Jack Hansen's Wake at Kenyon Hall

Jack Hansen snapped by Joe Weihe, he fellow member of Stowaways in Paradise, which Joe describes as "the last regularly gigging band Jack was in, and his contribution was huge, both musically and personally.  He was a friend and a mentor and we will miss him very much."
Jack Hansen snapped by Joe Weihe, a fellow member of Stowaways in Paradise, which Joe describes as "the last regularly gigging band Jack was in, and his contribution was huge, both musically and personally. He was a friend and a mentor and we will miss him very much."

Tonight, July 31, 2009, Jean and I drove over to West Seattle’s Kenyon Hall to be part of – a small part – of Jack Hansen’s wake – a mix of music, reminiscences and food.  It will not be the last send off for Jack, who played on every Puget Sound shore (and a few on the eastern seaboard as well) and was cherished by many communities as one of this region’s sharing virtuosos.   Another wake is planned for Bellingham, where Jack is remembered for his talents already as a teenager.  I first heard him there in 1969 and then got to know Jack through the Fairhaven community on Bellingham’s south side.  (It is still there.)   Friend Marc Cutler, then of the band Uncle Henry, introduced us.  And Marc is still in Bellingham, or near it, and making music.  We suspect he will be at the Bellingham send off with his guitar.

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A glimpse of this evening's wake.
A glimpse of this evening's wake.

Our First Sports Report

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Attendees at "The Old Ball Game"

Here at DSL (dorpatsherrardlomont) this may be our first Sports Report. We cannot be certain, for although we often do “look back” with this blog, just now we are not inclined to search our own archive.  (My how such contradictions continue to pester us!)

Dave Eskenazi
Dave Eskenazi

Whatever, this is the story of the annual “The Old Ball Game,” also known as the EEE for the “Eskenazi-Eals Extravaganza,” which the founder will explain soon below.  Actually, the beginning is remembered vividly.  “The Old Ball Game” it is still too young to have a myth of origins.  That requires time – three generations, at least.

Our First Sports Report starts with co-founder David Eskenazi’s appreciation for EEE’s “founder’s-founder” Clay Eals.  In this we use David to introduce Clay’s longer reminiscence, which follows.

Clay Eals
Clay Eals

Interspersed will be a variety of photographs – some of them with captions – snapped from this year’s game by Jean Sherrard.  And Clay is searching for scenes from earlier ball games as well.

The biggest illustration will be of the post-game player’s-pose last Sunday July 26 at the Alki Playfield.  We include with its annotated caption something revealing about the performance of every player.  Interspersed in this report are photos of David depicting recent honors that have come his way in his important role as Seattle’s baseball historian.

Rainier Dave
Dave at the big show (photos by Doug McWilliams)

(…Please click for THE REST OF THE STORY…)

The Castles and Gardens of Périgord

Bérangère sends us the following delights from the Dordogne:

There are so many ways to be amazed in Périgord; it is a province set with so many natural and architectural marvels, and sometimes we can contemplate them both.

Travel through time in the Valley of Vezère (a site classified Patrimoine de l’Humanité by UNESCO) from prehistory to  history.  We can discover 1500 castles; many  have  gardens, but the ones presented are exceptional.  Their maintenance costs a fortune; the Eyrignac gardens and the Marqueyssac hanging gardens are classified among the most beautiful in France.

Chateau de Hautefort at the top of the hill is surrounded by a great garden.  The most extraordinary part is the jardin à la Française on the south  terrace, where we embrace the panorama, and walk through the vegetal domes…

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View from the chateau de Hautefort

Traditionally, Jardin à la Française are comprised only of green sculpted vegetation; the flowers below at Hautefort are a modern evolution (blasphemy for the purists).

Gardeners tending the Hautefort gardens
The chateau de Hauteforte
The chateau de Hautefort

The Eyrignac Manor House gardens were designed in the 18th century by the Marquis de Calprenede.  Here is found topiary art at its best; the experience for every visitor is marvelous – what a joy to see the apple trees of a true Garden of Eden!

Jardin d'Eyrignac with a little folie: white flowers in the center
Jardin d'Eyrignac with a little folie: white flowers in the center

It was very moving to see one of the gardeners cutting bushes with scissors.  The image was symbolic to me; such vast labors to attempt perfection, as in life.

The gardens of Eyrignac (with gardener)
The gardens of Eyrignac (with gardener)

Castelnaud’s garden, dating from the middle ages, is designed in the shape of a cross like a monastery garden.

The chateau and garden of Castenaud
The chateau and garden of Castenaud

It is protected by a fence lined by roses, the aromatic plants at upper left, the utilitarian ones upper right; vegetables, lower right, and medicinal herbs lower left; in the center there is an almond tree and vines.

Castenaud's monastic garden
Castenaud's monastic garden detail

The Jardin de Marqueyssac is 22 hectares big, with 150,000 boxes… What a belvedere in the valley of Dordogne!!!  The castle in the distant hills on the left is Castelnaud.

The Jardin de Marqueyssac
The Jardin de Marqueyssac

With panoramic views of the Dordogne, the little marvel of Marqueyssac was built just  before the revolution. The castle roof was made with lauzes (traditional stones cut for roofs ) and weighs nearly 500 tonnes.

The chateau of Marqueyssac
The chateau of Marqueyssac

Seattle Now & Then: Pier 70 from the Bay

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THEN: Pier 70 when it was still Pier 14, ca. 1901, brand new but not yet "polished."  Courtesy, Lawton Gowey
THEN: Pier 70 when it was still Pier 14, ca. 1901, brand new but not yet "polished." Courtesy, Lawton Gowey
The same pier at the foot of Broad Street a few years after its 1999 remodel for the short-lived tenancy of Go2Net, one of the many local internet providers that faltered in the new millennium.  (dorpat this time)
NOW: The same pier at the foot of Broad Street a few years after its 1999 remodel for the short-lived tenancy of Go2Net, one of the many local internet providers that faltered in the new millennium. (Dorpat this time)

It is very rare for this little weekly feature to get its present before its past, and yet for this comparison I photographed the “now” view of the water end of Pier 70 before I found the “then.”  Aboard an Argosy tour boat I prudently recorded everything along the waterfront.  That was in 2006 – about.  A sign for the law firm Graham and Dunn, the pier’s principal tenant since 2003, shares the west wall with the pier number.  Although it is not a perfect match with the “then,” it will do for studying the latest remodel of this big wharf at the foot of Broad Street.

