Seattle Now & Then: Section Lines on Wallingford Hill

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking through the main business intersection of what once called the Wallingford Hill District, but now is simply Wallingford. Trolley 702 looks west on 45th Street and across Meridian Street. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
NOW: Built in 1929 the terra cotta adorned northeast corner of 45th and Meridian survives, presently as a busy coffee bar for Tully’s. (Jean is on his family’s traditional August vacation to LaPush. I shot this one.)

In 1940 Seattle Municipal Railways started to abandon its trollies before pulling up their rails, and the old orange-colored cars became increasingly photogenic, especially to Seattle’s rail fans.  Lawton Gowey, a rail fan extraordinaire but now, alas, long gone, shared this photo with me many years ago.

The intentions of the photographer – perhaps Lawton’s father – might have been to make another 11th hour recording of a cherished common carrier.  Lawton would have known that car No.702, which is stopping for a rider here on 45th Street at Meridian Avenue, was manufactured in 1913 in Cincinnati, Ohio for the then still privately owned Seattle Electric Company.  No. 702 was one of twenty-two cars built to the same long design – from headlight to tail light cars 701 to 722 extended 49 feet and 2 inches. Trollies on the Meridian Line were abandoned on May 5,1940 and scrapped soon after.

This trolley portrait was photographed sometime between its May ‘40 abandonment and March 11, 1938, the day the A&P Super Market, here at the northeast corner of 45th and Meridian, and another in Ballard had their grand openings.  They promised “always one low price and no specials . . . You will know that you shopped by wisely and profitably at the A&P super market.”

The meeting of 45th Street and Meridian Ave began in the forest, when federal surveyors carrying their Gunter Chains described – and marked – the future streets as the west (Meridian) and north (45th) borders for the 640 acres of federal land section number seventeen.  That done the settlers could identify their claims with some precision.

A&P’s brick and tile corner was built in 1929, just in time for the Great Depression.  From 1935 thru 1937, at least, the well-ornamented corner was vacant until A&P opened it to “wise” shoppers in ’38 and stayed until 1942 when it too moved on.  The northeast corner then went dark again.  (Many thanks here to Jeannette Voiland, Seattle Room librarian-historian at the Seattle Public Library’s Central Branch, for helping with the A&P chronology.)


Anything to add, Paul?

SURE Jean, and Ron will start out by making some picture-triggered  links to a few other and related features that have appeared on this blog.   Then I’ll grab a few past features from Pacific that visit the neighborhood (it’s Wallingford) and whatever else comes forward that seems fit to fit.


FIRST,  a few random looks at the same intersection of 45th and Meridian, including another look at A&P MARKET and a sample of its newsprint ads.

Opening Day values. March 10, 1938
Dec. 7, 1939 - it ran in the Times.
One block west at Burke Ave. a neighbor competitor.
You may risk a date by the autos showing. Seafair bagpipes, looking east on 45th thru Meridian.
An early Seafair Kiddy Parade, looking east on 45th from Wallingford Ave. (Courtesy Stan Stapp)
Scene from the 2008 Kiddy Parade at Corliss and near the starting line.

Three of four of the hundreds of records I made of this corner between 2006 and 2010 when I walked a Wallingford Walk that – on a full day – include repeating more than 400 sites for animation (or time lapse).   About 25 examples of these TIMELAPSES are the Wallingford part of the REPEAT PHOTO show that is now on exhibit at the MUSEUM of HISTORY and INDUSTRY.  (Come early to the lecture this coming THURSDAY and watch them – and Paris Now-Then too!)

Looking kitty-korner at 45th and Meridian, June 12, 2008.
November 8, 2008
June 29, 2009. These three - and the hundres more - were photogaphed from the top of the trash can resting to the side of the brick bank that holds the southwest corner.

Follows now a reprint of The Seattle Times full-page photo montage on Wallingford’s 45th Street for the Oct. 25, 1925 issue.   Using the same framing I repeated these in early December of 1992.  The long Times report that accompanied their montage is on display with many other Wallingford images at the Blue Star Cafe at 46th and Stone Way.  Before I could put captions up for the exhibit there, the owner lost interest in the cafe and sold it to the present owner.  The pictures are still without captions, except for this S.Times feature.  A quick study will reveal that there have been both business and physical changes in the nineteen years since.   (Click and click again to enlarge you may be able to read the captions.)


