HELIX Vol.3 No.10 June 14, 1968

With Bill White happily camped in his new Lima flat w. Kel, we now have a second Skype recorded reading of Helix, this one for June 14, 1968.  Herein plans are made for the first Sky River Rock Festival – although not named so as yet – Robert Kennedy is shot dead, Lorenzo Milam reveals his esoteric review of KRAB Radio since giving up its management, and Walt Crowley reviews his favorite movie, 2001.  And much more.

B.White and P. Dorpat

[audio:http://edge-archive.com/audio/03-10.mp3|titles=HelixVol 3 No 10]






Seattle Now & Then: Billboards on Third Avenue

(click – often TWICE – to enlarge photos)
THEN: Foster and Kleiser, the outdoor advertising monopoly, in 920 claimed that it did more than 90 percent of billboards in the Northwest. Here two years earlier, at the northeast corner of Seneca St. and Third Avenue, it poses some of its most ornate work like posh picture frames on a fireplace mantle.
NOW: Since 1920-21 the corner has been held by substantial elegance of the Telephone Building.
In the winter of 1920 Foster and Kleiser trumpeted the great success of their outdoor advertising business – aka billboards – by offering preferred stock in their company at $100 a share.  Soon after, they ran a three column ad on the Times “finance and markets” page strengthening their offering with a capitalized boast: “The Power of Art Has Produced This Great Business.”
The Power and the Pride of building a near monopoly. This appeared in The Times for March 10, 1920.
The printed slogan was framed in a pen and ink rendering of one the wonderfully pretentious billboard frames Foster and Kleiser had raised on a favorite few of the many local corners and rooftops for which they had leaseholds for their billboards.  They adorned this double-lot at the northeast corner of Third Ave. and Seneca Street four times with the “power of art.”
Same power, same art, but a different as yet unidentified corner. Far right a glimpse of the tower of Gethsemane Lutheran Church at the corner of 9th and Stewart is a clue, although I do not have the answer.
The years that billboards cloaked the clutter of this corner at 3rd and Seneca were few.  Their life of advertising began after the ca. 1907 destruction of the big home that Dexter Horton, Seattle’s first banker, built here in the 1870s. (See below for a brief feature on that home.) The art-deco mounts were removed for the construction of the brick pile the telephone company started lifting here in 1920.  This sturdy survivor was engineered to hold the company’s heavy equipment.  For the foundation the builders also prudently wrapped in concrete the Great Northern Railroad tunnel that runs directly beneath the northeast corner of their skyscraper.
Another detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map, this one showing the neighborhood. The block defined by Seneca and University Streets and Third and Fourth Avenues is right of center and towards the top. The block is crossed by two broken lines, the larger one represents/follows the 1905 railroad tunnel. The birdseye view, which is four photos down, was recorded from the Hotel Savoy, which can be found in this Baist detail to the left and so west of our subject's block.
Only one of the structures recorded in this 1918 look east across Third Avenue survives: the then four-year old Y.W.C.A. building at the southeast corner of 5th Avenue and Seneca.  The Y’s ornate upper floors hold the horizon.  They are topped by a wire fence raised high for games on the roof.
Groundbreaking for the new YWCA at the southeast corner of 5th and Seneca.
Up on the roof in 1923 for the Girl Reserve Conference. The roof and dome of 4th Church Christ Scientist at 8th and Seneca appears upper-right. (Courtesy, Y.W.C.A.)
Playtime on the roof with the towers of Central School (at 6th and Madison) on the left and Providence Hospital at 5th and Madison just breaking the horizon on the right and above the watchful playground proctors. (Courtesy, Y.W.C.A.)
Back on Third, Foster and Kleiser’s peacocky billboards were also security against a recurring public resentment for outdoor advertising that was led by local improvement clubs.  The boards were variously described as “blots on beauty,” “commercialism gone mad,” and “glaring and unsightly structures that lift their flaming fronts and tell their own story of aggressive insolence.”
The once very popular hereabouts Society Chocolates that are embraced above by corner's far left billboard.
Far right, a birdseye look at the same corner, about the same time. The new Y.W.C.A. appears upper right, and the Pantages Theatre far left. (Click twice to study enlarged)


