Seattle Now & Then: Spokane Street from West Seattle

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: In 1852 many of Seattle’s first pioneers removed from Alki Point by dugout canoe for the deeper and safer harbor along the east shore of Elliott Bay (our central waterfront).  About a half-century later any hope or expectation that the few survivors among these pioneers could readily visit Alki Beach and Point by land were fulfilled with the timber quays and bridges along Spokane Street. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)
THEN: In 1852 many of Seattle’s first pioneers removed from Alki Point by dugout canoe for the deeper and safer harbor along the east shore of Elliott Bay (our central waterfront). About a half-century later any hope or expectation that the few survivors among these pioneers could readily visit Alki Beach and Point by land were fulfilled with the timber quays and bridges along Spokane Street. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)
NOW: The undulations and elevations required to lift Spokane Street high above the waterways and railways are evident in the Jeanette Williams Memorial Bridge (aka West Seattle High Bridge), seen just left of its west end extension with the ascending Fauntleroy Expressway on the right.
NOW: The undulations and elevations required to lift Spokane Street high above the waterways and railways are evident in the Jeanette Williams Memorial Bridge (aka West Seattle High Bridge), barely seen just left of its west end extension with the ascending Fauntleroy Expressway on the right.

Across the tidelands of Youngs Cove, here at low tide, is Pigeon Point. From central Seattle Pigeon Point is a headland that often blends in with the greater mass of West Seattle and its pronounced Duwamish Head.  On the far right, looking over part of the Seattle Steel plant, is a glimpse into the Youngstown neighborhood.

The featured text for this look west to Pigeon Point and beyond it West Seattle is included in the bundle of features included under the first of the three links included following this feature text.
Here Pigeon Point and West Seattle have sorted themselves out with the aid of atmospheric perspective.  The point is the darker headland entering the subject from the left. The featured text for this look west to Pigeon Point and beyond it to West Seattle is included in the bundle of features grouped  under the first of the three links placed  following this week’s feature text.

Jogging through Youngstown, trolleys from Seattle first reached the west shore of Elliott Bay in 1907, the year of West Seattle’s annexation into the city. They came by way of a new swing bridge over the Duwamish River that was roughly in line with Spokane Street.  After swaying around Pigeon Point, the electric cars turned south into Youngstown.  From there the tracks turned north to Duwamish Head, reaching Luna Park on June 27th  in time for most of the summer play.  Built on pilings below the Head, Luna Park was the grandest of the many Alki Beach attractions that extended to Alki Point, which the trollies reached in 1908.

Spokane Street with Pigeon Point on the left.  The prospect looks west from near 26th S.W. on Oct. 4, 1920.
Spokane Street with the slight obstruction of Pigeon Point on the right. The prospect looks east from near 26th S.W. on Oct. 4, 1920.
A detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map with Spokane Street at the top and the Youngstown neighborhood at the bottom and south of Andover Street.
A detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map with Spokane Street at the top and the Youngstown neighborhood at the bottom and south of Andover Street.
Youngstown's "main street," West Andover, looking east to Pigeon Point.
With trolley track on the left, Youngstown’s “main street,” West Andover, looking east to Pigeon Point (with the Point out-of-frame to the left./north.) Courtesy, Lawton Gowey

By 1914 the circuitous route to Alki Beach previously running through Youngstown was straightened.  The Spokane Street trestle had been recently extended west across the head of Youngs Cove, reaching West Seattle here at Admiral Way.  Captioned at its lower left corner, the feature’s “top” subject’s long look east on Spokane Street was recorded on April 16, 1916.

A Seattle Times clip from April 30, 1916 reporting on  the neighborhood's activism for more trolley service.
A Seattle Times clip from April 30, 1916 reporting on the neighborhood’s activism for more trolley service.
Looking northeast from Avalon to the point where the early - in 1913 - Spokane Street trestle reaches West Seattle.  Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive
Looking northeast from Avalon to the point where the early – Oct. 23, 1913 – Spokane Street trestle reaches West Seattle. Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive

As evidence of Spokane Street’s development into a West Seattle funnel, city engineers counted the traffic using it between 5 am and midnight on one day in early November 1915.  The partial list recorded that two-hundred-and-ninety one street cars carried 11,699 persons, 692 passenger automobiles carried 1,501 persons, 203 jitneys (taxis) carried 744 persons, and 155 horse-drawn vehicles carried 187 persons across the West Seattle Bridge.

