A World-Class MOHAI

Paul and I visited the spanking new Museum of History and Industry a couple of days before its grand opening and explored this Northwest treasure. Photos follow from both of us, in no particular order:

(as always, click to enlarge photos)

The new museum gleams in the light of the setting sun
Paul at the front desk
Dorpat gazes out from a sculpture carved from the Wawona
Inside, looking down toward the water of Lake Union
Inside the sculpture looking up
Genny McCoy with the Wawona
Historian Lorraine McConaghy lectures the assembled
Photo curator Howard Giske (R) with cycle collector and historian Thomas Samuelsen.
Slo-Mo-Shun, of course
The main floor from above
Exhibit Designer
Looking down on the main floor, Boeing's original mail plane in flight
MOHAI's periscope relocated - in the Maritime Room. And the views are great!
Looking north from the Maritime Room
Celluloid Seattle designer Julianne Kidder with Exhibits Manager Mark Gleason
Celluloid Seattle remembers the drive-in, with a Mustang convertible
Celluloid Seattle's celebration of films made in Seattle - this one featuring Naomi Watts
Sherrard with now & then photos taken for Celluloid Seattle
Dorpat with pals
MOHAI supporter Georgie Bright Kunkel stands next to the original sculpture she donated
Another view from above
Paul with some MOHAI staff members outside
Paul with Argosy Captain Karen Allred
Mohai emerging from the clouds
A MOHAI panorama



Seattle Now & Then: The Rainier Club & the Burnett Home

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The 53-year-old Burnett home at the northeast corner of 4th Ave. and Columbia Street was completed nearly forty years before the Rainier Club was built at the north end of the block in 1904. In between them, and showing far left, the Burnett’s built a small apartment house. The family named it for itself, the Burnett Flats. (courtesy, Ron Edge)
NOW: Since 1929 the pioneer Burnett home site and their flats beside it have been breached by the enlarged Rainier Club and its corner parking lot. The extended clubhouse now hides what, from this corner, the 1918 view reveals: the First Methodist Protestant Church behind it.

Early this autumn Jean Sherrard and I stood on the roof – as it were – of the home standing here at the northeast corner of 4th Avenue and Columbia Street.

We were presenting one of our “repeat photography” programs to the Seattle Surgical Society for its September meeting and banquet in the Rainier Club.  Timing our show with the desert, we included this apt subject, which includes part of the clubhouse, as a sweet surprise. We were fortunate that the banquet’s location – the large dining hall at the south end of the club’s second floor – hit the spot. While projecting this subject on the screen, we explained, “Here we stand above – or very near – this pioneer home site, which later the Rainier Club first razed and then built upon with its 1929 enlargement.

While neither Jean nor I took a photograph of our dinner with the doctors, I did take several in the same room four years earlier for what I believe was historylink's first fundraising lunch at the Rainier Club.

During our time with the surgeons we could not reveal the history of this modest home. We didn’t know.  But now with the help of our frequent contributor Ron Edge we discover that three generations of Burnetts lived there.  The subject appeared in the Seattle Times for June 2, 1918 and was headlined “It’s Seattle’s Oldest Home Built 53 years ago.”

[Best to click the below TWICE!  At least that makes a difference on this MAC.]

A page from The Seattle Times for June 2, 1918.

After Port Ludlow mill man Hiram Burnett built this six-room home during the winter of 1865, he and his wife Elizabeth moved to Seattle that spring so that their two children would be near the University.  When their son Charles graduated from the University and married, “he took his bride to live in the little house.”  The couple’s own son, Charles Jr. served a term on the Seattle City Council, and recalled his grandfather Hiram explaining that all the wood for the Seattle home – including the spruce siding – was first cut at his Port Ludlow mill and that he then “sent the pieces up here and merely put them together.”

[BEST TO CLICK twice.]

Hiram and his grandson, April 12, 1906
Another portrait of Hiram and grandson, but this time also for his death notice, April 25, 1906.
Already one of the oldest on June 6, 1900.

During his visit to the “oldest home” in 1918, the unnamed Times reporter was pleased to note that for a rental of $12.50 a month it “houses a force of industrious Italians who turn out plaster of paris reproductions of the famous art works of their native land.”

An early ca. 1912 look into the neighborhood during construction of the Smith Tower - and from it. The Rainier Club is easily found at the southeast corner of Marion and 4th. Behind it is First Methodist Church and beside it the Burnett Family home and namesake three-story apartment/hotel. The three structures facing Columbia Street at its northwest corner with Fifth Avenue are treated with their own feature a few presentations below, as is the Colman mansion across Columbia Street at its southeast corner with Fourth Avenue. The cleared block between 5th and 6th Avenues and Columbia and Marion Streets was home for the Rainier Hotel, about which something will be added in the next feature below.


Anything to add, Paul?  Surely Jean.  First congratulations to MOHAI with the opening of its newly fitted home in the old Naval Armory at the south end of Lake Union.  As you know while we attended the new MOHAI for the opening arranged for members, a winter sunset broke through the clouds in the west and bathed the south Lake Union campus in a most auspicious golden light.   Here’s a merge of six snaps, and thanks to Ron Edge for fitting the pieces together.  [Click it TWICE to enlarge]

And praise be to thee Jean and  your part in the array of new exhibits.  Here’s a snap of you in front of the montage of “repeats” you did covering the curators chosen collection of historic – what else? – Seattle Theatres.  Visitors will find it and film clips galore on the first mezzanine.

As is our practice by now, we will add a few more features from the neighborhood, but first introduce them with a few aerials of the neighborhood.  Most – maybe all – come courtesy of Ron Edge.

A circa 1923 look north from the Smith Tower with a pan which includes Burnett corner and its neighbor the club. While the northeast corner of Columbia and 4th is fronted by Billboards where once the family has a front yard - although a steep one, the Burnett Flats are still in place.
With Burnett Arms razed and the corner briefly exploited with billboards, the northeast corner of Columbia and Fourth "prepares" for the club's addition.
The Rainier Club is set at the center of this detail pulled from a ca. 1929 aerial. Scaffolding for the club's 1929 addition appears to the right (south) of the club.
With the club set at the center, this recording from the Smith Tower finds the old Burnett corner now comely and free of billboards. Without much study, my circa date is 1946.


Looking east up Columbia Street from a prospect above Second Avenue. (Courtesy, Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries.)

COLUMBIA STREET West from Second Avenue

(First appeared in Pacific, May 15, 1983)

The Great Fire of 1889 encouraged the city to rebuild bigger and in brick. But its first response was a huge hotel which was constructed quick and cheap, and entirely of wood. The Rainier was ready for occupancy only 80 days after the first lumber was unloaded at the building site. This effort was the kind of manic community labor we associate with instant barn raisings. The result was the somewhat barn-like fortress we see filling the center horizon of our historical scene and the entire block between Columbia and Marion Streets, and Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

While flattening the city’s business district, the June 6 fire also consumed most of its halls and hotels. The thousands of “floating strangers” who began flooding these “ashes of opportunity” to help rebuild the city and themselves often had to sleep in tents or under trees. Since the grand brick hotels of the 1890s, including the Denny, Seattle, and Butler, took time to build, the Rainier was put up in a flash by a collection of the “moneymen of Seattle” led by Judge “He Built Seattle” Thomas Burke.  The Seattle Press-Times reported that “its construction was made possible by public spirited capitalists stepping forward regardless of whether it would be a paying institution or not.” It wasn’t.

