Seattle Now & Then: A look at first hill from the courthouse roof, 1917

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: A 1917 pan towards First Hill looking northeast from the roof of the King County Courthouse. Courtesy: Museum of History and Industry
NOW: Because of the 1929-1931 topping of the Courthouse with eight added floors, Jean Sherrard had to use his long pole instead above southwest corner of Fourth Avenue and James Street.

This roof-top prospect taken by a Webster and Steven Studio photographer is rare.  Never have I come upon another First Hill portrait recorded from the King County Court House roof, with the exception of a few snapshots that look south over Jefferson Street and onto the public building’s adjoining Court House Park.  The original roof of the King County Courthouse was a mere Five stories although its footprint filled the block bordered by James and Jefferson Streets and Third and Fourth Avenues, and still does.

We may treat this as a panorama of First Hill’s mid-section extending from James Street, with its slots for the street’s namesake cable railway on the far right, to the surviving dome of the Methodist-Protestant church at the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Marion Street, on the far left.  A missing dome or cupola is St James.  The Cathedral’s twin-towers at Marion Street and 9th Avenue are on the far right horizon.  The dome crashed to the floor from the weight of the snow collected on the church’s roof in during the Big Snow of 1916. Central School with its own two towers breaking the First hill horizon above Sixth Avenue and Madison Street was removed for the building of the Interstate-5 Freeway in the mid-1960s.

The first five floors of the Court House took five years to complete, between 1914 and 1917.  By 1917 here were plenty of high-rise structures in the neighborhood including the then still highest building west of the Mississippi River: the Smith Tower holding 42 stories above the northeast corner of Jefferson Street and Yesler Way.  Other surviving towers include the Alaska Building at the southeast corner of Second Ave. and Cherry Street and kitty-corner to it the 18-story Hoge building.  There are others.

We found a year for the pan in the Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey billboard advertising facing James Street. It is second-from-the-right in the broken line-up of Foster and Kleiser signs seen here directly above the crown molding of the Court House..  We found the year, 1917, on-line, and it fits.  The circus was in town on Monday, August 20, time enough after the Big Snow of 1916 to patch the roof.

Photographer Frank Shaw -sometimes a regular here- on the freeway bridge on a day in 1984 when the speed lanes were open to pedestrians and bikers only.

The clutter of clapboard flats on the right of the featured photo is the gift of the relatively cheap lumber sold to the city’s many developers and the booms in its population and so also its housing in the late 1890s and after.  The rough edges cut by assorted street regrades leave some scars around the center of the pan, which is also well-lined with parked cars.  By 1917 family cars were nearly affordable.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, paisans?  More of the same Jean, meaning pixs that fit to some extent the who-what-where-when and even the why (sometimes) of the featured photograph.

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Links to previous Now & Then post

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: When it was built in 1864 Charles and Mary Terry’s home was considered the finest in Seattle. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

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: 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: Through its two decades — 1892 to 1913 — at the northeast corner of Cherry Street and Third Avenue, the Seattle Theatre was one of the classiest Seattle venues for legitimate theater as well as variety/vaudeville

THEN: The clerk in the city's old Engineering Vault attends to its records. Now one of many thousands of images in the Seattle Municipal Archives, this negative is dated Jan. 30, 1936. (Check out www.cityofseattle.net/cityarchives/ to see more.)

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

THEN: In Lawton Gowey’s 1961 pairing, the Smith Tower (1914) was the tallest building in Seattle, and the Pioneer Square landmark Seattle Hotel (1890) had lost most of its top floor. (by Lawton Gowey)

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: 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: Friends of the Market president, architect Victor Steinbrueck, leads a cadre of Friends marching for Market preservation in front of the Seattle City Hall most likely on March 18, 1971. (Photo by Tom Brownell from the Post-Intelligencer collection at MOHAI)

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: 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)

 

 

 

 

We’re in Bothell Sunday, on KING-TV next Monday, in the U District Dec. 22 — and now: event videos!

