HELIX Vol. 3 No. 1 – Feb. 15, 1968

The audio commentary attached is a continuous confession of my ignorance as I did not prepare for the recording but by arrangement with Bill White entered blind into that tabloid pulp as we looked at it together – I for the first time in 44  years.  Bill,  however, was prepared to ask me startlingly informed questions from his fresh reading of the entire issue. While not entirely fair it was fun.

B. White and P. Dorpat

[audio:http://edge-archive.com/audio/03-01.mp3|titles=Helix Vol 3 No 1]



Seattle Now & Then: Cascade Hotel Spectacle

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: After 40 years at the busy center of Granite Falls in Snohomish County, the Cascade Hotel was cut down by fire in1933 but not razed. (Courtesy, Granite Falls Historical Society)
NOW: Although a story shorter the pioneer building survives. In Jean’s repeat the corner is being fitted for a new front door.

Surely we know what every one is up to in this Granite Falls tableau.  They are thinking about the fire and what to do.  Four men have carried a glass showcase from the drugstore to East Stanley Street and while the other men at the corner seem to be standing idle most likely they are not.  The commotion inside the drug store’s open door must be both frantic and dreadful – grabbing and hauling the drugs and sundries while knowing that the roof overhead is on fire. As yet there seems to be no relief although we see that the volunteer fire brigade has unrolled a hose along S. Granite Avenue and may soon be shooting it’s April shower at the roof.

Another look at the hotel ablaze and this too used courtesy of the Granite Falls Museum

Judging by the shadows and the smoke the fire started in the morning and in the roof of the Cascade Hotel.  The hotel sign on the crest is engulfed.  Fred Cruger of the Granite Falls Historical Museum suggests that the town’s weekly, the Snohomish County Forum for April 27, 1933, most likely gave detailed front page coverage of the fire.  Unfortunately what was probably the report has long since been clipped away from the otherwise surviving issue.  You can examine this unfortunate “mutilation” in the Granite Falls Historical Society’s Newspaper archive at http://gfp.stparchive.com.  You can also explore the society’s thousands of pictures and documents online at www.gfhistory.org .   This society is a recognized model of effective heritage care and activism.

The Granite Falls Snohomish County Forum for April 27, 1932 (sic) with its missing clip.
May 4, 1933 news - marked here with "X" - on plans for the half-burned hotel.

Granite Falls was first platted in 1891 in anticipation of the 1892 arrival of the Everett to Monte Cristo Railroad.  One year more, in 1893, this 22-room hostelry over a restaurant opened as the Mountain View Hotel.  The name kept to mountaineering when it was later changed to Cascade by a new owner.  By 1933 Granite Falls was an important destination in what was promoted especially during “the touring season” as our “Charmed land.”  The Big Four Inn and the Canyon Creek Lodge were both nearby, the latter with a six hole golf course that featured flowing water hazards. [This coming week we hope to enter here a short addendum on the both the Big Four Inn and the Canyon Creek Lodge.]

An early view of the hotel when it was still the Mountain View.

A week after the fire we are heartened to learn from the Forum’s May 4th issue that the destruction was kept to the hotel. “The second story will be cut off and the lower floor will be repaired.”  Depression-time concerns were also addressed.  “Only Granite Falls labor is being used on the repair work, and all materials are being purchased locally.”  Cascade Drugs survived, and this sturdy pioneer of 1893 continues to serve mixed uses and hold to its footprint on the northeast corner of Granite and Stanley.

On the evidence of the traditional interpretation of the photo that follows - another scene crowded with men - Fred Cruger thinks it perhaps likely that the men milling here are waiting for the baseball game to begin.
The other record of a hotel decorate with men, this time described directly as waiting for baseball. (Courtesy, Granite Falls Historical Museum)


Anything to add, Paul?

Yes  Jean beginning with the several other photographs of the fated hotel that we have inserted in the text above.  These too are among the special gifts we give to the text as originally composed and illustrated for Pacific – bless them.