In its five years as a showy hotel with a breezy view of the bay from a wrap-around veranda, the Rainier lost $100,000. The Great Crash of 1893 had its sad effect. On August 16, 1894 the Press-Times reported “In all probability the handsome Rainier Hotel will be closed in the near future . . . What will be done with the Rainier Building is not known.” The gold rush of 1897 came too late to save the Rainier. Then the miners, coming and going, dropped their tired bodies into the beds of hotels down by the waterfront. These included the Rainier Grand Hotel at First and Madison, whose furnishings – included – were moved in from the abandoned and bankrupt Rainier up on the hill.

The scene (on top) was photographed not in the hard times of 1893-94 but in 1891-92: good times still for both the Rainier and the Seattle-Press Times. The newspaper was published in its offices at 214 Columbia Street, mid-block between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. (The top of the newspaper’s sign can be seen at the lower left-hand corner of the photograph.)

Arthur Churchill Warner took this photograph, which includes other landmarks as well. The James Colman mansion survived at the southeast corner of Fourth and Columbia for the 55 years between 1883 and 1939. Its boxish cupola just barely breaks the horizon line on the far right.  (There’s more on the Colman home below.)

Another tower is seen just above and to the left of the Colmans. Standing six stories at the corner of Ninth and Columbia, Coppin’s Water Works supported a holding tank for water drawn by an adjoining windmill from springs beneath Charles Coppin’s combined home and business. Throughout the 1880s his water works supplied users down the hill, the Colman’s included. The water was delivered through bored logs, some of which were uncovered during the early 1960s excavation of Interstate-5.

Coppins water tower on the south side of Columbia Street between 9th and Terry Avenues.

Eisenhower’s Seattle Freeway also cut through the site which for 59 years supported the brick towers of Central School. Kitty-corner across Sixth and Marion from the Rainier, the school was also completed in 1889. However, it was made of brick, more than two million of them. Central School was Seattle’s only high school until 1902 when Broadway High was built “way out on Capitol Hill.” The Central’s weakened towers were prudently razed after the 1949 earthquake. The rest of the main building was leveled in 1953. Alumni – or by now their children – still display their souvenir bricks atop fireplace mantels.

Central School, looking southwest from 7th Avenue across Madison Street.

The Warner photograph is dappled with many other lesser landmarks. The Eureka Bakery, just left of center, was for years run by the pioneer Meydenbauer family. They are remembered by their namesake bay on Lake Washington and their creek which runs under Bellevue. Today, the Meydenbauer property on Columbia Street is filled by the old Central Building. Kitty-corner across Third Avenue, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce occupies the spot that in 1892 housed Bonney and Watson, the city’s oldest mortuary.

The Rainier Hotel was converted into apartments and survived until 1910. In 1896 the Seattle Press-Times became the Seattle Times and has – still as of this re-writing – survived.


Perhaps the earliest portrait of the Rainier Club, looking southeast across the intersection of Marion Street and Fourth Avenue.


(First appeared in Pacific, April 17, 1988)

In 1988 the Rainier Club celebrated its own centennial, one year before the state’s. Appropriately, it memorialized its century with a book history of the club. The author, Walter Crowley, concludes ” … as the wheel turns and future generations regard this curious mansion nestled at the feet of skyscrapers, the Rainier Club will still serve as a reminder of the remarkable individuals who shaped Seattle out of forests and mudflats . . .”It was only in 1986 that this “curious mansion” was officially recognized for what it has been since it was first constructed in 1904: a historical landmark. Wishing to keep its options, the club itself resisted the description for a time because the landmark designation restricts a structure’s future to those that preserve its historical integrity.

A Seattle Times report on the Rainier Club's plans to replace its brick club house with a new decoesque skyscraper. The clip dates from April 25, 1928, and is used courtesy of the Seattle Public Library's subscription to the Times archive dating from 1900 to 1985. (If you have a library card try it out. If you don't consider getting one. This is great fun.)

However, Seattle’s central business district would surely be more severe than it already is, were it not for the gracious relief of this well-wrought clubhouse. Modeled after the English example, this men’s club held its first meeting on Feb.23, 1888. The next day’s Seattle Daily Press reported that “the object of the club is like that of a hundred other kindred bands scattered over the face of the civilized world, the pursuit of pleasure among congenial conductors.” These convivial male circuits were lubricated by coffee, “freshened” with tobacco, and, no doubt, loosened some by spirits – very good spirits.

The local Force passes of the Rainier Club, part of a parade with no name.

Of course, the Rainier is no longer a men ‘ s club. In 1977 the club’s bylaws were amended to admit women, and by 1988, as Crowley’s history records, over 40 of the 1200 resident members were women. The former entrance for women “guests” shows on the left of the historical photograph at the rear of the Marion Street side of the club.

This top view of the club (their third home) looks across Fourth Avenue and dates from about 1909 or soon after the 1908 regrading of Fourth Avenue. Of the Rainier Club’s Jacobean style, the work of Spokane-based architect Kirtland K. Cutter, Crowley notes, “However antiquated the Club was designed to appear on the outside, the trustees spared no expense for modem luxuries on the inside, including telephones in every room.” The club’s style was preserved when its size was nearly doubled in 1929 with the south extension, the work of Seattle architects Charles Bebb and Carl Gould.

The Times early witness of first work on the Club's addition shows the razing of Burnett Flats. The clip is dated January 6, 1929.

Within these landmark walls many a landmark project has been planned, including Metro, Forward Thrust and both of Seattle’s world’s fairs – the 1909 Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition and the 1962 Century 2l. This meritocracy of, in the beginning, men included familiar names like Thomas Burke, Horace McCurdy, William Allen, Clarence Blethen, Emil Sick and Ed Carlson.

Walt and Marie at the signing reception for their then new book history of the Rainier Club.

Crowley quotes Carlson, “It used to be that if you had an important civic or political issue, you could get 25 or so people in a room at the Rainier Club and get a go or no-go decision.” Walter Crowley adds, “Those days are gone, for the leadership of Seattle has not merely shifted, it has fragmented, and with it the consensus from which the community’s establishment drew its tacit authority.”

Robert Bradley's Nov. 1, 1958 Kodachrome record of the Rainier Club.


A detail of these corners from our ever faithful 1912 Baist real estate map. The Rainier Club with First Methodist combine for the largest red footprint at the center. The Burnett's property is still distinguished with footprints for the family home, its hotel-apartments, and an shed on the corner used sometimes for light manufacturing. The two brick structures across Marion Street - on its north side - show, in part, in the photograph that follows this one, which was taken from the Y.M.C.A. .
Looking east from the Y.M.C.A. Dormitory over the roof of the Colman Court to part of the Seattle General Hospital on the left, and a large part of First Methodist near the scene's center, and the Rainier Club's north facade, bottom-right.
The Seattle General Hospital at the northwest corner of 5th and Marion. The view looks to the northwest.


The Meydenbauer home at the northeast corner of Columbia and Third Ave.

The MEYDENBAUER HOME – 3rd & Columbia

(First appeared in Pacific, Feb. 1, 1987)

Before the rapid redevelopment of Third Avenue following its regrade of 1906-7, its sides were graced with old homes and churches. One home – the one shown here – belonged to William Meydenbauer, the town confectioner.

Meydenbauer was 18 when he headed for the United States in 1850 after an apprenticeship with a candy maker in Prussia. He made his way to San Francisco bu 1854, where after a nearly ruinous try at gold mining, and a short experiment with teamstering, he returned to the small but sweet rewards of confections.

The Meydenbauers, William and Thelka, moved to the Northwest in 1868 when Seattle had less than 1,000 cash-poor residents expecting growth for their 16-year-old village, but mostly waiting for it. Those post-civil-war years were sour, so the confectioner was welcome. The candy man built a home on Third Avenue at Columbia Street around 1880. Before that there may have been a crude shack on the property but little else. At the time, Seattle’s idea of refreshments for fancy public receptions was sliced apples and gingerbread.

