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!

WEB-ONLY EXTRAS

LEWIS AND CLARK HALLS

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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.
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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.
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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.”

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