Category Archives: Seattle Now and Then

Seattle Now & Then: 1st and Virginia and an invitation!

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: In 1910, a circa date for this look north on First Avenue across Virginia Street, the two corners on the east side of the intersection were still undeveloped – except for signs.  The Terminal Sales Building, seen far right in Jean Sherrard’s repeat, did not replace the billboards that crowd the sidewalk in the “then” until 1923.  (Seattle Municipal Archive)
THEN: In 1910, a circa date for this look north on First Avenue across Virginia Street, the two corners on the east side of the intersection were still undeveloped – except for signs. The Terminal Sales Building, seen far right in Jean Sherrard’s repeat, did not replace the billboards that crowd the sidewalk in the “then” until 1923. (Seattle Municipal Archive)
NOW: The early-twentieth century promoters of the Denny Regrade – including this part of it in Belltown – expected that the central business district would soon move north and develop the diminished blocks with high rises.  Only their timing was wrong.  Now, at last, the Denny Regrade is gaining altitudes much higher than those of the lost Denny Hill.
NOW: The early-twentieth century promoters of the Denny Regrade – including this part of it in Belltown – expected that the central business district would soon move north and develop the diminished blocks with high rises. Only their timing was wrong. Now, at last, the Denny Regrade is gaining altitudes much higher than those of the lost Denny Hill.

I think it likely that this candid photo of a lone pedestrian on a bright sidewalk was snapped to show off the new streetlights.  Recorded by a municipal photographer, the view looks north on First Avenue from its southeast corner with Virginia Street.  The city’s first ornamental light standards, of City Light’s own design, were introduced in 1909-10, and on Seattle’s busiest streets featured five-ball clusters like these.  Here the elegance of the new lights is interrupted by the somewhat comedic counterpoint of older and much taller power poles – all in the name of progress.

Above and below: First Ave. looking north from Virginia Street during the BIG SNOW of 1916 and recently.
Above and below: First Ave. looking north from Virginia Street during the BIG SNOW of 1916 and recently.   On the right, note the HOTEL PRESTON, a later name for the RIDPATH seen in the featured photo on top.

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Detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map.  The Hotel Ridpath appears near the center with the Troy Hotel acroos First Ave. from it.   The Livingston Hotel at the southwest corner of Virginia and First  has been home for the Virginia Inn Tavern now for many years.  We include directly below an interior from the bar photographed in 2006 with Jean Sherrard and Berangere Lomont, both of this blog.  BB was visiting from Paris.
Detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map. The Hotel Ridpath appears near the center with the Troy Hotel across First Ave. from it. The Livingston Hotel at the southwest corner of Virginia and First has been home for the Virginia Inn Tavern now for many years. We include directly below an interior from that bar photographed in 2006 with Jean Sherrard and Berangere Lomont, both of this blog. BB was visiting from Paris.
Jean and Berangere at the Virginia Inn on Oct. 12, 2006.  It was BB's first visit to Seattle after our time with her in Paris a  year earlier.  Oh what joy!
Jean and Berangere at the Virginia Inn on Oct. 12, 2006. It was BB’s first visit to Seattle after our time with her in Paris a year earlier. Oh what joy!

This neighborhood was sometimes named North Seattle on early maps, but more popularly it was also called Belltown, for the family that first claimed and developed it.  Like many of the first settlers, William and Sarah Ann Bell kept two homes, one in the platted village that was growing to the sides of Pioneer Square and Henry Yesler’s sawmill, and the other on their claim, in order to “prove” it.  (Virginia Street was named for their long-lived third daughter, Mary Virginia,1847-1931).

Four pages merged from Seattle Now and Then Vol. 3.  Click to enlarge, and perhaps read.  The panorama looks north from the back porch of the Bell Hotel at the southeast corner of First and Battery.  The still somewhat forrested Queen Anne Hill marks the horizon at the center.  First Ave. (Front Street) extends north on the left, and Battery Street runs east, on the right.  There also Denny School stands out at the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and Battery.  The photo was taken by Morford, courtesy Kurt Jackson.
Four pages merged from Seattle Now and Then Vol. 3. Click to enlarge, and perhaps read. The panorama looks north from the back porch of the Bell Hotel at the southeast corner of First and Battery. The still somewhat forrested Queen Anne Hill marks the horizon at the center. First Ave. (Front Street) extends north on the left, and Battery Street runs east, on the right. There also Denny School stands out at the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and Battery. The photo was taken by Morford, courtesy Kurt Jackson.  (Click this you will probably be able to read it – if you wish.)

Seattle’s first major public work was the 1876 regrading of Front Street (First Avenue) between Pioneer Square and Pike Street. Soon after it continued with an improved path over the western side of Denny Hill, meant to help the Bells develop their claim.  In 1884, First Avenue was lowered and improved north of Pike Street with a cut that allowed the community’s then new horse-drawn street railway to continue north to Belltown and beyond, as far as the lower Queen Anne Neighborhood. Then in 1898-99, this cut was deepened to the grade we see here, leaving a cliff along the east side of First Avenue.

The temporary bluff along the east side of First Avenue, ca. 1902.  The view looks north from near Virginia Street.
The temporary bluff along the east side of First Avenue, ca. 1902. The view looks north from near Virginia Street.
The cliff along the east side of Second Avenue, looking south from near Bell Street.  The Moore Theatre and beyond it the New Washington Hotel are evident beyond Virginia Street.
The cliff along the east side of Second Avenue, looking south from near Bell Street. The Moore Theatre and beyond it the New Washington Hotel are evident beyond Virginia Street.

In 1903 the earnest (and long) razing of Denny Hill began by moving that cliff to the east side of Second Avenue.  By 1911 the regrading reached the east side of Fifth Avenue with another cliff, and there it rested for seventeen years.

The steel frame for the New Washington Hotel appears on the far left.  The view looks west on Virginia Street with the photographer Louis Whittelsey's back near Fourth Avenue.  The structure, upper-right, is at the northwest corner of Third Ave. and Virginia Street.  Small although still easily seen at the scene's center if the old Central School that was moved to this site in the early 1880s from its original location near the northeast corner of Third Ave. and Madison Street.  (see below)
The steel frame for the New Washington Hotel appears on the far left. The view looks west on Virginia Street with the photographer Louis Whittelsey’s back near Fourth Avenue. The structure, upper-right, is at the northwest corner of Third Ave. and Virginia Street. Small although still easily seen near the scene’s center, is the old Central School that was moved to this site in the early 1880s from its original location near the northeast corner of Third Ave. and Madison Street. (see next photo below)   It sits here near the northeast corner of First and Virginia and so behind the billboards that crowd the same corner at the far right of the featured photo on top.  The structures that seem to extend from the school to the New Washington’s frame, are actually on the west side of First Avenue between Virginia and Stewart Streets.   The Alaskan  Building breaks the horizon, right-of-center, at the northwest corner of Second and Virginia. You can find it in the 1912 Baist detail printed above, and it is also seen in the second photo below this one, which photo dates from 1908.   This scene dates from ca. 1907.
In this look south on Fourth Avenue from the Terretorial University Building at Seneca, Central School appears right-of-center near the northeast corner of Madison and 3rd Avenue.
In this look south on Fourth Avenue from the Territorial University Building at Seneca, Central School appears right-of-center near the northeast corner of Madison and 3rd Avenue.
Date 1908, bottom-right corner, this view looks north from near Stewart Street at the crowds probably gathered to witness the parade celebrating the 1908 visit of the "Great White Fleet" to Puget Sound.
Dated 1908 at the bottom-right corner, this view looks north from near Stewart Street through the crowds both standing on Second Avenue and sitting in the bleachers on the left.  The have probably gathered to witness the parade celebrating the 1908 visit of the “Great White Fleet” to Puget Sound.
The Puget Sound News Company building "filled the bleachers"
The Puget Sound News Company building, at the southwest corner of Virginian and Second, “filled the bleachers” sevens years after the 1908 crowd scene above this clipping.