Below we will add this time as “straight” extras (not half-hidden behind a link) the few more now-then comparisons that you visited and recorded recently with the guidance of Fred Cruger, a Granite Fall historian/archivist who often appears in this blog as our primary vintage auto expert.   Fred has also composed several interpretations/captions for the photo you repeated while in Granite Falls as well as short descriptions of the several records you made of the Grant Falls Historical Museum, for whose appointments, and interpretations he is also an admirable steward.   So here follows you and Fred.

The earliest photo, taken in the 1911-12 Winter, shows a large one-cylinder engine being hauled into town to provide electricity in place of the washed-out Pilchuck River dam.  The warning tower that once held the fire bell is still in place, since the building itself had just been moved 2 1/2 blocks from its original location (as the first downtown school, built in 1893) to the location still occupied by CIty Hall today.  The photo taken in Mar 1941 shows the building with significant deterioration.  The picture with the fire truck shows Fire Chief Hiram Jewell (also the local photographer) at the front of the engine, just a month before the combination City Hall & Firehouse was razed, preparing for the City Hall still standing today (erected by the WPA in 1941-2).


The Granite Falls Cooperative Union was built in 1905 by Fred Anderson, but it operated for many years as the Granite Falls Creamery under John Curtis, who also happened to be the back president.  It was only three years ago that the original 1904 bank safe was recovered from the Creamery building and placed in the Granite Falls Historical Museum.  The building is owned by the local Masonic Lodge, which has an impressive meeting area upstairs, and the lower floor has always housed a grocery or retail merchandise business.  The building just beyond the creamery building in the modern photo was built in the 1920s by Oscar Wicklund, a local blacksmith, and served in that role through the 1950s.  The two-story Mountain View Hotel (later the Cascade Hotel) can be seen just a short distance past the Co-op Union in the original photo, and also in the modern photo (albeit as a one-story building, having lost its top story to fire in 1933).


Taken prior to 1910, the old photo shows the bell tower of the first downtown school on the left, 3 blocks distant.  The local fire warning tower is on the right just 1/2 block from the photographer, and marks the soon-to-be place to which the school would be moved to become City Hall.  The warning tower was located about 30 feet beyond (south) of where today’s town clock sits in front of City Hall.  The old school served as combination CIty Hall & Firehouse for 30 years, until it was razed in 1941 and replaced by the current building (built by the WPA).  The dark building at the far right was the photo studio of Hiram Jewell, Granite Falls’ local photographer for decades.  The large two story building on the left in the original photo was built as Woodmen’s Hall, and continues to serve today as the American Legion Hall, although the trees block it from view.


If you look carefully, you can see the top of a barber pole just above the Model T Ford (car at left) and a “BATHS” sign, which was present at both Granite Falls barber shops (the other shop was directly across the street).  The large building at the right started life ca. 1900 as The Lumberman (purveyor of fine wine and cigars), but by 1918, when this picture was taken, had become Klaus Bros. market.  Unfortunately, it burned down in 1920, but Henry and William Klaus rebuilt it as the brick Klaus Bldg that still stands today on the southwest corner of Stanley St, and Granite Ave.


This looks east on Stanley St., and Granite Ave is the next cross street.  You can see the Cascade Hotel sign at its rooftop, which – as the reader will know by now – the hotel lost along with its second floor to the 1933 fire featured at the top.



FRED sends, as well, several photographs of the falls, which Jean also visited and repeated.

Here follows two by Jean



Here we join Jean as he visits the museum with Fred.   It is Fred who supplies the terse captions for each of the nine subjects.

Jean here. Spending the afternoon with Fred Cruger as my guide to Granite Falls and the many wonders of his museum was a real kick. Fred has an artist’s passion and inspiration, a historian’s curiosity, and the meticulous nature of an engineer – in short, he’s a force of nature. His focus and energy have brought the Granite Falls community together to create one of the finest small town historical museums in the country.

