Seattle Now & Then: Two English Elms in Wallingford

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THEN:Two English elms stand at the corner of 42nd Street and Eastern Avenue in good health on Aug. 15, 2007.
NOW: Dutch elm disease and subsequent chain saws brought down these natural Wallingford landmarks two years ago.

Carrying a camera during the summer of 2006,  I started my daily Wallingford Walks, two to three hour circle treks thru the neighborhood from our front door on Eastern Avenue.  I carried with me both tested intentions and temptations to lose some weight while walking within intimate odiferous range of Dick’s Drive-In on NE 45th Street. After four years of walking in the increasingly familiar circle I’d chosen I lost only a few pounds but gained hundreds of thousands of digital snapshots. With studied care I repeated –over and over – about 300 of my subjects, animating them through four years, 2006 to 2010, of their four seasons.

This is the map we used to chart the Wallingford Stop taken during my afternoon walks. The map was made for the MUSEUM of HISTORY & INDUSTRY’S show “Repeat Photography” work at he Museum’s last exhibit before its move to the naval armory at the south end of Lake Union. (Jean will know the date and may add it here.)

Here from several prospects near Eastern Avenue and 42nd Street, we share one of our Wallingford Walks subjects: two landmark English Elms recently lost to the voracious Dutch Elm disease that first reached North America aboard a timber-hauling steamer in the 1920s.   (They are named “Dutch” for the nationality of the scientist who first described them.). Here in King County the elm bark beetles which spread the disease apparently first arrived in Seattle by wing from the east shore of Lake Washington– they can fly over 15 miles between rests. The root-hungry cousins that consumed Seattle’s elms came it is figured from Clyde Hill .

Seattle’s first public sponsored aerial swept back-and-forth across the city resulting a record of the city’s taxable objects as well as its landscaping. In this Wallingford detail 42nd streets makes it surviving curve at the bottom of the photo  between Eastern Ave. n. on the left and First Ave. n.e. on the right, about one-third of the way above the photo’s right border.. The Elms at the northeast corner of 42nd Street and Eastern Avenue are not be be found on the parking strip bordering 42nd Street.  The were plant sometime around 1950,  The three houses facing the sidewalk at this south end of the block all survive. The rarely considered or visited Museum of Forsaken Art (MOFA) is on the east side of First Ave. N.E., about a third of the way up the right side of the print.  They all appear in the featured NOW photo included here near the top,.  The home of Wallingford’s Honorary Mayor his honor Douglas Wilson is the second structure on the east side First Av.e N.E.. It rests above the end of the block at 42nd Avenue.  

The elms were long prized far and wide for their service as street trees.  Tall and tough, if given care in resisting the beetles, elms can endure.  We used several aerial photo-surveys in figuring the approximate age of these two at their demise two years ago.   The earliest Seattle aerial from 1929 shows no trees on this parking strip.  Six years later they appear but then by surprise disappear sometime between the 1946 and 1952 aerials.  Not knowing the age of these two when first planted, we accept the early 1950s.

Neighbor Philip Wells counted that the hard-to-calculate exposed rings in the felled trunk reach into the seventies.  Wells notes that we do not know how long their first years were cared for in a nursery.  For comparison, it is estimated by expert arborists that of the 15,000 elms still standing in England’s Brighton, and Hove and East Sussex several are over 400 years old.

Looking north on Eastern Avenue from 42nd Street.

A memorial was made with a slab cut from the trunk of the most easterly of the two elms.  It rests on the parking strip with a print attached of the tree streaked by the blizzard of January 4, 2009.

This picture was taken by me at night during the brief blizzard of January 4, 2009, ten winters ago.


The crown of the elm closest to the corner reaches above the Japanese Maple om  Eastern Avenue.
Leaves of the corner Elms, far-right,  touch the corner’s full rainbow of August 9, 2008.
Autumnal colors embrace the elm, above, and an apple tree below.


Just for fun, I’m including a few snowy shots of Green Lake from this evening. Enjoy the snow!



Anything to add, tree lovers?  I feel I can promote Ron’s love of healthy trees.  He was a student of landscaping at the U.W.  I am a liberal tree hugger who once but briefly lived in a carefully joined treehouse where doughnuts were regularly enjoyed with  green tea.


RON EDGE and I bring forward again more evidence of the Wallingford Walks I took most days from 2006 into 2010 when my lower knees – I call them my shins – were getting increasingly sore as my rich diet meanwhile advanced arthrightous in my knees.  (I am thankful for my knees.  It is something we seniors talk over with sympathy and tea..  One of the goals of all my walking was animation.  I carried no tripod but still managed to repeatedly record certain favored subjects – about 200 of them – during my years of nearly daily walks.  A few years back for the MOHAI’S LAST SHOW at their Union Bay location, Ron Edge helped me with making the first animations of about 25 of them.  Twenty-two are featured directly below.  And they include two sequences that concentrated on the neighborhood’s elms that then still stood at the southeast corner of Eastern Avenue and 42nd Street.  (If you want to skip to the elms they begin on numbers 25:09 and 28:00.  It is a not so long animation of about 40 mins so they appear beyond the half-way mark.) Trust me the jiggle in these animations can be improved later with the application of new aps meant to stabilize chosen subjects without correcting the animator’s spelling.

