Seattle Now & Then: Labor Parade at 2nd & Seneca, 1945

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THEN: Looking south on Second Avenue through its intersection with Seneca Street, ca. 1945. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: Built in 1902-3 the Lumber Exchange Building on the southwest corner, was replaced by the Second & Seneca Building in 1991.

While the lead sign at the center exhorts one to follow it to the Civic Field, I have not, I confess, as yet figured out when these spry workers were marching.  The carefully dressed cadre of men – and they are all men it seems – are heading north on Second Avenue. It is mostly women watching from the curb. In the historical photo you can see the street signs for the intersecting Seneca Street holding to the comely light standards on the far left.  A Seneca sign is also gripped to the less ornate pole in the now.

Civic Field under construction beside Civic Auditorium and Ice Arena. ca. 1930 (click to enlarge)
Lake Union Dry Dock (an example)

It is the other parading signs that give us some clues to the year they were shown here.  Somewhat hiding behind the “follow the parade” sign is another to “Increase Dry Dock Facilities For Seattle.”  This was a popular call following WW2.  The combination of ships injured in battle and the thousand of military men returning jobless in 1945-46 to the states made labor’s promotion of dry docks beside the famously calm inland sea of Puget Sound both an easy and sensible call.

Hooverville  (Click to Enlarge)

The next professionally inscribed sign reads “No More Hoovervilles!”  As many readers will know Hoovervilles were the ordinarily waterfront communities of rigged shacks politically named for the reflective Republican Herbert Hoover, the first president born west of the Mississippi (in Iowa). The life-long Quaker was inclined to peace but ineffective in battling the first months of the Great Depression that fell during his first year in office, 1929.  His successor Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs for public works and employment were followed by the employment opportunities connected with WW2 and the Puget Sound’s ship building revival. The grandest of the Seattle Hoovervilles sat beside East Marginal Way West of Seattle’s current sports palaces. It was intentionally burned to the ground in 1941.

Progressive Seattle City Councilman Hugh De Lacy with Henry Wallace

Above the “No More Hoovervilles” poster is an illustrated sign showing uniformed men carrying a war-time coffin captioned with the popular war-time truism that soldiers had died “for our right to vote.”  For labor that referred to Vice President Henry Wallace’s “full employment” proposal that Roosevelt took to and promoted before his sudden death while on vacation in the spring of 1945.  The bill was meant to “link management, labor and government into an effort to guarantee as many jobs as necessary for full employment following the war. The new president Harry Truman’s tag along was ineffective, sand a long menu of post-war progressive bills, including national health and minimum wage rules were not to be.

On his own after the sudden death of F.D.R., Harry Truman campaigns in Seattle, riding an open Cadillac north on Fourth Avenue.

Our last time clue for this photograph falls from the fate of the Civic Field itself.  Built in the late 1920s with the city’s new Civic Auditorium and Ice Arena, by 1946 the field’s roof and timber bleachers were failing.  On Jan 13, 1946 the city and its school agreed to cooperated in building a new covered concrete stadium on the same site. Ground breaking for the Memorial High School Stadium began in late June, 1946.  It seems possible (perhaps likely) that our photograph was taken sometime in 1945 after Roosevelt’s death when labor was still invigorated with the hopeful heat of the Full Employment Bill.

One of many routine Memorial Day patriotic events held beside the names of the WW2 casualties displayed in the Seattle High School Memorial Stadium Plaza. Here the speaker Gen. Joseph Murray , R., Army Reserve, explains to representatives form 14 public high schools that “war has always been hellish, but we must be willing to stand up and be counted and to take the hard road if necessary.”  Taken from another Seattle Times clip.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, ya bums?

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)

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: The Moose float heads south on First Avenue at Columbia Street during the 1912 Potlatch parade of fraternal and secret societies. Behind them are Julius Redelsheimer's clothing store and the National Hotel, where daily room rates ran from 50 cents to a dollar.

THEN: 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)

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Above: A Seattle Times clip from Dec. 1, 1943

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Seattle Now & Then: The Silver Inn, 1937

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THEN: In 1937 the Silver Inn stood alone on the dirt left by the Denny Hill regrade.
NOW: The Denny Building’s parking garage now holds the corner.

The address “S.E. Cor. 6th & Bell St.” scrawled on the driveway might alert the reader that this is yet another King County tax photo, one of the few-thousand rescued by Stan Unger from the assessor’s office trash nearly a half-century ago. When Jean and I are through scanning and using a selection among them, usually for this column, we will put them in an archival box tied with blue ribbons and guide them to the Washington State Archives, a more responsible home for the greater Works Progresses Administration (WPA) collection.

[ABOVE, 1938 & BELOW, 1946  – The rectangular roof of the SILVER INN at the southeast corner of Bell Street and Sixth Avenue can be found near the center of both the 1938 detail above and the 1946 detail, below.  The nearly vacant blocks to the north of Blanchard Street – it starts in the upper-right corners – is the result of the Great Depression and the little development that followed the market’s bust in late 1929, the years in which the last of the Denny Regrades proceeded east of Fifth Avenue.   The Silver Inn was an exception, although not without its owners struggle. The developed neighborhood west of Fifth Avenue, which crosses the lower-left corner, was built up after the Denny Regrade of 1908-1911.]

The likely date for the steady snapshot of the Silver Inn is 1937, the year that the federally funded WPA began its photo inventory of, it was hoped, all taxable structures in King County.  These first tax photos generally showed acuity and sometimes, as here, great acuity.  That sharpness is the better to read the Silver Inn’s greasy spoon credits: chicken, steaks, and hamburger at depression-time prices that were themselves delicious: “Lunch 35 cents” and “Dinner 50 cents.”

The Twin-T-P’s were not in the Silver Inn’s South Lake Union neighborhood but rather at the northwest corner of Green Lake.   The T-P’s also pushed steaks above their front door – eccentric front door. And they shurely  sold hamburgers, lots of them., here  in 1937, the year claimed by this photograph.

If a reader wishes, he or she will find in the Archive’s tax photos hundreds of hamburger signs hanging high, on or above, the windows of many of Seattle’s more than 800 restaurants listed in the 1938 Polk City Directory.  One may visit the Archives on the Bellevue Community College campus.  Plan for at least a week of afternoons looking through the many thousands of prints.  (We will continue to hope that some happy day they will all be online.)

A clipping from The Seattle Times dated March 13, 1943.

Born in 1938, I was quickly indoctrinated into hamburger hysteria.  With the need for cheap food the “National Hamburger Diet” got off the grill during the Depression, and it kept frying during World War II when many families used their food coupons almost entirely for hamburger. Standing in the kitchen before our mother, my older brother David and I were a devoted duet pleading for hamburgers, but not for their weak substitute mere ground beef.  We very much also wanted the sandwich with the buns.

A Seattle Times clipping for December 23, 1938. Although I was not yet two months old, I could smell the hamburger popping and frying in the parsonage kitchen in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Surely.

When the Silver Inn was built and first opened by Joe and Minnie Barmon in the early 1930sl, the neighborhood was freshly scraped free of what remained of Denny Hill – eighteen years after its regrade had stalled in 1911 at Fifth Avenue.  The new digging in 1929 was inadvertently synchronized with the Great Depression.  The Barmon’s nifty box-like cafe was one of the few structures built above the many blocks of graded dirt left by the regrade.  Soon after opening the Silver Inn was shaken by an unclaimed bomb that exploded on Bell Street.  Thereafter the couple endured several overnight robberies, and then gave up in the spring of 1939 when a beer and wine violation moved the state liquor board to cancel their license.