Then Caption:  Neighbors pose on the front steps of photographer Lawrence Lindsley’s Wallingford home sometime in October 1918 when the city was “dark” and closed-down during the Spanish Flu’s Seattle visit.  The masks were required although the law was rarely enforced.  (Picture courtesy of Dan Eskenazi)

Now Caption:  Wallingford neighbor’s repeat the 1918 flu shot behind masks pulled from one of the group’s mask collection.   Only one among the seven is neither hidden nor unnamed: the Chihuahua Sparky.   (now photo by Jean Sherrard)


Dan Eskenazi, Seattle photo collector and old friend of mine, first shared with me these masked ladies posing with masked cats on the unlikely chance that I might know the porch.  Had the snapshot revealed a street number the choices would have been narrowed city-wide to a few hundred front steps.  But Dan’s little 3×4 inch print does better.  The names of the women are penciled on the back.  The flipside caption reads,  “Top row, Anna Kilgore, E. K. Barr, Ms Anna S. Shaw.  Lower row, Penelope and Tommy, Mrs Shaw and Golly.”

So seven creatures including the cats Tommy and Golly and all of them wearing masks by order of the mayor.  By the time the 1918 flu epidemic reached Seattle at the end of September la Grippe had caused more deaths world-wide than the First World War. When the rule about masks was lifted for good on Armistice Day, Nov. 11 the streets were quickly filled with bare-faced revelers.  Still Dr. T. D. Tuttle, the state’s commissioner of health, warned that “people who have influenza are in the crowds that are celebrating victory.  They will be in the street cars, in the theaters, in the stores.” Tuttle also confessed, “the order had been more or less a farce as far as the masks are concerned.”  (This explains, perhaps, why there are so few mask photos extant.)

Returning to the snapshot’s penciled caption, four of the five women are listed in the 1918 city directory living at 108 E. 43rd Street, in Wallingford.  Since that address is about 100 steps from my own I was soon face to face with Dan’s unidentified porch, except that it was one house west of 108.  But this slight move presented an opportunity.  It hints, at least, of the photographer.

104 E. 43rd Street was built in 1918, the year that the photographer Lawrence Denny Lindsley, the grandson of city founders David and Louisa Denny, moved in.  Perhaps Lindsley took the snapshot of his neighbors sitting on his new front steps soon after he took possession with his bride Pearl.  Married on September 20, 1918, tragedy soon followed.  Both Pearl and their only child Abbie died in 1920.  Lindsley married again in 1944 and continue to live at 104 into the 1970s.   When he died in 1974, this son of the pioneers was in his 90s and still taking photographs.

Neighbors Exposed - for this Jean took my place (at the top and nearest the front door) and I his camera.
Another 1918 pandemic scene, this one on 3rd Ave. So. south of Washington Street. Max Loudon took this. His sister shared his albums with me long ago. By now this is a local "classic" of that flu, and has been used many times over. We made sure that the U.W. Northwest Collection got a copy - or copies - again, long ago.


Above:  Identified as a scene on the east shore of Lake Union the narrow passage between the photographer and the far shore suggests that the photograph was taken from somewhere near the west side of the University Bridge.   (Courtesy, Mike Maslan.)

Below: Photographed from the north shore of Lake Union, at the small waterfront park that borders Ivar’s Salmon House on its west side.  At the bottom of the featured text is a look east towards the south end of the University Bridge and thru the lumber mill that once held the lots now holding the Salmon House.


(First appeared in Pacific about five years ago.)

For the first time in a quarter-century of writing this little weekly feature I am, I admit, tempted to not include a “now” photograph to repeat the historical scene.

In the original Lowman family photo album from which it is lifted the roughly 3×4 inch print is clearly titled, “East side Lake Union, 1887.”  We may have a general confidence in the caption, for there are many other photographs in the album that are accurately described.   But with this caption we are left hanging and asking, “But where on the east side?”

The earliest photographs of Lake Union are a few panoramas photographed from the since razed Denny Hill in the mid-1880s.  None of those, however, help in identifying this extremely rare detail of the lakeshore from such an early date as 1887.  We can see that there has been some clearing of the forest back from the far shoreline, and in the immediate foreground a sawed-off stump nestles near a still standing cedar.