While construction of the brick Hotel Ridpath, center-right in the featured subject at the top, waited for the cliff to be pushed east to Second Avenue, the ornate clapboard Troy Hotel across the street, far left, was built soon after the 1898-99 regrade.  The Troy survived into at least the late 1940s.  The Ridpath, long since renamed the Preston, I remember almost like yesterday.

The Ridpath/Preston seen from Western Avenue about a quarter-century ago.
The Ridpath/Preston seen from Western Avenue about a quarter-century ago.

In the featured photograph from about 1910, First Avenue’s Belltown blocks were mostly given to hotels and shops and a few vacant lots. Some of the latter were fitted with elaborate billboards, like the one on the right, which is stacked with exotic murals promoting popular habits, like vaudeville, cigarettes and chewing gum.

An advertisement posted in the May 5, 1916 Times for the Puget Sound Marble and Granite Company, which by then had filled the northeast corner of Virginia and First with its stones.
(Above) An advertisement posted in the May 5, 1916 Times for the Puget Sound Marble and Granite Company, which by then had filled the northeast corner of Virginia and First with its stones.
Since 1923 Seattle architect Henry W. Bittman's Terminal Sales Building has held the southeast corner of First Avenue and Virginia Street.
Since 1923 Seattle architect Henry W. Bittman’s Terminal Sales Building has held the southeast corner of First Avenue and Virginia Street.

WEB EXTRAS (featuring story and song!)

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Paul, I know you and Ron have much to add. Please do so, but let me interject a touch of Public Relations for our annual Town Hall program ‘A Rogue’s Christmas‘.

Terrifying Santa at Seattle bus stop. Paul Dorpat, 1976
Terrifying Santa at Seattle bus stop. Paul Dorpat, 1976

As you well know, this Sunday at 2 PM, you and I, Marianne Owen and Randy Hoffmeyer, will be reading stories and poems from E.B. White, Nabokov, Ken Kesey, and much more, including original music by Pineola, for this event – the eighth we’ve presented in collaboration with ACT Theatre.  Join us for an antidotal and deliciously subversive holiday treat!

I’ll be there Jean.  Remember you are picking me up.   Here, repeating our by now weekly path, are a few relevant past features pulled and placed by Ron Edge.   Ron might also come to the Rogue’s show.  He took his then 96-year old mother last year.

THEN:  Louis Rowe’s row of storefronts at the southwest corner of First Ave. (then still named Front Street) and Bell Street appear in both the 1884 Sanborn real estate map and the city’s 1884 birdseye sketch.  Most likely this view dates from 1888-89.  (Courtesy: Ron Edge)

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THEN: Looking south from Pine Street down the wide Second Avenue  in 1911, then Seattle’s growing retail strip and parade promenade.  (courtesy of Jim Westall)

THEN: In 1913, or near to it, an unnamed photographer recorded this view southeast across the Lower Queen Anne corner of Denny Way and First Avenue North. Out of frame to the left, the northeast corner of this intersection was home then for the Burdett greenhouse and gardens. By its own claim, it offered plants of all sorts, “the largest and most complete stock to choose from in the state.”   Courtesy, the Museum of North Idaho.

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Seattle Now & Then: Fourth and Pike

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: This rare early record of the Fourth and Pike intersection was first found by Robert McDonald, both a state senator and history buff with a special interest in historical photography. He then donated this photograph - with the rest of his collection - to the Museum of History and Industry, whom we thank for its use.  (Courtesy MOHAI)
THEN: This rare early record of the Fourth and Pike intersection was first found by Robert McDonald, both a state senator and history buff with a special interest in historical photography. He then donated this photograph – with the rest of his collection – to the Museum of History and Industry, whom we thank for its use. (Courtesy MOHAI)
NOW: Westlake was cut through from Fourth and Pike to Denny Way in 1906-7.  The Seaboard Building (1907-9) replaced the small storefronts on the northeast corner.
NOW: Westlake was cut through from Fourth and Pike to Denny Way in 1906-7. The Seaboard Building (1907-9) replaced the small storefronts on the northeast corner.

Through the 1890s Pike Street was developed as the first sensible grade up the ridge, east of Lake Union before the ridge was named Capitol Hill by the real estate developer, James Moore.  As a sign of this public works commitment, Pike Street was favored with a vitrified brick pavement in the mid-1890s.  As can be seen here, Fourth Avenue was not so blessed.  The mud on Fourth borders Pike at the bottom of this anonymous look north through their intersection and continues again north of Pike beyond the pedestrians, who in this scene are keeping to the bricks and sidewalks.

Fourth Avenue between Pine and Pike Streets begins, in this "birdseye" from Denny Hill, to the right of the Lutheran church with the steeple, far left, right to the intersection with Pike, which is just right-of-center.  The structures on the east side of Fourth Avenue seen here in the 1890s match those in the feature photo.  The Methodist Protestant church, on the right, is at the southeast corner of Third Ave. and Pine Street.   The larger light brick building, left of center, is named for its builders/owner, Otto Ranke.
(CLICK to ENLARGE)  Fourth Avenue between Pine and Pike Streets begins, in this “birdseye” from Denny Hill, to the right of the Lutheran church with the steeple, far left.  Fourth continues to the right, reaching the intersection with Pike, which is just right-of-center. The structures north of Pike and on the east side of Fourth Avenue seen here in the 1890s match those in the feature photo. The Methodist Protestant church, on the right, is at the southeast corner of Third Ave. and Pine Street. The larger light brick building, left of center, is named for its builders/owner, Otto Ranke.  Its west facade appears upper-right in the featured photo at the top.
While the northwest corner of Fourth Ave. and Pike Street is hidden in this early 20th Century look east on Pike from Second Ave, the west facade of the Ranke Building at the northwest corner of 5th and Pike does show.
While the northwest corner of Fourth Ave. and Pike Street is hidden in this early 20th Century look east on Pike from Second Ave, the intersection sits immediately above the subject’s center.  Standing on both of the trolley tracks, a team and wagon are heading north (to the left) on Fourth.  The nearly new Seattle High School (Broadway Hi) is at the center  horizon.  First Hill is on the right and Capitol Hill on the left.   They are, of course, parts of the same ridge.

At the intersection’s far northeast corner dark doors swing beside the Double Stamp Bar’s sign, which pushes Bohemian Beer at five cents a mug. The first storefront to the right (east) of the bar and its striped awning is the Frisco Café, Oyster and Chop House, whose clam chowder can be had for a dime and “oysters in many styles” for a quarter.  Far right on the sidewalk at 404 Pike, a general store sells both new and used, and advertises a willingness to barter with cash-free exchanges.  Its merchandise is a mix of soft and hard: hanging buckets and baskets are seen through the windows, as well as a pile of pillows.  These storefronts and two more are sheltered in five parallel, contiguous sheds, modest quarters that are given stature with the top-heavy false façade they share above the windows.