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Another clip from The Times, this one from March 8, 1928. The public works photographer looks north from the “Old Quarter” cliff that lifted above the east of Fifth Avenue from 1911 to 1929.
Yet another Times Clip, this first appears on June 25, 2000.

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The Times clipping from June 14, 1942.
A Times adver. from October 22, 1944.
Barracks news in The Times from March 13, 1943

During most of World War II, the Silver Inn was rented by the dancer Mary Ann Wells, who was for decades Seattle’s most celebrated dance producer.  Converted for dance classes, Wells described the transformed Silver Inn to the public and her hundreds of pupils as her “beautiful new school.” Wells was not thrilled when in 1943 the Army Corps of Engineers surrounded the school with barracks for homeless workers, newly arrived in Seattle from the Midwest. All were looking for work, expecting it, and finding it at Boeing and in the shipyards.  My second oldest brother Norman was among them.  Ted, the eldest, was far away aboard a destroyer in the Pacific.

A Times clip from May 15, 1943.
Compliments of the Municipal Archive, here’s a Wells’ letter asking for some relief. With the war freshly over It dates from Oct. 19, 1945. Well’s got no relief, it seems, from the military.

[A REMINDER:  Comparing the two aerial details above – nearer the top of this feature – will reveal the character of the Silver Inn’s immediate neighborhood before and after the building of military housing.  Ron Edge distinguishes between the narrow men’s dorms immediately behind the Silver Inn, and the larger women’s housing above the men.]

WEB EXTRAS

On a personal note, I took the ‘now’ for this column on a day when Seattle’s air was rated worst in the world. While shooting the corner, I witnessed one asthma sufferer, bent over, trying to recover his breath before shakily crossing the street. Within a day or so of that photo, I shot another at Lapush’s First Beach, probably one of the most discombobulating sunsets I’ve ever witnessed.

Smoke-darkened sunset at Lapush

In contrast, let me add in a Lapush sunset from a previous year, smoke free:

Lapush sunset, August 2011

Anything to add, lads?  Alas, nothing to compare with you stirring filtered sunsets Jean.   Gosh, we do have more stuff on the neighborhood, beginning first below with with the Dog House and its Hamburgers on Denny Way near Dexter and Aurora and so not far from the Silver Inn at 6th and Bell.

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: Before this the first shovel of the last of Denny Hill was ceremonially dropped to the conveyor belt at Battery Street, an “initial bite of 30,000 cubic yards of material” was carved from the cliff along the east side of 5th Avenue to make room for both the steam shovel and several moveable belts that extended like fingers across the hill. It was here that they met the elevated and fixed last leg of the conveyor system that ran west on Battery Street to the waterfront. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)

aurora-broad-speed-web

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: 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.

belltown-moran-then

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)

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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: 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: 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)

2nd-and-Blanchard-THEN

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: A float for the 1911 Potlatch parade carries piggyback a smaller 1897 version of a Polk City Directory on a much bigger 1911 copy. The fourteen years between them is meant to symbolize the growth of the city since the Alaskan/Yukon gold rush of 1897 that the Golden Potlatch of 1911 was created to commemorate. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

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: The city’s north end skyline in 1923 looking northwest from the roof of the then new Cambridge Apartments at 9th Avenue and Union Street. (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)

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MORE TO COME LATE SUNDAY

[Now once again, we climb the stairway to the kind of Nighty-Bears we commemorate to Bill Burden, who we have heard is about to open a coffee shop in Nevada City, California and so closer to Reno than to Oakland.]

CLICK TO ENLARGE A. Curtis’s panorama looking east-north-east from the Denny Hotel in the very early 20th century. Denny looks over the hotel’s gorunds to the housing stock on east side of  Fourth Avenue. Olive is far ;;right and Stewart joins it (or vice-versa) out-of-frame at the pan’s bottom-right corner. There’s part of Wallingford upper-left on the distant north side of Lake Union.

 

Seattle Now & Then: 15th Ave NW

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THEN: In 1936 the brickwork on 15th Ave. NW still looked intact from curb to curb, both to the side of its two trolley tracks and between them. (Courtesy of Paula Zanter-Stout)
NOW: The newest Ballard High School is evident here on the center-horizon. Since its construction from 1997 to 1999 and return to the neighborhood, the enlarged school has filled the northeast corner of NW 65th Street and 15th Avenue Northwest.

We hope that it obvious to readers familiar with this weekly feature that this Sunday we offer another scene pulled from a collection of billboard subjects recorded between the late 1920s and the early 1940s.  The snapping by Foster and Kleiser of its Seattle-based billboards began near the start of the Great Depression and ended when everyone’s preoccupation with World War II was both fresh and alarming.

Another FK billboard shot of the same corner but years later. It is dated at the bottom with its own caption: September 1, 1942. By then the U.S.A> is frantically involved in fighting WW2 on two fronts. Here looking north from from the west side of 15h Avenue near 64th Street we can see some changes and revelations. The largest of the latter if Ballard High School on the right.  The northeast corner of 15th and 65th is still plastered with billboards standing next to a Safeway Store. 

In the featured photo at the top, the company’s photographer has included three billboards in her or his negative taken from the east curb of 15th Avenue NW and about twenty yards south of NW 64th Street. The billboard at the center on the north side of the arterial NW 65th Street tempts every motorist heading north on 15th Ave. NW with a dream of conspicuous consumption.   In spite of the

A detail from the featured photo at the top.   Tire War anyone?

Depression, the billboard flaunts a luxurious Lincoln Zephyr V-12.  That 1937 Lincoln reminds me how as a youngster, I was puzzled that car companies were permitted to sell automobiles, which were newer than new.  (The cars they sold were often dated for the coming year.)  Now I also wonder if it is possible that Seattle’s Lincoln dealers did some “spot advertising” and paid extra for this head-on location since a good fraction of Seattle’s most wealthy one percent commuted via 15th Avenue NW to their homes in the gated Highlands.

The Hoge garden, part of the family’s Highlands estate. We now keep the name with the Hoge Building at the northwest corner of Second Avenue and Cherry Street. For about two years it was the tallest structure in Seattle. In 1913 its neighbor the Smith Tower surmounted it.

The featured (at the top) billboard negative was exposed on November 1, 1936.  The Seattle Times noted, “Thousands of hunters are swarming into Eastern Washington for the opening of the deer season.”  Even more affecting, it was two days before the country would extend Franklin Delano Roosevelt into his second term as president.  He won 60.8 percent of the popular vote and 98.49 percent of the electoral votes, the highest percentage of any candidate since 1820 when James Monroe, the last candidate of the Revolutionary generation, had no major opponent.

The Roosevelt Family gathered together by the fireplace of their Hyde Park retreat. We will assume that this is fireplace next to which FDR gave his regular fireside radio broadcasts – but we could be wrong.

During the 1936 campaign Roosevelt sometimes exuded the populist economics embraced by Bernie Sanders.  At Madison Square Garden, on this first of November night, Roosevelt gave his last broadcasted speech before the votes were cast.   Responding to the oft-repeated theme of his Republican opponent, he “welcomed the hatred of ‘organized money’.”  Roosevelt promised that in his second administration “those forces would meet their master.”

With the “kink” at the center, this 1936 aerial shows the intersection of 65 Ave. N.E. and N.E. 15th Street. Ballard High School is upper-right from the odd furn in the arterial.  (Click to Enlarge)

Returning to the pavement – the odd kink in the grid at 15th Ave. NW and NW 65th street was the gift of Ballard’s early development with different additions.  I remember while visiting friends in Ballard during the early 1980s, that the city’s Department of Transportation, after tabulating the crashes, promoted this intersection as Seattle’s “most dangerous intersection.”  Slow down and take care.

