All posts by jrsherrard

Just a guy, ya know...

Seattle Now & Then: On the Waterfront

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The driver, lower left, leads his team towards First Avenue up a planked incline on Madison Street.  (Courtesy MOHAI)
THEN: The driver, lower left, leads his team towards First Avenue up a planked incline on Madison Street. (Courtesy MOHAI)
NOW: Looking west towards the waterfront on Madison Street through its intersection with Western Avenue.
NOW: Looking west towards the waterfront on Madison Street through its intersection with Western Avenue.

I’ll venture that this look across Railroad Avenue (Alaskan Way) and Elliott Bay as far as West Seattle’s dim Duwamish Head, far-left, was photographed some few weeks after the city’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889, burned everything on the waterfront south of University Street.  The fire was ignited by a volatile mix of upset boiling glue and carpenter’s shavings scattered on the floor of Margaret Pontius’s frame building at the southwest corner of Front (First Avenue) and Madison Streets, about a block behind the position the unnamed photographer took to record this rare scene of the waterfront’s revival.

This post-1889 fire claims to show its ruins at the foot of Madison Street.  (Courtesy Michael Maslan)
This post-1889 fire claims to show its ruins at the foot of Madison Street. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)

Before the “providential fire” this part of the waterfront was covered with the Commercial Mill and its yard. Built in the mid-1880s on its own wide pier off the foot of Madison Street, this specialist in sash, doors, and blinds was nearly surrounded by stacks of lumber, great contributors to the conflagration.  On the night of the ’89 fire, when seen from the safety of First Hill, burning boards from the lumberyard carried high above the business district put on a rare fireworks show.

Photographed by Morford from Yesler's Wharf in late 1887 or 1888.  Madison Street lumber-bound wharf is on the far right, Denny Hill behind the tall ship.
Photographed by Morford from Yesler’s Wharf in late 1887 or 1888. Madison Street lumber-bound wharf is on the far right, Denny Hill behind the tall ship.

The small warehouse in the featured photo at the top, right-of-center, was built by and/or for F.A. Buck for his business, California Wines, which he advertised with banners both at the roof crest of the shed and facing the city.  It seems that the shed was also being lengthened on its bay side.  Railroad Avenue is also being extended further into the bay.  This work-in-progress can be seen between the vintner’s shed and the Columbia and Puget Sound Railroad’s boxcar No. 572.  Far left, a pile driver reaches nearly as high as the two-mast vessel anchored, probably at low tide, behind the vintner’s warehouse.  This ‘parallel parking’ was not what the city council envisioned following the fire.  The city expected and eventually got finger piers that extended into the bay, where visiting vessels were tied in the slips between them.

Railroad Ave. ca. 1903 showing the then new long finger piers north of Madison Street.  The shorter piers to the south (left) of Madison were built after the Great Fire of 1889.  They would be either moved further into the bay on new pilings are replace with longer piers like the Grand Trunk Dock and Colman Dock.
Railroad Ave. ca. 1903 showing the then new long finger piers north of Madison Street. The shorter piers to the south (left) of Madison were built after the Great Fire of 1889. They would sooner ( or later) be either moved further into the bay on new pilings are replaced with longer piers like the Grand Trunk Dock and Colman Dock.

In the featured photo, the bales of hay stacked both beyond the horses, left-of-center, and at the scene’s lower-right corner, have come to the waterfront either over water, often aboard steamers from Skagit valley farms or over the rails of the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway, which had, only recently in 1888, reached both the agriculture hinterlands of King County and the Seattle Coal and Iron Company’s Issaquah coal mine.

The D.H. Gilman engine on the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad line - perhaps in Gilman, later named Issaquah.
The D.H. Gilman engine on the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad line – perhaps in Gilman, later named Issaquah.

The smaller shed in the right foreground of the features photo at the top is outfitted as the waterfront office for the coal company, which in May of 1888 sent from Yesler Wharf, probably to California, its first load of coal aboard the ship Margaret.  Within two years the Seattle Coal and Iron Company’s growth, disrupted the wine-sellers quarters.  The long shed was removed to allow construction of an elevator and overpass for moving Issaquah coal from the SLSER coal cars above and over Railroad Avenue to the company’s new bunkers that extended into Elliott Bay.  The coal bunkers stood over what is now the dining area of Ivar’s Acres of Clams on Pier 54.