This Times clipping from 1910 suggests that the Frisco Bar found a new home near First and University.  The classified also offers up its bar furniture for sale, which is not a good sign.
This Times clipping from 1910 suggests that the Frisco Bar found a new home near First and University. The classified also offers up its bar furniture for sale, which is not a good sign.

The bookends here are the Ranke Building, far right, and the Carpenter’s Union Hall, far left.  Otto and Dora Ranke were the happy German-born and wed builders who staged plays and light operas in their home and performed in them, too.  When the Ranke’s built their eponymous big brick building. it featured a hall and stage for productions of all sorts, including musicals.

The Ranke home at the northwest corner of Pike and 5th.  A past feature about this Peiser photograph is attached below near the top of the string of the relevant links.
The Ranke home at the northwest corner of Pike and 5th. A past feature about this Peiser photograph is attached below near the top of the string of the relevant links.

In 1906, beginning at this intersection, an extension of Westlake Avenue was cut and graded through the city grid to Denny Way, where it joined the ‘old’ Westlake that is now ‘main street’ for the south Lake Union Allen-Amazon Neighborhood. As part of this Westlake cutting, Carpenter’s Hall was razed, and a landmark, the Plaza Hotel, took its place in the new block shaped by Fourth Avenue, Pine Street and the new Westlake Avenue.  The Carpenters moved one block north on Fourth Avenue where they built a new brick union hall.  Then in 1907 Fourth Avenue was continued for two blocks north from Seneca Street, through the old territorial university campus, to Union Street.  As a result of these two regrades, in less than two years the crossing of Pike Street and Fourth Avenue developed into one of the busiest intersections in the city.

The Plaza Hotel underconstruction during the 1906 paving of the then brank new Westlake.  The view looks north from 4th and Pike.  On the left, Fourth Avenue still climbs Denny Hill.
The Plaza Hotel underconstruction during the 1906 paving of the then brank new Westlake. The view looks north from 4th and Pike. On the left, Fourth Avenue still climbs Denny Hill.
 On the left Fourth Avenue still climbs Denny Hill ca. 1908 - but not for long.  (Courtesy, THE MUSEUM of HISTORY and INDUSTRY "also known as" MOHAI)
On the left Fourth Avenue still climbs Denny Hill ca. 1908 – but not for long. (Courtesy, THE MUSEUM of HISTORY and INDUSTRY “also known as” MOHAI)
The American Hotel at the northeast corner of the new Fourth Ave. and Pike Street configuration.  Building on the future Seaboard building soon resume with many floors added above these five.
The American Hotel at the northeast corner of the new Fourth Ave. and Pike Street configuration. Building on the future Seaboard building soon resume with many floors added above these five.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Again and again – thru ten clicks – one may proceed with Ron Edge’s pulls, this week, of appropriate links to past features at and/or near Fourth Avenue and Pike Street.  Following those we may find a few more fitting ornaments at these by now late hours allow.

THEN: We are not told but perhaps it is Dora and Otto Ranke and their four children posing with their home at 5th and Pike for the pioneer photographer Theo. E. Peiser ca. 1884.  In the haze behind them looms Denny Hill.   (Courtesy Ron Edge)

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THEN: While visiting Seattle for some promoting, silent film star Wallace Reid shares the sidewalk at 4th and Olive with a borrowed Stutz Bearcat.  (Courtesy, Museum of History & Industry)

THEN:  Built in 1888-89 at the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Pine Street, the then named Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church marked the southeast corner of Denny Hill.  Eventually the lower land to the east of the church (here behind it) would be filled, in part, with hill dirt scraped and eroded from North Seattle lots to the north and west of this corner.  (Courtesy, Denny Park Lutheran Church)

THEN: Sometime between early December 1906 and mid-February 1907 an unnamed photographer with her or his back about two lots north of Pike Street recorded landmarks on the east side of Third Avenue including, in part, the Washington Bar stables, on the right; the Union Stables at the center, a church converted for theatre at Pine Street, and north of Pine up a snow-dusted Denny Hill, the Washington Hotel.  (Used courtesy of Ron Edge)

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NEARBY ON PIKE

A troublesome hydrant at the corner of 6th Ave. and Pike Street on March 3, 1920.
A troublesome hydrant at the corner of 6th Ave. and Pike Street on March 3, 1920.
This first appeared in Pacific on Jan 19, 1997.
This first appeared in Pacific on Jan 19, 1997.

 THREE SECURE HYDRANTS in WALLINGFORD taken during my “Wallingford Walks” between 2006 and 2010.

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The Northeast corner of Meridian and 45th Avenue.
The Northeast corner of Meridian and 45th Avenue.
Framed by "Chenical Hill" at Gas Works Park Sept. 10, 2006.
Framed by “Chenical Hill” at Gas Works Park Sept. 10, 2006.

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ANOTHER LEAK ON PIKE

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First appeared in Pacific on Jan 29, 1995
First appeared in Pacific on Jan 29, 1995

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TWO PIKE PAGES OF SIX in PIG-TAIL DAYS

Below we have pulled Sophie Frye Bass's description of Pike Street - the first two of six pages on pioneer Pike.   The reader is encourage to find the other four, and then to read all of this well-wrought book by a daughter of the pioneers.
Below we have pulled Sophie Frye Bass’s description of Pike Street – the first two of six pages on pioneer Pike. The reader is encourage to find the other four, and then to read all of this well-wrought book by a daughter of the pioneers.

Pike-St.-Pigtail-Days-p70-71-(of-6)WEB

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Now up the stairs to nighty-bears.  We will re-read and proof tomorrow.

Seattle Now & Then: Seventh & Seneca

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking north-northeast from a low knoll at the southwest corner of Seneca Street and Seventh Avenue, circa 1916.  By 1925, a commercial automobile garage filled the vacant lot in the foreground.  [Courtesy, Ron Edge]
THEN: Looking north-northeast from a low knoll at the southwest corner of Seneca Street and Seventh Avenue, circa 1916. By 1925, a commercial automobile garage filled the vacant lot in the foreground. [Courtesy, Ron Edge]
NOW: With the historical prospect long lost, first to a garage and then to the Interstate 5, Jean Sherrard took his repeat from near the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Spring Street.  Moving left to right from the center, crowding the right horizon are the Tudor-Gothic styled Exeter House, the nearly completed Cielo Apartments, and the terra-cotta-tile clad Town Hall, all rising from their respective corners at Eight Avenue and Seneca Street.
NOW: With the historical prospect long lost, first to a garage and then to the Interstate 5, Jean Sherrard took his repeat from near the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Spring Street. Moving left to right from the center, crowding the right horizon are the Tudor-Gothic styled Exeter House, the nearly completed Cielo Apartments, and the terra-cotta-tile clad Town Hall, all rising from their respective corners at Eight Avenue and Seneca Street.

We may puzzle over why the unnamed photographer of this wide look through a First Hill intersection chose also to feature the trash and weeds in the foreground.  As revealed in Jean’s repeat, this intersection at Seventh Avenue and Seneca Street became a small part of the concrete ditch cut for the Seattle Freeway.  In the early 1960s, here at Seneca Street, Interstate 5 construction through the central business district turned due north and continued along the green-belted side of Capitol Hill.