Days before the market crash of 1929 the Seattle City Council agreed with the Whittier Heights Improvement Club that NE 15th Avenue was destined to developed into a major arterial, and decided to change “the new paving project on 15th Avenue Northwest between West 65lkth and West 85th Streets and holds that the present offers the best opportunity for building the pavement to the full width [106 feet] which will ultimately be needed.”

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, pardners?  Jean I think it likely that Ron went to bed early his evening but when he does that he also gets up early in the morning, and so we expect that he will add several more old and relevant features below.   However, he will do it after feeding the wild pets that are well accustomed to his nutritious gifts offered on his deck.

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THEN: Looking east from the roof of the still standing testing lab, the Lock’s Administration Building (from which this photograph was borrowed) appears on the left, and the district engineer’s home, the Cavanaugh House (still standing) on the center horizon. (Photo courtesy Army Corps of Engineers at Chittenden Locks)

THEN: Far-left, Playland’s Acroplane, a carni’ flight-simulator, stands admired by future pilots in 1932. Behind them sprawls the amusement park’s fated Fun House. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: Julia and Richard Ballinger owned a “gas-powered” rowboat to reach their summer home on their namesake Lake Ballinger. This 1911 view looks east from near the tracks of the Seattle-Everett Interurban. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: With his or her back to the original Ballard business district, an unnamed photographer looks southeast on Leary Way, most likely in 1936.

THEN: James Lee, for many years an official photographer for Seattle’s public works department, looks south over Ballard’s Salmon Bay a century ago. Queen Anne Hill marks the horizon, with a glimpse of Magnolia on the far right. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

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

 

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Seattle Now & Then: The Coolest ‘Then’ Ever

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Novelist Tom Robbins, left, and Paul Dorpat, in 1968 sartorial splendor, hang out at the first Sky River Rock Festival in a field near Sultan. Says Dorpat: “I must ask: Does any reader know who took this photo and/or where I might recover the saffron robe to more carefully stash it? One matter more. That is Inger Anne Hage, her Scandinavian physiognomy barely contained, in the bottom-right corner of the photo. At that time, she and I, with her two young children, were housemates on Boston Street in the Eastlake neighborhood. We met at the Blue Moon.”
Inger in the Helixhaul also in 1968.

Without a crashing piano, there would have been no Sky River Rock Festival over Labor Day weekend 1968 on Betty Nelson’s raspberry farm. Or  was it strawberries? Certainly, there were no oranges.

Fruit farmer Betty Nelson confers with Smokey on how to turn her acres into an inviting grounds for a rock festival without burning it down.
Weighing about 500 lbs the dropped piano’s harp crashed through the instrument’s frame and furniture and except for the loss of its bass strings survived the drop. It is imagined and planned to invite local composers to study the remains and write music for this historic instrument. The Jack Straw Foundation, being both involved in the founding of KRAB RADIO – with Helix the original sponsor of the Piano Drop in the Spring of 1968 – and regularly serving as a venue for new music (and some old) wo;uld be a most fitting place to make this music. (Thanks to Ron Edge for both keeping and moving – in his truck – the dropped piano when needed.

Four months before that weekend, about 2,000 people paid to enjoy the surreal thrill of watching an old, tightly strung piano fall from a rented helicopter scarcely powerful enough to lift it. The exceedingly hip Berkeley, Calif., band, Country Joe and the Fish, provided the music. They had played at the Eagles Auditorium the two nights before, and donated their services for The Drop.

About twenty years ago or so I gifted Paul Heald’s poster for the Piano Drop to Joe McDonald during his visit to Seattle for a performance and but also to Wallingford for the poster. Joe survives. I corresponded with him last week. Paul Heald does not. He passed about three years ago. Paul stands far right in the photograph below this one. Tom Robbins holds the center, and sculptor Larry Beck is far left. Larry died about twenty years ago. His wake at Golden Gardens was a spectacle.  (Note that Paul has marked with an arrow the spot in the sky where he expected the piano to be released.) 

By our request, the pilot aimed to release the 500-pound, swaying instrument from an altitude of more than 100 feet above a large woodpile. A mix of antsy and artsy celebrants had packed into a grand horseshoe around the pile. Using Country Joe’s microphone, I pleaded with them (but with little faith) to step back.

More than any of the Sky River Rock Festival’s rain-spattered performers, this recording of its mud players was the most-often-printed photograph taken during the festival’s three days. During the afternoon of the last day, the sun made a brief visit, confirming, as Tom Robbins
recalls, that everyone was already happy.
Here the mud dancers were used on a Helix cover to promote yet another benefit. We survived with the sales of record album ads, on the street sales of the paper, and benefits.

As the piano fell, my heart took hold of my stomach, and both leapt to my throat. Fortunately, the renta-pilot missed. The piano plopped onto mud that pop doctrine ever-after believed was earlier divinely tamped between the woodpile and the half-built Duvall home of our host and fellow conspirator, Larry Van Over. All flesh was saved from woodpile shrapnel, and only a few piano strings were broken with the crash.

Country Joe and the Fish play for both the Piano Drop and the MEDIA BASH that preceeded it – by one day. It was another benefit, this time for KRAB too. 

A half-century later, the salvaged piano was given to me by the wife of the recently passed strong man who, on the afternoon of The Piano Drop, had lifted the piano into his pickup and driven away. Now, the still-sturdy relic is silently and secretly kept in a locked garage.

A glimpse of the stage at the 1969 Sky River.  The sun has here made one of its rare appearances that Labor Day Weekend.   
The Seattle Times captioned this “Bedraggled Hippies took shelter in tents and under plastic near Sultan. The grounds of the Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair were hazy with smoke from stubborn camp fires.

The resounding but mud-muted success of The Piano Drop inspired us to do something bigger, longer and sometimes louder. A notice in the weekly tabloid Helix (we were the editors) searched for a farm or field on which to stage a three-day music festival.

This is a centerfold spread in The Helix, Seattle’s underground newspaper (founded and edited by Dorpat), advertising the first Sky River event. Dorpat and a few friends created the festival, inspired by another event they hosted: the dropping of a piano from a helicopter four months earlier.
John Chambless relaxing at his desk in the Helix Office, where much of the festival work was also handled. John joined the production after finishing his directing of the Berkeley Folk Festival. I first met John in 1965 when he was teaching philosophy at the University of Washington and I was using the philosophy library as a quiet station for writing a thesis. I dropped out of these to manage the Free University and then start the Helix.

Betty Nelson promptly answered with an invitation to use her fruit farm. We thought that appropriate. Betty’s available acres were suitably inclined on a sloping open grade next to the Skykomish River, about 3 miles south of Sultan. That summer on Betty’s farm, we rapidly squeezed out a campground facing a grand stage with light towers. Skilled volunteers prepared lighted rows for porta-potties, a food circus, space for arts and crafts, and a light-show projection booth.

For a moment on first finding this snapshot in a stack of other prints we wondered if Stormy Daniels might have made it to the festival but then thought better of it for while our profession has somehow endured without much trouble thru the half century since the festival was put forward thru that time Stormy’s labors would have certainly required more flex.  (Search top-center)

We gathered four months later with about two dozen bands, including Country Joe and the Fish; Santana; The Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band; and, for the last act, the Grateful Dead. The benefactors — aka ticket-buyers — gave “for American Indians and Black People.”

Attendance reached many thousands more than for The Piano Drop. However, we have no ticket count, for the long farm fence between the festival and the highway soon gave way to freeloaders who, no doubt, thought they were entitled to hear “their music” while also helping us lift the sky at the Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair.