The Meydenbauers bought the Eureka Bakery on Commercial Street (now

First Avenue South) and soon added to the town’s sweet offerings with a selection of well-dressed candies and sweets, including celebrated Yule cakes. Soon enough they and the town prospered and in the mid-188Os, the couple moved their business into a bigger bakery they had built behind the family home. The rear of that plant is pictured behind the tree and to the left of their home in this week’s “Then” photo.

By employing several helping hands and running two delivery wagons, Meydenbauer was efficient enough to sell wholesale. No doubt it helped that they raised eight children.  A son, Albert, continued in his father’s profession after the latter’s death in 19O6. After the 1007 regrading of Third Avenue, the Meydenbauer home, and much else on the block, was replaced by the Central Building, which is still , standing.

The Central Building, far left, facing Third Avenue on its east side between Columbia and Marion Streets.The Burnett home site is intact one block east on Columbia. To its left is the Rainier Club, and across Columbia Street to its right is the Colman home. St. James Cathedral on the east side of 9th Avenue between Columbia and Marion still shows its dome, so Otto Frasch recorded this view before the cupola's collapse under the Big Snow of 1916 - actually well before.

Long since this family is not remembered for its sweets but rather its waterway. In 1868 Meydenbauer rowed across Lake Washington and set a claim beside the Bellevue bay which still bears the family name.

Recorded from the Alaska Building, ca. 1905, the rare snap includes the Meydenbauer home and the Burnetts as well. Second Ave. is on the left.


North on Fourth Avenue from Cherry Street. The Colman home is on the right.


(First appeared in Pacific, May 8, 1983)

Every few decades with the help of earthquakes, fires, nervous engineers, and metropolitan dreamers, west coast cities like San Francisco, Vancouver, and Seattle are “made over.”  Seattle’s Fourth Avenue – the one in its Central Business District – has had four transformations.

Our historical photograph shows it passing into its third form, as Fourth Avenue is losing its residential emphasis. The sides of the street are being furnished with institutions, like the Carnegie Library and Rainier Club in the scene’s center, and hotels, like the Stander and Lincoln on the left.  This avenue have become Seattle’s deepest urban canyon with its sides of glass and polished metal.

A detail of the photograph above it.

The historical photograph was taken about 1905 by Arthur Warner a short time after the library, club, and hotels were built. By then the street had already lived through its first two forms. In the early 1860s Fourth Avenue was cut out of the virgin forest, some of which returned from Yes1er’s mill as planks for building the few modest homes that soon irregularly lined the sides of this stump-strewn path. Fourth ran from the tideflats on the south to as far north as Denny’s Knoll (not Hill) as Seneca Street. There it stopped at a white picket fence – a small swinging gate counterbalanced by horseshoes opened to the grounds of Washington Territory’s university, for years the city’s and Fourth Avenue’s most distinguished landmark.

Fourth Avenue looking south over Seneca Street from the Territorial University in 1874, the inscribed caption claims.

Fourth Avenue’s second form was also residential, but with more lavish homes that faced a street which although unpaved was given a regular width, curbed against sidewalks, lined with utility poles, and lit at the intersections. The duplex on the right of the view above counts as one of these classier second-stage residences. The tower behind it is attached to one of this street’s distinguished mansions, the home of pioneers Agnes and James Colman. Like the McNaught mansion, whose tower is seen in the distance beyond the library, the Colmans’ spacious Latinate-Victorian showpiece was built in 1883 and remained through the turn of the century, a symbol of Fourth Avenue’s domestic elegance.

Already on entering their third decade these grand homes became vestiges of an earlier urbanity. In 1903 the imposing McNaught mansion was moved across Spring Street to make room for the Carnegie Library.   And in 1907-08 a metamorphosis occurred to the street itself which dramatically fashioned it into its third form. The Fourth Avenue regrade resulted in some casualties and many alterations. Denny’s Knoll was cut through and the old landmark university first moved and then leveled. Practically every structure along the new grade required either new steps to the old front doors, as with the library, or new front doors into their old basements, as with the hotels.

The Fourth Avenue regrade looking south from Madison Street. The Stander Hotel at the northwest corner of Marion is on the right showing a new colonnaded main floor, a "gift" and necessity of the 1907-08 regrade. A trestle crosses 4th at Columbia Street and the front facade of the Burnett Flats can be found to the left of it.

The city engineer’s longing to make “the crooked straight and the rough places plane” resulted in some very deep cuts. For instance, a contemporary photograph at Cherry Street (We truly have more than one but cannot at this alarming moment find them.) would be taken some two stories below Arthur Warner’s location in the historical view. The 4th Ave. cut at this intersection was 24 feet. By 1911 a bricked-over avenue showed the same unruffled grade that made it the preferred course for the bed races of the 1970s.

Agnes Colman continued to live in her towering home until her death in 1934. By then her mansion, the last sign of the elegant eighties and alternately depressed and roaring nineties, was thoroughly surrounded by retailers and restaurants. Today that era of conservative cosmopolitan taste is recalled only by the Rainier Club, the single structure which survives from the “then.”  The five-story Rainier Club houses 57,000 square feet of plush sitting rooms, coat-and-tie dining rooms, and other elite areas only its restricted membership – and their guests –  know.

When the Columbia Center was completed as the crowning touch to Fourth Avenue’s fourth form, it filled the old Colman mansion site with more than a million and and a half square feet of office space stacked 76 stories high. In some future decade or century when the Columbia Center’s 954 feet are dismantled – or imploded – by God, man, or nature, Fourth Avenue Will be passing into its fifth form.


The Stander Hotel opened in 1905. Only six years later it was sold to its neighbor the YMCA and converted into that service organization’s Army and Navy Branch. In 1930 the not-so-old hotel was razed and replaced with the YMCA’s then new South Building. Although the elegant Collegiate Gothic exterior design of the building survives the interior was elaborately renovated, enlarged and stabilized during its 1999-2000 upgrade. Most likely this Potlatch Parade scene is from that summer festival's first 1911 parade, the last full year for the Standard before it became part of the enlarge Y.M.C.A.


(First appeared in Pacific, May 29, 2001)

[BEST to click the below TWICE]

This feature's clip cut from the Pacific for April 29, 2001.


Photographed when the building was new, the Hotel Pennington Apartments facing Marion Street west of 4th Avenue promoted itself as “a home away from home. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)  Little – if anything? –  has changed on the south side of Marion Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues in the about 80 years between this “now and then.” [I have a feeling that we included this feature with an earlier assembly of past essays.]


(First appeared in Pacific,  Nov. 29, 2006)

Set aside for the moment the looming skyscrapers and note how little has changed between this “then” and “now.”  For ambitious Seattle this is rare, especially outside the city’s designated historic districts, like Pioneer Square.

The centerpiece here is the Pacific hotel, facing Marion Street between the alley and east to 4th Avenue.  The work of architect W. R. B. Willcox, it was completed in 1916 – or may have been.  Both the county tax records and U.W. architect Norman J. Johnston’s chapter on Willcox in the UW Press’ ever revealing book “Shaping Seattle Architecture” give the 1916 date.

However, in the 1918 Polk City Directory a full-page advertisement (facing Page 2004) for the “Hotel Pennington Apartments” as it was then called, includes an etching of the same front façade seen here but with the terra cotta tile work of the right (south) half continued to the corner of 4th Avenue as one consistent presentation.  Was the less ornate half of mostly burlap bricks at the corner a late compromise for time and/or economy?  Or was the “half-truth” of the elegant etching too appealing to either correct or leave out of the advertisement?

