Seattle Now & Then: City Hall, 1908

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THEN: This “real photo postcard” was sold on stands throughout the city.  It was what it claimed to be; that is, its gray tones were real.  If you studied them with magnification the grays did not turn into little black dots of varying sizes. (Courtesy, David Chapman and otfrasch.com)
THEN: This “real photo postcard” was sold on stands throughout the city. It was what it claimed to be; that is, its gray tones were real. If you studied them with magnification the grays did not turn into little black dots of varying sizes. (Courtesy, David Chapman and otfrasch.com)
NOW: After a rescue in the early 1970s, this former city hall survives as the 400 Yesler Building.  Behind it rises the Fifth and Yesler Building, a recent addition to the Pioneer Square Neighborhood skyline.
NOW: After a rescue in the early 1970s, this former city hall survives as the 400 Yesler Building. Behind it rises the Fifth and Yesler Building, a recent addition to the Pioneer Square Neighborhood skyline.
About thirty years ago, or more, I took the above shot of our subject for reasons I know longer remember (if I needed one.)  The prospect then was close to Jean's now, but not so colorful.
About thirty years ago, or more, I took the above shot of our subject for reasons I no longer remember (if I needed one.) The prospect then was close to Jean’s now, but not so colorful.  And there on the far right the Grand Union Hotel still stood on the east side of Fourth Avenue.
Here's a THEN of the same intersection, which moves closer to Jean's position, or reaches beyond it to the sidewalk for a look up Terrace Street, or rather an impression of it through the windows of the Yesler Way Cable car which in this ca. 1940 shot is about on its last cable.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
Here’s a THEN of the same intersection, which moves closer to Jean’s position, or reaches beyond it to the sidewalk for a look up Terrace Street, or rather an impression of it through the windows of the Yesler Way Cable car which in this ca. 1940 shot is handing on to its about last cable. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

Otto Theodore Frasch was one of boomtown Seattle’s most energetic postcard photographers in the early twentieth-century, when the public interest in sending and collecting postcards with “real” photographs on them was especially popular.  Local collectors generally cherish postcards with the “O.T. Frasch Seattle” credit and caption.

In this look east on Yesler Way, where it still crosses above Fourth Avenue, Frasch also printed the names of three of Seattle’s primary civic buildings on postcard No. 173.  First, left-of-center, is the triangular-shaped City Hall, the photographer’s primary subject.  It was the brick replacement for the comically named Katzenjammer frame city hall, nearby at Third and Yesler, located in what is now City Hall Park.  Earlier than No. 173, Frasch had made another postcard that included both municipal buildings on Yesler Way.  Its number, nineteen, is early for the Seattle-based photographer.

The Katzenjammer Castle (now City Hall Park) with the new City Hall, up Yesler on the far right, Frasch's No. Nineteen.  We will add his No. Eighteen next.
The Katzenjammer Castle (now City Hall Park) with the new City Hall, up Yesler on the far right, Frasch’s No. Nineteen. We will add his No. Eighteen next.
Otto Frasch's first record of City Hall (the 400 Yesler Building) near the end of its construction.
Apparently this is Otto Frasch’s first record of City Hall (the 400 Yesler Building) near the end of its construction.

Otto and Mary Frasch came here from Minnesota in 1906.  Elsie, their first daughter, was born on the way. A charming picture of the three is included on the Otto Frasch website otfrasch.com, which is web-mastered by Elsie’s great-grandson, David Chapman.  More than 500 images of Frasch’s Seattle and surrounds are featured, including the coverage of Luna Park (the family lived nearby on West Seattle’s Maryland Avenue), the Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition in 1909, the city’s Golden Potlatch parades from 1911 to 1913, and the 1908 visit of the Great White Fleet, all of which are worth a visit to the site. With Otto Frasch’s magnum opus of more than 1000 ascribed numbers, webmaster Chapman’s shepherding of the site continues with new discoveries.

Luna Park and Duwamish Head seen from one of its rides.
Luna Park and Duwamish Head seen from one of its thrilling and/or amusing rides.
A two-card panorama of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition's fitting on the UW campus in 1909, photographed by Otto Frasch from the Capitol Hill side of Portage Bay.
A two-card panorama of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition’s fitting on the UW campus in 1909, photographed by Otto Frasch from the Capitol Hill side of Portage Bay.

