For Jean Sherrard to record his repeat of George Moore’s historical portrait of Mercy and William Boone’s big home required both prudence and pluck. The latter took Jean to the edge of the concrete retaining wall that rises at least forty feet above the north-bound lanes of the Interstate Five Freeway. But it was prudence that kept him from leaning over the edge to reach closer to the prospect that George Moore took in the early 1890s. Both the home site and Moore’s position on Alder are now up in the air.
The Boone home was constructed at the northwest corner of 7th Avenue and Alder Street in 1885. Boone was almost certainly the architect. During the summer of 1886, The Post-Intelligencer reports in its popular “Brevities” section that the fifty-four year old architect, “while working on his residence yesterday, fell from a ladder and sustained severe bruises about the legs. His injuries are not considered serious.”
Without committing itself to “First Hill,” the name with which we are accustomed, the January 29, 1886, issue of The Post-Intelligencer referred to the Boone residence as one of the “new buildings on the hill top.” Well into the 1890s the more popular name for this most forward edge of the first hill behind the waterfront was Yesler Hill. A name used in honor of Seattle’s pioneer industrialist – and employer – Henry Yesler. From the time he built his first steam saw mill in 1852-3, it was assumed that he would eventually clear the hill of its timber.
Sometime after the 1890-91 construction of the King County Courthouse, across 7th Avenue from the Boone home, a more playful place name, Profanity Hill, was inspired by the language used by lawyers and litigants who climbed the hill to deny and confess in the halls and chambers of the Courthouse.
Married in California in 1871, William, a Pennsylvanian, and Mercie, originally from New York, came to Seattle for good in 1882. That year he designed the landmark Yesler-Leary Building in Pioneer Square. Like the Toklas and Singerman Department Store (Boone’s design from 1887), it did not survive the city’s Great Fire of 1889. The mansion by Boone and partner then, the Californian George C. Meeker, was designed for Henry and Sara Yesler in the mid-80s just survived the greater fire ’89, but not its own on the morning of New Year’s Day, 1901. A few of Boone’s landmarks that are still remembered, but lost, are Central School, Broadway High School, and the New York Block.
William died in 1921 one year before his New York Block was razed for another and greater of the terra-cotta buildings that were then favored for the business district. Mercie died in 1923. They were both ninety-one years old. Although without children, Mercie was a leader in local charities, including the Seattle Children’s Home, whose first quarters her husband designed.
[We’ll add pictures of the first and second quarters for the Children’s Home. Most likely it it the first of these that Boone designed – and yet perhaps both. The first was built on property at the southwest corner of Harrison and 4th Ave. N., that was given and chosen by David and Louisa Denny from their donation claim. It is now part of Seattle Center. The second and grander home is on Queen Anne Hill property that is still home for the charity, although now in a newer plant. I worked there in 1966 as a house parent – the most demanding job I ever had. It soon turned me to painting canvases – and houses. ]
Just paused for a bite in the I.D. and looked down King Street at our very own not-so-leaning tower with the Olympics looming behind.
I had to include a detail from the clock tower – note the support struts in the windows below (for an interior, flip down through this post from the past).
Anything to add, lads? Sure Jean but first such a luxurious recording or our tower. It takes more than the right gear, light, atmosphere and mobility to record such a shot, it also requires meditation on that golden bar that mysteriously (we agreed) cuts through the tower and illuminates it’s golden clockworks, and so reminds us – some of us – that time is precious and we had better leave this scene and get with it. Here at my desk I have a bowl of Narcissus Daffodils for sniffing the early Spring – while writing.
Again, here are a few relevant Edge-links (named for Ron Edge who pulled and grouped them). Open these links and you will surely find other features with their own lists of relevant links and those links with theirs. The lead photo for the top link looks from the west side of 7th Avenue (like Boone’s home) north across Jefferson Street, or almost two blocks north of the Boones. The next link of the Sprague Hotel at Yesler and Spruce is about two blocks south of the Boones. And, again, so on.
OTHER BOONE DESIGNS
BEFORE THE BOONES and AFTER
Now up the stairs to Nighty-bears – leaving proof-reading until tomorrow. It’s nearly 3am.