The shot of the front of the museum shows the porch of the 1905 house originally owned by Hugh and Mina Sharp. He owned the Depot Bar, while she was the first milliner in Granite Falls. The Granite Falls Historical Society had only the house for display space, until building the new building in 2007, adding over 3200 sq ft of display space, with enough vertical space to include a fully-rigged spar tree.
The log cabin was actually built for the Carpenter kids ca 1941, but is used for storage at the Museum. Sitting outside are some recent acquisitions, including a horse-drawn potato digger, a saw sharpening machine (with virtually every mechanical motion know to Man), a railcar wheelset, some rail signal lights, and large hauling block.
The garage display includes a lot of vintage automotive equipment, not the least of which is a 1904 Curved Dash Oldsmobile, used as Frank Ashe's advertising vehicle (he sold Olds in Granite Falls) and donated to the Museum by his daughter, Lois Jorgenson. The signs were copied from the original Granite Falls Cyclery opened by Frank ca. 1910.
Displays also include the typical contents of a hardware store (everything from wallpaper, to washing machines, hand tools, and kitchen utensils) and a combination doctor's office/ drug store. Some of the early medical equipment may make a visitor a little queasy, and the labels on some of the old medicines makes you wonder how anyone survived!
Close up of the hardware store shows a great collection of hand tools, an early all-copper electric washing machine, a very early electric radio and beneath it a hand-cranked food processor with rotating cutting board and lethal guillotine blade, a large book press, and assorted items.
Hair art was a turn of the century hobby. The older lady in the picture was the caretaker at Outlook School (now the Granite Falls Grange Hall), and a male friend of hers created the art from the hair of her daughter and son-in-law (also shown in the picture).
The original Granite Falls State Bank safe had dual combinations and dual time locks that could be set for up to 72 hours - in 1904!
Granite Falls was large enough to support two blacksmith shops, and the collection of tools comes from both. The Ashe brothers opened the first blacksmith shop on the northwest corner of Granite Ave and Stanley St, while the second one was opened ca 1922 by Oscar Wicklund (a big man famous for his big white bulldog).
Dr. Chappell's original medical diploma was indeed a "sheepskin"! Dated 1881, University of Michigan was Latinized to "Universitatis Michiganensium" and Frank Chappell's name scrolled as "Franciscum Chappell". No matter how much it's flattened, the wrinkle patterns it had on the sheep return over time. But he was a true Renaissance man - a medical doctor, he opened the first medical practice, first drug store, first hardware store in Granite Falls, was partners in a shingle mill, a published poet, and never learned to drive a car before his death in the late 1920s.


We will conclude – for now – with another Granite Falls feature that appeared in Pacific last year, and for which Fred Cruger took the “repeat” besides providing the historical subject, again out of the Granite Falls Historical Museum’s store of local heritage.

The stately Granite Falls Railroad Station was built for both the Everett & Monte Cristo Railway Line, and a political payoff.   (Courtesy, Granite Falls Historical Society.) From the prospect of the unnamed historical photographer, the site of the now long gone Granite Falls station has been returned to nature.  (Now photo by Fred Cruger)


For itinerants and pioneer town photographers there were perhaps two subjects most often used to represent an entire community: “Main Street” and the local railroad station.   Here, as an example, the Granite Falls station is part of a prosperous tableau that includes Northern Pacific engine #366, and the sweetener of a pressing crowd on the station platform.

Fred Cruger, the current vice-president of the Granite Falls Historical Society, dates this real photo postcard 1909.  Fred adds, “there was quite a political battle going on between Snohomish (the County Seat) and Everett (increasingly the County economic center), about where the County seat should actually be.  Granite Falls was told that if they voted for Everett, they’d get a really nice railroad depot.  It may be difficult now to find the actual vote count, but we did get a great railroad depot!”