Example: Seven of several undred pans taken of the Meritian play field, which I referred to a Hyde Park, I studying London History at the time..
Nine examples of using photoshop to play with subjects found on my Wallingford Walks.
lt was this front lawn wonderfully filled with dandylions that persuaded me walk for five years repeating digitally several hundred neighborhood subjects.

Last Walk on the Viaduct

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Yesterday was a day of mourning and celebration, often both at the same time. Thanks to Clay Eals and Buddy Foley – who strolled along with me as the light just got better and better….

Amid the media covering the opening ceremony, Jean steadies his camera atop his 21-foot pole, allowing him to capture an overhead view that no one else did. (Photo by Clay Eals)


For terrific coverage of this spectacular day, click these images to see two KING-TV stories, the latter featuring Jean Sherrard:

KING-TV story: “Thousands walk Alaskan Way Viaduct to say goodbye”
KING-TV’s story: “Hundreds celebrate Seattle tunnel opening with weekend festivities”

Seattle Now & Then: 2nd and Bell

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THEN: Looking north on Second Avenue, ca. 1940
The same view in 2019
THEN #2: Looking south through the same intersection, ca 1902 – this photograph first appeared in ‘Seattle Now & Then’ in 1984, and is now featured in our just-published book

For this week’s “repeat” Jean and I are including for somewhat sentimental reasons a third visit to the same Belltown (or North Seattle) intersection of Second Avenue and Bell Street.  The oldest of these three looks south thru the intersection when the neighborhood was shaped by Denny Hill.

(BELOW:  As this feature first appeared as the 52nd Chapter of Seattle Now and Then, Volume One, first published in 1984.)

This is WAS the northwest “corner” of the hill since razed: Denny Hill. The difference in the elevations recorded here sometime in 1902 or 1903 and now was a mere one foot.  This part of the Denny Hill regrade along Second Avenue began in 1903.  It is a rare look into the neighborhood when it was still a hill.

A detail of the “North Seattle Neighborhood pulled from Seattle’s 1891 birdseye evocation.  The red arrow we inserted to-right points at the Wayne Row Apartments, southeast corner of Second Avenue and Bell Street.

John Hannawalt of Old Seattle Paperworks (still in the Pike Place Market) first showed it to me in the late 1970s. I was quickened. While I knew nothing about it I wanted it to be at least part of Denny Hill, the Seattle hill had been episodically removed between 1876 and 1931.  And it was. These two-plus blocks between Bell and Lenora streets were razed to their present elevations between 1903 and 1908.  With the photo in hand, finding the intersection came

The southeast corner of Second Ave. and Bell Street ca 1980.

quickly, largely because I liked the bowls of beans, rice and cheese served at Mama’s Mexican Kitchen, still here at the southeast corner of this intersection.  Of course Mama was not in the Webster and Stevens Studio photo ca. 1902, but it was on my diet in 1978.

The southeast corner of the intersection copped to help one find the street sign nailed to the power pole.

With the help of a jeweler’s hand-held magnifying glass I soon found the street name “Bell” on the telephone pole at the corner.  Standing above the corner, both in the photo and on my visits to Mama’s, were the three gables of the Wayne Apartments, a row built in 1890 and wonderfully still standing. I first published my “findings” in the Seattle Sun and it was on the evidence of that discovery that this newspaper first engaged me to write this feature in 1982.

A typical tax-card from the late 1930s, this one concentrating on the row-house that is still standing at the southeast corner of Bell and Second..   CLICK TO ENLARGE

The “then” in this week’s “repeat” pair probably dates from the late 1930s or even 1940, the year that, city-wide, many of the street cars were replaced with buses or trackless trollies.


Anything to add, boys?  Some visits with a few friends from the neighborhood – extended.

THEN: Werner Lenggenhager's recording of the old St. Vinnie's on Lake Union's southwest shore in the 1950s should remind a few readers of the joys that once were theirs while searching and picking in that exceedingly irregular place.

THEN: Steel beams clutter a freshly regraded Second Avenue during the 1907 construction of the Moore Theatre. The view looks north toward Virginia Street.

THEN: An early-20th-century scene during the Second Avenue Regrade looks east into its intersection with Virginia Avenue. A home is being moved from harm's way, but the hotel on the hill behind it would not survive the regrade's spoiling. Courtesy of Ron Edge.


THEN: The Dog House at 714 Denny Way was strategically placed at the southern terminus for the Aurora Speedway when it was new in the mid-1930s. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Archive, Bellevue Community College Branch.)