The other surviving landmarks here include, far right, a corner of the Central Building (1907) and far left, the familiar Jacobean grace of the Rainier Club (1904) across 4th Avenue.   And above the club is the current celebrity among landmarks – or the dome of it: the First Methodist Church at 5th and Marion (1907) which now seems saved for its second century.

When the non-profit Plymouth group purchased the Pacific Hotel – its name since the 1930s – for low-income housing it took care to preserve the building’s heritage and in 1996 was awarded the state’s Annual Award for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Rehabilitation.  Tom English, Plymouth’s facilities director, is fond of revealing that although hidden from Marion Street the hotel is U-shaped, and so embraces its own “beautifully landscaped courtyard and Kol-Pond.”  The 1918 advertisement also makes note of it as the hotel’s “spacious court garden.”


Recorded from the then new Central Building on Third Avenue, the Colman Home stands in the embrace of the Oakland Inn at the southeast corner of 4th Ave. and Columbia Street. Trinity Episcopalian Church at 7th and James is on the left horizon and the Snoqualmie Power transfer station near 7th and Jefferson appears, in part, far right.


(First appeared in Pacific, August,28, 1994)

In 1915 a photographer from the Curtis and Miller studio recorded this view of the nearly new Oakland Inn from a rear window of the Central Building at Third and Marion. The scene may have been shot speculatively or at the request of the Oakland’s owners. Whichever, as seen from this prospect the Oakland appears as a platform or stage for the performance of the ornate Colman mansion. Agnes and James Colman built their Italianate Victorian home in 1883. They moved in soon after returning from a tour of Europe. This long vacation was the reward for years of prodigious pioneer labor. By then, the Colmans had created sawmills, machine shops, railroads, sailing vessels, coal mines and many buildings, including their stylish new mansion. The Colmans themselves, however, were never very stylish. When they returned, James Colman went back to work. As their granddaughter Isobel would recall, the Colmans were “never a society family. My father was too busy to become involved in leisure life.”

James Colman died in 1906. Five years later the wide front lawn in front of the family home was excavated for the Oakland Inn. Its sidewalk businesses here include, right to left, Imperial Coffee; Benjamin Rosenthal, tailor; the Cash Grocery (vacant); and, at the comer, the offices of the Pyreen Manufacturing Company. The entrance to the Oakland Inn was up Columbia Street.

Agnes Colman lived in her mansion behind the Oakland until 1936. As an elderly woman -she lived to be 94 – Agnes would come down from her home to hand out meal tickets to the audience of homeless or out-of-work indigents waiting for her on Fourth Avenue. There were, of course, many drunks among them and all were first required to listen to her familiar brief lecture on temperance.

A scene from one of the early Potlatch parades - 1911 thru 1913 - which looks southeast through the intersection of Fourth Ave. and Columbia Street. On the far left is the short cliff on the Burnett property, the gift of the 1907-08 regrade. The exposure can be judged by the size of the youths - teens it seems - sitting on the ledge. And note the broadside or post leaning again the cut bank, which appears to be rather sturdy. The Oakland Hotel appears behind the decorated teamster and a slice of the Colman Home too.


Duplexes on the north side of Columbia west of 5th Avenue. These structures appear often in the panoramas printed above.


Two more scenes from HISTORYLINK’S 2008 fund raiser lunch at the Rainier Club.   I recently had lunch with a precocious social media programmer who suggested that for the entertainment of this blog’s readers we should offer some prizes.  He mentioned leaving “blanks to be filled.”   So be it.  The first two readers who can identify the characters depicted in these two snaps will win . . .  something.   “We will make it worth your while.”  Jean especially is a fine gift-giver.

The speaker of the day is ______________.
These three Democratic pols are, left to right ________, ________, and ________.




Seattle Now & Then: Ballard's Bascule Bridge

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Ballard’s Railroad Depot and the Great Northern Railroad’s landmark lift bridge just west of the ship canal’s Chittenden Locks. (Courtesy, Warren Wing)
NOW: Ballard no longer has need of a railroad depot, but the Great Northern main line still passes here through the old mill town.

Hopefully a few trainloads of Pacific readers will remember Warren Wing, our recently deceased rail fan extraordinaire who after retiring as a postman started chasing trains and the pictorial history of Northwest rails full time.  Long ago Warren shared with the Ballard News Tribune this prized photo of a Great Northern passenger train nearly completing its crossing of the GN’s bascule bridge over the tidewater western end of Chittenden Locks.  The subject appears on page 82 the Tribute’s 1988 centennial history of their community, “Passport to Ballard.” Warren Wing has captioned it, “Great Northern Morning train to Vancouver B.C. passing Ballard Station.”  This carrier would have also stopped in Everett, Mt. Vernon, Bellingham and at the border but not, apparently, at the little Ballard Station obscured here in the shadow of the engine’s exhaust.

An early look to the northwest from Queen Anne across Salmon Bay into Ballard. The trestle showing is either for the first trolleys or the Great Northern's first bridge to Interbay. Some reader, surely, will know and make her or his point about it.
Looking north from interbay into Ballard - later. The sprawling bridge that runs through the center of the scene is roughly in line with 14th Avenue (not 15th) and services the street cars and wagons. The bridge on the left is for the Great Northern Railroad.

Rails first reach Ballard in 1890 with West Street Electric Company’s trolley service from downtown Seattle.  Three years later the Great Northern completed its transcontinental service to Seattle directly along the Ballard waterfront and beside the many mills that made it then the “shingle capitol of the world.”  This new route over the GN’s lift bridge was made necessary by the construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the flooding of Salmon Bay behind its locks.  On June 29, 1913 this paper reported on the progress of the canal and the “spectacular form” of this “mammoth bridge,” which it measured at 1,140 long and 26 feet wide “to accommodate a double-track system.”

A profile of mid-term construction on the Great Northern bridge looking northeast from the Magnolia side.
Nearly the same point of view as the recording above it, but later.

In the pursuit of his “repeat” Jean Sherrard was soon inhibited by decades of changes. He recounts, “The overpass on 57th Street that we had hopes for was too distant from our subject, and the corrected prospect was both too steep and covered with foliage.  This left me in the rail bed just left of the tracks. To approximate the elevation of the original photographer, I hoisted my camera atop my ten-foot pole.  Walking back to my car, however, I did make one discovery. The original depot had been moved a hundred feet or so west, providing a spectacular view of the water – it had also been converted into a home, while retaining its distinctive gables. A neighbor confirmed that the former depot was now a residence.”  It would have been ideal Ballard home for Warren Wing.


Paul, I’m adding a couple of thumbnails of the old Ballard depot in its new location, transformed into a home:

Anything else to add, Paul?

A few related features Jean, beginning with two details of the once charming Ballard station followed by an early look north through the bridge from the Magnolia side..



(First appeared in Pacific, Oct. 26, 1986)

James A. Turner, who shot these pleasing views of the Salmon Bay Bridge, was one amateur who managed to put his photographic passion – railroads – on track with his vocation. During the 1930s, before the city got rid of its trolleys, Turner was a motorman on the Ballard line of the city’s transit system. During the weekdays he rode above the municipal rails, and then, judging from the size of his production, James Turner spent a good many evenings and weekends chasing trains or waiting for them.

For these subjects, Turner set himself off-shore on a Shilshole Bay dock below the Great Northern’s Salmon Bay Bascule Bridge, and so just west of the Chittenden Locks.

The Great Northern’s popu­larity among rail fans is a combination of its magnificent mainline through the Cascades and the Rockies, its safe and sturdy construction, its long Cascade tunnel, and the dashing green and black color scheme of its locomotives. And, perhaps, most of all the line is respected for its symbol, the mountain goat. Its dignity was totemic. A monumental rendering of this goat logo was painted on the Ballard end of the bridge’s massive counterweight.