A Sky River ticket, 1968

The price was $6 for three days of round-the-clock music, theater and comedy. (My stage contribution included setting the microphone for comedian Richard Pryor, about whom I then knew nothing.)

The Sultan-based Sky River Festival, the first of three annual events, all on different pastures, has often been extolled as the first multiday outdoor music festival on a rural site, ordinarily on a converted farm, that was prepared for it.

The first Sky River was staged and played a year before Woodstock. Within three years, there were about a dozen more multiday rock-jazz-folk festivals in the Northwest alone. Worldwide, wherever hippies hitchhiked, there were probably hundreds more.

I remember well the evening meeting in a Wallingford home when we easily chose the nearly self-evident name, “Sky River Rock,” for the historical festival. The Lighter Than Air part was a kind of a payoff to Van Over, The Piano Drop host, who hoped to fill the sky with tethered balloons lifting riders above the festival. As one of the larger riders in his hopeful balloon, I easily demonstrated its failings. I was too heavy to lift.

The photographs collected here are all from that first festival, the first Sky River. In the shot with the two fashion plates, the uncombed fellow in the saffron Buddhist robe is me. I remember thinking that the first Sky River would be an appropriate opportunity to abdicate my ordinarily nondescript dress for something eccentric. By the end of the day I had somehow lost the robe — probably intentionally.

An early contribution to the Helix motivated in response to the city’s attempts to stop our light-show dances at Eagles Auditorium. It was a struggle we won.

Standing with me is my friend — now for more than half a century — novelist Tom Robbins. In 1968, we were both in our prime, already beginning our slide into somatic decline. I first met Tom in 1966, five years before the publication of his first novel, “Another Roadside Attraction.” (I suspect and/or hope that most of our readers have followed its whimsical search of the historical Jesus.)

We first met during a Free University course in experimental drama for which Tom staged a “happening” with the help of George, a nearly retired high school art instructor, who carefully covered a spotlighted dining table with a white tablecloth pressed flat for an elaborate setting of dinnerware for six. The happening’s climax came with Tom’s attempt to pull the tablecloth free from the table without upsetting the china. Of course, he failed. However, with Tom’s North Carolinian splash, it was an elegant crash. Above the scattered glass on the floor there stood a comic genius.

CLICK TO ENLARGE – Here’ Seattle in 1968 shot from Beacon Hill. The SeaFirst tower, far right, is under construction but will soon be topped-off. Not so, however the idle freeway parts.

Tom remembers the morning this portrait of the two of us was recorded. After spending most of that summer night writing at the Post-Intelligencer, he visited the Dog House, then the newspaper neighborhood’s most popular all-night greasy spoon, before driving to the Sky River encampment for its second day.

While wearing my saffron Buddhist smock, it was easy to be both found and avoided. Obviously, Tom found me, although I do not know whether he was looking for me.

A Times photo taken after the deconstruction of the site had commenced. I cannot decide if the bus stop poster is thorough farce or if it has been moved from a sensible spot  beside the highway which bordered Betty’s farm.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?

Yes Jean.  Here’s another of Tom, and Inger and I and several other friends taken by the same (now a half-century later) forgotten photographer.  May he or she will come forward – if they can still walk.  Gary Eagle, far lefdt, was one of the most productive and gifted on the artists that helped illustrated Helix.  Far right is Stretch.  We lived together first during my Artist in Residency at Fairhaven College in 1969 and then in a fisherman’s cottage on the west shore of Lummi Island.  I am embarrassed that I no longer remember the name of the woman sitting to Randy’s right, although I SAW her as recently as my 70th Birthday party.   As you can see I am still in my buddhist robe in the photo below, but I am also reaching for what might be a shirt or light coat.  The person standing to my left was Randy’s “girl friend” at the time.  She later moved to Colorado to study Buddhism and changed her name because of it.  (And so I have not named her here.)  Only now It occurs to me that she may have taken my robe for which she will have long ago asked forgiveness of the Buddha and I grant it as well.

Finally, I think, here’s Mt. Baring, only a few miles up the Skykomish Valley, east of Sultan.

Seattle Now & Then: The Place de la Concorde in Paris

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THEN: Paul photographed this look north across Paris’ Place de la Concorde in the late summer of 1955. He was soon on his way as a senior at Portland’s Concordia Academy and bragging about his summer trip to Europe.
NOW: The core of this sidewalk scene on Paris’ Pont de la Concorde is composed of students and teachers from Bellevue’s Hillside Student Community photographed by their arts and drama teacher Jean Sherrard.

Like our recent visit to London’s Big Ben, this look north into Paris’ Place de la Concord is one of the rare photos snapped by me for the historical half of this weekly feature. Both were recorded on a Leica I borrowed during the adventurous summer of 1955.  I was an exhilarated sixteen-year-old snapping my way through Europe, heading with about thirty other Northwest teenagers for a conference at the Cite Universitaire de Paris. (It was hot that summer, too.)

The Cite Universitaire stop in southeast Paris.  1955

Most of the ten ‘older students’ posing this summer for their combined teacher-tour guide, Jean Sherrard, are also fifteen and sixteen.  But not Kael Sherrard, Jean’s smiling brother in the checkered blue shirt on the right.  Kael is the school’s principal.  Probably every one of these Hillside students carries her or his own camera (in their phones) and are regularly sending pictures home to their parents, siblings and friends.  In 1955 we were not equipped to be that smart.

Sixty-five years later I no longer remember the name of the Texan with whom I explored Paris. Here we parody something with our discovery of a box filled with some USA standards. My taste for coffee was awakened with this trip to Europe and a cup of coffee in an Amsterdam basement cafe. It was so wonderfully rich compared to, well, Maxwell House.

Place de la Concord is as elegantly packed with landmarks as those surrounding London’s Parliament Square.  Posing at the north end of the Pont de la Concorde, the Hillside students are standing above the River Seine. Centered above them, the most distant classical structure with its tall columns, is the eglise de la Madeleine. It was conceived as a pantheon in honor of Napoleon’s armies.  The two long and nearly twin classics on the distant side of Place de la

Looking south from Madeleine to Place de la Concord. The women climbing the stairs on the left were part of our northwest delegation.

Concord were completed in the 1770s. Through their two centuries-plus served many purposes including serving as a warehouse for the King’s extra furniture.  The Hotel de la Marine, on the right, with the temporary gray blanket, reminds me how soot-shrouded were the landmarks of Europe when we visited them in the 1950s.

Notre Dame, 1955 in need of a bath and apparently getting it and more on top.

The Luxor Obelisk that stands tall above the Hillside students, was not stolen from the Egyptians but rather given to the French in the nineteenth century.  Removed from its place at the entrance to the Luxor Temple on the Nile, it arrived in Paris on December 21, 1833.  Three years later the 75-ft column was set at the center of Place de la Concord, near where in the 1790s the execution ‘theatre’ of the French Revolution excited the hordes with its efficient guillotine.  Renamed the Place de la Revolution, its blades cut off the heads of hundreds of aristocrats, along with the people’s terrorist Maximilien Robespierre, the King Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette.  By 1795 the square had settled down and was renamed the Place de la Concorde.

WEB EXTRAS

Berangere sent us these spectacular repeats just this morning:

Berangere notes: A month after Jean’s photo, the peristyle of the Hôtel de la Marine appears. The restoration of the historical monument will be finished in 2019, the less glorious parts of the monuments will be rented for offices, at the ground floor there will be a café, restaurant and bookstores, also exhibitions of French Art de vivre; on the first floor, visitors could discover « l’enfilade des salons d’apparat » the following of ceremonial salons and the charming Marie-Antoinette’s cabinet… In summertime the place de la Concorde is free of cars…

And a special series, thanks to BB, her repeats of a number of Paul’s 1955 photos.

