The intended subject here is almost surely the obvious one: two blocks of grass. From the intersection of 4th Avenue, on the right, and Harrison Street (its sidewalk) on the left, the view looks north-northwest to a Queen Anne Hill horizon.
One long block away, and near the scene’s center, rests the Troy Laundry, a two-story factory of suds at the northeast corner of Nob Hill Avenue and Republican Street. For Pacific readers who remember last week’s Belgian Waffles, the laundry is only one block east (here to the right) of where that Century 21 confectionary was built in 1962. (In the now shot the laundry would be in the high seats of the High School Stadium’s north side seating)
Fred Cruger, our reliable motorcar collector-historian, has helped us date this scene. With the aid of a blow-up, Fred studied the Fords parked near the laundry, and recommends “1925 or 26.” With those years in hand we imagine that the historical photographer understood that her or his record might well prove to be the last unobstructed look thru David and Louisa Denny’s swale. It was here that those first pioneers cultivated their garden, one large enough to help feed the few hundred citizens living nearby in a village – Seattle – distinguished by Puget Sound’s first steam sawmill.
Bertha Landes, Seattle’s first and so far only women mayor, was a powerful booster of what our unnamed photographer surely knew was coming: a Civic Field, Auditorium and Arena. Elected in 1926 before the construction started, Her Honor was out of office in 1928 weeks before her civic center was dedicated. (Without reelection, Mayoral terms then ran a mere two years.)
In altered forms Seattle’s cultural center of 1928 survives. Civic Field got the first revision, a 1947-48 remodel into the concrete stadium for mostly high school football and soccer Jean has “peeked into” with his repeat. Recruiting his trusty ten-foot-pole Jean shot blind over a stadium wall.
Anything to add, Paul? Yup Jean we will take a few looks into the pasture-potlatch acres and their transformations. We may note as well that we have visited Seattle Center in past blog contributions, and hope that readers will use the keyword search available to call them back. For starters try “auditorium,” “Seattle Center,” “Century 21,” “Bumbershoot,” “David Denny,” “Food Circus,” “Space Needle,” “Coliseum,” and, we expect, many other keys.
We’ll next sample three looks south from the southern slope of Queen Anne Hill to the subject. The first is dated loosely “in the 1890s,” and next with certainty 1900, and the last from late in 1960.
Next, for comparison, a 1928 look from northwest from the south stands to the west end of Civic Field as a large crew was preparing its turf, followed by a Century 21 shot by Frank Shaw, which looks in the same direction, but not from the Civic Field stands but from the south stands of Memorial Stadium during Century 21. For Shaw the scheduled event is a high wire act.
We conclude with a piece of ephemera from Ron Edge’s collection. It is a lovely green booklet celebrating Seattle’s then new civic center – the one built on David and Louisa Denny’s pasture in 1927-28 – and so the foundation for both Century 21 in 1962 and the Seattle Center campus that followed it.
(Mouse the Green Cover to call forth the full booklet.)