This “real photo postcard” No. 173 (the featured photo at the top) most likely dates from 1908.  Although barely visible in this printing, a monumental “welcome” sign for the Fleet stands high on First Hill to the left of the King County Court House dome, which resembles a wedding cake.  City Light is the third landmark noted in the caption.  With its own rooftop sign and two ornate towers, the citizen-owned utility stands above the northwest corner of Seventh Avenue and Yesler Way.  From Frasch’s prospect they escape the horizon behind a screen of power poles beyond, and to the right of City Hall.

City Light's sub-station on the north side of Yesler Way at the west side of 7th Ave. (now over the freeway pit) in a photo not by Frasch but by a city photographer who has dated it Jan. 20, 1914 at the bottom right corner.  In the City Light link included below, you will find an attached feature on this sub-station with an earlier photo of it.
City Light’s sub-station on the north side of Yesler Way at the west side of 7th Ave. (now over the freeway pit) in a photo not by Frasch but by a city photographer who has dated it Jan. 20, 1914 at the bottom right corner. In the City Light link included by Ron Edge below, you will find an attached feature with short essay on this sub-station with an earlier photo of it.
Frank Shaw recorded this look across Yesler to the
Frank Shaw recorded this look across Yesler to the Grand Union Hotel on March 7, 1963, or still eighteen years before the structure was razed on a city order.    To this side of hotel is  the Cadillac and ironic addition or a radical juxtaposition, both once popular art-crit terms?
Verily, the Grand Union Hotel's destruction as recorded in The Seattle Times for May 15, 1983.
Verily, the Grand Union Hotel’s destruction as recorded in The Seattle Times for May 15, 1983.

Otto Frasch did not include in his caption the private Grand Union Hotel, on the far right of the featured photograph on top.  Opened in the fall of 1902, it survived for eighty-one years. The May 15, 1983, issue of this newspaper includes a photograph of the hotel’s destruction under the caption, “Going Going Gone.” The Grand Union “came down without a whimper, ending years of anxiety by the city over the lack of stability in the turn-of-the-century building.”

The Desert Magazine of February 1941 reveals that years after leaving his real photo postcard business in Seattle Otto Fransch was still busy dealing, only now "desert colored glass" out of Los Angeles.  (Note the third miscellaneous down.)
The Desert Magazine of February 1941 reveals that years after leaving his real photo postcard business in Seattle Otto Frasch was still busy dealing, only then  “desert colored glass” out of Los Angeles. (Note the third miscellaneous down.)

WEB EXTRAS

Hey Paul, where’s the beef?

Jean we will answer your beef question at the bottom (the last) of the LINKS LIST that Ron Edge is putting up of subjects that are, again, mostly relevant to this week’s feature.  We encourage readers to start clicking and keep at it as long as they can – at least until they reach the beef.   Here we also note that our beloved mentor Richard Berner is having his 95th birthday this December 31, aka New Years Eve.  May we remind readers that we have on the front page of this blog Berner’s first of three books that make up his trilogy of Seattle in the first 50 years of the 20th Century.  It is included in the books button.  Appropriately, at least for his birthday,  that takes Vol. 1 up to 1920, the year that Rich was born – on its last day.   We have also pulled the little biography we wrote about Rich a few years back and copy it to the bottom of whatever else we come up with before climbing the stairs early this morning to again join the bears.  If my copy attempts fail, you will find that vital Richard (his vita) on this blog with a key word search.   Good luck to all of us.

THEN: On his visit to the Smith Tower around 1960, Wade Stevenson recorded the western slope of First Hill showing Harborview Hospital and part of Yesler Terrace at the top between 7th and 9th Avenue but still little development in the two blocks between 7th and 5th Avenues.  Soon the Seattle Freeway would create a concrete ditch between 7th and 6th (the curving Avenue that runs left-to-right through the middle of the subject.)  Much of the wild and spring fed landscape between 6th and 5th near the bottom of the revealing subject was cleared for parking.  (Photo by Wade Stevenson, courtesy of Noel Holley)

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

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BERNER’S BOOMTOWN

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We are pleased now to introduce Seattle 1900-1920: From Boomtown, Urban Turbulence to Restoration, the first of Richard C. Berner’s three books named together Seattle in the 20th Century. When the details, stories, and insights are explored with a close reading, Berner’s accomplishment is by far our widest opening into Seattle’s twentieth century, the first half of it, from the 1900 to 1950.  Those fifty years were also the second half of Seattle’s first hundred years, if we begin our counting with the footsteps of mid-western farmers settling here in the early 1850s.