This detail, pulled from the 1893 Sanborn real estate map, shows the coal bunkers on the left and the trestle (for the coal) over Railroad Avenue and to the coal facilities between Railroad Avenue and Western Ave.  The next photo below looks up Madison from that trestle in 1890 or 1891.
This detail, pulled from the 1893 Sanborn real estate map, shows the coal bunkers on the left and the trestle (for the coal) over Railroad Avenue and to the coal facilities between Railroad Avenue and Western Ave. The next photo below looks up Madison from that trestle in 1890 or 1891.  (I’ve forgotten for this “fog of blog”  moment.)
The Northern Pacific photographer F.J.Haynes look east up Madison Street from the coal trestle that passed over Railroad Avenue to the coal pier at the foot of Madison.   (Courtesy, Tacoma Public Library)
The Northern Pacific photographer F.J.Haynes look east up Madison Street from the coal trestle that passed over Railroad Avenue to the coal pier at the foot of Madison. (Courtesy, Tacoma Public Library)
Looking north on the waterfront with the dark timbers of the Madison Street coal bunkers showing right-of-center, ca. 1898.
Looking north on the waterfront with the dark timbers of the Madison Street coal bunkers showing right-of-center, ca. 1898.
F. J. Haynes look at the waterfront from a vessel on Elliott Bay.  Madison Street is just left of the bright navy vessel at the center.  On the horizon above it is Central School at the southeast corner of 6th and Madison.  Is it brand new.  And so it the King County Court House on the horizon, far right.  (Courtesy Tacoma Pubic Library)
F. J. Haynes ca. 1891 look at the waterfront from a vessel on Elliott Bay. Madison Street is just left of the bright navy vessel at the center. On the horizon above it is Central School at the southeast corner of 6th and Madison. Is it brand new, and so it the King County Court House on the horizon, far right. (Courtesy Tacoma Pubic Library)
Another 1890s look down on Railroad Avenue north from the Madison Street coal trestle.  The several afternoon shadows of the short pier sheds along the waterfront then appear on the right.
Another 1890s look down on Railroad Avenue south from the Madison Street coal trestle. The several afternoon shadows of the short pier sheds along the waterfront then appear on the right.
Another early post-fire Haynes view of the waterfront, this one most likely from the Madison Street coal wharf.  The competing King Street coal wharf and bunkers reaches into the bay at the scene's center.   Yesler's post-fire wharf is marked left-of-center.  (Courtesy, Tacoma Public Library)
Another early post-fire Haynes view of the waterfront, this one most likely from the Madison Street coal wharf. The competing King Street coal wharf and bunkers reaches into the bay at the scene’s center. Yesler’s post-fire wharf is marked left-of-center. (Courtesy, Tacoma Public Library)

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  For sure Jean.  Of the five waterfront links that Ron Edge has attached, the first one especially is filled with Madison Street relevance – and more.   That is there are many other features embedded for the reader to release merely by clicking on it (and the others).  And may they also remember to click on the images to enlarge them for studying details.  That’s why we scan them big for the blog.

THEN: The S. S. Suveric makes a rare visit to Seattle in 1911.  (Historical photo courtesy of Jim Westall)

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One of Muybridge's early motion studies, and not a Seattle subject necessarily.
One of Muybridge’s early motion studies, and not a Seattle subject necessarily.  Like all else, CLICK to ENLARGE

Seattle Now & Then: Leary Way

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THEN: With his or her back to the original Ballard business district, an unnamed photographer looks southeast on Leary Way, most likely in 1936.
THEN: With his or her back to the original Ballard business district, an unnamed photographer looks southeast on Leary Way, most likely in 1936.

NOW: On September 17th last Jean Sherrard took this “repeat” with the 2 Bit Saloon on the far left. It was the last day and night for the tavern, which timed its finale with that month’s Backfire Motorcycle Night in Ballard.

NOW: On September 17th last Jean Sherrard took this “repeat” with the 2 Bit Saloon on the far left. It was the last day and night for the tavern, which timed its finale with that month’s Backfire Motorcycle Night in Ballard.

We had two “thens” to choose from, and here follows the alternative.

The alternative also looks southeast on Leary Way to its first curves of three on its way to Fremont.
The alternative also looks southeast on Leary Way to its first curve of three on its way to Fremont.

This week we look south-southeast into a somewhat befuddling Ballard intersection where Leary Way, before curving to the east and ultimately heading for Fremont, meets 17th Avenue. N.W. and N.W. 48th Street. The photographer of this picture was working for the Foster and Kleiser billboard company, whose negatives we have used before, and will surely many times to come, the fates willing. So the intended subjects were the big signs on the far side of the curving Leary Way.

This snap in the billboard survey looks thru the same Leary curve but from the southeast end of it.  So it looks northwest on Leary.  The date, March 13, 1939 is recorded, bottom-left.  [A personal reflection to share: born in the fall of 1938, it was then barely babbling when this shots was recorded, and here and now nearly 76 years later, I blabber on and on.
This snap in the billboard survey looks thru the same Leary curve but from the southeast end of it. So it looks northwest on Leary. The date, March 13, 1939 is recorded, bottom-left . [Unless you are not dyslexic, then it is properly bottom-right. Another  personal reflection to share: born in the fall of 1938, I was then barely babbling when this shot was recorded, and now nearly 76 years later, I blabber on and on.