THEN: Thanks to Pacific reader John Thomas for sharing this photograph recorded by his father in 1927. It looks north across Times Square to the almost completed Orpheum Theatre. Fifth Avenue is on the left, and Westlake on the right.


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)

THEN: Built in the mid-1880s at 1522 7th Avenue, the Anthony family home was part of a building boom developing this north end neighborhood then into a community of clapboards. Here 70 years later it is the lone survivor. (Photo by Robert O. Shaw)

THEN: Looking southeast over the open acres of the Western Washington Fair Grounds following the matinee performance of Cheyenne Bill’s Wild West Show during the summer of 1909. (Courtesy, Old Seattle Paperworks)

THEN: Thanks again and again to Lawton Gowey for another contribution to this feature, this ca. 1917 look into a fresh Denny Regrade and nearly new “office-factory” at 1921 Fifth Avenue. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey.)

THEN: An Emergency Relief Administration wood pile took temporary quarters on the southeast corner of S. Alaska Street and 32nd Ave. S. in 1934. (Courtesy, Northwest Collection, University of Washington Libraries.)

THEN: When it was built in 1902, this box home, with classic Ionic pillars at the porch, was set above the northwest corner of the freshly graded Brooklyn Avenue and 47th Street in the University District.  (Courtesy, John Cooper)

THEN: Like violence in a classic Greek play, the carnage suggested by this 1934 crash scene on the then new Aurora speedway was kept off stage, either behind the city’s official photographer, or in the county morgue.   (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.)

THEN: St. Vincent de Paul’s first storefront opened in 1926 in Belltown’s grand clapboard hostelry at the corner of First and Battery.  Originally the Bellevue Hotel, it’s reduced here to the “house keeping and transient rooms” of the Bay State Hotel.  (MOHAI)

THEN: From boxcars and rooftops to the planks of Railroad Avenue, excitement builds for the ceremonial re-enactment of the S.S.Portland’s 1897 landing with its “ton of gold” on the Seattle waterfront, the city’s first Golden Potlatch Celebration.  [Courtesy, Michael Maslan]


THEN: A carpenter’s jewel with Victorian ornaments recorded by a tax assessor’s photographer in 1936, nestles at 615 Eastlake beside the surviving Jensen Apartments, aka the O’Donnell Building, on the left. (Courtesy Stan Unger)

THEN: The ‘Seattle showplace’ Rhodes mansion on Capitol Hill, ca. 1916. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: James P. Lee, Seattle’s busy public works photographer of the early 20th century, recorded this 1922 look north from near the west end of Denny Way on the bluff above the then-forming Elliott Way. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Looking west (not east) on Battery Street from Seventh Avenue, approaching the end of the last of Denny Hill’s six regrade reductions. The dirt was carried to Elliott Bay on conveyor belts like the two shown here. (courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives)

THEN 1: Recorded on April 14, 1928, about sixth months before the Denny Hill Regrade No. 2 began, the last of the scarred Denny Hill rises to the right of Fifth Avenue. Denny School (1884) tops the hill at the northeast corner of Battery Street and Fifth Avenue. On the horizon, at center, Queen Anne Hill is topped by its namesake high school, and on the right of the panorama, the distant Wallingford neighborhood rises from the north shore of Lake Union. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

THEN: Lawton Gowey looks north through the tail of the 1957 Independence Day Parade on Fourth Avenue as it proceeds south through the intersection with Pike Street. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)



Join us Thursday night in Burien for next event!

The events

Paul flings a baseball hat as the prize for a history question during his Jan. 24 event with Jean at Aegis Living of West Seattle. Click the photo to see video!

Already this month, we have had two book events (including one at Aegis Living of West Seattle, seen above), and five more are scheduled from now through May. The next one is 7 PM this Thursday evening, Jan. 31, at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Burien/White Center. Stay tuned on the events page of our website!

Books on display December 14, 2018, in Ballard. Photo by Gavin MacDougall

You can re-live an event or experience it anew! Videos of 21 of the book’s 25 events from November and December 2018 are posted on the events page of our website.

The media

Peggy Sturdivant and the photo she took to accompany her column. (From left) Ken Workman (great great great great grandson of Chief Seattle), Paul Dorpat, Jean Sherrard and Clay Eals. Click it to see the column.

This month, longtime Westside Seattle columnist Peggy Sturdivant provides a unique look at one of our recent events in Ballard. To see links to all the print and broadcast media coverage of the book so far, click here.

The blurbs

A total of 25 Seattle notables have weighed in on Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred. Here are two samples:


Anne Frantilla

Longtime readers of “Seattle Now and Then” will love perusing these 100 greatest hits for their favorites.

New readers will be entertained not only by the fascinating corners of Seattle’s history but also by Dorpat’s sense of humor and Sherrard’s sharp eye.