A Seattle Times report on the city's study of bridge traffic, Nov. 6, 1915.
A Seattle Times report on the city’s study of bridge traffic, Nov. 6, 1915.

In 1916, the year of the feature’s lead photograph, the West Seattle Commercial Club began the long campaign for a “high bridge” to West Seattle, with grades lifting the traffic above the railroad tracks.  In 1929 the trestle shown here was replaced and Spokane Street lifted with fill.  The concrete Fauntleroy Expressway, high-flying through Jean’s “now,” was added in the mid-1960s.  After another high bridge rebuff from city council, The Times for April 22, 1978, polled West Seattle citizens on secession.  A majority favored it.

A pull-page from The Seattle Times on Nov. 26, 1916.  Click it - perhaps more than once.
A pull-page from The Seattle Times on Nov. 26, 1916. Click it – perhaps more than once.

In 1929 the trestle shown here (again, with the featured photograph) was replaced and Spokane Street lifted with fill.

A detail of the neighborhood from the city's 1929 aerial survey.  The scan is used courtesy, again, of Ron Edge.
A detail of the neighborhood from the city’s 1929 aerial survey.  The “fattening” – but not the lifting – of Spokane Street as seen from high above.  The scan is used courtesy, again, of Ron Edge who scanned it all: the entire city in 1929, the first such aerial hereabouts.
With a glimpse of the steel mill on the far left, here Spokane Street is being reshaped a lifted above fill.  The view looks west on July 11, 1929.  (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
With a glimpse of the steel mill on the far left, here Spokane Street is being reshaped and lifted above fill. The view looks west on July 11, 1929. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)

 

A month earlier on June 6, 1929 looking east over the same Spokane Street approach to West Seattle (proper) with construction begins on new concrete ramps for the Avalon-Spokane-Harbor-Admiral nexus. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
A month earlier on June 6, 1929 looking east over the same Spokane Street approach to West Seattle (proper) with construction about to begin on new concrete ramps for the Avalon-Spokane-Harbor-Admiral nexus. Pigeon Point is on the right.  (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
At least from my print, the full date, bottom-left, for this look into the construction on the new interchange is cut off.  The view looks northeast.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
At least from my print, the full date, bottom-left, for this look into the construction on the new interchange is cut off. The view looks northeast. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
Blue lines, upper-left, on this ca. 1931 Sandborn Real Estate Map, mark the construction site on the Spokane-Avalon-Harbor-Admiral interchange.
Blue lines, upper-left, on this ca. 1931 Sandborn Real Estate Map, mark the construction site on the Spokane-Avalon-Harbor-Admiral interchange.
The new and ornamented intersection looking east and asking to be compared to the featured photograph at the top.
The ornamented and almost completed  intersection looking east – asking to be compared to the featured photograph at the top.
Below the same ramps (as those one image above) on April 26, 1930.
Below the same ramps (as those one image above) on April 26, 1930.

The concrete Fauntleroy Expressway, high-flying through Jean’s “now,” was added in the mid-1960s.  After another high bridge rebuff from city council, The Times for April 22, 1978, polled West Seattle citizens on secession.  A majority favored it.

The
The Fauntleroy Expressway gaining altitude above our and Lawton Gowey’s – the photographer – intersection on May 10, 1`968

Less than two months later, Capt. Rolf Neslund began the rescue of these angry neighbors from their jams and closed bridges on Spokane Street when his gypsum ship Chavez rammed the West Seattle bascule bridge beyond repair.  The new high bridge – and heart’s desire – was dedicated on a windy November 10, 1983.

Well, in part.  Here we learn from Clay Eals, West Seattle champion and director of its Log House Museum and all that is connected with it, that we are half correct on the date of completion for the high bridge.  We quote Clay.

“On our website, you will notice that we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the bridge this month and next.

But you may say that a 30th anniversary doesn’t square with the Nov. 10, 1983, date at the end of your column — and it doesn’t. That’s because the high bridge wasn’t fully opened on Nov. 10, 1983. Only the eastbound lanes were opened on that date. The westbound lanes were opened July 14, 1984, making the bridge fully open then, hence the 30th anniversary.

Might you be able to change the Nov. 10, 1983, date to July 14, 1984, if not on the Times page then on yours?

