(click to enlarge photos)
The sporty motorcar, here flying north thru Beacon Ave. on 15th Avenue S., is blurred by its speed. And so we cannot read the year on the license plate, but we don’t need to. The original negative has it “Sept. 16, 1937.” It was seven years into the Great Depression.”
That day The Seattle Times reported that the 2,000,000 W.P.A. check in Washington State had just been paid out. It was the fourth year for the “New Deal,” Pres. Roosevelt and the Democrats federal programs to spirit the economy and make work for the out-of-work. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) made the federal government by far the largest employer in the Union.
This Thursday in the late summer of ’37, the Times also reported that the fresh but already effective Congressman Warren G. Magnuson had coaxed WPA funds from Roosevelt for “beautification” of Seattle’s libraries and their grounds. The day’s issue also printed a photo of the newly elected Girls Club officers at Broadway High School. We learn in the caption that they too were committed to beautification. The new officers urged Broadway Co-eds, all 1595 of them, to wear “middy blouses and skirts to school for uniform attractiveness.”
By The Seattle Times’ theatre listings this day we discover that the Beacon Theatre, here on the left, featured tough guy George Brent in Mountain Justice. Including the Beacon, eleven of King County’s sixteen Sterling Theatres were neighborhood venues, showing features second run.
The Piggly Wiggly, far right, was part of a market chain that flourished by promoting self-service in grocery shopping. By 1937 most of Seattle’s Piggly Wigglys had been converted into Safeway stores, a fate that soon fell on this little Beacon Hill Piggly Wiggly. Beacon Hardware, just beyond the grocery, opened in the mid 1920s, and stayed so though the Great Depression. It is last listed in this newspaper in 1965.
Anything to add, Paul?
Yup Jean. First Ron Edge will again insert a feature – with its own additions – that we put up a few months past, which was for the most part about the Beacon Hill prospect of Seattle. Then from the Washington State Archive I’ll put up a few WPA Tax photos out of of the same Beacon Ave. intersection as our above feature. These additions will feel at home – and also in need – for our primary image has also been pulled from the shadows of the Great Depression. I’ll conclude with a key-word search for “Beacon” and see what might come forward from with tiring MAC worth mounting. No doubt, Ron will have already uncovered some of it in what follows.
TAX PHOTOS HIDE-&-SEEK
We hope – or imagine – that what follows might be treated by the reader as a hide-and-seek. Pull out your Google Earth or slippers and visit the north Beacon Hill intersection of Beacon Ave., 15th Ave. S. and Bayview Street. All of the tax photos that follow – from the Washington State Archive – are of structures at or near that corner, and most of them date from the late 1930s – like our primary feature at the top. And we will begin with two snippets for Beacon Ave. and 15th Ave. S. clipped from the continuous street listings of the 1938 Polk Business directory. [Click to Enlarge – Click Twice, perhaps]