Seattle Now & Then: Our Deepest Snow, 1880

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: This 1880 scene, recorded by the Peterson Brothers from their photography studio at the foot of Cherry Street, looks east across Front Street (now First Avenue). Henry Yesler’s Hall, having narrowly avoided collapse, stands at right. Up the hill, on Fourth Avenue, stands First Baptist Church. The 64 inches of snow that fell is still a local record. (Paul Dorpat collection)
NOW: In a view up Cherry Street through swirling snow on recent January afternoon, Jean’s red umbrella caps the scene, protecting his camera. As typical for modern times, the snow did not stick around. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Feb. 20, 2020
and in the PacificNW Magazine print edition on Feb. 23, 2020)

Seattle’s Deepest Snow, at First & Cherry, 1880
By Jean Sherrard

Since 2005, when I began contributing photos to this column, whenever flakes of snow begin to fall, I pack a camera bag and hit the slippery Seattle streets, clutching a sheaf of old photos to repeat. However, in those 15 years I’ve repeatedly failed to capture snow blanketing First and Cherry, as shown in this week’s classic “Then” photo from 1880. The Captain Ahab in me calls it my “white whale.”

Longtime Seattleites may recall wistfully the rare blizzards of 2018, 1996, 1969 and 1950 (whose 20-inch blitz set the latter-day record for greatest one-day snowfall).

Their effects were dwarfed by Seattle’s second biggest snow, beginning Feb. 1, 1916, when 21.5 inches nearly KO’d the young city. On Groundhog Day afternoon at 3:13, the dome of St. James Cathedral collapsed under the extra load, only hours after a morning Mass attended by a group of schoolgirls from Holy Names Academy.

The dome of St. James Cathedral litters the sanctuary floor on Feb. 2, 1916

My grandmother Dorothy later recalled that as a girl of 10 she joined thousands of skaters on frozen Green Lake in the cold snap preceding the snow.

The immensely popular Green Lake Ice Rink of late January, 1916

But the king of snows in the Queen City was crowned the same year that Seattle, its population having grown to 3,500, overtook Walla Walla as the region’s largest town.

In a “state of the territory” address published Sunday, Jan. 4, 1880, in the Seattle Intelligencer, territorial Gov. Elisha P. Ferry warmly promoted our region’s temperate, near-Mediterranean climate. “Ice and snow,” he wrote, “are of rare occurrence and almost unknown in Western Washington.”

That same evening, the weather gods replied with a vengeance. Bitterly cold winds invaded homes “through cracks not before known to exist,” the paper reported. The next day, snow began to fall and continued through the week, collapsing awnings and threatening buildings across town.

Yesler’s Hall, used for dances, concerts and theatricals, was “in danger of wrecking; the walls cracking and opening from the enormous weight upon [its] roof.” Only the quick action of men paid an exorbitant $1 an hour to shovel off the snow averted disaster.

At week’s end, the Intelligencer projected the snow “would average a depth of six feet on the townsite of Seattle.” In a petulant potshot (take cover, Elisha), it continued, “If any one has anything to say of our Italian skies and climate, shoot him on the spot.”

On Jan. 12, the Seattle Fin-Back, a free weekly rag, polled elderly natives on “the snow question.” Chief Seattle’s daughter Kikisoblu, known as Princess Angeline, said she “had never seen so much snow at any one time.” Old Ned, however, who lived at the foot of Battery Street, was less impressed. He boasted that he had “seen snow 50 years ago over seven feet deep” when Angeline was a mere child.

A studio portrait of Kikisoblu, Chief Seattle’s daughter
WEB EXTRAS

Check out Jean’s visit to First and Cherry in our delightful 360 video.

