(click to enlarge photos)
About fifteen well-turned women straddle the center line of 45th Street where it begins its climb east of University Way, aka “The Ave.” All are wearing corsages and most are standing tall atop high heels. The women are selling World War 2 bonds and are included in a demographic typical for those times: all are white and the musicians on the stage behind them are all black. Behind the band a higher stage imitating a ship, spans and blocks 45th Ave.
University District citizens and students were repeatedly prompted to buy stamps and bonds here at the neighborhood’s main intersection. This ersatz ship was one of several street-straddling sets used throughout the war. Here locals enjoyed good live music – jazz, swing and military – rousing speeches from heroes – both real and rehearsed – and appearances of visiting celebrities including actresses and community queens that might have inspired those dreamy cartoons painted on the noses of Flying Fortresses.
Canvassing door-to-door for pledges to buy bonds, Seattle neighborhoods competed with each other in bonds sales. In one timed competition, Ballard raised 81 thousand dollars, West Seattle 120 thousand while the victorious University District, sold 125 thousand worth of stamps and bonds. In his University District history, “UniverCity,” Roy Nielsen notes that the “northwest premier of the movie Orchestra Wives with Glenn Miller showing then at the neighborhood’s Egyptian Theatre probably helped the U. District cause.”
By newsreel – in theatres and not yet on TV – Pres. F.D. Roosevelt first announced the bonds drive in May of 1941. He encouraged Americans that by making “a slight sacrifice here and there, the omission of a few luxuries, all of these will swell the coffers of the federal treasury. The outward and visible tokens of partnerships through sacrifice will be the possession of these defense bonds . . .” FDR ended his speech with an earnest “I know that you will help.” Months later following Pearl Harbor the name was changed to “War Bonds.”
Anything to add, Paul?
Jean, as the early morning hours permit – a few. All stay on or close to the Ave. There are many more that we will not put down – this time. More Ave features will surely come forward later.
Bill White, while on his morning walk, took a few “nows” early this morning to fit a few of these “thens.”
CIVIL DEFENSE SANDBAGS ON THE AVE.
Before Dec. 7, 1941, many Seattle neighborhoods were already mobilized to assist in relief programs for the thousands of Western European refugees scattered by Hitler’s World War II blitzkrieg. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, locals also organized to defend themselves against the dreadful chance that bombers from across the Pacific would soon come flying over Puget Sound. This scene shows the helmeted University District civil-defense sandbag forces mobilized in front of Davis and Westby Cabinet shop, 5211 University Way N.E. It was most likely photographed by James S. Bush, who lived nearby at the corner of 56th Street and Brooklyn Avenue.
According to his daughter-in-law, Sue Bush, James Bush ran an air-raid office from the basement in the family home. His official stationary reads, “Captain, Air Raid Wardens, Section Four, Zone one.” Bush was familiar with protocol; he served in the Navy during the World War I.
This sandbag scene was, no doubt, a common one in city neighborhoods, where the home forces were organized into captains and block wardens. Curiously, there are no white helmets on the heads of women here. That many of the men standing over the sand carts are quite young suggests that Bush recorded this scene not long after Pearl Harbor and before these youngsters were fitted for uniforms and sent away to a foreign front.
Readers interested in reading more about the home front may wish to investigate “The War Years, a Chronicle of Washington State in WWII.” The author, James
R. Warren, will be familiar to many readers for the popular articles and history columns he began contributing to local newspapers in the 1950s. His new book is a joint production of the University Press and HistoryLink; readers can sample it at www.historylink.org, the local Web site of Seattle and King County history.
THE AVE – AUG. 3, 1945
This scene on University Way was photographed on Aug. 3, 1945 – just 11 days before the Japanese surrendered in World War II. Of course, the few pedestrians included here could not have known what was coming. The weekly University Herald published a day earlier still included the “Ration Calendar” describing what stamps were valid for what commodities. The front page of the Herald features several wartime stories with a University District angle, including a picture of handsome 25-year-old Marine 1st Lt. Harold P. Logan, a former UW student on temporary leave. Logan, the story explains, was “back from Luzon after blasting Japanese targets in the path of advancing Army ground forces” in the Philippines.
The view looks southeast to the intersection of 42nd Street and “The Ave.” All these structures survive, though not uniformly well. In particular, the white corner home for Collegiate Shoe Renewing (downstairs), the photography studio of Dorothea Zeckendorf Aranyi (upstairs) and the simple clapboard storefront next door have been boxed together with a skin that its creators must have thought nifty. Now it is merely dismal.
