WE POST another colorless MASTHEAD without body as we continue to exercise our RIGHT to RECESS, and include NO NEW HELIX this week as we wait for BILL WHITE to reach his PARAMOUR IN PERU before continuing our weekly commentaries on FRESH ISSUES OF HELIX via SKYPE – or something else that is cheap as well.
For DIVERSION we post now a BILL OF BILLS – SIX BILLS with (unidentified) WOMEN. One of these pairs includes our Bill who is now still on the Caribbean with hundreds of tourists heading for Panama and the passage there from the Old World into the New – so FITTING for our Bill. The remaining Bills are a mix pulled from our growing horde of scans. We may hint at their identities. Some will still know themselves.
For No. 16 we have move from No. 15 south across Republican Street through a portal between two fair buildings that have survived as parts of the Northwest Rooms of Seattle Center, which were once-upon-a-time home for much of Bumbershoot’s now largely lost Literary Arts program – both the readings and the book fair. For some of us this was the most evocative corner of Bumbershoot. While there is some literary art in rock it is not so varied or sustained as it was with Bumbershoot’s Literary Arts part or program.
During the fair looking east through the Fountain of Creation with the International Plaza’s pavilions on the left – future home for much Jazz and Literary Arts at Bumbershoot.
Jean’s “repeat” put him up against the wall. He remarked “things have been moved.”
Catching a wading Jean getting his shot of the Fountain of Creation from the pool.
The Canadian mark can be read in this twilight look over Everett DuPen’s fountain during the fair.
After the fair as a sign that the Century 21 campus was being turned into a working Seattle Center, this sketch of the fountain and its surrounds appeared in the times. We reprint the caption. FOUNTAIN: The World’s Fair Fountain near the Coliseum designed by Everett DuPen, Seattle sculptor, serves as the foreground for a newly remodeled exhibit-banquet hall occupying the former Canada Pavilion at the Seattle Center. The former Denmark Pavilion, right, will be inclosed and used as a permanent restaurant. (Seattle Times, March 9, 1964)
Named the “World of Commerce and Industry” and numbered “3,” the northwest corner of Century 21 was only a small sampler of the things it’s ambitious titles* claimed. Included – and here we consult the numbers on the map – were, at least, the United Nations, the African Information Center, Thailand, Philippines, India, Korea, San Marino, Peru and the City of Berlin, all of it west of Boulevard West (2nd Ave.) and north of Freedom Way (Republican Street). While the fair had its share of quasi-democracies – how could one have a worlds fair in 1962 without such fakers – there were, it seems, no Commies. And yet, and as well, how in 1962 could one have a worlds fair without commies. Now they would be welcomed investors. Long since this northwest corner is pretty much filled with the Bagley Wright Theatre. [*The buildings that nearly framed No. 3 were wrapped around the International Mall.]
At different times, two towers have looked down on the neighborhood around Fourth Avenue and Thomas Street. As landmarks go, they can be compared, although hardly. One tower is the city’s present baton, the Space Needle. The other tower belonged to Fire Station No. 4 with in its original form its elegant English-style architecture.
Station No. 4 was built in 1908 and first was occupied on Oct. 15 of that year. Its three grand double doors opened to a steamer, a pump and a hose wagon, all of them horse-drawn. Engine Company No. 4 had moved over from an old clapboard station nearby at Fourth Avenue and Battery Street, which had been razed that year during the Denny Regrade. According to fire service records preserved faithfully by Seattle Fire Department historian Galen Thomaier, only 13 years later the company moved back to Fourth and Battery into yet another new station. It is still there.
For four years following this final move in 1921, the still relatively new but deserted structure was idle until the Seattle Fire Department transferred over it alarm center from the SFD’s old headquarters at Third Ave. and Main Street.
For some reason, when this station was picked for the alarm center, its third-floor gables were cut away. The tower looked awkwardly stranded beside its flattened station before it too was lowered.