 

Seattle Now & Then: All roads lead to Roadhouse at Fall City, mid-1930s

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN1: About to cross the Snoqualmie River and cruising northbound on U.S. Highway 10 past the Riverside Tavern is a 1934 Ford Model 40 Deluxe Tudor Sedan, according to our auto informant, Bob Carney. An eye-catching corner sign advertises Alpine Ice Cream, produced by Alpine Dairy, formerly Northwestern Milk Condensing Co. and Issaquah Creamery and later part of the Darigold Cooperative. (Fall City Historical Society)
THEN2: A multi-pointed sign depicts mileage to various locales from Fall City, adjacent to the two-floor Riverside Inn, in this photo published July 23, 1950, in The Seattle Times. Room prices at the Riverside started at $1.25, and meals at 50 cents.
NOW: Braving the snowy chill of mid-January are (from left) Donna Driver-Kummen and Sheryl Gibler of the Fall City Historical Society, with Cynthia Heyamoto and John Manning, owners of The Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn. The two worked there a half-dozen years before partnering to buy the business. Says John: “We’re passionate about food, we’re people persons, it’s a historic building, and out here you’re really not that far from anything. It was a no-brainer.” (Clay Eals)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Feb. 13, 2020
and in the PacificNW Magazine print edition on Feb. 16, 2020)

In riverside Fall City, all roads lead to The Roadhouse
By Clay Eals

What comes to mind with the word “roadhouse”? For me, the answer is cinematic – the scenes of Madonna and others in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own” dancing raucously to a big band in a World War II-era saloon called the Suds Bucket. For others, the term may summon the 1990-1991 and 2017 episodes of TV’s mystery/horror series “Twin Peaks,” set partly at a seedy rural outpost known as The Roadhouse.

In either incarnation, a roadhouse bore a smear of the unsavory, given that an isolated establishment along a country highway could produce experiences as fleeting as the travelers it served.

Such may have been true at times for the business depicted in our 1930s “Then,” the Riverside Tavern, built between 1916 and 1920 (accounts vary). It perched in Fall City along the Snoqualmie River and U.S. Highway 10, better known as the cross-state Sunset Highway in the decades before Interstate 90 bypassed the burg 2 miles south.

But as ownerships changed and the Riverside gained a second floor (mid-1930s), morphed to the Colonial Inn (1966) and evolved with an extensive renovation (2008) to the name it bears today, The Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn, it became a community hub. Known for fine food and likeable lodging, it primarily serves locals and the surrounding, increasingly suburban cities fueled by our region’s tech boom. (It doesn’t hurt that the “Twin Peaks” producers filmed exteriors at this very spot.)

It stands near a unique crossroads, what might be called a double-Y intersection that straddles the river and leads motorists to nearby Preston, Redmond, Carnation and Snoqualmie. A 1950 Seattle Times photo depicts a multi-pointed sign outside the building denoting mileage to those Eastside destinations as well as to Seattle (25), Ellensburg (87) and Spokane (270).

Fall City itself possesses a curious nomenclature. The hamlet of 2,000 never formally incorporated, and while it sits less than 3 miles downstream from Snoqualmie Falls, its name may have nothing to do with that spectacular cascade. Robert Hitchman, writing for the Washington State Historical Society in 1985, asserts that the name derived from a fellow named Fall who started a ferry nearby in the 1870s.

Ruth Pickering

The 14-year-old Fall City Historical Society, led by the indefatigable Ruth Pickering, keeps track of this ambiguity while shepherding a searchable online collection and producing a stuffed slate of events and projects, including 520-page and 350-page history books and an annual calendar.

Though the historical society operates from the second floor of Fall City United Methodist Church, fittingly its most prominent display of photos and artifacts can be found inside – you guessed it – The Roadhouse.

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column.

Here is video about The Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn:

VIDEO: John Manning and (briefly) Cynthia Heyamoto, co-owners of The Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn in Fall City, tell the story of their business. (8:32)

Below are two additional photos plus two clippings from The Seattle Times online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that, among others, were helpful in the preparation of this column. Enjoy!

Riverside Tavern, circa 1930. (Fall City Historical Society)
Colonial Inn, post-1966. (Fall City Historical Society)
Feb. 11, 1950, Seattle Times, page 2
July 23, 1950, Seattle Times, page 77