Richard Berner, a recent portrait
Richard Berner, a recent portrait

Volume one was first published in 1991 by Charles Press, and the publisher – “Rich” Berner himself – made a modest list of its contents on the back cover. We will repeat it. “Politics of Seattle’s urbanization: dynamics of reform, public ownership movement, turbulent industrial relations, effects of wartime hysteria upon newfound civil liberties – all responding to the huge influx of aspiring recruits to the middle class & organized labor as they confronted the established elite. Includes outlines of the economy, cultural scene, public education, population characteristics & ethnic history.”

For this “printing” we have added many captioned illustrations, some of them copied from news reports of the events Berner examines, and we have almost always succeeded in placing each next to the text it illustrates. On-line illustrated editions of Volume 2: Seattle 1921-1940, From Boom to Bust and Volume 3: Seattle Transformed, World War 2 to Cold War will follow – but not at the moment.The collecting of illustrations and putting them in revealing order with the narratives for Volume 2 and 3 is still a work in progress.Readers who want to “skip ahead” of our illustrated presentations of Berner’s three books here on dorpatsherrardlomont can find the complete set of his history as originally published in local libraries or through interlibrary loans.

How Rich Berner managed it is a charmed story. He undertook what developed into his magnus opus after retiring in 1984 from his position as founder and head of the University of Washington Archives and Manuscripts Division. Between the division’s origin in 1958 and his retirement Rich not only built the collection but also studied it. Berner worked closely with Bob Burke, the U.W. History professor most associated with the study of regional history who first recommended Berner, a University of California, Berkeley graduate in history and library science, for the U.W. position. Together, the resourceful professor and the nurturing archivist shepherded scores of students in their use of the archive. Rich Berner is the first to acknowledge that he also learned from the students as they explored and measured the collection for dissertations and other publications. By now their collected publications can be imagined as its own “shelf” of Northwest History.

News clipping showing Rich C. Berner “as curator of manuscripts for the University of Washington Library.”
News clipping showing Rich C. Berner “as curator of manuscripts for the University of Washington Library.”

Rich Berner showed himself also a good explicator of his profession. His influential book, Archival Theory and Practice in the United States: A Historical Analysis was published by the University of Washington Press in 1983 and was awarded the Waldo Gifford Leland Prize by the Society of American Archivists. Composing this historical study on top of establishing and nourishing the University’s Archive and Manuscripts Division may be fairly considered a life’s achievement, but, with his 1984 retirement Berner continue to work in the archive at writing his three-volume history. He published Volume Three in 1999, and so, continuing the charm of this entire production, he completed Seattle in the 20th Century before the century (and millennium) was over.

Rich & Thelma
Rich & Thelma

(Lest we imagine this scholar chained to his archive we know that with his wife Thelma, a professor of Physiology and Biophysics in the U.W. Medical School and the first woman appointed Associate Dean of the UW graduate school, this famously zestful couple managed to often take to the hills and mountains.)

Rich was born in Seattle in 1920- the last year explored in this his first volume.His father worked on the docks as a machinist, and for a time was “blacklisted” by employers because of his union advocacy.During the depression, while Rich was attending classes at Garfield High School, his mother ran a waterfront café on the Grand Trunk Pacific’s pier at the foot of Madison Street.

Rich in uniform
Rich in uniform

During the war Rich served with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division.Following it with help from the GI Bill he matriculated at Cal-Berkeley with degrees in both history and library science.It was also in Berkeley that he first met Robert Burke, then Director of the Manuscript Collection of the Bancroft Library. Rich worked part time there.

For Seattle, as for any city of size, there is a “canon” of publications that are necessary reading for anyone wanting to get a grip on local history. The first half of the Seattle Canon may be said to begin with Pioneer Arthur Denny’s Pioneer Reminiscences of 1888. The pioneer canon receives its own magnus opus with the combined works – multi-volume histories of Seattle and King County – of Clarence Bagley, himself a pioneer. That Berner was already attending Seattle’s T.T. Minor grade school in 1926 when Bagley was still three years away from publishing his History of King County is evidence of the “Boomtown” included in the title of this Berner’s first of three books on Seattle history.