This political maneuvering dates from the mid-1890s when the original use of this railroad was to carry minerals from the mountains around Monte Cristo to smelters in Everett.  This enterprise was floated by J.D. Rockefeller and eventually so was the railroad by the autumn floods of 1896 and 1897, which damaged or destroyed tunnels and large sections of track.  Ten years more and most of the mining activity was over.  Hauling lumber and later tourists kept the line going until the early 1930s when tearing out the tracks was among the few new jobs open in Snohomish County during the Great Depression.  The Mountain Loop Highway – for which Granite Falls is the “gateway” – was graded in places over the abandoned railroad bed.

Fred Cruger, also an antique car collector, has often helped us in this column with the naming and dating of old motorcars.  Now we wish to make note that he and the Granite Falls Historical Society have created “then and now” cyber tours for both their community and the Mountain Loop tour.  They are, respectively, http://www.myoncell.mobi/13606544362 and http://www.myoncell.mobi/13603553170.

Two timely opportunities to try the tours and visit Granite Falls are for Show N’ Shine, the town’s classic and antique car show and parade, held this year on Sat. August 6, and for the Railroad Days Festival and Parade, this year on Oct. 1, another Saturday.  Not surprisingly the Granite Falls Historical Museum will also be open.

(The CM railroad’s logo below is used courtesy – again – of the Granite Falls Historical Society and Museum)


Seattle Now and Then Addendum: The MIDDLE of FIRST HILL'S THIRDS



(An eariier version of this first appeared in Pacific, March 26, 2001.)

Looking north on Summit Avenue, the towered Otis Hotel on the right holds much of the block between Columbia Street, in the foreground, and Marion Street.  By now this historical intersection of Columbia and Summit has been vacated and covered by the Swedish Medical Center.

A 2001 "repeat" pulled with the Pacific clipping.

One might notice while driving through the First Hill neighborhood from Yesler Way to Pike Street that the hill can be divided roughly into three parts. The first section visited, south of James Street, was once known as Profanity Hill for a variety of reasons, including that it was a damn steep climb from Pioneer Square. This first third is, in places, still a little rough.

Skipping to the third area, that north of Madison Street, a few of the old mansions – like the Dearborn manse, now home for Historic Seattle; and the Stimson-Green Mansion; and the Stacy Mansion, long the University Club – from the 1890s still mingle with distinguished high-rise apartment houses from the teens and ’20s. Parts of this First Hill third are still a little rich.

In the middle third between James and Madison, a driver must be careful not to get lost in the maze of Swedish Medical Center. Which brings us again to this intersection, and to repeat again that it cannot be found, except in this “mirror of memory,” the historical photograph. Again, on the right, at 804 Summit Ave., the Otis Hotel stands up and out of the view north across Columbia Street.  Further north on Summit, at is southwest corner with Madison Street, is the Adrian Court, a three-story apartment made in part of stone.

CLICK to ENLARGE and find the OTIS HOTEL, the Adrian Court, the Perry Hotel, the James Street Powerhouse (at James and Broadway), St. James Cathedral, and the footprints of a few of the hill's big homes. Use this detail to also explore the pan below that was taken from the south wall of the Perry Hotel.

The accompanying First Hill detail from the 1912 Baist real estate map shows the Otis, and the Adrian Court, and much else.  The panorama printed below was recorded from the south wall of the Perry Hotel.  It too can be found on the Baist Map detail, just above and left of the detail’s center, which is somewhat mutilated in the original by long regular use – good and bad.

The Perry Hotel as seen looking southwest on Madison Street and thru its intersection with Boren Avenue.

For all its grand asymmetrical solidity the Otis also symbolizes the volatile history of First Hill development. It has two parts. The closer part, with the frame tower, is designed like an over-sized mansion. But the smaller brick section beyond it seems ready to forsake the neighborhood of mansions for a more modest but sturdy First Hill future of resident hotels and apartment houses. And the Otis did survive into the late 1950s before Swedish, the biggest swell in the “third wave” of First Hill institutions – hospitals -swallowed both it and this intersection.