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

Still looking for that perfect holiday gift for someone who loves Seattle?

Join us for one of Paul Dorpat‘s and Jean Sherrard‘s illustrated talks about their new book, Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred!

Besides the big October 28, 2018, launch on Paul’s 80th birthday, we have put on 20 events all over King County. It’s hard to believe, but only two more are left before Christmas:

  • Paul speaks during our December 11, 2018, event in Magnolia. Photo by Greg Shaw

    Sunday, December 16, 2018: Sunday, December 16, 2018: 2 PM, Bothell Historical Museum, at Bothell Library, 18215 98th Ave NE, Bothell

  • Saturday, December 22, 2018: 3-6 PM drop-in event with brief presentations, University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle

The events are free, and you have the opportunity to purchase the book and have it personally inscribed by Paul and Jean.

Videos of the events!

Paul chats with an admirer December 14, 2018, in Ballard. Photo by Gavin MacDougall

Did you miss one of our book events this fall and would like to see it from the convenience of your computer?

Or perhaps you attended an event and would like to re-live it?

Either way, we have good news: We have posted videos of 17 of the book’s 21 events on the events page of our website.

The videos include this one from December 6, 2018, at the Museum of History and Industry, introduced by Leonard Garfield, executive director:

Video: Dec. 6, 2018, MOHAI, 1:02:36

The media

Coming up at 11 a.m. next Monday, December 17, 2018, is a segment on the book on New Day Northwest, KING-TV, hosted Margaret Larson. Don’t miss it!

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:

———

Paula Becker

This gorgeous volume showcases Seattle’s vibrant present and insistent past, offering proof that what our city is remains a product of what it was. Paul Dorpat’s multi-decade take on Seattle’s history continues to beguile, and Jean Sherrard’s thoughtful repeat photography enacts a powerful alchemy.

Paula Becker,
Seattle author and HistoryLink historian

———

John Bennett

I am always amazed at the original photographs that Paul comes up with. Jean’s spot-on “now” pictures are shot so precisely, making you appreciate the history and the change. I can hardly wait for my Historic Hundred!

John Bennett, West Seattle and
Georgetown preservationist

———

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

How to order

Eager to place your order? It’s easy. Just visit our “How to order” page. You can even specify how you want Paul and Jean to personalize your copy. Mailed orders will reach mailboxes in about a week. Want a book for holiday gift giving? Order today for it to reach you in time.

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

Thanks!

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

Last Call for Book Orders!

The cover of “Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred.”

Jean here. It’s been a bit of a wild ride getting our books in from China – not to mention the nearly two weeks they spent languishing in US Customs! But they have arrived and we’ve just filled all our standing pre-orders (nearly 200!).

If you’d like us to pop a signed, inscribed copy in the mail tomorrow morning – or early next week – please order now. Media mail seems to be fairly efficient in and around King County, but I’d be worried about sending anything through the mail after this coming Tuesday. So if you’ve been waiting for the right time to order, and want a signed book to arrive before Christmas, here’s your chance.

If you have concerns about mailing, you can still attend a book event. Paul and I will be presenting and signing at the Bothell Library this Sunday at 2PM. And then one last event at the University Bookstore on the Ave between 3-6PM on Saturday, December 22.

Seattle Now & Then: The Times’ Automatic Football Player, circa 1925

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: From the Hotel Rainbow at the northwest corner of Steward Street and Fifth Avenue, a Times photographer records a crowd of Husky fans following their team on The Times Automatic Football Player during the team’s visit – most likely in 1925 – to Berkeley, California for a game with the league-leading Bears. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: The Times Building, far right, and the Times Square Garage, far left, survive, as does the landmark Medical Dental Building, right-of-center, and its contiguous neighbor to the south, the five floor northwest corner of what was built in 1916-1919 as the Frederick and Nelson Department Store.