Seattle Now & Then: The Trianon Ballroom, 1927

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: This 1927 vantage looks southeast along Third Avenue toward the full block between Wall and Fir streets, where, the just-completed Trianon Ballroom would prove an anchor in the emerging Denny Regrade business district, attracting thousands of dancers each night. (Museum of History and Industry)
THEN 2: The Trianon’s opening night booklet, recently tracked down by collector Ron Edge. For a link to the pdf, please see below.
NOW: The Trianon interior was entirely remodeled in 1985, with stores on the ground floor and offices on the second floor. Preserved was the original, Moorish-style brick façade with arched windows. Lining a Third Avenue crosswalk, a group of accommodating couples celebrates this upcoming Valentine’s Day with waltzes and Lindy Hop. The dancers are (from left): Monique and Charlie Catino, Jamie with daughter Frances Alls, Maria Mackay and Joe Breskin, Casey Engstrom, Leslie Howells, Liz Wentzien, Ethan Sherrard, Gary Sandberg (hidden), Anne Kiemle, Kael Sherrard, Lynn McGlocklin (face hidden, with raised arm), Solika O’Neill and Riley Miller

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Feb. 6, 2020
and in the PacificNW Magazine print edition on Feb. 9, 2020)

Tripping the light fantastic at Seattle’s Trianon Ballroom, ‘Cupid’s Headquarters’
By Jean Sherrard

Advertising that patrons would “trip the light fantastic,” the legendary Trianon Ballroom, designed by architect Warren H. Milner, opened its doors on May 20th, 1927, at Third Avenue and Wall Street. With its springy, white-maple floors, overseen by a giant, silver, clam-shaped bandshell, the Trianon quickly became Seattle’s premier dance palace.

Held the same day Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic, the Trianon’s inaugural drew the city council, chamber of commerce and Bertha Landes, Seattle’s first female mayor. Four-thousand dancers foxtrotted to the sounds of Herb Wiedoft and his Brunswick Recording Orchestra. Between sets, dancers were entertained by vaudeville acts and a dancing exhibition by Priscilla Pharis and George Blanford, a couple who had triumphed at a recent dance marathon in Los Angeles.

The Mediterranean-style dance palace showcased the nation’s biggest of big bands, including Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Guy Lombardo and Louis Armstrong, along with the local Max Pilar and Vic Meyers bands. (In 1932, Meyers, swapping bandstand for grandstand, would be elected Washington state’s lieutenant governor, serving 20 years.)

The Trianon became “Cupid’s headquarters,” contended Ted Harris, its longtime manager, in a 1975 Seattle Times interview, “because so many guys and gals met their future mates there.” Couples, he said, gathered on the long, open balcony, with its 17 arched windows facing Third Avenue, for “a little romantic action.” For late-night swing shifts and visiting servicemen during World War II, the Trianon remained open till 5 a.m.

Despite condemnation from some Seattle pulpits, couples continued dancing cheek to cheek at the Trianon until its closing in 1956. By then, ballroom dancing was declining in popularity as youths of America fell under the spell of the less formal dance moves of rock ’n’ roll.

Here we must sound a particularly sour note.

Through much of its tenure, the Trianon’s owner, John E. Savage, insisted upon a segregated dance floor, claiming repeatedly (and falsely) that a city ordinance prohibited “mixed [race] dancing.” The result: hugely popular African American musicians were welcome to perform, while African American dancers were turned away. For Seattle’s growing black community, this irony was painfully bitter, scarcely remedied by management’s “compromise” of selected Monday night shows set aside for “Colored Folks.”

After the ballroom’s closure, the building was converted for use as a Gov-Mart department store, then into an exhibition warehouse for a business selling pool tables, shuffleboards and jukeboxes.

Before partitioned office spaces took over the vast Trianon interior, the maple floor was cleared one last time. On May 18, 1985, two days shy of the 58th anniversary of its original opening, the Trianon held its last dance in the ballroom. All were welcome.

WEB EXTRAS

As promised, here’s another of column regular Ron Edge’s found treasures: a pdf of the opening night booklet for the Trianon (18 Mb).

For more Now & Then fun, click through to this week’s 360 degree video, narrated by Jean.

And a few late-breaking photo additions from Paul:

A Trianon Ballroom interior – hundreds of dancers pose
Another interior with tables and chairs
A colored postcard

More glass-neg images from Tom Reese

Tom Reese identifies this as Portland, Oregon. See the caption for his waterfront detail below. (Courtesy Tom Reese)

 

Bonus round — three more glass-neg images
By Clay Eals

Remember last week’s post with 15 unidentified glass-negative images submitted by Tom Reese, former longtime photographer for The Seattle Times, who bought the negatives from the Antique Mall of West Seattle?

Many of you commented with clues to when and where the photos were taken.