Anne Frantilla,
Seattle city archivist


Kji Kelly

Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred inspires Seattleites to utter the all-too-familiar statement, “I remember when…”

We can hope that this work inspires more of us to put down our phones, raise our heads, look at the ever-changing urban landscape and ask a more substantive, less sentimental question: ”What can we do to ensure that Seattle does not destroy its own soul?”

Kji Kelly,
executive director, Historic Seattle


For the rest of the blurbs, check out our blurbs page.

The blog

You already are subscribed to this blog (better known to all of us as, but have you considered signing up someone else or offering him or her the opportunity?

Now it’s easier than ever. Just go to the home page, and in the upper left corner enter an email address and click the green “Subscribe” button (as shown in the black box here). That’s all it takes.

As you know, each subscriber receives regular updates with links that lead to scores of photos that supplement each week’s “Now and Then” column in The Seattle Times!

How to order

Want to order a book online? It’s easy. Just visit our “How to order” page. You can even specify how you want Paul and Jean to personalize your copy. Books will reach your mailbox about a week after you order them.

As Jean looks on, Paul signs a book for Nancy Guppy of The Seattle Channel’s “Art Zone.”


Big thanks to everyone who has helped make this book a successful tribute to the public historian who has popularized Seattle history via more than 1,800 columns for nearly 37 years, Paul Dorpat!

— Clay Eals, editor, Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred

Seattle Now & Then: Second and Spring, 1902

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THEN: The energetic northeast corner of Spring Street and Second Avenue, circa 1902. (Courtesy Paul Dorpat)
NOW: This terra-cotta building at the corner was completed and dedicated in 1908 as the Baillargeon Building, named for the pioneer merchant who built it but then soon sold it. It survives today as the Security Pacific building, a name that does not suggest the street urchins that Jean Sherrard caught crossing the intersection in the foreground, perhaps after making a deposit.
A look south thru the same block on Second Avenue between University Street (on the left) and Seneca Street offers another look (far right) at the Congregationalists..

We are giving this wonderfully cluttered northeast corner of Second Avenue and Spring Street a confident photography date of 1902.  A look at the corner from 1901 does not include the two-story brick building with its five basket-handle windows irregularly arranged on the second floor. Both photos, though — from 1901 and 1902 — show the Singer Sewing Machine building, seen here at far left.

Isaac Merritt Singer patented his foot-pedaled sewing machine in

Plymouth Congregawtional’s second home, at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and University Street.

1851, the year that Seattle’s pioneer party landed at Alki Point, unfortunately with neither a sewing machine nor a camera. I remember well from my mom’s home the Singer brand’s red “S” trademark. (It is seen here printed several times on the storefront.)

Now I am wondering whether the Gothic ornamental parts topping those second-floor windows might have been chosen by the building’s owner or architect to act as variations on the stained-glass window standing tall in the facade of Olympic Hall, behind the Singer building.

The Hall’s stock name is printed above the window. Without color, it is almost impossible to decipher from the sun and rain-bleached sanctuary first dedicated on Aug. 24, 1873, by Plymouth Congregational Church.

1899 S. Times large classified  for Olympic Hall event.

Like many other Seattle churches, the crowded Plymouth Congregational moved after the city’s Great Fire of 1889. It was a mere three-block move to a new and monumental redbrick sanctuary at the northeast corner of University Street and Third Avenue. After its abandonment, the clapboard church here at Spring and Second soon lost its tall spire. However, the old church was not neglected. Rather, it was well-used through its remaining 15 years as Olympic Hall by a variety of rent-paying educators and entertainers: both secularists and spiritualists.

The new Baillargeon Bldg’s steel frame recorded in The Seattle Times for June 20, 1907.

We will conclude by noting which post-pioneer human needs were met in these storefronts in the early 1900s, before they were flattened in 1907 for the first four stories of the Baillargeon Building. (On June 9, 1907, its owners tooted in The Seattle Times: “We are asserting a claim to having completed a structure in the retail business section of Seattle, the superior of which cannot be found on the North Pacific Coast.”) To the right of the sewing machines, the row continues with a hat blocker and cleaner; a tailor; a watch maker with an optician; and, at the corner, what is probably a cafe.

The corner renewed with a skin of terra-cotta tiles.


Anything to add, lads?

Selections from the blog that are  now fitting touches on  some of the  subjects above.

THEN: Plymouth Congregational Church barely reached maturity – twenty-one years – when it was torn down in 1913 for construction of the equally grand but less prayerful Pantages Theatre, also at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and University Street. (Museum of History & Industry)

THEN: The west side of Second Avenue between Columbia and Marion Streets was typical of the commercial district that was quick to develop after the city’s Great Fire of 1889. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)


THEN: With feet nearly touching the Madison Street Cable Railway’s cable slot, five “happy workers” squeeze on to the front bumper of an improvised Armistice Day float. (Photo courtesy Grace McAdams)

Great railroad signs, theatre signs and ranks of neon were still the greatest contributors to night light at 4th and Westlake in 1949. (Photo by Robert Bradley compliment of Lawton and Jean Gowey)

THEN: William O. McKay opened show rooms on Westlake in July of 1923. After fifty-seven years of selling Fords, the dealership turned to the cheaper and more efficient Subaru. Now reconstructed, the old Ford showroom awaits a new tenant.


