For a moment, only, this historical photographer paused on Minor Avenue about 40 feet north of Thomas Street and aiming east snapped this official record of lot 5 in the tenth block of the Fairview Homestead Association’s addition to Seattle. The addition was filed in the mid-1880s but the photograph was taken in 1937 as part of the depression-time Works Progress Administrations picture-inventory of every taxable structure in King County.
The tax assessment here was not very high for these are four nearly identical 900-plus square foot homes squeeze onto one lot, the second lot north of Thomas. The tax card indicates that they were built in 1900. (Perhaps, but they do not show up in the ordinarily trustworthy 1912 Baist Real Estate map.) The intentions of the original pioneer developers were to help working families stop paying rents and start investing in their own homes. Innovative installment payments made the lots affordable and many of the homes were built by those who lived in them, although probably not this quartet.
If we may trust the 1891 Birdseye view of Seattle – and it is splendid to study – Minor Avenue was then part of a shallow ravine or very near it, which gathered run-off in this Lake Union watershed. And since 1996, as part of the Cascade Neighborhood’s public garden that spreads 50 lovingly tended p-patches across this 7000 sq. ft. corner, rain water for the garden is collected into big barrels from the roof of the nearby Cascade Peoples’ Center.
I am a very small part of the footprint of this corner, having lived from 1978 to 1980 in the house immediately to the rear of principal home shown. My desk sat inside the longer window there and looked out on a coiling blackberry patch where now are many kinds of berries, and veggies, and flowers tended with the meditative pleasures of gardening. JoJo Tran, one of the gardeners here, plants for his table and many others. He reflects, “If you love nature, the environment, the colors of the plants, it you can see the beauty of the garden, you feel the beginning of love.”
Jean writes: Visiting this sacred corner of Paul’s personal history on a sodden day at the end of December was a mini-revelation. Here, Paul lived with his dear friend Bill Burden (whose wise and scintillating blog can be found here and through the button ‘Will’s Convivium’ at upper right) and I snapped him looking bemusedly from the spot he identified as having once contained Bill’s room.
Paul brought along a photo he’d taken from his own bedroom window of the church across the road. We include it again, below.
Here’s a repeat I did of the photo in Paul’s hand above:
Anything to add, Paul? Or to correct?
BLOG EXTRAS we call them Jean. And yes I have a few – a slew even – of other pictures that catch this corner or nearby. I will given captions for them, but little ones I hope. I have also written a few now-thens (other ones) about landmarks within a block of this corner but I’ll not include them here. I mention that only to inspire longing in the reader or readers if we have more than one, which is to say more than you.
I’ll begin with two of the south side of 306&1/2 Minor, where Bill and I lived in the late 1970s. My desk – with its Selectric typewriter – sat at the larger of the windows on that wall. I looked out across the vacant ans sunken blackberry snarled corner lot to Thomas Street, and to the left of Thomas still stands Immanuel Lutheran Church. After the views of the window, I’ll place one that looks from it to the church on a night of snow, then others photographed in the late 90s and early 2ooos of the p-patch development. I will date them as best as I can. I believe a highlight of what follows will be my snapshot of Bill trucking down the Minor Avenue sidewalk.
That is all for now Jean. Is it too much? When I find one of Cascade School I’ll attach it.
FOUND the school Jean. Twice – back and front. And another looked at Bill on site in 2006 at the bottom.