With a longing for television, a medium they did not yet know, or a train ticket to California, the thousands of Husky fans squeezed here within the limits of Seattle’s Times Square, settled instead for the The Times Automatic Football Player.  Displayed to the masses from a hut attached to the northeast corner of the Times Building, the Player was a creation of this newspaper’s Sports Section.  It showed the vital statistics of a game on a gridiron – somehow. Variations of the player were also used for baseball, prizefights and elections.

This photo is dated 1927.  ;Note that construction on he Orpheum Theatre on the right is nearly completed.   The Automatic Football Player is holding to the Times building on the left.

On the far-right of this week’s featured Webster and Stevens Studio photograph (at the top), you can see a cross-section of the Player’s “projection booth” (we will call it) attached to the elegant terra-cotta tiles of The Times Building,  The year is either1923 or 1925. We are not yet sure.  Both the candidate games were with the California Bears, and played on the University of California’s Berkeley campus.  The Seattle Times for November 16, 1923 promised with a banner headline across the paper’s front page that witnessing the “big game reproduced play by play on the Times Automatic Football Player” would be “the next best thing to going to Berkeley.”

For the November 14, 1925 game with the Bears, The Times estimated that “an estimated 80,000 Seattle fans crowded to listen as the key plays were shouted from an upper window of the Seattle Times Building.”  With this report the newspaper also provided a photograph of “a young woman using a megaphone to describe the game to the Seattle fans.”  That doesn’t seem so “automatic.”  The detail of a panorama of Times Square under the crush of Husky fans seems similar enough to the pan featured here that we will now choose 1925 with something resembling confidence.   (Just now in media res our dancing diplomatic advisor Gavin MacDougal advises us, “Further evidence that today’s ‘then’ is from 1925, not 1923, would be in this column:  Nov. 20, 2010.   There the first line says that the Medical Dental Building (which dominates the “then”) was completed in 1925.)

Cliff Harrison, the Sports Page Editor, did not see the game from a newspaper window, but rather from the Bear’s stadium. When the Huskies won Harrison was more than excited.  He concluded his report, “Tears roll down my check, but I can’t help it.” In the next day Sunday Times Harrison rejoiced, “The Golden Bear is no longer the champion of the West, the uncrowned king of football.  On top of the world tonight sits a silver-tipped husky, the grandest of all dog kind, the symbol of a football leadership for the University of Washington, which today defeated California 7 to 0.”  The editor played with the purple part of the team’s colors.  “They are supreme in the West, great, big-hearted strong-muscled men of the Northwest, men who broke the heart of what was once the champion, men who knew no defeat, who knew no fear as a great hostile crowd booed them for deeds they never did.”  The Times recommended that it would soon be time for Eastern Teams – like Dartmouth and Harvard – to “BOW DOWN TO WASHINGTON.”

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?

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: 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: This Webster and Stevens studio photo dates from either late 1917 or early 1918. The grand Frederick and Nelson Department store, rising above Fifth Avenue, has not yet reached its sumptuous Sept. 3. 1918 opening. In the foreground, the much smaller but also elegant flatiron building, bordered by Pine Street, in the foreground, and Westlake and Fifth Avenues to the sides, was razed and replaced also in 1918 by a three story retail block on the same flatiron footprint. (Courtesy, the 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: 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: Looking west on Pike Street from Fourth Avenue, the variety in the first block of this retail district includes the Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Mendenhall’s Kodaks, Fountain Pens and Photo Supplies, Remick’s Song and Gift Shop, the Lotus Confectionary, Fahey-Brockman’s Clothiers, where, one may “buy upstairs and save $10.00”. (Courtesy, MOHAI)

THEN: The row house at the southwest corner of 6th Avenue and Pine Street in its last months, ca. 1922-23. (Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Looking east on Pike Street from Fifth Avenue early in the twentieth century. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

5th-ave-car-barns-then-mr

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)

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.)

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: With her or his back to the Medical-Dental Building an unidentified photographer took this look northeast through the intersection of 6th and Olive Way about five years after the Olive Way Garage first opened in 1925. (Courtesy, Mark Ambler)

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Events in Tukwila, Magnolia, Ballard, Renton, Bothell — plus: Paul on Channel 9 in 1982!