1887 was the year in which the Seattle Lakeshore and Eastern Railroad was laid along the north shore of Lake Union through the future neighborhoods of Fremont, Edgewater (near Stone Way), Wallingford/Latona and the University District.  Perhaps the photographer hitched a ride on the railroad and took this snapshot looking southeast from near the little north shore park that is now at the foot of 4th Ave. NE (just west of Ivar’s Salmon House).  By 1887 Lowman, Yesler’s relative and his business manager, was one of Seattle’s primary capitalists, and could have easily persuaded the engineer to stop anywhere along the line.)

This conjecture may also help account for the how in the 1887 scene the shoreline draws closer to the photographer on the left side of the cedar.  Historical maps of the undeveloped east shoreline of Lake Union show such an irregularity just south of where the 1-5 Freeway Bridge sinks its piers on the east shore of the lake.

The Wayland cedar shingle mill, now the site of Ivar's Salmon House. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive, Bellevue Community College branch.)


Above & Below: The assorted littered of shingles, coal, and railroad cars are scattered to the side of the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Right of way. The photo dates most likely from the day following the “Great Latona Train Wreck” of August 20, 1894.  On the far left a crane has begun the clean up.  Boys from the neighborhood sit on the roof of the tiled boxcar at the center.   The house on the horizon survives at 3808 Eastern Avenue north.  Built in 1890 it is easily one of the oldest north end homes. The railroad right-of-way also survives, sans tracks, as the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail. (Historical photo courtesy of Roy Nielsen)


At 5pm on the Monday afternoon of Aug. 20, 1894 a west bound freight of the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern entered the curve at Latona on the north shore of Lake Union.  Engineer Osborn looked up and saw several cattle jousting near the track. In an instant a cow was gored and fell directly in front of the train lifting the engine off the track.  Osborn cut the steam, threw the reverse lever and held on before he was thrown from the cab.  (He survived the ejection well enough to frantically run to Fremont to stop the northbound passenger train.)

Within seconds of the derailment the ten cars filled with tons of coal, logs and shingles telescoped, propelling the coal tender beyond the engine.  In the process it sheered the left side of the engine’s cab.  When two shingle weavers from a nearby Latona mill first reached the wreck they saw through the still swirling steam and dust the horrific sight of brakeman Frank Parrot’s decapitated body propped against the boiler with his head lying between his legs.  The mutilated fireman Thomas Black lay nearby.  Black had been anxious to complete the trip and pick up his pay check, for his wife was waiting at home penniless and alone with their two children.  She was also eight months pregnant.

To the side of the engine the shingle weavers laid the bodies of the two victims and covered them with green brush. Within an hour the coroner arrived aboard a special train that also carried railroad officials and a wrecking crew of 30 men.

The trail of grease left by the dragged cow was used later to determined the distance the engine bumped along the ties before it veered to the right and buried its nose in the small trees and bushes that lined the embankment.  The Press-Times reported on Tuesday that the trail ran “about 200 feet.”  The stack of the engine peeks above the upset boxcar, just left of center.

Follow another now-then of the Seattle Lake  Shore and Eastern right-of-way, but many years later for the running of the Casey Jones Excursion, the last passenger train to use the tracks on June 29, 1957.    Lawton Gowey, rail Fan and photographer, got up early to chase Casey Jones with his camera.


Above: The pile trestle of the Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad was built along Lake Union’s north shore during the summer of 1887.  This scene of the passenger train was photographed a year or two later.  (Courtesy University of Washington Library, Special Collections)


(First appeared in Pacific August 28, 1984)

Photographer David Judkins and the lumberman J.R. McDonald both came to Seattle in 1883. This week’s view of the train posing on the pile trestle on Lake Union’s northern shore was photographed by Judkins in 1888 or 1889. The name of the steam engine, painted on the coal bin at its rear, is the J.R. McDonald. In 1887, McDonald was named president of this railroad, the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern.

This is probably the oldest view of Lake Union shot from what is now, part of Wallingford. The familiar ridge of Capitol Hill runs across the entire scene – clear cut on the right, but still forested on the left. The darker firs in the middle distance on the far left are on the peninsular tip of what is now Gas Works Park.

Judkins probably got off the train to take its portrait. He set his tripod a short distance east of the present intersection of Stone Way North and North Northgate Way.

In Judkins’ scene, passengers are leaning out of the windows and doors, from between the cars, and that may be the fireman posing atop the engine’s cowcatcher. The train is pointed toward Seattle, and is possibly returning from its popular Sunday excursion run to Snoqualmie Falls.

Perhaps SLS & E president McDonald arranged with Judkins to have this photo taken of his railroad and his namesake engine. The January 1890 issue of West Shore Magazine featured McDonald as a Northwestern paragon of how “brains, energy and enterprise” had made for the “wonderful development of the west.”