An aerial of the future freeway route through the Central Business District, including planned freeway's curve to the northeast north of Spring Street.  The curve that will cut through the southeast corner of Seneca and 7th Avenue  was marked here  near the center by someone long ago.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
An aerial of the future freeway route through the Central Business District, including the planned freeway’s curve to the northeast north of Spring Street. The curve that will cut through the southeast corner of Seneca and 7th Avenue was marked here near the center perhaps before the cutting began. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
A portion of the Central Business District, circa 1972
A portion of the Central Business District, circa 1972

Although the freeway took this entire intersection, it needed only a slice of its southeast corner, the part shown here on the right of the “then” with the small grocery.  “Homemade Bread” is signed below the corner window, and directly above it, “Sanitary Grocery” is printed on the window.  In the commercial listings of the 1918 Polk’s City Directory, it was but one of more than 750 small grocery stores that the ‘invisible hand’ of capitalism had scattered through Seattle.

Often referred to as “mom and pop stores” – in part because it usually took a family to run one – the First Hill neighbors of this grocery located at 1122 7th Avenue would likely have found Katherine and Jewett Riley behind the counter.  Jewett, at least, was an old hand at mercantile, having helped his brother Silvanus run a store at the Leschi Landing soon after the Yesler Cable line was completed to Lake Washington in 1888.  In 1918 Katherine and Jewett conveniently lived in unit 104 of the Touraine Apartments at 711 Seneca.  Directly behind the grocery, the Touraine is four stories tall.

Van Siclen Apartments facing 8th Avenue between Seneca and University Streets.
Van Siclen Apartments facing 8th Avenue between Seneca and University Streets.
Later
Above: Later
Judkins 1887 panorama looking north from the Central School tower on the south side of Madison Street between Marion and Madison shows Seventh Avenue ,on the right, heading north towards its intersections with Spring and Seneca Streets.  At
Judkins 1887 panorama looking north from the Central School tower on the south side of Madison Street between Marion and Madison shows Seventh Avenue ,on the right, heading north towards its intersections with Spring and Seneca Streets.   The little home on lots north of the northeast corner of Seneca and Seventh can be found in both Jjudkins pan and in the feature photograph at the top.  CLICK TO ENLARGE – by all means.

The oldest subject here is the comely little home to the left of the big box of a boarding house at the intersection’s northeast corner.  It dates from the mid-1880s. To the right of the boarding house, the concrete Van Siclen Apartments (1911), with rooftop pergola and ornate row of arched windows, faces Eighth Avenue between Seneca and University Streets.  It is a block so steep that the paved Eighth cannot be seen from this prospect.  In the vacant corner lot to the south (right) of the Van Siclen, the Alfaretta Apartments at 802 Seneca was built in 1918.

Jean's 2012 portrait of the Alfaretta's deconstruction, with the Exeter House beyond it on the west side of Eighth Avenue.
Jean’s 2012 portrait of the Alfaretta’s deconstruction, with the surviving Exeter House beyond it on the west side of Eighth Avenue.

The Van Siclen (later renamed the Jensonia) and the Alfaretta missed reaching their centennials.  Both were razed in anticipation of the rising of the 323-unit Cielo Apartments at the northeast corner of Eighth and Seneca.  As a work-in-progress, the Cielo can be readily found in Jean’s repeat, rising above the Exeter House (1928) and Town Hall (completed in 1924 as the Fourth Church of Christ Scientist).

Freeway Park waders in the summer of 1976.  Photo by Frank Shaw.
Freeway Park waders in the summer of 1976. Photo by Frank Shaw.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul and Ron?   Surely, starting and perhaps ending with the dozen links below.  They are, again and again, well stacked with relevance – sometimes repeating it.   For instance, beginning with the first link below.  You can find, surely, the Christian Scientists on the left – now TOWN HALL – but also the rear of the of the Van Siclen apartments on the far right.  Until only a few years ago they faced 8th Avenue mid-block between Seneca and University Street.  The view to the bay over the retail district was wonderful until the Freeway overpass blocked it in the 1960s.   Somewhere in the links below the fuller Van Siclen story is told.

THEN: Looking west on Madison Street from Seventh Avenue circa 1909.  (Courtesy, Washington State Museum, Tacoma)

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

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

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Seattle Now & Then: The Wall Street Pier

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THEN: A circa 1912 look at the Wall Street finger pier from the foot, not of Wall, but Battery Street. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
THEN: A circa 1912 look at the Wall Street finger pier from the foot, not of Wall, but Battery Street. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
NOW: Galbraith and Bacon built their pier between Battery and Wall Streets. From this Battery side we see the Edgewater’s south façade.  From the Wall Street side one looks directly to the front of the Edgewater, and prior to the hotel, the Galbraith and Bacon pier shed. Consequently, the pier is named for Wall Street.
NOW: Galbraith and Bacon built their pier between Battery and Wall Streets. From this Battery side we see the Edgewater’s south façade. From the Wall Street side one looks directly to the front of the Edgewater, and prior to the hotel, the Galbraith and Bacon pier shed. Consequently, the pier is named for Wall Street.

The Galbraith Bacon dock, like most others built on the Seattle waterfront after 1900, was positioned at a slant off Railroad Avenue (Alaskan Way) for two sensible reasons. First, such a dock allowed railroad spurs an easier angle for reaching the aprons to the sides of the wharves.   Second, at such a slant the end of a long dock was closer to shore and so did not require unnecessarily long piles to support it.

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Having dealt feed on the waterfront since 1891, James Galbraith was the ‘old timer’ in this partnership.  Cecil Bacon, a chemical engineer with some extra capital, arrived in Seattle in 1899.  Deep pockets helped Bacon persuade Galbraith to make a bigger business with him by adding building materials, like lime and concrete, to the established partner’s hay and feed.  In 1900, they were the first signature tenants in the Northern Pacific Railroad’s newly constructed finger pier No. 3 (now 54) at the foot of Madison Street.  The partners prospered and soon added to their enterprise this pier at the foot of Wall Street.

An early record of Pier 3 (54 since 1944) and its first tenant Galbraith and Bacon.  The photo was taken in 1900, some little while before the photographer, Aders Wilse, return to Norway and the call of his wife who left Seattle first for a visit back to the homeland and then decided to not return here.   Wilse then obeyed she who must be.  Soon he became a Norwegian national treasure, and the photographer to its King and Queen and all their little princes and princesses.
An early record of Pier 3 (54 since 1944) and its first tenant Galbraith and Bacon. The photo was taken in 1900, some little while before the photographer, Aders Wilse, return to Norway and the call of his wife who left Seattle first for a visit back to the homeland and then decided to stay.. Wilse then obeyed she who must be. In time  he became a Norwegian national treasure, and the photographer to its King and Queen and all their little princes and princesses.
The Northern Pacific Docks (mostly) between First Station No. 5 at the foot of Madison Street and Pier 6/57 near the foot of Union Street.
The Northern Pacific Docks (mostly) between Fire Station No. 5 at the foot of Madison Street and the Milwaukee Railroad’s Pier 6/57 near the foot of Union Street.