Anything to add, Paul?  Surely Jean, as is our way.   First here’s Walter F. Foster, in a cartoon ca. 1909.  Perhaps he was the art director at the time and almost surely had a good hand – and head – for figures.   We will follow his portrait with three other examples of his firm’s upscale billboards set on Central Business District corners.
More grandeur, here at the northwest corner of Pine and Third Avenue.
Four big boards embraced by their plaster-cast votaries in an otherwise vacant lot mid-block on Second Ave. just north of the St. Regis Hotel, at the northwest corner of Second and Stewart.
Set in City Hall Park to service "food programs" during the First World War. (We included this earlier in the blog, along with its feature as part of a narrative about briefly squatting protestors during the Great Depression.)
And yet m0re to share Jean.
First three related features that appeared in by-gone Pacifics, and perhaps even here in some other context.   These will be followed by fifteen examples of Fowler and Kleister research/sales photos showing a few of their big boards on local arterials.
The Dexter Horton Home at the northeast corner of Third and Seneca with the Territorial University behind it and one block east at Seneca and what would be Fourth Avenue had it been carried through the original U.W. campus - which is was not.
The telephone building that eventually replaced it.
(First appeared in Pacific, May 23, 2004.)
Sometime in the 1870s, Dexter Horton moved with his second wife, Caroline Parsons, (his first wife had died) into their new home at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and Seneca Street. From their back porch they could look up at the classical cupola of Territorial University’s main building less than a block away. Except for the low fence that enclosed the campus, the landscape was continuous because Fourth Avenue was then still undeveloped between Seneca and Union streets.
Horton arrived in Seattle in 1853 with little more than the clothes he wore. Like many others, he eventually worked in Henry Yesler’s sawmill. His first wife, Hannah, worked for Yesler as well, managing the cookhouse attached to the mill. With their combined incomes, the couple opened a general store near the mill and even ventured to San Francisco to try their hand in the brokerage business. When they returned to Seattle in 1869 or ’70 (sources disagree), they brought with them a big steel safe and the official papers to start Seattle’s first bank.
The popular story that Horton’s first safe was secured with the trust his customers had with him – that is that it had no back on it – was discounted much later by his daughter, Caroline, who told off Seattle Times reporter Margaret Pitcairn Strachan: “You don’t think my father was that stupid do you?” The daughter speculated that the backless safe was one of her father’s jokes, since he was well known “for telling stories and laughing heartily at them.”
For all its loft and ornament, the banker’s distinguished home was the scene of a constant battle to stay warm in the colder months. Three fireplaces were the entire source of heat. The home’s many high windows admitted drafts at all hours.  But when Dexter Horton died in 1904, a few months short of 80, he was still living here.
(First appears in Pacific, Dec. 13, 1992)
This view of the old Territorial University was photographed from the back of the Horton home at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and Seneca Street.  (Horton was the founder of Seafirst Bank.)  The university’s main classical building stood one block east at the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Seneca Street, or would have, for Fourth then stopped at Seneca and would stay so until its regrade through the campus in 1907. The university’s south wall, far right, was about 80 feet north of Seneca.
The campus is only about 35 years old here. If the view was recorded in the fall of 1895 or after, it is no longer the home of the university, which that year moved into Denny Hall on its new campus north of Lake Union. After that, the old campus and its main building were used for a variety of meetings and assemblies and for a time served as home of the Seattle Public Library.
The main building measured 50 feet by 80 feet and was constructed in a hurry during the summer of 1861. Clearing of the ten-acre campus from gigantic first-growth forest began on March 1 and the school opened Nov. 4. Only one of its students, Clarence Bagley, was of college age. Rebecca Horton was one of the other 29 scholars – all of them taught by Asa Mercer, 22, who was faculty, principal and janitor.
The details of the campus’s construction are included in a Dec. 4 report to the Territorial Legislature by Daniel Bagley, Clarence’s father. Yesler’s mill provided the rough lumber, and the finished pieces came from Port Madison or Seabeck on Hood Canal. The stone for the foundations was quarried near Port Orchard and the sand was extracted from a bank nearby the site at Third Avenue and Marion Street. The bricks were hauled in from Whatcom (Bellingham), and all the glass, hardware and other finished items were imported from Victoria. The capitols above the fluted columns were carved by AP. DeLin, who had learned his woodworking as a craftsman for Chickering Piano Works.
Elks Lodge at the southwest corner of Spring Street and Fourth Avenue. A glimpse of the Lodge's north facade on Spring Street can be found in the primary subject, far above. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
ELKS LODGE – Southwest Corner of 4th Ave. and Spring Street.
(First appeared in Pacific, August 27, 1995 on the eve of Elk’s then Grand Exalted Ruler, Edward J. Mahan, for the dedication of the Lodge’s then nearly new Lower Queen Anne quarters.)
Seattle Elks took three days in 1914 to dedicate their lodge at the southwest comer of Fourth and Spring.  There was plenty to do – the basement and sub-basement had a Turkish bath, bowling alleys and a big swimming pool. The Lodge Room on the top floor had a pipe organ and also was used for social events. Three floors were reserved for members’ living quarters and, aside from rented shops on the street, the rest of this nine-story landmark was used for lodge activities.
The Seattle lodge was the third largest in the order and, when counted with the Ballard Elks, made Seattle the only community outside of-New York with two lodges. Within two years of taking possession of their new lodge, membership swelled to more than 2,000, four times the number that met 10 years earlier in temporary quarters on the top floors of the Alaska Building.
The Elks welcome a parade of Tillikums (many of them Elks) at the lodge during one of the earliest Potlatch Celebrations - either 1911 or 1912. The Lincoln Hotel is far left. (Courtesy, Michael Maslan)
Seattle Lodge 92 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was instituted in 1888 with eight members. (Its records were destroyed in the city’s “Great Fire” of June 6, 1889. The Frye Opera House, the Lodge’s home, was one of the first structures consumed.
The lodge sold its Fourth Avenue quarters in 1958. Nine years later, in preparation for the building’s razing for the construction of the Seafirst Bank tower, bank publicist Jim Faber staged one of great conceptual-arts moments in Seattle history. In monumental block-cartoon letters he wrote “POW” on the brick south wall of the old lodge, a target for the wrecker’s ball.
Not able at the moment to uncover my photo of Jim Fabor's POW on the south facade of the doomed Elks Lodge, I attach instead a portrait of Jim posing for me at the Indian Salmon House, during one of our lunches there in the 1980s.
And also and perhaps for titillation we included Lawton Gowey's 11th hour look at the west facade of the Elks Lodge hours before the work of knocking it down commenced. The pop art was on the here hidden south facade - on the right. Please Imagine it until we can find it and offer it as an addendum..
Again from his office in the Seattle Light Building, Lawton Gowey took this record of the Elks' half-destruction on July 5, 1966. The two towers are at work battering the Elks away.
Since leaving Fourth and Spring the Seattle Elks have had two homes: first on the west shore of Lake Union and now in lower Queen Anne. Lodge members have been meeting at Queen Anne Avenue and Thomas Street for a year and half, but withheld the dedication until tomorrow’s visit [in 1995] of Grand Exalted Ruler Edward J. Mahan. ~
The fifteen subjects that follow are pulled from two collections of hundreds of mostly Seattle street scenes that included within them one billboard or more.   The great majority of these scenes photographed by – or for – the Foster and Kleister firm, are not portraits of billboards, but of the settings in which they are placed.  The negatives were used to  show the firm’s clients the many opportunities open to them for advertising to the sides of our arterials.   In this line, many of the 5×7 negatives included in the collections have been retouched – the boards have been wiped clean of any adverts on them not by erasing the emulsion from the negative but rather by covering it most often with an opague watercolor.  Fortunately it can be removed – carefully.  The collections also have a minority of negatives that are straight on depictions of billboards with fresh signage on them – fresh, no doubt, as proof of work for the firm’s clients.