Paul and Jean present Dec. 3, 2018, at Ivar’s Salmon House.

Still looking for that perfect holiday gift for someone who loves Seattle?

Join us for one of Paul Dorpat‘s and Jean Sherrard‘s illustrated talks about their new book, Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred!

Besides the big October 28 launch on Paul’s 80th birthday, 17 events have taken place, and five more are on tap this coming week:

… and Paul and Jean provide personal inscriptions.

Click here to see all nine remaining events through mid-December. The events are free, and you have the opportunity to purchase the book and have it personally inscribed by Paul and Jean.

The media

In recent weeks, the book has garnered great media attention from:

Alaska Beyond, the magazine of Alaska Airlines

Page 165 of the December 2018 edition of Alaska Beyond, the magazine of Alaska Airlines

To see all the print and broadcast media coverage of the book, click here.

And a bonus!

Thanks to the generosity of veteran Seattle cinematographer and editor Tom Speer, we can see a five-minute segment aired on KCTS-TV in 1982, the same year Paul embarked on his “Now and Then” column for The Seattle Times:

Here is a five-minute segment aired on KCTS-TV in 1982. It was unearthed by veteran cinematographer and editor Tom Speer. Thanks, Tom!

The blurbs

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

———

Knute Berger

Paul Dorpat’s and Jean Sherrard’s Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred is a brilliant, time-traveling, stereoscopic view of Seattle. It is no work of simple nostalgia — it contrasts past and present through historic images and deep research that put you in Seattle of old alongside Sherrard’s superb new photography rooted in the colorful present. It shows the city as a continuum, provides context and records change. It should thrill Seattle-loving NIMBYs and YIMBYs alike, no mean achievement!

Knute Berger, Seattle author, Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes on Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps and the Myth of Seattle Nice

———

Fran Bigelow

Paul and Jean have created a real treasure for all of us who love Seattle. Much more than a beautiful art book, this is a fascinating history of how Seattle has changed, and it arrives at the perfect moment when Seattleites are focused on that subject. This book entertains and answers questions, but it also makes us think about the future of our precious city.

Fran Bigelow,
Seattle chocolatier

———

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

How to order

Eager to place your order? It’s easy. Just visit our “How to order” page. You can even specify how you want Paul and Jean to personalize your copy. Mailed orders will reach mailboxes in about a week, in time for holiday gift giving.

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

Thanks!

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

A Rogue’s Christmas, 2018

Please join Paul and me for our 12th annual gathering of the rogues! Also in the mix are Kurt Beattie, Julie Briskman, Bill Radke, and our house band Pineola!

A slight change up this year: we’re asking our audience for stories of mishap, mayhem, and mistletoe mischief. Please submit your holiday tales of woe – 500 words or less – for consideration. If selected, it will be performed live at the show by Bill Radke or Julie Briskman, and later be aired on the KUOW ‘Speaker’s Forum’ Christmas edition! Submit your stories to holidaydisasters@townhallseattle.org.

A Rogue’s Christmas 2018

Seattle Now & Then: Northgate Mall, 1950

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking north on Northgate’s “Miracle Mile” in 1950 the year the Mall first opened. Courtesy: Museum of History and Industry
NOW: The open avenue between Northgate’s first retailers was partially covered with “skyshields” in 1962, and fully enclosed in the 1970s.

Perhaps the date, May 16, 1950, scribbled on the unsigned note accompanying this early portrait of Northgate’s “Miracle Mile”, may be slightly off.  The view looks north from the center of Seattle’s first shopping mall during its, it seems. late work-in-progress.  On the far left a temporary footprint map of the center is propped up to face east across the center’s ‘Main Street’ to the Bon Marche, largest and most polished of the malls structures.   Built for three million dollars, the Bon was the new shopping center’s ‘anchor’ retailer. Most of the Mall’s lesser, but still large, parts kept to Quonsets, one of World War 2’s architectural preferences. Pre-fabricated Quonsets that could be easily assembled as pre-fabricated huts or expanded to the size of warehouses like the future Nordstrom Shoes, here on the left.  Northgate’s superlative Bon was never a Quonset.