Constructed in 1901-2 for the salmon packers Ainsworth and Dunn, at 570 x 175 feet it was the first large pier at the north end of the waterfront. Here nearly new, it seems still in need of paint and shows no signs of signs and few of work.  On the left, Broad Street makes a steep climb to what is now Seattle Center. The northern slope of Denny Hill draws the horizon on the right.  (It is still several years before that hill was razed for the regrade.)

Besides Salmon, through its first 70 years Pier 70 was the Puget Sound port for several steamship companies including the English Blue Funnel and the German Hamburg American lines.  Among the imports handled here were cotton, tea, rubber, liquor (It was a warehouse for the state’s Liquor Control Board during Word War 2.) and soybeans.  The beans were processed across Alaska Way from Pier 70 in what is now the Old Spaghetti Works, although not for a nutritious gluten free noodle but for glue used in the making of plywood.

Joining the general central waterfront tide from work to play, Pier 70 was converted to retail in 1970.  Still far from the central waterfront, it was no immediate success.  There was then no waterfront trolley, no Sculpture Garden, and, next door, no new Port of Seattle.  By now both the Belltown and Seattle Center neighborhoods above the pier are piling high with condo constructions and conversions and the waterfront foot of Broad is quite lively.



Until the numbers were changed by the military along the entire shoreline of Elliott Bay during World War Two, Pier 70 was numbered Pier 14 – as we see it here, again from off-shore.  The roofline of some structures on the horizon are the same as those that appear in the earlier scene.  The signs that faced shipping broadcast names that were long familiar ones for Pier 14/70 – Ainsworth and Dunn (barely readable at the top of this west facade), the Blue Funnel Line, and the Dodwell Dock and Warehouse Company.

Many of these names appear also on the Railroad Avenue side of Pier 70 in this view of it sent this way by Ron Edge, who appears in this blog not infrequently as a contributor, often with a “button” we have named “Edge Clippings.”


Seattle Now & Then: HOO-HOO and the HBC

THEN: Above Lake Washington’s Union Bay the Hoo-Hoo Building on the left and the Bastion facsimile on the right, were both regional departures from the classical beau arts style, the 1909 AYPE’s architectural commonplace. Courtesy John Cooper
THEN: Above Lake Washington’s Union Bay the Hoo-Hoo Building on the left and the Bastion facsimile on the right, were both regional departures from the classical beau arts style, the 1909 AYPE’s architectural commonplace. Courtesy John Cooper
NOW: The historical photograph was taken from the Forestry Building, one of the Expo’s grander and taller structures.  Later the HUB, or Student Union Building, took its place.  From a third floor back window of the HUB a screen of trees blocks the view of the University Club.  Designed by Victor Steinbrueck and Paul Hayden Kirk, it took the place of the Hoo-Hoo House, which until is was razed in 1959 also served as a faculty retreat.  (now by Paul Dorpat)
NOW: The historical photograph was taken from the Forestry Building, one of the Expo’s grander and taller structures. Later the HUB, or Student Union Building, took its place. From a third floor back window of the HUB a screen of trees blocks the view of the University Club. Designed by Victor Steinbrueck and Paul Hayden Kirk, it took the place of the Hoo-Hoo House, which until is was razed in 1959 also served as a faculty retreat. (now by Paul Dorpat)

Certainly the local enthusiasm directed to this year’s centennial celebration for Seattle’s “first world’s fair,” the Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition, exceeds that demonstrated for Seattle’s 150th anniversary: its sesquicentennial of only a few years past.  The exhibits, web sites, and publications interpreting AYP are a big basket, and it is filling.

An early example is enthusiast-collector-scholar Dan Kerlee’s site aype.com.  Dan also gave generous help toward the publishing of historylink’s “timeline history” of the AYPE.  Vintage Seattle is another community website that is attending this centennial.  Visit www.vintageseattle.org/2008/05/28/hoo-are-you-hoo-hoo and you will discover undated snapshots of the AYP’s Hoo-Hoo building – here on the left – when it was still used by the University of Washington’s Faculty Club.

Ellsworth Storey, the northwest architect admired for his variations on the Craftsman style, designed it for the Hoo-Hoos, not a club for retired Santas but a lumbermen’s fraternity, which used it throughout the fair for banquets and parties in which their love for cats and the number 9 always played some part.  Nine house cats helped run the place, curling up at night on any piece of mission-style furniture they preferred.  Sculpted black cats with electric green eyes met visitors near the front door.

The more rustic structure on the right was a facsimile of the Hudson Bay Company’s blockhouse at Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  In 1909 the original was a mere 56 years old and a century later it survives as one of the oldest buildings in British Columbia.  The AYP facsimile was commissioned by and served as fair headquarters for the Vancouver B.C. Daily World newspaper.

The Block House replica in this view of it includes an sizable native wood sculpture on the front lawn that does not appear in the main image shown near the top.   This view also shows one more front lawn canon.
The Block House replica in this view includes a sizable native wood sculpture on the front lawn that does not appear in the main image shown near the top. This view also shows one more front lawn canon.
The tails of the HooHoo's black cats are fairly evident in this recording of the building's front facade.
The tails of the HooHoo's black cats are fairly evident in this recording of the building's front facade.

Wallingford's Kiddies Parade – 60th Anniversary

Number 60.  At least that is what the announcements for this year’s parade proposed.  The first photo shown here may well be of that first kiddies parade sixty years past. If someone takes the time to read through the tabloid North Central Outlooks for the summer of 1950 this may be confirmed.  Stan Stapp, long time publisher-editor of the Outlook and also Wallingford’s greatest public historian, loaned me a copy of this record of single-filed kiddies marching west into the intersection of 45th Street and Wallingford Avenue, the neighborhood’s signature cross-roads.

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Wallingford Kiddies parade down the center of 45th Street only, probably from 1950, and surely from the courtesy of Stan Stapp.

The rest of the photographs included are from this year’s parade, which like all others was promoted as “All About Kids” by Seafair and our neighborhood’s powers of concern.  All about kids – almost.  This year, at least, it was also about five old men with beards whom you see in the next photograph.  Unfortunately, I can no longer remember who stopped to take my camera and snap it.  I was in a state of high anticipation for the parade and very pleased to be posing with the complete retinue or cabal of the parade’s Grand Marshals near the front door of Al’s Tavern off of Corliss. (It was morning and the tavern was not open.)  It is there, north and south from 45th on Corliss that the parade’s parts were first staged and then one-by-one sent west on 45th for a six-block procession that took about 15 minutes to walk or roll.


We can pull an imperfect caption for the above photograph from the description made by the parade’s announcer or master of ceremonies from a stage in front of the Wallingford Center.  As we rolled by in our borrowed carriage, a 1961 Mercedes convertible coup, (and so only eleven years  younger than the parade,) this good humored although confused voice of Seafair described us in an order that also fits how we are posing here from left to right.

“First we have Dick Barnes, Wallingford farmer.  Wave Dick.  Then we have Pat Dorpat . . . correction.  Paul Dorpat, Wallingford walker and public historian.  Next is Dick [actually David] Notkin, 25 years at the U.W. [and now Professor and Bradly Chair of Computer Science & Engineering Department], then our very own Charlotte Trelease, their chauffeur.  [This is a mistake by half.  She may be theirs but Charolette can be seen to be also one of ours, the five guys with gray beards.]  And (finally) Nancy the tree lady.”  [That is Nancy “Appleseed” Merrill who is responsible for the planting of so many of our new trees along the neighborhood’s parking strips.  It was Nancy who produced our parade part, supplied the shinier beards and designed the identifying signs.  It was also Nancy who taught us how to wave like festival princesses with just a slight rotating – and not flapping – at the wrist.]

Nancy's inspiration - a clip of herself from 1984
Nancy in white beard and Statue of Liberty cap
Nancy in white beard and Statue of Liberty cap

The Seafair announcer then concludes our part,  “Nancy wants to remind you to water your trees.  These are the Grand Marshals of the 59th Annual Wallingford parade.”  At was at this moment from his position on the trunk, David in red expressed for all of us, “I knew we would be great, but I did not know about the grand.”

Jean’s pix of us in the Mercedes.
Jean’s pix of us in the Mercedes.

We were liked – as we gently coasted down 45th, applauded and hailed.  Someone shouted to Charlotte, “Can I have your car?” And she called back, “It comes with the beard.” At another point the promenading Nancy walked boldly beyond the Mercedes and briefly in front of it and then return to her position beside its starboard side confessing to all of our great amusement, “I almost ran over myself.” At the intersection with Bagley my friends Sally Anderson and Jay Miller – who live up the block cozily side-by-side – were surprised to see me and shouted their good wishes, which I answered with an order that they kneel, which they did not.  In fact throughout the parade no one went to their knees or even bowed for these marshals.

Mercedes and Nancy with Theatres behind. Photo by Ray Burdick.
Mercedes and Nancy with Theatres behind. Photo by Ray Burdick.

But we were laughed at a good deal, and anything any of our quintet shared with the other four was thought to be funny, and may have been funny by some law of humor relativity in which feeling good encourages the comic vision over the tragic one.  At one point I turned around to David and Dick who – you can see – were sitting behind me on the trunk and noted, “Tomorrow this will all be a dream.”  David wisely answered, “What do you mean? It is a dream now.”   It was a Wallingford version for the Warholesque celebrity dream – this time twenty minutes or six blocks of fame while rolling by our loving neighbors.

Photo by Sally Anderson
Photo-Montage by Sally Anderson

Our part in this Kiddies parade was near its end in the concluding motorcade of odd vehicles including one with more Seafair clowns.  The parade pictures that follow in thumbnail can all be moused or clicked for enlargements.  Most of them were taken by Jean (of this blog) who took a break from his three weeks of running a drama camp at Hillside School in Bellevue.  Perhaps he was still buoyant from that other parade, which he so wonderfully recorded and exhibited here, the Fremont Solstice Parade.   Other photographers included Ray Burdick, Sally Anderson and myself.  If you don’t see these names you know Jean took it.

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I nearly missed this parade.  Our part started without me for I was away – but not too far to find me – interviewing an old friend about the brilliance of his first grand daughter who was with him.  “Off the charts” is how he put it.  I also interviewed – and during the parade as we “Grand Marshals” waited to take out part – David, the uniformed actual marshal who was in charge of organizing the pre-parade line-up on Corliss and then releasing the groups one by one down 45th Street.

After he had sent one of the marching corps with his repeated advice “Enjoy the parade,” I approached him and asked, “How’s the size of this year’s parade?”  With the political grace of someone who knows to answer a question from both sides, he replied, “Actually it is pretty much similar to the rest of the years.  I think we have a couple more units this year.  It’s about the same size.  It’s grown every year.  I’ve only been a marshal for a couple of years now, but as far as I know this is one of the older parades that we do.  At last count there are about forty neighborhood parades.  They begin near the end of March and continue to the end of September.”

At this point David’s mother, who was also in a nautical Seafair uniform, came forward and embraced me.  I recognized her, and immediately thought – but did not ask – perhaps it was she who promoted me as a non-working marshal.   I asked her, “You are really in charge here aren’t you?”  She answered. “Oh no-no.  David and Kate are in charge. (I did not see Kate although I had corresponded with her earlier.)  I am in charge of their support groups.”  It seemed like quibbling to me.

So I turned to David again, and without asking he answered, “Mom is the HMIC, the Head Marshal in Command.”  Then someone – perhaps his mom – sent a signal to a small device strapped to his shoulder.  It was time to release the next group – Family Works was its name – down the promenade.  He advised, “You should be ready to go.  Have a great parade. Have a great parade.”

