This small collection of seasonal kodachromes were photographed by Robert D. Bradley, who at least for part of his working life performed as a professional photographer. In the 1930 census he is listed as such, and in the 1938 Seattle City Directory (by Polk) he is listed living with his wife Hortense in the lower Queen Anne neighborhood and working at the Hart Studio, which is described as his. It was located on Second Avenue, near University Street, the site now of Benaroya Hall. In the mid 1960s the couple moved to the then nearly new Lamplighter Apartments on Belmont Avenue just south of Mercer Street. Their home was on the 9th floor with a balcony view that swept from the north end of Lake Union to the central business district. Bradlely took many slides off that balcony – lots of them sunsets. The view above is an exception. The subjects are the lights of his neighbor’s, the Millers, Christmas tree (we assume) as they are refracted through the glass giving transluscent privacy to the two balconies.
Robert Bradley was generally good about naming and dating his subjects. With both views above he has put his camera against the glass front door of Frederick Nelson Department Store to give us after hours “architectural views” (sans people) of the department store’s Christmas decors for 1957, top, and 1966, above.
On December 22, 1948 Bradley visited the intersection of Meridian Avenue and 45th Street in Wallingford. He stood on the south side of 45th and looked west across Meridian. Both streets – and so also the intersection – were “ordained” long before they were developed. They were meridian lines for the first federal surveyors who dragged their “Gunther Chains” through the forests hereabouts in the 1850s. Late this afternoon of Dec. 10, 2009 I repeated Bradley, and include that “now” directly below his scene. The obvious change is at the northwest corner where Murphy’s Pub now takes what more than one retailer ago was Davison’s Appliances. (It was there that Ron Edge – of our
“Edge Clippings” – discovered that the Zenith model 12s265 – the radio that started his now impressive collection of antique radios – was repaired. It still has a Davison sticker attached.) Not so obvious but still remarkable are the street Christmas decorations. They were quite elaborate in the earlier view, but 61 years later hard to find.
Bradley also visited the University District on the 22nd and took the view directly below. It looks west, again on 45th and this time through its intersection with 12th Avenue. As with the Wallingford repeat above, my “now” was photographed this afternoon of 12/10/09 – moments ago. (I live nearby.) Respecting the traffic, I stayed on the sidewalk.
For the remainder of the Bradley Christmas tour we will follow closely to his own captions and attach them to their “picture frames” as he did to his cardboard slide holders. Actually, he also indicated often the time of day, the camera he used, and both its shutter speed and F-stop. With one exception below we will avoid those. For the most part these are slides are submitted randomly, which means however the program that ordered them slip them to us.
We conclude our exhibit of Robert Bradley’s seasonal slides with two, above, of the Bon Marche’s well-loved stories-high illuminated hanging at the northwest corner of 4th Avenue and Pine Street. The first of these two was taken on Dec. 19, 1956 when the “star tradition” was still a star-topped pagoda-style Christmas Tree tradition. By Dec. 18, 1967, the date of the subject directly above, the full tree had given way to the star alone. This more distant view also includes a peek into a Frederick and Nelson Window on the right, which may be compared to the interior F&N decorations included near the top.