To further the discussion Tom has scanned three more glass negs from the same batch, and they appear here, with captions supplied by Tom. Please add further comments. It’s possible that one or more of these could become the basis of a future “Now & Then” column!

This is a detail of the Portland, Oregon, waterfront depicted in the uncropped scan at top. Says Tom, “The side-wheel paddle steamboat T. J. Potter looks to be in its original state, before remodeling in 1910, and since it’s still in Portland that probably means it’s in its first years after going into service, 1888 or so. Wikipedia says it moved to Puget Sound after running the Columbia River. Looks like the remains are on a beach near Astoria.” (Courtesy Tom Reese)
Says Tom: “Another Northwest-looking town.” (Courtesy Tom Reese)
Says Tom: “Absolutely no idea. What an immense building. European? The figure at the top looks like a soldier hoisting a rifle.” (Courtesy Tom Reese)

Happy 02022020 !!!

I love to explore the off-beat perspectives that are revealed from the rooftops of Paris. Traditional spacial perception no longer has relevance from these lofty vantage points and, from a bird’s eyeview,  trafffic regulations appear arbitrary and self-important pedestrians are reduced to the size of tiny insects.  The atmosphere is at once calm and infinitely cool.!!   Here we are in  Quartier Saint-Merry in the center of Paris with the old houses covered with tiles, flamboyant gothic belltower of the church Saint Merry built at the XVIth century  with chimeras and angels on the right further on  Tour Saint Jacques built at he same time and in the center the top of Notre-Dame…

 

Seattle Now & Then: August Engel Grocery, 1918-1922

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: In this photo, likely taken between 1918 and 1922, August Engel’s Grocery operates at 110 W. Republican St. (now 503 First Ave. W.). In the foreground is track originally built for the West Street & North End Railway Co. streetcar running from downtown to Ballard. To learn more about Queen Anne mom-and-pops, visit the Queen Anne Historical Society website and search for “grocery.” (Courtesy Hugh Engelhoff)
NOW: A cyclist rides where a streetcar used to run, as the all-brick Grex Apartments, built in 1930 according to the property record card held by the Puget Sound Regional Branch of Washington State Archives, take the place of August Engel’s Grocery. (Clay Eals)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Jan. 30, 2020
and in the PacificNW Magazine print edition on Feb. 2, 2020)

Every Seattle mom-and-pop store stocked its own story
By Clay Eals

Do you recall a mom-and-pop grocery from your younger years, perhaps a favorite where you actually shopped?

For my grade-school friends and me on Mercer Island, that store was Bill Muncey’s Roostertail, owned by the hydroplane hero and nestled in the Shorewood apartments. The store provided no sustenance for our family dinner table. Rather, it was a measure of our maturity when our moms let us ride our bikes that far from home. Our bounty was five-cent packs of baseball cards. (I threw away the cardboard-tasting gum.)

The point is that a mom-and-pop evokes stories, and such stores – and stories – once dotted our cityscape. At the dawn of the Roaring Twenties, when our “Then” image was taken, Polk directories indicate that Seattle had nearly 1,000 identifiable grocers – one for every 315 residents.

This store, August Engel’s Grocery, specializing in dry goods, fronted on a private streetcar line running from downtown to Ballard, at the northwest corner of First Avenue West and West Republican Street in Lower Queen Anne.

Bellingham paralegal Hugh Engelhoff is Engel’s great-great grandson. When he submitted this photo for “Now & Then” consideration, a century-old story came along for the ride.

As family lore has it, August, a German immigrant who operated the store until his death in 1921 at age 73, also ran a grocery “down the street.”

“Whenever he had dissatisfied customers,” Hugh says, “he would tell them, ‘If you don’t like it, you can take your business elsewhere,’ and would direct them to his other store down the street.”

The photo hints at other aspects of the enterprise. A sign facing Republican promotes Olympic flour, cereal and feed from Northwest mills. Window lettering (“MJB Coffee WHY?”) reflects the coffeemaker’s intriguing national slogan. Sears & Roebuck Co. touts itself on the front bench, while banners announce a temporary move to precede a building project.

Keen insights on mom-and-pops fill detailed articles written by archivist Alicia Arter and Jan Hadley, board members of the Queen Anne Historical Society. Their interviews with store-owner families and ex-delivery boys affirm that neighbors patronized a store because of its mix of products, gossip and the grocer’s personality. Also popular were stores that offered credit and were near a butcher or bakery.