The Paris Opera, in need of a cleaning, 1955
Berangere’s remarkable repeat of a gloriously restored Opera…
The Pantheon, 1955
BB’s photo of a recently restored Pantheon with its brand new dome – and on the façade, Simone Veil’s photo ( the ex-minister and survivor of the Shoah ) and her husband who were  just buried in Pantheon.
Today, on the north side of the Pantheon, open space and benches have replaced parking…
The Carrousel of the Louvre, 1955
Today’s Carrousel

Anything to add, mes compères?  More Paris from 1955 Jean.

Looking west up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triumph.
The Seine
Versailles palace, the entrance
The Bastille memorial column
Another of the Opera House, 1955
Looking northwest from the Eiffel tower, 1955.
Carrousel looking west to the Arc de Triumph.
Under the Arc Triumph with a parade at sunset.
After  nearly three months of travel completed with ten days exploring Paris (and sometimes sitting in on conference meetings) we board our bus to the airport and a DC6 still propeller-driven flight back to the U.S.A..  Now I climb the stairs to nighty-bears. I’ll return late this afternoon with some proofreading for proper Fench spellings unless BB gets to it first.

Seattle Now & Then: The Knights Templar take Seattle, 1925

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THEN: From the Smith Tower (1914), far left, to the Frye Hotel (1911) and its ranks of American flags, far right, this 1925 recording looking east from the corner of Second Avenue and Yesler Way is filled with mid-summer commotion sponsored by the Masonic Knights Templar. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: Both terra-cotta landmarks, the Frye Hotel and the Smith Tower, survived the ninety-three years that have passed between our “now” and our “then” and promise to serve well for some time to come.

Through Seattle’s so far brief history (when compared to Jerusalem), one of the most flamboyant invasions of this well-defended city of about seventy-seven hills came in late July 1925 when 30,000 “members and families” of – and the name is long – “The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta of England and Wales and Its Provinces Overseas.“

Two frames lifted from a clip of Pathe Newsreel photographer Will Hudson’s 16m film of the Knights Templar parade marching south on Second Avenue in 1925.  The cross-topped arch straddled Marion Street.  (More of this below.) 

Appeared first in The Times on March 18, 1984.

These Masons were better known as the Knights Templar, named for the medieval crusading Christians who attempted to break the Moslem grip on Jerusalem and most of the eastern Mediterranean.   These twentieth-century marching Protestants –mostly – reached Seattle by land and sea (but not quite yet by sky) for the “conclave of the grand encampment of the United States of America for the 36th Triennial of the Knights Templar.”

Some of the bleachers constructed to either side of Fifth Avenue north of Virginia Street when much of Fifth was still free for “adjustments” during the years of pause (1911-1928) in the Denny Regrade.

Surely the most enduring vestiges of these warriors –preachers, super-salesmen, educators, disciplined clerks, meat-packers, and other ambitious protestants – were their uniforms, which they took care to keep brushed.  Make a quick on-line visit with “Masonic Knights Templar” and you will be treated with a polished flood of fraternal regalia, most of it for sale.  The on-line show includes, but is not limited to, shoulder boards, sleeve and collar crosses, swords, pins of many sorts, stars centered with crosses, and chapeaux.

These chapeaux are the fancy plumed caps we see here heading east up Yesler Way from Second Avenue like a disciplined flock of low-flying ostriches. Here the marching is in order, and you will not find any mason out of line or step. They are moving up First Hill to their fort.  I imagine them singing the still popular, uniquely militant, hymn that goes, in part “Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.”

A clip from The Times for May 3, 1929. (Enlarge to read = of course.)

A cross is hanging over Yesler Way center-right, nearly lost in the shadows of First Hill.  It is but one of scores of crosses the Templars raised in Seattle during their July visit.  The largest sat atop the grand-sized welcome arch that covered the intersection of Second Avenue and Marion Street.  (See above)  The cross mounted on the roof of the then brand new Olympic Hotel competed with the cross on the welcome arch for dominance on the cityscape.

Not able for now to find the Olympic topped with a cross, here’s an early record of its sumptuous lobby.  CLICK TO ENLARGE

It is likely that the warriors in our featured photo are headed to their faux fort and headquarters constructed for their visit on City Hall Park, seen at the center of the photograph below. The fort’s drawbridge on Terrace Street was “manned” by Boy Scouts, some of them, most likely, future knights.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lodge members? 

Jean, do you remember when we lectured to a Masonic group at its home in Greenwood and had a good time?  With the new NOW-THEN book scheduled for release in late October we should start calling the lodges and clubs and schools and churches about putting on our show and selling books – books which we both will sign.  Of course the value of the book is thereby increased by our estimate – and we have noted this often when lecturing and signing – 20 Cents.   We could reconsider this.  Normally the value of one of our books inflates a dime when we sign it.  With two signatures it seems to me that the value is doubled.  What do you think – if you have read this far? 

(Howz about putting up an inquiry of interests (for illustrated lectures) and such on this BLOG?  Show our interested readers some of the pages.)

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: 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: The address written on the photograph is incorrect. This is 717 E. Washington Street and not 723 Yesler Way. We, too, were surprised. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

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 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: 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: 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: 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: Adding a sixth floor to its first five in 1903, the Hotel Butler entered a thirty-year run as “the place” for dancing in the Rose Room, dining at the Butler Grill, and celebrity-mixing in the lobby. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

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.)

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              TO BE CONTINUED …

 

 

 

 

Seattle Now & Then: Visiting Big Ben

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THEN: Built between 1843 and 1858, London’s landmark Great Clock, aka Big Ben, being dressed in 1955 for its restoration.
NOW: Jean Sherrard has taught writing and drama at Bellevue’s Hillside Student Community School for many years. Since 1998 he has also guided cadres of its older students on summer tours of London and Paris – in that order. Frances Alls, one of the ten students in this group, reflects, “It’s magical. You feel like you’re in a story.”

Through its thirty-seven years, this is surely the furthest from First and Yesler that our weekly feature, ordinarily about regional heritage, has ventured. Reaching 443-feet above the River Thames is the Elizabeth Tower.  On both our “now and then” occasions this neo-Gothic landmark has been exceptionally dressed for make-overs.  Two of the four faces for its tenants, the Great Clock and Big Ben, perhaps the world’s most famous chiming and yet cracked bell, can be seen through the restoration scaffolding of 1955. That was one year before the creation of London’s Clean Air Act.

I remember well pointing my borrowed Leica to record this London landmark sixty-three years ago.  I was touring Europe with sixteen rolls of Kodachrome slide film, donated by a Spokane drugstore merchant, and about thirty-five other Northwest teens, “donated” by their parents.  We were all delegates headed for a ten-day YMCA-YWCA conference in Paris.  We were selected by discerning adults who were especially encouraged by other adults: those who could afford to send us, our parents.  The conference responsibilities were preluded by a five-week tour of Europe that began here in London.

For our London visit in 1955 we lodged at the Croydon YMCA. The windows are open for the heat I remember and yet we for the most part are wearing our light cotton jackets as testimony to our entourage. The walking group  on the sidewalk represents about half of our excited force.

Jean Sherrard sent me his Westminster/London repeat a mere two days after he served for family and friends one or two of his exceptionally tender rotisserie chickens at teh Sherrard family home near the north shore of Green Lake.  Dodging some overhanging foliage Jean recorded his splendid portrait of Great Britain’s Big Ben from nearly the same spot where I also photographed that chiming clock sixty-three years earlier.