The Hollywood Dance Studios, right of center, has an advertisement in the Aug. 2, 1945, Herald. It reads, in part, “Children’s New Summer Classes, Tap, Ballet and Acrobatic. Under personal supervision of Eugene H. Miller.” Schwellenbach Real Estate, far right, also has an ad. It demurely explains: “Don’t consult us if you want to make a fortune when selling your home. But should you need sane, intelligent assistance, we would be glad to help.” That does not sound familiar.
A SLOWER AVE.
The contemporary intersection of Northeast 45th Street and University Way is one of the busiest in the city – an average of 35,000 vehicles enter it every day. The older view, however, predates this congestion by several decades.
The historical scene w as photographed soon after the University District’s first bank, the University State Bank, moved into its new home in 1913. Its name appears above the comer door in restrained Roman lettering. Now, the financial institution’s newest corporate name, First Interstate, is tacked to the bank’s gleaming white terra-cotta
skin. (This has changed again since this was first published on 8-19-1990. Now after years of heated banks merges and collapses, it is a Wells Fargo bank and so it has been fitted with access to the rear for horse-drawn coaches with yelping drivers and bags full of gold coins contributed under duress or confusion by widows, clever claims jumpers and neighborhood grocers.)
The four-story brick building across 45th Street from the bank is now the home of Bartell Drugs, which this year (1990 still) celebrates its centennial in Seattle. Bartell bought the building in 1926, and moved in next door to Martin and Eckmann’s Men’s Shop, which was then on the comer. Earlier, the haberdashery partners bought out the business and lease of the Collegtown Shop, whose signage is showing in the older view.
Eventually, in 1949, Martin and Eckmann’s moved into their then-new building across University Way. Now the home of Pier One Imports, that structure is included on the right of the contemporary scene. (Ahh but Pier One Imports is another casualty of something – perhaps a loss of the sense that an import is somehow special. It is now commonplace but still cheaper for our consumer culture that is elaborately supplied by things made on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.) The three-story brick pile with the comer bay windows which it replaced shows in the older scene.
(Appeared first in Pacific on July 30, 1995.)
When the University of Washington moved its campus to Brooklyn in 1895 very few students moved with it. With no dormitories and few rentals, the center of Brooklyn was where trolley conductors called, “All out for University Station.” One block off campus at the corner of Beacon (Northeast 42nd Street) and “The Ave” (University Way), the school built an open shed where its commuting students and faculty could wait for the electric cars of the Third Street and Suburban Railway.
In the years when “University District” was being increasingly substituted for “Brooklyn,” University Station became a metonym for the neighborhood. For many years University of Washington printed stationery gave its location as, simply, “University Station, Seattle.” In 1902 the meaning was doubled when the Latona Post Office was transferred to just across The Ave from the Station.
The station’s Varsity Inn, a combination store, hotel and restaurant, managed to bake its way into the hearts and stomachs of North Seattle. In between the salted peanuts and the bon bons, the Christmas dinner advertised for 1907 included cheese straws, bouillon, spiced pears, veal with currant jelly, roast turkey with dressing and cranberry jelly, broiled chicken, oyster sauce, French peas in cream, asparagus on toast, a choice of fruit or lobster salad, velvet cream with coconut macaroons, Christmas plum pudding with hard sauce, and a variety of homemade pies (see the sign over the door).
In 1905 the waiting station was moved onto the east side of The Ave, and then in 1907 was removed for the double-tracking of the street in preparation for the summer-long 1909 Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition on campus. After the AYP the University District’s center moved two blocks north to 45th Street, and soon the term “University Station” was little used, except by old-timers.
UNIVERSITY BOOK STORE MOVED TO “THE AVE”
(First appeared in Pacific, Sept. 12, 1999)
In 1924 University of Washington President Henry Suzzallo was clear that an off-campus move for the Universlty Book Store would be temporary. The shift was made necessary by a coincidence of fire – actually, the threat of it – and the student government’s preoccupation with balls (footballs and basketballs) at least as much as books.
A fire in the Mines Building stirred a campus-wide search for fire hazards, such as stacks of paper, bound and unbound. The bookstore had spent three years in the basement below the school’s largest auditorium, Meany Hall. With a two-week eviction notice and no sign of the long-promised student-union building – ASUW leaders were preoccupied with constructing sports pavilions – University Book Store was allowed to make a provisional home in an “Ave” storefront made available by the eviction of a pool hall. It required three days and 45 truck trips to haul the stock – mostly textbooks and student supplies – off campus to 4326 University Way.