But it really wasn’t McDonald’s engine or his railroad. One month after the West Shore’s praises, McDonald resigned his presidency and sued the railroad for the $6,000 annual salary he claimed was owed him. McDonald had been a regional figurehead for a company financed with eastern capital and managed by easterners. Not needed, he returned to his lumber and his name was retired from the SLS & E’s rolling stock.


Above: The Buhtz family’s barrel factory was one of the first manufacturers to put Lake Union to work.  Below:  This “now” was recorded today – Oct. 8, 2011 – which is to say (and write) yesterday.


(First appeared in Pacific March 25, 1990)

When the partnership of Albert Buhtz Sr. and Albert Buhtz Jr. started hand manufacturing barrels on the north shore of Lake Union in 1896, they could make 10 of them in a day. Twenty years later, with more than 50 coopers laboring under their roof, their output had increased a hundredfold. All of the Buhtzes’ barrels were made from Douglas Fir felled at the company’s forest reserve on Young’s Bay near Astoria, Ore., and by 1916 Western Cooperage was also manufacturing barrels in Portland.

This historkal view of the Buhtz factory was photographed about 1910, or not long after the Buhtzes changed their business name from Fremont Barrel Company to Western Cooperage. As the scene reveals, Lake Union then reached in as far as the present Northlake Way. To the left of the factory a Northern Pacific boxcar has been switched from the old Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern right-of-way (now the Burke-Gilman Trail) to the shoreside apron, perhaps to unload the bundles of Douglas Fir staves first prepared at the company’s Oregon mill and here stacked neatly on the timber quay.

A Western Cooperage team and wagon pose at Westlake and 4th Avenue. The flatiron Plaza Hotel surmounts.

Some of the company’s biggest consumers of their Lake Union containers were Alaskan fisherman. Other common products wrapped in a Western barrel were pickles and Washington State berries – although not together. The German immigrant Buhtz Senior was no doubt pleased that his barrels were also used regularly to store sauerkraut.

This factory on Northlake Way kept producing barrels long after the Buhtzes had left the scene. The last assembler was active here into the 1970s.  Next a protected home for vessels, the elaborately remodeled barrel factory is now (in 2011) in part home for the Marine Diver’s Institute of Technology.

Postcard artist Oakes looks east from the north end of Queen Anne Hill to Western Cooperage on the Wallingford peninsula, ca. 1908.


The Latona Boat House seen from the Latona Bridge that ran in line with the I-5 Freeway's Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge.


(First appeared in Pacific Oct. 6,1996)

Faded considerably from when it was first exposed in the unnamed postcard photographer’s darkroom, this view is a one-of-a-kind record of the Latona waterfront, circa 1911, or at least that part of it east of the Latona Bridge, from which it was photographed.

This captioned commercial view was included in a packet of snapshots, postmarked 1911, which depicted a summer day of canoeing and courting – judging from the messages written on their flip side – on Lake Union, Portage Bay and through the old Montlake log canal. Perhap’s the couple’s canoe was rented from the Latona Boat House.

In 1911 Orick and Florence Huntosh were proprietors there. The listing from the city directory that year reads in part, “Fishing boats and tackle in season, storage and boats to let, Latona Station, 651 Northlake Ave, Phone No. 148.”

Other landmarks include the faded roof line of the University of Washington’s Parrington Hall (upper right), and the Cascade Coal Company’s bunkers and spur (upper left) off the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad (Burke-Gilman Trail) right-of-way. Cutting through most of the view, the black line of the city water department’s 32-inch wood-stave pipeline completes its bridging of Portage Bay and goes underground again at Seventh Avenue Northeast.

Perhaps the earliest photo of the Latona Bridge, and from the Wallingford side. A contemporary repeat would look, in part, through the Salmon House parking.

By 1911 it was known that Latona’s trolley and pipeline bridges would need to be removed for the Lake Washington Ship Canal. In 1912 water superintendent L.B. Youngs recommended that a tunnel replace the pipeline bridge – one big enough to also carry streetcar lines and other traffic. Young’s ambitious solution to cross-canal traffic would have precluded the need for countless motorists to wait on the University Bridge, since it replaced the Latona Bridge in 1919. Three years earlier, the water department’s tunnel carrying a 42-inch steel pipe replaced the old timber trestle seen, in part, here.