This quintet of front doors, beneath a central tower shaped like a bell and a mansard roof that billows like a skirt in a breeze, was long claimed to be Seattle’s first apartment house. (It might, however, be better to call these row houses, each with its own front door.) The group was built at the northeast corner of Second Avenue and Marion Street in 1883*, a busy year in which Seattle also acquired street numbers and fifty-nine new neighborhood additions. It was also easily the largest city in the territory, with a census count that year of 6645 over Tacoma’s 3108, Port Townsend’s 1300 and the 1169 living in Spokane.
* We have learned in the first hour of posting this blog that it also slogs. The date of construction is off. First Dennis Andersen, the regional authority on architectural history, sends from Portland this letter to me here in my Wallingford basement. Dennis writes “Great image of the Stetson-Post townhouse row! But perhaps a small edit for the date, from the Seattle PI. ‘July 30, 1881, p.3 col 1: ‘Moving in. The resident block of Stetson and Post, on Second Street, is now ready for occupancy. Mr. Post’s family have moved into the building on the south. Governor Ferry’s family have got the carpets down and are preparing to move into the one selected by them. The finishing touches are being put on the other three, and they will be occupied soon’.” Thanks again, Dennis. Next, Ron Edge (who also put up the links below, most of them on row housing ) found another PI citation in the National Archives, this one from September 29, 1880, and we attach it directly below. Thanks again, Ron.
Both “Stetson & Post Block” and “French Row Dwellings” are hand-written across the structure’s footprint in the 1884 Sanborn real estate map. It is named for its builders, George W. Stetson and John J. Post. Renting a shed on Henry Yesler’s wharf in 1875, and using Yesler’s hand-me-down boiler, the partners first constructed a gristmill for grinding grain into feed and flour, but soon switched to
making doors and window sashes. By 1883 they had the largest lumber mill over the tideflats then still south of King Street. The Stetson & Post mill was equipped for shaping wood into the well-ornamented landmark that was their then new terrace here at Third and Marion.
The Seattle city directory for 1884 has the partners living in their stately building, along with Thomas Burke, perhaps the most outstanding among the city’s “second wave” of pioneers. Other tenants were the dry goods and clothing merchants Jacob and Joseph Frauenthal, who had their own business block near Pioneer Square. The lawyer and future Judge Thomas Burke had his office in the Frauenthal Block.
Following the city’s Great Fire of 1889, which the wooden row houses escaped, the city rapidly rebuilt in brick and stone, expanding in every direction, including up. The Stetson & Post Block, which started as an elegant landmark visible from Elliott Bay, was soon hiding in the shadow of a seven-story business block, which was directly across Second Avenue, and named for Thomas Burke. The
row houses then added commerce. In place of the five grand stairways to the five apartments, five uniformly designed storefronts were built facing the sidewalk on Second. And the city’s first row house or apartments (you choose) also changed it’s name to the New York Kitchen Block, after the restaurant that was its principal tenant.
As noted by now far above, the 1884 Sanborn real estate map calls these attached homes “French Row Dwellings.” The Brits called them terraced housing. The many brownstones of New York are similarly arranged, and both San Francisco and Baltimore have rows of their architectural cousins – attached or semi-detached houses that are variations on a theme or several themes. Perhaps the most distinguished of the French rows is in Paris, the Place des Vosges, a 17th century creation.
In 1919 the seventy-five-year-old George Stetson succumbed, as did his and John Post’s wooden block. A dozen years earlier, the critic F. M. Foulser, writing a nearly full-page essay on “How Apartment Houses are Absorbing Seattle’s Increasing Population,” in The Seattle Times for December 8, 1907, imagined the Rainier Block (the last of Stetson & Post Block’s three names) as “some aristocratic little lady of by-gone days, who has been compelled to remain among the influx of vulgarly new associates . . . and drawing her skirts about her, remains in solitary retrospection.” Some day, the essayist mused, “when the owner of the land on which ‘The Terrace of Past Memories’ stands, decides to accept the fabulous sum which is bound to be offered him, the old building will give way to a modern skyscraper.” It took some time. While the first replacement of 1919 gleamed behind terracotta tiles, it was, even when discounting the lost tower, still shorter than the row house. The forty-seven floors of the First Interstate Center followed in 1983.