Mom-and-pops began to dissipate in the 1930s. The culprits? Depression-induced business failures, plus the onset of electric refrigeration, which brought larger stores with lower prices and longer open hours. Another factor – no surprise – was society’s deepening love affair with the convenience of cars, diminishing proximity as a top reason for where to shop.

Scattered mom-and-pop grocery stores still survive in Seattle. But reflecting our bigger-is-better modern mentality, across the street from the former Engel’s Grocery now stands a mega-Safeway.

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column.

The car in our “Then” is from 1915 or 1916, according to automotive informant Bob Carney. Our thanks to other helpers Mike Bergman and Rob Ketcherside.

Below are two additional photos plus nine clippings from The Seattle Times online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and other newspapers that, among others, were helpful in the preparation of this column. Enjoy!

An undated photo of August Engel (Courtesy Hugh Engelhoff)
Here is an alternate, wider “Now,” which takes in the Safeway at right. (Clay Eals)
Sept. 21, 1886, Evening Telegraph
July 17, 1897, Pullman Herald
June 25, 1903, Evening Statesman
April 7, 1904, Evening Statesman
May 7, 1921, Seattle Times, page 3
May 11, 1921, Spokane Spokesman-Review
July 18, 1922, Seattle Times
Sept. 28, 1958, Seattle Times
Sept. 6, 1971, Seattle Times

 

Any clues to the years and locations for these glass-neg images?

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

Where are these horses lined up? Near what waterway? In what year? (Courtesy Tom Reese)
Unidentified history – in glass!
By Clay Eals

Tom Reese, former longtime photographer for The Seattle Times and the photographer for the 2016 book Once and Future River: Reclaiming the Duwamish, has a mystery that he would like help solving.

Actually, he has 15 mysteries. They are the stunning scans of 15 glass negatives that he recently purchased at the Antique Mall of West Seattle.

When and where were they taken? The clues are few. Perhaps one of you reading this blog can help.

The Antique Mall had no information about the negatives other than they came by way of an estate sale, perhaps from a family in Magnolia.

Most are of exteriors – showing horses, logs, sailboats, falls and settlements. (A “Jonks Bros” sign peeks out from one. The image with tents shows men in uniform waiting in line. A left hand protrudes in another image.)

Two show interiors – a kitchen and some dishware. (A blow-up of the hanging phone book is little help. In the dish photo, two boxes in the background say “Specially manufactured for Case, Gravelle & Ervin Co, Butte, Mont. by William Liddell Co, Belfast, Ireland.”)

A scrap of a 1901 newspaper clipping (below) was slipped between two of the negatives — a clue?

Are these from the Northwest? Is there a thread among them? Even if only one image were identifiable, it might make for a great “Now & Then” column!

We ask ye of endless curiosity and skill to help us piece together this story – or stories. To do so, please reply below. The first person to reply with at least a partial and substantive solution to these mystery photos will receive an inscribed copy of Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred!

(Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
A detail from the kitchen photo. (Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
A detail from the previous photo. (Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
A detail of the previous photo. (Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
(Courtesy Tom Reese)
A newspaper scrap that was tucked between two of the glass negatives. (Courtesy Tom Reese)

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle Now & Then: Water from Lake Youngs, 1930

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: Between Maple Valley and Renton, the Seattle Water Department’s Lake Youngs Supply Lines No. 4 and No. 5 gleam on May 27, 1930. The parallel, wooden stave pipes carrying Cedar River water reach their intersection with steel-riveted bypasses and connectors. A system-control works had just been built next to the 500-acre lake to screen debris and chlorinate water before delivery. The lake is directly behind the photographer, who points his camera east toward Robertson’s Pond, which, for a time, was connected to the lake. Since drained, it has been returned to its original wetland status.
NOW: The last of the 78-inch wooden stave pipes were replaced with rerouted steel pipes in the early 1990s, says Dave Muto, manager of water system operations, standing atop an obsolete connector (“I don’t know why they never removed that last little stub,” he says). The Cedar River continues to supply most Seattle water, traveling as far north as the Maple Leaf reservoir. For more photos of the Lake Youngs facilities, check out our Web Extras below.