As noted above with illustrations illustrating this week’s primary feature, the old mainline of the G.N. used to cross from Interbay into Ballard on a long curving bridge which spanned Salmon Bay near where the 15th Avenue auto bridge now crosses the ship canal. The bascule bridge was built in 1913-14 in part to avoid that trip along the shingle mill-congested Ballard waterfront. But it was also constructed to meet the inevitable demands of the Hiram S. Chittenden Government Locks. This was a bridge you could quickly open to let the big ships in and out of the new, in 1916, fresh water harbor behind the locks.  The bridge was left open for the convenience of shipping, for it could be quickly closed for any train.

Turner’s photographs are but two of his many picturesque records of this Salmon Bay passage. He lived in Ballard nearby the locks on 24th Ave­nue NW.  If I remember correctly (close enough) these and three other James A. Turner perspectives on the Salmon Bay bridge appeared originally in Warren Wing’s book, A Northwest Rail Pictorial.


A contemporary photograph of the Chittenden Locks taken from the same prospect as the historical would have required a roost in one of the upper limbs of the trees that landscape the terraced hill that ascends from the locks to the English Gardens. (Historical photo courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers)


(First appeared in Pacific, June 27, 2004))

In the descriptive and yet homely parlance of hydraulics the historical photograph reveals what Army Corp of Engineers called the “dewatered pit” of the ship canal locks at Ballard. In the six years required to build the locks – from breaking the ground in 1911 to the dedication in 1917 – this photograph was taken near the end of the first year, in the fall of 1912.

That the historical photographer from the Curtis and Miller studio stood on higher ground than I did for the “now” is evident from the elevation of the Magnolia side on the right. The “then” looks both across and down on the locks, the “now” merely across it. Why?

The dry pit is considerably wider than the combined big and small locks because the excavation cut well into the bank on the north side of the locks. Much of the mechanicals for opening the big lock’s gates are hidden in the hill that was reconstituted and shaped with terraces in the summer of 1915 once the concrete forms for the locks took their now familiar shape at what is by someone’s calculation the second most popular tourist destination in Seattle. (What then is first?)

Looking south from the English Gardens to, from bottom to top, the western entrance to the big lock, the end of the same for the small lock and the waters stirred from the nine foot drop over the Lock's dam. The terraced grass covers much of the dam's mechanicals - its hydraulics.

Most of the temporary dirt cofferdam, upper-right, that separated the construction site from the temporary channel was removed in the fall of 1915 after the greats gates to the locks were closed. Next, on the second of February 1916 the locks were deliberately flooded and the doors opened to permit commuters to make emergency commutes to downtown Seattle by boat when the “Big Snow” (the second deepest in the history of the city) shut down the trolleys.

Three of the big lock - left-to-right, as dewatered pit, on the "Big Snow" day the big lock was first flooded in Feb. 1916, and sometime later with the Army Corps snag boat.

The locks were left open for tides and traffic while the damn was constructed to join the locks to the Magnolia side. With the link completed the doors were again shut and Salmon Bay was allowed to fill with fresh water to the level of Lake Union in July 1916. The small lock began working later in the month and on Aug 3, 1916 the first vessels (both from the Army Corp fleet) were lifted in the big lock. The formal opening followed months later on July 4, 1917.

Asahel Curtis' early look west from the open locks to the raised Great Northern bridge.

In preparation for the 1916 flooding of Salmon Bay behind the locks Ballard’s waterfront of mostly mills and boat works was measured for the changes.


Above and below: After considering Shilsholia, which sounds similar to the native name for this waterway and means “threading the bead,” Lawtonwood got its name by vote of its residents in 1925. (Historical view courtesy of the Museum of History and Industry) In order to see over the well-packed “East Lawtonwood” Jean Sherrard took his “now” from near the north end of 42nd Ave. Northwest, about 100 feet above the waterway.  Behind him in “West Lawtonwood” the homes are often much larger and the lawns too.

“Threading the Bead” Between Magnolia and Ballard

(First appeared in Pacific, Dec.19, 2010)

Carolyn Marr, the librarian at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) and an authority of the photographer Anders Wilse’s years in Seattle, thinks that this his look east through the entrance to Salmon Bay – from Shilshole Bay – was probably taken in 1900.  That was Wilse’s last busy year in Seattle before he returned to Norway.  During his few years here Wilse received many commissions from businesses and the City of Seattle to do photographic surveys.  But why did he record this bucolic view over a Lawtonwood pasture with seven cows?

It was not long after Wilse recorded this view of the channel that the Army Corps started dredging it in preparation for the ship canal.  Throughout the 1890s smaller “lightening ships” hauled cut lumber from the many Ballard mills on Salmon Bay to the schooners anchored in deep water off of Shilshole Bay.  No vessels here, however.  The channel is near low tide.  You can make out the sand bars.

The home of Salmon Bay Charlie, a half-century resident here, can be found to the far right.  With irregular roof boards it may be mistaken for part of the shoreline.  Charley was one of the principal suppliers of salmon and clams to the resident pioneers on both sides of this channel.  Wilse gives us a good look across the tidewaters into a west Ballard that while clear-cut is still sparsely developed.  The Bryggers settled and developed that part of Ballard, and the few structures seen there may belong to them.

Librarian Marr finds two other related views in MOHAI’s Wilse collection. One looks in the opposite direction across the channel from Ballard, and the other is a close-up of Salmon Bay Charlie’s cedar-plank home.  Marr adds, “Wilse was interested in boats and waterways, as well as Indians.”

One last note: those may be Scheuerman cows.  The German immigrant Christian Scheuerman and his native wife Rebecca were Lawtonwood pioneers.  Settling here in 1870 they multiplied with 10 children.



'The Elephant and the Owl' by Pineola

Whether or not you attended our (Another) Rogues’ Christmas show, there’s still time to grab a wonderful stocking stuffer for the music lover in your life.

Yep, it’s Pineola’s latest CD, The Elephant and the Owl, comprised of songs written for and inspired by the stories told at Short Stories Live at Town Hall this past Sunday. A truly remarkable collection we most highly recommend. Available for purchase or download at the Pineola website.

HELIX Vol. 4 No. 1 July 3, 1968

While Bill White is studying hard for the mid-term – already – in his Spanish language class there in his new hometown of Lima, Peru – he did manage to take this break to discuss with me the July 3, 1968 offering of our 24 page tabloid.  Every week I am surprised by what we find including, so far, the fact that we had not yet turned into a weekly.  I thought it was long before this.   The attentive repeater will have noticed that we have not been keeping up with our weekly pledge, but then no one asked for promises and we have had extraordinary distractions like moving to Peru.  By his every description Bill is loving it.

[We will here attach a Spanish translation of the above as supplied by Google.  As Kel has instructed Bill these Google translations are often mistaken.  This, then, gives Bill another lesson with the chance to correct Google – with Kel’s help.]

Mientras Bill White está estudiando duro para el mediano plazo – ya – en su clase de español hay en su nueva ciudad de Lima, Perú – se las arregló para tomar este descanso para discutir conmigo el 03 de julio 1968 ofrenda de nuestra página 24 tabloide. Cada semana me sorprende lo que encontramos incluso, hasta el momento, el hecho de que no se había convertido aún en una semana. Me pareció que era mucho antes de esto. El repetidor atento se habrá dado cuenta de que no hemos estado al tanto de nuestro compromiso semanal, pero nadie le preguntó por las promesas y hemos tenido distracciones extraordinarias como mudarse a Perú. Por cada uno de sus Bill descripción le encanta.

[Estamos aquí adjuntar una traducción al español de lo anterior según lo provisto por Google. Como Kel ha dado instrucciones a Bill estas traducciones de Google a menudo se confunden. Esto, entonces, Bill da otra lección con la oportunidad de corregir Google -. Con la ayuda de Kel]

B.White and P. Dorpat

[audio:http://edge-archive.com/audio/04-01.mp3|titles=HelixVol 4 No 1]

Paris chronicle #45 Christmas Fathers in Paris

Christmas Fathers have landed rue de La Montagne Sainte Geneviève Paris 5th on Saturday evening,

what a joy in the street !!!

We all send our best wishes to Christmas Fathers and friends in Town Hall …


Les pères Noel ont débarqué rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève Paris 5eme samedi en fin d’après-midi , quelle joie dans la rue !!!

Nous souhaitons tous bonne chance aux pères Noel et leurs amis à Town Hall…



Dear Berangere, while Jean’s 2012 rendition of a Rogue’s Christmas at Town Hall was by all measures a happy and sometimes profound occasion, neither of us – Jean nor I – thought to take pictures of the event BB.  (Unless Jean did and he has not, as yet, shared them.)  This only snap of mine was a “mistake.”  I meant to press the video button to record the first of Pineola’s five performances – in their themes all imbricating with the stories Jean chose to be read by his players – but pressed the still shot button instead with this result.

I will make a quick critical review of the band’s performance.  It was damn tender and touching.  Pineola also cut a cd of these songs, which was available to those attending.  They did for last years Rogue’s Christmas as well.  Pineola is, left to right, Josh Woods, Bass; John Owen, Guitar; and Leslie Braly, vocals and guitar.  Leslie also wrote the songs.

I did manage to follow my button fumble and got the video going before they strummed the first chord.

PINEOLA on stage, TOWN HALL Dec. 16, 2012, for ROGUE'S CHRISTMAS

I must hasten to add to Paul’s comment about Pineola that their amazing CD, The Elephant and the Owl, comprised of songs played at the Town Hall concert is STILL available at the Pineola website.

Seattle Now & Then: Town Hall (+ Another Rogue's Christmas)

(click to enlarge photos – sometimes TWICE!)

THEN: During the Spring or Summer of 1923, an unnamed photographer, visited Virginia Mason Hospital at the northwest corner of Terry Avenue and Spring Street to record this panorama of the newest landmarks in the Central Business District above also a few from First Hill, including the Fourth Church Christ Scientist, far left. (Courtesy Ron Edge)
NOW: Although mostly hidden behind the 21 floors of the Royal Manor Condos (1970), center-left, a small corner of the Fourth Church – aka Town Hall - can still be found.

The 1922-23 construction of the Olympic Hotel lured photographers to First Hill to record its grand dimensions while also capturing the central business district’s north end.  By then it had assembled an impressive jumble of brick and terra cotta clad business blocks, much of it retail.  (There was no Smith Tower and no need for one.)

On the far right, at the northeast corner of Second Ave. and Stewart Street, the darker bricks of the New Washington Hotel (1908), top the cluster of business blocks at the southern border of the Denny Regrade. Far left, the Olympic, “Seattle’s first elegant hotel” is getting topped-off sometime in the more verdant months of 1923.

Preparing for the Olympic Hotel's foundation and its wrap-around the Metropolitan Theatre. The view looks east with Seneca Street on the right, and the west facade of the Fourth Church (aka Town Hall) upper-right. (Courtesy Ron Edge)
Construction progressing on the Olympic. Note the terra cotta facade of Fourth Church Christ Scientist, upper-left, and the University Street facade of the Metropolitan Theatre, lower left.

Seattle’s “grand hotel” opened on Dec. 7th of that year, a Christmas gift to the city, and only a few weeks following the dedication on Sunday Sept. 23, of the glimmering terra cotta tiled Fourth Church of Christian Science. That classic sanctuary shows here far left – directly below the Olympic.  It was built one hundred and ten feet square, with 1300 seats in curving mahogany pews, and topped by a copper-covered dome, which helped with its great acoustics.

Seattle Times special on the Olympic's grand opening. Dec. 7, 1923. (Courtesy, Seattle Times)

For his or her recording the historical photographer visited an upper floor of the then nearly new Virginia Mason Hospital (1920). For his “now,” Jean Sherrard went to the hospital’s roof and discovered that the church could be found – a mere corner of its dome. (We encourage you to keep looking for it.)

The extended red box marks what we determined was the point of view and so the line or prospect for the historical photographer. It took Jean to the top of the Virginia Mason hospital with good help from the hospital staff.

In 1999 Fourth Church received its new calling as Town Hall, which returns us to Jean Sherrard, our weekly “repeater.”

Virginia Mason Hosp. when it was nearly new. The view looks northwest on Spring to Terry.
Painted white (for hospital) and with Terry Avenue long ago vacated for Virginia Mason's use.
The Four Church Christ Scientist neighborhood in 1924.

For seven years Jean has been hosting Act Theatre and Town Hall’s Christmas edition of the by now honored series titled Short Stories Live. The Hall started Jean out in the slightly smaller lower level hall, but his productions became so popular that he and his players were moved upstairs into Town Hall’s Great Hall, beneath the high dome.  And on this very Sunday afternoon beginning at 4pm, Jean and three others (including myself invited to represent amateurs) will be reading with a little ham, humbug and Ho-ho-ho, the program of short stories and music that Jean has titled (Another) Rogue’s Christmas.


A couple of years ago, in preparation for another of our Town Hall Christmas Follies, we took the following photo:

Jean on Paul's lap with Frank Corrado

Before I ask Paul our ritual WebExtras question, let me hasten to invite one and all to join us for what promises to be a delightful afternoon. The Seattle actress (and legend) Megan Cole will be joining us; along with our musical guests, the amazing Pineola (Leslie Braly, John Owen, and Josh Woods). For more info, please visit Town Hall’s own website.

And now, Paul, back to blogland with my perennial question – anything to add?

Yes Jean, a few more attractions/features from the neighborhood beginning with one put up on this blog in 2009 and now repeated with some additions.

(click to enlarge photos)

tsutakawa-1967-thenTHEN: Art Critic Sheila Farr describes George Tsutakawa’s fountain at 6th and Seneca as showing a “style that lends modernism with philosophical and formal elements of traditional Asian art, a combination that became emblematic of the Northwest school.” (Photo by Frank Shaw) 

fountain-slowNOW: The original hope that the Naramore Fountain would soften the environment of the Interstate-5 Freeway was later greatly extended with the construction of its neighbor, Freeway Park. For reference, the Exeter Apartments at 8th and Seneca can be seen upper-right in both the “now and then.” (Photo by Jean Sherrard) 

The “Fountain of Wisdom” is the name for the first fountain that Japanese-American sculptor George Tsutakawa built a half-century ago. The name was and still is appropriate for the fountain was sited beside swinging doors into Seattle Public Library’s main downtown branch.  In 1959 it was on the 5th Avenue side of the modern public library that replaced a half-century old stone Carnegie Library on the same block.  Five years ago this “first fountain” was moved one block to the new 4th Avenue entrance of the even “more modern” Koolhouse Library.

As the sculptor’s fortunes developed after 1959 his work at the library door might have also been called “ Tsutakawa’s fountain of fountains” for in the following 40 years he built about 70 more of them including the one shown here at the southeast corner of 6th Avenue and Seneca Street.  Named for Floyd Naramore, the architect who commissioned it, this fountain site was picked in part to soften the “edge of the freeway” especially here at Seneca where northbound traffic spilled into the Central Business District.

Photographer Frank Shaw was very good about dating his slides, and this record of late installation on the fountain, was snapped on June 10, 1967.  Tsutakawa is easily identified as the man steadying the ladder on the right.  Not knowing the others, I showed the slide to sculptor and friend Gerard Tsutakawa, George’s son, who identified the man on the ladder as Jack Uchida, the mechanical engineer “who did the hydraulics and structural engineering for every one of my fathers’ fountains.”