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: A circa 1920 look north along the tiled roofline of the Pike Place Market’s North Arcade, which is fitted into the slender block between Pike Place, on the right, and Western Avenue, on the left. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Mark Tobey, almost certainly Seattle’s historically most celebrated artist, poses in the early 1960s with some Red Delicious apples beside the Sanitary Market in the Pike Place Market. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)


THEN: In this April morning record of the 1975 “Rain or Shine Public Market Paint-in,” above the artists, restoration work has begun with the gutting of the Corner Market Building. (Photo by Frank Shaw)

THEN: Seattle Architect Paul Henderson Ryan designed the Liberty Theatre around the first of many subsequent Wurlitzer organs used for accompanying silent films in theatres “across the land”. The Spanish-clad actor-dancers posed on the stage apron are most likely involved in a promotion for a film – perhaps Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925) or Douglas Fairbanks’ The Gaucho (1929) that also played at the Liberty. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)



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: Looking north from Seneca Street on Third Avenue during its regrade in 1906. (Photo by Lewis Whittelsey, Courtesy of Lawton Gowey)

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)

THEN: Where last week the old Washington Hotel looked down from the top of Denny Hill to the 3rd Ave. and Pine St. intersection, on the left, here the New Washington Hotel, left of center and one block west of the razed hotel, towers over the still new Denny Regrade neighborhood in 1917. (Historical photo courtesy of Ron Edge)

THEN: Thanks again and again to Lawton Gowey for another contribution to this feature, this ca. 1917 look into a fresh Denny Regrade and nearly new “office-factory” at 1921 Fifth Avenue.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey.)

THEN: Seattle’s new – in 1910-11 – cluster-ball street lighting standards stand tall in this ca. 191l look north on Third Avenue from Seneca Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)





Seattle Now & Then: The Fallen Dome

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THEN: Looking north on First Hill’s 9th Avenue on a snowbound day in early February 1916. (Courtesy, Nancy Johnson)
NOW: Both our “now” and “then” include the south and west walls of German House the two-story brick landmark left-of- center. Constructed in 1886 by Seattle editor-historian Thomas Prosch as Prosch Hall, it serve as the Seattle Assay Office during the Yukon Gold Rush.

This winter week we share another snap from The Big Snow of February 1916. Except for Puget Sound’s prolonged pioneer blizzard in 1880, the 1916 snow bounding was the deepest in our city’s history. For any media, including the thousands of box Kodak’s in the hands of Seattle citizens, the four-day blizzard of 1916 was a sensational although slippery subject.  Like motorcars at the curb, cameras were by then nearly commonplace on Seattle mantles.   The absence of cars here on First Hill’s Ninth Avenue is best understood as related to the drifts and the absence of any snowplowing in these blocks by the understandably unprepared municipal streets department.  A team of horses pulling a covered wagon can be found at the scene’s center heading west on Columbia Street from its intersection with Ninth Avenue.  For snow like this teams were favored.

For this snap an unaccredited photographer looks north on 9th Avenue with her or his back to James Street.  This First Hill prospect may have been reached from Pioneer Square aboard a James Street Cable car  – assuming that the Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Co. cable cars were then still plowing through the drifts.   Or the photographer might have lived nearby.  First Hill was Seattle’s first neighborhood of accumulated wealth, which by 1907 would have often included cameras in the libraries.

Since 1907 the grandest interruption of Seattle’s skyline has been the Roman Catholic St. James Cathedral at Marion Street and 9th Avenue.  Before February 3, 1916, St. James had three landmark elevations including the two Renaissance Towers and the cathedral’s centered dome.  On February 2nd, it lost the dome.  The architects who examined the crashed dome lying on the chancel floor concluded that the sanctuary’s roof was five times stronger than needed to hold even the heavy wet snow left by the blizzard.  The engineering culprit was a weakness in one of the dome’ steel supports.

St. James before February, 1916, dome intact.

For comparison we have also included a print of the Cathedral dome before its collapse and crash.  The damaged roof showing with the featured photo can be compared with the intact one, which although splendid in its soaring outline was, we learn from Maria Laughlin, the current director of stewardship and development for the cathedral, a handicap to the cathedral’s acoustics. What the crash took from the church’s eye it gave back – miraculously? – to its ear.  After the crash of its sound-swallowing dome, St. James has become a revealing space for concerts and much kinder to its organ and choir.


Anything to add, brethren?