Above:  Swanson’s Shoe Repair in Wallingford is one of those few specialist shops that has survived in a consumer culture that is increasingly inclined to throw things away rather than fix them.     Photo Courtesy of  Swanson Shoe Repair.

Below:  The lighting fixture hanging from the ceiling and much of Swanson Shoe Repair’s sanders, buffers and stitcher’s survive from the store’s post World War 2 move from downtown to Wallingford’s 45th Street.

“If George Can’t Fix ‘Em, Skip ‘Em”

(dates from 2007)

When Swedish immigrant George Swanson Sr. moved his shoe repair from downtown to Wallingford in 1946 he counted seven cobblers in the neighborhood.  Sixty years later the shop’s motto “If George can’t fix ‘em, skip ‘em” seems certified.  His is the only cobbler still cutting it on 45thStreet, Wallingford’s “Main Street.”

The historical interior view is easily dated by the Norman Rockwell calendar on the back wall.  It shows January, 1950.  From the middle of the scene George Sr. peers above a counter-top sign that is still in the shop and even in place although now half hidden beneath a higher counter. Ten years more and George Sr. passed the business on to George Jr., here left of center, allowing “grandpa” to retire to a corner of the shop and concentrate on handcrafting the traditional wooden clogs he first learned to make as a teenager in Sweden.  Grandma Hannah Swason is on the right.

Now George Jr’s. son Danny and his sister Patty Mayhle do the cobbling while protecting the shop from unwanted glitz.  They appear in the “now”  with Danny’s 12 year old daughter  Hannah (standing on a stool) and 15 year old son Daniel  to the right.

An early night view of the Swanson's Wallingford shop.
An early exterior, but as early as the nut shop - below - that preceded the shoe shop.
A WPA tax photo from the late 1930s, used courtesy of the Washington State Archive. (For instructions on how to get a WPA tax photo of a property you are interested in (your home?) call Greg Lange at the Bellevue Branch of the Washington State Archive. His number there is 425-564-3942.)

A visit to 2305 North 45th Street, (next to Al’s neighborhood tavern) begins at the windows with its permanent exhibit of cobbler artifacts collected by the three generations of Swansons.  Once inside the collection continues throughout the shop to such a depth as to seem archeological. Swanson’s is one of the “stations” on my “Wallingford Walk” and I visit the shop almost daily.

Mayor Ulman pays a visit to the Swanson's work bench.
George Jr. with the shop's black cat standing near the customer counter with bench byond, photographed thru the front window.
The bench itself, or a close-up of part of it.


Above: St. Benedict Catholic Church’s original sanctuary was at the southeast corner of North 48th Street and Densmore Avenue North.  (Courtesy, Old Seattle Paperworks)  Below:  A generous panorama of Wurstfest 2008 looks north thru the original site of the parish church.


The contemporary record was photographed looking thru the site of the old parish – now part of St. Benedict School’s playground – in the embrace of Wallingford annual Wurstfest.  The panorama looks north towards North 48th Street with the parish school on the right and the very rear of the modern church that is already 53 years old. (in 2008)  It sits at the northwest corner of 48th and Wallingford Avenue.

St. Benedict is one of the oldest North End Catholic parishes; construction began in 1906. The congregation celebrated its first Mass in the basement the following April and continued there until the church’s September dedication. In 1908 the structure’s basement and first floor were busy weekdays serving the parish school, where children entered through the side door, here on the left. Mass was held on the third floor in a sanctuary approached from the front door on Densmore Avenue, here on the right.

By the mid-1930s the congregation left its top-floor sanctuary to celebrate Mass in its new school auditorium and stayed there until the modern church was dedicated in 1955. Soon after the new schoolhouse was dedicated in 1924, the Catholic Progress described it as the “largest and finest Catholic school in the diocese.” Its student body of nearly 400 swelled by the early ’60s to nearly 700. One of its instructors then, Blanch LeBlanc, developed a program for learning disabilities that was copied in Seattle’s schools, where LeBlanc became assistant superintendent.

Historically, Wallingford was a neighborhood of working-class souls -and therefore many sausage eaters. Begun in 1983 as a means of raising money for the parish school, “The Great Wallingford Wurst Festival” has become a community event, attended by an estimated 40,000 – a few more than the 900 families that now belong to the parish.

The modern St. Benedict - now 56 years old - with its topping cross here cropped off.