With rare exceptions the books included in this first part of the Seattle Canon were published by their subjects, like Denny’s still revealing Reminiscences, or under the direction and/or support of their subjects, like Bagley’s still helpful volumes.They are generally “picturesque histories” written to make their subjects seem more appealing than they often were.The stock of motives for “doing heritage” are there generally supportive or positive, showing concern for the community, admiration for its builders, the chance to tell good stories, and often also the desire to learn about one’s forebears although primarily those truths that are not upsetting.Not surprisingly, and again with rare exceptions, these booster-historians and their heritage consumers were members of a minority of citizens defined by their wealth, race and even religion.It would be a surprise to find any poor socialists, animists or even affluent Catholics among them.

Part Two of the Seattle Canon may be said to have popularly begun with Skid Road, historian-journalist Murray Morgan’s charming and yet still raking history of Seattle. Published in 1951, the year of Seattle’s centennial, it is still in print, and has never been out of it. Richard Berner has dedicated Seattle 1900-1920: From Boomtown, Urban Turbulence to Restoration to Morgan.The post-war canon is often corrective of the sins of the pioneers.The works of Morgan and many others, certainly including Berner, are not generally clothed in the pious harmonies of their predecessors, the ordinarily stress-free narratives expected of those who were writing under the “pioneer code.”

In our opinion Rich Berner’s three-volume Seattle in the 20th Century is the greatest single achievement of our Seattle Canon – “part two.”It has the scope and details required.It is profoundly instructive and filled with the characters and turns of fate that any storyteller might admire and wisely exploit.Within Berner’s three books are the wonders of what they did, the touchstones of their devotions and deceptions, their courage and hypocrisy, meanness and compassion.Certainly, it has been our pleasure to help illustrate this the first volume and to also continue on now with volumes two and three.

Paul Dorpat 10/1/2009

Archivist-Antiquarian as Young-Equestrian posing in front of the Berner family home on Seattle’s Cherry Street.
Archivist-Antiquarian as Young-Equestrian posing in front of the Berner family home on Seattle’s Cherry Street.
Student at Seattle’s Garfield High School
Student at Seattle’s Garfield High School
Rich Berner’s father, top-center: machinist on the Seattle waterfront.
Rich Berner’s father, top-center: machinist on the Seattle waterfront.
“High school or college, I’m no longer sure.” - Rich Berner
“High school or college, I’m no longer sure.” – Rich Berner
Rich Berner, second row third from left, posing for a group portrait of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division at a Colorado camp during the Second World War.
Rich Berner, second row third from left, posing for a group portrait of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division at a Colorado camp during the Second World War.
With Thelma on Mt. Stuart
With Thelma on Mt. Stuart
Thelma
Thelma & Rich
The Robert Gray Award from the Washington State Historical Society
The Robert Gray Award from the Washington State Historical Society

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FOUR MORE of the 400 YESLER WAY Building

A Webster and Stevens Studio photo of City Hall from the same (or about the same) time as the Frasch photographs on top.  (Courtesy, the Museum of History and Industry)
A Webster and Stevens Studio photo of City Hall from the same (or about the same) time as the Frasch photographs on top. (Courtesy, the Museum of History and Industry)
Lawton Gowey dated this slide May 24, 1970.
Lawton Gowey dated this slide May 24, 1970.
Gowey shows up on the eve of restoration with the sidewalk barriers and protection in place along the north side of Yesler Way.  Gowey dates this February 7, 1977.
Gowey shows up on the eve of restoration with the sidewalk barriers and protection in place along the north side of Yesler Way. Gowey dates this February 7, 1977.

Seattle Now & Then: Poetry and Prose at 1st and Madison

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THEN: Looking south on First Avenue from its northwest corner with Madison Street, circa 1905.  (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)
THEN: Looking south on First Avenue from its northwest corner with Madison Street, circa 1905. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: The entire block bordered by First and Second Avenues and Marion and Madison Streets was cleared in the late 1960s for the construction of architect Fred Bassetti’s Henry M. Jackson Federal Office Building, which opened in 1974.
NOW: The entire block bordered by First and Second Avenues and Marion and Madison Streets was cleared in the late 1960s for the construction of architect Fred Bassetti’s Henry M. Jackson Federal Office Building, which opened in 1974.