Fire Station No. 4 in its original stone-and-brick beauty – as pictured on top – was designed by one of Seattle’s more celebrated historical architect, one best known for his school designs. After James Stephen won a 1902 contest for school design, he was employed as the city’s school architect and designed more than 20 Seattle schools.
The Arabian, at 7610 Aurora Ave. N., opened in 1925, with still some silent films and sometimes on stage eccentric uses that were a vestige of vaudeville. When those performing live were also north end neighbors they could fill the seats. For instance . . .
On October 21, 1926 W. O. Hammer, accompanied by a brass band and a motorcar parade, pushed Tom Egan, secretary of the West Green Lake Commercial Club, in a wheelbarrow up Aurora Ave to the stage of the Arabian Theatre. Hammer had bet Egan that Jack Dempsey would keep his heavy weight crown. He was wrong. Gene Tunney won and Hammer paid before his neighbors.
The city’s new light standards were installed on Aurora in the spring of 1927 and celebrated with a “Light-Bearers Parade” to the Arabian Theatre. Our subject from 1925 or ‘26 is too early to include them, and Jean’s “now” too late as well. The Seattle Times clip, below, however shows one. (Click it TWICE, to enlarge.)
On Jan. 15, 1928 while the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok was performing on the piano for members of the Pro Music Society at the Olympic Hotel, the Patricia Perry School of the Dance was on the Arabian stage with a variety of dances as prologue to the motion picture “The Fair Co-ed.” (I knew Patricia Perry, but not Bela Bartok.)
During the fall of 1928 the Arabian Theatre ran “beside” Clara Bow’s picture “Ladies of the Mob” an on-stage contest in the art of dancing the then popular Varsity Drag. “Here is the drag, see how it goes, Down on the heels, up on the toes. That’s the way to do the Varsity Drag.” For another kind of “drag,” the following April 9 and 10, sixty “substantial business and professional men” – Masons all – dressed and deported like Broadway chorus girls on the Arabian stage for a benefit show they named “Vampin Babies Frolic.”
Mabel Randall, the Arabian’s last manager, also gave its stage to neighborhood extras, like the theatre parties and benefit style shows that were matched with appropriate films. The Arabian screen went dark in 1954, but its stagecraft was resurrected late in 1955 when evangelist John H. Will’s Northwest Salvation and Healing Campaign, advertised its opening services for Dec. 11 at the “Old Arabian Theatre.”
Anything to add, Paul? Yes Jean as is our way a few more photos and features from the neighborhood. First a look north thru the same scene as at the top but more than a quarter century later – early in the silent 1950s – and shot from on high by a photographer from the city’s public works department. He or she was probably perched in a cherry picker or platform made for checking utilities rather than from a big ten-footer pole, like your own.
PAVED SPEEDWAY – AURORA at 84th (Looking South) 1931
(First appeared in Pacific, March 31, 1991)
In 1931, Aurora Avenue was a calm thoroughfare, where cars could safely
park along its border and bakeries were more common than cut-rate motels. But the billboards (then promoting sliced bread) were a premonition of things to come for the North End street.
When state officials decided to direct a high bridge over the Lake Washington Ship Canal north toward Aurora Avenue, the byway would begin its transformation into a primary strip of highway. Its metamorphosis was assured in 1933, when the new speedway was cut through Woodland Park, despite spirited protests led by The Times.
Albert and Birdie Collier witnessed the change. They operated the Delicious Bakery at 8320 Aurora Ave. N., left of center, and lived just across Aurora at 938 83rd St. Each year, they saw more passing cars and had to Increase their caution crossing the street.
Quickly, Aurora was becoming the busiest North End arterial. In a two-month period in 1937, more than 400 people were arrested for traffic violations on the speedway. When a meeting was called to discuss the problem, Harry Sutton, chief of the Police Department’s Traffic Violations Bureau, lamented, “Give a man a chance to drive 35 miles an hour under the law and he will drive 55 miles an hour.”
(First appeared in Pacific, Oct. 31, 1993)
Looking north through the center of Woodland Park across a-field of stumps on May 17, 1932, by a photographer from the Seattle Engineering Department. Three days shy of one year later, the first traffic rolled on what its enthusiasts called the “Great Aurora Highway.”
When an ordinance permitting the park’s bifurcation was passed by the Seattle City Council over the objections of the city’s park board, a front-page battle to save the park ensued. The leading advocate of this preservation and opponent of “park vandalism” was The Seattle Times.
“It is proposed,'” The Times editors wrote, “to build an 8,800-foot speedway 106 feet wide over a hill 293 feet high, and through 2,400 feet of the central portion of Woodland Park to save 25 seconds of time required to drive the 9,850 feet by way of Stone Way.” The Times figured the difference was ‘ about the length of three city blocks, and also noted that 107 homes would be sacrificed to the thruway.
Much earlier, When the Olmstead brothers were designing the city’s boulevards and parks, they included West Green Lake Way, connected with Stone Way, as the principal route for north-south traffic to circumvent Woodland Park. The landscapers proposed that the undeveloped center of Woodland Park be saved for, among other things, the expansion of the park’s zoological garden. In the meantime the Olmsteads recommended the old-growth forest in the park’s undeveloped interior be preserved.
Here are the stumps. Obviously, the campaign to save the park failed. The highway was approved by public vote. Answering an imaginary commuter’s question, “What will I get out of the Aurora thruway?” The Times answered, “A reminder at least twice a day that you sacrificed Woodland Park.”
An early 1937 portrait of the Twin T-P’s restaurant when the Aurora Speedway was new. Although fixable after it suffered smoke damage from a fire in 2000 the roadside attraction was without warning bulldozed early in the morning of July 31, 2001. What remained was the parking lot show here. It was nestled in a landscape of healthy weeds and a surrounding steel fence, until cleared for the construction that now fills the odd-shaped block. (Courtesy MOHAI)
TWIN T-P’s 70th
[The feature that follows were first published in 2007 and made note then of its 70th birthday]
In the spring of 1937 the shining steel towers of the Twin T-Ps were lifted above Aurora Avenue. They were strategically set across this speedway section of Highway 99 from the east shore of Green Lake. The Teepee, of course, is a form etched in the imagination of every American child and so this fanciful architectural corn (or maize) could be expected to lure a few matured kids called motorists off the highway.
Once inside the shiny example of Native American housing – the pointed and portable type used by the plains Indians – visitors were suddenly transported to the Northwest coast, for the decorations were done not on plains motifs but rather on designs like those we associate with totem poles, long houses, masks and spirit boxes.
Let’s imagine that almost everyone has eaten some of the regular American food at the T-Ps. I did once and ran into my old friends Walt Crowley and Marie McGaffrey who live nearby. If memory serves, they were enjoying prime rib. Walt would later write twice about the Twin T-P’s for historylink.org, the web site of state history he directs. The first essay (#2890) is a good summary of the exceptional story of this symmetrical piece of nutritious kitsch. Walt’s second essay (#3719) is a lament following the July 31, 2001 early morning bulldozing of the landmark. (If you so use the computer do it now – please.)
Jean has a more recent recording of this corner fill with what seems to be a new Condo. I’ll urge him to find and insert it. My black-white look dates from 2007.
GREEN LAKE’S NORTHWEST SWIMMING BEACH
In 1921, Seattle’s health department closed Green Lake to swimmers. The seven-foot lowering of the lake 10 years earlier had accelerated its natural tendency to become a swamp. In 1922, runoff from the nearby Green Lake and Maple Leaf reservoirs was diverted into the lake to freshen it. The south end of the lake became especially stagnant with aromatic algae. So, also in 1922, the Seattle Parks Department carefully disassembled its bathhouse and moved it from the southwest (Woodland Park) corner of the lake one mile north to the crowded beach scene recorded here by Asahel Curtis.
The new beach was sanded and made sporting with a couple of large off-shore rafts, one with a high-dive platform. With this, the park department created a decent beach for swimmers. The more-or-less unisex swim gear of the time did not encourage sunbathing and, anyway, a “good tan” was a carcinogenic desire not yet widely cultivated.
Soon after the swimmers moved north, however, their end of the lake developed the same algae soup that gave the lake its name. By 1925 the beach was closed again, and Dr. E.T. Hanley of the city’s health department made the radical proposal that Green Lake be drained so that the muck on its 20,000-year-old bottom might be scraped away. After three years of tests and debates, Hanley’s plan was abandoned, as well as another drastic proposal that would have transformed Green Lake into a salt lake, with water pumped in from Elliott Bay.
Rather, in 1928, temporary relief was engineered by a combination of chlorinating the Licton Springs water that fed the lake; sprinkling the lake’s surface with copper sulfate, an algae retardant, and increasing the feed of fresh water from the Green Lake reservoir’s runoff.
At this beach, 1928 was also a big year for changes ashore. With the 1927-to-1928 construction of the brick bathhouse the shoreline was terraced with a long line of gracefully curving concrete steps. The same modern mores that exposed the skin disposed of the need for bathhouses. The bathhouse, which in its first year, 1928, serviced 53,000 people, was converted in 1970 into a 130-seat theater. Now bathers come to the beach in their swim suits. Given the recurring restraint of the “Green Lake Itch,” many of them stay on the beach.
Above: a look at the beach showing raft with diving tower and Green Lake Primary School on the far shore. Below: a look back to shore from the diving tower.
We include this Green Lake subject taken by Price (the founder of Price Photo on Roosevelt) in the 20s (or thereabouts) as a challenge. We may know where it is but leave it to you to figure it out.
The view looks south from near the northwest “corner” of the lake. The still impressive timber of Woodland Park marks most of the horizon. On the far left is the profile of Lincoln High School and its tall chimney. This is another Price photo.
Green Lake based photographer LaVanway’s post-war studio at Winona and 73rd. In 2001 I wrote a now-then feature about this ornate clapboard when it was new and the home of Maust Transfer. It follows here.
MAUST TRANSFER at WINONA & 73RD
(First appeared in Pacific, July 22, 2001)
From a life of raising chickens and saving souls, Charles Maust, a Baptist minister who ran a poultry farm on the shores of Green Lake in 1902, took to hauling coal that year. Maust trucks are still hauling as the company climbs the driveway to its centennial. [Again, this dates from 2001.]
Maust built his namesake block at the flatiron corner of 73rd Street and Winona Avenue in 1906. He rented the upstairs comer office to a physician and the center storefront to a cobbler, and he attached a gaudy second structure at the north end on which he marketed the range of his service: coal, wood, sand, gravel, flour, spuds, brick, lime, cement, plaster.
Although the company home and stables were beside the lake, much of the hauling was done on the central waterfront. One of the earliest contracts was with Black Diamond coal. Loaded at the pier, Maust wagons carried the coal to commercial and residential customers all over town.
Eventually, Maust rolling stock was active from Blaine to Olympia. The company was also handling fish, and it was as a mover of fish – canned, fresh and frozen – that Maust got its reputation. For years it was headquartered at Pier 54, sharing space with Ivar’s Acres of Clams and the Washington Fish and Oyster Co. Three Maust generations -Charles, Harold and Norman – ran the company until 1996, when Gary Dennis, a longtime employee and friend of Norman’s, took over. Included in the company lore is a recollection by Charles’ son Harold how during the Great Depression his dad laid him off in favor of a married man who had a family. Evidently, the Baptist preacher turned trucker kept his interest not only in souls, but in bodies as well.
The clapboard Maust Block lasted until the late 1960s, when it was replaced by a four-story apartment house distinguished by its rough exterior siding made of Marblecrete.
Same flatiron, same post-war years, ca. 1949.
Nearby, Jim the barber – and his dog – at 73rd and Linden
Except for the temporary money gate at Bumbershoot, which with our press passes we had not need to either climb over or bust through, this repeat was pretty easy to figure. Jean and I both took repeats of the sunny Century 21 record of the southeast corner of the Food Circus. Jean in the full light, I in the twilight. His, I think, is the more accurate. In ’62 a stairway here then led up to something named La Balcone. Once inside, perhaps the stairs continued to the wrapping balcony that nearly circles the big hall. It may have been French food – perhaps Freedom Fries, named for liberty, equality and fraternity.
More than their latest models the Ford company’s Century-21 pavilion was about space, influenced by Sputnik and Buckminster Fuller – a geodesic cap or crown for thinking about space. On its “An Adventure in Outer Space” one flew through the close universe of planets and satellites. I did not visit it, but imagine that it was by today’s simulated trips a passive journey – like TV more than Disneyland. (Neither have I “visited” video games.) Even on Ford’s budget such a trip would be hard to create convincingly in 1962. But with a willing suspension of one’s critical faculties who needs to be convinced? Well, you and I do. This reminds me of the Great Fire of 1666 kinetic diorama at the Museum of London History, which Jean and I visited with a trot in 2005. For a recreation of the fire that flatted much of London one stood in a darkened closet and really suspended one’s disbelief while watching a jerky version of the fire grow through a window, as if seeing it across the Thames.
The Ford Pavilion was at the south end of Nob Hill beyond John and nearly up against Denny Way. Jean’s “now” is adjusted by a few feet to the east in order to include sculptor Alexander Liberman’s assemblage of industrial cylinders, some 40 feet long and sixty-four inches in diameter.
This is the first photograph that Jean recorded for our fair-festival project. We had just entered the Bumbershoot gate on Mercer with press passes (The only way we could effortlessly afford it.) and followed instructions to the press room where with Ron Edge we were outfitted with other “special” passes and stickers and ephemera into other inner-spaces, which we rarely used, for we kept to the outside for the three days of Bumbershoot.
The proper and polite name for this space in front of the McCaw Hall is the Kreielsheimer Plaza – or is it the Kreielsheimer Promenade? This uncertainly is evidence for what we knew at the time it was being built and dedicated; that is was unlikely that many would remember the proper name. First it was a difficult name, and even if named Jones Plaza it would soon be swallowed whole by McCaw.
On an inspiration, Jean with his tall pole took this shot through the screens that are at night – sometimes – used as surfaces for colorful projections. (As least I hope they are still used so.) Jean and I, along with Mike James, Genny McCoy and Sheila Farr wrote the book history of the Kreielsheimer Foundation, which gave the money for the plaza (or promenade) and about about 100 million more for art around the Northwest, although most of it’s in Seattle. The family name with a difficult spelling is attached to many places hereabouts, but. again, rarely is it remembered or recognized. It’s a shame. While writing the book we grew fond of the family.
Jean’s recording at the top was for his pleasure. In it there is a band playing at the end of this promenade. I knew we had many photographs of the old Civic Auditorium and Opera House too, and we will next attach a few with short captions. None of them will be a “scientific” repeat or prefiguring of Jean’s shot, but they will all be of the place or very near it.
Helix this week is austere, at least when compared to any of the 30 some previous offerings. And things will stay restrained for about two weeks more, for we have lost Bill White – temporarily. This week Ron Edge’s clever black-white lasso of the Moitoret Helix logo is left without color. Ron has restrained himself, for it is he that has been putting up those colored renderings every week – with about two years to go. (They should make a fine little Edge Animation. We can show it on YouTube.)
Now it occurs to me that this lack of color is prefigured by a slide I took many years ago of the front of the old and last Helix office on Harvard Ave. The place was plastered with bills. I’ll put it up. (For sake of disclosure, perhaps it was recorded with Tri-X and not color.) Someone – like Bill White – with a detailed understanding of Seattle’s Rock history will be able to date this by the bands playing.