Doors first opened Jan 28,1925, the bookstore’s 25th year. Suzzallo’s worries were alleviated by the store’s generally happy reviews. Sales jumped 23 percent the first year. “Ave” merchants were pleased that the store added charm to the University District’s increasingly cosmopolitan mix of shops and was paying rent like the rest of them.
This top view was photographed sometime between 1927, when architect Bebb and Gould’s elegant facade first distinguished the store (note the Husky gargoyle above the sign), and 1930, when yet another Academic Gothic front was constructed for a store by then many times larger than the pool hall but still smaller than Husky Stadium.
The second “plant” for the University Book Store is seen here in part to the right of the electric trolley, which is making one of the last runs on the “Ave” before trackless trolleys and buses took their place in 1940. Below is Jean’s repeat from earlier this winter.
A BIGGER UNIVERSITY BOOK STORE
( First appeared in Pacific, Jan. 22, 1995, or four years before the feature printed just above, which repeats some of the points made again – but earlier – below.)
The University Book Store’s abrupt move to University Way in 1925 was expected to be short-lived. A fire marshal concerned about Meany Hall’s concert goers gave the student-run establishment two weeks to leave the auditorium’s basement.
The bookstore had expected to take new quarters in a planned student union building but suddenly needed a temporary home. The state Legislature obliged by expelling a pool hall at 4326 University Way. The student body’s decision to build Hec Edmundson Pavilion before a student union and the store’s early success on The Ave kept it there. This year (1995), the University Book Store celebrates its 70th year off campus (and its 95th year overall) with warranted pride: This student store is the leading bookseller among all college book stores in the nation – including Harvard’s. The book store’s first Ave quarters were charming, a white brick facade with a Husky head in bas-relief centered high above twin Gothic arched front doors. But with the store’s popularity they were quickly outgrown.
The much larger gothic block shown here replaced it in 1930. The Husky’s head was the one feature moved from the first quarters to the top of this new facade, which resembled the new academic quarters then being built on campus. While spacious, the inside was also cozy. The book department offered a fireplace and deep cushioned rocking chairs
for browsers. The store’s gracious devotion to books included publishing them. The University Chapbooks series, printed on the bookstore’s own in-house letterpress, was widely distributed and respected, and was edited by playwright and UW Drama Department head Glenn Hughes.
There’s some Indication that Seattle is an inordinately literate and book-buying community. It is rated so by more-or-less informed but disinterest agents. The University Book Store is still (or was still in 1995) this town’s biggest seller of books.
CHRISTMAS on the “AVE”
If color could be added to this Christmas scene, the multi-hued glow of University Way’s neon would conspire with the lighted wreaths and strands to create a most festive “Ave.” And the seasonal warmth would be kindled by the orange trolleys, their glow reflecting from the wet pavement. (Yes Orange. We’ll attach an example below – although not from the Ave.)
This Christman on the Ave view was photographed in the late 1930s by Lawrence Lindsley, a photographer with pioneer links. The grandson of David Denny, Lindsley did most of his shooting in the Cascades, but he kept a studio in his Wallingford home, and occasionally carried his camera to the Ave. For this holiday record, Lindsley climbed atop the University Book Store’s marquee and sighted north beneath the sturdy block letters of the book store’s neon sign.
In 1939 the Ave’s commercial culture was represented on this double-block between Northeast 43rd and Northeast 45th by more than 30 stores. Included were a dressmaker, tailor, sporting-goods store, stationery shop, Woolworth’s 5-and-l0-cent store, a florist, two barbers, four restaurants, a hardware store, jewelry store, two beauty salons, a furniture store, grocer, baker, the Hollywood Dance Studio (part of the sign shows under the neon “T” in the University Book Store sign), a Masonic lodge, Bartell drugs, a bank, Martin & Eckmann’s Men’s Clothes, a nut shop, a shoe repair and two shoe stores. The signs for both Gallenkamp and Nordstrom shoes are alight on the left. Nordstrom chose the Ave for its second store in 1924, a circumstance that the chain later memorialized in the name of its considerably enlarged Place Two, still on the west side of this block. (No not “still.” It is now a sporting goods store.)
And in 1939 this block also featured four book stores. The eventual demise of three of these was, perhaps, inevitable as the University Book Store developed into one of the largest anywhere.
(First appeared in Pacific on June 29, 1986.)
In 1925 the University District tried to change its name. It had become such a metropolitan neighborhood that it promoted itself as “UniverCity.” The name didn’t catch on but the district itself did.
One large addition that year was the University Book Store, which moved out of its basement rooms in the old Meany Hall and onto University Way. At the time this move off campus was expected to be temporary, but business on the “Ave” proved so good the bookstore stayed put.