A survivor, the Stetson and Post Mill Company began promoting a “new plan” of delivering a “home from the forest to you.” It was a success. The company explained, because of its “ability to furnish the materials at prices well within reach” This, they explained, was possible because “the company owns its own timber, windows, doors, frames etc., employs no solicitors and sells for cash direct from the forest.” In 1926 Stetson and Post published a pattern book to encourage locals to build a variety of homes that were named, for the most part, after Seattle’s neighborhoods. Below are two examples. None of the forty-five or more “carefully devised plans” featured row-houses.
Anything to add, Paul? Yes Jean Ron and I though it most appropriate to feature a few past contributions that include some row houses. The last feature picked is the first we did on subjects included in Diana James recent history of Seattle’s apartment houses. It is titled, you will remember, SHARED WALLS.
And now we are going to climb the stairs to join the bears, so we will proof this after a good – we hope – night’s sleep.
Judging from Asahel Curtis’s negative number 5479, inscribed at the bottom-right corner, this photograph of the home of Dr. and Mrs. Frank Gardner was taken on or very near 1906, the year which the King County tax records claim it was built. A more likely date for the construction is 1905. On the Society Page for The Seattle Times on March 10, 1905, Betha Gardner – then still more regularly called Mrs. Frank P. Gardner – is credited with hosting in her home, here at the northeast corner of Jefferson Street and Boren Avenue, the annual “at home” meeting for the “ladies of the Sorosis Club.” The Times added that “The subject of the afternoon will be the ‘Religion and Music of Russia.’”
Pennsylvanians Frank and Bertha Gardner first lived on Capitol Hill in a more modest home. (Should you like to check it, you will find it surviving at 1629 13th Avenue.) By First Hill’s often sumptuous standards, their second home was neither small nor grand with ten rooms, five upstairs and five down. But the whole effect was pleasing in its symmetry, especially this west façade facing Boren Avenue, with its elegant but restrained ornamentation. There was nothing here so assertive, for instance, as the central tower on the Granville Haller home, seen peeking around the corner at the left of the Cardner home.
When the Haller home was built at the top of First Hill in 1883-5 at the northeast corner of Minor Avenue and James Street, some of the fir and alder forest that once covered the hill was still standing. While clearing the site, Colonel Haller’s workers uncovered the skeletons of two Native Americans, casualties, perhaps, of the 1856 U.S. Navy’s howitzer bombardments at the hill during what is popularly called the “The Battle of Seattle” in 1856. Known as the “old Indian Fighter,” Haller crassly kept the skulls in his tower for the amusement of the neighborhood’s children.
There is now a fine opportunity to study the diverse history of First Hill with Historic Seattle’s recently published book on the subject, whose title, while long, is both descriptive and pleasing to the ear: Tradition and Change on Seattle’s First Hill, Propriety, Profanity, Pills and Preservation. Both Pill and Profanity have been popular names for Seattle’s First Hill or parts of it, as have Yesler and, more recently, even Goat.
Bertha and Frank shared their comely First Hill home until 1930 when the doctor died at the age of sixty-one. At some time during the 1930s, Bertha was joined by her brother Wilmer Kahle, president of the Crescent Manufacturing Company; following his death in 1943, she sold the house. We learn from her Times obituary of April 10, 1956, that at the time of her death she lived across from the UW campus in the Malloy Apartments on 15th Avenue NE, and that she had been a charter member of the Sorosis Club, and so dedicated to bringing together “representative women in art, literature, science, and kindred spirits.”
Lots to add this week…eh, Paul?
Before we begin, however, I thought I would answer your request for more material with a feat of whimsical legerdemain. As you know, I teach drama and writing at Hillside Student Community. This past Friday, I took a few of my 5th and 6th graders on a field trip to the Woodland Park Zoo and through the miracle of photoshop, converted several into lion cubs.