Built in 1913 in a “shake style” that fit its neighborhood, the Wallingford firehouse was, from the beginning, a joint home for firefighters and police.  It stands at the southwest corner of Densmore Ave. N. and 45th Street.  The “now” (below) was photograph today! – Oct. 8, 2011.


(First appeared in Pacific Nov. 11, 1992)

Wallingford’s Firehouse No. 11, was built in 1913. Horse-drawn apparatuses charged from the station’s unique accordion-style doors until 1921, when the animals were replaced by a motor pumper.

Station No. 11 was designed by city architect D.R. Huntington to complement the surge of bungalow-style homes then ascending above Wallingford’s modest properties. The station’s drying tower topped the lot and the immediate neighborhood.

Firefighters shared this cedar-shake station with the police until they left it to them in 1965. The forces stayed on until 1984, when health providers moved in. A year earlier, when the station was first listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the neighborhood’s “re-use task force” determined that a health clinic was No. 11 ‘s most appropriate use, and the landmark fire station became the 45th Street Community Clinic. It is the only community health clinic north of the Lake Washington Ship canal.  (Or at least “was” when I first wrote this in 1992.) The clinic’s large Latino clientele is served by a staff bilingual in Spanish.

Part of the old firehouse ground floor is also home for the Wallingford-Wilmot branch of the Seattle Public Library. (No more. The library has moved a block west on 45th.)


Above: When constructed in 1904 Interlake Elementary was literally in the sticks.  Below: Since 1985 the classic old schoolhouse has been known as the Wallingford Center.


(First appeared in Pacific Oct. 21, 1990)

In 1904, the year the Seattle school board opened Interlake School, the intersection of Wallingford Avenue and N.E. 45th Street was still a mess of stumps and street work. This unkempt isolation was short-lived. Only three years later Lincoln High School was opened three blocks to the west, and trolley tracks were laid from the University District along 45th Street as far as Meridian Avenue, two blocks east of the school. The Wallingford neighborhood was soon full of children, and, in time, Interlake became one of the largest elementary schools in Seattle.

Interlake was an architectural echo of its neighbor to the north, Green Lake Elementary. Both schools, and several others in the system, were concretions of school-district architect James Stephen’s 1902 master plan for outfitting the city with well-lit classically styled frame schoolhouses. That Interlake was not razed (the eventual fate of Green Lake Elementary) after closing in 1981 was the result of a happy wedding of circumstances, including its prime location, its landmark status and the initiative of developer Lorig Associates.

Wallingford Center, opened in 1985, includes 24 top-floor apartments and 38,000 square feet of mixed commercial uses, including two restaurants, a bookstore and a bagel factory.  (First written in 1990 the tenants have since changed.) It has developed into the retail focus of the Wallingford community, and this year (again, 1990) was awarded the Seattle Design Commission’s “Neighborhood Design That Works” award.


Above:  Carnival rides begin to take shape on the parking lot of Interlake School (The Wallingford Center) circa 1953.  The view looks north and a little east from N. 44th Street to Burke Ave. N.  The now 103 year old Interlake School – since 1985 Wallingford Center — is just out of the scene to the left.   Below:  This season since May 16th last, the Wallingford Center parking lot has been a Wednesday destination where families meet farmers, many of them organic growers.  (Historical picture courtesy of Stan Stapp.)

WEEKEND CARNI’ – WEDNESDAY MARKET  (Carousels & Cauliflowers)

(First appeared in 2007.)

Pacific Northwest readers old enough to remember the post-World War Two years may find sufficient clues in the accompanying photograph to figure out what is being constructed.  With the flamboyant font typical of circus broadsides, the purveyor, Earl O. Douglas, has written his namesake company’s tag, “Douglas Greater Shows”, on the sides of the big trucks that carry all the gear needed to assemble a week-end carnival.

Here on the rear parking lot of Wallingford’s Interlake School – since 1985 Wallingford Center — Douglas will soon accept dimes from kids in the neighborhood for admittance to his several thrill rides and some cotton candy.

The historical photos came from Stan Stapp, longtime editor of the North Central Outlook, a weekly tabloid that served Wallingford and adjacent neighborhoods for several decades.  This old friend, recently deceased, was known for his vivid memory and could, no doubt, have told me when these pictures appeared in his paper.   I made an admittedly too rapid search of Outlook issues from 1949 through 1952 and failed to find this construction scene or any of the other carnival shots that Stan shared with me years ago.  (One of the scenes in that small collection included a gleaming 1949 Dodge sedan.)

