(click to enlarge photos)
Set on a three acre island off the west shore of the largest (160 acres) of five lakes that enchanted the Seattle to Everett Interurban Line, the photograph of this modest “summer home” for Julia and Richard Achilles Ballinger appeared first in the Seattle Times of June 14, 1911.
The photo’s caption does not peddle real estate, but simply describes the lake as “an ideal picnic and camping spot.” Printed on the same page is an advertisement for the Interurban. Promising local trains every hour, it enabled its “Lake Route” riders to get off the train and make their way “along a sun-flecked trail through the silent arches of the Forest Primeval.”
[Double-click the Clippings below.]
The forest showing here on the lake’s far eastern shore was probably reserved by Ballenger who owned the lake and all around it. Or the fire that destroyed for good the resident Chippewa Lumber Company may have saved it. As late as 1924 this east side forest of cedars, firs and alders was distinguished with the claim of its then new owner, the Seattle’s Shriners, that “there is probably no prettier grove anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.” From this primeval start the Shriners began planning their golf course, although it took decades to shape the grove into eighteen holes.
It was along this the Lake’s straight west shore that the former Judge, and Mayor of Seattle (1904-06) started selling lots in the spring of 1914.
CLICK TWICE – to read the fine pulp print.
It was a delayed beginning, for with his appointment to President Taft’s cabinet in 1909, Richard Ballinger was preoccupied as the country’s Secretary of the Interior. Still his publically expressed hopes for developing a “residence park of high character” beside his lake, gave “opportunities by association” for real estate not on the lake but close enough, like the cunningly named Lake Ballinger Garden Tracks that the palmy agents Crawford and Conover began selling in 1910.
Anything to add, Paul? Yup Jean. For orientation lets begin with another of Ron’s look-from-above: the aerial from 1936. Snug with that we’ll repeat our past feature about the Seattle Speed Bowl and the thrilling rides of Mel Anthony. Ron notes that you can see the Speed Bowl “vividly” in the 1936 aerial – in the upper-left quadrant. Following that I’ll put up a variety of the “and now for something completely different” sort of subjects, pulled from past shoots – most of it pickings from my walks around town – and especially Wallingford from 2006 to 2009. Finally, we will remember Walt Crowley of Historylink and long ago of Helix too, by including one of his Weltschmerz features – the one that appeared in the Helix for early Sept. 1968. We intend to put up the entire issue next week in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the 1968 Sky River Rock Fire Festival – the first one. I also found in my browsing earlier today a 2006 snapshot I took of Walt with a beard – rare indeed. And I’ll include the teen Walt at the entrance to the courthouse following some demonstration ca. 1965 or 66.
[First appeared in Pacific not so long ago, in the summer of 2010.]
After the high bridge over Fremont was dedicated in 1932, Aurora Avenue became the centerline for a wide and long swath of car culture with auto dealers, parts stores, drive-ins for burgers, drive-ins for movies, and more than one race track. By the figuring of both collector Ron Edge, who lent us this subject, and the by now legendary racer Mel Anthony, this is the first day of racing at the Seattle Speed Bowl. It opened in 1936 and that’s the date penned on the print.
Anthony, posing in the “now” at the uncannily fit age of 87 [in 2010], first raced here as an adolescent on his big tire bicycle. He snuck onto the track – the gate was open – and boldly pumped passed a slow-moving grader only to be swallowed and upset in one of the tracks steep turns by sticky bunker oil applied moments earlier. The operators of both the grader & the oiler enjoyed his fall and laughed.
Through the years Anthony’s wit has made him many friends, and gained him a unique “Sportsman Trophy” in 1950, while his dare-do both won races and put him in hospitals. Mel always healed and, for our considerable delight, proved to be a very good narrator. His book “Smoke Sand and Rubber” is packed with stories about racing and pictures too. The book can be sampled and/or ordered through http://www.hotrodhotline.com/feature/bookreviews/07smoke/.
Before this track closed with the Second World War, Anthony competed on its oval in a 1939 Seattle Star Jalopy Race. He explains “I was 16 and in the lead and then everything fell off.”
After returning from the war in 1946, Anthony raced the regional circuit until 1955. I remember reading about his midget class exploits while I, an adolescent, was delivering Spokane’s morning paper, the Spokesman Review in the early 50s. Anthony notes “In Spokane they gave us a lot of INK.” Recently “Methanol Mel” returned to the track, and so far has remarkably won every midget race he has entered. Jean Sherrard, who posed Mel in the “now,” describes him as a “wonder of nature and great testimony for genes, very good ones.” Mel explains, “Ten or fifteen laps for me now and my tongue is hanging out. No fool like an old fool. I have to be very careful.”
A FEW THINGS DIFFERENT
MONSTERS AT THE ID
WALT CROWLEY’S WELTSCHMERZ from HELIX, First Week of September 1968
Bill White and I are resuming – with Ron Edge’s considerable help at the scanner – our reading and commentaries on every issue of Helix. With Volume Two No. Seven we have made it to the first issue following the first Sky River Rock Festival on Labor Day weekend, 1968. We will put that issue “up” early this week – perhaps tomorrow, Monday. Bill and I were both admiring Walt’s feature – we often do – and I decided to excerpt it in advance when I stumbled upon this photograph of Walt in his and Marie’s kitchen during their traditional Christmas season party for friends – lots of them – in 2006. It is rare to see Walt with a beard, but as Marie explains he grew one while he was undergoing chemotherapy for his throat cancer.