On the left of the featured photo at the top, between the Mobilgas flying horse (named Pegasus by the ancient Greeks) and the OK Texaco service station, 17th Avenue N.W. heads north.  In the early 1890s, 17th was the eastern border for Gilman Park, an early name for Ballard.  In 1936, the likely date of the photo, this intersection was obviously devoted to filling stations, billboards and power poles. The pavement, laid in 1930, is fairly fresh.  Unlike the many brick

A Seattle Times clipping from April 17, 1930.
A Seattle Times clipping from April 17, 1930.
An look northwest on the mostly brick Ballard Avenue during the 1916 Big Snow.
A look northwest on the mostly brick Ballard Avenue during the 1916 Big Snow.   Note the snow-capped city hall tower beyond the snow-bound trolley.  The bank building on the right also had a tower, and it was from that prospect that the next photo below was recorded on a 4th the July ca. 1910.   The clipping of that feature follow as well.
I have for this moment - a long lapsing one - misplaced the "now" negative for this "then."
I have for this moment – a long lapsing one – misplaced the “now” negative for this “then.”  But here is the text scanned from  a Times clip.
First appeared in Pacific Magazine April 5, 1992.
First appeared in Pacific Magazine April 5, 1992.

landmarks on Ballard Avenue, one block to the west, the buildings along Leary Way were mostly one- and two-story commercial clapboards and manufacturing sheds, like the one behind the billboards at the scene’s center, again, in the featured photo on top.  (Here we will insert three billboard photos taken on Leary Way in the three block run between N. W. Dock Place and Market Street.  (They do not all look in the same direction.)

This is captioned around the billboard, left-of-center, which sits "82 feet west of Ione Place.
This is captioned in reference to the billboard, left-of-center, which sits “82 feet west of Ione Place.
Leary way looking northwest to the billboards at Dock Place.  In the distance, across Market Street stands the Bagdad Theatre.
Leary way looking northwest to the billboards at Dock Place. In the distance, across Market Street stands the Bagdad Theatre.
The Bagdad then and during a recent Ballard Stret Fair.
The Bagdad then and during a recent Ballard Stret Fair.
Looking northwest on Leary Way to its intersection with Ione Place.  The caption makes not of its billboard subject as "100 feet west of Ione."
Looking northwest on Leary Way to its intersection with Ione Place. The caption makes note of its billboard subject as “100 feet west of Ione.” The captions “P-1″ and “R126″ are references we have not as yet cracked – nor tried to.

Leary Way was named for Seattle capitalist John Leary, who was the first president of the West Coast Improvement Company (WCIC), which through the 1890s shaped Ballard into the “Shingle Capitol of the World.”  Writing in 1900, pioneer Seattle historian Thomas Prosch called it the “most successful” real estate enterprise connected to Seattle.  The town was named for Capt. William Rankin Ballard, who with Leary was one of the WCIC’s principal developers. Ballard explained that in the first three months of the township venture he made 300 percent profit on the property that he had earlier “won” as a booby price in a “heads or tails” gamble with a friend.  Ballard did not live in Ballard, but recounted this from his First Hill mansion.

Not Ballard's home on First Hill, but Leary's on Capitol Hill, now home for Episcopalians.   (photo by Robert Bradley in 1969)
Not Ballard’s home on First Hill, but Leary’s on Capitol Hill, now home for Episcopalians. (1969 photo by Robert Bradley.)
The Yesler Leary Building at the northwest corner of Mill Street (Yesler Way) and Front Street (First Avenue.)  Leary's partnership in the 1884 construction of this Victorian showpiece is a sign of his local power at the time.
The Yesler Leary Building at the northwest corner of Mill Street (Yesler Way) and Front Street (First Avenue.) Leary’s partnership with Henry Yesler in the 1884 construction of this Victorian showpiece is a sign of his Seattle status then.
Scanned from Bagley's History of Seattle, Vol. 2
Scanned from Clarence  Bagley’s History of Seattle, Vol. 2

Behind the photographer of the featured photo at the top, the first Ballard street grid, a triangle of about a dozen blocks south of Market Street and west of 17th Avenue N.W., is aligned to the nearby Salmon Bay shoreline.  Otherwise, this rapidly growing, confident and, beginning in 1890, incorporated suburb followed the American practice – often written as law – of laying streets in conformity to the compass.

The grid of eastern Ballard - or Freelard aka Ballmonst - reveals with this April 25, 1947 aerial, courtesy of Ron Edge.  Upper right is Leary Way's last or most southeasterly section before turning (at the top) east into Fremont "proper."
The grid of eastern Ballard – or Freelard aka Ballmont – revealed from on high in this April 25, 1947 aerial, courtesy of Ron Edge. Upper right is Leary Way’s last or most southeasterly section before turning (at the top) east into Fremont “proper” on 36th Street.
The last (or first) curve on Leary where from this prospect 39th Street it turns east into Fremont.
That last (or first) curve on Leary where from this prospect near 39th Street it turns east into Fremont on 36th Street..
Queen Anne Hill neighborhood just west of Seattle Pacific College, seen across the ship canal and from a Fremont prospect near 39th Street and 2nd Ave. N.W.    nd
Queen Anne Hill neighborhood just west of Seattle Pacific College, seen across the ship canal and from a Fremont prospect near 39th Street and 2nd Ave. N.W. and so also above the curve where Leary merges with 36th Street.  nd