Another evidence of this cultural vigor was district resident and promoter T. L. Murphy’s decision to clear a few front yards and houses, including his own, on University Way north of 45th St. and erect a showpiece 1,300-seat theater. The two historical photos here show Murphy’s home (behind the car) and the Egyptian Theater which took its place,
opening on Christmas Day, 1925. Here the theater is two years old. The license plates on the auto parked below its marquee reveal the 1927 date. The matinee line of Gang comedy fans waits beside what is now the north door to Pay ‘N Save Drugs. (Or was when this was first published in 1986. Pay ‘N Save is long gone as most recently is its replacement, another drug company whose name I have now lost.)
Both these historical scenes are included in the Roy Neilsen’s book, UniverCity: The Story of the University District in Seattle. The commercial urge which replaced the theater with the drugstore in 1960 also unfortunately covered the building’s original delicate details with an undecorated modem facade. This conversion also replaced the theater’s charming chain-supported marquee with the drug store’s plastic sign.
In 1936, or one year before Roy Neilsen graduated from the University of Washington, the district branch of Pacific National Bank started collecting District photos through contests and other promotions. Roy Neilsen eventually became the manager of that bank, and now nine years retired, he returns a part of that collection to his neighbors through his book. (The bank’s and Neilsen’s collection of district photographs was steered to the U.W. Northwest Collections.)
(First appeared in Pacific on July 11, 1993.)
In 1921, Seattle citizens were concerned and sometimes obsessed with its tired trolleys and deteriorating tracks. So the subject of this Engineering Department photograph probably was the street, University Way. The scene looks south on “The Ave” across 47th Street Northeast. The date, March 17, is penciled on the back of the original print.
This photo also tells a good deal about the movement of commerce north to “The Upper Ave.” The four-story Adeline Apartments on the right is nearly new here. RE-NU-DYE Works occupies the storefront on the corner; one door south is Paysse Hardware. Sibbe and Belle Paysse’s hardware was the first business north of the lake and west of Fremont when it opened in 1889 not in Brooklyn (an early name for the University District) but in Latona. When the new University Bridge replaced the span at Latona, the Paysses moved to the Adeline. In 1928, they sold out to Ernst.
In 1921 most of the east side of 14th Ave. (renamed University Way) north of 45th was still crowded with the big homes of university faculty members and student societies. The furthest roofline visible directly left of the streaking trolley was the mansion-sized neoclassical quarters for Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. The next year, they moved to their present dormitory two blocks east on 47th. By the end of the decade this east side of the street was crowded with businesses including J.C. Penney, which opened in 1928.
The trolley was on the line named for its northern terminus, Cowen Park. Not until 1925 was the park’s pedestrian bridge replaced at 15th Avenue with one for trolleys and other traffic. At last the city’s “far north” was opened to ‘common carriers other than jitneys. It also allowed students of Roosevelt High to catch a streetcar to their new school’s front door.
Above, the Adeline in 1937, and below in 1994.
POST OFFICE on the AVE
(First appear in Pacific on July 19, 1987.)
One summer morning circa 1930, the photographer Lloyd Linkletter climbed to the roof of the two-story commercial building at the northwest comer of 43rd Avenue N.E. and University Way and shot kitty-corner to the future location of the University District post office. It was not one of those “future-site” photos, for at the time Linkletter could not have known that the random array of clapboard storefronts across the intersection would be replaced in 1937 by the radiantly white-washed P.O..
Linkletter came to Seattle in 1906 on the last of the immigrant trains paying only ten dollars for a one-way fare that was designed to make it easy to move west. For 31 years he worked in the district covering events both on and off campus, moving his studio several times, including a stint on “the Ave” in the Lisbon Apartments, here on the right. When the management raised the rents, the Linkletters made their last studio move in 1931 from the Lisbon and off the Ave. to Brooklyn Street.
The district’s principal photographer died in 1937, the same year that the quaint arrangement of frame storefronts showing here was removed for the construction of the new post office. An estimated 5,000 letters in specially-designed envelopes featuring a sketch of the new post office and stamped with a special opening day cancellation stamp were mailed here on December 30, 1937. That evening a reported “throng” of 2,000 attended the opening ceremonies and were “thrilled” by the state champion University Legion’s drum and bugle corps.
Towering above both the “now-&-then” scenes, the 1927 Gothic belfry of University Methodist Temple gives a distinguished backdrop to the block. The landmark’s education wing on 43rd was added in 1956. These Methodists are one of the oldest congregations in the neighborhood. They were organized in 1891 before they or the district were identified with the University of Washington which was then still downtown.