Historylink, Washington State’s non-profit webpage encyclopedia of our state’s history, has the retail magnet opening on April 21, nearly a month before the photograph’s date claim.  “Designed by John Graham Jr., Northgate was the country’s first regional shopping center to be defined as a mall.”  The opening was shown on KING TV, then on the air for less than a year.  A Cadillac was given as a prize.  Some of the stores startled their shoppers with electric-eye doors.  A Christmas tree of world’s record size – it was claimed –  was raised above this Bon-fronting part of the mall.  It’s 212 feet were featured in Life Magazine.  The tree was captured with both day and night recordings for the Ellis studio’s state-wide distribution of “real photo” postcards. Ellis’s other Northgate Christmas card was captioned “World Largest Santa Claus – North Gate Shopping Center – Seattle Washington.” This Santa’s glorification does not seem to have been so truthful as that of the tree. Ron Edge, a frequent aid to this feature’s repeating, remembers, “Kids are still probably having nightmares from Northgate’s oversized Santa. With its menacing eyes it looked like a maniac.”

The Seattle Times for February 22, 1948 first reported that the “curtain of secrecy which has enveloped the mammoth project was pulled aside” revealing “the biggest suburban development of its type in the U.S.”   The term “mall” was most often used for the north-and-south center-line of the development.  In the early 1980s when I first began delivering freshly published now-then books to Seattle bookstores, I was thrilled to learn that running below the mall – the north-south center line of the by then lavish development – was an austere tunnel designed for speedy deliveries to Northgate’s many retailers, which then still included both chain and independent book stores.

From its start in 1950 Northgate showed an often wild popularity that stuffed its surrounding parking lots with thousands of visitors. It was a retail flood that would soon pain the established shops in the University District, Northgate’s competing retail neighborhood to the south.   Northgate’s many remodels created a covered and heated expanse of attractions. Besides the shoppers its comforts were used by seniors for winter walks, and exploring groups of teenagers practicing consumer – and human – development.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, shoppers?

THEN: Before it became a city park, Licton Springs was run as a health spa. The distant home, left-of-center, at the northeast corner of N. 97th Street and Densmore Avenue N., survives in Jean Sherrard’s repeat. It can be found on the left above the Y in the Licton Springs Park pathway. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

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Events! Saturday on Mercer Island, Monday at Ivar’s Salmon House, Wednesday at Wooden Boats, Thursday at MOHAI

Jean cracks up at an observation by Paul on Nov. 25, 2018, at a book event at the Fremont Library, sponsored by the Fremont and Queen Anne historical societies

… And the events just keep on coming!

Join us for one of Paul Dorpat‘s and Jean Sherrard‘s illustrated talks about their new book, Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred!

So far, besides the big October 28 launch on Paul’s 80th birthday, 13 events have taken place, and five more are on tap this coming week:

Paul points out an audience member who attended the 1968 Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair, which Paul organized, during a book event on Nov. 27, 2018, at Horizon House. Jean (standing) and Clay Eals, the book’s editor, look on.

Click here to see all nine remaining events through mid-December. The events are free, and you have the opportunity to purchase the book and have it personally inscribed by Paul and Jean.

The media

In recent weeks, the book has garnered great media attention from:

Westside Seattle, “Seattle Time Travelers” column by Jean Godden

The launch of Seattle Now & Then, a new film by Berangere Lomont

KOMO-TV, “Eric’s Heroes,” with Eric Johnson

The Seattle Channel “Art Zone” with Nancy Guppy

Nancy Guppy of Art Zone on The Seattle Channel interviews Paul and Jean.

To see all the print and broadcast media coverage of the book, click here.

