In a note scribbled on the 1937 tax card for this modest block, it is named the “triangle.” Bordered by Pine Street, 5th Avenue, and Westlake Avenue, it is really one of about a dozen triangles attached to Westlake Avenue through its seven-block run between Fourth Avenue and Denny Way. The triangles, and about seven more irregularly-shaped blocks, date from 1906-07 when Westlake Avenue was cut through the original city grid. Thiseccentric
regrade was meant to channel the increasing traffic to Denny Way, there to continue north through the “funnel,” as the South Lake Union retail neighborhood was then sometimes called, to the picturesque viaduct built in 1890 for pedestrians, wagons and trolleys along the west shore of Lake Union all the way to Fremont.
The featured photo at the top is one of three Webster and Stevens Studio photographs of the original charmingflatiron with its waving cornice. It sights north over Pine Street along the east side of Westlake. Another of the three photos is printed directly below. It looks in the opposite direction, and shows the same single motorcar parked on Westlake (perhaps the photographer’s) and the produce stand with its fruit and customers protected by an awning opened over the sidewalk. The Pearl Oyster and Chop House is the
next storefront south of the produce stand. Taped to it windows are more than one poster promoting the week-long visit to the Metropolitan Theatre, beginning Monday January 7, of the Shakespearean troupe led by the “eminent” Shakespearian John E. Kellerd. It is by this bit of advertising that we can easily figure that the three photos were taken sometime either in late 1917 or early 1918. Frankly, this discovery saddened me because I prefer this little triangle with its curvilinear cresting and large basket-handle windows to its several successors, the first of which is shown on the tax photo printed above, three images back or above . (The third of the three Webster and Stevens photos follows, all are used courtesy of the Museum of History and Industry, aka MOHAI.)
An 1891 Birdseye and Three Maps – 1893, 1908 & 1912 – of Location
In the 1908 Baist Real Estate map [two illustrations up] only a small wooden shed is foot-printed in the triangle block, bottom-center. By four years later, in the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map, the block has been tightly fitted for the little retail center captured at the top of this feature. Through its few years it was also home for the Seattle station of the Everett Interurban, which started running in 1910.
Sometime in 1918 this attractive triangle was razed and replaced with a three-story structure that bordered the block with a foundation sturdy enough to support a twelve-story high-rise that was never constructed. Through its more than half-century of service and two remodels (the tax card tells us in 1949 and 1959),
the three-story triangle serviced many retailers. The tax-photo (two above) illustrating the last of these changes reveals a nearly windowless brick mass impressively filling the block with “Weisfield’s Credit Jewelers” signed in big neon letters on its south façade facing Pine Street. (I remember this and I suspect many of you do as well.)
Judging by the tenants’ advertisements sample above and published in this paper through the first weeks of 1919, the quickly-built three-story replacement was completed sometime in late 1918. Among the first tenants were The Silk Shop, Violet Tatus’ New Hat Shop and the New Owl Drug Company. The building was named the Silverstone
after Jay C. Silverstone, a Kansas City native who moved to Seattle with his family to found the Boston Drug Company. Silverstone became a super-promoter for properties in this nearly new retail neighborhood. When he added the little flatiron to his neighborhood holdings, the headline for the Seattle Times for Sept. 2, 1917, read “New Retail /District Sets Record Price for Seattle Realty.” Silverstone and his brother Hiram, a physician practicing in Kansas City, purchased the block from Seattle architect John Graham, paying “$56 Per Square Foot for the Westlake Triangle,” which figured to $250,000, most of it in cash.
BELOW: TWO STRESSFUL SILVERSTONE CLIPS from the TIMES
Anything to add, lads? Surely Jean. As is his way, Ron Edge has pulled up several neighborhood shots and stacked them below. Held in each are more, some of which will be repeated many times through the selection. Which is our way.