The Wallingford Avenue side looking north to Foodland, the predecessor of first Food Giant and now QFC.

We don’t need the exact year for Douglas’s visit to Wallingford to make the point how tastes have changed in the ensuing half-century – at least those tastes involved in the innovative use of school parking lots.   The cotton candy has been replaced with a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, confections and some crafts.  They are barely restrained beneath by the rows of tents pitched every Wednesday during the warm months beside Wallingford Center.  (The Wallingford Farmers Market has since moved off Wallingford Center’s parking lot to the grasses of Meridian Park. I think the move had something to do with Wallingford Center residents complaints about parking, or general commotion to the, for them, himby parking lot.)

The Wallingford Center Farmers Market is the latest creation of the non-profit Seattle Farmers Market Association.  It first opened last June and is by now and by habit my favorite Wednesday afternoon destination.  (This was true when I first wrote it a few years past.  Now I need to concentrate on making it to the new location.  Yes the parking is not so convenient and neither are these old legs so steadfast.)


Above & Below:  Looking southeast from the corner of N. Allen Place and Interlake Avenue North the circa 1914 view of Lincoln High and its new North Wing looks very much like the contemporary record.  The original 1907 symmetrical section faces Interlaken Avenue on the far right and in the “now” view only the 1930 south wing is mostly hidden behind the landscaping. (Historical Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey)


This little sketch of Lincoln High School history began by consulting Nile Thompson and Carolyn M. Marr’s “Building for Learning, Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000.”  And within this nearly new book we learn that although Lincoln High closed its doors to Wallingford teens in 1981 the now nearly century old story of the school on Interlake Avenue is far from over.

First in 1997 it was the students of Ballard who used a renovated Lincoln campus while a new Ballard High School was built for them.  Next followed the kids from Latona for their two-year stint during the renovation of their campus and now Roosevelt High is harbored in these egalitarian halls while north end students get their own makeover.  (The Roosevelt visit, of course, required a special street parking study inWallingford.)  And other schools will probably be coming to Lincoln in the years ahead.

In a way the Roosevelt visit is a return of what that school took from Lincoln when it opened in 1922 capturing about half of the older school’s territory with it.

Early in 1906 an anxious school board committee scouted the Wallingford site when there were still stump fields scattered about from the original clear-cutting of the late 1880s.  The 30 room “Little Red Brick Schoolhouse” was built with speed and 900 students were enrolled the following September – many of them from Queen Anne.  Two years later Queen Anne got its own high school, which it has also since lost.   Still Lincoln kept growing.

This view dates probably from 1914, the year its new north wing (shown here) was added.  In 1930 a south wing followed and in 1959 an east side addition as well.  That year Lincoln was the largest high school in town with an enrollment of 2,800.  And yet acting like a barometer for the cultural changes of 1960s and 1970s in only another 21 years Lincoln High School, home of fighting Lynxes, would close for a rest until it would reopen again and again and most likely yet again and again.


Above and below, looking west on 40th Street through its intersection with Bagley Ave. N.


(First appeared in Pacific Oct.8, 1989)

Since historical views off of Wallingford’s 45th Street are rare, this week’s “then” is a lucky find. It’s one of a batch of pictures taken for the Seattle Municipal Railway in 1920-21.

Here, North 40th Street is a good example of the cragged byways that served as neighborhood streets before paving. In wet weather they were reduced to impassable quagmires, although at many intersections pedestrians were given substantial assistance in crossing the street, enjoying the use of wood planks like those seen here in line with Bagley Avenue.

For much of its life the North 40th car line was truly a Wallingford service, running a short shuttle between the old Latona Bridge and Wallingford Avenue. Around 1925, North 40th was paved with six-inch thick concrete slabs, and buses replaced electric trolleys. The streetcars had a brief revival on North 40th in the spring of 1931, but by the fall of that year they were replaced for good by buses and the overhead wires were removed.

This intersection does have its community landmark – the Durn Good Grocery on the left. The grocery at 2133 N. 40th has been around since the early part of the century. In 1912 Michael and Sara Regan ran the store. In 1927 Charles and Caroline Irwin were behind the counter, and lived upstairs. The building is still owned by an Irwin descendant.  The place was named the Durn in the 1950s by Charley and Cynthia Robbins, its proprietors at the time. In the mid-1970s, store owner Gerry Baired added the “Good” to “Durn” and soon after sold it to its present owners Suzie and Thorn Swink.