Although I like the featured photograph at the top for how it upsets our prepossession with the picturesque – I mean, of course, the askew yards on the sailing ship and its splotched starboard side – I neither know why the square-rigged Montcalm was tied to the Wall Street pier, nor which Montcalm it was.  Many ships bear the name, and probably all were named for Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, who until he was hit with an English musket ball in the Battle of Quebec, was New France’s Commander-in-Chief during its French and Indian War with the British in the 1750s.

Not the
Not the Montcalm, but another tall ship holding the same slip to the south of the Wall Street Pier.   Photo by Whitelsey.
The Galbraith and Bacon Wall Street Pier seen from the bluff.
The Galbraith and Bacon Wall Street Pier seen from the bluff.
Frank Shaw's record of the Wall Street Pier soon after it was cleared of the Galbraith & Bacon pier shed.  Feb. 26, 1961.
Frank Shaw’s record of the Wall Street Pier while being cleared of the Galbraith & Bacon pier shed. Feb. 26, 1961.
Shaw returned to take this snapshot of the completed Edgewater on a gray December 9, 1962.
Shaw returned to take this snapshot of the completed Edgewater on a gray December 9, 1962.

For some clue on the Montcalm’s condition I turned to Scott Rohrer, an old friend who is also celebrated hereabouts for his sailing and understanding of maritime history.  Scott tersely answered, “She’s steel and her crew is scaling and chipping her hull for primer and repainting after a long, apparently rough voyage.”

An early ideal Edgewater when it still had a chance of being named the Camelot.
An early ideal Edgewater when it still had a chance of being named the Camelot.
What became of Camelot, Lawton Gowey's - or perhaps Bob Bradley's - record of the Edgewater dated May 29, 1963.
What became of Camelot, Lawton Gowey’s – or perhaps Bob Bradley’s – record of the Edgewater dated May 29, 1963.
Either Jean or I recorded this repeat sometime in 2005, I think.
Either Jean or I recorded this repeat sometime in 2005, I think.

The Wall Street pier, about the size of a football field, was replaced in the early 1960s with what the waterfront long wanted: a big hotel.  First sketches of the Edgewater show it as the Camelot Inn.  The Edgewater is perhaps best known for the visiting Beatles, of whom the now common fish tale is told that they followed the instructions written on the waterfront side of the hotel and fished from their window.  We suspect that a trolling of the bottom might still catch some paint chips fallen a century ago from the worn sides of the Montcalm.

An early and passionate rendering of the  planned Edgewater - or Camelot.
An early and passionate rendering of the planned Edgewater – or Camelot.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Certainly, and beginning again with Ron Edge’s selection of links to other features we have had swimming in the Pacific in the past.  Ron has also put up the cover to our illustrated history of the waterfront.  I suspect that if it is clicked then several chapter choices will appear.  We remind the reader that this Waterfront History is always available in toto on this blog.  And was also propose again that when in doubt or squinting that readers should click twice and sometimes thrice.

THEN: Pier 70 when it was still Pier 14, ca. 1901, brand new but not yet "polished."  Courtesy, Lawton Gowey

THEN: Before this the first shovel of the last of Denny Hill was ceremonially dropped to the conveyor belt at Battery Street, an “initial bite of 30,000 cubic yards of material” was carved from the cliff along the east side of 5th Avenue to make room for both the steam shovel and several moveable belts that extended like fingers across the hill.  It was here that they met the elevated and fixed last leg of the conveyor system that ran west on Battery Street to the waterfront.  (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)

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THE WATERFRONT FIRE OF 1910 – at the FOOT OF WALL STREET

Looking west down Wall Street thru the popular ruins.
Looking west down Wall Street thru the popular ruins.

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A clip from the March 23, 2003 Pacific Magazine
CLICK TO ENLARGE – A clip from the March 23, 2003 Pacific Magazine
The ruins looking northeast from the waterfront.
The ruins looking northeast from the waterfront.
The 1910 fire's remains seen west over First Avenue.
The 1910 fire’s remains seen west over First Avenue.

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RAILROAD AVENUE LOOKING NORTH FROM WALL STREET

Merged from two negatives, Railroad Avenue looking north over Wall Street.
Merged from two negatives, Railroad Avenue looking north over Wall Street.
Jean has a colored version of this repeat, and I shall encourage him to find it and following his discovery also erase this caption for the prospect is obvious.
Jean has a colored version of this repeat, and I shall encourage him to find it and following his discovery also erase this caption for the prospect is obvious.
You should probably CLICK-TO-ENLARGE this insert.
You should probably CLICK-TO-ENLARGE this insert.

=======

QUIZ  – SELF-CONFIDENCE WILL BE REWARDED TO THE READER WHO CAN REVEAL FROM WHAT THE HISTORICAL PHOTO BELOW WAS RECORDED.

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Seattle Now & Then: The Hotel York

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The Hotel York at the northwest corner of Pike Street and First Avenue supplied beds on the American Plan for travelers and rooms for traveling hucksters. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
THEN: The Hotel York at the northwest corner of Pike Street and First Avenue supplied beds on the American Plan for travelers and rooms for traveling hucksters. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
NOW: In 1912, eight years after the Hotel York was razed, the Corner Market Building took its place as part of the Pike Place Public Market.
NOW: In 1912, eight years after the Hotel York was razed, the Corner Market Building took its place as part of the Pike Place Public Market.

The building’s name, Palmer, is either chiseled or cast in stone above the front door.  This top-heavy brick pile began its relatively brief life in 1890, with the Ripley Hotel its main tenant.  The name of the hostelry was later changed to Hotel York, as we see it here.  The ever-helpful UW Press book, Shaping Seattle Architecture, names the Palmer’s architects, but not the Palmer’s owner.  Perhaps it was Alfred L. Palmer, who dealt in both real estate and law in the early 1890s, the year this ornate addition to the city’s landscape opened.

Three Hotels - of note - following the Great Fire of 1889, here in 1890.  First on top of Denny Hill the Denny Hotel (later renamed the Washington) is under construction.  Next, at the center of this detail from a pan taken from the King Street coal wharf stands the undecorated south and west facades of the Arlington Hotel, and its tower at the northeast corner of the building but at the southwest corner of First Ave. and University Street rises from it.  The tower was later removed.  Next, the Ripley Hotel under late construction at the far left.   Also note the dark coal wharf at the foot of Madison Street.  Its place is now part of Ivar's Pier 54 which for another 200-plus days will be remodeling as they rebuild the seawall at its front door.
Three Hotels – of note – following the Great Fire of 1889, here in 1890. First on top of Denny Hill the Denny Hotel (later renamed the Washington) is under construction. Next, at the center of this detail from a pan taken from the King Street coal wharf stands the undecorated south and west facades of the Arlington Hotel.  Look closely, its tower at the northeast corner of the building but at the southwest corner of First Ave. and University Street it under construction.. It was later removed.   The Arlington’s  foundation helped stop the northerly advance of the 1889 fire. Next, the Ripley Hotel under late construction at the far left – falling out of frame.  Also note the dark box-shaped coal wharf at the foot of Madison Street, below-center. Its place is now part of Ivar’s Pier 54, which for another 200-plus days will be busy with remodeling the Acres of Clams, while the seawall (1934-36) is being  rebuild  at its front door.
The Gilmore, aka Arlington, Hotel foundation work following the Great Fire of June  6, 1889, looking south-southwest from the Front Street (First Ave.) west sidewalk just south of University Street.  The foundation helped stop the fire's advance north up the waterfront.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
The Gilmore, aka Arlington, Hotel foundation work following the Great Fire of June 6, 1889, looking south-southwest from the Front Street (First Ave.) west sidewalk just south of University Street. As already noted, this foundation helped stop the fire’s advance north up the waterfront. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