The blurbs

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

Marcellus Turner

Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard have published a selection of the best of their “Now and Then” columns from The Seattle Times written over several decades. These columns reveal, explore and share Seattle local history by paralleling vintage photographs from previous years with photographs and commentary on these same spaces and places today. In so doing, Dorpat and Sherrard are able to focus on recurring issues and complex ideas that have shaped our city. Their creation of a People’s History of the region has made our past and how we look at the present and design the future much more accessible to scholars, historians and people interested in Seattle “Now and Then.”

Marcellus Turner, Seattle city librarian

———

Lane Morgan

The best thing about writing Seattle: A Pictorial History with my dad back in 1982 was meeting Paul Dorpat. He and Murray were kindred spirits, delighting in the oddities and ironies of the city’s past and present and, in their overlapping ways, telling its story. Paul is a treasure, and this book is a fitting sampling and tribute to his work.

Lane Morgan, Seattle author, Greetings from Washington,
co-author, Seattle: A Pictorial History,
editor, The Northwest Experience anthologies

———

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

How to order

Eager to place your order? It’s easy. Just visit our “How to order” page. You can even specify how you want Paul and Jean to personalize your copy. Orders will be mailed starting next Monday and will reach mailboxes about a week later, well in time for holiday gift giving.

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

Thanks!

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: Occidental Avenue, ca 1920

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: From mid-block between Washington Street and Yesler Way, looking north on Occidental Avenue to the south façade of the Seattle Hotel. Courtesy, The Museum of History and Industry
NOW: Jean Sherrard and I have embraced this opportunity to also feature Parisian photographer Berangere Lomont in the contemporary repeat. I have known “BB” since the 1970s when she first visited Seattle. Jean used Berangere’s contributions both inside and on the back cover or our new book, Seattle Now and Then, The Historic Hundred. Many thanks to and for BB.

There’s some arterial tension in this “then.”  Is the open and yet covered pick-up van on Occidental Avenue pausing with a full stop or advancing toward Yesler Way?  Is the driver trying to encourage the clutter of pedestrians to “move it” onto the Seattle Tacoma Interurban cars parked at their Seattle terminus?

LOOKING south thru the same block on Occidental between Yesler Way (behind the photographer) and Washington Street.

This is nearly the center of Seattle’s skid road district.  It was a manly neighborhood and here in the fetured photo at the top it seems that it is all men who are boarding the parked common carriers about to head for Tacoma or some suburban stop on the way.

A Skid Road labor protest on Octobert 6, 1930. The view looks northwest thru the intersection of Wasington Streete and Occidental Avenue.
Later – “Sixty’s” demo in Occidental Park.

Skid Road was originally named for the greased logs that were laid to shoot timber off First Hill to Seattle’s waterfront mills. There survives remarkably – or distressingly – little pioneer evidence on where Seattle’s first skid road was constructed.  A convivial scholars’ debate endures between those choosing Washington Street and the more popular Mill Street, aka Yesler Way.  Whichever, the sliding log delivery most likely came close to crossing over this part of Occidental, a popular name for European immigrants who immigrated west to America from somewhere between Moscow and

Hand-colored and in repose, here’s an early catch of Occidental – from the late 70s or so – looking north from near King Street.

Galway. Originating at Yesler Way, Occidental Street ran south into the then not yet reclaimed tidelands beyond King Street. By the time this busy street scene was shot, the neighborhood was long free of its slippery salmon oil and log deliveries.  (Again, we confess to not knowing the date for the featured snapshot from the circa 1920s,)

Members of the Communist Party demonstrate for a Six-Hour Day. The view looks northwest from Occidental.

Many Asian merchants serviced the Skid Road district.  Seattle’s first Chinatown was just around the corner, east on Washington Street.  There were loan shops, barbers, oyster bars, and plenty of bar-bars where a free lunch might come with whatever drink one ordered – usually beer – and many of them.  Here professional bar bands competed for audio space and “keep the faith” souls with parading ensembles of Salvation Army brass players and drummers.  Adding to the percussion, the corner to the left rear (southwest) of the photographer was Seattle’s “Hyde Park” platform for protest, polemics and the occasional police riot.