According to long-time University District real estate scion Don Kennedy, the Lisbon apartments were built in 1908 for tourist accommodations for the summer-long 1909 Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition on the university campus. Needing office space, Kennedy bought the Lisbon in 1945, renamed it the Kennedy Building, and in 1948 replaced the old bay windows that overlooked the Ave with a facade of the then-new concrete material called Marble Crete. Both Kennedy and the marble composite are still on the site. (In 1987, and still may be. I talked with Kennedy while doing research for this little feature, and he explained to me that he changed the name of the building from the Lisbon to the Kennedy not so much from pride of being the new owner but rather because “Lisbon is too easily confused with lesbian.”)
Above, 1994 and below a warm August evening on 43rd in 1969. (Or was it ’98?)
HORSE LOGGING on 15th Ave N.E.
(First appeared in Pacific Jan. 1, 1999)
The profile of the University of Washington’s Parrington Hall is still familiar behind trees and bushes in this view, which looks east across 15th Avenue Northeast from near Northeast 41st Street. This may be a scene from the 1916 “Big Snow,” which after the February 1880 storm, was the region’s biggest. Or perhaps it is “about 1906” as Roy Nielsen speculates in “Univercity,” his 1986 history of the University District. Publishing this neighborhood history was the fulfillment of Nielsen’s retirement plans, and he illustrated it for the most part with photographs – including this one – from the collection of his former employer, the University District’s First Interstate Bank. Nielsen chose the 1906 date because, he explained, it was then that “the area north of the University was logged,” referring no doubt to the formal opening of developer James Moore’s University Park Addition, the blocks now crowded with sororities and fraternities.
Whatever the date, this slippery 15th Avenue Northeast offers a rare opportunity for this horse logger to drag his old-growth treasures to the lumber mill operating on Portage Bay near the foot of Brooklyn Avenue.
In the fall of 1890 James Moore hired Harry Cowan to clear 50 acres east of Latona for the development of his new addition. He called it Brooklyn, which still was its name when incorporated into the city a half year later. Seattle’s 1891 expansion – from Magnolia to the future University District – more than doubled its territory but added only about 2,500 citizens to the city’s population of a few more than 40,000.
Most who lived in Brooklyn were building homes along its “main street,” Brooklyn Avenue, two blocks west of this scene. There, in the spring of 1891, the Post-Intelligencer reported that “fifty beautiful residences were being built by some of the best people in the city.” Brooklyn was designed to also be the new neighborhood’s business strip, but when the trolley chose 14th Avenue one block east of Brooklyn for its line, predictably businesses built to the sides of the future University Way, aka “The Ave.”
TWICE IN THE BLUE MOON
Here is Henry “Hank” Reverman posing behind the counter of the Blue Moon Tavern – twice. The newer scene was photographed in mid May of this year when (standing beside him) Gus Hellthaler, the Moon’s present owner coxed the 91-year-old Reverman to return to the tavern he opened in 1934 and draw a few celebrity schooners for the regulars.
The older view dates from a year or two after the twenty-one year old Reverman put the repeal of prohibition and the University of Washington’s “one mile sobriety rule” together and converted a dirt floor garage at 712 NE 45th into the closest legal bar to the campus. Almost instantly and then regularly a “cash cow” jumped over this moon. Second only to the then famous downtown sports bar the Ben Paris, the Blue Moon emptied 25 barrels of beer on a typical Saturday. Since blue laws then kept bars dark on Sunday students who were either old enough to drink or could mature instantly with the help of borrowed identification often carried beer home for the weekend.
Once lubricated Reverman’s typical clientele of sportsman and fraternity brothers could get ornery, so the young owner hired local boxers like Freddy Steele and “Doc” Snell to tend bar. However, neither they nor the ten dollars a week he paid the police (on their request) could protect him from the liquor agents. Still Hank Reverman was only closed down once and that for serving an underage coed who gained entry with false ID. This he soon surveyed was a blessing for it allowed him to wash and paint the floor.
Hank Reverman sold his Blue Moon in 1940 to become a pilot. During the Second World War he flew C-47s over the hump between India and China and earned three bronze stars doing it. Soon after the war Reverman opened the Lake Union Flying Service on Westlake Avenue. He still flies. Columnist Emmett Watson whom he calls “a damn good pilot.” was one his many pupils and a close friend. They often flew short hops to Husky football games and longer ones when the trout were biting in remote lakes. (Hand has passed since this feature first appeared.)