Your students as metamorphs see wary, but not quite ready to leave the nest for the next step where it will be every cat for him or herself. We do have seven links Jean. Any reader who consults them thoroughly will find within most of the features we have done thru the years on subjects that border Boren. There are more than a dozen of them – unless I am contradicted. At the bottom we will ad a feature done first in 1985 about the Campbell home. With its park-sized front lawn it took the entire north-half of the block on which the Gardners built there home about twenty years after Campbell, a hardware merchant, built his in the mid-1880s. The youngest daughter, Lucy, was one of my earliest mentors on Seattle’s pioneer history.
Back to our regularly scheduled program. Take it away, boys.
The Seattle Chamber of Commerce building, its name signed with the luster of gold leaf lettering on each of the heftily-glassed dark doors on the left, is both physically and politically to the right of this cadre of about a dozen demonstrators marching east on Columbia Street up to Third Avenue. Seven of the patrol are wrapped in professionally produced signs that resonate with depression-era concerns and commands.
The original negative is one of the greathoard of Post-Intelligencer photos that are protected by the white-gloved hands of Museum of History and Industry archivists. It is numbered “PI22387” and, quoting MOHAI photographer Howard Giske, “It has a file date of July 15, 1937, on the old PI negative sleeve . . . good enough for me!” Alas, with the help of skilled librarians in the Seattle Room of our central public library, we did not find it in the paper itself.
While it is not unusual for a busy daily to neglect a negative, we will hope that a Pacific reader might visit the central library, and after a more dogged microfilm search than ours, find that this subject of a silent and yet telling moment of protest on Columbia Street was also published and captioned on the pulp pages of the P-I during the summer of 1937.
Meanwhile, for a better understanding of the subject, we recommend retired UW Archivist Richard Berner’s Seattle 1921-1940: From Boom to Bust, which covers local history during the bubbling 1920s up through the Great Depression of the 1930s. Berner notes (on page 409) that a recession, in the midst of the Great Depression, began in August 1937 when “Cutbacks in federal work relief funds coincided with unemployment levels that approached those of 1932-1933.” The timing is such that the event pictured in the ‘then’ photo, snapped in July by the P-I photographer, is prelude to the August recession.
The “red-baiting” that we usually associate with the Cold War was also commonplace during the Great Depression, when communists were thought to be behind every placard. And here, far right, it seems they are. We may have a “commie” in the picture! Held like an umpire’s chest protector, a “newsboy” blandishes a copy of The Daily Worker, the Communist Party’s long-lived publication. Unfortunately, the focus is too soft to read the front page, which by 1937 could have included the latest baseball scores. Might it be that this confrontation of the two dailies, the P-I and the Daily Worker, was reason enough for the former not to print this negative? It is more likely that the bigger daily was distracted by the great mass of its own daily news. Or that we have simply missed it.
Anything to add, Paul? Well, yes Jean, and we struggled over selections from past features of protest or those, again, of the neighborhood. We get both in Ron Edge’s first link below. The others keep to both for the most part, although we have included some of Berangere’s recent reports from Paris. Following the eleven links attached below (and some of them will be very familiar to regular readers – like the Friends of the Market 1971 march in front of City Hall, which was the “top feature” here only two weeks past) we will continue with a few more neighborhood features. Our ending this week will show Jean’s photos of the public art fixed to the front facade of the Chamber’s building on Columbia (although they have long since moved away).
With this week’s “Now and Then” Jean and I have conspired, perhaps, to confuse you, although not for long. On first glimpse it is evident that in the 76 years that separate our “then” from our “now,” their shared subject, an adobe hut at the corner of Main Street and the Second Ave. S. Extension, has endured. However, on second glimpse, it is also certain that the hut’s milieu has pivoted. We explain.
In 1928 the long, wide, and straight path of Seattle’s Second Avenue, between Stewart Street and Yesler Way, was cut through to Jackson Street as the Second Ave. S. Extension. Thereby, it was explained, “Seattle’s Market Street” (a little used nickname) might make a grand beeline to the railroad stations on the south side of Jackson. Of the fifteen buildings sliced into along the new route, three were entirely destroyed, including a fire station with tower that sat at the northwest corner of Main Street and Third Avenue. (Station No. 10’s own feature is attached below.) The Extension ran right through that station’s former location, except for its northeast and southwest corners, which became small triangular lots on either side of the Extension. (Here you may wish to find a map. There’s a good one on the blog listed at the bottom. We’ll make it easier and put both a detail below from the 1912 Baist Map and another from the sky: a detail of the corner and more in Seattle’s city-wide 1936 aerial.)