Besides the Interurban cars, this cityscape is limited to two pioneer landmarks. The one that obviously survived on the right side of Jean Sherrard’s repeat, is the Interurban Building, the 1892 creation of the English-born architect John Parkinson who arrived fortuitously in Seattle six months before its Great Fire of June 6, 1889.  This red brick and sandstone Romanesque landmark was built for the Seattle National Bank, but after the Interurban’s completion from Tacoma to Seattle in 1901-02 it became the ticket office and waiting room for the Puget Sound Interurban Railway.

The Seattle Hotel facing south on Occidental from the north side of Yesler Way on February 7, 1961, recorded by Lawton Gowey. (Whom we hope to ever remember and thank.) 
Gowey returns on February 20, 1967.

The wide façade facing south to Occidental Ave. from across Yesler Way is, of course, the still-mourned Seattle Hotel.  Like Parkinson’s bank it too was built soon after the city’s great fire of 1889. Seventy years later it was lost to the modern urges that preluded the Seattle Century 21 World’s Fair.  By comparison the strikingly puny “Sinking Ship Garage”, that replaced, it survives.

Lawton returns again on November 14, 1972,

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, mes amis?   Weee

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GOOD MORNING to RON EDGE

 

Previous features of interest:

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: 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)

THEN:  In Lawton Gowey’s 1961 pairing, the Smith Tower (1914) was the tallest building in Seattle, and the Pioneer Square landmark Seattle Hotel (1890) had lost most of its top floor.  (by Lawton Gowey)

gn-depot-e-on-king-blog

THEN: In the older scene daring steel workers pose atop construction towers during the 1910 building of the Union Depot that faces Jackson Street.

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.)

 

Events! this Sunday in Fremont, Tuesday at Horizon House, Thursday at Third Place Books

In the Good Shepherd Center Chapel on Nov. 18, 2018, Paul and Jean discuss a photo of the 1932 opening of the Aurora Bridge, an image from “Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred.” The event, sponsored by Historic Seattle and Historic Wallingford, drew 150 people.

Join us for one of Paul Dorpat‘s and Jean Sherrard‘s illustrated talks about their new book, Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred!

So far, besides the big October 28 launch on Paul’s 80th birthday, 10 events have taken place, and three more are coming up this post-Thanksgiving week:

Paul and Jean (left) sign books November 18, 2018, at Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.

Click here to see all 11 remaining events through mid-December. The events are free, and you have the opportunity for one-on-one conversation afterward with Paul and Jean.

The media

In recent weeks, the book has garnered great media attention from:

Westside Seattle, “Seattle Time Travelers” column by Jean Godden

Jean Godden’s column in Westside Seattle

The launch of Seattle Now & Then, a new film by Berangere Lomont

KOMO-TV, “Eric’s Heroes,” with Eric Johnson

To see all the print and broadcast media coverage of the book, click here.

The blurbs

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

Fran Bigelow

Paul and Jean have created a real treasure for all of us who love Seattle. Much more than a beautiful art book, this is a fascinating history of how Seattle has changed, and it arrives at the perfect moment when Seattleites are focused on that subject. This book entertains and answers questions, but it also makes us think about the future of our precious city.

Fran Bigelow,
Seattle chocolatier

———

Norm Rice

The beauty, depth and rhythm of Seattle are found in the hearts, minds and souls of those who built, lived, worked and played in it.

I am thankful for this walk through memory lane and the reinforcement of our dynamic city. It gives us life and legacy.

Norm Rice,
former Seattle mayor

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

How to order

Eager to place your order? It’s easy. Just visit our “How to order” page. You can even specify how you want Paul and Jean to personalize your copy. We expect orders to be mailed by the end of November and reach mailboxes the first week of December.

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

Thanks!

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