Inside the Durn Good is a collection of nearly 2,000 cut-out color portraits. About 75 percent of the faces exhibited still shop at the Durn Good.  (Or did in 1989.)

(Since this was first composed in 1989, Durn Good lost its lease and move a few blocks west on 45th to new quarters at the northeast corner of 40th Street and Wallingford Avenue.  For a brief and pitiful time the new owners tried to run their own small grocery store, but were avoided by the many neighbors that stood loyal to Durn Good and its ways.  The old site shown here was later converted into a comfortable Irwin’s Bakery & Neighborhood Cafe and has survived as such now for a few years.)


Above: A rare – if not so spectacular – view into a Seattle neighborhood ca. 1906.  The then still largely rough University of Washington campus builds a dark curtain of evergreens behind the Latona skyline.  Below: A few of the homes showing in the “then” survive in the “now” although with one or two exceptions they are now hidden.  “Posing” are a few neighbors who were nearby when I visited the scene.  (Historical view courtesy Frank Harwood.)

LATONA GLIMPSE  (Looking East on 42ND STREET from 1st Ave. N.E.)

In 1906 or perhaps as late as early 1907, the photographer Frank Harwood visited the northwest corner of the Latona Addition and recorded this view looking east on 42nd Street from 1st Avenue N.E.   That the scene does not include any obvious landmarks is part of its unique appeal.  It is rare to find early views like this of “mere” residential street — rather than commercial ones.   (Perhaps Harwood who lived near Lakeview Cemetery on Capitol Hill was visiting a friend in Latona and/or Wallingford, which was directly behind.)

The 1906 date is figured from the Latona Primary School campus, which appears here right-of-center.  The white tower just to the left of the power pole (near the scene’s center) tops the first Latona School from 1891, the year that Latona and Brooklyn (University District) and Fremont (and much else in the North End) were annexed into Seattle.  To the left of the tower is the larger Latona School No. 2, which was completed in 1906.  So this year it celebrates its centennial, helped along by its 1999-2000 restoration.

The 1907 speculation is figured from the screen of trees on the horizon.  That is the part of the University District that beginning in 1907 was elaborately changed for the Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition of 1909.   None of the grant fair structures are yet apparent here.  They would be in 1908.    However, at the far left border of the scene is a glimpse of the University’s nearly new Science Hall, later renamed Parrington Hall.

The Latona Addition was filed in 1889, one year before Brooklyn.  At the north end of its namesake Latona Bridge it was, at least east of Fremont, the primary business center of the North End throughout the 1890s.  In 1902, however, under protest Latona lost its federal post office to “University Station” the then “hip” name the University District.

The UW’s enrollment in 1906 was 1200 students, 65 faculty and 40 non-academic employees.  Still that year the North End’s weekly tabloid “Vicinity of University” proposed “why not name the whole of the Tenth Ward Brooklyn instead of University Station, Latona, University Heights, Ravenna, Cook’s Corners, May’s Corners.”  Latona is still remembered by its school and street.  But what became of Cook and May?

The first of the Latona schools. This tower can be found in the above primary view holding just left of the power pole that is nearest the center of Harwood's here halved stereo that looks east on 42nd Street.
Another of the 400-plus stations of my Wallingford Walks (2006-2020), and this one one short block west on 42nd from the prospect taken a century earlier by Frank Harwood. Both scenes - the summer and the winter - involve the merging to two images in order to reach the the top of the tree on the parking strip.
A QUIZ: One of these members of the Seattle City Council is the namesake for this neighborhood - the one we have been elaborating. Which one, and what is his full name - or at least his first and last names, but by all means in proper order.
Another sign of Wallingford's multi-cultural affections.




5 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Section Lines on Wallingford Hill”

  1. I was born and raised in the Seattle area.. My Parents both were raised in the Wallingford District. My mother and father as well as all my Uncles all went to school there. My grandmother (Fathers mom) owned her home on the corner not even a half block away from LIncoln. I remember when I was a child.. there was a Chinese food restaurant on the very corner from the school.. I also remember for awhile when I was around 6th was closed. I remember yet when they reopened it.. and a church was there for a little bit. I have so many fond memories growing up in a City where it was constantly busy and you could get anywhere within minutes.. and that was either walking or taking the bus.

  2. I’ve enjoyed these “now and then” photos seemingly my whole life (51). I’ve especially enjoyed them over the last three decades, moving all over this country, never seeming able to get back home.

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