Architects Arlen Towle and Frank Wilcox shared a brief partnership between 1889 and 1891.  Perhaps they can be numbered among those opportunist professionals who hurried here after the Seattle business district burned to the ground on June 6, 1889. On its move north, the Great Fire was stopped short of University Street by the inflammable foundation of the under construction Arlington Hotel (the Bay Building). Only two blocks to the north, at the northwest corner of Pike Street and Front (First) Avenue, Palmer also got its start in 1889

Looking south from the roof (or upper floor) of the Ripley/York hotel.
Looking south from the roof (or upper floor) of the Ripley/York hotel.  The Arlington Hotel and its tower at the southwest corner of First and University stands center-left.  The University Street ramp to the waterfront runs left-right thru the center of the scene, crossing over Western Avenue, right of-center.   Western Avenue runs on  towards Union Street at the lower-right corner.  The western wing of the Arthur and Mary Denny home at the southeast corner of First and Union is evident far-left.  The dark mass of the coal wharf at the foot of Madison can be found right-of-center, and the longer and larger King Street coal wharf reaches into Elliott Bay, upper-right.   Although the photograph is signed by Asahel Curtis, lower-right, he almost certainly did not record it, but rather copied it.  It memory serves – and let Ron Edge correct me – I think Soule took this and a left-side panel that doubles it to the east.

The Hotel York and much else is seen here, center-right,  from the Denny Hotel atop Denny Hill.
The Hotel York and much else is seen here, center-right, from the Denny Hotel atop Denny Hill.  The Arlington Hotel can also be found, but not the coal wharf at the foot of Madison.  It has been replaced with Pier No. 3 (later renumber 54 in 1944), to the far south end of the many Northern Pacific finger piers that were built on the waterfront north of Madison Street in the first years of the 20th Century.  So this is the Hotel York in its last years – or months. The Webster and Stevens early number 718 suggests that this was recorded in 1900 – or near it.  [Click to Enlarge – maybe twice]
The waterfront at the foot of Pike Street photographed from bay shows the Hotel York on the left horizon.
The waterfront at the foot of Pike Street photographed from bay shows the Hotel York on the left horizon. This view dates from the 1890s before the Northern Pacific piers were constructed north of Madison.  The Pike Street pier showing here was also soon replaced by the one that now nestles beside the waterfront aquarium.  The Schwabacher Wharf, to the right-of-center, was the largest dock on the waterfront following the 1889 fire and was swarmed during the post-fire construction.  It is also the dock where the gold rush steamer Portland docked with her “ton of gold” in 1897.   The block of hotels on First Avenue between University and Seneca Streets shows its unadorned western facade, far-right.  The Arlington anchors the block at its north end.  [Click to Enlarge]

Second only to the hotel, the Empire Laundry was another of the Palmer’s commercial tenants.  It is represented here by two horse-drawn delivery wagons and its sidewalk storefront, which is nestled between the entrance to the York Café at the corner and the door to the hotel, at far right.  Inside the hotel lobby one could request a room on the American Plan, which included meals, most likely at the York Cafe, for between $1.00 and $1.50 a day.  Many of the rooms – perhaps most – also provided what a classified ad for the York described as an “elegant view of the bay.”

Judging from the few city directories that I have here with me in this Wallingford basement, Thomas C. Hirsch - and not the York Hotel Cafe - controlled the corner door here in 1901.  Hirsch, however, was not there in1903 (another of my directories).
Judging from the few city directories that I have here with me in this Wallingford basement, Thomas C. Hirsch – and not the York Hotel Cafe – controlled the corner door here in 1901. Hirsch, however, was not there in1903 (another of my directories).
From a June 21, 1906 advertisement run in the Seattle Times.  Dr. Sander's Electric Belt promised potency for men in want of it, similar to
From a June 21, 1906 advertisement run in the Seattle Times. Dr. Sander’s Electric Belt promised potency for men in want of it, similar to the array of therapies and tools prescribed and used by some of the therapists who used the Hotel  York for their consultations.

Judging from the ads, the York’s most sensational renters were health providers who promoted either magnetic healing or massage or both, as with the Chicagoan Miss LaRoy’s “magnetic scientific massage.” Most persistent were Professors Gill and Brunn.  For several weeks in 1902, they provided a growing list of therapies, including osteo-manipulation, vibration, hypnotism, vital magnetism, a “new light cure,” and psychology for “bad habits.”  Elsewhere in the hotel, Miss Mooreland, like Miss LaRoy, also from Chicago, provided sponge baths and massage, “a specialty.”  The “well-known trance medium,” Mme. Pederson, shared “the secrets of your life” and advised “how to keep out of the pathway of despair.”

The hydrotherapy available at the Eureka Baths on terretorial Seattle's Commercial Street, was advertized here in 1877.   Seattle's Dr. Weed practiced hydrotherapy and was also a Mayor here.  Interbay Pioneer Henry Smith also practiced it.  And honestly don't you find a hot bath sometimes therapeutic?
The hydrotherapy available at the Eureka Baths on territorial Seattle’s Commercial Street, was advertized here in 1877.  Seattle’s Dr. Weed practiced hydrotherapy and was also our Mayor. Interbay Pioneer Henry Smith also practiced it. And honestly don’t you find that a hot bath sometimes seems to “cause thorough action of the different organs” in your body?  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

There was no cure, however, for the sudden tremors that came over, but, more importantly, under the adolescent hotel.  In 1903 the Great Northern railroad began tunneling beneath the city, and from the tunnel’s north portal near Virginia Street, the boring soon shook the York’s foundations.  The Hotel York was razed in November 1904, a few days after the cutting and digging from the tunnel’s two ends met at the center.

The north portal to the tunnel near the foot of Virgnia Street.  The Hotel York's northern facade appears - for the moment - at the upper-left corner.
The north portal to the tunnel near the foot of Virgnia Street. The Hotel York’s northern facade appears – for the moment – at the upper-left corner.
The footprint of the abandoned Hotel York appears lower-right in this detail from the 1904-5 Sanborn Real Estate Map.  The stairs to the waterfront show bottom-right and upper right a few footprints of the sheds and shacks that held to the bluff.
The footprint of the abandoned Hotel York appears lower-right in this detail from the 1904-5 Sanborn Real Estate Map. It is “vacant and dilapidated to be removed.”  The stairs to the waterfront show bottom-right and upper right a few footprints of the sheds and shacks that held to the bluff.
Top to Bottom:   Sheds on the waterfront and above it on the bluff near the foot of Lenora Street.   -   Water cannons carving the cliff for construction of the tunnels north portal near the foot of Virginia Street, 1903.  - Looking down the tracks from Railroad Avenue to the tunnel construction at the North Portal.
Top to Bottom:
Sheds on the waterfront and above it on the bluff near the foot of Lenora Street. – Water cannons carving the cliff for construction of the tunnels north portal near the foot of Virginia Street, 1903. – Looking down the spur of narrow construction tracks from Railroad Avenue to the tunnel construction at the North Portal.  The Hotel York and its mural for Owl Cigars can be found – easily., but for how long?

