and so years before Amazon.
Taken from Airport Way on August 17, 1934.
Taken from Airport Way on August 17, 1934.
Artist Myra A. Wiggins impression of the new Marine Hospital looming above the Beacon Hill greenbelt.
Artist Myra A. Wiggins impression of the new Marine Hospital looming above the Beacon Hill greenbelt, although given artistic free expression  it could be mistaken for Harborview. (Copied by Horace Sykes and courtesy of Lawton Gowey)

Vol 2

SEATTLE: 1921-1940 From BOOM to BUST

By RICH BERNER

Here is a link to “Boom to Bust,” Volume 2 of Rich Berner’s grand trilogy, SEATTLE IN THE 20TH CENTURY. Volume 1 covers Seattle history from 1900 to 1920, and Volume 3 treats of Seattle in the 1940s.  Earlier we posted on this blog Volume 1’s second edition, enriched with many additional illustrations.  A similar treatment for Volume 2 is a work-in-progress.  The link below thru the books’ cover is, however, a Ron Edge scanned facsimile of Boom to Bust in its original pagination as first published by Berner’s own Charles Press in 1992.  Sometime this year (2014) we hope to start opening here, page-by-page, the grand illustrated edition of Volume 2.  (We will let you know, of course.)  For now, here is the Charles Press version, in time for the reader to study one of its primary figures, Seattle Mayor John Dore, nor featured below with the few photos following.

The fresh Mayor John Dore at his flower bedecked desk after winning the 1932 election.
The fresh Mayor John Dore at his flower bedecked desk after winning the 1932 election.

MAYOR JOHN DORE – HIGH (ABOVE) & LOW (BELOW)

The often gregarious and pugnacious Mayor John Dore was nearly always brilliant – or very smart.   Mayor twice, first elected with Roosevelt in 1932, defeated by Charles L. Smith in 1934, then elected again in 1936, only to die in office in the spring of 1938, late in is term.

The sick mayor flashed thru the coach's window by a press photographer with a self-portrait with camera reflected in the far window.
The sick mayor flashed thru the coach’s window by a press photographer with a self-portrait with camera reflected in the far window.
1935 press collage of defense lawyer John Dore, left, facing prosecutor   , right.
1935 press collage of defense lawyer John Dore, left, facing prosecutor , right.

CITIZEN JOHN DORE: on the level.

In between his mayoral terms Dore returned to his vigorous lawyering.  Here (above) he is featured in a Seattle Times collage acting as defense attorney for Margaret Waley, the 19-year old kidnap suspect, charged in the regionally sensational case of the baby Weyerhaeuser abduction.  Facing him is assistant U.S. attorney Owen Hughes.  To prepare for the assembly of this collage, almost certainly both lawyers were asked to pose twice, one with and once without demonstrative gestures.  Hughes was given the gesture, and as it turned out won the case, to the relief of the accused, Mrs. Waley, who Dore described as tricked into the kidnapping by her husband, whom she, however, loved.  The wife, however, feared that if she was found innocent, the case might be appealed by a federal prosecutor under a federal crime that might have demanded her execution.   She was pleased with the guilty verdict, and also given a short sentence.

Dore takes his turn at pointing, perhaps in the court hallway.
Dore takes his turn at pointing, perhaps in the court hallway.   Awe but he seems to be smiling, healthy sunshine for all.
The mayor takes a photo opportunity with seductive evangelist and gospel monger who prefered to be known as Sister Aimee (McPherson).  During their meeting the Evangelist criticized the mayor for not using prayer during his campaign for reelection.  The Times clip dates from Jan. 15, 1934.
The mayor takes a photo opportunity with seductive evangelist and the gospel monger who preferred to be known as Sister Aimee (McPherson). During their meeting the popular Los Angeles-based  evangelist criticized the mayor for not using prayer during his campaign for reelection. The Times clip dates from Jan. 15, 1934.  Dore lost.

=====

GOVERNOR MARTIN signs on for SOAP LAKE and BUERGER’S DISEASE

To the joy of WW1 veterans, Gov. Clarence D. Martin signs House Bill No.70 reserving land at Soap Lake for a hospital treating Buerger's disease, "a mysterious malady" the Times captions reads, "that can be treated with Soap Lake water.   Martin was governor from 1932 to 1940.
To the joy of WW1 veterans, Gov. Clarence D. Martin signs House Bill No.70 reserving land at Soap Lake for a hospital treating Buerger’s disease, “a mysterious malady” the Times captions reads, “that can be treated with Soap Lake water.” Martin was governor from 1932 to 1940.