ALSO NEARBY (Chapter – or feature – NO. 20 from Seattle Now and Then Volume One, which can be read from cover to cover on this blog, and it found in the front page bug ”
We might wonder what the photographer, F. Jay (“the Professor”) Haynes, found captivating in this long stretch of the Seattle waterfront. It reaches from a small sample of the Magnolia Peninsula on the far left to the outer end of the famous namesake wharf that the pioneer Henry Yesler rebuilt after the city’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889, which destroyed it and practically everything
else on Seattle’s central waterfront. Although difficult to read, both at this size and in the subject’s morning light, the shed/warehouse seen on the far right (of the featured photo at the top) has Yesler’s name printed on its west wall facing Elliot Bay. We will insert here another look at the water end of Yesler’s Wharf most likely photographed in 1890-1. The wharf is left-of-center, and the block-lettered name is the same and easier to read, especially if your click-to-enlarge the pan and all else.
We imagine that there may have also been a sensitive side to Haynes’ choice – an aesthetic motivation. The vessel near the featured scene’s center, which atypically reveals no name on its stern, marks a striking divide between the intimate waterfront congestion of barrels and half-covered bricks on this side of Yesler’s dock, far right, and to the left of the steamship, the long and somewhat mottled urban growth that was then North Seattle. Belltown’s gray dapple on Denny Hill’s western slope, left of center, is composed almost entirely of improvised and rent-free squatters’ vernacular sheds, both on the hill and on the beach.
Haynes’ subject might also have been assigned. Born in Michigan in 1853, the year Seattle’s mid-western founders moved from Alki Point to this east shore of Elliott Bay, Haynes missed the Civil War but not an apprenticeship with Doctor William H. Lockwood’s Temple of Photography in Ripon (‘Birthplace of the Republican Party’), Wisconsin. In the Temple he learn his trade and met Lily Snyder, his co-worker and future wife. Together, they purchased from the Northern Pacific Railroad a Pullman car, which they fitted for a photography studio. In exchange for publicity photographs of the railroad’s expansion and rolling stock, the couple – while raising a family – traveled the greater Northwest, prospering with their own rolling dark room and sales gallery. To his status as the Northern Pacific’s official photographer, Haynes added the same distinction for Yellowstone National Park, where he has a mountain named for him.
Dating this (at the top) visit by Haynes to Puget Sound has left me with an ‘about’ year of circa 1891, two years following the Great Fire. By obscuring the center of the Denny Hotel on Denny Hill, the steamship’s smokestack also hides the hotel’s tower, the last part of the hotel built, and thereby a perhaps helpful clue toward a more refined date. Finally, with the help of an array of historical photos, Ron Edge, a devotee of Seattle history, has determined that the resting steamship here is the City of Kingston and not, as I first thought, its younger sister, the City of Seattle. Ron discovered that there were small differences between them, especially at the stern on the railing for the lower deck. The City of Seattle had a railing.
Jean: We had help along the way on taking this photo… Thanks to Laura Newborn from the State DOT for making the connections and Marty Martin, Facilities Manager, for accompanying me onto the decaying Pier 48.
Paul: Jean, strip it, the pier, is of its clues. Do you remember – and did you attend – any of the big Book Fairs that used Pier 48 sometime in 1990s?
Jean: I did not attend, though I vaguely remember.
Anything to add, fellow travelers? This week like the last 200 or more we’ll pile on a few more features to the Edge Links that Ron put up. But first a copy of the montage that we used to figure out and describe for Laura and Marty the prospect on Pier 48 that we calculated was the correct one for a proper repeat. The red arrow marks the spot. You may wish to notice the range of freedom Jean has used for his art.
The designers and/or carpenters of this slender house may have taken care to give its front porch a stairway both wide and high enough to pose a large group portrait, perhaps of Delta Gamma Sorority’s charter membership. It was the first local sorority to receive a charter from a national organization. The lobbying, which began in 1900, was rewarded on May 15, 1903, the last day of Delta Gamma’s annual convention held that year in Wisconsin. One year later the coeds were living here at 4730 University Way.
The Greek letters Delta and Gamma are signed on the tower of the featured photo at the top, which seems otherwise useless, since there is neither room enough nor light for either a crow’s nest study or a co-ed’s bed chamber. The photograph’s source, the Museum of History and Industry, gives this University District scene an annum of 1904. The neighborhood was then still more likely referred to either as Brooklyn or University Station. The latter was named after or for the trolley that carried students and faculty to the new university from their remote residences in spread-out Seattle. The former was the name first given the neighborhood by James Moore, Seattle’s super developer, in 1890, the year the future University District was first successfully platted. There was then no knowledge of the coming surprise: the University of Washington. The name Brooklyn was embraced as a cachet pointing to another suburb (Brooklyn) that also looked across water (the East River) to another metropolis (New York.)
Columbus Avenue was the name that Moore gave to the future University Way.This was soon dropped for 14th Avenue, until 1919 when the University Commercial Club joined the neighborhood’s newspaper, the University Herald, to run a contest for a new name, which University Way easily won. Brooklyn Avenue and 14th Avenue were Seattle’s first fraternity/sorority rows. In early December of 1904, the Seattle Times reported, “The Beta Chapter of the Delta Gamma Sorority of the state university gave a dancing party at its new clubhouse on Fourteenth Ave. N.E. Friday.”
University Way, especially, was a sign of the city’s and its university’s then manic growth. Other Greeks soon joined the co-eds of Delta Gamma at addresses north of N.E. 45th Street in Moore’s then new and only two-block-wide University Heights Addition, which had been platted in 1899. Seven years later, and directly to the east of University Heights, Moore opened his much larger University Park
Addition. In this 1904 featured look east from the Ave. we can see that University Park is still a forest. After 1906 it was increasingly stocked with homes for the University of Washington’s growing faculty and Greek community. Many of the students’ ‘secret societies’ first got their start in University Heights, often in mansion-sized houses larger than Delta Gamma’s, which were profitably let go for the developing businesses along University Way. Typically the Greek houses eventually moved to nearby University Park.
After several moves, in 1916 Delta Gamma reached its present location at the northwest corner of NE 45th Street and 21st Avenue NE in 1916. Twenty years later it ‘moved’ again while staying put. In 1936 the sorority’s house was sold and rolled across 21st Avenue from the northwest corner with NE 45th Street to the northeast corner to become the house for the Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity. It was later named the Russian House, for its popular Russian studies and “Russian Only” rule. Across 21st Avenue, NE. at the recently vacated northwest corner, the sorority built again, this time the grand Arthur Loveless-designed 80-year-old Delta Gamma house. In sum the sorority has now held to this corner for a century.
Anything to add, guys? Yup Jean – from the neighborhood where once we sometimes hung out, and the greater neighborhood where we still live with our lakes. First Ron Edge comes up with about twenty links (again, all of which have their own links, which inevitably include some duplicates), and I will follow Ron’s list with another string of clips – sometime after I have walked the dog. It is now 3:54 AM. And so depending on Guido’s performance, I may wait until tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon to add the promised string.
Here is yet another billboard negative from the Foster and Kleiser collection that Jean and I have visited a few times for this Sunday feature. The anonymous photographer chose a prospect that exposed the company’s two billboards on the roof of the Virginian Tavern, the tenant of the modest brick building at the southwest corner of Virginia Street and Third Avenue. This time Jean’s ‘repeat’ shows us that in this block not much has changed in the intervening eighty years. To gain some perspective on this booming town, the negative date, December 11, 1936, roughly splits the years between when the first settler-farmers landed near Alki Point in 1851 and now.
What were they thinking, the pedestrians and motorists here on Third Avenue? Surely of the kings of England: both of them. This is the day, a Friday, when it was at last fulfilled at 1:52 pm that the Duke of York took – or was given – the throne of his older brother Edward VIII who abdicated it for love. The Seattle Times, of course, trumpeted news about the switch, including a front page photograph of the new king’s daughter, the ten-year old Elizabeth who, an unnamed friend of the royals assured, as an “astute sharp-witted little girl” was figuring it out.
The neighborhood was then variously called the Uptown Retail Center, Belltown, and the Denny Regrade. Only the first two names survive. It is likely that many of these motorists on Third Avenue between Virginia and Stewart Streets remembered the regrade itself, and knew that they were driving under what only thirty years earlier was the south summit of Denny Hill.
Just left of center, the six-story White Garage, the tallest of the five buildings on the east side of Third Avenue, fails to reach the elevation of the historic summit. It is also short of reaching the elevation of what before the regrading was the basement of the majestic Denny Hotel, a.k.a. Washington Hotel, that sat atop the hill and advertised itself as “the scenic hotel of the West.” Both the south summit and the hotel were razed between 1906 and 1908.
Given that the featured photo at the top was photographed in the midst of the Great Depression, Third Avenue seems surprisingly rife with motorcars. A review of some historical vehicular statistics may explain the motorized zest. Four blocks away at Second Avenue and Pike Street, and only thirty-two years earlier, the city’s street department counted 3,959 vehicles visiting the intersection, of which only fourteen were automobiles. One year earlier there were no motorcars – everything moved by horse orby pedal. By 1916 many Seattle cyclists had turned into motorists, and Seattle had some 16,000 cars. By 1921, with the doughboys returned from World War I, there were about 48,000 cars in Seattle. By 1929 there were 129,000 cars on the city’s streets.
Of the two billboards above the Virginian Tavern, the one on the left advertises next year’s model 1937 Buick for $1,099. Figured for inflation, the price seems surprisingly affordable. In today’s showroom, the sticker would convert to about $18.400. It seems that despite the ongoing depression, if one had a good middle class job, it was possible to own the mobility and prestige of a brand new Buick.
Anything to add, fellahs? Ron Edge has put forward this week’s neighborhood links below – neither less nor more than nineteen of them, except that each is also bound to be packed with other links and so on and on. I have not lifted so much. It is, Jean, now nearly 5 am Sunday morning and I’m surrendering to my heart’s beating pleading for sleep. However, should I survive the night I will return tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon to finish up this feature. Now I lay me down to sleep . . . and the rest that passes all understanding.
Here is the last busy remnant of Railroad Avenue that was piece-by-piece constructed on the central waterfront following the city’s Great Fire of 1889. This Webster and Stevens portrait of it dates, most likely, from 1909. By then most of the waterfront’s new railroad docks were in place, from King Street on the south to the Pike Street Wharf. But not here. This vigorous confusion of ships and sheds is the interrupting exception.
The cluttered seaboard block, here at the front, begins on the left in the feature photograph with Fire Station No. 5 at Madison Street. The purpose of its tower was for more than hanging wet hoses to dry — it also served as an observatory for the Harbormaster. The station was one of four speedily built after the 1889 fire. The Snoqualmie, the city’s first fireboat, seen right-of-center in the featured photo with its dark double stacks, is parked here beside the station. Far right, reaching Railroad Avenue between Columbia and Marion Streets, is the east end of the new Colman Dock. It was built in 1908-09 for the
prudently expected crush of tourists visiting Seattle for the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exhibition. The dock was replaced in the mid-1930s to welcome the Black Ball Line’s then new art deco ferry, the streamlined and yet generally trembling Kalakala.
Not trembling was the most famous resident of this block, the Flyer, the sleek mosquito fleet steamer. While its name is posted at the scene’s center, edging the horizon along the crown of a shed, the steamer is away, surely at work. Its routine itinerary was back-and-forth to Tacoma, covering between sixty- and seventy-
thousand miles a year. It consumed about twenty-four cords of wood a day. In the featured photograph at the top, note the firewood below and on the dock to the right of the “…’ll Like Tacoma” sign. The physically large but rhetorically modest sign was adopted by Tacoma boosters to lure fair-goers also to visit Commencement Bay and its “City of Destiny.”
Also below the sign is the Burton, the passenger steamer nestled between the Snoqualmie fireboat and the stacks of firewood. The ninety-three-foot Burton’s raucous history gets sensational coverage in the “McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest,” edited by Gordon Newell. With the also island-tending steamer, the Vashon, the Burton ran “one of the most bitter and spirited rivalries in the history of Sound steam-boating.” Rate wars, races, pitched battles between the crews, and collisions “were the order of the day.” You may doubt with me the most soiled of these dirty tricks: “the custom of a steamboat man of helpfully picking up a baby and carrying it aboard his craft on the theory that the mother would follow it and become a paying customer.”
We have not as yet found the name for the nifty little port-holed steamer, front-and-center in the featured photo at the top. We suspect that it was a patrol boat servicing the Harbormaster, and so also handy for chasing any sea-bound kidnappers that might first be spied from the tower.
Anything to add, guys? Yes, Jean. The sometimes shy R. Edge has boldly brought forward some very relevant extras including more treatments or approaches to the featured spot, the waterfront slip for Fire Station No. 5 at the foot of Madison Street.
The impressive speed with which the Waldorf Apartments were topped-off at seven stories was explained in the Times for August 19, 1906. “The building has been put up in record time…for the past few weeks work has been carried on day and night. The carpenters who have prepared the framework for the concrete have worked in the daytime and the concrete men have done their part at night by electric light. When completed the Waldorf will be the largest apartment house in the city and the equal in all respects of any similar building in the country. It will be ready for occupancy about Nov. 1” Not quite.
The Waldorf Building Co. started soliciting reservations for its units late in October. (see above) The units had much to offer, including “first class janitor service,” night-and-day elevator service, and a laundry for tenants in the basement. The promotions warned that “satisfactory references (were) required.” Through the fall of 1906 the company almost routinely announced delays, until a few days before Christmas when it reported that the Waldorf was at last “ready for occupancy.” The formal opening, however, waited until the following March 27.
Diana James, author of Shared Walls, a history of early Seattle apartment buildings, pulled from her research a novelty connected with the Waldorf construction. “Each of the apartments is to be equipped with a peculiar device, an idea of Mr. Ryan (the Waldorf’s architect), for house cleaning, so arranged that any occupant of any apartment, by the simple attachment of a short rubber hose, can clean the apartment with compressed air in a few minutes’ time, driving all dust to the basement and eliminating the necessity of sweeping. This is a feature that so far as known has never been installed in any other similar building ever constructed.”
Perhaps because of its bay windows, I’d always imagined that the Waldorf was an oversized frame construction. I did not look closely. Rather it was not wood but concrete, and the attentive press was pleased to report, “absolutely fireproof.” The International Fireproof Construction Company was the builder. U. Grant Fay, superintendent of the construction, was, like the hotel’s status-conscious name, yet another gift from New York City. The Times announced his spring of 1906 arrival while piling on more prestige with news that Fay had been “superintendent of construction of the Hotel St. Regis of New York City, said to be the finest hotel in the world.”
In the early stages of construction, the Waldorf was wrapped in class by the local media. As an example, on February 25, 1906, the Times included an architect’s sketch of the Waldorf among five illustrations for a full-page feature titled “Seattle, The Beautiful Metropolis.”
Anything to add, kids? Thru the years Jean we have touched these surrounds and with Ron Edge’s help we will follow our custom and feature a few of them. As is also, by now, our habit, there will be repeats. You may treat these as pavlovian opportunities or as annoying stumps in the road and jump beyond any of these web extras while coughing and/or grumbling.
The posers in Jean Sherrard’s “repeat” are members of a new creation: the Pike Place Market Historical Society. By studied accord the members have concluded that Mark Tobey, the celebrated artist posing beside the artfully stacked Red Delicious apples in our “then,” prefigured their position. Both are standing at the cusp of the ground floor of the Public Market’s Sanitary Market Building and the sidewalk on the east side of Pike Place. At the top of their circle, Market merchant Jack Mathers, holding a crab, joins the historians. This fishmonger-musician has been stocking and selling at his steaming Jack’s Fish Spot since 1982.
Mark Tobey first arrived in Seattle in the early 1920s, hired by Nellie Cornish, a respected piano teacher, to build a new visual arts department for her namesake school that was then primarily admired for its music and dance programs. In his early thirties, Tobey brought with him from New York City some success working as a magazine illustrator. It was long before he was often honored world-wide with solo shows and awards, including the Grand International Prize at the Venice Biennale of 1958.
Tobey was largely self-taught and quick to revelations. Most important of these inspirations was his “white writing,” an at once flat and floating atmosphere made from squiggles and brush strokes influenced by Oriental calligraphy and much else. By the testimony of his students, Tobey was also a volatile mass of pedagogic pizzazz, at once attracting and repelling. An early student, Viola Hansen Patterson, confessed, “He was full of tremendous energy, such energy he’d bowl you over — Almost blow you out of the room. I did take three lessons with him, and then I caved in. It was too much for me.”
A Post-Intelligencer photographer snapped the Tobey in the Market portrait featured at the top, which is held at the Museum of History and Industry. MOHAI photographer Howard Giske assigns it a deliberated date. “That photograph of Mark Tobey was dated July 1961 by the PI staffers, but he seems overdressed for July…the dates recorded for the PI photos are often the file date and not creation date, so maybe just say 1961.”
Kate Krafft, second from the right in Jean Sherrard’s circle of Market historians, has written about Mark Tobey’s fondness for the Pike Place Market and the importance of his activism in its preservation. “In 1939 and 1940 he spent many of his days in the Pike Place Public Market sketching produce, architecture and particularly the people of the Market. Between 1941 and 1945, he completed a distinctive series of pictures in tempera paint that were based on the prior market sketches, combining figurative work within the abstract-like maze of daily market activity. . . In 1964 the University of Washington Press published Mark Tobey: The World of the Market, a volume that included many of his Pike Place Market sketches and studio paintings with an introduction expressing his deep affection for the Market.”
Krafft continues, “Late in the hard-fought seven-year long campaign to ‘Keep the Market,’ Friends of the Market mounted a public initiative campaign. The campaign needed to finance television spots but lacked the necessary funds.” Here the by then famous artist donated 29 lithographs to the Friends. This gift served, Krafft concludes, as collateral for “a bank loan that funded the subsequent television ad campaign. The November 1971 public initiative was approved by the citizens of Seattle, thus creating what is known today as the Pike Place Market Historic District.”
Anything to add, boys? Certainly Jean, and again (and again) all are probably repeats in whole and in their parts. We have put up a few features circulating about the Pike Market over the last few months and so we again follow our common pedagogy that “repetition is the mother of all learning.” Sounds like Horace, but certainly I first learned it from my own mother, Eda Garena, Christiansen-Dorpat.
Ron Edge has again plucked forward a few neighborhood features from the past, and following those we will use this week’s artsy temper as an opportunity to update our readers on the condition now of MOFA, our Museum Of Forsaken Art. It is time now to join the membership. As you will discover near the bottom all it takes is colored printer to produce an impressively official looking membership certificate and a witness for forge your name as your forge theirs.
FOLLOWS NOW A FEW NEW* ADDITIONS TO MOFA (*While new to the collection, they may be otherwise old.) Details regarding their sources (the artists), medium and size will be included in the work that we are having a difficult time getting to. This, we assure you, is not because we dread it. We do not dread it. Rather, we will be thrilled to do it . . . later. (Might you be a interested in helping . . . please?) If we know a title we will use it, but rarely do we know the artist. A reminder – these are, or rather were, forsaken and for reasons not explained. Most of them were formerly objectionable objects de art, and some surely remain so.
Above: The Blue Boy – Below: The Blue Boy Copy
A REMINDER – TWO HAPPY MEMBERS
CONTINUING – and concluding for now – MONDAY 8/15/16