THEN: Of the three largest Seattle roofs – the Alki Point Natatorium, a grandstand section of the U.W.’s Denny Field, and the St. James Cathedral dome - that crashed under the weight of the “Northwest Blizzard” in February 1916, the last was the grandest and probably loudest. It fell “with a crashing roar that was heard many blocks distant.” (Courtesy Catholic Archdiocese.)

THEN: A circa 1923 view looks south on Eighth Avenue over Pike Street, at bottom left.

THEN: Completed in 1900, the Graham mansion on First Hill at the southwest corner of 9th Avenue and Columbia Street is getting some roof repairs in this 1937 photo looking south across Columbia Street. It was razed in the 1966 for a parking lot by its last owner and neighbor, the Catholic archdiocese.

THEN: A half-century after they reached the top of First Hill, electric streets cars and cable cars prepare to leave it. (Courtesy, The Museum of History and Industry)

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."

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: Sometime around 1890, George Moore, one of Seattle’s most prolific early photographers, recorded this portrait of the home of the architect (and Daniel Boone descendent) William E. Boone. In the recently published second edition of Shaping Seattle Architecture, the book’s editor, UW Professor of Architecture Jeffry Karl Ochsner, sketches William E. Boone’s life and career. Ochsner adds, “Boone was virtually the only pre-1889 Fire Seattle architect who continued to practice at a significant level through the 1890s and into the twentieth-century.” (Courtesy MOHAI)

THEN: Looking north from Yesler Way over the Fifth Avenue regrade in 1911. Note the Yesler Way Cable rails and slot at the bottom. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)

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)


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

THEN: Looking across Capitol Hill’s Broadway Avenue during its 1931adjustments. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: Looking south on 10th Avenue E. to the freshly re-paved intersection where Broadway splits into itself and 10th Avenue North in 1932.


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: The brand new N&K Packard dealership at Belmont and Pike in 1909.  Thanks to both antique car expert Fred Cruger for identifying as Packards the cars on show here, and to collector Ron Edge for finding them listed at this corner in a 1909 Post-Intelligencer. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry.)

THEN: This 1939 glimpse east from Ninth Avenue follows Pike Street to the end of the about three-quarter mile straight climb it makes on its run from the Pike Place Market to its first turn on Capitol Hill.


THEN: Capitol Hill’s Society Theatre first opened its doors in 1911. This record of it most likely dates from 1920, the first year in which the theatre could have shown the four films promoted with sensational posters near its front doors: the comedy “Mary’s Ankle,” “The Sagebrusher,” a western, “Silk Husbands and Calico Wives,” and “Everywoman,” a feminist allegory appropriately filmed in 1919, on the eve of women’s suffrage in the United States. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

Holy Names THEN

THEN: Most likely in 1902 Marcus M. Lyter either built or bought his box-style home at the northwest corner of 15th Avenue and Aloha Street. Like many other Capitol Hill addition residences, Lyter's home was somewhat large for its lot.


THEN: The Volunteer Park water tower was completed in 1907 on Capitol Hill’s highest point in aid the water pressure of its service to the often grand homes of its many nearly new neighbors.  The jogging corner of E. Prospect Street and 15th Avenue E. is near the bottom of the Oakes postcard.  (Historical Photo courtesy Mike Fairley)

THEN: With great clouds overhead and a landscape 45 years shorter than now, one vehicle – a pickup heading east – gets this part of State Route 520 to itself on a weekday afternoon. (courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: We have by three years or four missed the centenary for this distinguished brick pile, the Littlefield Apartments on Capitol Hill.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

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 south on First Avenue from its northwest corner with Madison Street, circa 1905.  (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Built in the early twentieth century at the northeast  corner of Jefferson Street and Boren Avenue, Bertha and Frank Gardner’s residence was large but not a mansion, as were many big homes on First Hill.   (Courtesy Washington State Museum, Tacoma)



THEN: The Big Snow of 1916 trims two jewelers’ clocks on the west side of Second Avenue, north of Marion Street. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Ballard photographer Fred Peterson looks south-southeast on Ballard Avenue on February 3rd or 4th, 1916. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: At the northwest corner of Columbia Street and Boren Avenue, two of the more ordinary housing stock on First Hill in the 1890s.  (Courtesy  MOHAI)

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]




Seattle Now & Then: The Gatzert Mansion at 3rd and James

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Most of the Gatzert home and its many towering gables are hidden here behind the corner’s bower of maples, which we learn from Seattle Times writer Peg Strachan were popular for romantic trysts. The twelve-story Alaska Building, Seattle’s first iron strengthened skyscrsaper (1904) rises above it.
NOW: The Lyon Hotel replaced Gatzert’s corner in 1911.

During the last year of World War Two, Margaret Pitcairn Strachan, a Seattle Times contributor, made a wise choice for a weekly serial subject.  She named it “Seattle’s Pioneer Mansions and some of the events they saw.” It was an illustrated weekly feature with copy inches about five times longer than this one.  The author interviewed many of the surviving pioneers – most often their children – and the families often held cherishes photographs, which they shared with Strachan.

