(click to enlarge photos)
Let us now celebrate Goat Hill, the latest of the imaginative names given to First Hill or parts of it since the original settlers first climbed it in 1852. They named it then for its obvious distinction. The about 366 foot high (near Broadway and James) ridge that lifted from the central waterfront like a green curtain of firs, cedars, hemlocks and alders was the first hill to climb and cross when either trailblazing east to the “big lake” eventually named Washington, or wisely following the “Indian Path’ that reached the lake roughly in line with the present Yesler Way.
I learned of the “Goat” tag only recently when railroad historian Noel Holley shared with me the photo printed here. His friend, Wade Stevenson while visiting Seattle from Othello, recorded it from the Smith Tower. Noel figures “it was about 1960.” This, then, is a late look at First Hill’s western face before the freeway was cut across it.
Another friend, First Hill historian Stephen Edwin Lundgren, first confirmed the hill’s newest moniker and then directed me to what we may fairly call its creator: Jim Napolitano. While working on King County’s newest additions to the hill – a multi-story parking garage at 6th and Jefferson and the County’s new Chinook Office Building at 5th and Terrace – Napolitano, a Major Project Manager for King County – heard enough variations on the same amused complaint “You needed to be a goat to get up there!” that he suggested that this new public works campus be named for the goats. And so it is now a new Goat Hill garage that clings to the steep southwest corner of 6th and Jefferson. (I knew the cheap thrills of that free but challenging dirt parking lot for I often used it in the 1970s while visiting city hall for research.)
Through its mere 162 years of development and complaints, First Hill – or parts of it – has had many names including Yesler, Pill and Profanity. This last was a folk creation of the late 1890s when lawyers and litigants started using “bad language” during their steep climb to the King County Courthouse which sat then on the brow of the hill about 300 feet above Pioneer Square. Now we have another ascribing folk name for the part of First Hill west of the I-5 Freeway and south of James.
Anything to add, old goat? Surely Jean, and we will start with a few goats, beginning with a goat on goats, one of the many Kodachromes left with us by Horace Sykes, whose transparencies we shared with the “Our Daily Sykes” feature that we ran for at least 500 days – we hope without missing any. Here first is a Sykes that we did not use, waiting we were for some Call of the Goat. Following that we will introduce a Wallingford goat on Eastern Ave. and accompany it will be a pony on Eastern Ave. as well and it’s own Pacific feature. Both of these neighborhood animals came from my neighbor Frank Debruyn, now passed. While his pony made it into Pacific on Nov. 15, 1992, I assured Frank that his goat would be used as well – sometime. Now’s the time Jean – and Frank.
Following the farm animals, Ron Edge will put up more links to related stories that have appeared on this blog previously. Most of these are on First Hill subjects. As with music these features are their own motifs and so gain new resonances and harmonies when mixed with other features. That, at least, is what we hope.
WEDDED BLISS BORN ABOVE
Above and below INTERSTATE FIVE (aka The Seattle Freeway) building south through Goat Hill in the early-mid 1960s.
In 1976 Ivar bought what he described as his “last toy” – the (about) 42-story Smith Tower, which as a child in West Seattle he watch ascending across Elliott Bay. Ivar was born in 1905. The tower was dedicated nine years later.
WADE STEVENSON’S WATERFRONT
Wade Stevenson also recorded the waterfront from the Smith Tower observatory, and included prints with those he gave to his friend Noel Holley. We print them now beside Jean’s recent coverage of the same sections of the waterfront nearest the Smith Tower and Pioneer Square. We will include a few other examples, as well.