A century ago a popular guide to London.    I started collecting books on London about 30 years ago. Do you have any?  She we trade?

If memory serves, in 1955 it took us twenty-one days aboard the Orsova, flagship for the Orient Lines, to reach London from Vancouver B.C. via the Panama Canal.  I remember well the two on-deck swimming pools. Also, any passenger could enjoy both teatime tables slathered with pastries and the sometimes splashing tables of the captain’s cocktail hours.  The freedom and frivolity of this drinking was entirely new to us Northwest innocents, who were more likely to find our guarding chaperones in attendance than the Orsova’s smiling Captain.

Here far left  on the distant Horizon photographed from St. Paul’s Cathedral are Westminster Cathedral with its twin towers, the Parliament Building, farthest to the left, and the restoration-construction-clad Big Ben.

The Paris Conference itself was often neglected by an inexpensive attraction: walking the streets of Paris.  Jean will be carrying with him one or more of my Paris pictures from 1955 for possible repetition.  (Assuredly these other “thens” will not be of conference subjects.) However, Jean’s Paris “now” will, no doubt, include the same entourage of the Hillside Students he has posed in this London “now.”

BELOW: A Few of the Stock LONDON subjects I took in 1955.

The TOWER of LONDON
ST. PAUL’S
BUCKINGHAM PALACE 1955
WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL 1955

I am thinking of their luggage. I remember what a limited wardrobe we carried with and on us in 1955. By the time we reached Paris, many of us were committed to the Lederhosen, or leather shorts we had purchased in Germany. In Paris Jean’s Hillside students may use a Parisian runway for a showing of their Northwest wardrobe.

WEB EXTRAS

A few things to add, I’m thinking. Some more shots from Paul’s 1955 trip (above), and I’ll include a few photos taken on our school trip.

We discovered upon our arrival in London that Rodin’s magnificent ‘Burghers of Calais’ sculpture, usually in Victoria Tower Park next to Westminster, had been temporarily moved for a special Rodin exhibition. Hillside students attempted a repeat on the empty plinth:

The original Rodin sculpture in situ…
Our student repeat…
‘Burghers’ detail

And now a selection from the rest of our trip…

Ice cream along the Serpentine with Christo
Another view of the Big Ben repair job, just before visiting parliament
A look at Big Ben from the London Eye
The view from atop St. Paul’s Cathedral, looking south. The reconstruction of the Globe Theatre can be found just to the left of the Millennium Bridge
Looking west from the top of St. Paul’s
Trafalgar Square this July
St. Martin-in-the-Fields, a shrine to great music
Posing before, adjacent and upon a Trafalgar Square lion

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I found this in my computer, but I’m sure that I did not record it. I suspect that Genevieve McCoy did. She visited London in 2007, and as a sometimes helpful friend and student-collector of London subjects I surely wanted to preserve it for occasions or opportunities like this.  Now I wonder is the man in the lower-right corner singing a hymn or leading a tour.   Perhaps he is yawning or sees the mouse.  I’ll have to ask.  . 

Seattle Now & Then: Where REI was Born, 1938

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THEN: In February 1938, the fabled “REI house” stands next to a 1937 Ford Standard slant-back sedan. (Photo from Puget Sound Regional Branch, Washington State Archives)
Topped by a Seattle Rainiers hat, 51-year-old Bobby Whittaker, who was named for his dad’s mountain-climbing friend Robert F. Kennedy, poses with his terrier mix Abby in the driveway of the barn-red former home of REI founders Lloyd and Mary Anderson. The prospect is slightly southwest of our “then” to elude greenery and reveal the original porch and its overhang. (Photo by Clay Eals)

It may be fitting that a bluff on Gatewood Hill in West Seattle, close to Seattle’s highest point, gave birth to a mountainous retail giant that helped put our city on the map – the co-op we all know as REI. The firm took shape on the west face of that bluff inside a modest, wood-frame home erected at the beginning of the Depression, perhaps teaching us that good things (or successful businesses) can sprout from small packages.

The Tax card for 4326 S.W. Southern St. , Feb. 24, 1938  (Click to ENLARGE)
SEATTLE TIMES clipping from May 17, 1925 extolling Gatewood Gardens.

The dwelling, at 4326 S.W. Southern St., just west of California Avenue, was the only “improvement” on its otherwise forested block when built by just-married transit worker Lloyd Anderson and teacher Mary Anderson in 1932.

That decade, as thousands fell into relief or took government jobs and others unionized and leaned left, the thrifty Lloyd, a “pocket socialist,” avid climber and leader of the 30-year organization called the Mountaineers, took a seemingly inconsequential step. Aided by Mary’s knowledge of German and frustrated by middleman-inflated stateside prices of up to $20, he ordered an ice axe directly from Austria. By mail from the other hemisphere, the storied tool cost a mere $3.50.


Frank Shaw, the photographer of this Sept. 21, 1969 recording of the southwest corner of 6th Avenue and Pine Street, was an avid member of the Mountaineers and an early customer for REI gear. Surely Shaw took this as much for the second floor headquarters for Recreational Equipment Cooperative as for the more famous, at the time, Green Apple Pie Cafe below it far-right..

“The news spread like wildfire through the rebel ranks,” according to Harvey Manning’s detailed 1988 history REI: 50 Years of Climbing Together. Purchases of crampons, pitons, carabiners and hiking foods snowballed. The Anderson cottage took on the persona of a warehouse, leading the couple to found the mail-order Recreational Equipment Cooperative in 1938, the same year as our “then” view.

While REI later anchored storefronts downtown and on Capitol Hill, many in Seattle’s climbing community passed through the Andersons’ unassuming doors, including Jim Whittaker, who grew up nearby and in 1955 signed on as REI’s first full-time employee and ascended to CEO. As the first American to summit Mount Everest, in 1963, he became – and remains – REI’s most famous face.

Another Frank Shaw photo of his climbing friends. Here the often elevated Mountaineers begin gathering at 608 First Avenue for a basement exploration of Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour on February 17, 1973.  The hardy group is prepared for mid-winter temperature’s but are they also ready for Speidel’s heated history of Seattle-Under-Seattle?

After Lloyd died in 2000 at age 98, Mary sold their home to a developer who intended to raze it but pulled out after 9/11. Neighbors purchased the parcel in 2002, colorfully restoring the residence’s front end, floorboards and basement while adding reverse shed dormers and a cupola, eventually adorning the property with three more houses and a shared garden. (Mary, who died last year at age 107, spent her sunset years in a Green Lake retirement home.)

The compound that is now dubbed Anderson Gardens will host the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s annual fundraising “If These Walls Could Talk” tour this afternoon – at noon (for VIPs) and 2 p.m. The insights to be shared by Jim Whittaker’s son, Bobby, and a peak experience.

FOR TOUR DETAILS AND TICKETS: visit loghousemuseum.org.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?  Certainly Jean more features mostly from the West Seattle neighborhood, and Ron Edge and I welcome you home after your three weeks in Europe with students of Hillside.

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: Included among the several detailed photos taken for the Bernards of their new and yet rustic Fir Lodge, was this one of the living room with its oversized fireplace and the piano on which Marie, their older daughter, learned to play well enough to concertize. (Courtesy Doris Nelson)

THEN: Looking southeast from above Alki Avenue, the Schmitz Park horizon is serrated by the oldest trees in the city. The five duplexes clustered on the right were built 1919-1921 by Ernest and Alberta Conklin. Ernest died in 1924, but Alberta continued to live there until well past 1932, the year this photograph was recorded. (Seattle Municipal Archives.)