One of my earliest mentors; Lawton Gowey, the Seattle organist, historian, and collector of Seattle historical ephemera, first introduced me to Strachan’s series letting me take his perfectly preserved collection home to my copy stand.  Thru my now 37 years of writing this feature for PacificNW Magazine, I have used many of the 52 features Strachan researched, wrote, and illustrated for The Times.  The series began on September 3, 1944.  The Times’ front-page headline that Sunday was encouraging. It reads “Germans In Disorderly Retreat as 2 Yank Forces Enter Belgium.”

Strachan’s last feature on mansions appeared on August 26, 1945.   By her study of the then surviving array of Seattle’s historic homes – and their stories – Margaret Pitcairn Strachan (“Peg”) has made a profound and lasting contribution to our understanding of Seattle History. Our readers would be correct to conclude that both Jean and I strongly urge them to seek-out the Strachan originals (all 52 of them) with the help of the Seattle Public Library’s copy of The Seattle Times Archives.  (If you have a library card, a Seattle Public Librarian can lead you in its use both on line and over the phone.  If you have no card now is a good time to get one.)

The small mansion nestled here in a copse of its own maples was built in the early 1870s at the northwest corner of James Street and Third Avenue by one of Seattle’s truly powerful pioneer couples: Bailey and Barbetta Gatzert. The couple’s plan to follow the move of Seattle’s more affluent citizens up First Hill to newer and larger mansions was abandoned. By the year this photograph was taken shortly before the Third Avenue regrade in 1906 Bailey had died in1893. Babetta then built a retreat on the east shore of Lake Washington and called it Lucerne after the Swiss lake that she and Bailey admired (In this Alpine line they also raised Seattle’s first Saint Bernard).  At the turn of the century the Gatzert home was converted into shops.  A row of them running north on Third Avenue from the corner with James Street is easily seen here.  (The print has a metropolitan French name “Bloc de Lyon,” lower-left corner, because the major investors in the Gatzert block were French citizens.)

The accomplishments, businesses and charities, of the Gatzerts were so extensive that we will list a share of them here over the next day or so.


Anything to add, fellas?

Potpourri of past N&T features

THEN: Seen here in 1887 through the intersection of Second Avenue and Yesler Way, the Occidental Hotel was then easily the most distinguished in Seattle. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: 1934 was one of the worst years of the Great Depression. This look north on Third Avenue South through Main Street and the Second Avenue South Extension was recorded on Thursday, April 19th of that year. Business was generally dire, but especially here in this neighborhood south of Yesler Way where there were many storefront vacancies. (Courtesy Ron Edge)

THEN: The Phoenix Hotel on Second Avenue, for the most part to the left of the darker power pole, and the Chin Gee Hee Building, behind it and facing Washington Street to the right, were both built quickly after Seattle’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889. (Courtesy: Museum of History and Industry.)

THEN: For the first twenty years of his more than 40 years selling tinware and other selected hardware, Zilba Mile's shop looked south across Yesler Way down First Ave. S, then known as Commercial Street.

THEN: The original for this scene of a temporary upheaval on Mill Street (Yesler Way) was one of many historical prints given to the Museum of History and Industry many years ago by the Charles Thorndike estate. Thorndike was one of Seattle’s history buffs extraordinaire. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)

THEN: The northeast corner of Belltown’s intersection of Blanchard Street and Fourth Avenue was about 100 feet higher than it is now. The elegant late-Victorian clutters of the Burwell homes’ interiors are also featured on the noted blog. (Courtesy John Goff)

THEN: The Lebanon aka Jesse George building at Occidental and Main opened with the Occidental Hotel in 1891. Subsequently the hotel’s name was changed first to the Touraine and then to the Tourist. The tower could be seen easily from the railroad stations. It kept the name Tourist until replaced in 1960 with a parking lot. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

When compared to most city scenes relatively little has changed in his view west on Main Street from First Avenue South in the century-plus between them. (Historical photo courtesy of Lawton Gowey)

THEN: At Warshal's Workingman's Store a railroad conductor, for instance, could buy his uniform, get a loan, and/or hock his watch. Neighbors in 1946 included the Apollo Cafe, the Double Header Beer Parlor, and the Circle Theatre, all on Second Avenue.

THEN: The Terry-Denny Building, better known in its earlier years as Hotel Northern, was part of the grand new Pioneer Place (or Square) neighborhood built up in the early 1890s after the old one was reduced to ashes by Seattle's Great Fire of 1889.

THEN: With the clue of the ornate Pergola on the right, we may readily figure that we are in Pioneer Square looking south across Yesler Way.