[Now someone has: Mike Whybark. While Bill is on the train – thanks Mike. Here’s his comment, which can also be found far below. Mike refers to both front door shots of the abandoned Helix, this one and the other near the bottom of this contribution. We’ll put his truths in quotes, and this welcome interruption in brackets.
“Black and white posters shot includes a date: Freak Show at the Central 6-2-91, flyers in the clerestory of the storefront. I also note the mass of posters lower down is very weathered with no fresh flyers. I would guess that this then dates from the first year or so of the poster ban, around 1993. The color pic [near the bottom] looks to be around 1982. Three alternative market bands are featured: The Stranglers (UK based), Romeo Void (LA) and Echo and the Bunnymen. Romeo Void had the shortest half life of these bands so I say about 1981-1982.”]
Things will stay dormant for about two weeks more – until Bill gets settled in Peru. We say farewell Bill. But we wait to hear from you. (He has sent a few lines from Chicago and a few more while rolling through Washington D.C. via Amtrak. They were understandable complaints about the price of train food, the difficulties of sleeping in a coach, the state of North Dakota and the state of national politics. But soon comes relief, for Bill by now must be approaching dangling Florida. There on its western shore he will join a cruise ship filled with tourists. On my trip across the Atlantic long ago I quickly developed a fondness for tourists and the deck shuffleboard and swimming we shared high above the ocean. Bill’s journey with take him and his tourists through the Panama Canal, in the direction of the new world. Fifty seven years ago I too went through it in the opposite direction landing in the old world at Tilbury on the Thames.
Bill intends to send reports by land and sea and with pictures. Once he is comfortably at home in Lima we will figure out how to resume these weekly offerings with our partnered commentaries, by means of SKYPE and some recording program we have yet to install. And we hope that a few thousand miles, Skype and the cameras on our respective screens will help us get better at reading Helix.
The trip from Seattle to Lima, which takes a few hours by air, will last a little under three weeks for Bill – a luxury for a writer as prolific as he. We shall wait to read him. A century ago Bill could have easily booked steamer service to South America directly from Seattle. And there was a boat operating as early as the 1870s named for the City of Panama, on the isthmus that by then had the first transcontinental railroad in any hemisphere crossing it. For one crossing over from the the Old to the New, adding to the coastwise-steaming on two oceans, the rattling of less than a day by train, made this Western Migration something like tolerable. And there was less chance of catching Malaria on the little train than on a hired wagon though that steaming jungle.
Bill has moved more north-south than east-west. But he has gotten older. Pizarro, the tough Spaniard who founded Lima, called it the “City of Kings.” That was in 1535 – by now time enough the grow a layered culture. Bill will add to it with his singing and writing – even in English. Wallingford will not be the same without him, although the neighborhood is also changing. Tully’s, the bigger espresso shop on the northeast corner of 45th and Meridian folded. It figures. Tully’s was a place we used to go for meetings but with minimal consuming. At the same time the west wall of the place has been painted with a sampler of Wallingford’s destinations. It is mildly charming if one is feeling good but pathetic when not. Ron Edge snapped it from his driver’s window. Bill print this and hang it on a north wall in Lima.
Now a snapshot of Bill on his last day in Wallingford and the Northwest. I’m helping him pack some primitive essentials – although he later refused them. (Until inserting this, I had not noticed that the right pocket on my temperate winter coat is torn. I inherited it from my oldest brother Ted, now six years beyond. I’ll leave it alone.)
Returning – in conclusion for this week – to a more colorful Helix this time in Kodachrome. This slide is not dated, but Bill can probably figure it out from the names on the posters. Now what will happen to all the familiarity that is part of him? Losing White to South America is like burning a library with a smolder. Bill we await your reports – by Land and by Sea – and books both real and magical from the “land of crosses.”