Through the late 1880s this east side of First Avenue – its was still called Front Street then — was distinguished by George Frye’s Opera House (1884-85).  This grand pioneer landmark filled the southern half of the block until June 6, 1889, when Seattle’s Great Fire reduced it to ashes.  While these were still cooling, Frye hired John Nestor, an Irish-born architect who had designed his Opera House, to prepare drawings for the Stevens Hotel, which we see here also at the south end of the block, which is the northeast corner of First Avenue and Marion Street.

Frye's Opera House is about to be engulfed by the Great First of June 6, 1889 in this look south on First Ave. (then still Front Street) from Spring Street.  The opera house, the tallest building on Front,  is left-of-center.
Frye’s Opera House is about to be engulfed by the Great First of June 6, 1889 in this look south on First Ave. (then still Front Street) from Spring Street. The opera house, the tallest building on First/Front, is left-of-center.
The Northern Pacific Railroad's official photographer, F. Jay Haynes, most likely 1890 visit to Seattle.  Hayes climbed to the trestle built across Railroad Ave. to carry to coal to the waterfront bunkers build where Ivar's Pier 3 now stands on new steel pilings.
The above was most likely recorded during the Northern Pacific Railroad’s official photographer, F. Jay Haynes, 1890 visit to Seattle. Hayes climbed to the trestle built across Railroad Ave. to carry coal to the waterfront bunkers built where Ivar’s Pier 3 now stands on its brand new steel pilings.  Center-right in the block below the temporary tents, vestiges of the commercial needs following the fire of 1889, a single story structure at the southeast corner of First and Madison will be short-lived.  The changes made there for a long life of stage performances required much higher ceilings and added floors for the show girls to robe to disrobe.  Central School on the south side of Madison between Sixth and Seventh Avenues tops the horizon at the center.
With the Burke Building behind it at Second and Marion, the Stevens Hotel fills half of the block on First Ave., between Marion and Madison, far-left.
With the Burke Building behind it at Second and Marion, the Stevens Hotel fills half of the block on First Ave., between Marion and Madison, far-left.
Like the Wesbster and Stevens studio subject above it, Lawton Gowey's record looks thru the intersection of First and Marion and the ruins of both the Stevens Hotel and the Burke Building.  Less than ten years old, the SeaFirst tower
Like the Wesbster and Stevens studio subject above it, Lawton Gowey’s record looks thru the intersection of First and Marion and the ruins of both the Stevens Hotel and the Burke Building. Less than ten years old, the SeaFirst tower ascends above the Empire Building with its rooftop Olympic National Life neon sign.   The Empire/Olympic later provided Seattle’s first great thrill of implosion.

Next door to the north, the Palace Hotel, with 125 guest rooms, opened on the Fourteenth of April, 1903.  The owners announced that it was “Artistically decorated and comfortably furnished, and equipped with every modern convenience.”  They listed “elevators, electric lights, call bells and rooms with baths.”  The owners boasted that their hotel had the “finest commercial sample rooms in the city, which makes it an ideal hotel for commercial travelers.”  In the spring of 1905, the most northerly of the hotel’s three storefronts was taken by Burt and Packard’s “Korrect Shape” shoe store.  For $3.50 one could purchase a pair of what the partnering cobblers advertised as “the only patent leather shoe that’s warranted.” Also that year, the New German Bakery moved in next door beneath the Star Theatre, which had recently changed its name from Alcazar to Star.

Early construction on the Henry Jackson "Federal" Building that replaced everything on the block except for a few ornaments saved from the Burke Building.  The older Federal Building appears here across First Avenue, and sits there still.
Early construction on the Henry Jackson “Federal” Building that replaced everything on the block except for a few ornaments saved from the Burke Building. The older Federal Building appears here across First Avenue, and sits there still.
The Seattle Times Feb. 26, 1905 review of the Star Theatre.
(Above) The Seattle Times Feb. 26, 1905 review of the Star Theatre.