In our “then,” the Fiesta Coffee Shop stands on the triangle on the east side of Second. The buildings behind it are on Third Avenue. In our “now,” however, the adobe hut survives on the Extension’s west side as the Main Street Gyro, and the structures that surround it are mostly on Second Avenue and Main Street. To record his “repeat,” Jean stood just off the curb on Main.
Sometime during the warmer months of 1938, the small café was moved across the Second Ave. S. Extension as Betty’s Coffee Shop, in a trade of triangles between Harry Schneiderman and Betty. The small service station Schneiderman had built on the west triangle, he rebuilt on the east side as a modern Signal station with four pumps and two bays for repairs. Under his name, which he signed below the station’s roofline, the one time center for the UW football team added, “I Ain’t Mad at Nobody.”
With the help of Bob Masin, the hut’s owner since 1980, we have figured that since the small café’s 1938 move across the Extension, it has had six names with six cuisines. It began in 1938 as Betty’s Coffee Shop and continued so into the 1970s. Masin remembers sitting as a child with his father and grandfather at the small counter watching Betty, always in her apron, serve the policemen standing in the aisle drinking coffee. Following Betty’s came the Greek Villa, the Masada Café, the Penguin Café, the Main Street Teriyaki, and presently the Main Street Gyro.
Returning now to the hut’s origins, the earliest tax photo (above) from 1937 shows it as a log cabin for the short-lived sale of New England Baked Beans and Brown Bread, and the tax card accompanying the photo has it built in 1934. And so we may confidently make note that without leaving the corner, the café’s earliest move was from Massachusetts to Mexico when the logs were covered with adobe and the roof with red tiles for the also short-lived Fiesta Coffee-Shop.
Additions galore this week, lads? Jean, Ron has put up a healthy seven links, and the first one looks north and directly through the new intersection of Third Ave. S., the Second Ave. Extension and Main Street. Look close and you will find the Fiesta in the “east triangle” before it was moved to the other (west) side of the Second Ave. Extension. [If this triangle business is not clear by now, I’m wringing my hands!] The links will be followed by three or four other features that are not so recent as The Seven Below, but still are either of the neighborhood or one of the this feature’s subjects that being fast food, and want of food fast.
A FIVE BALL CLUSTER at THIRD AVE. S. AND MAIN STREET, CA. 1911
Friends of the Market president and UW architect Victor Steinbrueck, holding the placard asking, “Is Phyllis Lamphere a Friend of the Market?”, marches ahead of his conserving coterie past the front door of City Hall. This protest, one of several City Hall pickets staged by the Friends in February and March of 1971, was most likely performed on Thursday, March 18. Other signs keep to the message: “Urban Renewal Unfair to Pike Place Market” and “City Hall + Investment Syndicate = Urban Removal.” Fittingly, whether intended or not, the style of the signs’ calligraphy resembles the brushwork listing the prices of produce on the cards still regularly seen in the Market’s stalls .
On the first Saturday following this parade, its prime target, councilperson Phyllis Lamphere, protested in The Times that she was indeed “a friend of the (Pike Place) market” and then went on to suggest that, as The Times reporter put it, her “Renewal opponents may themselves be the real enemies of the public market, because without rehabilitation, ‘the market will be unable to meet conditions of Seattle’s (building) code.’” Other signs carried in front of City Hall those contesting days of 1971 advised, “Don’t subsidize luxury apartments,” “Removal is not Renewal,” and “The Pike Place Market is Seattle’s History.”
Post-Intelligencer photographer Tom Brownell took the protest photo at the top. We chose it because it also shows the Fourth Avenue façade of the City Hall (1961) that was by then widely understood to be modeled on the cheap after a Texas hotel. Among the prudent fears of the Friends was that the then expected millions from federal sources for urban renewal would be used to replace the funky charms of the Pike Place Market with modern hotel-motel reminders like City Hall. The federal funding was announced on May 15th, and the next day the Friends announced their plans to gather citizen signatures for a proposal to designate most the Market for preservation. Fifteen-thousand legal signatures were needed to get it on the November ballot. The disciplined campaigners gathered more than 25,000 in three weeks. The November 1971 election was won just as readily, with a landslide 76,369 yesses over 53,264 nos.