Gerard could not name the younger man with the hush puppies standing on one of the fountain’s petal-like pieces made sturdy from silicon bronze.  However, now after this “story” has been “up” for two days, Pat Lind has written to identify the slender helper on the left. Lind writes, “The young man in the ‘then’ photo is Neil Lind, a UW student of Professor George Tsutakawa at the time, who helped install the fountain.  Neil Lind graduated from the  UW and taught art for 32 years at Mercer Island Junior High and Mercer Island Hight School until his retirement.  His favorite professor was George Tsutakawa.”

When shown Jean Sherrard’s contemporary recording of the working fountain Gerard smiled but then looked to the top and frowned.   He discovered that the tallest points of its sculptured crown had been bent down.  A vandal had climbed the fountain.  Gerard noted, “That’s got to be corrected.”


Jean writes: It is nigh impossible to capture the visual effects of a fountain in a photograph. I took the THEN photo used by The Times with a nearly two-second shutter speed to approximate the creamy flow of white water over the black metal of the sculpture.  But there’s another view, shot at 1/300s of a second, that freezes the individual drips and drops.

Shot at 1/300s of a secondMore particles than waves 

The actual fountain must lie somewhere between the two.

A wider view with onramp and red umbrellaA wider view with on-ramp and red umbrella 


We have made a quick search of the Frank Shaw collection – staying for now with the color – and come up with a few transparencies that record local “art in public places” most of it intended, but some of it found.  Most of these are early recordings of subjects that we suspect most readers know.  We will keep almost entirely to Shaw’s own terse captions written on the sides of these slides.  He wrote these for himself and consequently often he did not make note of the obvious.   He also typically wrote on the side of his Hasselblad slides the time of day, and both the F-stop and shutter speed he used in making the transparency.  He was disciplined in recording all this in the first moment after he snapped his shot.  Anything that we add to his notes we will “isolate” with brackets.  The first is Shaw’s own repeat of the Naramore fountain at 6th and Seneca.

6th &Seneca Fountain, June 11, 1967
6th & Seneca Fountain, June 11, 1967
The nearly new Naramore Fountain by George Tsutakawa, with construction on the SeaFirst tower behind it.

The Tsutakawa Fountain from on high. Seneca Street, on the left, runs from 6th Avenue, near the bottom, to 7th. (Courtesy, Seattle Times.)

The look into this neighborhood printed directly below looks northwest from a vacant lot in the block bounded by 6th and 7th Avenues and bordered on the north by Seneca Street.   That put the photographer somewhere near the center of the block seen above, from above.

Looking northeast to the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Seneca Street in 1925. The Van Siclen Apartment house's west facade shows above and to the right of the subject's center holding above 8th Avenue on its steep grade from Seneca to University Streets. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
The vacant lot shown above this one is recorded in part here by Lawton Gowey on March 13, 1963, during the site's preparations for construction of the Seattle Freeway. Note the Fourth Church Christ Scientist at the center climbing above the apartment house below it to the west.
Topped by a roof-garden, the Van Siclen Apartments when new - on the east side of 8th Avenue mid-block between Seneca and University Streets.
The record of it - and the 8th Avenue freeway overpass (and Convention Center "thrupass") - recorded for the 1999 publication of this feature in Pacific.


(First appeared in Pacific, March 7, 1999)

Since the construction of Interstate 5 in the mid-1960s, the Van Siclen aka Jensonia Apartment House has been hidden behind the Eighth Avenue overpass. North of Seneca Street there are now two Eighth Avenues: the overpass and a portion of the original lower Eighth Avenue that still descends sharply to the front entrance of the Jensonia Apartments. That building’s name was changed in 1931. In the older view, the original name, Van Siclen Apartments, is signed across the top of its otherwise featureless south wall.

Architect William Doty Van Siclen left his practice in San Jose, Calif., in 1901 for a 10-year career in Seattle. Working both for others and on his own, he left a variety of structures that have survived. These include two prominent office buildings on Pike Street: the Seaboard Building at Fourth Avenue and the Eitel Building at the northwest corner of Second Avenue. Van Siclen also designed the San Remo apartments on Capitol Hill and the Paul C. Murphy residence in Laurelhurst.

Although Van Siden was also the developer, his apartment complex may have been his last Seattle undertaking. The Van Siclen first appears in the 1911 city directory, the year William, his wife Ida and their daughter Rena moved north again, this time to Vancouver, B.C.

In the 10 years that Van Siclen worked here, the city’s population more than doubled, making the construction of apartment houses a prudent thing to do. The 1911 city directory lists more than 350 apartment buildings; six years earlier it had listed only eight. Of the 70 names in the 1939 Jensonian directory, only three – the stenographer Elise Thornton; Mary Crager, a department manager for the Creditors Association; and Daisy Brunt, listed as a “singer” – lived there 10 years earlier. Only two of the 70 from 1938 (and none of the three from 1929) lived there in 1949.

I snapped this while heading north on the 8th Ave. overpass on Nov. 19, 2012. The Van Siclen aka Jensonian was raced "about" three years ago. As yet nothing has filled the hole. Before turning the corner off of Seneca I took a moving snap of the Alfaretta Apts front door, another ruin kitty-korner from Town Hall.
The Alfaretta's ruins at the northeast corner of Seneca and 8th and also on Nov. 19, 2012. Returning from a visit with Rich Berner at Skyline, Ron Edge was driving, and I shot thru the open window and the rain. Compare the above to Jean's own record, below, of the Alfaretta made a while back when we visited the block for another story - one not repeated here.
Jean's splendid portrait of the Alfaretta's elegant ruins two years ago - or so. Note the Exeter at the northwest corner of 8th and Seneca survives. It - the Exeter, that is - survives on was earlier the corner of Ohaveth Sholem, Seattle's first synagogue.
A glimpse of pieces of both the Exeter, on the right, and Town Hall, on the left, when it was still the Fourth Church. As some point I dated this 1990 although I no longer remember taking it.
Fourth Church with one of First Presbyterian's two domes behind it. I do not know the date.
Town Hall recorded like those above on Nov. 19, 2012 as we took our turn right off Seneca heading for the 8th Avenue overpass.
Not Jean on any Christmas past, but the Baltimore Consort at Town Hall for a concert past.
For want of finding the original negative we substitute this clipping from the Seattle Times Pacific Magazine for November 15, 1987 - a quarter-century ago! The view is easily our earliest and looks west on Seneca from near 8th Avenue. For the now, note a portion of the Exeter's south facade. This was where the footprint was set also for the synagogue, which we will get to next.


(First appeared in Pacific, March 1, 1992)

Sometime in the Winter of 1906 an photographer visited the construction site of St. James Cathedral and recorded this rare panorama of the modest swell of Denny Hill. From this point the doomed hill seems to be intact, but actually its western slope, hidden here, has already been cut away to the east side of Second Avenue. Within a year the landmark Washington Hotel, which here dominates the horizon, upper left, will be razed, and this pleasing variation in the city’s topography will be much further along on its transformation from hill to regrade.

Of the scattering of turn-of-the-century landmarks seen in this wide-angle record, the onion-shaped tops of the two towers of Seattle’s first synagogue appear near the scene’s center. At the northwest corner of Eighth Avenue and Seneca Street, Ohaveth Sholem, or Lovers of Peace, is only three blocks from the photographer’s roost at Ninth and Marion.

Ohaveth Sholem Synagogue at the northwest corner of Seneca Street and 8th Avenue. (Courtesy, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.)