A nurse - or angel - with Buerger's disease victim on the here rocky shore of Soap Lake with a hospital on the horizon.
A nurse – or angel – guiding a Buerger’s disease victim onto the here rocky shore of Soap Lake with a hospital on the horizon. [click to enlarge]
A dummy page from Jean's and my book "Washington Then and Now."
A dummy page from Jean’s and my book “Washington Then and Now.” [click to enlarge]

The soap of Soap Lake - itself.
The soap of Soap Lake – itself – God’s Gift to the West.
Soap Lake's salts for bathing.  Geology's gift too.
Soap Lake’s salts for bathing. Geology’s gift too health hucksters.
One can still bathe in these salts and behind these stones.
One can still bathe in these salts and behind these stones.

=====

8. Three-Power-Nurses-WEB

Selected from a Times caption in 1934:  Three of the most prominent women of medicine in the Pacific Northwest met yesterday at the conference of the Northwest Hospital Association in Seattle. They are, left to right, Miss Carolyn Davis, first woman elected trustee of the American Hospital Association, and now superintendent of Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland: Miss May Loomis, for many years in charge of the Seattle City Hospital and now superintendent of the emergency department at Harborview: and Miss Evelyn Hall, now serving as nurses’ counselor at Harbor view after scores of years as superintendent of Seattle General Hospital.

7 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Seattle General Hospital”

  1. THANKS! I was born in Seattle General, where my mother worked as a nurse, in 1948 (we moved back to Boston 3 months later because of my illness and her unease with the local Children’s Hospital then). My mother died in 1990, but she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania during WWII, got a note from my army father (who left U Pa to go to war), and took off on a train to meet him in Nevada. They were east coast kids and hadn’t seen each other for 2 years, so this was brave beyond belief. Ultimately they ended up in Seattle. I moved back in early 1989, and she visited that year. We tried to find the hospital, determining quickly that it was gone. But importantly, her OB was, according to her, either the first or at least one of the only women MDs in Seattle. My mother was a brilliant nurse, destined for greatness in medicine in a more woman-oriented era, perhaps. I would love to have the name of that OB!

  2. I too was born at Seattle General Hospital in 1944. Might be fun for you to do a series on old hospitals and what has become of them – Children’s started on QA Hill, Swedish and Overlake and Evergreen and Northwest and others have grown like topsy. Cabrini is gone! Providence now a part of Swedish.

  3. I’m a Seattle Native born at Maynard Hospital in 1941 (also a bit Danish). Was Maynard Hospital also wrapped into Swedish? I enjoy your articles each week; thank you.

  4. This isn’t so much a reply to Ms. Crandall’s comment as it is a convenient way of sharing information. I worked at the Bank of California for a number of years, including the duration of the last major rebuild. On the corner of 5th and Marion, there was a bronze plaque, a historical marker commemorating the site, the location of Seattle General Hospital. I managed to remove the plaque and store it in the building during the reconstruction. There was no interest within management of re-mounting the plaque and detracting from their ‘new look’. It is still in storage, and perhaps this will provide incentive to re-mount the plaque.
    The other was that the building staff knew of the hospital, and tales would abound about how the BOC was haunted. The last item is that the Bank of California building was the second high-rise constructed in Seattle, by a consortium of developers led by Bagley Wright. I also managed to preserved the original documents regarding this development, in case there is some historical interest and a place to put them. Jeff Slaker

  5. I, too, was born in Seattle General Hospital, July 5, 1930; and one brother was born there in 1931. For a brief time I worked in the Bank of California Building during the late 80′s….sort of a ‘homecoming’. Thanks for the story and hospital’s photo.

    PS. A register of births at Seattle General is located at the Museum of History and Industry if one wants to research a birth.

    Janet (Kueckelhan) Vincent

  6. I too was born at Seattle General Hospital in Feb 1949. That was interesting info Janet about the birth registry. Will have to check that out. I don’t have my original birth certificate and the copies now don’t have much info on them. Thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s