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Jan. 23, 2020
and in the PacificNW Magazine print edition on Jan. 26, 2020)

Connecting thirsty Seattleites with the life blood of water
By Jean Sherrard

Begin with a taste test. Fill a glass with water straight from the tap. Take a sip. Before swallowing, swish it between your teeth and over your tongue. If you’re in or around Seattle, the water you’re savoring likely flows directly from the Cascades, filtered from snowpack down through mountain streams and rivers that have supplied the city and environs for more than a century.

This week’s photos reveal obscure vestiges of the infrastructure that has made it all possible.

Arguably, our earliest water-supply system began with Henry Yesler, who in 1854 ran a suspended V-flume from a spring near Eighth Avenue and Madison Street just past his original homestead (near the heart of today’s Pioneer Square) to his waterfront sawmill.

Other settlers followed suit, tapping the abundant streams and springs of First Hill, then still crowded with virgin timber, improvising a creaky patchwork of wooden pipes and flumes.

As the young city grew, need for a less Balkanized water supply became apparent. The privately owned Spring Hill Water Company, incorporated in 1881, initially fit the bill, integrating sources and expanding to meet the needs of a thirsty population. In a substantial upgrade, the company studded First Hill with large wooden tanks, and a newly built, steam-powered pumping station on Lake Washington kept a 4-million-gallon reservoir on Beacon Hill brim full.

But on June 6, 1889, nearly 30 blocks of downtown Seattle burned to the ground, largely due to the failure of the Spring Hill water supply system. Tanks and reservoirs alike ran dry before the fire could be doused. Out of those flames a public utility was born.

Within months of the fire, the City of Seattle purchased Spring Hill Water Company and planned for expansion. All eyes

turned to the Cedar River, long recognized as a potential source of abundant, pure water, flowing from Cedar (now Chester Morse) Lake, some 35 miles southeast. The proposed gravity-fed water-supply system would be the one of the largest engineering projects yet undertaken by the rapidly rebuilding city.

Politics and economics might have shelved the project were it not for the vision and leadership of a newly appointed city engineer, Reginald H. Thomson, known for a formidable drive and intelligence.

Throughout the 1890s, Thomson lobbied tirelessly for Cedar River water, identifying the liquid as “the life blood of a city.” At last, on Jan. 10, 1900, from the Landsburg timber-crib dam (elevation: 536.4 feet), water coursed through 28 miles of wooden stave pipes around the south end of Lake Washington and north to two city reservoirs on Capitol Hill.

The expansion was just in the nick of time. Over the next decade, Seattle’s population exploded to nearly 240,000 from 80,000, tripling its thirst for pure mountain water.

WEB EXTRAS

First, a huge thanks to Dave Muto of the Seattle Public Utilities, a veritable fount of information and my generous tour guide at Lake Youngs.

I’ll add in a few photos of the water works at Lake Youngs. Dave kindly provided several of the captions.

Our narrated 360-degree video can be found here.

The water department’s Dave Muto examines a section of the old 78″ wooden pipe.
Pipes like this one remained in service until the early 1990s.
From Dave Muto: “The pipes out of the ground are known as the doglegs.  They are the inlet pipes to Lake Youngs. The building in the background is called the Cascade Valve House, and it allows us to bypass the lake.”
Another shot of the doglegs emerging from Lake Youngs
“The interior of the Cascade Valve House.”
“The raw water pump station and discharge pipes.  Water is pumped out of the lake here and into the start of the treatment process.”

Seattle Now & Then: Holy Names Academy 1908

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

Two tykes on foot at left eye the unusual gathering on Oct. 10, 1908, of 17 open-air autos loaded with 99 students and others in front of just-opened Holy Names Academy and Normal (teaching) School. In the distance at upper left is the fledgling Aloha Street. (Romans Photographic Company, Courtesy Holy Names Academy)
Holy Names students and staff pose before the building’s landscaped entry, where in 1908 cars had assembled in the dust. Tom Heuser, president of the Capitol Hill Historical Society, stands at right, and Christie Sheehan Spielman, the school’s archivist, peeks out atop the stairs. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Jan. 16, 2020
and in the PacificNW Magazine print edition on Jan. 19, 2020)

Driving to the future – with a box of candy – from Holy Names
By Clay Eals

Even amid today’s existential climate change, like others I often find the need to hop in my car to drive across town. But on Oct. 10, 1908, when our “Then” was taken, only eight years had elapsed since a car first traveled Seattle streets.