Asahel Curtis photographed this (the pan at the top) look north on Summit from Columbia.  It is two recordings merged in Photoshop.  As for the residents in the homes seen in the left panel, I confess that I have not taken time to identify them.  Does any reader know?

(Click to Enlarge) Looking east from an upper-floor in the Perry Hotel at the southwest corner of Boren Ave. and Madison Street. The Otis appears above the subject's center, and above the Otis the Immaculate Conception sanctuary is easily identified by its twin towers. Two other Second Hill landmarks are also evident: Providence Hospital, far right, and Minor School, far left. Marion Street cuts through the scene. The Lowman Mansion, at the southeast corner of Marion and Boren is just out of frame, lower-right.


HELIX Vol 2 No. 10 – Feb. 3, 1968

Bill White liked this issue and read it from cover-to-cover: page one to twenty.  We review it below with an audio link – or two, and an “intermission.”

B. White and P. Dorpat

PART 1 [audio:http://edge-archive.com/audio/02-10-1.mp3|titles=Helix Vol 2 No 10 Part 1]

INTERMISSION [audio:http://edge-archive.com/audio/INTERMISSION.mp3|titles=INTERMISSION]

PART 2 [audio:http://edge-archive.com/audio/02-10-2.mp3|titles=Helix Vol 2 No 10 Part 2]

Seattle Now & Then: Second Hill from First Hill

(click to enlarge photos.  At least on this MAC I click TWICE to enlarge the enlargement.)

THEN: Eight blocks up Second Hill the twin towers of Immaculate Conception Parish at 18th Avenue and E. Marion Street own the horizon in 1905 and still do. (Courtesy Ron Edge)
NOW: To avoid trees on the Seattle University’s Campus Walk that was once 10th Avenue east, Jean went forward (east) with his ten-foot pole into the campus Green to a position that is about ten yards beyond the young tree that decorates the center of the “then” photograph.

This look east to Second Hill from the eastern slope of First Hill is both rare and puzzling.  The original was shared with us by Ron Edge, a frequent help to this feature, who acquired it as part of a small collection of early 20th Century Seattle subjects originally recorded or collected by a company that produced Magic Lantern shows.        We reckon, however, that the status of Second Hill development in 1905 – our speculated year for this cityscape – is an unlikely lantern subject, except, perhaps, by special order from either the Immaculate Conception parish, or Seattle College (Seattle University since 1948), for this view looks east from the campus of the latter to the new sanctuary of the former on the horizon at the southeast corner of E. Marion St. and 18th Avenue.

Forgetting for the moment the leaves on the trees, we may imagine here the Dec. 4, 1904 procession of parishioners and priests that climbed from First Hill up Second for the dedication of those two cross-topped towers and the nearly 1000 seats beneath them.  That’s enough pews for everyone that followed Wagner’s marching band.

For ten years previous to their joyful procession these Catholics had been teaching and worshiping in what still survives as the original building on the Seattle University Campus, the Garrant Building, named for the school’s founder.  It was built in 1894 by the Jesuit order for its ministry at Immaculate Conception.

If, like our study of the cleared but scarcely developed foreground, yours counts two blocks between the boardwalk near the bottom and the first street developed with houses, then this is 10th Avenue East at our toes.  We know that those homes face 12th Avenue.  We figured that out with help from eight houses on Second Hill, easily tracing them from Ron’s “then.” In Jean’s repeat they are hidden behind the imaginative mass of the campus’ somewhat new Chapel of St. Ignatius.  For our survivors we only looked on 13th and 14th Avenues between Spring Street on the far left and Marion, but there are, no doubt, many others on the hill.

