These Amelia Apartments – 16 of them – were, it seems, first noted in a Seattle Times classified ad on Sept. 4, 1910. The agent, John Davis and Co., was one of the super real estate dealers of the time with 61 apartment buildings, “in all parts of the city. Davis advised, “simply step into our office and tell us what kind of a place you want. We will endeavor to meet your every requirement.” Seven days later on the 10th the agent admitted his first renters here into 104 17th Ave. East.
The Amelia was conveniently built beside the Yesler Way Cable Line, with its musically clanking cars reaching the corner every 3 minutes during busy hours. The Amelia offered 3 and 4 bedroom apartments; large, light rooms; modern conveniences; linoleum bathroom and kitchen floors, gas ranges, large closets, cupboards and coolers.” Agent Davis declared it “very desirable.” In 1912, depending on size, the rent ran between twenty and twenty-seven dollars a month. By 1914 the Amelia’s Apt No. 4 was used by a practitioner offering “woman-to-woman” consultations about a “dependable remedy for every married woman” that the personal “women’s ad” left unexplained. (Was it proven techniques on how to be rid of one’s husband?)
Until their internment during the Second World War, this was a neighborhood where Japanese Americans integrated with Seattle’s Jewish community and a miscellany of many others. Here on the corner is Beckerman’s Delicatessen, also a Jewish center where, for instance, in the spring of 1926 one could pick up tickets for the famous singing cantors Mordecia Hershman and Zavil Zwartin appearing in concert at the Masonic Temple at Harvard and Pine. Across Yesler Way and out of frame to the far right was the synagogue for the Bikur Cholum Congregation, now home for the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.
Although I confess that the subject seems earlier to me, perhaps this scene dates from 1926, the year that the Jewish labor organization named the Workmen’s Circle, gathered with workers from throughout the city for a Labor Day Monday afternoon of music, speeches, dancing and games at Renton’s Pioneer Park. Most of this is promoted across the banner that stretches here over Yesler Way.
Anything to add, Paul? Yes and staying close to Yesler Way. We will go as far up the hills, First and Second, as we can before surrendering to those patient nighty bears. We will be following the route of the old Indian Path to Lake Washington, which the first settlers were please to find and follow in their exploration of the ups and downs behind their waterfront claims. I do not mean to include any additional features, unless I am surprised by one. Just pictures with short captions. But as prelude – readers who remember last Sunday’s coverage of the new book LOST SEATTLE by Rob Ketcherside, will find below these additions something put up earlier today: The longest caption in the history of this blog and written by that First Hill picker-scholar Stephen Edwin Lundgren. Stephen gave most of an afternoon to giving a decent caption to the historical photo featured last week – the one on the cover of Lost Seattle – and he has dated it sensitively and, I’m convinced, properly too.
While we did not make it to 17th Avenue and the Amelia – or beyond it – we will return later today* with a few more looks to the sides of Yesler Way. But now we will take the steps – two flights – to the last reading of the day followed by the comforts of nighty bears, so comforting for these colder nights.
* While we surely did not “return later today with a few more looks to the sides of Yesler Way,” we will now begin to watch for and collect them and add them at some future date (perhaps a Sunday).