Ohaveth Sholem’s new sanctuary was dedicated Sept. 18, 1892. Bach’s preludes, played on the synagogue’s new organ, accompanied the ceremony. It was a sign of the congregation’s reformed tendencies – Orthodoxy would no have allowed the organ.

Although several of Seattle’s most capable citizens, including the banker Jacob Furth and once Seattle Mayor Bailey Gatzert, were members, the congregation was short-lived. The combination of economic difficulties lingering after the market crash of 1893 and the friction between newly arrived immigrants, who were often considerably more traditional than the more well-to-do and established members, spurred the congregation’s first rabbi, Aaron “Brown, to leave in 1896. Two weeks later the synagogue closed for good. Soon after, however, in 1899, many of the more liberal Ohaveth Sholem members formed Temple De Hirsch.

First Hill from Denny Hill. Ohaveth Sholem can be found above and to the right of the subject's center. The graded scar on the hill to the left is the eccentric corner of University Street and 9th Avenue. A wee bit of the U.W. first campus appears as greenbelt on the far right. The dark structure on the left is "Bridal Row," the row houses at the northeast corner of Pike Street and 6th Avenue
Again, First Hill from Denny Hill - or the Denny Regrade - but pivoted to the right and much later. St. James dome has been built and lost - the casualty of the 1916 Big Snow. The white facade far left is Eagles Auditorium at the northeast corner of 7th and Union, and now part of the Convention Center. Fourth Church stands out left of center.
Looking south on 8th from Pine Street with several landmarks, including Four Church, on the horizon. (We featured this with a story earlier on this blog - and in Pacific.) Jean's repeat is below.

We will now conclude – nearly – with two more panoramas from First Hill that include within glimpses of Four Church aka Town Hall.  We leave it to you to figure out from what prospect they were recorded.  (Well . . . which one was shot from the Sorrento?)

We conclude - really - with a 1963 mess of blocks cleared for freeway construction. (We have probably used this earlier.) That's the Exeter and so says the sign on the roof. On the far right still in the shadow of morning light, is part of First Presbyterian at the 7th and Spring. Lawton Gowey took this and much else.





Seattle Now & Then: The Atlas Theatre

(click to enlarge photos – often CLICK TWICE)

THEN: This subject of a drum major leading the funeral parade for Dong On Long through Seattle’s Chinatown was photographed by The Seattle Times but not used in its May 12, 1941 report on the parade. We revive it now. (Ron Edge)
NOW: The low-rise Atlas Theatre mid-block on the east side of Maynard Ave. between Jackson and King Streets has been redeveloped with a bright multi-story structure. Much else survives including, on the right, the brick Atlas Hotel building at the northeast corner with King Street.

On Monday May 12, 1941 a brass band leading at least three floats moved from Jackson Street south on Maynard Avenue into Chinatown with a parade that trumpeted the life of Dong On Long, the then recently deceased president of the Chinese Benevolent Association. Dong, who had lived and worked in the neighborhood for more than a half-century, was famed for his wisdom as an arbitrator in what the Times called “the Chinese colony.”

A May 1, 1941 S. Times clips describing the “Chinese Colony’s” plans for Dong’s funeral.

Here the first float in Dong’s parade, with the beloved citizen’s portrait framed by a memorial wreath and inscribed, “Father” in flowers, passes in front of the Atlas Theatre. Running inside are either “Men Without Souls,” a prison movie with a young Glenn Ford, or “Ebb Tide,” a south-seas adventure staring Seattle’s Francis Farmer.  The welcoming marquee allows that smoking is permitted and that the Atlas never closes.  When it first opened in 1918, Seisabura Mukai, advertised his Atlas as “the finest in the south district . . .Large Capacity, Clean and Cozy, catering a First-Class patronage.” By the year of Dong on Long’s parade it was as likely used as a dark retreat.

Early in 1942 S. Mukai learned that he would be interned with other Japanese Aliens, and so soon leased his Atlas to Burrell C. Johnson, who with second-run double features, kept the Atlas running and warm.  That December Johnson was booked for operating a crowded fire hazard.  On, we assume, a cold Jan 3, 1944, the police routed “scores” of sleepers from the Atlas at 5 in the morning.  The Times reported, “twenty were held for investigation of their draft status.”

James Matsuoka, president of the neighborhood’s community council, advised the city in 1950 that the Atlas created as “atmosphere” that promoted crime, and that its license should not be renewed.  The police described “trouble with pickpockets, some strong arm robberies . . . and prostitutes.”  Johnson pleaded that “It’s a difficult theatre to run – perhaps the hardest in the whole city . . . I’ve been trying to do the best I can.”  He then promptly remodeled the Atlas with new seats, lighting, and candy bar and painted it in mulberry and chartreuse.  That summer the theatre continued its atonement during the International District’s Seafair Carnival.  For the citywide celebration the Atlas showed films with all Filipino and Chinese casts.


Anything to add, Paul?

Some and not none – but not much.  Sometimes – like this time – our weekend efforts will run out of time.  We will plop in only a few additions, some clippings, and some photographs but neither, I think, supported with former features – merely with whatever captions we can string from them now.  [It is almost one in the morning and we mean to be to bed by 3am.]


Another early clipping for the Atlas, inserted March 8, 1919 in The Seattle Times.
An odd and early example of "adult films" is listed here on Nov. 21, 1919 for the Atlas, but not in a advertisement but rather in a news clip on the Seattle Times film page. (See and you will find it - below the center of the page.) The Atlas is described as showing "Wild Oats" in 1919. We have found some "Wild Oats" on line for 1919, a film that "according to reviews . . .was made under auspices of the New York City Dept of Health and the US. Navy and was 'approved' by the 'surgeon generals." Special screenings were arranged for Pres. Woodrow Wilson and members of the U.S. Senate and House of Reps. In early 1920, the film was re-copyrighted twice and re-released as a seven-reeler under the new title Some Wild Oats . . . " What kind of film was Wild Oats? A story of prurient pedagogy. The plot is summarized, "Motivated by his affliction with syphilis, a wealthy young man schemes to prevent a young country boy from making the same mistake as he. At the afflicted man's request, a reputable physician arranges for some hospital nurses to impersonate prostitutes and thus convince the boy that a visit to the brothel can result in his contraction of the dread disease."
Here S. Mukai, the founder of the Atlas, is in early trouble with "he built Seattle" Judge Thomas Burke, for running a player piano on Second Avenue in connection there with his Circuit Theatre and so annoying the tenants in the Burke Building at Second's northwest corner with Madison Street, then. The Times clip dates from Sept. 8, 1916.
Another risk while running a theatre - some spilled lattice. (You will need to search for this one.) This Times clip dates from Sept. 15th, 1932. Perhaps the Great Depression has also depressed building maintenance.
Knife in the back - another incident of "bad news" for the Atlas during the depression. The Times clip is from 1932.
Local theatre scion John Dans is rumored - only - to be interested in buying the Atlas. The Times clip is dated Jan. 11, 1940, and the news appears in the feature "Amusements, Along Film Row."
The popular "Amusements Along Film Row" feature on the Times film page for Wednesday Feb. 25, 1942, notes that the Atlas Owner S. Mukai, after thirty-one years of operating theatres in Seattle, has been caught in the dragnet for "foreign aliens in restricted areas" i.e. the Japanese. The part on Mukai appears near the end of the feature.
A sampler of other Atlas leads, which you can pursue through the Seattle Times key-word search service - or opportunity - for the years 1900 to 1984 and available on line with your Seattle Public Library Card. Call the library and ask how. For any local researcher it is a great resource and great fun too!


[The location and date are ordinarily typed and attached – with tape –  along the bottom of the negative.  CLICK TWICE to enlarge.]

MEANWHILE, on Long Beach . . .