Seattle Now & Then: Military Discipline at the AYPE

THEN: When the Oregon Cadets raised their tents on the Denny Hall lawn in 1909 they were almost venerable.  Founded in 1873, the Cadets survive today as Oregon State University’s ROTC. Geneticist Linus C. Pauling, twice Nobel laureate, is surely the school’s most famous cadet corporal.  (courtesy, University of Washington Libraries)
THEN: When the Oregon Cadets raised their tents on the Denny Hall lawn in 1909 they were almost venerable. Founded in 1873, the Cadets survive today as Oregon State University’s ROTC. Geneticist Linus C. Pauling, twice Nobel laureate, is surely the school’s most famous cadet corporal. (courtesy, University of Washington Libraries)
NOW: I used old maps and current satellite photographs to determine that the historical view was photographed from Lewis Hall or very near it.  Jean Sherrard was busy directing another play for his students at Hillside School in Bellevue, so in lieu of Jean and his “ten-footer” I used my four-foot monopod to hold the camera high above my head but not as high.
NOW: I used old maps and current satellite photographs to determine that the historical view was photographed from Lewis Hall or very near it. Jean Sherrard was busy directing another play for his students at Hillside School in Bellevue, so in lieu of Jean and his “ten-footer” I used my four-foot monopod to hold the camera high above my head but not as high.

The Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition’s official photographer, Frank H. Nowell, was not the only commercial camera working the fair grounds and – in this week’s subject – its perimeter.  Here with the useful caption “O.A.C. Cadets in camp – A.Y.P. Expo. – Seattle June 5th 9 – 09” the unidentified photographer has named the part of her or his subject that might pay for the effort of recording it: the cadets themselves.

The Oregon Agricultural College Cadets’ tents have been pitched just outside the fair grounds in the wide lawn northeast of the Administration Building, the first building raised on the new “Interlaken campus” in 1894-95.  In 1909 it was still one year short of being renamed Denny Hall.

Thanks now to Jennifer Ott who helped research historylink’s new “timeline history” of the AYPE.  I asked Jennifer if she had come upon any description of the part played in the Exposition by what Paula Becker, our go-between and one of the authors of the timeline, capsulated for us as “those farmin’ Oregon boys.”   Ott thought it likely that the cadets participated in the “military athletic tournament” which was underway on June 5, the date in our caption.   Perhaps with this camp on the Denny lawn they were also at practice, for one of the tournament’s exhibitions featured “shelter camp pitching.”

Jennifer Ott also pulled “a great quote” from the Seattle Times, for June 12.  It is titled “Hostile Cadets in Adjoining Camps,” and features the Washington and Idaho cadets, but not Oregon’s.  Between the Idaho and Washington camps the “strictest picket duty was maintained and no one was admitted until word was sent to the colonel in command, who was nowhere to be found. This meant that no one was admitted, except the fair sex, the guards having been instructed to admit women and girls without passes from the absent colonel.”  And that is discipline!



THEN: Looking back at Lewis Hall on the left and Clark Hall on the right, from Denny Hall ca. 1902. Seattle Architects Timotheus Josenhans and Norris Allan had a modest $50,000 available to design and construct the first two dormitories on the UW campus. To quote form Charles Gates’ book, The First Century of the University of Washington, they were built “as ornate as possible for the sum expended.” Little has been altered on the exterior of Lewis Hall, although the inside has been remodeled several times since its 1899 construction. And the men’s bedrooms have long ago been replaced by offices, most recently (or in 2002 when this was first written) for doctoral students of the School of Business Administration.
The first buildings on the new campus artfully arranged in an early 20th Century tour book montage. All of them have survived and are in use. At the top is the Administration building, AKA the Main Building, which was later renamed for pioneer Arthur Denny. At the bottom are, left to right, the Clark and Lewis dormitories. The Science Building, right of center, was renamed Parrington Hall for a celebrated University English professor. The remaining scene is an impression of the University District as seen from Campus. At the time the neighborhood was still more often called either Brooklyn, the name its developers gave to it, or University Station, a sign of the Trolley’s importance to the still remote campus and its neighbors.
Lewis Hall now
Clark Hall today
Clark Hall today

When the University of Washington’s first dormitories on the new campus were constructed in 1899, they were arranged to give students inspiring views of Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains.  Most of the university presidents that UW president Frank Graves canvassed for recommendations on dormitories advised against them, usually on the grounds of hormones.. They would be hard to control.  A minority, however, saw the spiritual side of students staying on campus.  Because students had to endure long and overcrowded trolley rides between the school and the city, there was  – both students and regents agreed – “a remarkable lack of college spirit.”

Graves estimated that in 1899 there were, at most, accommodations for 30 students in the homes of Brooklyn (the name then for the U District).  Graves’ hopes that neighborhood churches might set up dorms came to nothing.  Truth was, Brooklyn had more cows than citizens, and their free-ranging habits were so annoying that the school fenced the campus with barbed wire.  When the students moved into their new Lewis (for men) and Clark (for women) halls in January 1900, they had their own cows corralled behind the dorms.  The 130 men and women shared a dining room – and the milk – in the basement of the women’s dorm.

The president advised his married faculty to follow his example and invite students home so they might “ become acquainted with good homes and learn the usages of the best society.” But when Graves made an unannounced inspection of the women’s dorm while investigating charges of lax discipline, he found their rooms generally “unkempt.”  The coeds responded by marching around campus and singing a parody of their president to the tune of “We Kept the Pig in the Parlor.”

Seattle Waterfront History, Chapter 7

[As always, click and click again to enlarge the pictures.]