Alaskan Way aka Railroad Ave. looking South from Yesler Way, Sept. 29, 1939.
I confess that preparing and polishing these negatives has been a delightful routine for me.  They are hard to leave along, for when handling them I am often stirred by uncanny feelings of my youth – full bore nostalgia.  The subjects date from about 1928 to 1942.  Remembering that the two collections came to us coincidentally, we have hopes that there are third and fourth parts left to be revealed.

40th Street looking east from 11th Ave. N.E. March 14, 1940.
The typed negatives were routinely captioned by the firm with strips of paper taped to their bottoms.  The directions in these captions require careful interpretation for they are not about the photographer’s prospect, but about the position of what the firm considers the primary billboard of interest in the photograph.  An example: “Aurora, wl, 220 ft s of Howe.”  This means that the billboard of interest is on the west line – or side – of Aurora 220 feet south of Howe Street.  That may as far a two blocks from the photographer.  We have tried to extend the captions with explicit mention of the photographer’s prospect of point of view.
Third Ave. looking south through Virginia Street, Dec. 11, 1936.
Third Avenue looking south thru Cherry Street, Nov. 1, 1936.
Second Ave. looking north thru Broad Street, March 14, 1940.
Fifth Ave. looking north into Denny, April 18, 1939.
Fifth Ave. looking north from Olive Street, 1939.
Seventh Ave, Denny Way & Battery Street, Dec. 30, 1936.
12th Ave. looking south to Alder, March 14, 1940.
15th Ave. S. looking north thru Beacon, Sept. 16, 1937.
15th Ave. NW looking north thru 64th Street, Nov. 12, 1936.
Aurora looking north to Valley, August 26, 1940.
California Ave. looking north to Alaska, Sept 23, 1941.
Westlake looking north thru Pine, (no date)
Broadway Ave. looking south thru John Street, 1933.

HELIX Vol. 3 No. 9 ca. June 7, 1968

With Bill White now comfortably set in his New World neighborhood in Lima, Peru and the helpful SKYPE, we can put up the next issue of HELIX, the one probably from June 7, 1968.  (The issue was not dated, but surely we are correct or no more than one days off.)  Now we will week-in-week-out put these tabloids up – in their proper order – and have a good time both reading them and reflecting on them together.  Please notice how the new and drier climate – plus the medicines applied by his doctor Kel – have cleared the stuff in William’s head and he is sounding fine.  (SKYPE is, however, kinder to Peru than to Puget Sound.  While Bill’s voice resounds, the Skype filters also amplify from our Seattle end that ssscar of recording, the hissing S.   We hope to dampen it with our next offering – in a week or so. If not we will live with it.  Repeated thanks to Ron Edge for processing all this and adding his art – the coloring of Jacque’s logos – as well.)


B. White and P. Dorpat

[audio:http://edge-archive.com/audio/03-09.mp3|titles=Helix Vol 3 No 9]



Seattle Now & Then: The Ishii Family Farm

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The ca. 1935 view looks northwest towards West Seattle from the Ishii family farm. The west pier of the 14th Ave S. bascule bridge over the Duwamish Waterway to South Park can be found between what Nancy Ishii identifies as the farm house topped by a giant cedar stump, center, and the barn, far left. Posing, R-L, are Nancy’s grandfather Tadaichi Ishii, her aunts, Sally (Ishii) Tsuboi and Michi (Ishii) Hirata, her father, Nobi Ishii; grandmother, Hatsumi Ishii; uncle, Masao Ishii; and Hatsumi’s dapper older son, Seichi Takeuchi. (Courtesy of the Wing Luke Museum)
NOW: Under construction, the new bridge to South Park tops more Ishii’s collected for Jean’s “repeat.” They are, standing in back: Brian Ishii, Miyoko Ishii, Masao Ishii, Linda Ishii, Hajime Hirata, Michi Hirata (in printed blouse), Marji Mar (in rear), Cathy Skinner, Sally Tsuboi; and front row: Kelly Liu, Nancy Ishii Martos, Joanne Ishii-Chan, Nobi Ishii, Natalie Chan

Nancy Ishii (bottom row second from the left in Jean’s “now”) figures that this portrait of her family’s farm beside the Duwamish River dates from 1934 or ’35.  Appearing in both the “now” and “then” are one uncle, Masao, two aunts, Michi and Sally, and her father, Nobi Ishii.  In cap and tie, the about twelve-year-old Nobi stands at the center of the group of seven in the “then.”  About seventy-two years later he gets to sit – again at the center – in Jean’s repeat.  (We position them all in the captions.)

What seems like magic is what does NOT appear in either subject – the sprawling 1,776,000 square feet of Boeing Plant 2, nor any sign of the nearly 7000 B-17 bombers that were built there.   The Flying Fortress factory’s first 60,000 feet were covered in 1936, a year or so after the Japanese American farmers were posed standing in their carrot patch by Henry Miyake of the International District’s Takano Studio.  Recently, the Wing Luke Museum called on the community to help identify the subjects in their Miyake collection, and many startling discoveries, like this one, followed.

Nancy, a friend, called for some help in “refining” the location of the farm.  With the help of aerial photographs (see below), the Duwamish Waterway bridge to South Park – seen in both subjects – and some fine tuning from Boeing historian Michael Lombardi, Boeing site server, Mike Prittie and Boeing communicator, Kathleen Spicer, we managed to confidently return some of the extended Ishii family to their farm for Jean’s repeat.  Imagine, if you will, Michael, Mike, Kathleen and I, all huddled behind Jean and his camera on the asphalt tarmac that was once Boeing Plant 2, near its southwest corner, and in the Ishii carrot patch.

The Ishii’s rented their acres from Joe Desimone, the South Park Neapolitan immigrant farmer who was also the Pike Place Public Market’s benevolent landlord.  In 1940 with the Boeing factory sprawling towards the farm, Desimone helped the family keep their planted rows beside the Duwamish River, although relocated about one mile upstream.  However, their kindly landlord could not, we know, keep them farming after the shock of Pearl Harbor.

The fate of the Ishii family and their farm during World War Two and after is an often distressing story, but still one with many happy moments and helpful lessons.  If you like, you may follow more of this on dorpatsherrardlomont, the blog noted each week at the bottom of this feature.  This week both Nancy Ishii and I will elaborate.  Just as likely, we will add an addendum later following more gathering of family photos.

The other - west - side of the farm also reveals its vestige of what was once part of a different Duwamish habitat - the stump. Nancy Ishii also thanks the stump, which was "big enough to crawl into," for helping us locate the farm in other photographs. She notes, "The building on the right is where they washed the produce and bunched the onions." That's the family's Model T Ford - it is sometime in the 1930s.


Below, a few more photos of the Ishii family at Boeing field; the first being a portrait of the Ishii elders who appeared in the original THEN:

Ishiis who appeared in the original 'THEN' photo (L-R): Masao Ishii, Nobi Ishii, Michi (Ishii) Hirata, and Sally (Ishii) Tsuboi
A detail of the 'Then' photo. Masao, his mother Hatsumi Ishii, Nobi, Michi and Sally


Ishiis gather
Considering the evidence
Paul with Nobi
Nancy & Paul

Hey Paul, I hear that you and Nancy have a lot to add – tell me it’s so!

Jean, I think so – ultimately.  While I’m adding a few related features from nearly ancient Pacifics, Nancy is also pulling and scanning a few photos of her dad mostly from the 40s and 50s.  They will be the last items I’ll add to this blog, although they will be placed here when we get them.

Nancy's grandparents, Hatsumi and Tadaichi Ishii posing in front of the original "I-90 Lake Washington Floating Bridge" soon after its was built in 1940.
The handsome young Nobi was drafted into the army while his family was still incarcerated. Here is the buck private at Fort Snelling, in Minnesota.
Nancy Ishii writes, "My parents' Kimi and Nobi Ishii were married in the 1950's. My mother was an accomplished seamstress, and sewed her own wedding dress. She grew up in the International District on South Jackson Street behind her family's flower shop. Look for her in the Cherry Land Florist story that follows."
In 1949, Nobi opened H & I Auto Repair at 1209 E Fir in Seattle. I still remember the sweet smell of auto paint and Bondo dust, whenever I'd visit him at work. There was a constant stream of customers and friends to chat with and visit when he worked there. He retired in 1987.
As a boy, Nobi first learned car repair from Mr. Kobayashi - whenever he came to visit and fix their garden truck.

Nancy suggests that we also show some of the research photos that we arranged in our earliest attempts to place the farm.  She knew that it was somewhere south of – but near – Boeing Plant #2, the one at the east side of the bridge over the Duwamish River to South Park.  Since the farm came first, the plant was a surprise to the family.  As noted above, it was “near” indeed, for the B17 factory eventually took over their garden, farm house, and barn. Here then are a few of the photos that helped us fine-tune the farm.

The first and very helpful clue was in the selected farm photo itself. The bridge to South Park appears in the gap between the farm house, on the right, and the barn, far left. This we noted. Although a small part of the farm portrait, the bridge was in good focus and so we could "read" how its piers were sitting. The red arrow leading to the bridge in the farm photo approximates the line of the red arrow drawn onto the satellite aerial above it grabbed from Good Earth.
Picking from the horde of airways photographs I gathered for the writing of the big book Building Washington (which can be found and read on this blog) I easily found an early aerial of Boeing's Plant No.2, along side the river, the bridge and what was almost certainly the Ishii farm - and one other. I called Nancy and risked that victory was nearly ours.
A detail from the same aerial with the farm marked in red - and more. The "X" is near the spot where the photographer stood and the dotted approximates - within a few feet - what was his line-of-sight to the farm house.
Next we returned to space and marked our estimate of where the farm stood in how ever many years ago the current Google Earth snapshot was made of the site. At this point we began courting Boeing and they, as noted on top, first helped fine-tune our conclusions, and then led us ultimately to the vast and empty reaches of blacktop that replaced the plant and are, it seems, waiting for some industrious inspiration.
Looking north and down river over a factory that has expanded and covers the old farm. Here the factory - the first part of it nearest the bridge - has also been covered with the by now famous faux neighborhood made of burlap lawns, squat houses and parked cars the size of family refrigerators. We may wonder if such camouflage would have been more alluring than distracting to a hostile bomber approaching low over West Seattle
Where the erzats landscape falls over the western facade of the Flying Fortress factory and into the Duwamish River. Looking east the scene was photographed from the South Park side.
Boeing's "Our Town."
Meanwhile - and below - the 5000 B-17.


(Remembering now that this was composed in 1992.) Six of the surviving seven of Tameno Habu Kobata’s children revisited the site of the family’s flower shop, now spanned by the Interstate 5 freeway.  They are, below and from the left, Kimi Ishii, Louise Sakuma, Mary Shinbo, Rose Harrell, Jack Nabu and John Habu.  Two of the Tameno’s 22 grandchildren are also included – Linda Ishii, far left, and Nancy Ishii, kneeling.  Nancy Ishii is responsible for researching the family history.


(First appeared in Pacific, Feb. 2, 1992)

In the 1930s, the decade of the Great Depression, Cherry Land Florists grew from a small grocery store into one of the largest retail flower shops in the International District. These views were photographed in 1941.

Ten years earlier Tameno Kobata, her husband John, and their eight children – six from her first and deceased husband, Teiji Habu – moved into the storefront at 905 Jackson St. The flowers, which at first were kept behind the fruits and vegetables, eventually took over, and the Kobatas’ little food store became their Cherry Land.

The business was mostly the mother’s doing – the father helped support the enterprise by working a second job as a waiter at the Seattle Tennis Club. The family lived in cramped and often chaotic quarters behind a partition in the rear of the store. A barrel with water heated on a wood stove by fuel scrounged from the neighborhood was the family bath, and the living quarters’ few beds were shared with privacy provided only by blankets hung for partitions.

The oldest girls, Kako and Mary, soon became skilled flower arrangers, and the younger children helped de-thorn roses, fold corsage boxes and prepare ferns for wreaths – after they had completed their homework.

In the sidewalk scene (on top) Tameno Habu Kobata and her second son, John Habu, pose between the flower boxes. John, who left home in 1935 at the age of 14 to make his own way in Chicago, returned “amazed” in 1940 to find his family’s flower shop flourishing. Within a year, with his help knocking away walls, Cherry Land expanded to the entire building.

After Pearl Harbor, the business instantly withered. The fear and hysteria of the early days of World War II brought internment for the Habu-Kobata family and 125,000 other Japanese Americans.

At war’s end most of the family was back in Seattle. When their industrious mother, Tameno, died unexpectedly in 1948, sons John and Jack returned to Seattle for her funeral and stayed. In the years after her death Tameno’s many children started a variety of local businesses, including three flower shops – among them a Cherry Land Two.


Above: The Japanese Buddhist Temple on the north side of Main Street east of 10th Ave.  The “now” scene below was scanned from the clipping used in Pacific when the feature was first published in 1992.  Like many other “now” scenes not shown with these repeats, it is somewhere nearby in “stacks of decades” but not near enough to be easily found.  The temple site, like much of this Profanity Hill neighborhood was developed into Yesler Terrace in 1940.  Although now 20-years past I remember well the anticipation of the children as they waited for me to shoot the picture.  Although Jean Sherrard was not there in 1992, he was many years earlier a resident of Yesler Terrace when he was a tot.  Many doctors-in-training, like Jean’s dad Don, moved with their families into Yesler Terrace during, at least, part of medical school.  For teaching purposes it was close to King County(now Harborview) Hospital.


(First appeared in Pacific, July 12, 1992)

When the Japanese Buddhists dedicated their first Seattle temple in 1908, the congregation was seven years old and yet there were nearly 500 members. Meeting at first in a rented house on Main Street, east of Sixth Avenue, the congregation built their temple four blocks east, on Main just east of Tenth.

The title for the property and the charter for the church were signed by two trusted Caucasian citizens because racist federal laws then prohibited citizenship and ownership of real property by Asian immigrants. This discrimination was compounded by the Alien Exclusion Act of 1924, which barred Japanese immigration to this country. The congregation continued to grow, however, with the families that were its members.

Women of the temple post in traditional dress in front of the temple. (like most of the photographs used in this feature, this one comes courtesy of the Temple.)

The temple was included in the old Profanity Hill neighborhood that was ultimately condemned to enable the construction of Yesler Terrace. The congregation then again built on Main Street – further east. In its last years, the wood-frame temple was regularly vandalized by patriots who mistook a Buddhist symbol over the temple’s front porch for the Nazi swastika.  (You can find the ancient design in the top photo used for this feature.  It is above the Temple front door.)

Traditional theatre.
Slapstick, screwball, and/or melodrama

The congregation dedicated its present temple at 1427 S. Main on Oct. 4, 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbor came two months later. Within hours, the congregation’s leaders were detained and the church plunged into turmoil. With the infamous Executive Order 9066, the temple was shut down as the West Coast Japanese nationals and Americans of Japanese ancestry were interned. During the war, the temple basement was used for storage of the interns’ belongings; after the war, the church helped to resettle its members.

One temple event well-known to the greater community is the ·Bon Odori Festival. Printed directly above, the night scene of the costumed celebrants in front of the temple is from the 1932 Bon Odori, the first held at the temple. Since 1955 the community event has been included in Seafair. The public is invited to this year’s [1992] Bon Odori at the temple next weekend, July 18 and 19.



(First appeared in Pacific, May 31, 1992)

The American playground movement reached Seattle in 1907 with the  development of a three-acre site between Washington and Main streets and 14th and 16th avenues. It was named Collins Playground, after John Collins, a former city mayor who died in 1903.

The site was chosen because of its surrounding rainbow of races, nationalities, and religions. Progressives of the time believed supervised play in well-appointed playgrounds would encourage creative and peaceful recreation among the races and sexes. The movement’s advocates were assertive about providing girls equal opportunities for physical culture.

The sloping Collins site was divided into three terraces. The lower level was dedicated to field athletics such as baseball, and the upper to basketball, tennis, handball and gymnastics. The middle level was reserved for younger children, and had a wading pool, swings, teeter-totters and sand boxes .

For nine days in the month of August 1909, Collins Playground was made a deposit station for the Seattle Public Library. Of the 465 books involved, 1,409 loans were made and the librarian, Gertrude Andrus, made sure that the children read them. She also read stories to a total of 340 children – in the sandbox. This, most likely, is Andrus with her back to the camera. The experiment was a success and the service continued.

In 1976 the Seattle Buddhist Church, which since 1941 has been directly across Main Street from this sandbox, purchased the playground and developed its middle level into Wisteria Plaza. The elegantly landscaped terrace features an arching bridge above a rock garden and, shown here at the sandbox site, a Tsurigane Doh or, roughly translated, a bell pergola.  [If I am not able to readably find my negative for this repeat from 1992, I will, again, scan the Pacific clipping and insert it.]

If memory serves this is a meeting of the Japanese-American Citizen's League before the backdrop of the Collins Playground Field house in the 1930s..


With the construction of Interstate 5, Maynard Avenue north of Main Street was abandoned. Kobe Terrace Park, named for Seattle’s Japanese sister city, and the Danny Woo Community Garden have since been developed on the site. In the contemporary photo (copied, again, from the Times clipping), the athletic 82-year-old Lulu Kashiwagi has climbed upon the park’s gazebo or observation tower, which looks down the center of Maynard Street into the International District.


(First appeared in Pacific, May 24, 1992)

The Wing Luke Museum, 25 years old this year [1992], has mounted its most ambitious exhibit ever. Named for the decree that interned 120,000 mostly West Coast Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II, Executive Order 9066 is an eloquent survey of a century of Japanese settlement on Puget Sound.

The view printed here of the Japanese Baptist Sunday School appears near the beginning of the museum’s fluently ordered space. Most of these children are Nisei (second-generation Japanese), U.S. citizens born here to immigrants. Many, perhaps most, of them will have had their own families when they were forced into internment 32 years after this scene was photographed.

This is the Sunday school class of 1910, or so speculates Lulu Kashiwagi, historian for the Japanese Baptist Church. Lulu’s mother, Misa Sakura, sits at far left. The baby propped on her lap is most likely Lulu – born that year. Lulu’s older sister Ruth is behind her, held in the arms of a family friend, Mrs. Mimbu. Three of Lulu’s brothers are also in the scene.

Seattle’s Japanese Baptists trace their origins to a night school conducted by their first pastor, Fukumatsu Okazaki, in the community’s first Japanese lodging house, and then in the basement of its first restaurant. This industry soon developed into a Japanese YMCA and in 1899 incorporated as a church. The Rev. Okazaki is pictured here, top center, holding the “J” card.

Churches were the most effective hosts for Japanese workers fresh off the boats. They helped the understandably anxious sojourners find lodging, steered them to suitable employment, conducted English-language classes and offered both the warmth and security of a caring group for immigrants who had left their traditionally strong family support behind them.

Here the Baptist’s Sunday School is posed on Maynard Street. The tower of the King County Courthouse on First Hill tops the Scene. In 1908 the Baptists were forced from their sanctuary at Jackson and Maynard Avenue by the Jackson Street regrade. Within two years they” moved into a second home, again off Maynard at 661 Washington St. This part of the International District is still predominantly Japanese.


Looking north on Railroad Ave. (Alaskan Way) towards the Marion Street Overpass on March 30, 1942.
A repeat from 1999. Colman Dock is on the left. And here - also - Nancy Ishii returns, appearing at the scene's center in the white T-Shirt.


(First appeared in Pacific Sept. 5, 1999)

On Dec. 10, 1942 the Associated Press released a story headlined “Arrows of Fires Point to Seattle.” Later reports, either buried or not printed, noted that white farmers clearing land near Port Angeles started the fires. The result of this and other hysterical news stories following the bombing of Pearl Harbor was an incendiary to the imaginations of West Coast locals, many of whom fully expected Japanese planes to appear suddenly over Duwamish Head.

The bombs were dropped instead on the families of Japanese Americans, both aliens living here (Issei), often for decades, and their children born into American citizenship (Nisei). In “Seattle Transformed,” Richard Berner’s recently published history of Seattle in the 1940s, the author’s unadorned telling of these routinely tragic stories reveals their exceptionally personal dimension. Berner also details the “administrative” side of this moral collapse: the general abdication of democratic courage by public leaders in the name of “military necessity.”

Because of their proximity to the Bremerton Naval Yard, the 54 Japanese-American families farming on Bainbridge Island were the first local group uprooted. Here on March 30, 1942, their guarded line is led across Railroad Avenue (Alaskan Way) to the train waiting to carry them to the arid isolation of Manzanar, Calif. (Camp Minidoka in southern Idaho – the eventual destination for the majority of the interned families from the Seattle area – was not yet ready.) Of course, neither the Italian nor German populations living along the Atlantic seaboard were evacuated en masse to whatever deserts might have been prepared for them in Ohio or Indiana.


LETTER from LIMA No.1 – William White Makes MATSURI

[Now settling into his Limarkian Adventures, Bill – our Party in Peru –  will share some of what he finds in Lima, Peru and its surrounds – beginning below with MATSURI.  We will attached all the photographs he sent except the fireworks.  Those  you may imagine. Bill may well write a song about the adventure, and sing it too.]

Japanese Cultural Week in Lima usually occupies the last week of October, but this year things got pushed back a few days, enabling this new arrival to the city to attend  “Matsuri,” the traditional festival that closed the week on November 10th.  The festival is a cornucopia of food, dance, music, and fireworks to celebrate the contributions the Japanese have made to Peruvian culture.

Although the first Japanese appeared in Peru as early as the 17th century, the epic immigration of Japanese to this new world did not begin for another two hundred years. By the end of the second world war, when another wave of immigrants arrived,  five generations of Japanese-Peruvians had already established their presence here. Their influence can be seen throughout the country in the food, art, music, and architecture.

This is the 40th year that Japanese Cultural Week has been celebrated in Lima. Its closing festival, Matsuri, sponsored by the AELU (Asociation Estado le Union), is a Peruvian version of what is in Japan a traditional religious ceremony.  Here in Lima, it is an opportunity for everyone to share in Japanese customs, from traditional dance and martial arts to the contemporary fun of  manga and cosplay.  There are J-Pop concerts and saki tastings, graffiti exhibits and a fashion show of traditional clothing.

Peru is home to over 50,000 descendants of Japanese immigrants. Matsuri is the perfect occasion to become familiar with some of them.

Fair and Festival – No. 23: Return to the Eaton Apartments

For this “Fair and Festival” installment we repeat a Pacific feature we printed earlier in  , but now additions to help you, dear reader, find the spot more easily with aerial photographs and other points of view.   The Eaton Apartments were set at the northeast corner of Second Avenue and Thomas Street and so kitty-korner from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, once it lost its parish on 6th and Bell in 1928 to the last of the Denny Regrades.  The long sky-lighted pavilion built there for Century -21 was named, for the fair, the Domestic Commerce and Industry Building (aka Hall of Industry.)   It faced the Plaza of States (aka Flag Plaza).  After the fair the building got a new and sensible name: The Flag Plaza Pavilion.  It was home in 1978 for King Tut’s first lucrative visit to Seattle.  The Eaton Apartments covered about one-third of the Flag Plaza footprint – the most westerly third.  We will point it out again below in a 1928 aerial photograph and also in Frank Shaw’s colored slide of the apartment’s back or north facade during its last months before being razed for the fair.

Above: Looking kitty-corner across Thomas Street and Second Ave. North to the Eaton Apartments, ca. 1940.  It is a rare recordings of Seattle Center acres before their make-over for the 1962 Century 21.  Below: Jean Sherrard visited the intersection during the recent playing of the Folklife festival 2012, and “captured” folk-jazz artist Erik Apoe, with his guitar, leaving the festival after his performance.  Bottom: During the 2012 Bumbershoot Jean returned to the corner which included then – for the duration of Bumbershoot – one of the escape gates from the ticketed festival.  With his press credentials hanging from this next (although this year they were merely stuck to his shirt) Jean could easily come and go.


(First appeared in Pacific, Aug. 8, 2010)

I know nothing about the provenance of this photograph, except that it showed up as a thoughtful anonymous gift on my front porch among a small bundle of negatives.  Still with the help of a tax card, a few city directories, and a scattering of other sources we can make some notes.

With his or her back to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, an unknown photographer looked northeast through the intersection of Second Avenue North and Thomas Street.  The Eaton Apartment House across the way was built in 1909 – in time perhaps for the city’s first world’s fair.  It held 19 of everything: tubs, sinks, basins, through its 52 plastered rooms.  In the 1938 tax assessment it is described as in “fair condition” with a “future life” of about 13 years.  In fact, it held the corner for a full half century until it was leveled to build Seattle’s second worlds fair.

The Eaton and its nearby neighbor, the Warren Avenue School, were two of the larger structures razed for Century 21.  However, the neighborhood’s biggest – the Civic Auditorium, Ice Arena, and the 146th Field Artillery Armory – were given makeovers and saved for the fair.  Built in 1939, the old Armory shows on the far right.  Although not so easy to find it is also in the “now” having served in its 71 years first as the Armory, then the ’62 fair’s Food Circus, and long since the Center House.

This is part of David and Louisa Denny’s pioneer land claim, which Salish history explains served for centuries as a favorite place to snag low-flying ducks and hold potlatches.  The oldest user of the Eaton Apt site was even more ancient.  The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) brought King Tut, or at least parts of his tomb, to the Flag Pavilion in 1978.  It was about then that Andy Warhol also showed up to party with SAM in the old pavilion, which in 2002 was replaced and greatly improved with the Fisher Pavilion.

Readers who have old photographs of this neighborhood from before the 1962 fair (they are rare) or of the fair itself might like to share them with historylink.  That non-profit encyclopedia of regional history is preparing a book on the fair, one that will resemble, we expect, its impressive publication on the recent Alaska Yukon Pacific Centennial.  As with the AYP book, the now hard-at-work authors are Paula Becker and Alan Stein.  You can reach them by phone at 206-447-8140 or on line at Admin@historylink.org.

This Pierson Photo looks northeast over the future fair grounds late in July, 1928. It was printed with caption in the Seattle Times on the 29th of July, with the header for the caption reading "Look, Seattle, at Your Own Civic Center From Air!" The aerial is, obviously, filled with attractions. Our Eaton Apartments site at the northeast corner of Second Ave. and Thomas Street, is easily found centered at the bottom of the aerial. One block north of Thomas is Harrison street, and where it meets Second Ave is the spot where the Coliseum's (aka Keyarena) western anchor or primary strut or beam (or what?) is anchored. Below we will visit the corner, again before the '62 fair.
Here thirty-two years later is another aerial that was printed in The Seattle Times on July 13, 1960 - or near it - and photographed by Times photographer Paul Thomas. This one also looks northwest towards Lake Union, and shows the clearing the center well underway for C-21. The Times has helpfully attached identifying numbers, which we will now list. (1) Cleared of the Warren Avenue School and being prepared for the "state-financed Century 21 Coliseum." (2) Civic Auditorium from 1928; (3) Ice Arena (1928); (4) High School Memorial Stadium (ca. 1948); (5) National Guard Armory (soon to be renamed the Food Circus); (6) Nile Temple (kept for the fair and used then as the exclusive Club 21 where VIP's could relax and refresh while escaping the populace horde.) (7) Part of the future site of what the paper names "the five-unit federal Hall of Science" and we know as the Pacific Science Center. Just below and right of the circles "No.5" is the corner of the here razed Eaton Apartments.
Frank Shaw's pre-fair coverage of the neighborhood shows here the back side of the Eaton - its north facade. The view looks south and a little east from the north line of Harrison Street, a few feet west of Second Ave. Shaw's photo was, of course, photographed sometime before Thomas 1960 aerial above it. Since 1961 standing here and taking the same aim as Shaw would show that west support for the Keyarena. (Which is more likely the Key Arena.) The next view - one from the Space Needle - in 1962 - marks the spot with a red arrow.
The red arrow marks the spot - or near it - where Frank Shaw shot the photo that is placed above this one.
That western beam, strut, support, noted here. Photographers have climbed it for the prospect of astronaut John Glenn during his morning visit to the fair. The view looks west somewhat in line with Harrison Avenue, which would put out-of-frame the International Fountain on the right and the Plaza of States (with the state flags) on the left. This is another Times shot - one by their long-time photographer Vic Condiotty. I met Vic in 1982, my first year contributing the weekly "now-and-then" to the paper.

We will wrap No. 23 with another Frank Shaw photo.  This one, we figure, looks north and a little east from what would become the Pacific Science Center.  The Catholics, at the southeast corner of Second and Thomas, are here right-of-center, which is also often the position of its clerics if not always the parishioners.  Far-right, is the yellow strut, beam, girder, stanchion, transverse on the east quadrant of the Coliseum and here  under construction. It appears above where the Eaton Apartments would be standing – if they still were.   Queen Anne Hill is on the horizon.


BILL WHITE'S JOURNEY TO A NEW WORLD: Part 6 – Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice in the Morning

This sixth installment of William White’s move 7 thousand miles south from Seattle to Lima concludes the series.  Bill, however, will continue on as “Our Man in Lima” somewhat like Berangere is “Our Woman in Paris” except that she is also included in our name: dorpatsherrardlomont.  Bill will, at his pace, send us more travel writing, but pretty much sticking to Peru.  Hopefully, He’ll make it up to the Andes.  Kel, we know, has a car and is an excellent driver.  Meanwhile, we will be looking for other correspondents in far-flung places.

And here is a pretty view of the street where we live, taken from the window of our apartment:

Here is crumbling vista seen from the parking lot of the municipal building.  Most street parking is officiated by attendants running up and down the streets issuing tickets to people while they park, and then catching them upon their return to collect whatever fees have been incurred.  There are no parking meters; everything is done on a person to person basis, resulting in the occasional arguments over charges. At one point, we were charged for simply pulling into a parking space, then deciding not to stay there, It took some doing for Kel to win her argument with the fee collector, who hadn’t even written us a ticket yet, but ran out in the street at us as she say us pulling out.

In the markets, free agents hawking bags of asparagus compete with the established vendors for a sale.  Sometimes they offer a better deal, but often their sudden appearance can lead to an impulse buy that is not the wisest purchase one could make. Shopping in Lima is a process of looking around for the best goods at the best prices before deciding on what to buy.  Among the stalls of fruits of vegetables of variable quality and expense, the foods necessary to making a delicious dinner are waiting to be chosen by the cautious buyer.

And this is what an expertly prepared Peruvian meal might look like:

Even prettier is the person who prepared it.  For those who have not met her yet, here is Kel, dressed for work at the clinic, after having enjoyed a breakfast of fresh-squeezed orange juice, which is my job to prepare for her when she awakens each morning.