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Surely Jean.  Here are a dozen – or so – links fastened by Ron Edge.  There will be some repeats between them, but such, we know, is the exercise of learning.

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Lawton Cowey's recording of the Corner Market Building on Oct. 25, 1974, and so before its restoration.
Lawton Cowey’s recording of the Corner Market Building on Oct. 25, 1974, and so before its restoration.
As he was often inclined to do, Lawton returned to record the Corner Market Building after its restoration, here on April 21, 1976, about half-a-life ago for some.
As he was often inclined to do, Lawton returned to record the Corner Market Building after its restoration, here on April 21, 1976, about half-a-life ago for some.
Through out community's history, it's story has been adopted by businesses to help promote their products and/or services.  Here in 1947 is one of Metro Fed. Savings "Seattle Facts."  This one remembers the meeting of the railroad tunnel and the hotel.
Through out community’s history, it’s story has been adopted by businesses to help promote their products and/or services. Here in 1947 is one of Metro Fed. Savings “Seattle Facts.” This one remembers the confrontation of the railroad tunnel and the hotel.

 

Seattle Now & Then: The Summit Avenue Hospital

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN:  This detail from the prolific local photographer Asahel Curtis’s photograph of the Smith/Rininger home at the northwest corner of Columbia Street and Summit Avenue dates from the early twentieth century when motorcars, rolling or parked, were still very rare on the streets of Seattle, including these on First Hill.  (Courtesy, Historic Seattle)
THEN: This detail from the prolific local photographer Asahel Curtis’s photograph of the Smith/Rininger home at the northwest corner of Columbia Street and Summit Avenue dates from the early twentieth century when motorcars, rolling or parked, were still very rare on the streets of Seattle, including these on First Hill. (Courtesy, Historic Seattle)
NOW: Five Swedish Hospital nurses, from the twelfth floor oncology ward, gathered here in the hospital’s lobby for Jean Sherrard’s repeat.
NOW: Five Swedish Hospital nurses, from the twelfth floor oncology ward, gathered here in the hospital’s lobby for Jean Sherrard’s repeat.

In Jean Sherrard’s “now,” five nurses from Swedish Hospital’s oncology ward stand at or close to what was once the southeast corner of Columbia Street and Summit Avenue.  This was also the prospect for Asahel Curtis’s “then,” recorded early in the twentieth century when this First Hill neighborhood was still known for its stately homes, big incomes and good manners.

With about 110 years between them, both Sherrard and Curtis are sighting to the northwest, and both their photographs are only the center thirds of wide panoramas.  Sherrard’s shows Swedish Hospital’s lobby during a renovation.  Curtis’s pan at its full width is merged from three negatives.  It reaches from the northeast corner of Columbia and Summit, on the right, to far west down Columbia, on the left.  (The full pans of both now hang in the lobby of Town Hall, the former Fourth Church of Christian Science, another First Hill institution on the southwest corner of Eighth Avenue and Seneca Street.)

Asahel Curtis' original
Asahel Curtis’ original
Sherrard's repeat
Sherrard’s repeat

The big home, centered here at the northwest corner of the intersection, was built for the Seattle banker-industrialist, Charles J. Smith. He in turn sold it to the doctor-surgeon Edmund Rininger in 1905, about the time Curtis visited the corner, perhaps at Rininger’s request.  With his wife Nellie and daughter Olive, Rininger moved into the house next door on Columbia, in order to set about building his Summit Avenue Hospital at the corner.

Another detail pulled from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map.
Another detail pulled from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map.  The intersection of Columbia Street and Summit Avenue is center-lower-right, or between the blocks 120, 131, 132 and 101.  The Otis Hotel is at the northeast corner and the Rininger’s home west across Summit at its northwest corner with Columbia.  Madison Street crosses through the upper-left corner.
The Rininger home at the northwest corner of Columbia Street and Summit Ave. appears here
The Rininger home at the northwest corner of Columbia Street and Summit Ave. appears here right-of-center with its sun-lighted west facade.  Across Summit is the Otis Hotel.  A nearly new Providence Hospital is on the right horizon and the twin towers of Second Hill’s Immaculate Conception mark the center-horizon, directly above the Otis..  The photograph was taken from an upper floor of an apartment house at the northeast corner of Marion Street and Terry Avenue.

The surgeon’s plans were fatally upset on July 25, 1912,å when, while driving home from a house call in Kent, the forty-two year old Rininger, alone in his motorcar, collided with a Puget Sound Electric Railway train.  With the death of her husband, Nellie Rininger sold the nearly completed hospital to the Swedish Hospital Association in the spring of 1913.  As part of this fateful transfer, Nellie Rininger also gifted her late husband’s large medical library and his then new x-ray machine to Swedish Hospital.

A clipping from The Seattle Times for Feb. 16, 1913.
A clipping from The Seattle Times for Feb. 16, 1913. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Both the china and linen monogramed SAH for Rininger’s Summit Avenue Hospital came with the sale.  No doubt for reasons of economy the Swedish Hospital Association (SHA) decided to use both in spite of the reordering of the letters.

With help from the Seattle Public Library, clipped from the THE SEATTLE TIMES, April 15, 1968.
With help from the Seattle Public Library, clipped from the THE SEATTLE TIMES, April 15, 1968.  CLICK TO ENLARGE

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Yes Jean and again with help from Rod Edge.   First, several links below, and all include features that relate to the neighborhood and sometimes just beyond it.  Some will be found twice, perhaps even thrice.  The most relevant feaure is probably the last one about the General Hospital.  It first appeared here not so long ago.   Also featured here is my “mea culpa” (I am guilty) confession concerning my flubs with the  the Anderson mansion, and my humble correction.

THEN:

THEN: First Hill’s distinguished Old Colony Apartments at 615 Boren Avenue, 1910.

THEN: Both the grading on Belmont Avenue and the homes beside it are new in this “gift” to Capitol Hill taken from the family album of  Major John Millis. (Courtesy of the Major’s grandchild Walter Millis and his son, a Seattle musician, Robert Millis.)

THEN:The front end damage to the white Shepherd Ambulance on the right is mostly hidden behind the black silhouette of either officer Murphy or Lindberg, both of whom answered the call of this morning crash on Feb. 18, 1955.

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: Looking northwest to Seattle General Hospital at the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Marion Street, circa 1909. (Courtesy of Michael Maslan)

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SOME OTHER HOSPITALS ON THE HILL

GRACE HOSPITAL on Summit Avenue between Union and Pike Streets.  Seattle's Protestant hospital could not compete with the Catholic's Providence, and it closed to be replaced with Summit School, below.
GRACE HOSPITAL on Summit Avenue between Union and Pike Streets. Seattle’s Protestant hospital could not compete with the Catholic’s Providence, and it closed to be replaced with Summit School, below.