Here is a pertinent paragraph of info, taken from the web link above:

“The high bridge didn’t open all at once. Following the ramming of the low-level bridge by the freighter Chavez on June 11, 1978, construction on the bridge began in 1980. Eastbound lanes opened to the public on Nov. 10, 1983, and westbound lanes opened on July 14, 1984.”

Clay Eals, just before the unveiling of the West Seattle totem pole, in his natural setting
Clay Eals, just before the unveiling of the West Seattle totem pole, in his natural setting

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?   Surely Jean.  In the three features that Ron Edge has posted below with picture-links there is an array of past features that touch on subjects that themselves – most of them – touch on Spokane Street.   Here is a general list for what one who clicks the links will find within “Coming Home to Riverside” and the last of the three, “Luna Park Entrance.”   The second link is an Addendum to the first.

COMING HOME to RIVERSIDE

* A Riverside Family

* Six Bridges to Riverside (and West Seattle)

* Riverside Junction

* Spokane Street Trestle from Beacon Hill

* West Seattle Ferry at Colman Dock

* Fukii’s Bridge (to West Seattle)

* Elevated Railway on Marginal Way

* The “Shoe Fly” on the West Seattle Bridge

* Trolley Wreck on Spokane Street, Jan 8, 1937

* The Star Foundry, (on Spokane Street)

* Pigeon Point Fire Station No. 36

* Spokane Street Substation – 1926 (on Spokane Street)

* West Seattle High School (not on Spokane Street)

RIVERSIDE ADDENDUM

LUNA PARK ENTRANCE: Sept. 10, 2011

* Luna Park

* West Seattle Harbor

* How to Get to West Seattle

* West Seattle Ferry at Colman Dock

* Sea View Hall

* Halibuts Below Duwamish Head

* Novelty Mill

* Luna Park Below Duwamish Head

========

 The THREE EDGE LINKS

1. Coming Home to Riverside

2. Riverside Addendum

3. Luna Park Entrance

=======

MORE FOSTER KLEISER BILLBOARD SURVEY EXAMPLES – with once exception for comparison.  All are on Spokane Street an all come with their own captions, which are coded-described in order to put the sign company’s billboards in their proper places for potential clients to imagine their own message.  In many of the original negatives for this collection, the billboards have been whited-out so that when the negatives are printed the prints appear without content, the better to imagine your own.

8.-FK-SPOKANE-ST.-(SL-200'-E-of-26th-P-1)[Lk-e-to-Pigeon-Point]-R-176--Nov.-31,-1936-WEB

Looking west on Spokane Street a few blocks east of the intersection with Avalon, Harbor and Admiral Way.  This is not from the billboard company's collection but is used courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archive.
Looking west on Spokane Street a few blocks east of the 1929/30 work on the ramps into Spokane’s intersection with Avalon, Harbor and Admiral Way. Although well-stocked with ads, this  is not from the billboard company’s collection but is used courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archive.

8.-FK-W-Spokane-St-&-Harbor-NW-1933-WEB

8.-FK-W.-Spokane-(&-Harbor-NW-P-1)-lk-w-3-19-37-WEB

8.-FK-W.-Spokane-St.-(approaching)-Harbor-Ave.--B-2619--Sept-13,-1940-WEB

==========

A SOLEMN CALL FROM THE RAMPS – 1937

7..*Spokane-st.-Trolley-wreck-THEN-WEB

7.-1937-spokane-st-wreck-text-WEB

======

A TEST

The subject below looks west not on Spokane Street but on James.  That is Trinity Episcopal on the right at 8th Avenue.  I am cleaning up and clearing out old stuff and this is one of many hundreds of screened prints – prints exposed through a half-tone screen for off-set printing – I discovered on a bottom shelf in one of my archival cubbies.  It was probably printed in the early 1980s for possible inclusion in “Seattle Now and Then, Volume One.”  I am testing it here to determine if its like the other screen prints found might be recycled with some tweaked scanning.

Included here as a text to determine if a screened print (made of little black dots) might be scanned for on-line use without interference.
Included here as a text to determine if a screened print (made of little black dots) might be scanned for on-line use without interference.  Click it to see if it succeeds or flops. 

One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: Spokane Street from West Seattle”

  1. Very interesting. My father and my husband were long time bridge operators on Spokane St. Bridge. My husband worked for the bridges for 41 years , all in Seattle , my dad about 25 years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s