2008-10-26 The Potlatch Parade on First Avenue

THEN: The Moose float heads south on First Avenue at Columbia Street during the 1912 Potlatch parade of fraternal and secret societies. Behind them are Julius Redelsheimer's clothing store and the National Hotel, where daily room rates ran from 50 cents to a dollar.
THEN: The Moose float heads south on First Avenue at Columbia Street during the 1912 Potlatch parade of fraternal and secret societies. Behind them are Julius Redelsheimer's clothing store and the National Hotel, where daily room rates ran from 50 cents to a dollar.
NOW: Seattle's first Bauhaus-school-influenced skyscraper, the Norton Building, was completed in 1959. It replaced examples of the ornate brick structures that were built along First Avenue after the city's Great Fire of 1889.
NOW: Seattle's first Bauhaus-school-influenced skyscraper, the Norton Building, was completed in 1959. It replaced examples of the ornate brick structures that were built along First Avenue after the city's Great Fire of 1889.

Perhaps from sheer enthusiasm, J.J. Underwood, a Seattle Times reporter, proclaimed that the Thursday afternoon Potlatch Parade for July 18, 1912, was “the biggest and most spectacular affair of its kind ever staged west of the Mississippi River.” The parade included “every fraternal and secret organization known to modern man — it seemed so at least.”

The article included a list of the procession’s participants, part of the city’s second annual Golden Potlatch Days — a kind of Seafair with businessmen dressed as Native Americans rather than pirates. A review of the parade participants pressed tight to either end of this Moose float lists the Montana Elks Band, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Tacoma Band, Loyal Order of Moose, Centralia Band, Hoo-Hoos, Postmen’s Association, Waitresses Union, Juvenile Templars, Odd Fellows, the Kent Band and so on.

The Loyal Order of Moose was founded in the Midwest in the 1880s, but stumbled through the 1890s until revived nationwide in these Potlatch years by turning the lodge’s attention to the well-being of its members with benefits related to health, retirement and death. The “P, A, P” cutout letters on the Moose float stand for “Purity, Aid & Progress.” In 1912 a local lawyer, John Dillon, was the Seattle lodge’s leader. Officially he was called the dictator. Perhaps that is Dillon dictating to the two white horses pulling the one whole moose and six moose heads.

Horses, although then still commonplace on downtown streets, by 1912 were beginning to be pushed to pasture by motorcars. For instance, the Potlatch parade featured “a big touring car” driven alternately by three Oregon women.

Another view of the same parade in 1912
Another view of the same parade in 1912
A wide angle look up 1st Ave. This photo was cropped to match the 'Then' shot at the top of the article.
A wide angle look up 1st Ave. This photo was cropped to provide the 'Now' shot at the top of this article.

One thought on “2008-10-26 The Potlatch Parade on First Avenue”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Now & Then here and now

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers

%d bloggers like this: