Seattle Now & Then: Mrs. Anderson, Co-eds, and Mea Culpa

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: With their windows open, joyful Seattle University co-eds greet Spring and a Seattle Times photographer from their First Hill mansion-dormitory in April 1959. (Picture courtesy, Lois Crow)
NOW: 53 years later co-eds Frances Farrell and Lois Crow, left and right, return to 718 Minor Avenue and different steps. Jean Sherrard has also posed me “hiding my shame” – for past mistakes - in the tree behind them.

Looking up the front steps of Seattle University’s McHugh Hall (the name and address are painted on the steps) we count nine coeds waving to a Seattle Times photographer.   The subject was first published in this paper on April 12, 1959, along side a second photo of the dorm’s oversized bathtub, both used to illustrate a feature written by Frances “Fran” Farrell and titled “It’s HOME to Seattle U. Co Ed’s”  Fran’s SU instructor in journalism advised her to write something for publication and the Times liked her story on McHugh Hall – her school dorm converted from the Anderson Mansion on First Hill  – so well that they gave it a full page.

In Jean Sherrard’s “repeat,” Fran, on the left, stands on newer Swedish Hospital steps beside Lois Crow.  With two others they shared a dorm room on the top floor – here upper right in the “then.”  Barbara Owen, one their upper-class quartet, waves from the open window.  Fran Farrell chose her subject with enthusiasm.  “Living in McHugh was a complete delight! As upper classmen we wanted someplace with more independence and camaraderie and we got it at McHugh.”  Freshmen and sophomores were housed in Marycrest, a new six-story dormitory.  It held none of the ornate charms of a lumber baron’s mansion.

Jean suggests that I ask readers if this week’s “now” is familiar.  He knows that it is.  As the “repeat” for a different story, we used this location recently – last May 19th.  And there I – but not Jean – made a big mistake.  What I had learned years earlier – and earnestly believed until the Saturday before the Sunday publication – was that our May subject was Mrs. Anderson posing in her celebrated coach in front of her mansion here near the southeast corner of Minor and Columbia.  But – and alas – it was instead Mrs. Burke posing in her coach in front of her First Hill Manse, but three blocks away.  (If it helps, they remain short blocks.)  When Lois Crow, already an acquaintance of mine, discovered my mistake and shared it with me that Sunday morning, I was at least able to tell her that I too had discovered it a day earlier, but that it was too late to stop the presses.

We encourage you to read Fran Farrell Vitulli’s Times feature on the Anderson manse.  You can access it readily through the Time’s older archive (1900 to 1984) serviced on the Seattle Public Library web page.  It is a service that also offers what we may call the “joys of the key word search.”  You can also find a facsimile of Fran’s feature printed in Jean and my blog noted at the base of this writing.  And there, if you will, you may study my full confession, at once contrite and illustrated.


Anything to add to this moving mea culpa, Paul?

Yes indeed, Jean!

As explained in this week’s feature, but more elaborately last May in this blog’s 11th hour anticipation or “catch” for the mistaken feature published in Pacific then – the one proposing to be about Mrs. Anderson and her famous First Hill carriage but actually showing Mrs. Burke and her’s, also on First Hill – here is the link to that May 17th feature.  It repeats, again, my full confession.  It also includes – perhaps as compensation Ron Edge suggests – a long list of other features having to do with First Hill and a few other large Seattle homes.   Thanks for your compassion.   To get to this replete repeat either CLICK THIS LINK or the picture below.  The picture is of another Anderson: Anderson Hall on the U.W. Campus.  After her lumberman husband’s death, Mrs. Anderson paid for its construction as a warm and useful tribute to him.   It was appropriately built for the school’s Dept of Forestry.

Anderson Hall, U.W. Campus

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