Another flip-flop issue with pages numbered in order and forward to the center within both covers. The color on the covers is unique and the paper too. Most likely Ken Monson printed the covers on his Heidelburg flat-sheet press and then farmed out the inside to a web press. Perhaps it is our first employ of the Mount Vernon Herald and its press to print the innards of this issue.
Recently while retired U.W. Archivist Rich Berner and I sat side-by-side looking at old photos together in the now old Museum of History and Industry Library, Rich pulled from an archival box this week’s subject and turned it to me. Instantly I felt that happy “Eureka” rush, for here, I was confident, was the Phinney Ridge Ferris wheel described to me long ago by a ridge partisan, who claimed that the big wheel stood across Phinney Ave. from the entrance to Woodland Park.
While thanking my informant for her memory, I continued to wonder if she wasn’t remembering instead the kiddie Ferris wheel and merry-go-round that were both once in the park, and not out of it. How, I thought, could I have missed a Ferris wheel on top of that familiar ridge? But I had, and so with Rich’s discovery I silently confessed – or thought, “Oh you of little faith.”
In the spring and early summer of 1925 George and Lucy Vincent installed first the “New Carousselle,” here generously signed above patriotic bunting at the front of their amusement center, and then “the Aristocrat,” which they described as “one of six giant Ferris Wheels on the North American Continent.” Both were, apparently, replacements for the smaller wheels they opened with in 1919 over considerable neighborhood resistance. George’s father Robert C. Vincent, age 76, died after a short illness early in 1920, not knowing if his top of the ridge amusements would survive.
The son and executor, George, using then a mix of licenses and zoning, the sympathy of friendly neighbors who liked living near these revolving excitements, the clout of free enterprise, the favors of club life, and one restraining order kept the Vincent business in place until the night of August 26-27, 1934 when it caught fire. Consumed was the Carousselle, the 62 hand-carved animals, the one thousand electric lights and the reflecting mirrors. Gone were the skating rink, two lunch rooms, and the transcendent Aristocrat. A few of the neighbors nearest to the ashes of the Carousselle’s mighty Wurlitzer Organ may have given thanks.
Leaning into our first winter we wonder how the street sellers will do. We help by giving them – and our own hawking too – this surely lovely cover by Jacques Thornton Moitoret, a dashing figure who grew up, in part, on an oversized Lake Union houseboat. On the inside cover – another not coated surface of common newsprint – you will find an essay that reviews the life and success of HELIX in this its seventeenth expression. Returning to Jacques, I am not sure if the date for this is issue is Dec. 1 or Dec. 2 as rendered by his hand. Check the cover. I think it more likely the former, that is, the first.
Imagine asking the famous – and stuffed – gorilla named Bobo what were the two most popular artifacts on show at what since early June of this year has been the old Museum of History and Industry in Montlake. Bobo – being a modest gorilla who thru many years kept a steady eye on the museum’s exhibits from his own glass case – would, I think, choose the “Founding of Seattle” diorama with its puppet pioneers and the Great Seattle Fire mural. I would agree with the western lowland primate.
The mural is shown here with its artist, Ruddy Zallinger, in a press photo that was first published in this newspaper on Dec. 5, 1952. The then 34-year old Zallinger explained that he’d been working on the 10-by-24-foot mural for four months and hoped to complete it by Christmas. For rendering the pioneer buildings the “scientific muralist” studied old photographs kept by the Seattle Historical Society. For the flames he studied fires nearby at the Montlake landfill.
Raised in Seattle and taught at Cornish School, Zallinger was still fresh from winning a 1949 Pulitzer Prize for a much larger mural “The Age of Reptiles” that took five years to complete for the Peabody Museum of Natural History on the Yale University Campus, where Zalinger was also an instructor.
Zallinger’s Great Seattle Fire mural was dedicated on Feb. 15, 1953, the first anniversary of the museum’s opening. A band playing “There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight” accompanied the unveiling. Those attending included at least fifty persons who were surviving eye-witnesses of the Great Fire of June 6, 1889, and some of their stories were told in a recorded program that followed the unveiling. For the occasion of the mural’s 50th anniversary rededication on Feb. 15, 2003, there were, of course, no first hand witnesses attending. Bobo, however, was there.
Thanks again to Bill White for editing my rambling remarks attached as a audio file below, and thanks to Ron Edge for delivering them to post. And, just now, I notice a letter from drummer Jim Zinn (of Southern Oregon and making music), who put a classified in an early Helix looking for other musicians to form a bind. He found them. Read on . . .