The Turn at Broad Street

From his prospect above Main Street a few yards west of the pioneer Commercial Street (First Avenue South) the Denny Hill greenbelt at its north end seemed to George Robinson, the Victoria photographer visiting in 1869, to conclude with a profile made from trees leaning slightly towards Elliott Bay. [See illustration #51 in Chapter 6] At Broad Street the shoreline turns just far enough to the east (or to the map-north) that from old town there seems to be a formidable peninsula protruding there.  But the waterfront really makes only a slight turn north of Broad.  The “peninsular effect” is heightened by Magnolia, which in the distant haze is a lighter shade. The combined conditions of a slight turn and atmospheric perspective give this modest point near the future foot of Broad Street more prominence than it actually owns.  If Robinson had recorded the parts of his panorama from the deck of the Hunt, that point near Broad would have been missed or not noticed and, of course, with the slapping of the paddles his photograph would have also been out of focus.   For from the Hunt – where we see that Canadian side wheeler in Robinson’s pan – the shoreline beyond the point would have been revealed and joined in one continuous greenbelt with the green western slope of Denny Hill and with no Magnolia haze to confuse it or encourage a mistaken point.  [Using a straight edge and a map of Seattle one can easily warrant this observation about the deceptive point at Broad Street as seen from Piner’s Point, aka the Pioneer Square Historic District.  Near one end place the straight edge half way between First Ave. S. and Alaskan Way on Main Street – Robinson’s prospect.  Keeping this point fixed or stationary, pivot the same side of the straight edge or ruler so that it touches the intersection of Alaskan Way and Broad Street.  You will note that the waterfront north of Broad Street runs nearly parallel with the straight edge.  Consequently from Robinson’s second floor prospect it is only barely lost to view.]

The first U.S. topographical map of Seattle from the mid 1870s (already noted several times in previous chapters) shows this slight turn in the waterfront to be near Eagle and Bay Streets or just north of the foot of Broad Street. In Robinson’s 1869 photograph where the waterfront reaches Broad Street, the bank or bluff has petered out and the darker vegetation that reaches the beach is – to reiterate – marked by the leaning tree at Broad Street or very near it. [Again, see illustration No.51 in Chapter 6.] By the mid-1870s the lean in the tree at Broad managed to bend so close to the water that it was chosen as a defining landmark by the cartographer.  It is noted on a printing of the map.

1870: Census

Before we follow Robinson to near the northern edge of Yesler’s dogleg wharf to study his other view of the Seattle waterfront, we will first admit that for the moment the Robinson attribution is, perhaps, a sober hunch.  (The splendid informality of the blog means I can change or confirm it all later.)

Next we may also speculate on how many locals made it to the wharf on the 21st of July 1869 to survey emissary Seward during his brief visit to Seattle on his way to “proving” Alaska.  Most likely a telegram-ignited grapevine prepped all locals that he was on his way.  And what sort of population did he have to draw from? In the 1870 federal census Washington territory had 23,955 residents, and of these King County counted 2164 persons, or less than half the population of Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood now.   Of the few hundred only 243 were counted as Indians. (Some of them may have been living on or above the beach on Bell’s then inactive Belltown claim.)  In Seattle there were 1142 inhabitants including blacks, whites, Chinese and Indians.  Walla Walla with 1394 inhabitants was the largest town in the Territory and its namesake county was the most populated as well.  (Walla Walla kept this distinction throughout the 1870s and was again slightly more populated in 1880 than Seattle when figured by the Federal census that year.  However, it was a distinction lost to Seattle – by estimates – the following year.) It is left to the reader to approximate how many of Seattle’s 1100-plus citizens made it down to the dock to listen to Seward.  Without a news report or reminiscence of a nose-counter, my hunch is that at least half of those hundreds pulled themselves away from their home entertainments, responsibilities, or brooding introversion to attend.

1869: Robinson’s View of the Central Waterfront from Yesler’s Wharf

George Robinson’s second view of Seattle (if our attribution is correct) was photographed from near the end of Yesler’s dog-legged Wharf and on its north side. [52] It looks across Yesler’s millpond to Front Street (First Avenue) between Columbia Street on the far right and Madison Street on the far left.  Although Front still generally follows the contours of the native land, it has been graded for wagons, and the scrapings from the street can be clearly seen between it and the waterfront.  What is perhaps most startling about this earliest view of the central waterfront is how the bay nearly reaches Front Street.  At a not very high tide it would have flooded the narrow Post Alley that following the city’s 1889 fire was developed a half block west of Front Street on fill and pilings.


The white classical symmetry of the Territorial University sits left of center on the horizon.  To the left and below it is Rev. Daniel Bagley’s “Brown Church” at the northwest corner of Second Avenue and Madison Street.  The paint job on the lower rear wall of the church – the attached one story western section – is darker than it appears in Robinson’s panorama where it seems to be a second and lighter tone than that used for the west façade of the main section of the church.


If these differences hold and are not simply the result of photographic effects, then Robinson would have recorded this scene and the merged panorama on different visits.  A study of the trees on the horizon (like fingerprints their branches don’t lie) shows that the panorama from Commercial and Main was photographed later than the view from Yesler’s Wharf.  One sizeable tree that appears in the view from the wharf is missing in the panorama from Plummer’s Hall.  But is this imagined what with trees overlapping and swaying this way and that?  There is, however, a clincher to dissipate these doubts.  A residence appears in the panorama that is not included in the view from Yesler’s Wharf.

[7-Ronbinson-Comerc-det WEB]

The missing house can be found in Chapter 6 in the printing there of the full Robinson pan.  For searching it is best to use the layered rendering of the pan, the one which includes the left half on top and the right half – the one of interest in this matter – on the bottom of the diptych.   Or the house can be seen here [above] in the detail extracted from yet another photograph Robinson recorded during the visit that included the panorama.  This one looks north up the middle of Commercial Street with Robinson’s back to King Street.  The “new” home appears on the right and the university on the left.  Judging from the home’s position in reference to the Territorial University’s main building at the northeast corner of Seneca and 4th Avenue, that freshly appearing home would be near what is now the intersection of 5th and Spring.


