In an effort to pack his namesake Taylor’s Castle Garden for opening night, Charles A. Taylor, Seattle’s then popular producer of farce and melodrama, paused to boast before the local press. Taylor explained that the seven days required to transform the recent home for the Methodist Protestant Church into his “amusement resort” as well as rehearse the new acts for his show and advertise them too, “that no such time record has hitherto been made in the country.” With his claim the popular playwright-performer added theatre statistician to his by then sixteen years with the Third Ave. Theatre. Whatever, the promoter’s figures worked. The Times review of the Dec. 1, 1906 opening revealed that for Taylor’s program of “extravaganza and vaudeville, with few exceptions every seat in the big playhouse was filled.” [Although not easy to read we will attach a clipping of this review at the bottom of this feature.]
The opportunity of turning the church at the southeast corner of Pine Street and Third Avenue into a sensational stage first opened to Taylor’s company when Seattle’s second oldest congregation moved out. Facing a street regrade that would leave the Gothic-arched entrance into their sanctuary no longer at the sidewalk but rather one floor up, the Methodists moved to a new stone church – still Gothic – on Capitol Hill.
For opening night the opportunist Taylor staged exhibits and sideshows in the new street-level first floor, while about 12 feet up he directed the “spectacular ‘Children’s Fairyland’ with a chorus of singers and dancers numbering more than 100”, all of it supported by the “difficult dancing” of Linnie Love, a “well-known Seattle girl” with her own stage name.
The corner’s rapid conversion from Gothic-sacred to Castle-secular was both ironic and short-lived. First the irony: Taylor and his players had been earlier forced into their 6-block move up Third Ave from Madison to Pine, when their long-accustomed venue, the Third Avenue Theatre at the northeast corner of Madison Street, was schedule for conversion into kindling by another regrade on Third Avenue. The return to melodrama – after some managerial squabbling with one of his supporters, Taylor’s Castle at 3rd and Pine closed, and flipped to being a stage for farce and melodrama. The name it had abandoned months earlier with the splinters at the northeast corner of Madison and Third was then moved north to Pine Street and used again.
For two years more, it was as the Third Ave. Theatre that shows were put up in the not-so-old church (1891), while north across Pine Street, Denny Hill came down, and another “castle,” the landmark Washington Hotel, revealed here (on top) in part far left, with it.
Anything to add, Paul?
Sure Jean 1, 2, 3.
1. I just returned from a Salmon House dinner with our blog’s distinguished anatomist, John Sundsten. (With a KEY WORD search on Sundsten the reader may visit again a few of John’s instructions in the coincidences of human anatomy, Green Lake morphology and walkers.) It is now 8 pm on Sat. Sept 28th, I’m listening to a Swedish male chorus singing all Schubert with the soprano Malena Ernman (a search for her on YouTube may surprise.) It is a mere month from another passage that may have numerological resonance for almost anyone. It will be my 75th birthday. [Here’s the proof – perhaps. Subtract 66 from 75 for 9, divide 9 by 3 for 3.] With different knees, and a new left hip, I might close my eyes and with the singing of Schubert and Marlena imagine myself 25. [Subtract 16 from 25 for 9, divide 9 by 3 and so on.]
2. Ron Edge has gathered the past blog features that are most relevant to this Seattle block on 3rd Ave. between Pike and Pine streets. It turns out that it has been a popular popular with us. He has put up three links – the first three photos to follow – that will take the reader to his choices.
3. Finally below Ron’s trio, I’ll enter a few more related pieces of ephemera and their stories. [Shucks! I am up and it is Sunday, but all that I did for the blog under this “no. 3” is not there. It did not take. Before reviving or restoring it we will need to figures out what sent it packing. Later then.]
FOLLOWS NOW FOUR LOOKS to the SOUTHEAST and “Our Block” on THIRD between Pike and Pine. The first two were taken from Denny Hill. The second two from the Washington Hotel.
2 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Secular Conversions at Third & Pine”
PLAYLAND PARK, AURORA RACEWAY & THIRD & PINE!
I just stumbled upon your website; you can never imagine the childhood memories you just brought back to this 64 yr old baby boomer born & raised in Seattle. Playland Park, really! My sister & I fell asleep at night during the summer, looking out from our bedroom window down upon the beautiul bright lights of Playland. My father and his buddies, raced at the Aurora Speedway in the late 40’s & 50’s. The humming of the cars would put us to sleep. As for Third, Pike and Pine streets, that’s where my grandfather disappeared from in the late 30’s. He owned a construction company . . . unions were arriving in Seattle at that time. Need I say more! Thank you for your website. “Old Man Campbell’s” daughter, Janet, Daytona Beach, FL
Janet, Although it took me 3 years to read your letter – I loved it and your dreams. Paul