On Leary Way, another disruption of the greater Ballard grid follows soon after Leary passes east under the north approach to the Ballard Bridge. (The bridge’s trusses appear at the far-right.) At 11th Avenue N.W., Leary Way turns to the southeast cutting the shortest

Looking northwest to the Leary Way curve between N.W. 47th Street and 11th Ave. N.W..  Again, the photograph's own caption is preoccupied with its billboard.
Looking northwest to the Leary Way curve between N.W. 47th Street and 11th Ave. N.W.. Again, the photograph’s own caption is preoccupied with its billboard.

possible route to Fremont through a somewhat treeless neighborhood of grid-conforming streets, snuggly lined with well-tended workers’ homes.  There are cherished alternative names for this neighborhood just east of Ballard or just west of Fremont.   It is sometimes called Ballmont, and other times, Freelard.  Of course, both are good-natured popular names meant to calm anxieties along a border between neighbors.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Pro forma, Jean.  First a few links pulled by Ron Edge from past features followed by a stand-alone but not forlorn feature from the neighborhood: its Carnegie Library.   By this time some of the Edge Links will surely have been employed in this blog before, repetitions (we repeat) we are proud of and play like musical motifs in different contexts or on different staffs.  Remembering my mom – again again – “Repetition is the mother of all learning.”  Thank’s mom.

THEN: A Seattle Street and Sewer Department photographer recorded this scene in front of the nearly new City-County Building in 1918.  The view looks west from 4th Avenue along a Jefferson Street vacated in this block except for the municipal trolley tracks.  (Photo courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: Looking east from the roof of the still standing testing lab, the Lock’s Administration Building (from which this photograph was borrowed) appears on the left, and the district engineer’s home, the Cavanaugh House (still standing) on the center horizon. (Photo courtesy Army Corps of Engineers at Chittenden Locks)

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THEN: Captioned Salmon Bay, 1887, this is most likely very near the eastern end of the bay where it was fed by Ross Creek, the Lake Union outlet. (Courtesy, Michael Maslan Vintage Posters and Photographs)

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First appeared in Pacific, June 12, 1994.
First appeared in Pacific, June 12, 1994.

Seattle Now & Then: Third Avenue Regrade

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THEN: Looking north from Columbia Street over the construction pit for the Central Building.  On the left is a rough section of the Third Avenue Regrade in the spring of 1907.  (Courtesy, MOHAI)
THEN: Looking north from Columbia Street over the construction pit for the Central Building. On the left is a rough section of the Third Avenue Regrade in the spring of 1907. (Courtesy, MOHAI)
NOW: Jean Sherrard moved a few yards east up Columbia Street from the unnamed historical photographer’s prospect in order to look north down the typical sixteen-foot wide central business district alley.
NOW: Jean Sherrard moved a few yards east up Columbia Street from the unnamed historical photographer’s prospect in order to look north down the typical sixteen-foot wide central business district alley.

Drivers and riders who continue to be confused and/or delayed by the city’s “Mercer Mess” south of Lake Union may find some consolation by reflecting on the Central Business District’s public works schedule a century ago.  This look north from Columbia Street, mid-block between Third and Fourth Avenues, is dated April 15, 1907.  At the far left, Third Avenue, at its intersection with Marion Street, has been cut (lowered) about fifteen feet.  All traffic on Third, Columbia, and Marion has, of course, been cut off as well.

Third Ave. Regrade 1906, looking north over Marion Street.  The Third Ave. Theatre, its tower half-decapitated, stands on the far side of the Madison Street Cable Railway trestle.  The upper-right corner shows the west facade of the Lincoln Hotel at the northwest corner of 4th Ave. and Madison Street.
Third Ave. Regrade 1906, looking north over Marion Street. The Third Ave. Theatre, its tower half-decapitated, stands on the far side of the Madison Street Cable Railway trestle. The upper-right corner shows the west facade of the Lincoln Hotel at the northwest corner of 4th Ave. and Madison Street.

Still, pedestrians could transcend the upheaval on Third by crossing the temporary, if spindly, viaduct, left-of-center. It passes high above the mess to reach a pre-regrade sidewalk that survives below the south façade of the Second Empire-styled Stacy Mansion, with both tower and roof-top pergola.  This grand residence was, however,

The Stacy Mansion at the northeast corner of 3rd Ave. and Marion Street, circa 1890.
The Stacy Mansion at the northeast corner of 3rd Ave. and Marion Street, circa 1890.
The Third Ave. regrade with the Marion Street pedestrian trestle on the left, the Stacy mansion, left of center, and the Standler Hotel, right of center.  Foundation work for the Central Building has yet to begin.  Note the Third Ave. Theatre with its full top, far-left.
The Third Ave. regrade with the Marion Street pedestrian trestle on the left, the Stacy mansion, left of center, and the Standler Hotel, right of center. Foundation work for the Central Building has yet to begin. Note the Third Ave. Theatre with its full top, far-left.

hardly a home.  It was built in 1885 by Elizabeth and Martin Van Buren Stacy, an often-warring couple who did not move in until 1887.  Following the migration up First Hill of Seattle’s most affluent families, the land-rich Stacys soon built another mansion at the northeast corner of Madison Street and Boren Avenue.  Martin, however, hardly moved. Preferring the acquisitive culture of the business district to the high society on the Hill, he lived mostly in hotels and clubs.