Granted that the Robinson detail is not so detailed itself, we can, I think, still find the home in question near the center of a view [above] taken from the Territorial University in 1887.  It looks southeast towards First Hill.  What appears like an attached shed to the rear, or north, in the Robinson view, has been upgraded with an Italianate bay window along the home’s west façade.  And in 1887 King County Treasurer George D. Hill lives there.  Most likely he had a family, although the 1885 directory that lists him residing at the northwest corner of Fifth and Spring does not make note of it.  Hill is not the old home’s first resident for he arrived in Seattle in 1879, or ten years after Robinson made his panorama that showed this home when it was alone and new.

Another view – or stitched views – from an upper floor of the University was recorded in the early 1870s.  George Moore, the city’s principal resident photographer then, may be responsible.  It looks [below] down 4th Avenue on the left (the Baptist church appears in the distance on 4th near Cherry) and over the tower of the first and here new Central School at the northeast corner of 3rd and Madison, and beyond that to Yesler’s Wharf.  Elliott Bay then was still its aboriginal size with tidelands – on the left washing against Beacon Hill – that had not yet been reclaimed and developed.


Returning to Robinson’s 1869 recordings from the end of Yesler’s Wharf we will make note of something that cannot  – yet – be noted in the photograph itself.   A beachside stone-covered tomb, mentioned by historian David Buerge, which was uncovered beneath a burial mound near Front Street and a little ways north of Marion Street was for Robinson and everyone still covered and undetected in the photograph from Yesler’s Wharf.  From Buerge’s description, in this 1869 view the mound is most likely somewhere near the shed on the left that is built in part over the beach.  [52]

Marion Street ends at Front Street on the rise just left of center.  [52] In 1872 the town’s first “pleasure garden”, a landscaped bower with hanging lanterns and beer, was developed on the hillside a little ways north of Madison Street and east of 2nd, which would put it directly to the far side of Bagley’s Brown Church as seen here.  [I have not as yet come upon a photograph of this attraction and may never. Photographs of Seattle in the 1870s are rare.]  Sited then between and in line with the Methodists and the University, the beer garden would thereby fulfill the trinity of basic human needs – understanding, redemption, and refreshments.

If taxes and fees are reliable signs of a community’s priorities and grudges, in 1869, the first year of its new status as a chartered municipality, Seattle considered the requirements of its streets more fundable than its dogs, but the dogs, at least, were dearer than the town’s deceased.  General taxes collected amounted to $494.23.  However more than three times that amount was got from a designated “road tax”: $1601.  Dog licenses yielded $119.50, an impressive sum when it is considered that only $47 was gained from cemetery lots.  The figure contributed from theatricals, only $20, is a dour sign of the part played by the professional performing arts in the still teenage community.



The scene above is nearly as old as Robinson’s record of Seattle’s waterfront. This view was also made from the end of Henry Yesler’s wharf, and looks across his millpond to the side-wheeler Alida. Above and behind the steamship’s paddle is the dirt intersection we are by now familiar with, that at Marion St. and Front St. (now First Ave). That puts the side-wheeler in the parking lot now bordered by Post and Western avenues and Columbia and Marion streets or just behind the Colman Building. The occasion is either in the summer of 1870 or 1871. The by now familiar steeple-topped Methodist Protestant Church, the “Brown Church,” on the left was built in 1864. In the summer of 1872 its’ builder and pastor, Rev. Daniel Bagley, added a second story with a mansard roof, which can be studied in the Peterson study of the same waterfront also recorded from Yesler’s wharf and included soon below in this chapter.  Bagley was also the main force behind the construction of the University of Washington, which shows off quite well in this view with its dome-shaped cupola at the center horizon. The photograph’s third tower, on the right, tops Seattle’s first public school. Central School, which we just inspected from the campus, was built in 1870 back from the northwest corner of Third and Madison. If the bell in its bell tower were still calling classes, it would be clanging near the main banking lobby of the SeaFirst tower.  [Actually, I no longer know how the “old” 1968 SeaFirst tower is used or if there is still an upscale restaurant on the top floor.  Last I was there may have been in 1982 – before the bank crashed – or was unloaded – because of bad oil-related securities, I believe.  It was in the restaurant that I coincidentally was introduced to the banker who, it was later revealed, was principally responsible for the bank’s failure to stay a locally-owned institution: Seattle’s first bank, started by the honest old pioneer, Dexter Horton and, at first, named after him.  Some readers will remember the bank’s advertisements that purred with Horton heritage.]

The Alida’s 115-foot keel was laid in Olympia in 1869, but its upper structure was completed in Seattle, in June of the following year, at Hammond’s boat yard near the foot of Columbia Street, and so just to the right of this scene. Perhaps, the occasion for this photograph has to do with her inaugural launching. Ellliott Bay first tested the full Alida on June 29, 1870. Captain E. A. Starr invited Seattle’s establishment on the roundtrip trial run to Port Townsend. The July 4 edition of the Weekly Intelligencer reported that “During the passage down, the beautiful weather, the delightful scenery, the rapid and easy progress made, and last though not least, the excellent instrumental and vocal music which was furnished by the ladies, all contributed to the enjoyment of the occasion.” The steam to Port Townsend took four hours and eight minutes, and a little more on the return.  Then or now, who could complain what with the summer scenery and the music?

The Alida’s 20-year career on Puget Sound began with a few months of glory. She was the first steamship to successfully intrude on the monopoly that another side-wheeler, the Eliza Anderson, had established on the Sound.  [The Eliza Anderson is seen – twice – and described in chapter three.]  The satisfactions (customers) that the Alida’s owners, the Starr brothers, had taken from the older vessel were, however, short-lived. The Alida proved herself too slow and too light for the open waters of the straits. In 1871 the Starr brothers introduced a second and stronger side-wheeler, the North Pacific. For ten years it controlled the Victoria run, while the Alida was restricted to steaming between Olympia and Port Townsend and way points, including Seattle.

The Alida came to her somewhat bizarre end in 1890. While anchored just off shore in Gig Harbor, a brush fire swept down to her mooring and burned her to the water. As we shall note (perhaps too often below in this waterfront history,) a year earlier the Seattle waterfront was also swept by fire. When it was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1889, all of what is water in this historical scene was planked over and eventually filled in to the sea wall 500 feet out from First Ave.


