Seattle Now & Then: A Methodist Revival on Union Street

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The “then” photo looks southeast across Union Street to the old territorial university campus.  It was recorded in the Fall of 1907, briefly before the old park-like campus was transformed into a grand commercial property, whose rents still support the running of the University of Washington.  (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)
THEN: The “then” photo looks southeast across Union Street to the old territorial university campus. It was recorded in the Fall of 1907, briefly before the old park-like campus was transformed into a grand commercial property, whose rents still support the running of the University of Washington. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: While civic leaders proposed that the abandoned territorial campus on Denny’s Knoll be converted into a central city park, the University’s regents wanted it developed into properties whose leases would support the school, which with the typically close-fisted legislature, often needed help. The regents won.
NOW: While civic leaders proposed that the abandoned territorial campus on Denny’s Knoll be converted into a central city park, the University’s regents wanted it developed into properties whose leases would support the school, which with the typically close-fisted legislature, often needed help. The regents won.

Two structures stand out in this 1907 look across Union Street into the old campus of the Territorial University.  Both seem incomplete.  The ornate one on top with the comely belfry is the Territorial University building itself, stripped of its columns while still awaiting its fate.

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Looking southeast at the Territorial University in its original location and with it columns too, and above it without those Ionic pillars.
Looking southeast at the Territorial University in its original location and with it columns too, and above it without those Ionic pillars and in the place off Union Street and straddling 5th Avenue, as it is in the feature photo..
An early portrait of the university with some of the old growth still to the sides.
An early portrait of the university with some of the old growth still to the sides.
Your investigating eye may - or surely will - find the university's pergola in this view as well.  It looks west on Union Street through its intersection with Sixth Avenue.
Your investigating eye may – or surely will – find the university’s pergola in this view as well. It looks west on Union Street through its intersection with Sixth Avenue.
First visiting Tacoma for a round of conversions, the dynamic Hart and Magann joined a local protest against the staging of
First visiting Tacoma for a round of conversions, the dynamic Hart and Magann joined a local protest against the staging of Salome at the Tacoma Theatre.
Later and not here but in
Later and not here but in West Virginia, it was revealed that even fervent worship may be offensive, when the farmer E.M.Snyder was arrested for crying “Amen, Amen” with too much zeal.

The lower structure, the palatial hut facing the sidewalk, resembles the warehouse set atop Noah’s ark in a Biblical illustration I remember.  In the Bible, all the “animals two by two” were given accommodations. In this shed, however, the critters were mostly Methodists, more than three-thousand could be fit inside, and apparently were. There they would sing and preach — reinvigorating the local congregations, their own faith, and also naming and chastising selected Seattle sinners.

Another Seattle Times report.  This one from Sept. 20, 1907.
Another Seattle Times report. This one from Sept. 20, 1907.   CLICK TO ENLARGE!
Evangelists Hart and Magann confess when closing down their work in the tabernacle that Seattle's Methodists were something of a disappointment.
Evangelists Hart and Magann confess when closing down their work in the tabernacle that Seattle’s Methodists were something of a disappointment.  CLICK TO ENLARGE!!!

Apparently the tabernacle was pounded together in 1907 for the fall arrival of the evangelists Hart (the preacher) and Magann (the singer), noted on its signs.  By then the landmark behind it – the University Building – was serving as temporary quarters for the Seattle Public Library. Bo Kinney, the library’s new circulation services manager, shares with us that the decision to move (by skidding) the territorial university from its original foundation, near the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Seneca Street, and ultimately to this site near Fifth Avenue and University Street, was first announced on March 3, 1905.  The building was moved to lower the height of Denny’s Knoll and thereby allow for the extending of Fourth Avenue north from Seneca Street directly through the campus at the lower grade, and soon also on Fifth Avenue as seen in Jean’s repeat.

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Spring reportage from the The Times that "Seattle's Most Historic Building" was being prepared for removal to Seattle's most progressive creation, the Alaska Yukon and Pacific Expo. on the newer University Campus beside the Brooklyn Addition, now known as the University District.  The Times clipping is from May 17, 1908.
CLICK TO ENLARGE!  Spring reporting from the The Times that “Seattle’s Most Historic Building” was being prepared for removal to Seattle’s most progressive creation, the Alaska Yukon and Pacific Expo. on the newer University Campus beside the Brooklyn Addition, now known as the University District. The Times clipping is from May 17, 1908.