The steam shovel on the left seems to be cutting into bluff for the Trust company's Central Building.  This look south on Third Ave. was taken from the pedestrian overpass on Marion, seen twice above.
The steam shovel on the left seems to be cutting into bluff for the Trust company’s Central Building. This look south on Third Ave. was taken from the pedestrian overpass on Marion, seen three times above.

The Stacy mansion, sitting at the center of the featured photograph, at the top, might be considered the intended subject.  It is not.  Rather, it’s the private work of cutting and hauling for the Trustee Company’s Central Building excavation site.  In the pit a steam shovel feeds a circle of horse teams waiting their turns and pulling high-centered dump-wagons. Far right, in the alley, the company’s sign stands above its construction office.

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A half year earlier in The Seattle Sunday Times of October 7, 1906, the Trustee Company shared its intentions with a full-page advertisement.  The Central Building promised to be “the most impressive and commodious office building in the Pacific Northwest.  Including the offices in the tower section, this building is to be twenty stories in height.”

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With its tower centered high above Third Avenue, hand-colored postcards of the completed Central Building are still common and can be readily acquired, often cheaply, in stores selling historical ephemeraParts of the Central’s first four floors show to the left of the alley in Jean Sherrard’s repeat at the top.  The completed Central continues with four stories more to its full height of eight floors, and not twenty.  While not so grand as the Trustee Company had planned, the Central is still a cherished survivor of what through the first third of the twentieth century was Seattle’s affection for elegantly clad terra-cotta buildings.

A detail from the 1908 Baist real estate map compliments of Historic Seattle and Ron Edge. (Ron scanned the complete map.)  Columbia Street runs along the bottom, while Third Avenue runs bottom-to-top left-of-center.
A detail from the 1908 Baist real estate map compliments of Historic Seattle and Ron Edge. (Ron scanned the complete map.) Columbia Street runs along the bottom, while Third Avenue runs bottom-to-top left-of-center.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul? Ron? Jean?  Well . . . Ron Edge has put up five apts links directly below.   There is lots more on the neighborhood, some of it seen from the waterfront.   For instance, the first link below looks south on Third Avenue from near Spring Street and so through Madison Street and beyond to the Marion Street intersection, where right-of-center the Gothic Revival First Methodist Church stands with its spire at what would soon be the northwest corner of the Central Building at the southeast corner of Marion and Third.    But now we confess that we are almost broken down.  This computer or the program for running the blog is gummed.   We will  return tomorrow to find, we hope, that it has recovered some speed.   Meanwhile please explore the links below.

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)

THEN: Looking north from Seneca Street on Third Avenue during its regrade in 1906.  (Photo by Lewis Whittelsey, Courtesy of Lawton Gowey)

Seattle Now & Then: Roll on, Columbia Street

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THEN: In this 1887 look up Columbia Street from the waterfront is the bell tower of the fire station, tucked into the hill on the right. It would soon fail to halt the city’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889. The station and everything between it and Elliott Bay were reduced to ashes, smoldering bricks and offshore pilings shortened like cigars. (courtesy, Kurt Jackson)
THEN: In this 1887 look up Columbia Street from the waterfront is the bell tower of the fire station, tucked into the hill on the right. It would soon fail to halt the city’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889. The station and everything between it and Elliott Bay were reduced to ashes, smoldering bricks and offshore pilings shortened like cigars. (courtesy, Kurt Jackson)
NOW: After the Great Fire, the waterfront was extended farther into Elliott Bay, first above pilings and eventually on fill packed behind a seawall.
NOW: After the Great Fire, the waterfront was extended farther into Elliott Bay, first above pilings and eventually on fill packed behind a seawall.

Charles Morford, who migrated with his parents from Iowa in the spring of 1887, was 20 years old when he recorded this unique Seattle cityscape a few months later. Morford’s subject looks east up Columbia Street from the Seattle waterfront as far as the Coppin water works at Ninth Avenue. The four-story tower’s open First Hill observatory stood 300 feet above Morford’s prospect. The well below it supplied most of the neighborhood, and its bored-log pipes reached down the hill at least as far as James Colman’s mansion. Its Italianate tower also breaks the horizon, here at the southeast corner of Columbia and Fourth Avenue.

We may be confident that the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway baggage/express car, at the bottom, is new. By historian Thomas Prosch’s reckoning in his “Chronological History of Seattle” (1901), the car was delivered in September 1887. This timing is in fine coincidence with the construction scaffolding attached to the Toklas and Singerman Department Store, on the right. The rough lumber is soon to come down. The store was completed on Sept. 28, although the formal opening waited until Nov. 9.