Some time near its dedication on April 6, 1997, I visited the new Chapel of St. Ignatius with other members then of Allied Arts.   I recorded then the two exterior views below, but the interior record – a merge from two subjects – I took when Jean and I visited the campus recently to search and repeat the “then” at the top.  Hopefully Jean will add some of his own extras in the morning, then refreshed after his own nightybears – the soft coven to  which I will soon reach at the top of my own steps.  There is, you know, much more on the neighborhood reached below with a click.


Anything to add, Paul?

(for Paul’s compelling response, click HERE!)



HELIX Vol. 2 No. 9 – Jan. 18, 1968

In this issue Helix gains four pages for twenty in all, although the tabloid is still published every other week.  As Bill White notes in our discussion that is attached as an audio file, this Helix it very unlike last week’s.  This one is stuffed with counter culture concerns and reports.  Volume Tow Number Nine pulls Five R. Cobb cartoons from the Underground Press Syndicate, some representative Alan Watts,  and five years after still more about the Kennedy assassination.

B. White and P. Dorpat

[audio:http://edge-archive.com/audio/02-09.mp3|titles=Helix Vol 2 No 9]

Seattle Now & Then: The Dominion Monarch

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The ocean liner Dominion Monarch arrived in Seattle from Southampton, England on May 29, 1962 to a noisy Worlds’ Fair public relations greeting while it was carefully slipped between pilings especially driven beside Pier 50, where it was moored as a “botel” for the duration of its service thru the duration of Century 21. It was a brief reprieve for following the fair the liner sailed for Japan where she was broken up. (Photo by Lawton Gowey)
NOW: Thanks to the Seattle Police Department for including Jean Sherrard in their waterfront patrol last June 29. Jean got a wake-up call at 6:30 a.m. from patrol vessel No. 9 as it passed through the Chittenden Locks. Told he had 30 minutes to make it to the pergola at the foot of Washington Street for his “repeat,” Jean made a big exception. He skipped his home-roasted morning coffee.

Lawton Gowey, a friend now long departed, is still a frequent contributor to this feature.  Ordinarily it has been with historical photographs from his collection but this time it is with one of his own Kodachromes, and as was his considerate habit, it is dated.  On the late morning of June 20, 1962, with his back to the landmark steel pergola (1920) at the waterfront foot of Washington Street, Lawton recorded a harbor patrol boat carefully jockeying between its float and the 27,000 tons of the Dominion Monarch.

The 682-foot-long Dominion M. was the largest of three ships parked on the Seattle waterfront during Century 21 to serve as hotel ships, aka “botels,” during the worlds fair. With the hindsight of the  “Marine History of the Pacific Northwest,” which he authored, Port Commissioner and maritime historian Gordon Newell admitted that the fair’s “predicted major housing shortage failed to develop.”  The botels were not much needed, and yet the shapely English vessel was for many a sensational attraction and during the fair Newell won the concession for leading tours aboard it.  Standing on its flying bridge, ten stories high, one looked down on the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

It is possible that Gowey also toured this big botel on the day he photographed it, for on that same June 6 Wednesday morning The Seattle Times humorist John Reddin wrote about taking the tour.  Reddin imagined or mistook his guide, Commissioner Newell, in his “white, tropical uniform,” as “Noel Coward playing the lead role in ‘In Which We Serve’”  Reddin concluded that Newell “easily could play Lieut. Pinkerton in ‘Madame Butterfly’.”

Almost certainly it was another waterfront regular E. A. “Eddie” Black who favored Newell with his tour leader’s role, for it was Black who intercepted the Dominion Monarch, then on its way to Japan for scrapping, to come to the fair first.  Black was a seasoned and savvy operator on the waterfront who escaped official leans on vessels tied to docks by making his rented cruiser a “permanent installation.”  He simply drove pilings to both the port and starboard sides of the Dominion Monarch.  This made the gangway to the ship’s lodgings and/or Newel’s dapper tours somewhat longer than if the Dominion Monarch had been tied snuggly to Pier 50.