The unpaved street at left is 21st Avenue East, near the eastern edge of Capitol Hill. The setting is majestic, brand-new Holy Names Academy and Normal School, whose first classes for its female Catholic students had begun just one month prior.

There, a rare sight awaited a photographer from William Romans’ studio, possibly the famed Asahel Curtis, who worked for Romans from 1907 to 1911. Facing the elevated lens were 17 buggies ready to escort senior students and chaperones on a Saturday afternoon ride. The Seattle Times reported the next day, “The most interesting parts of the city were visited.”

Organizing the two-hour trek was Dr. Harry Shaw, a Seattle physician and surgeon who, according to the Holy Names Chronicles, provided “a box of candy for the occupants of each machine.”

The outing fit the outgoing personality of Shaw, a courtroom testifier who was hardly shy. When a Chicago professor, Albert P. Matthews, claimed in 1905 that a diet serving “the exact chemical needs of the body” could produce everlasting life, Shaw delivered a blistering indictment to The Times.

“The term ‘chemical need’ is meaningless,” Shaw said. “We understand the chemical construction of the human organism, but the chemical needs differ in each individual and are formed largely by climatic conditions, altitude and a hundred other conditions of environment. … No person is entirely well.”

Shaw’s automotive contingent of 99 people might have looked at things more spiritually, though many are adorned with the earthly attire of fancy hats and other finery. Some wear mortarboards with tassels. One carries a 1910 pennant, perhaps a hoped-for graduation year.

This engaging image is among 100 photos appearing in the definitive book by Jackie Williams, “The Hill With a Future: Seattle’s Capitol Hill 1900-1946,” recently reprinted by the Capitol Hill Historical Society.

It also is among thousands of items carefully catalogued by archivist and former student Christie Sheehan Spielman at Holy Names Academy’s Heritage Center. Opened last June, the center’s spacious exhibit is open to the public by request.

The Baroque Revival entry of Holy Names, designed by Breitung & Buchinger, remains intact, though missing its northern tower, earthquake-damaged in 1965. More than 10,000 female students have walked its halls since 1880, including at two earlier edifices: downtown and in the Chinatown-International District (the latter razed for the Jackson Street Regrade).

And unlike 1908, we might say that many of today’s Holy Names girls are in the driver’s seat.

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard’s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Here, from our automotive informant Bob Carney, is an annotation of the vehicles in our “Then” photo:

  • As a reference point, we will use the car in the foreground (unidentified).
  • Behind and to the left of it are 2 1907 or 1908 Pierce Great Arrows.
  • To the left of the Pierces is a 1909 Packard (must have been available early).
  • In the center, in the middle of the pack is a barrel hooded air-cooled 1907 or 1908 Franklin (you can read the name if you enlarge it enough).
  • To the immediate right of the foreground car is a 1908 Pope-Hartford, and there is another one straight down the middle all the way in back by the corner of the building.
  • That was all I was able to identify — and I am only 100 percent sure about the Franklin and the Packard.

Below are two additional photos and 11 clippings from The Seattle Times online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that, among others, were helpful in the preparation of this column. Enjoy!

Construction workers pose at Holy Names in 1908 or shortly before. They include bricklayer Andrew Schwarz, great uncle of Karen O’Brien, president of the Rainier Valley Historical Society. Dressed in overalls, he stands at lower right with his arm on the scaffolding. The brick contractor, not pictured, was O’Brien’s great-grandfather Joseph Wittman of Austria. O’Brien is a graduate of Holy Names, as was her mother, Mary O’Brien, class of 1942. (Karen O’Brien)
Holy Names archivist Christie Sheehan Spielman and Tom Heuser, president of the Capitol Hill Historical Society, pose inside the Holy Names Academy Heritage Center, which opened in June 2019. (Clay Eals)
July 2, 1905, Seattle Times, page 10
Feb. 10, 1907, Seattle Times, page 93
Feb. 23, 1907, Seattle Times, page 2
Feb. 24, 1907, Seattle Times, page 56
May 12, 1907, Seattle Times, page 41
May 19, 1907, Seattle Times, page 2
May 20, 1907, Seattle Times, page 7
July 5, 1908, Seattle Times, page 22
Sept. 6, 1908, Seattle Times, page 29
Oct. 11, 1908, Seattle Times, page 15
Nov. 7, 1908, Seattle Times, page 4