A few days after the opening of the department store, which was then the highest building in Seattle, the railway was also celebrating. On Thanksgiving Day it gave 108 locals a free round-trip ride to its then new end-of-the-line in Bothell.

Included among Morford’s surviving glass-plate negatives are several more of the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern. At what point Morford also became an employee of this railway is unclear. But in the fall of 1887 he would not yet have known that most of his gainful employment here would be with the retail business behind the scaffolding. Morford became a clerk, first, with MacDougal Southwick, the partnership that bought out Toklas and Singerman in 1892. Morford soon became the store’s general manager and one of its stockholders.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  The solo feature that Ron Edge pulled and placed directly below includes several subjects that relate to this week’s feature.   The “lead” feature, printed here below, shows the Toklas and Singerman department store completed, and so without the scaffolding that hides its north facade in the prime feature at the top.  The reader may wish to search the several other features that can be found by clicking on the link.   Please give special attention to one about the 1884 snow as seen looking east up the waterfront from close to the same prospect that Morford used for his shot at the top.   Much has changed in these three short years that felt both the lingering effects of the 1883 recession and the general excitement of the completion of the Norther Pacific to the northwest, also  in 1883.   Seattle’s boom years were at the front door, which is to say, both on the waterfront and heading this way from Chicago, Portland and, resentfully from Tacoma too, across the tideflats south of King Street on rails.

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FOLLOWS NOW (soon) A FEW MORE PHOTOS OF THE WATERFRONT AT or NEAR COLUMBIA STREET

A Peterson and Bros. photograph taken from the end of a dog-legged Yesler Wharf and looking up Columbia Street on the right in 1878.  Note the tower for the "White Church" on the right, the Methodist Episcopalian congregation that was the first in Seattle.  It sits there at the second lot south of Columbia on the east side of Second Avenue.  Also note that for the most part First Hill has been denuded of the virgin forest that still covered this skyline as late as 1872.
A Peterson and Bros. photograph taken from the end of a dog-legged Yesler Wharf and looking up Columbia Street on the right in 1878. Note the tower for the “White Church” on the right, the Methodist Episcopalian congregation that was the first in Seattle. It sits there at the second lot south of Columbia on the east side of Second Avenue. Also note that for the most part First Hill has been denuded of the virgin forest that still covered this horizon as late as 1872.
Seattle's first church the "White Church" and the Methodist Episcopalian parish home to this side of it on the southeast corner of Second Avenue and Columbia in the 1870s.
Seattle’s first church, the “White Church,” and the Methodist Episcopalian parsonage to this side of it on the southeast corner of Second Avenue and Columbia in the 1870s.
The waterfront ca. 1884 with an early Colman Dock on the left, Columbia Street on the right, and a short feature essay below the contemporary repeat photographed officially - only - in the anxious glow of 911 by Shawn Devine, and employee of the Washington State Ferries.
The waterfront ca. 1885 with an early Colman Dock on the left, Columbia Street on the right, and a short feature essay below (after I search and find it tomorrow), and the contemporary repeat photographed officially – only – in the anxious glow of 9/11 by Shawn Devine, an employee of the Washington State Ferries.

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COLMAN DOCK AND THE WATERFRONT ca. 1886 (text to come)

Seattle's Great Fire of June 6, 1889 reaches the foot of Columbia and the depot for the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway, and will soon consume it and everything south of it to the tideflats.
Seattle’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889 reaches the foot of Columbia and the depot for the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway, and will soon consume it and everything south of it to the tideflats.

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Columbia Street looking west from the waterfront in the first year following the 1889 fire.  The new Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern depot is on the right, and the rear facade of the new Toklas and Singerman Department Sore rise five stories behind it. Photo taken by the Nothern Pacific Railroad's official photographer, F. J. Haynes. (Courtesy, Tacoma Public Library and Murray Morgan)
Columbia Street looking west from the waterfront in the first year following the 1889 fire. The new Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern depot is on the right, and the rear facade of the new Toklas and Singerman Department Sore rises five stories behind it. Photo taken by the Northern Pacific Railroad’s official photographer, F. J. Haynes. (Courtesy, Tacoma Public Library and Murray Morgan)
Horace Sykes' (or possibly Robert Bradley's) look east up Columbia Street from the top of the new - and as yet not used for traffic - Alaskan Way Viaduct aka Freeway.
Horace Sykes’ (or possibly Robert Bradley’s) look east up Columbia Street from the top of the new – and as yet not used for traffic – Alaskan Way Viaduct aka Freeway in 1953.

 

 

Paul and Jean at Town Hall

James Street Alley blend
James Street Alley blend

Join us for an evening of entertaining yet erudite edification at Seattle’s Town Hall, 7:30 PM, this coming Friday! Historical whimsy mixed with a whiff of sulfur and a touch of elysium.

Also, come early (or stay late) to explore the redecorated North Lobby, jam packed with Now and Then comparisons hot off the presses. Reception follows the (very) illustrated lecture.