Another early and therefore rare 1870s view [above] of the central waterfront from Yesler’s wharf includes several new structures, like the three-story “box” built nearly off-shore at the foot of Marion Street.  Many of the structures familiar from Robinson’s recording and the Alida photograph appear here as well, ready for the reader to find.  This view also includes a few of Henry Yesler’s (or whomever was then running his mill) logs floating in the “pond” on the north side of his wharf and mill, here on the right.   And this record also extends north as far as Spring Street and a glimpse at the home built there by another lumberman, Amos Brown.  [We noted Brown in an earlier chapter as the neighbor who was principally responsible for helping rebuild Princess Angeline’s home near the waterfront at the foot of Pike Street in the early 1890s.  We shall visit that site again in a later chapter. ]


1878: Peterson Bros. View from Yesler’s Wharf

In 1878 the north end of Yesler’s Wharf was chosen again as a prospect from which to look back at the central waterfront.  This time it yielded the next grand panorama of Seattle, although it was probably not intended for that role. [53] Rather our rendering of the Peterson Bros panorama was stitched from three roughly overlapping negatives.  In the blow-up included here, [above and below], the seams between them have been partially exposed along the bottom of the photograph by the irregularity of the logs in Denny’s millpond.  Although clearly photographed from the same location – within inches – they may not have been recorded even on the same day.  The middle of the three images fills most of the right half of the photograph, and the tide appears in this section to be about a foot higher than in the image on the left and perhaps two feet higher than in the smallest part on the far right.

Much has changed and some of it implied like the photographer’s perch at the end of Yesler’s Wharf. The dogleg to the north has been lengthened.  From this extended platform the Territorial University is left of the Brown Church, not to the right as in Robinson’s view.  The Methodists have also added a second floor to their sanctuary for a Knights of Pythius meeting hall whose rituals had a southern exposure through the Mansard windows in the new roof.  The photographers for this and many of the best surviving early photographs of Seattle was, as noted, the Peterson Bros, whose studio was at the foot of Cherry Street.  The larger Peterson detail printed here, [54] roughly repeats the section of waterfront between Columbia and Madison streets recorded by Robinson nine or more years earlier.


The 1878 Peterson view can be compared with Robinson’s 1869 record in every part, for instance, the homes that have survived the decade.  Mary and Arthur Denny’s distinguished home at the southeast corner of Front and Union is there, although it may be hard to decipher without an enlargement of its detail.  [55] (It is about 1/5 of the way into the panorama from the left and near the clump of fir trees to the right of the summit of Denny Hill on the horizon.  It is also directly above the larger warehouse on the new wharf that extends into the bay from a shore insertion that is left of the center of Peterson’s panorama.  A 1890s close-up of the Denny home is also attached. [56] Closer by, a study of the intersection of Front Street and Marion Street – near the center of the Robinson view from Yesler’s wharf and to the right of the church in both views – shows structures that are still in place in 1878, although with changes. [57] [58] Some of the homes have been improved and at least the small residence at the southeast corner of Marion and Front has also been lowered to fit the new grade on Front Street.

1876: Front Street Regrade

Peterson photographs are the best evidence of what a marked effect the 1876 regrade of Front Street (between Yesler and Pike) had on the waterfront.  [There will be more on this regrade in the next chapter.]The smoothing of the street behind the timber bulkhead introduced some inhibitions.  One could no longer scramble onto the waterfront from Front Street.  The few exceptions were at street ends.  One of these “holes” was at the foot of Marion. [57 again] As the detail reveals, the cribbing of the timber retaining wall has there been turned out like a gate. Perhaps this exception is meant to allow the dumping of fill for an eventual extension of the street into the bay.  Whether intended or not, in effect, this is what happened.  It is repeated one block north at Madison Street where a similar break is evident to the left of the four story structure on the water side of Front Street and at its southwest corner with Madison. [53, just left of center.] (It was at this corner that the city’s Great Fire of 1889 was ignited.)  It also appears that the bulkhead is open at the foot of Columbia Street, far right, [53] although the roofs of the sheds that have been built on the beach block an inspection of most of the street end.  (It may be remembered from the introduction to this history that it was at the wet foot of Columbia that pioneers described the smell of the waterfront as turning sulfuric to the south.  If the Petersons had continued their panorama with another frame to the right in the direction of the wharf on which they were standing, we might have seen the discoloration that was described of beachside constructions south of Columbia.)

Seneca to Union Streets Revisited

The Peterson pan includes a hint of another of the waterfront’s natural remnants, one noted earlier: the ravine at Seneca street, or more correctly here the bridge over it and the bulkhead hiding it.   The large deciduous tree that breaks the horizon about one fourth of the way from the left border of the pan [53] is its marker – nearly.  Below the tree and a short distance to the right the bulkhead reveals a darkened section. [59] This is Seneca Street – today where the off ramp from the viaduct to the central business district meets First Avenue.  In this view the bulkhead is two years old, time enough apparently for the springs that irrigated the ravine and continue to seep through the fill to nourish whatever growth has attached itself to the bulkhead between the street and the waterfront.  There is a possibility that the wall itself is constructed differently here.  Seen in detail it seems (the effect is perhaps too subtle) to take a corner and turn towards the ravine (to the east) on the left side of the darkened section.  A railing for the bridge is evident a short ways to the right of the darkened area on the bulkhead.  This railing is on the east side of Front and is easily detected because it contrasts with the dark north bank of the ravine that appears behind it.  (A white arrow is also pointing at it.)  A railing on the west or bay side of Front is more difficult to decipher, and yet when seen in detail is at least suggested by other but softer lines.  Or may not be.  The east side of Front was developed for pedestrians, and not the west.  Along the west side all that would be needed was a low “fence” of logs running end-to-end between the openings at the end of the streets noted above.