THEN: Built in 1893, West Seattle School kept teaching until ruined by the region’s 1949 earthquake. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)

THEN: The Gatewood Craftsman Lodge was built on a road, in a neighborhood, and near a public school all named for the developer Carlisle Gatewood, who also lived in the neighborhood. The three women posing in the third floor’s open windows are the Clark sisters, Jean, Dorothy and Peggy, members of the family that moved into the home in the late 1930s.

THEN: In 1852 many of Seattle’s first pioneers removed from Alki Point by dugout canoe for the deeper and safer harbor along the east shore of Elliott Bay (our central waterfront). About a half-century later any hope or expectation that the few survivors among these pioneers could readily visit Alki Beach and Point by land were fulfilled with the timber quays and bridges along Spokane Street. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: The Seattle Times in its lengthy coverage of the then new Seattle Steel in the paper’s Magazine Section for Sept. 10, 1905 – the year this photograph was recorded – noted that “the plant itself is a series of strong, substantial, cavernous sheds, built for use, not for beauty.” (Courtesy, MOHAI, the Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Totem Place, at 1750 Palm Ave. S.W., was home for Joseph Standley proprietor of Ye Old Curiosity Shop on Colman Dock. His death notice in The Seattle Times for Oct. 25, 1940 described the 86-year-old “Daddy” Standley as “almost as much a part of Seattle’s waterfront as the waves that dash again the seaweall.”

THEN: Looking into West Seattle’s Junction and north on California Ave. SW to its intersection with SW Alaska Street in 1941. The Hamm Building, is seen above the light-colored car, and the Campbell Building is at right, behind the G.O. Guy Drugs sign.

Hanson-St.-ca.-1913-THEN

KENNY-HOME-then-mr

THEN: Between the now lost tower of the Pioneer Building, seen in part far left, and the Seattle Electric Steam Plant tower on the right, are arranged on First and Railroad Avenues the elaborate buzz of business beside and near Seattle’s Pioneer Square ca. 1904.

THEN: Twenty years ago the Mukai Farm and Garden on Vashon Island was designated a King County Landmark. (Courtesy, Vashon Maury Island Heritage Association)

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Priscilla Long and Greg Lange at the northeast corner of Meridian Street North and North 45th Avenue on August 9, 2008. These Historylink stalwarts are both Wallingford residents often given to doing their editing and writing in cafes on 45th Street.

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Seattle Now & Then: South Alaskan Way, 1939

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THEN: Between 1919 and 1929 this open section of Railroad Avenue (South Alaskan Way) was interrupted with a viaduct for electric trollies carrying workers to the shipyards on Harbor Island. In 1953 an Alaskan Way viaduct returned again, a concrete elevated, which, again, hid Elliott Bay from the Pioneer Square Historic District. Now the waterfront is about to be freed again from its largest polluting obstruction. (Courtesy, Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard)
NOW: While trying to hide his early evening shadow behind the red traffic cone on the left, Jean waited for a car to come along. His point is well taken. The northbound traffic behind the cones is recently opened again for moving vehicles to Colman Dock for ferry loading.

The unnamed photographer of this week’s snapshot had a target – the two billboards standing center-left.  With about seven hundred other 5×7 inch negatives, this exquisite record is preserved in a collection of subjects made for Foster and Kleiser, once the west coast’s biggest billboard company. The collection includes billboards raised to rented roofs, built on leased lots, and attached to buildings with sides sturdy enough to support them.  Of course most of these well-watched and exposed sites stand beside busy arterials.  The handwritten caption for this negative, not printed here, locates the two billboards, one for “Best Bet’s Buick,” and the other for Coca Cola, as standing on South Alaskan Way, “75 feet s. of Washington.”

The viaduct for trucks and motorcars that we are about to lose for fresher air was preceded by a trestle for trolleys. It ran from the foot Washington Street to Spokane Street where it turned west  for West Seattle.  Here we see if from its curve at the foot of Washington Street.  (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)

The featured company evidence (aka billboard) was recorded on the sunny afternoon of September 26, 1939, when South Alaskan Way was one of the favored arterials for avoiding the Central Business District.  By 1939 most of Alaskan Way (aka Railroad Avenue) had been filled behind a seawall and paved with bricks or blacktop.

The well-windowed buildings along the east side of Alaskan Way have made it difficult for billboards to cover the buildings constructed there in the decade after the city’s Great Fire of 1889.  The 30-plus block conflagration destroyed the waterfront as far north as University Street and so all of this neighborhood included.  Here the fire claimed the City Dock and Ocean Dock, both of them built in the early 1880 when Seattle first took hold of its status as Washington Territory’s metropolis.  The Great Fire also took the King Street Trestle (1878) that served the coal colliers from San Francisco, which preferred Seattle’s coal to California’s, and it

While most of the billboard collection shows them in their wide-angle environs, some of the negatives were direct records of the framed boards.

consumed Yesler’s Wharf which had been the pioneer pivot for Seattle commerce and its diverse fleet of small “Mosquito Fleet” steamers.   The Coastwise dock on the far right was one of the two

Alaskan Way Viaduct under construction looking north from near Washington Street on Nov. 5, 1951. (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)
Looking south from near Washington Street. (by Lawton Gowey)

long finger piers built near the foot of Yesler Way that flaunted Seattle’s prosperity following the Yukon Gold Rush in the late 1890s,  The city first outfitted the “argonaut” panhandlers with the stuff needed get the gold and then on their return happily helped them get rid of it.

We expect – and hope – that Pacific readers will remember that with this weekly feature we have already made good use of the billboard collection. I confess, that it is unlike me to purchase anything, largely because there are many free resources, but also because I rarely make anything.  This collection, however, was worth it. The cost was $700 or about a dollar a negative.  Like this one on Alaskan Way, most date from the Great Depression, the 1930s.  With a few exceptions that were shot in Everett and Bellingham, all were recorded to the sides of Seattle’s busy streets.  You may expect more.

Before the viaduct was opened to motorcars in the Spring of 1953, the Department of Transportation invited photographers and others to hike the length of it. This was photographed either by Lawton Gowey or Robert Bradley. On this subject their slides were mixed. The photographers (and more)  were friends in the Seattle Camera Club.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, boys?  Yes Jean as is our usual stunt we will pile on past scans from The Sunday Times “now and then” feature that appears usually on the back cover of its weekly ‘zine,  PacificNW.   This week the pile reaches 66 aka SIXTY-SIX features.  (That  is – so far – 66 out of about 1800.)  And just now!  With a phone call from Paris sent by Jean we have learned that he took a video of the historic hail storm that he and his students just ducked in Paris on one of its unseasonably hot days last week.   We will continue to encourage him to include it on the blog as our first striking weather review.

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: Sitting on a small triangle at the odd northwest corner of Third Avenue and the Second Ave. S. Extension, the Fiesta Coffee Shop was photographed and captioned, along with all taxable structures in King County, by Works Progress Administration photographers during the lingering Great Depression of the late 1930s. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive’s Puget Sound Branch)

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: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: Between the now lost tower of the Pioneer Building, seen in part far left, and the Seattle Electric Steam Plant tower on the right, are arranged on First and Railroad Avenues the elaborate buzz of business beside and near Seattle’s Pioneer Square ca. 1904.

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)

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: An unidentified brass band poses at the intersection of Commercial Street (First Ave S.) and Main Street during the 1883 celebration for the completion of the transcontinental Northern Pacific Railroad.