Seattle Now & Then: First Hill and Yesler Terrace

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: This Seattle Housing Authority photograph was recorded from the top of the Marine Hospital (now Pacific Tower) on the north head of Beacon Hill. It looks north to First Hill during the Authority’s clearing of its southern slope for the building of the Yesler Terrace Public Housing.   (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
THEN: This Seattle Housing Authority photograph was recorded from the top of the Marine Hospital (now Pacific Tower) on the north head of Beacon Hill. It looks north to First Hill during the Authority’s clearing of its southern slope for the building of the Yesler Terrace Public Housing. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
NOW: Jean’s “repeat” from the same prospect is revealing of changes on First Hill and to its sides over nearly three-quarters of a century.
NOW: Jean’s “repeat” from the same prospect is revealing of changes on First Hill and to its sides over nearly three-quarters of a century.

When the Marine Hospital opened in 1933 to eighty-four veteran patients, many moved from the Fed’s old hospital in Port Townsend, the new Art Deco high rise on the head of Beacon Hill looked much higher than its sixteen stories. And from its roof it also “felt” taller, as evidenced by this panorama that looks north over both the

T.T. Minor's Marine Hospital in Port Townsend
T.T. Minor’s Marine Hospital in Port Townsend
From the sky looking northwest over the Marine Hospital to neighborhood below it and Beacon Hill.  The date is July 28, 1935.
From the sky looking northwest over the Marine Hospital to the International District neighborhood below it and Beacon Hill. The date is July 28, 1935.  Much of the “low land” seen beyond the hospital and to either side of Dearborn Street and its billboards, is now covered and congested with the I-5 Freeway.   The next illustration shows that work in progress.

Dearborn Cut (1909-1912) and the Jackson Street Regrade (1907-1909).  This hospital observatory afforded this most revealing profile of First Hill.  It made it actually look like a hill.   Since the early 1960s the developing ditch of the Seattle Freeway, far left

Seattle Freeway construction looking northwest from Beacon Hill, August 20, 1965.  (Courtesy, MOHAI)
Seattle Freeway construction looking northwest from Beacon Hill, August 20, 1965. (Courtesy, MOHAI)

in the “now,” made the western slopes of First Hill more apparent and gave the hill a western border. The slope of its eastern border, here far right, is occupied for the most part by the low-rise structures on the Seattle University campus, east of Broadway.

Another but narrower and earlier look into the I-5 Freeway construction from Beacon Hill.  (Courtesy, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Another but narrower look into the I-5 Freeway construction from Beacon Hill. (Courtesy, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Dearborn looking east through 9th Avenue on Dec. 8, 1938.
Dearborn looking east through 9th Avenue on Dec. 8, 1938.    More billboards.
Although I do not remember snapping this through the windshield while heading east on Dearborn, I will date a date for it of 1980.
Although I do not remember snapping this through the windshield while heading east on Dearborn, I will date a date for it of 1980.

In 1940, the likely year for this “then,” the skyline of First Hill was scored with landmarks that are still standing, although by now most are hidden behind higher structures. These include more apartment buildings and the well-packed Swedish Medical Center campus, which is right-of-center in the “now.”  The grandest exception is Harborview Hospital.  In the circa 1940 photo its gleaming Art Deco tower stands out, left-of-center.  In Jean’s colored “repeat,” Harborview, while half-hidden, still shows its true color, which is like a pale café-latte.

Harborview during freeway construction.  The work required exceptional measures to hold First Hill - aka Yesler Hill, Profanity Hill, Pill Hill - in place because of its hydraulics or fluid dynamics: the springs that the first settlers found so appealing.
Harborview during freeway construction. The work required exceptional measures to hold First Hill – aka Yesler Hill, Profanity Hill, Pill Hill – in place because of its hydraulics or fluid dynamics: the springs that the first settlers found so appealing.  The most northern part of Yesler Terrace appears far-right.  Photo by LaVanaway.

We know the photographer’s primary subject here.  It is neither the First Hill horizon nor the man-made valley between First and Beacon Hills.  Before the regrading began in 1907, the hills were two parts of the same ridge.  Rather, the intended subject is the swath of

F. Jay Haynes, the Northern Pacific Railroads official photographer (with his own car), visited Seattle in 1890.  His records include this revealing look at the waterfront a year-or-so after the city's Great Fire of June 6, 1889.  The Haynes pan also reveals the knoll, right-of-center, that interrupted the ridge between Beacon hill, on the right, and First Hill, on the left.  Much of the landfill used for reclaiming the tides for the Northern Pacific's tracks were cut form this knoll or knob.  This preceded the Jackson Street Regrade by several years.  (Which is to say, I'll find the date later.  It is described in my - and City Council's - Illustrated History of the Waterfront.  You can find it all on this blog, with its own button.)
F. Jay Haynes, the Northern Pacific Railroad’s official photographer (with his own car), visited Seattle in 1890. His records include this revealing look at the waterfront from Elliott Bay  a year-or-so after the city’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889. The Haynes pan also includes on its horizon the knoll, right-of-center, that interrupted the ridge between Beacon hill, on the right, and First Hill, on the left. Much of the landfill used for reclaiming the tides for the Northern Pacific’s first tracks was cut form this knoll or knob. This preceded the Jackson Street Regrade by several years. (Which is to say, I’ll find the date later. It is described in my – and City Council’s – Illustrated History of the Waterfront from 2005. You can find it all on this blog, with its own button.) - CLICK TO ENLARGE

open lots and mostly doomed residences that run west to east (left to right) through the center of the subject.  Within two years of this recording, a photographer from the Seattle Housing Authority visited the Marine Hospital again and recorded another panorama

