2009-04-12 Great Northern & Mea Culpa

(click on photos to enlarge)

THEN: Looking northwest from the 4th Avenue trestle towards the Great Northern Depot during its early 20th Century construction. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
THEN: Looking northwest from the 4th Avenue trestle towards the Great Northern Depot during its early 20th Century construction. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: We have not cropped Jean Sherrard’s repeat because, wide as it is by comparison, it is pleasing.
NOW: We have not cropped Jean Sherrard’s repeat because, wide as it is by comparison, it is pleasing.

Attentive readers with a memory that holds at least one month may have turned to this week’s now-then comparison feeling a twinge of the uncanny.  Yes, you have seen it before – the older part.  Now because of a very attentive citizen-reader who signs her or his name “all the best, L. Vine,” you get to see it once again sitting side by side with a fresh “now” by Jean Sherrard.  This time, Jean looks northwest from 4th Avenue S. and King Street and not as I earlier mistakenly requested from 5th Avenue S. and King Street.

Jean’s first response to my mistake was most apt. “Perhaps you should move to Tacoma and take the train, but can you be trusted to find the right station?”  And I answer, “mea culpa,” which every altar boy knows is the Latin phrase for, “I am guilty of false pride, self-deception, inured eyes, free-lancer’s indolence, and much else.”

After 27 years plus of assembling these weekly sketches on local history, I had with much good luck made no big mistakes on the subjects themselves only those smaller “dyslexic” slip-ups of direction: north for south, left for right and all the others.  That run was upset on the Sunday morning of March 15th last.

I knew after reading two sentences of Vine’s email letter that the author was correct.  This was not the Union Pacific station under construction in 1910 but rather the Great Northern Depot in 1904.  Vine then went on to make her or his many points about shadow lines, and supporting trusses, and window ornaments.  It was – all of it – for me absorbing if embarrassing reading.  (Readers can study Vine’s full critique and a few of my excuses here.)

After 1425 weeks of this feature, I have missed only one Sunday, and that was an all wine issue arranged by my friend and then Pacific wine columnist, Tom Stockley.  Now I, or some part of me, has been away twice. Again, mea culpa.

(For more about the history of Seattle’s Great Northern Depot, please see this archived column from June 5th, 1994)

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