THEN: This post-1889 waterfront block of sheds and ships was replaced in 1911 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Dock, described at the time as “the largest wooden finger pier in North America.” The exception was Fire Station No. 5 on the left at the foot of Madison Street. A brick station replaced it in 1913. (Museum of History & Industry)

THEN: The S. S. Suveric makes a rare visit to Seattle in 1911. (Historical photo courtesy of Jim Westall)

THEN: The new sub H-3 takes her inaugural baptism at the Seattle Construction and Dry Dock Company’s ways on Independence Day, 1913. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: The driver, lower left, leads his team towards First Avenue up a planked incline on Madison Street. (Courtesy MOHAI)

THEN: Following the city’s Great Fire of 1889, a trestle was built on University Street, between Front Street (First Avenue) and Railroad Avenue (Alaskan Way). By the time Lawton Gowey photographed what remained of the timber trestle in 1982, it had been shortened and would soon be razed for the Harbor Steps seen in Jean Sherrard’s repeat. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

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: Depression-era protestors climb Columbia Street sidewalk along-aside Seattle architect Harlan Thomas’s elegant Seattle landmark that opened in 1925 as home to the by then already forty-three year old Seattle Chamber of Commerce. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

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: 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:Ruins from the fire of July 26, 1879, looking west on Yesler’s dock from the waterfront. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: F. Jay Haynes recorded this ca. 1891 look up the Seattle waterfront and it’s railroad trestles most likely for a report to his employer, the Northern Pacific Railroad. (Courtesy, Murray Morgan)

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.)

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Seattle Now & Then: The Rozellna Apartments

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: A 1937-38 tax photo looking east across Boren Avenue and showing, shows three diverse constructions, all of them in 1600 block. (Courtesy, Stan Unger)
NOW: Of the three, only the Olive Tower, on the left, survived the building of the Seattle Freeway in the mid-1960s.

The date inscribed by hand at the bottom of this subject indicates that this is another tax photo. It is one of a few thousand prints rescued from the “circular file” of the tax assessor’s office more that a half-century ago.  The savior was Stan Unger, then a young municipal employee with an interest in local history and its architecture.  Mostly dating from 1937-38, we have used several of them with this feature.  Any Unger saving of tax photos that record lost apartment houses will interest and even excite Diana James, our historian of “Shared Walls,” the title for her book history of Seattle apartment houses.  A hoped-for photo of the Rozellna was on her list.

The Olive Tower appears here center-top with the featured apartment next door. This is one of several aerial photos taken of the neighborhood tarnished with the building of the Seattle Freeway. (CLICK TO ENLARGE ADVISES Ron Edge and also Courtesy of Ron Edge)

The address here, 1622 Boren Avenue, shows the scene’s centerpiece, the Rozellna, on the east side of one of Seattle’s busiest north-south arterials.  In recording his “repeat” Jean took special care (looked both ways) to quickly pose Diana at Boren’s center stripe and then get the preservationist back on the curb, where she shared some of her research with us. We learned that the Rozellna was named for one of its original owners, Rozellna O. Johnson and A.J. Johnson.  Although not tall, the Rozellna (the apartment) was long aka deep.  Sixteen units were claimed when the Johnsons sold their young brick-veneer apartment house in 1926, only two years after they built it.  In their “for sale” notice, the units were described as “completely furnished with overstuffed furniture, floor lamps, dressing rooms, Murphy beds, and breakfast nooks.”

A detail from a 1946 vertical aerial survey of Seattle. The detail was chosen to fit the Olive Tower top-center with our features apartment next door – below it. [CLICK TO ENLARGE]
This well-wrought Rozellna might easily inspire nostalgia, or memories of other missing old buildings, or even surviving modern ones, like the Olive Tower, its high-rise neighbor to the north.  Built in 1928, the Olive Tower just missed being razed with the Rozellna in the early 1960s for the building of the Seattle Freeway/I-5.  James notes, “The last newspaper mention I have of the Rozellna is 1961.”  She pointed out – but not while standing in the street – that the bottom three floors of the Olive Tower, where it once snuggled against the Rozellna, show no windows.

Not a Jean shot but one used courtesy of Google’s street photography. Here from the sidewalk is the lot graded for the I-5 ditch where the Rozelina stood. And to the left we may not look into the windowless absent on the east wall of the Olive Tower thru its first three stories.

The two apartments – the tall and the short – shared one tragic moment.  On August 24, 1942, Maxine Hart fell from her eleventh-story unit in the Olive Tower to the roof of the Rozellna.  The Times reported “Woman’s Tumble to Death Probed; Husband is Held.”  Ray Jeffrey Hart did act strangely when questioned in the couple’s apartment.  Three hours after his wife’s jump he dashed to the window, The Times reported, but his “apparent suicide attempt” was thwarted by Coroner Otto H. Mittelstadt who “tackled Hart around the knees.” Apparently Hart was let go for no follow-up stories were found.

Researcher Ron Edge notes one last newsworthy interaction between the two apartment houses when in the forenoon of February 2, 1960, “high winds peeled a 10-by-30 foot section of brick facing off the Rozellna Apartments.” The illustrated report revealed that the peeled bricks fell to the rear of the Olive Tower.  The greater length of the Rozellna helps us imagine room for its sixteen units.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, mates?    Yes Jean and begging a church on the same block – at its northwest corner, first below.    After the church comes the hotel on the west side of the next block up the hill, and so on Boren between PIke and Pine Streets.   Below that hotel and across Boren Ave. in the next block so the south, comes another tax photo this time with the Boren Ave. Garage and two hotels.  The smaller one with the classical columns gets its own tax photo at the next PWA snapshot below the garage.  Following that and after crossing Boren to its east side comes another hotel, another brick block this time at the the northwest corner of Boren and Pike.

THEN: Built quickly in the winter of 1906-07, the Prince Rupert Hotel faced Boren Avenue from the third lot north of Pike Street. About fifty-five years later it was razed for the I-5 Freeway. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Beginning with the Reynolds, three hotels have taken tenancy in this ornate three-story brick block at the northeast corner of Boren Avenue and Pike Street. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

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: In the 32 years between Frank Shaw's dedication picture and Jean Sherrard's dance scene, Freeway Park has gained in verdure what it has lost in human use.

BOREN-&-University-Denny-&-Ainsworth-Homes-THEN-mr

THEN: The scene looks north through a skyline of steeples toward the Cascade neighborhood and Lake Union, ca. 1923.

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 Ballard Public Library in 1903-4, and here the Swedish Baptist Church at 9th and Pine, 1904-5, were architect Henderson Ryan’s first large contracts after the 20 year old southerner first reached Seattle in 1898. Later he would also design both the Liberty and Neptune Theatres, the latter still projecting films in the University District. (Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Swedish Lutheran (Gethsemane) Church’s second sanctuary at the northeast corner of Ninth Avenue and Steward Street circa 1920, photo by Klaes Lindquist. (Courtesy, Swedish Club)

THEN:

THEN: A.J. McDonald’s panorama of Lake Union and its surrounds dates from the early 1890s. It was taken from First Hill, looking north from near the intersection of Terry Avenue and Union Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Built in 1909-10 on one of First Hill’s steepest slopes, the dark brick Normandie Apartments' three wings, when seen from the sky, resemble a bird in flight. (Lawton Gowey)

THEN:

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: First dedicated in 1889 by Seattle’s Unitarians, the congregation soon needed a larger sanctuary and moved to Capitol Hill. Here on 7th Avenue, their first home was next used for a great variety of events, including a temporary home for the Christian Church, a concert hall for the Ladies Musical Club, and a venue for political events like anarchist Emma Goldman’s visit to Seattle in 1910. (Compliments Lawton Gowey)

9th-&-Union-1937-tax-pix-THEN-mr

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