Before this coming Sunday’s feature is published we want to insert an addition to last week’s feature about the Galbraith and Bacon Wall Street Wharf and the Bark Montcalm that was tied to her south side most likely in early November, 1910 and not “circa 1912” as we speculated last Sunday. Here’s the feature photo, again.
We received three letters responding to our uncertainties about which Montcalm this was and, as noted, the date it visited Seattle. Reader Kyle Stubbs was first to respond, and noted that “I am only aware of one Montcalm that was a barque-rigged sailing vessel. That is the Montcalm of 1902, 2,415 tons built at Nantes, France, which was used in around Cape Horn service by La Societe des Voiliers Nantais. The vessel was broken up in the Netherlands in 1924.”
The next letter came from Douglas Stewart, a seasoned cardiologist with the University Medical School and hospital, whom I first met last winter after I fell to the kitchen floor, tripped by my oxygen gasping heart’s tricks with consciousness, or loss of it. The good doctor is also an enthusiast for most things maritime, and even rows to work from his home, which like the hospital sits beside Portage Bay. He found that the original nitrate negative for this photograph is in the keep of the University Libraries Special Collections. In their terse cataloging of it a librarian concludes that this was the “decommissioned sailing ship Montcalm at dock, probably in Seattle ca. 1912.” The date is almost certainly wrong, and the “decommissioned” attribute is unclear or uncertain. Decommissioned when? The library’s data also describes this Montcalm as an “armored sailing corvette . . . originally built for the French Navy in 1865.” While a Google search for everything that is a Montcalm and floats will surface a French corvette with that heroic name dating from the 1860s, it is, again, almost certainly not this Montcalm. The first French corvettes of the 17th century were much smaller than this bark or barque and were built to carry cannons. They got bigger, surely, but not this big. and continued to be built for cannons not concrete and wheat like our Montcalm.
The third and last contributor to this quest for a proper caption is our old friend Stephen Lundgren, who for this sort of investigation into maritime history prefers the sobriquet Capt. Stefan Eddie. I confess to having used the Captain at times as a capable “World Authority on Everything,” resembling the Professor played by Sid Caesar on his TV show in the 50’s – the best part of that decade. Capt. Eddie also did what I should have done, which is consult the Seattle Public Libraries assess to the key-word search opening into The Seattle Times on-line archive between 1900 and 1984. Stephen found, for instance, the clipping above, which was almost certainly photographed by the same camera or camera person as the featured photo on top. From reading the Times reporting during the Montcalm’s few days stay in Seattle, the Captain concludes, “Took about an hour trolling the Times database and verifying the ship history facts. That it is rigged as a bark, with a steel hull, narrows the search. It’s at the Galbraith Dock probably between discharging the cement cargo in West Seattle and before loading outbound wheat at Smith Cove. The Galbraith Co. dealt in Cement. Question is what buildings were constructed with this Belgium-shipped concrete?” Capt. Stefan Eddie’s last question really goes too far. How could anyone be expected to follow the concrete from ship to foundations?
Finally, Captain Stephan Eddit added to his missive something more of his charming familiarity with the Montcalm subject. He explains, “Lars Myrlie Sr. tells me (in Norwegian) ‘I gots off that damm frenchie ship as soon as it gots to Seattle, it was a hell ship and I damm near gots my head stove in off the coast when the load shifted and knocked the other cargo loose cement in bulk, which meant our sure deaths if we gots a leak. Sure it was a steel ship but them damm rivets popped when a hard one hit, like a bullet they was and then came the squirt. My brother gots me off the Galbreath dock and over to Port Blakely and no more damn frenchies for me, Tusende Tak Gotts!”
It took the Montcalm 195 days to carry its 3,000 tons of concrete from Antwerp to Seattle. The ship was registered at 1,744 tons, so the concrete gave it lots of steadying ballast for the storms. However, there were no storms except the expected ones around Cape Stiff, the sailors’ name for Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. Otherwise her crossing of the Atlantic was one of constant calms and so not of great speed.
About two hours ago our friend and expat in Lima, Bill White, was honored on a stage at the Seattle Public Library. Or rather his e-book CINEMA PENITENTIARY was honored, he could not make it from Lima. CINEMA PENITENTIARY is one of three books selected by the Seattle Public Library to be included this year in its lending collection. We hope that some blog’s will remember that now a few years back we included an excerpt from CINEMA PENITENTIARY. Now, below, Ron Edge will return it to the front of this blog (before the week’s now and then comes forward this evening) that posting. It will be linked to five reports that Bill made while on his long journey to his New World by ship in the fall of 2012. We miss you still Bill and CONGRATULATION, of course. As agreed we should try to resume the posting of Helix issues later this fall. (Once we figure out our Skype tangles.) A WARNING: Bill is fond of re-writing so the chapter from CINEMA PENITENTIARY that we printed here two years ago, may have been polished or something since then. If so now you can compare them. Contact the library. It is a treat.
