(A version of the text that follows the “now” below first appeared in Pacific Mag – Sunday Times – for Oct. 12 1997. You will know from your own experience that 13 years are kept within the envelope named “The Passage of Strange Time” or in the drawer marked “The Strange Passage of Time.” It seems to me now like I was on this corner taking the “now” much much more recently than that. But still I have lost – temporarily – the negative. Jean’s from last week end will do better, and in color.)
Queen Anne High
While the classical brick-and-tile pile of Queen Anne High School was being raised on the summit of Queen Anne Hill in 1908-09, the major part of Denny Hill was being lowered beneath it. The school board’s decision to build a new high school here at the then still relatively remote intersection of Galer Street and Second Avenue N. rather than wait a few months for a school site in the Denny Regrade was controversial, although perhaps not for the 650 students and 33 teachers who entered the new school in September 1909.
Otto Luther, a 28-year-old history teacher at Broadway High School, was brought over as principal. At the school’s dedication ceremony, Luther made the point that “the high school is the people’s college.”
And it was the proud understanding of that progressive era in local education that the teaching done at Seattle’s high schools was very good. Luther presided here for 42 years – something that can happen when you are made the “boss” at twenty-eight. He retired in 1951. This was three years less than the 45-year service of the school’s physical-education instructor, Mable Furry.
The above view of Queen Anne High dates from the late teens, and the bricks and terra-cotta ornaments – including those clusters of scrolls and wreaths hanging from the cornice – are still like fresh. In this late autumnal scene, the landscaping is barely adolescent and does not interfere with what is a good architectural record of a city landmark.
But in its yearly years – or perhaps anytime before the TV towers were erected nearby – Queen Anne High School could best be seen from the bottom of Queen Anne Hill or from the Denny Regrade. From there, its looming classical pile made it Seattle’s acropolis. Other photographs included here – far below – show that it can also be seen from Fremont (upper Fremont) and, of course, Capitol Hill.
Here, below, we have lifted a profile of Queen Anne High’s long-time principal Otto Luther (Here he stands) from the popular Seattle blog name VINTAGE SEATTLE. It describes itself as a “High-resolution blog visualizing the Emerald City’s Past.” It is always a favorite destination and often much fun. We might have, however, as local Troglodytes written “the Queen City’s Past” given that “Emerald City” was a replacement for “Queen City.” The green stone was thought more descriptive than royalty and it gave the modern media agents of the Central Business Association or the Chamber of Commerce or the Visitors Bureau (I no longer remember) another chance for a promotion. That was about 35 years ago only. But then to be fair “Queen City” was first applied by a Portland-based real estate agent in Pioneer times and not following the discovery here of any royalty. Rather the bigger city Oregonians wanted to sell lots of lots in the still fledgling Seattle on the chance that the buyers might expect to find a stump here marking a kings ransom or wearing a diadem. And they did.