I am the Jim Zinn that placed that unclassified in the Helix way back when(1967).
Thanks to the paper, I hooked up with some great guys within 2 weeks of the posting.
We never did amount to much as a band, but had a great time and formed some lasting friendships.
As a side note, One month we even sold the Helix to make rent on the band house on Capitol Hill. We made it.
The lawn just north of Seattle Center’s International Fountain has a sundry history that is unlike your own neighborhood. David and Louisa Denny, the youngest of Seattle’s first pioneers who were not children, picked their claim here in the early 1850s, and “proved” it, in part, with a “North Seattle” garden that became an important source of produce for Seattle.
The Denny farmhouse was at 3rd and Republican which is about one long horseshoe’s throw to the north from where respectively in this “then” and “now” government horses are corralled and youth mingle. The land east from here to the south end of Lake Union was mostly open, and so helpful for farming. It was also dotted by willows, had some swampy edges and thereby provided both water for cabbages and beets and attracted ducks for hunting.
After the growing family built a larger home, also on Republican but nearer Lake Union, their farm was tended by Chinese immigrants and was then popularly known as China Gardens. The army took possession in 1898 with a short-lived corral meant to supply horses and mules to the then glorified wars with Spain first and then the Philippine Insurrection.
In 1903 the Denny claim was outfitted with Recreation Park, the first stadium for the Pacific Coast Baseball League’s Seattle Siwashes, a name meaning Indians that was lifted from the Chinook trade jargon. Most likely the Siwashes did not know that they were playing ball on grounds that long before bats swung at balls were used by the local Duwamish Indians for potlatches, their gregarious ritual for gaining prestige by giving gifts.
Somewhat similarly, Civic Auditorium, the first modern addition to the Potlatch Meadows and the Denny garden, was born of Pioneer Square saloon-keeper James Osborne’s $20,000 gift to the city in 1881. Osborne stipulated a “civic hall” and with 50 years interest, his bequest both gave him posthumous prestige and Seattle its Civic Auditorium. It was Seattle’s 1930 start on both Century 21 and a City Center on a unique neighborhood now long given to planting, performing and play.
John Ullman, one of the founders in 1966 of the Seattle Folklore Society, often introduces his correspondence with a quote from Charles Seeger. We use it here as a fitting caption to a picture of the then 19-year-old Reed College sophomore John playing his guitar a few years past with New Mexico’s Candy Cane Cliffs a backdrop. John, I know, is very fond of the Southwest but he has lived most of his post-doctorate (yet another in genetics) here in the Northwest – for the most part in Portland and Seattle.
There is a vibrant connection between the above photo of John Ullman and the Lightning Hopkins concert that he helped bring off with aplomb, as you will conclude from the interview. John’s guitar is the same kind of guitar – a Gibson J-50 – that Lightning Hopkins played at his concert here in 1967 and no doubt many others. John has reviewed the interview below and was somewhat surprised by the smoothness of its flow. We were not. He is well-spoken and so is is also well-constructed for more interviews, which down the line we hope to do on subjects like the Folklore Society, the University District folk clubs in the 1960s, the Piano Drop and Sky River Festivals (there he will share a stage with many) and the molecular geneticist’s take on sex, drugs and rock and roll. With his review John noted one regret. He wished that he had explained that the reason he and others drove to Portland for folk concerts was because of his alma mater. Reed College was producing them in the early 1960s – an inspiration to do the same here with Seattle’s own folk society. This will come up again in one or another interview with John.
A day later with the help of Phil and Vivian Williams, also founders of the Seattle Folklore Society and producers of its concerts including this one with Lighting Hopkins, these two snapshots of Hopkins were found. Portland player Mike Russo is at the piano. John explained that Russo, who began the concert with his own set, came up to play piano for Lightning near the end of the Texan’s set. Another photo showing the elated condition of the ethnically mixed, sold-out crowd will be found – hopefully – later and brought on as addendum.
To conclude, here’s a before and recent after or “now” (by Jean Sherrard) of the venue where Lightning played in 1967: Washington Hall.
Postscript: The above interview is in “fulfillment” for it was promised in one of our earlier weekly blog postings of HELIX. Thanks to Bill White for editing the John Ullman tape (digits rather), although it did not require much cutting. Soon I hope to interview John about something he has written about recently as a reporter; which is the fate of all those writers who once, like he, were published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.