One correction, Paul, to your otherwise excellent column – I was up before 6 AM to meet the SPD boat at the foot of Washington Street at 6:30 – a real sign of dedication on an early but lovely summer’s morning.

Anything to add, my friend?

To read Paul’s colorful response, click HERE!

HELIX Vol. 2 No. 8 – January 4, 1968

The audio attached to this issue is “new and improved.”  Bill White, the editor of both the weekly audio and the Helix page on Facebook, interviews me about the issue, to more energetic effect.

Click to Enlarge

On the back cover of this odd issue – 12 pages with neither advertisements nor news – I discover that part of its art involves a snapshot line-up of the Helix staff – or a small part of it.  It was printed there in negative, so I “captured” it and inverted it to positive.  Still I cannot identify – yet – the three faces on the right.  Otherwise the row goes so: far left Joe Caine, I think.  Following Joe are Pat Churchill, Tim Harvey and either Billy Ward or Walter Crowley.  Bill thinks that it is more likely himself, for he thinks that Walt would not be inclined to lay his cheek against Tim’s shoulder.  Continuing: me (Dorpat), Inger Anne Hage – we lived together then –  George Geise (George worked at the P-I – like Ray Collins – and was a great and steadfast help in many ways,) Scott White,  and Jack Delay.  And then, as just noted, I don’t know – although the middle figure could be Bill Ward “again.”  Bill agrees that it could be him, although he thinks that the Billy far left – snuggling with Tim – is a more likely Bill.  Insights and/or corrections welcomed.

B. White questions P. Dorpat

[audio:http://edge-archive.com/audio/02-08.mp3|titles=Helix Vol 2 No 8]


Seattle Now & Then: The Wilhelmina/Winona Apartments

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Built in about 1907, the Wilhemina if not the first apartment house on Queen Anne Hill was surely one of the earliest. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
NOW: The worn clapboards of the by then nameless old apartment at 1413 Queen Anne Ave. were redressed with stucco in the early 1980s.

This shapely subject was uncovered long ago in a collection of unidentified negatives.  Only recently I discovered that finding its place was easy for the name of this apartment house is signed on the glass front door.  This is – or was in this early 20th century record of it – the Wilhemina Apartments at 1413 Queen Anne Avenue.  It was then the tallest structure this high on the avenue with views to the city and the bay.  And it was conveniently set at the top of the “Queen Anne Counterbalance,” that exceptional tunnel machinery that helped pull trollies up the steep avenue and also safely govern their descent.

Historic preservationist Diana James, with her recent book “Shared Walls” our local authority on apartment houses, thinks it likely that the Wilhemina first took in renters in 1908, the first year classified ads appear in The Times describing its attractions. “Very choice 2-room apartment, nice, view, modern, high class, no children.” In a dozen years or so more the name was changed to Winona.  Rhyming with Wilhemina it was equally euphonious.  Able by now to intuit the origins of place names, the scholar James jests, “Perhaps it was renamed for the wife of a new owner.”

The Winona first indicates “no objection to children” in the 1920s. A Times classified for 1928 reads “Clean and cozy 2-room completely furnished apartments, situated in good district at the very low rental of $37.50.”  Following the market crash of 1929, the monthly rate was soon lowered to $25.  By 1955 it had doubled to a mere $52, but by then it had no musical name, only an address.

While Diana James doubts one published claim for the Wilhemina/Winona, that it was the first apartment on the hill, she admits that she has as yet found no older flat that has kept its footprint on the hill.  She adds, “I like it because it is what it is – its elegant symmetry with bay windows for light and centered balconies for fresh air visits. I could tell you that it is 12 units, with four to a floor, and probably two more in the daylight basement.”  What James could not surmise from the street, the present owner – since the mid 1970s – reveals.  There’s a detached 15th unit in the rear.  Most likely, it was once a garage.


Anything to add, Paul?

(For Paul’s reply, click here!)