On February 21, 1905, The Seattle Times printed “Vaudeville at the Star,” a wonderfully revealing review of the Star’s opening. “Vaudeville as given at the 10-cent theatre may not be high art, but it is certainly popular art . . . The performance started exactly at the appointed time, but long before that a squad of policeman had to make passage ways through the crowd of people on Madison Street.”

The Star Theatre with the Palace Hotel beside it.
The Star Theatre with the Palace Hotel beside it.

The hour-and-a-half performance consisted of nine acts, and The Times named them all.  “Claude Rampf led off with some juggling on the slack wire.  Richard Burton followed with illustrated songs. Third came the Margesons in a comedy sketch, a little boy proving a clever dancer.  Fourth were the dwarfs, Washer Brothers, who boxed four rounds. They were followed by Daisy Vernon, who sang in Japanese costume, followed by Handsen and Draw, a comedy sketch team, followed by Wilson and Wilson, consisting of a baritone singer and a negro comedian, and then by the lead liner, Mme Ziska, the fire dancer.  The performance concluded with several sets of moving pictures.”

Lawton Gowey's recording of the end - and rear end - of the Rivoli, recorded on January 21, 1971.
Lawton Gowey’s recording of the end – and rear end – of the Rivoli, recorded on January 21, 1971.

Until it went dark in 1967, the venue at the southeast corner of First and Madison had many names. In addition to the Alcazar and the Star, it had been called the State Ritz, the Gaiety, the Oak, the State, the Olympic, the Tivoli, and in its last incarnation as a home for burlesque and sometimes experimental films, the Rivoli.

James Stevens standing by his tales.
James Stevens standing by his tales.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Yup and again with help from Ron Edge who has attached the links below for readers’ ready clicking.   The four chosen are, for the most part, from the neighborhood.  Following those we will put up three or four other relevant features and conclude with a small array of other state landmarks or “icons” (and how I dislike using that by now tired term, but I’m in a hurry) including James Stevens, the wit who revived and put to good order the Paul Bunyan tales.   We like him so much, we have put Stevens next above, on top of Ron’s links.

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Looking north on First thru Madison Street with a cable car intersecting on the right.  Note the sidewalk awning of the German Bakery, far right.  The Globe Building is on the left at the northwest corner.
Looking north on First thru Madison Street with a cable car intersecting on the right. Note the sidewalk awning of the German Bakery, far right. The Globe Building is on the left at the northwest corner.   DOUBLE CLICK the text BELOW
FIRST APPEARED in PACIFIC, JUNE 22, 1986.   CLICK TWICE - PLEASE
FIRST APPEARED in PACIFIC, JUNE 22, 1986.
CLICK TWICE – PLEASE

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Clock on the southwest corner of First Ave. and Madison Street.
Clock on the southwest corner of First Ave. and Madison Street.
First Appeared in PACIFIC , SEPT. 17, 1995.
First Appeared in PACIFIC , SEPT. 17, 1995.
The Globe when nearly new.
The Globe when nearly new.
Lawton Gowey's capture of the Globe on Sept. 16, 2981 preparing for its restoration as a swank hotel.
Lawton Gowey’s capture of the Globe on Sept. 16, 1981 preparing for its restoration as a swank hotel.

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Post Alley, looking north from Marion Street.  The buildings on the right face the west side of First Avenue between Marion and Madison and so look across First Avenue and the featured block.
Post Alley, looking north from Marion Street. The buildings on the right face the west side of First Avenue between Marion and Madison and so look across First Avenue at or into the featured block.
CLICK to ENLARGE.  First appeared in Pacific, December 6, 1987.
CLICK to ENLARGE. First appeared in Pacific, December 6, 1987.
The west side of First Avenue between Madison Street (in the foreground) and Marion.  The dark-brick Rainier-Grand Hotel holds the center of the block.
The west side of First Avenue between Madison Street (in the foreground) and Marion. The dark-brick Rainier-Grand Hotel holds the center of the block.