THEN: Frank Shaw’s pre-preservation visit to First Avenue South on February 26, 1961. He looks north from Main Street. (photo by Frank Shaw)

Then: The Pacific House, behind the line-up of white-gloved soldiers, might have survived well into the 20th Century were it not destroyed during Seattle’s Great Fire of 1889. Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry

THEN:In late 1855 the citizens of Seattle with help from the crew of the Navy sloop-of-war Decatur built a blockhouse on the knoll that was then still at the waterfront foot of Cherry Street. The sloop’s physician John Y. Taylor drew this earliest rendering of the log construction. (Courtesy, Yale University, Beinecke Library)

THEN: The Freedman Building on Maynard Avenue was construction soon after the Jackson Street Regrade lowered the neighborhood and dropped Maynard Avenue about two stories to its present grade in Chinatown. (Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: A winter of 1918 inspection of some captured scales on Terrace Street. The view looks east from near 4th Avenue. (Courtesy City Municipal Archives)

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

THEN: Local candy-maker A.W. Piper was celebrated here for his crème cakes and wedding cakes and also his cartoons. This sketch is of the 1882 lynching from the Maple trees beside Henry and Sara Yesler’s home on James Street. Piper’s bakery was nearby (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: This view looking east from First Avenue South on Jackson Street in 1904, is still four years short of the Jackson Street Regrade during which the distant horizon line near 9th Avenue was lowered by more than 70 feet. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Built in 1900 the Corgiat Building lost its cornice and identifying sign to the 1949 earthquake. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)


The Last Commute – in memoriam 1953-2019

Greetings, travelers! As no doubt most of you are aware, the Alaskan Way Viaduct closed to traffic forever this past Friday at 10PM. We at DorpatSherrardLomont were determined to mark the occasion. While the city remains divided – and perhaps always will be – over the fate of the viaduct and its replacement by the tunnel, there is no disputing the spectacular views it has provided over the past 65 years.

On its final day of operation, we hoisted a 3D camera above our moonroof and took a 360 degree video of the commute. Enjoy!

–April 4, 1953-January 11, 2019, RIP.

Snow foolin’: Paul fetes the flakes on the radio with KIRO’s Feliks Banel

Seattle’s Big Snow of 1880, as seen in “Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred.”

The media

MYNorthwest, the logo for KIRO, ESPN and KTTH radio.

Experience the fantasy of the flakes, as historian Feliks Banel interviews Paul for KIRO radio about the Big Snow of 1880, which is featured in Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred. If you click here, you can read the Jan. 2, 2019, story, or you can listen to it as a five-minute audio piece.

To see links to all the print and broadcast media coverage of the book so far, click here. And to order Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred and have it delivered to your door, click here.

The blog

You already are subscribed to this blog (better known to all of us as, but have you considered signing up someone else or offering him or her the opportunity?

Now it’s easier than ever. Just go to the home page, and in the upper left corner enter an email address and click the green “Subscribe” button (as shown in the black box here). That’s all it takes.

As you know, each subscriber receives regular updates with links that lead to scores of photos that supplement each week’s “Now and Then” column in The Seattle Times!

The events

Already we have scheduled four book events in 2019, from West Seattle to Burien to the Rainier Valley. The dates will be here before we know it — Jan. 24, Jan. 31, March 14 and March 23. Stay tuned on the events page of our website!

Books on display December 14, 2018, in Ballard. Photo by Gavin MacDougall

You can re-live an event or experience it anew! Videos of 19 of the book’s 23 events from November and December 2018 are posted on the events page of our website.

The blurbs

A total of 25 Seattle notables have weighed in on Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred. Here are two samples:


Dave Eskenazi

Seattle Now and Then: The Historic Hundred is a true treasure, an instant classic. This gorgeous volume expertly captures the singularity of Seattle past and present. Page after page after page thrill the senses with interesting and evocative images, accompanied by Paul Dorpat’s inimitable text. This book is an absolute must-have for anyone interested in Seattle, past and present. The dream team of Paul Dorpat, Jean Sherrard and Clay Eals has given us a beautiful and indispensable gift.

Dave Eskenazi,
Seattle baseball historian


Sheila Farr

Paul is the guru of Seattle history. He brings a formidable intellect to his research and an artist’s sensibility to its presentation. This is history told with charm and lightness — and, thanks to steadfast help from Jean — spiced with amazing photos, past and present.

Sheila Farr,
arts writer and former Seattle Times art critic


For the rest of the blurbs, check out our blurbs page.

How to order

Want to order a book online? It’s easy. Just visit our “How to order” page. You can even specify how you want Paul and Jean to personalize your copy. Books will reach your mailbox about a week after you order them.

As Jean looks on, Paul signs a book for Nancy Guppy of The Seattle Channel’s “Art Zone.”


Big thanks to everyone who has helped make this book a successful tribute to the public historian who has popularized Seattle history via more than 1,800 columns for nearly 37 years, Paul Dorpat!

— Clay Eals, editor, Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred

Now & Then here and now