Seattle Now & Then: A Fallen Seastack at Rialto Beach, 2009

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: In 2009, this 50-foot tall sea stack stood just south of Hole-in-the-Wall at the northern end of Rialto Beach – originally, and accurately, called “Cold Water” by the Quileute people. The aptly named Cake Rock crests the waves at far right. (JEAN SHERRARD)
NOW: During a hike to monitor the outer coastline, physical scientist Bill Baccus snapped this photo. James Island peeks out just left of the fallen sea stack, sheltering the tribal town of La Push. For those who wish to witness the Pacific spectacle for themselves, the Quileute tribe-owned Oceanside Resort offers dramatic ocean views in every season. (BILL BACCUS)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Jan. 9, 2020
and in the PacificNW Magazine print edition on Jan. 12, 2020)

Just as Seattle’s viaduct tumbled, so did a coastal sea stack

By Jean Sherrard

In our rapidly changing cityscape – where viaducts may crumble, buildings may tumble and residents surely grumble – we depend on increasingly fewer fixed points to ground us (the Pike Place Market is here to stay). Out on the coast, however, even the points of reference that we perceive as immutable can give way in our lifetimes.

Today’s example is one of the tough rock spires whittled from coastal bluffs and headlands, surely noted by sea captains Cook, Bodega y Quadra, Gray and Vancouver and other meticulous 18th century mapmakers who sought an elusive Northwest passage and maritime shortcut between Europe and China.

The spires are known as sea stacks. In a landscape slashed and walloped by wind and tide, they generally stand as unyielding sentinels of things past.

Our “Then” photo is one of many I’ve taken at Rialto Beach north of the mouth of the Quillayute River near La Push. It features an intact sea stack, one of many that my extended family have appreciated as we combed the coasts of the Olympic Peninsula for more than 50 years.

Late last summer, however, we initially were oblivious as we passed the jumbled slabs of rock captured in our “Now” photo. Negative space, we discovered, can be hard to comprehend – in particular, the loss of structures of such seeming permanence.

But after a momentary loss of bearings and a literal double take, we noted that one of our reference points – a singular pillar emerging from eroded, softer soils over hundreds of years – had toppled into rubble. Just when did this happen? And was it a rare event?

For answers, I turned to Bill Baccus, the Olympic National Park’s physical scientist. After nearly 35 years, he works in the “vital signs” program, which monitors the parks’ ecosystems over time. His patrols range from remote mountain lakes and glaciers (nearly half of which were lost to global warming during his tenure) to the outer coast’s intertidal zones.

“The coast is a constantly changing landscape, especially in terms of morphology,” he said. “One month, the beach will be totally scoured. You’ll see exposed rocks you haven’t seen for months or years. The next thing you know, the sand or gravel has returned. In contrast, the sea stacks are some of the few static features that don’t really change over time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen one entirely collapse.”

Baccus first noted this stack’s demise in June 2016. He surmises that it must have occurred during an especially violent series of storms the previous winter. The precise date, however, is unknown. We invite readers who regularly visit Rialto Beach to submit an earlier photo of our tumbled spire.

WEB EXTRAS

As promised, here are a few photos snapped over the years, summer and winter, at LaPush.

Another perspective of the fallen stack, with humans. My nephew Kalan is in the foreground, taking a cell phone photo.
Looking north towards Hole-in-the-Wall, seen here peeking through sea stacks.
On First Beach, looking north to James Island on a bright winter day
The mouth of the Quillayute River
Second Beach in February, 2019
Second Beach looking north – First Beach (and LaPush) are beyond the headland
A northerly view at low tide from an temporarily-accessible island off of 2nd Beach. James Island rides the waves top-center.
A detail of a crowded rock at low tide
Driftwood on First Beach just after a storm
Same storm, a few minutes later
Winter calm on First Beach
First Beach wave action
The Sherrards on First Beach, 2013
Sunset on First Beach
Our sea stack in black and white

Now & Then here and now