In early May of 1908 an appointed and, we imagine, enthused group of UW students started raising the ten-thousand dollars it was thought was needed to barge the original territorial university building to the new – since 1895 – campus north of Lake Union’s Portage Bay. There it was envisioned that Seattle’s grandest pioneer landmark would soon add its fame to the city’s first world’s fair, the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. When this effort of preservation failed, some of the hardwood in the old school was turned into canes, which were sold as souvenirs, mostly to alums.  It was figured that through the thirty-plus years of the school’s stay on Denny Knoll, about 5,000 young scholars had crossed beneath the Ionic columns of its main hall.  The columns alone were saved and survive as the four white fluted landmarks that grace the University’s Sylvan Theatre.

What we might call the "backside" of the Columns, the side away from the Sylvan Theater, includes up the way U.W.'s Anderson Hall, which was donated by the lumbering Anderson family, a former subject of this blog.
What we might call the “backside” of the Columns, the side away from the Sylvan Theater, includes, up the way, U.W.’s Anderson Hall, which was donated by the lumbering Anderson family, a former subject of this blog.
. . . and the front side of the landmark columns, seen here rarely at night within the Sylvan Theater and with a few of its Attic goings-on rarely seen by the light of the sun.
. . . and the front side of the landmark columns, seen here at night within the Sylvan Theater with  Attic goings-on rarely seen by the light of the sun.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?   With Ron Edge’s help, yes.   Below are some “Edge Links” and then below that some other photographs and more that relate to this old knoll – Denny’s Knoll – that after the carvings or regrades of 1906-1910 is gone.    I will also insert some “extras” into the week’s primary text, above.  But not much.  It is already thirty minutes past midnight, and my late start is, in part, your fault, or rather the delicious detraction of the marinated chicken with mushrooms, seasoned rice and those flowery green veggies that Nixon – or Regan – deplored.   Thanks again for dinner, and the time spent with you and Don, your dad, was a delight.

Three Edge Links to pasts post for the reader’s enjoyment.

THEN: Looking east on University Street towards Ninth Avenue, ca. 1925, with the Normandie Apartments on the left.

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DENNY’S KNOLL, FIFTH AVENUE and UNION STREET from DENNY HILL

The greenbelt that swipes through the center of this ca. 1885 panorama from Denny Hill is the northern end of the University of Washington's first campus.   The campus stops at Union Street, or as seen from Denny Hill the bottom of the little forest.  The most evident avenue here is Third, which nearly reaches the bottom-center of the pan   Second Avenue nearly reaches the lower right corner of the pan.  From this calibration the reader may cautiously but confidently reach a likely approach for Fifth Avenue, here south to Union and the campus green.
The greenbelt that swipes through the center of this ca. 1885 panorama from Denny Hill is the northern end of the University of Washington’s first campus. The campus stops at Union Street, As seen here from Denny Hill, Union running left-right is at the bottom of the little forest. The most evident avenue here is Third, which nearly reaches the bottom-center of the pan, and Second Avenue nearly reaches the lower right corner.  From this calibration, the reader may cautiously but confidently find here  a likely approach for Fifth Avenue south to Union and the campus green. Beacon Hill is on the right horizon, and First Hill on the left.  DOUBLE CLICK TO ENLARGE   A close-up or detail follows below.

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Looking west down Seneca to the "rear" of Denny's Knoll.
Looking west down Seneca to the “rear” of Denny’s Knoll.   The rolling title “Knoll of Knowledge” was created by a Times header-specialist, who may have jumped when it first occurred to her or him.
Looking north across Virginia Street on (or near) Fifth Avenue.
Looking north across Virginia Street on (or near) Fifth Avenue.

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Copied from Seattle Now and Then Vol. 3, the 41st feature.
Copied from Seattle Now and Then Vol. 3, the 41st feature.

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