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.
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.
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
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.)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
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 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.
A half year earlier in The SeattleSunday 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.”
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 ephemera. Parts 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.
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.
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.
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.
FOLLOWS NOW (soon) A FEW MORE PHOTOS OF THE WATERFRONT AT or NEAR COLUMBIA STREET
COLMAN DOCK AND THE WATERFRONT ca. 1886 (text to come)
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 higherthan its sixteen stories. And from its roof it also “felt” taller, as evidenced by this panorama that looks north over both the
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
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.
In 1940, the likely year for this “then,” the skyline of First Hill was scoredwith 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.
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
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
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..
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.
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.
THE MARINE HOSPITAL
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.
Most of the surviving photographs of the short-lived (five years) Occidental Hotel record it from the front, where its narrow western façade looked back across the busy Pioneer Place, or Square. This view from the rear looks northwest across the intersection of Second Avenue and Mill Street (Yesler Way) in 1887, while the nearly final touches on the hotel’s new addition are being applied.
The original 1884 structure is to the left of scaffolding (in the photo at the top), rising here from the sidewalk beside Mill Street. Portland architect Donald MacKay shaped the building to fit this rare, for Seattle, flatiron-shaped block. At the top, and wrapping around the 1887 addition, is architect Otto Kleemer’s (also from
Portland) well-wrought mansard roof with its many windows. If I have counted correctly, there are seventeen of them. Frankly, the imposing ornamentation of this Second Empire architecture makes me ache for Paris. Or one might settle for a Francophile menu with choices written in French, as they were for customers of the hotel’s restaurant.
The Occidental’s dining room was located in an attached house, accessible from the street or from within the hotel. It is standing in the shadows behind the sun-lit power pole at the far right (of the featured photo at the top), on the southwest corner of Second Avenue and James Street. Historian Ron Edge, a frequent aid to this feature, recently found a printed copy of the 1887 Thanksgiving Day Menu for the Occidental. We’ve attached it here above. Included among its savory choices are Bellie of Salmon a la Hollandaise, Fillet de Boeuf a la Trianon, Petits Pois Francais. And for dessert the choices included Glace a la Vanilla, Tartelette Framboise and Lady fingers.
The booming of Seattle in the 1880s made both the building and enlargement of John Collins’ hotel nearly inevitable. Collins was an energetic Irishman who first arrived here in 1865. With these 1887 additions, the Occidental was rated, at least by locals, as “the largest and best equipped house north of San Francisco.” The hostelry’s
success was interrupted but not stopped, by the city’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889. When the ruins of twisted cast iron, charred bricks, ash paneling and black walnut furniture were still smoldering, Collins started clearing the site preparing for a new hotel. He was then heard to famously enjoin, “Within a year we will have a city here that will surpass by far the town we had before the fire.”
Rushed to completion after the fire, the new Occidental filled the entire triangular block. With the prosperity of the gold rush beginning in 1897, Collins changed its name to the Seattle Hotel. And it was as the Seattle that this hotel was razed in 1961 for the parking garage that we have carpingly learned to refer to as “The Sinking Ship.” The maritime metaphor is more obvious from the garage’s other (west) end.
Anything to add, Paul? Agreed upon Jean. First Ron Edge with help from MOHAI Librarian Carolyn Marr, has melded together, directly below, a two-part panorama of Seattle from Elliott Bay in 1887 – or close to it. Central School at 6th Avenue and Madison Street stands out at the subject’s center on the horizon of what we may call First Hill’s false summit. The Hill’s highest elevation is several blocks behind the school and far to the right near James Street and Broadway. We may “remind” readers here that you and I are doing a lecture we have named “First Hill and Beyond” at Town Hall on the Friday evening of Oct. 3. We included the “beyond” in the title so that we could show some other hills as well. Perhaps your hill, dear reader. The sum of this summons is cheap – a mere $5. And everyone gets to also enjoy the unveiling of our “now and then” exhibit in the lobby. Jean, what will they see in the Town Hall exhibit?
Jean: (polishing his fingernails on the lapel of his smoking jacket) Wonders, Paul, they will see wonders! We two have spent much of the summer assembling and repeating quintessential images of First Hill, chosen with care and consideration. One major panoramic view has never before been seen in its entirety – what’s more, its “now” is a marvel as well. Come join us for an evening of fun and games, dear readers, and, of course, some historical exploration and detective work.
Click to enlarge. Click it twice.
Now following the grand panorama Ron has also put up a few links, which again feature features that hang about the neighborhood of Pioneer Square – with exceptions and, as we are wont to do, also with some repeats.
Since it is once more “nighty-bears” time, I will return with some more relevant parts in the early afternoon.
THINGS ADDED – SUNDAY AFTERNOON
Before Collins began building his landmark with the mansard roof in 1884, he bought out his partners in the original Occidental Hotel that held to the same site but not the same shape. The then still open space between James and Mill Streets (left and right, below) was often used for public meetings, sports and celebration. The best documented of these was the 1881 memorial service for President Garfield.
ANOTHER EDGE CLIPPING from 1878 (not 1887) and the MAP IT ANTICIPATES
8 LOOKS No. on OCCIDENTAL towards the OCCIDENTAL BLOCK
NORTH on FRONT from the top of the OCCIDENTAL, ca. 1884
The primary subject here is left-of-center, the four-story high sign for Alt Heidelberg Lager Beer painted on the south wall of the Ace Hotel, squeezed between Third Avenue South, seen here, and the Second Avenue Extension. The original negative for this subject is dated April 19, 1934, one year and twelve days after legal 3.2 beer (percentage of alcohol) began flowing from bottle to glass in twelve states, including Washington.
