THEN: Looking south from Pine Street down the wide Second Avenue in 1911, then Seattle’s growing retail strip and parade promenade. (courtesy of Jim Westall)
NOW: Very little survives in the near-century between the “then and now.” The Columbia Building, second from left, is still standing. The parking lot, far left, took the place of the Wilson Modern Business College Building in 1956. The tiled Venetian Renaissance-style Doyle Building, far right, replaced the Elk Hotel in 1919. Jean Sherrard took his repeat through a window of what is now the Nordstrom Rack.
This is the fourth “snapshot” we have plucked from an album of Seattle subjects recorded by Philip Hughett between 1909 and 1911. (Following this “now-then” will join to it a few more snaps of the neighborhood recorded by that pastor-salesman.)
In the 1911 Polk directory Hughett is listed as a salesman for Standard Furniture, which is wonderfully apt for this week’s subject. It looks south on Second Avenue from inside the Standard Furniture building on the corner with Pine Street.
Perhaps, Hughett took a snapshot break from selling sofas. And the most likely date is also 1911.
Although too small to read in this printing, the banner running across Second Avenue just beyond Pike Street — one block south of the photographer — reads “Golden Potlatch.” Between 1911 and 1913 the Golden Potlatch Days were Seattle’s first try at holding a multiday annual summer festival.
The amateur photographer was probably selling furniture here in 1910 as well, because Hughett was using the then-3-year-old Standard Furniture building for a high-rise prospect to record the big changes under way in Seattle’s new retail district and the nearby Denny Regrade. As late as 1903 this block on Second was considerably higher at Pine than at Pike. So everything here is nearly new, except the ornate frame building seen in part on the far right.
The Elk Hotel, its name in the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map, was built before the regrade and had to be lowered two stories because of it.
In 1911 all of Seattle’s principal department stores, Frederick & Nelson, Stone-Fisher, The Bon Marche, London’s and MacDougall & Southwick were on Second Avenue north of Madison Street. It is a good indication of how commerce had moved north from “old town” around Pioneer Place during Seattle’s blusterous boom years.
Here follows – and so soon – several more photographs recorded by Hughett, perhaps all of them while he was in the employ of Standard Furniture at the northwest corner of Second Avenue and Pine Street. We will try to exercise some restraint with the captions, rather than thumbnail every landmark included in Hughett’s recordings. All of these – unless otherwise noted – are used courtesy of Jim Westall. They were copied from a family album of prints, which Jim shared with us.
Next we will leave Standard Furniture and go south on Second Avenue two blocks for more excitement.
Next Philip Hughett returns to Standard Furniture and takes us to its roof for looks south, southeast, east, and north – witnesses to the condition of the Central Business District and the Denny Regrade a century ago.