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.

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