In the scramble among breweries to win the taste of newly liberated drinkers, Blatz Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, began shipping trainloads of its Alt Heidelberg into the hinterlands. Ornamented with a Gothic type style, the label spoke of the German brewing traditions (including facial scars from student duels). The Milwaukee marketers sometimes used the German “Alt” in place of the English “Old” to emphasize the venerable quality of its brew. However, with the lifting of prohibition, Heidelberg, like every other beer, was rushed through brewing with such speed that it was bottled nearly “green.”
The original 5×7 inch negative for this subject (at the top) is one of several hundred photographs made in the 1930s, mostly of billboards and a few murals like this one, that were installed by roadside billboard barons Foster and Kleiser. (Here follows four others from the neighborhood, the last of which looks across the Second Avenue Extension and west along Main Street on July 8, 1929, when the Extension was nearly new.)
Almost certainly the company photographer drove to the featured scene in the Straight 8 model 1930 Dodge (if I have pegged it right) that seems to be bearing down on him or her, but which is actually parked driverless in the southbound lane of Third Avenue, a few feet south of Main Street.
Above the Dodge and three blocks to the north, Third Avenue almost reaches the City County building, right-of-center, before turning left to follow the city’s grid through the central business district north of Yesler Way. North was the preferred direction for businesses to build and/or move even before the pioneer Frye family chose to stay in this most historic district and construct its namesake hotel on the south side of Yesler Way at Third Avenue in 1909. The big block letters of its neon signs top the scene.
Minutes before the photographer snapped this (the top) shot on an unseasonably warm spring day – it reached 79 degrees – the Young Men’s Republican Club met for lunch in the Frye. That evening the Paramount Theatre opened a mixed fare of film and six vaudeville acts. The Hollywood star Frederic March was featured on the screen in “Death Takes a Holiday,” which was followed by “Beauty, Boneless and Brainless,” an on-stage acrobatic performance. Also that Thursday, The Seattle Times printed under the header “Romance on Rocks,” some scandalous news about the daughter of the local celebrity Presbyterian preacher, the Rev. Mark Matthews. Gwladys, her name, who was then living in San Francisco and teaching French, had filed for divorce.
Anything to add, Paul?
Yes Jean and again with Ron Edge’s help. Here or below we have found five links with more features on the neighborhood’s heritage – for the most part. We have among these additions what may be a first: a feature that includes among its own extras the primary or lead photo for this week’s feature. Inevitably some weekend we will put up a feature that includes a feature that like this one includes a repeat of the lead photo of that Sunday’s first feature but then more, a link within it that repeats the same photograph for a third time. For this we offer no apology in advance, remembering mother’s advice – again and again – that “repetition is the mother of all learning.” How many times did she advise, “Don’t leave your wet bathing suit on the bus.”
STATION No. TEN
A 2-story headquarters for the Seattle Fire Department was constructed at the northwest corner of Third Avenue S. and Main Street in 1903, and so in line with today’s featured photo, had the station and its corner survived the 1928/29 extension of Second Avenue. The cutting was done in order to give Second a straight line to the train stations, which were most important then. In order below are three photographs of the fire station. The first is the earliest, before a top floor was added in 1912 – the third floor that can be found in both of the remaining photos of this trio. For the second record, a municipal photographer stands very near the prospect taken in 1934 by the Foster and Kleiser photographer. We date it from about 1911. The last of the three shows the fire station during the early preparations for the slicing work of the Extension as it cut through the neighborhood south of Yesler Way. Many of the diminished buildings were saved – in part. Not, however, the fire station.
A NIGHTY-BEARS APOLOGY
Some users of this blog may have noticed that on going to bed, aka Nighty-Bears, I make promises that I do not keep in the morning. This is not because I get up at noon. Rather I do not return to conclude the feature – as I certainly intended when blowing out the candle – because I am always distracted by other duties, ordinarily joyful ones like getting our next feature off to the Times. However, I will qualify. Tomorrow after a late breakfast I hope to add a few more photos that are relevant to this feature, but failing that I’ll bring them (and the other abused codas) up with an addendum later on. I do like addendums so, in part because it makes my high school Latin seem almost worth it. Until then, Nighty Bears.
RETURN TO CONTINUE SUNDAY AFTERNOON
SECOND AVENUE EXTENSION 1928-29
FORTSON SQUARE AKA PIGEON SQUARE
The feature below was scanned from “Seattle Now and Then, Vol. 2,” which is long out of print. It first appeared in Pacific on Sept. 23, 1984. The book printing include the “before and after” views – above – of the Second Ave. Extension with some explanation on the second page of the feature. (Click to Enlarge)
A soft-focus recording of a moment in the neighborhood – or near it up Main Street near 8th Avenue, and so in what is now Yesler Terrace. There is some focus in this snapshot but it is given to the distant landmarks like City Light’s station at 7th and Yesler – its ornate towers appear to the left of the right arm of the girl on top – and the crown of the King County Courthouse tower seen just left of the power pole, far right. Don’t miss the dog.