Click the festive photo from Bill to review all his post for his “Journey to a New World”
I’ve grown fond lately of returning to the snapshots I took of the neighborhood during my nearly daily Wallingford Walks between 2006 and 2010. (I should probably still be at it.) I’ll share (or push) some of these over the next few days or longer, and find a general name for them all later. Here is No.1, which is really twenty settings I made for a fallen Wallingford leaf in 2008. [click to enlarge]
In response to our last blog feature, the one about the Fremont Car Barn and the rest, an old friend and officer in these trenches, archivist Ernie Dornfield, answered our question regarding what was the use of those ghost-colored solid forms in the otherwise vacant lot between the house on the left of the subject and the car barn beyond both? Here’s Ernie’s letter plus a “grab” from this computer’s screen of a City Archive photograph that shows one of those “gray things” being installed. If you follow his advice and access the city clerk’s information service you will find many more and even much more beyond gray concretions.
The original print of this “real photo postcard” is bordered with the scribbled message that I have cropped away: “Remember me to any old class mates you happen to see.” The postcard shows another message as well, one that is most helpful, while still mildly mutilating the postcard’s face. It appears in the gray sky between the two homes. Although barely readable, you may decipher “Brooklyn Ave” written there. The postcard also shows a dimly drawn line leading to the street number 4703, nailed to the top of the front porch.
This then is 4703 Brooklyn Avenue in the University District, an identification I corroborated with a photograph of the same house attached to its assessor’s “tax card,” held in the Puget Sound Branch of the Washington State Archives in Bellevue. The tax records have the classic box built in 1902, a year in which the neighborhood was still as likely called Brooklyn as the University District. Brooklyn was the name given to it in 1890 by super-developer James Moore. He chose the name because his addition “looked across the water” to Seattle proper like the New York borough of the same name that looks across the East River to Manhattan. Brooklyn Avenue, its intended main street, was the first one graded in the addition, and it was at this intersection that Moore constructed a water tower.
The owners of this classic box were Amos and Alice Winsor. In his 1947 obituary (above) Amos is credited with having lived in the district for forty-four years and “built many of the early buildings on the University of Washington Campus, including Science (renamed Parrington) Hall.” Included among the Winsor family’s many celebrations held in their home was their daughter Olivia Rachel’s marriage to a Brooklyn neighbor, Vilas Richard Rathbun, on April 16,
1913. They were, The Times reported, “Surrounded by about fifty relatives and intimate friends.” The ceremony was conducted by Horace Mason, the progressive pastor of University Congregational Church. From both the congregation’s and the addition’s beginnings in 1890, the Congregationalists were effective at promoting the Brooklyn Community Club, the principal campaigner for neighborhood improvements.
In the “now” photograph, the by now half-century old plant of Carson Cleaners replaced the Winsor home in 1962. Bob Carson tells how his parents, Roy and Doris, were persuaded by the corner’s new owner, Helen Rickert, of Helen Rickert Gown Shop on the “Ave”, to open a cleaners at the corner. Richert was a fan, consistently pleased with how the Carsons handled her gowns and dresses in the cleaners Lake City shop. The Carsons agreed to the move and brought their modern corner sign with them. Bob half apologizes for the condition of the now also half-century old sign and reader board. “It needs to be repainted, but our lease is up in December and I’m retiring.” For Bob we add both our “congratulations” and a “whoopee.”
Anything to add, Paul? Surely Jean, with Ron’s help we have three links added that are well-appointed with University District features, although most of them stick to “The Ave.” or University Way, AKA, thru its now 124 years, as 14th Avenue and Columbus Street. But then Brooklyn was first named Broadway.
[CLICK & DISCOVER]
NOW THEN & MAYBE
NOW it has come to what we sometimes affectionately call Nighty-Bears, the wee-morning hour when we climb the stairs to what this night after a few hot days will be an warm bed. I am eager to retire, somewhat drained by a pursuit this afternoon of a few more sides for this week’s subject, the broad way of Brooklyn Ave. THEN after a late breakfast I’ll return and put up the “other sides” we, again, have prepared but for now not plopped because we are pooped. Nighty-Bears then, but with something entirely different at the temporary bottom: an unidentified “painted lady.” She is for me an exciting intimation of all the joyful work that is expected ahead while shaping MOFA: the Museum of Forsaken Art. And this place, below, if not forsaken is, at least, forgotten. I do not remember where or when I recorded it’s rhythms and tenderly abused symmetry, but almost certainly not on Brooklyn, not even MAYBE.
BROOKLYN AVE. CONTINUES after breakfast, SUNDAY JULY 13, 2014, 12:45 PM