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!)



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