The "pretty much" completed Yesler Terrace photographed from the same Marine Hospital prospect.
The “pretty much” completed Yesler Terrace photographed from the same Marine Hospital prospect.

with the same frame, but of the completed Yesler Terrace Public Housing. Nearly 700 housing units with their own front yards, new General Electric ranges, free utilities and low rents averaging about $17 a month replaced the former neighborhood of mostly modest Victorian residences..

A SEATTLE TIMES clip from August 13, 1941
A SEATTLE TIMES clip from August 13, 1941

There are two more panoramas photographed from the Marine Hospital by the Seattle Housing Authority.  One shows the Yesler Terrace project completed (included here directly below), and the other, an early record of its construction (placed here directly below).  Or dear reader come and see much of this on the big screen at Town Hall this coming Friday evening when Jean and I share illustrated stories on FIRST HILL & BEYOND.  Again, this is next Friday evening, October 3.  The Hall will also then “unveil” in its lobby our “now and then” exhibit of this and other First Hill subjects.

Again from the Marine Hospital and Seattle Housing Authority's unnamed photographer's look into the work-in-progress on the Yesler Terrace Housing project.
Again from the Marine Hospital, Seattle Housing Authority’s unnamed photographer’s look into the work-in-progress on the Yesler Terrace Housing project.   The north approach to the 12th Avenue Bridge spanning the Dearborn cut is bottom-right.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?   Yes.  We will start with seventeen links to past features from this blog.  As is our way, some we will have shown earlier in support of some subject or other.   Ordinarily these links, of course, hold links within.  And so on and on.  For the most part they are relevant to the neighborhoods of the north end of Beacon Hill and the south end of First Hill, and the ridge/regrade that shares them.  The first linked feature looks familiar because it repeats, far left, the Rininger Home at the northwest corner of Columbia and Summit, although at the time we submitted this feature to Pacific Northwest Magazine, now thirteen years ago, we knew nothing about its medical motives.  We concentrated then on the Otis Hotel on the right.   The next link is packed with relevance, built about a rare photo of a pioneer home near the future Deaborn Street on the slop leading up to the ridge that included both First and Beacon Hill before much of it was lowered with the combined cuttings of the Jackson Street Regrade and the Dearbort Cut.  The third link uses the Sprague Hotel on Yesler Way to lead into a small survey of buildings in the Yesler Terrace neighborhood that were removed because of it.   Some of them were surely worth saving and/or moving.  Links sixteen and seventeen, the last two,  give Jean and I an opportunity to first wish you a too early Seasons Greetings and second to promote the First Hill lecture we are giving at Town Hall this coming Friday Evening – early.  It is cheap – $5 – and the title is FIRST HILL & BEYOND.  (The title suggests more hills.)

Thanks again and again – seventeen times – to Ron Edge for finding and putting these “associates” up.

THEN: The Sprague Hotel at 706 Yesler Way was one of many large structures –hotels, apartments and duplexes, built on First Hill to accommodate the housing needs of the city’s manic years of grown between its Great Fire in 1889 and the First World War. Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey

THEN: A speeding coupe convertible heads north on Beacon Hill’s 15th Ave. S. in 1937.

THEN: Looking east on University Street towards Ninth Avenue, ca. 1925, with the Normandie Apartments on the left.

Looking southwest from Walker Street to the burning ruins.

THEN: The work of filling the tidelands south of King Street began in 1853 with the chips from Yesler’s sawmill.   Here in the neighborhood of 9th Ave. S. (Airport Way) and Holgate Street, the tideland reclaiming and street regrading continue 70 years later in 1923.  (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)

THEN: Part of the pond that here in 1946 filled much of the long block between Massachusetts and Holgate Streets and 8th Avenue S. and Airport Way. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

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THE MARINE HOSPITAL

Marine-Hosptial-THEN-web

MARINE-HOSP-TEXT-10-13-94-WEB

The Feature above was pulled from Pacific Magazine for Nov. 13, 1994.  Perhaps the older of you dear readers will share some sympathy with me when I confess that those twenty years went by far too fast.   “It doesn’t seem possible” that I took the “now” for this – printed directly below – so long ago.  I can still smell the pine cones and feel the breeze off the Bay.

This "repeat" was moved from the historical prospect of the "then" in order to see around the trees.
This “repeat” was moved from the historical prospect of the “then” in order to see around the trees.  There have, you know, been many changes here since 1994.

Marine-Hospital-in-shadow-WEB

Marine-Hospital-WEB

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