THE BACHELOR LIFE
(Played by Max Loudon – Click to Enlarge)
The weekly now-then feature in Pacific began nearly 30 years ago, on the Sunday of Jan 17, 1982. One of the pleasant surprises that followed having a place in the big pulp was – and still is – the people who want to share or show old photographs with me. Grace McAdam was one of the first readers to make contact with me – I think it was through the help of John Hanawalt at Old Seattle Paperworks in the Pike Place Market (which, is still imbedded there in the lower level next to the Big Shoe Museum.) Grace brought two albums and several loose snapshots that her brother Max had recorded in the first years of the 20th Century. At the time I met Grace her old brother was no longer living – except through her memories and his pictures and a few letters. All of it revealed a man of considerable zest that included what seems, at least, to have had a passionate commitment to the life of a single in his prime. Grace noted that her brother Max was quite popular with her girlfriends.
The bachelor life of Max Loudon is revealed in the albums he carefully filled with snapshots he took of his many adventures. Included are records of joyful events: the spontaneous November 1918 Armistice Day celebrations on the streets of downtown, the arrival of the circus to the lower Queen Anne fields (now Seattle Center), and skating on Green Lake during the long freeze of 1916.
We’ll include here mostly group shots, and most of these of women. Truth is he took many more pictures of women he worked and sported with then of men. Directly below is a snapshot of Max on the right with his brother Earl standing in their swimsuits at some public beach where they are warned to wash away the sand before they use the pool. It may well be the pool at Luna Park or another on Alki Beach. Below it Grace McAdams romps on Alki beach with two friends. Grace is on the right and Luna Park behind her.
And another of Grace this time “whipped” by her other bother, Earl, as Max snaps.
Born in Nebraska in 1881, Loudon dropped out of Omaha High School at the age of 15 and headed west to Seattle. Here his personable intelligence (aka charm) carried him through an assortment of vocational adventures: manager of a semi-professional baseball team, traveling superintendent for a grocery wholesaler in Montana, manager of the general store for a logging company in Yacolt, Wash., and a trip north to Nome, Alaska, seeking gold – what else? As revealed in his letters home, this last adventure soon turned hellishly cold when his steamer stuck in the ice for two weeks.
Here in Seattle, the young Loudon cut his commercial teeth working nine years for Schwabacher Bros. Wholesale Grocers. He became warehouse superintendent for the Grocetaria Stores, in charge of all departments. His salary -whopping for the time -was $150 a month. I was enough, most likely, to support his sporting life as an amateur boxer for the Seattle Athletic Club, an expert fencer, a medalist marksman and – at least from the evidence of his albums – a man confident in the company of women.
A few of the Loudon’s subjects included here feature Stewart and Holmes Drugstore employees. Some he posed on the alley trestle that runs above the railroad tracks entering the southern end of the city’s railroad tunnel, below Fourth Avenue and Washington Street.
Both Grace and Max followed local theatre on stage and back, and Grace also played some parts.