When the Friends of the Market was first formed in 1964, it was an arts movement intent on saving the Pike Place Public Market from “sterile progress.” Mark Tobey, one of Seattle’s best-known artists, was a member. Proceeds from his then new book, The World of the Market, benefited the Friends. When the picketing began in the winter of 1971, Tobey was quoted in The Times: “I hope (the market) will only be restored, and not improved through progressive planners.”
Anything to add, lads? Yes Jean a few links arranged by Ron and an excuse. This “Saturday-before” has been filled with other events and entertainments and so we (I) did not pull up more neighborhood links to past features that have not here-to-fore appeared in the blog. But Jean this excuse is righteous, for, as you know, the afternoon we spent in the SeaTac city hall delivering a lecture on the history of Highline and more was often enough delightful. Before passing on to Ron’s links, here is an feature that first appeared in The Times on March 6, 1983, about fourteen months after these weekly now-and-thens first appeared in Pacific.
THE FIRST BAPTIST FACING THE FATEFUL FOURTH AVE. REGRADE
If, for a moment, one squints the eyes and suspends disbelief, this little home on ‘The Ave’ may seem palatial, with guarding turrets, left and right, and a sunlit dome at the rear. Alas, as well arranged as they are for illusions, those accouterments belong to mills near the north shore of Portage Bay, which most likely are closed down. This is a scene from 1937, set in the unwanted languor of the Great Depression.
The subject is pulled from the Works Progress Administration’s photographic survey of every taxable structure in King County. With help only from these property record cards, city directories, and The Seattle Times archives, we can deduce that Clara and Ferdinand Krummel lived here in 1937 with their teenager Paul, and perhaps one or both of their daughters. Paul was among the 586 seniors graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1938, and the ceremony was nearby in the UW’s Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Four years more and the enlisted Paul would be completing a course in aviation mechanics in Texas. In the spring of 1944, the intentions of the eighteen-year-old Gertrude A Nerdig to marry the soldier were published by The Times.
Two years later, in 1946, The Times printed a short obituary for Ferdinand, the then 76-year-old father, describing him as a German immigrant and a retired baker. In the 1930 Polk City Directory the Krummels were living in Ballard and proprietors of the American Girl Bakery at 5431 Ballard Avenue. Most likely the Krummel’s closing of their bakery and move to this modest home in the University District had something to do with both the Great Depression and their age.
The WPA card describes this bungalow as built on a footprint of 875 square feet and divided into five rooms. The card has University Way made of bricks, and the neighborhood’s “use” as “residential-industrial,” as this photo’s melding of mill and domicile is a clear witness. Like almost everywhere then, the neighborhood’s “status” is listed as “static.” This stasis was disrupted in the 1960s when the UW began buying up much of the “lower district.”
The tidy accommodations of the home at the top were built in 1915 (or so claims the tax card), but demolished in 1962 or 1963, and so did not reach their golden anniversary. Paul Krummel, however, kept on until March 3, 2014. In his obituary in The Times, one of his grandchildren describes him as “a loving husband who was often seen holding his wife’s hand.” Another adds that he “loved to dance and had a great sense of humor.”
THE KRUMMEL’S NEIGHBORS IN THE 3700 BLOCK IN 1937
I have to comment, Paul, it’s rare to capture you in one of these photos, but there you are in this week’s ‘Now’ whistling your happy tune! Anything to add? Yes Jean, beginning with a question in return. Can you name the tune? Otherwise, as is our way, Ron Edge starts our response with several CLICKABLE links to other features from the past that treat on “The Ave,” and all of them have subjects within them that elaborate on your and my long-lived interest in, to repeat, both “Town and Gown” north of Portage Bay (and extending south of the bay to include the now razed Red Robin Tavern.) At the bottom, if time allows before our climb to “Night-Bears” (The copyright is guarded with pillows.) we will include more on The Ave.