Both University and Union Streets are also distinguished in the Peterson pan in ways noted earlier.  One short block north of Seneca the bulkhead is broken by what appears to be a negotiable incline of dumped earth. [60] It may also be, in part, the natural contour of the native bluff.  The trees directly to the north of this break are much older than the bulkhead and spring from ground that is not very far below Front Street.  This is also where the shoreline below begins its turn to the northwest.  Consequently, University Street between Front Street and the waterfront has at least since the 1880s been outfitted either with steps (as now) or ramps to the waterfront.  As noted above, and will be shown in a later chapter, soon after the city’s “Great Fire” of 1889 the stairway that had been built there earlier was replaced by a bridge for wagons that passed over both Post Alley and Western Avenue and reached Railroad Avenue directly.  This bridge allowed the movement of freight between this north section of the waterfront and the growing north section of the Central Business District.

One long block further north on Front (between University and Union the blocks get longer), Union Street continues only a little ways west of Front Street before it runs out of the picture.  In a panorama of the waterfront taken from the King Street Coal wharf about nine years later, Union Street seems to continue to the beach. [61] After the fire of 1889, the newspapers made considerable note of the wagon road on Union Street and what a hard but necessary haul it was for moving building materials up from Schwabacher’s Dock at the foot of Union Street (the only wharf of size on the central waterfront to escape the ’89 fire) to the many building sites in the city.  As we shall repeat below this was a temporary hardship.  Following the fire Western Avenue between Union and Belltown was soon improved, and the waterfront itself was speedily rebuilt into a wider Railroad Avenue with several accesses to the business district on Madison, Marion, Columbia and Yesler.

We insert here (above) what might be a “sidebar” in any coffee-table book for visiting guests.  Still the comparison below does include a revelation.  The etching is from a 1870 Harper’s Monthly article on Puget Sound, titled “The Mediterranian of the Pacific.”  Before comparing them to earlier Robinson view from Yesler Wharf, the structures in the oft-reproduced etching puzzled me.   Now when compared to Robinson there places, at least, become obvious.  When time allows we intend on reprinting the entire Harper’s article with commentary and added illustrations as another of our – and Ron Edge’s –  “Edge Clippings.”



On the West Coast the 1870s were generally years of growth most of it fed by the new transcontinental to California.  Seattle grew too, and this was in spite of the community’s dashed hopes for Puget Sound’s transcontinental terminus.  Instead, the Northern Pacific publicly chose Tacoma, or rather its own New Tacoma, in 1873.  By fits and starts the NPRR reached Tacoma in 1883, and with ironic effects for Seattle.  In spite of at first no rail service and then poor service from Tacoma, Seattle grew right beside Tacoma – even a neck again – with such vigor that its extended boom years really begin with the ’83 completion to Tacoma of the Northern Pacific.   But unlike Tacoma, Seattle’s growth would continue to quicken until the First World War.  At a little more than 3000, Seattle’s population in 1880 was deceptively small because the city was also the cultural, transportation, and financial center for what went on all around the Sound and in the woods.  This depth to its culture and economy is what gave Seattle the substance to survive periodic nation-wide hard times like those ten-year panics of 1873, 1883 and 1893.   This last, the Panic of 1893 and years following, was especially hard on Tacoma.


We close this chapter with a panorama of the Seattle skyline taken from Colman Dock – the northwest corner of it where the pedestrians walk directly from the ferries to a level one floor above the exiting vehicles.  This pan was taken for Jean’s and my book Washington Then and Now but not used.  So we revive it.  The date is 2004.  The position is not really a repeat of the outer end of the Yesler’s wharf.  That would be on the other side, the south side, of Colman Dock and a few feet closer to the seawall.

Seattle Now & Then: A Little Snow

Werner Lenggenhager recorded the tracery of the Pacific Science Center’s Gothic arches through the promenade that leads to them, marked by the snow of Nov. 19, 1978. (Courtesy Seattle Public Library)
Holding my little camera high I took this snapshot repeat of Lenggenhager’s romantic snowscape at this year’s crowded & hot Folklife Festival.
Jack Hansen far left, ca. 1970
Stan James at the 2004 Folklife Festival

Werner Lenggenhager, Seattle’s splendidly active post-war photographer of streets and landmarks, whom I have used in this feature several times, recorded the historical Seattle Center scene during the ‘little snow” of November 19, 1978.  I took the “now” while wandering through the generally happy press of humanity at Folklife this past Sunday May 24.  It felt like the first nearly hot day of 2009.

I had just left helping MC a Folklife tribute to a friend, the Seattle folk artist Stan James, who died last October. Since Stan’s survivors both loved him and like to sing together, it was the third wake or tribute for Stan many of us had attended. Soon after gently pushing through the press of “folkies’ I learned that only hours earlier another old friend and musician had died.  The day before at Folklife Jack Hansen led another sing along as a member of The Seatles, “Seattle’s Premier Fab-4 Sing-Along Band.”  It was the last “gig” of a creative life that I remember well already in the mid-60s when Jack played lead guitar in the blues and psychedelic band Fat Jack, a name Jack later shed.

Jack Hansen could play and teach anything: blues, jazz, folk, Hawaiian, strait rock, and again psychedelic.  Stan James kept to singing folk music with his wonderful baritone (or second tenor, for he had range) and creating “folk opportunities,” beginning in the early 60s with the Corroboree, one of the area’s first espresso cafes with live music – folk music.  He performed at Century 21 in 1962 and after that his contributions go on and on.

Both Jack and Stan were also known for their humor and story telling.  Although neither died young, they still passed too early. They played for the forces of happiness.

"Forever Amber"

Will someone please respond with a review of “Forever Amber,” the film listed on the old Colonial Marquee.  (Click to enlarge.) This holiday recording was done by Seattle Camera Club member Horace Sykes on Dec. 22, 1949.  For the freshest among you, it looks north on 4th Avenue from Pike Street when passenger railroad service was still profitable for the old trans-continentals.  Note the illuminated signs.  Does anyone remember Gasco?  Some happy day we will put up a few score of Sykes recordings taken from his many camera adventures in the west, which prove that this orchid enthusiast was a master of the picturesque and knew how to compose a picture.