(click to enlarge)
When Seattle became a boisterous “boom town,” especially following its “great fire” of 1889, the immigrant Euro-American communities that fed the growth rarely created neighborhoods of size that were clearly theirs. However, they could organize churches and did.
The Swedish Baptists are an example. Organized as a mission in 1881 for a Seattle of about five thousand, it was “instituted” in 1889 for a community of over 30,000. A stately if typical frame sanctuary with soaring steeple was built on then still affordable land at Olive Way near 5th Avenue. Fifteen years more and the ballooning opportunities of land values moved the congregation five blocks east into this spectacularly towered church of pressed brick and stone at the northwest corner of 9th Avenue and Pine Street.
At its dedication on July 16, 1905, addresses were given in both Swedish and English. Thirty years later, Dr. Emil Friburg, by then its pastor for 24 years, announced to his congregation that Sunday evening services, which for 55 years had been given in Swedish, would from then on be delivered in English only. The immigrant’s children, of course, were not so disappointed. Raised in Seattle and its public schools – more than in the church – their principal language was English.
In 1970 the congregation sold its corner to the Vance Corporation, which given the then slumping economy probably got a deal. It has, I believe, been a parking lot ever since. Many of the church’s members and assets joined with Seattle First Baptist on the northern “ledge” of First Hill.
At the opposite corner stands the Paramount Theatre, newly signed. Its beautifully wrought fire escapes remain unchanged.
Anything to add, Paul?
Yes Jean, here’s something we might call . . . CAN YOU FIND THE SWEDISH BAPTISTS? Remember Jean to click to enlarge. It will help you find the Baptists.
Here we look west towards a Capitol Hill horizon from the nearly new New Washington Hotel, still standing at the northeast corner of Second and Stewart although long since renamed the Josephinum. The Swedish Baptist Church at its new location, the northwest corner of 9th Avenue and Pine Street, appears here left-of-center. It can be best identified by the shine of its tower arches. They are small from this distance but still sparkle. Beginning in this scene at 5th Avenue, Pine Street cuts across the scene from its bottom-right corner. Some of Olive Way appears on the left.
The likely date for this is 1911 (but possibly 1910), for the rear unadorned facade of the Seattle Electric Company’s new administration building appears far left at the southwest corner of 7th Ave and Olive Way. See how the fresh sidewalk on Olive Way shines at the base of the new headquarters. The same company’s old trolley car barn is to this side of 6th Avenue. The new – since 1906 – cut of Westlake is twice evident: in both the bottom-right and bottom-left corners. Broadway High School at Broadway and Pine just touches the horizon, left-of-center. Also up there, but not reaching the horizon, is the wide west facade of Summit School, right-of-center, at 1415 Summit Avenue. It is still in use as Northwest School.