Grace - Summit

A new Harborview from above.
A new Harborview from above.
Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason
Before their was a Virginia Mason Hospital there was photographer Imogen Cunningham's home and studio.
Before their was a Virginia Mason Hospital there was photographer Imogen Cunningham’s home and studio.  (You can find this feature FULL-SIZED in the history books button, at the top.   It is the 111th feature included in SEATTLE NOW THEN Vol. One. 
A 1950 aerial with Marion Street climbing First Hill far right.  That makes the next thruway up the hill Columbia Street.  New the upper-left corner it reaches the early Swedish Hospital in 1950 on the Rininger corner with Summit Ave.  Sixth Avenue runs along the bottom of the subject, between James Street on the right and Marion.  A little more than a decade later the blocks between Sixth and Seventh were cleared for the Seattle Freeway, as it was then called.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
A 1950 aerial with Marion Street climbing First Hill far left. That makes Columbia Street the next thruway up the hill Columbia. Near the upper-left corner it reaches the early Swedish Hospital campus  in 1950 on the Rininger corner with Summit Ave. Sixth Avenue runs along the bottom of the subject, between James Street on the right and Marion. A little more than a decade later the blocks between Sixth and Seventh were cleared for the Seattle Freeway, as it was then called. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)  CLICK TWICE TO ENLARGE

BACK TO THE CORNER

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Jumping nurses
Jumping nurses

 

 

Seattle Now & Then: Comet becomes Star

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Faced, in part, with brick veneer and stucco, and opened in 191l, the Comet Apartments at 170 11th Avenue have made it nicely through their first century.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
THEN: Faced, in part, with brick veneer and stucco, and opened in 191l, the Comet Apartments at 170 11th Avenue have made it nicely through their first century. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
NOW: Missing only a few architectural bands that once wrapped its sides, the now Star Apartments have gained a landscape that caresses the daylight basement windows.
NOW: Missing only a few architectural bands that once wrapped its sides, the now Star Apartments have gained a landscape that caresses the daylight basement windows.

By the estimable authority of Diana James, the Comet Apartments, this Sunday’s subject at the First Hill corner of Spruce Street and 11th Avenue, is a solid example of a building form she calls “Seattle-Centric.”  In “Shared Walls,” her book history of our city’s apartment houses, James explains, “Driving or walking through Seattle neighborhoods that have concentrations of apartment buildings, one is struck by the repetition of a particular form, best described as rectangular or square in shape and featuring at least one bay on either side of a centrally located and recessed opening at each floor above the entrance.  Variations on this theme exist in every Seattle neighborhood.”

The Comet Apartments are found above the center of this detail pulled - again - from the 1912 Baist Map. (Courtesy, again, Ron Edge)
The Comet Apartments are found above the center of this detail pulled – again – from the 1912 Baist Map. (Courtesy, again, Ron Edge)  CLICK TO ENLARGE – PLEASE.

By another authority, King County tax records, organized in the late 1930s by the depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Comet (its original name) was built in 1910 with twenty-eight apartments. Seven of these were fit with four rooms, and the rest with three.  West and Wheeler, the Comet’s real estate agent, described it in The Seattle Times “Apt Unclassified” listings for March 4, 1912, as “an unusually attractive building.”  We still agree.

The Comet/Star depression-era tax card. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive, Bellevue Community College Branch)
The Comet/Star depression-era tax card. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive, Bellevue Community College Branch)

The Comet’s 1912 classified packed a terse list of its qualities, including “large light rooms,” “very reasonable rates (twenty to thirty dollars),” and the unnamed but “usually up-to-date apt. house conveniences.”  The Comet was also in a “paved district” that was conveniently in “walking distance.”  Surely these First Hill apartments were within a reasonable stroll of nearly every necessity. Pacific Grade School was three blocks north on 11th at Jefferson Street, and professional baseball, a mere two blocks away at the Seattle Athletic Field. (see below)  If walking was not wanted, the Comet was surrounded by common carriers, including the trollies on Broadway and 12th Avenues and the cable cars on James Street and Yesler Way.  For the mostly downhill three-quarters of a mile trip to Pioneer Square, a brisk step might get there almost as quickly as a ride on the famously rattling cable cars.

Near it last day, a Yesler Way Cable Car approaches Seventh Avenue on Yesler Way, now the eastern border of the 1-5 Freeway.  The photograph was taken by a trolley and cable enthusiast in 1940.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
Near it last day, a Yesler Way Cable Car approaches Seventh Avenue on Yesler Way, now the eastern border of the 1-5 Freeway. The photograph was taken by a trolley and cable enthusiast in 1940. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

On November 21, 1938, the Comet – by then the Star, the name that stuck – was enrolled on the year’s list of victims of the nearly sixty apartments and homes visited in the night by the then best-known – as yet unnamed and uncaught – person in Seattle: a firebug.  Of the four apartments – three on First Hill – ignited “by a pyromaniac” that early morning, the city’s fire Chief William Fitzgerald described the Star’s as “the most successful.”  It was set in a dumb-waiter shaft, did $2,000 damage and “routed 100 persons from their beds at 3:30 in the morning.”  Addressing the city – especially the residents of First Hill – the fire chief asked for “intelligent assistance” rather than “mass hysteria.”  The fire chief may have also had Police Chief William Sears in mind, who earlier had let it out that he “feared a catastrophe if the firebug is not apprehended.”

(The fire bugs – two of them during the Great Depression – left an impressive paper trail in the local press.  An industrious historian might consider telling this story while using the very handy and almost omnipresent tax photos of the victims, of which very few were burned to the ground.)

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul? Rob? Diana?   Sure Jean.  Rob has pulled a number of past blog features that “approach” this week’s subject on the southeast corner of First Hill.  Again, because these links are often packed with other features they may also approach other corners or even hills.    At the bottom we will add the Pacific Mag. clipping with the story about Dugdale Park (the first one) aka the Yesler Athletic Field at 12th and Yesler.   These feature local baseball historian Dan Eskenazi and are used with his courtesy and with the repeat your Nikon Jean.   Turning now to you dear reader, please explore these links.  The first one features the pie-shaped Sprague Hotel in the original flat-iron block nestled between Spruce and Yesler,  and then reformed as part of Yesler Terrace.   You may wish to also key-word “Yesler Terrace” in the search box above. As you know Jean, Diana does not have a key to this inner sanctum, only to hearts and minds, your’s and mine.,

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: Harborview Hospital takes the horizon in this 1940 recording. That year, a hospital report noted that "the backwash of the depression" had overwhelmed the hospital's outpatient service for "the country's indigents who must return periodically for treatment." Built in 1931 to treat 100 cases a day, in 1939 the hospital "tries bravely to accommodate 700 to 800 visits a day."

childhaven-then-lr

THEN: First Hill’s distinguished Old Colony Apartments at 615 Boren Avenue, 1910.

THEN:

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

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Yesler Athletic Field, 12th and Yesler.
Yesler Athletic Field, 12th and Yesler. (Courtesy, David Eskenazi)

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David Eskenazi on the roof.
David Eskenazi on the roof.

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MEANWHILE AND NEARBY – MORE BILLBOARD PORTRAITS FROM THE FOSTER-KLEISER COLLECTION

Looking south on 12th Avenue to the corner of Alder Street, on March 14, 1940.
Looking south on 12th Avenue to the corner of Alder Street, on March 14, 1940.
Twelfth Avenue looking south towards Main Street,
Twelfth Avenue looking south towards Main Street, Nov. 31, 1936
Twelfth Ave. looking north thru Fir Street corner,
Twelfth Ave. looking north thru Fir Street corner, 1939.
Jackson Street looking west towards 12th Avenue - if I have "read" this correctly.
Jackson Street looking west towards 12th Avenue – if I have “read” this correctly.