Lewis Whittlesey, a clerk with the Seattle Water Department, visited the Third Avenue regrade in 1906 and took several photographs of its upheaval, including this one that looks north from Seneca Street. After graduating from Amherst College, Whittelsey joined a Rand and McNally expedition into Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains in the late 1890s. It was his first great adventure and last. Upon leaving the expedition, the young surveyor moved to Seattle and was hired by the city, which kept him until his retirement in 1940.
Trained in public works, the city clerk would have known the details of this street work. The parallel timber forms leading up the center of Third probably have to do with the eventual path of the trolley on Third. The stacked bricks to the side are most likely for paving.
With his wife, Delia, Lewis was an active Congregationalist, and he may have chosen this prospect to record the impressive brick pile of Plymouth Congregational Church on the northeast corner of Third and University. Farther on, the sandstone columns of the new federal post office were still a work-in-progress in 1906 and would be for two years more. In the distance, and blocking Third Avenue, the ruins of the Washington Hotel tentatively held on atop the southern summit of Denny Hill. The hotel had its closing ball on May 7. By the end of the year it was razed, and the hill followed.
Within a year of his retirement, Lewis Whittelsey died at the age of 71. His wife donated much of his library to Everett Junior College when she learned of its need for books. She also made a gift of her own book of poems, “Thoughts by the Way.”
Anything to add, Paul? YES Jean – three groups of photographs for three 3rd Ave. locations related to the above now-then.
POST OFFICE – SOUTHEAST CORNER of 3rd and Union.
THIRD AVENUE LOOKING SOUTH FROM PIKE STREET
MORE CHANGES ON THIRD – LOOKING NORTH FROM NEAR SENECA