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OTHER STEVENS

We might have begun this little photo essay with a portrait of the namesake, Washington Territory’s first governor,  Isaac Stevens, but chose instead a landmark on Stevens Pass (named for the Gov), the Wayside Chapel.  Lawton Gowey, again, took this slide.  We do not know if the chapel has  survived the wages of sin and elements.

z-Stevens-pass-HS-Wayside-Chapel-WEB

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Z Pickett-Stevens-Pass-GasX--THEN-WEB

ABOVE, Pickett’s record of  the Stevens Pass summit with Cowboy Mountain on the horizon, and BELOW, Jean Sherrard’s repeat, which appeared first in our book WASHINGTON THEN AND NOW.

z Stevens-Pass-gas-ski-NOW-WEB

Another Stevens Pass ski lodge.   Photo by Ellis
Another Stevens Pass ski lodge. Photo by Ellis

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Z  Lake-Stevens,-maslan-WEB

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z Stevens-School-Wenatchee-THEN-WEB

ABOVE and BELOW:  Stevens School in Wenatchee.   In the “now” the school has been replaced by a federal building.  (This too appears in WASHINGTON THEN and NOW)

z Wenathee-Stevens-School-NOW-2-WEB

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Z  Alki-Cabin-Tent-across-Stevens-fm-Museum-WEB

On Alki Point, we’ve been told, across Stevens Street from what is now the Log Cabin Museum,  a fitted tent for summer recreations at the beach, and now a street of modest homes.

Z  ALKI-sw-Stevens-Alki-Point-ca1999-WEB

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A rail-fan's CASEY  JONES SPECIAL heading east on the future Burke Gilman Recreation trail and over the Stevens Way overpass.   It was under this little bridge that those attending the 1909 Alaksa Yukon Pacific Exposition on the U.W. Campus entered the Pay Streak, the carnival side of the AYP.   Pacific Street runs by here, and it just out frame at the bottom.  Photo - again - by Lawton Gowey.  Lawton was one of the area's most learned Rail Fans.
A rail-fan’s CASEY JONES SPECIAL heading east on the future Burke Gilman Recreation trail and over the Stevens Way overpass. It was under this little bridge that those attending the 1909 Alaksa Yukon Pacific Exposition on the U.W. Campus entered the Pay Streak, the carnival side of the AYP. Pacific Street runs by here  just out frame at the bottom. Photo – again – by Lawton Gowey. Lawton was one of the area’s most learned Rail Fans.

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BY REMINDER

x Stevens-Hotel-WEB

 

 

In Memory of Dawn Sears

DawnSears290_290

John Owen of Pineola, who gave a stellar performance at yesterday’s Rogue’s Christmas show at Town Hall, remembers the great Dawn Sears:

“On December 11, 2014 one of the greatest singers who ever set foot on this planet left us. Dawn Sears was an unassuming, humble person who you could easily walk past without even noticing…unless she was singing. If she was singing, you couldn’t notice anything else. She could make every person in the room feel like she was singing directly to them and them alone. Dawn was best known as a member of The Time Jumpers and as a backup singer for Vince Gill.

“Here is a link to a YouTube clip of her performing Sweet Memories with Time Jumpers. This clip pairs Dawn with another great who passed on not long ago – John Hughey on pedal steel. Both Dawn and John left an amazing amount of beauty behind. Live fully.”

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

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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!)

Paul-and-Jean-in-grotto

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)

 Montana-Horse-Meat-MR-THEN

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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

3. Trolley-flood-on-Pike web

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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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THE BARK MONTCALM ADDENDUM

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.

Courtesy, Lawton Gowey
Courtesy, Lawton Gowey

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 Montcalm at the Wall Street Pier as illustrated in the Seattle Times for Nov. 2, 1910, and as mistakenly titled the Antwerp.  (Courtesy, Seattle Public Library and The Seattle Times)
The Montcalm at the Wall Street Pier as illustrated in the Seattle Times for Nov. 2, 1910, and as mistakenly titled the Antwerp.  The professional headline or title writer did not consult the reporter or caption writer, a common enough mistake in newspapers.  Almost certainly the feature photo on top was recorded by the same photographer.  (Courtesy, Seattle Public Library and The Seattle Times)

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?

An early record of the West Seattle elevator.
An early record of the West Seattle elevator.  Why we wonder did the Montcalm unload its concrete here, an elevator for grain,  when it was Galbraith and Bacon at Mill Street that was the dealer in concrete?

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.

Two months before "our" Montcalm visits Elliott Bay another French Montcalm called on us and stayed and partied long enough to qualify as a floating embassy.
Two months before “our” Montcalm visits Elliott Bay another French Montcalm called on us and stayed and partied long enough to qualify as a floating embassy.

Now & Then here and now

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