Here (at the top) is print number 12,920, preserved in the library of the Museum of History and Industry’s collection of historical photographs. Like many of the archive’s early prints, this factory scene is mounted with a generous border to protect it from ‘dog ears’ and other indignities. On the border of the stiff board, with the identifying number, is printed the caption: “Exterior view of Seattle Steel Company shortly after it began operation in 1905.”
The rising smoke and steam of the featured photo on top confirm that the superheated work of transforming the industrial scraps, piled here on the south side of the factory, into useable steel is underway. Much of it was rolled and stretched into bars used to strengthen concrete, like that used in Seattle’s first skyscraper, the then but one-year-old Alaska Building, which stands, both elegant and sturdy, at the southeast corner of Second Avenue and James Street.
William Pigott, the factory’s founder, was variously described as a “devout Catholic” and “patriarchal capitalist.” As soon as Pigott announced his factory plans in 1903, the small neighborhood on the west side of Pigeon Point began to boom with mill workers moving into new but modest homes. Pigott first named it Humphrey after a town where he had earlier lived and worked with steel, but he soon changed the name to Youngstown, after another patriarchal company town with rolling mills in Ohio. Youngstown resisted
incorporation into its much larger neighbor to the west, West Seattle. When Seattle did annex it in 1907, the unincorporated company town came along, most likely for the better sewerage and water. By then Youngstown supported four saloons and a public school, the latter built by the mill. The community also kept its eye on the frequently flooding Longfellow Creek that flowed and too often overflowed through it into Young’s Cove.
Drawn “from plans only,” a captioned footprint of the factory was printed in the1904 Kroll Seattle real estate map. The map names, left to right, the Stock House, the Heating House (with the smokestacks), the Rolling Mill, and running east-to-west, several attached wings named collectively the Run-out Building and Warehouse. Beyond these the Kroll map notes, “Tide flats, being filled in.” These Young’s Cove tidelands between Pigeon Point, on the east, and West Seattle, on the west, would be reclaimed and covered by the expanding factory. Longfellow Creek is now carried to Elliott Bay via a culvert beneath the fill.
Many years ago I first featured Seattle Steel in the Pacific Northwest Magazine. Here’s a clip of it from the Sunday Times.
Pacific Northwest readers may recall the Pacific Magazine’s recent May 25th cover story on this factory. See it online at http://bit.ly/1y2SKBF. Or click on the next image below.
Anything to add, Paul?
Yes Jean, and some of it is inserted above your request – or will be – illustrating this week’s text itself. As for LINKS there is but one this week, and it reaches back merely a few weeks to the feature SPOKANE STREET from WEST SEATTLE. Ron Edge will put it up next. If explored, this single link will lead the dedicated reader to many more features – more than twenty of them – that relate to the neighborhood widely considered.
I found the prints below while doing research for a legal case years ago. It had to do with responsibilities following damage from the flooding of the Longfellow Creek across Andover Street and into the industrial park, lighted like the inferno and spreading harrowing noises, now run by Nucor Steel Seattle. The prints were all part of an exhibit, which, I figure, was shown at MOHAI, for it is, after all, a museum for both history and industry.
With their two daughters, Priscilla and Loyal, Olive and Harry Treat arrived in Seattle in 1904 and promptly built the mansion that famously survives on Queen Anne Hill’s Highland Drive. When they arrived the Treats were rumored to be the richest couple in town. Unquestionably cosmopolitan, they had lived in New York, Chicago, Paris and London before curiously choosing this frontier boomtown.
At thirty-nine, Harry, a graduate of Cornell University and the Harvard Law School, was an energetic capitalist ready to invest, but not downtown. Treat instead purchased a mix of stump land and forest north of Ballard and named it Loyal Heights, after the younger daughter. Treat soon chose the developer’s familiar tools used to promote remote real estate additions. In 1907 he built both a trolley line through the saleable land and an alluring “pleasure park” at the end of the line.
Less than two miles after leaving downtown Ballard, the rails reached the line’s terminus here at Northwest 85th Street, then the city’s northern border, and 32nd Ave. Northwest. Through its last four blocks, the Loyal Heights Line broke through the addition’s conventional grid by way of the surviving diagonal, Loyal Way Northwest. The terminus featured a loop that enabled the trolley to turn around. This northwest corner of Seattle was 300 feet above Puget Sound, and between it and a fine beach below was the steep virgin land that Treat groomed into Golden Gardens Park.
The park name is signed on the banner far right at the rear of the trolley in the featured illustration at the top. The children posing beside it may include one or both of the Treat daughters. And the driver of the carriage on the left may be Treat himself, an avid horseman. To these eyes, at least, the profile of the one holding whip and reins resembles that of a Treat profile found on the Queen Anne Historical Society’s Website. In the photo the developer is shaking hands with Buffalo Bill during the famous showman’s 1915 visit that included a special staging of his Wild West Show for, again, Loyal, the younger daughter.
In more than one posthumous description of Harry Treat as a horseman, it is claimed that “as a tandem and four-in-hand driver he had no superior in the West.” It is a mix of tragedy and irony that he died at the wheel, not the reins. In 1922, while pursuing mining opportunities in Canada, his last interest, Treat attempted to turn his motorcar around on a narrow mountain road and wound up plunging into a precipice.
Anything to add, Paul? Ron Edge has put up a few of his links. Things are working fine at his home. Otherwise here we hope to attend to these gilded pleasures tomorrow. As you know Jean the computer crashed for a few hours earlier this evening. But tomorrow we expect to carry on from the Golden Rule Bazaar, now at the bottom, with a golden hodgepodge.
While Seattle was building long piers with landmark towers on the central waterfront and first staging Golden Potlatches, the week-long summer festivals that began in 1911, on city streets, an alert and now nameless photographer produced a collection of sharp negatives enamored with schooners, steamers and Potlatch parade floats.
The window shot at the top, however, is unique for her or him. From the northwest corner of First Ave. N. and Denny Way, the subject looks southeast from a fourth floor window – perhaps the photographer’s apartment.
The Regent Apartments were built in 1908. From the prospect, here at the top, one got an unimpeded view of the razing of Denny Hill for the Denny Regrade until 1910, when the Raymond Apartments, whose rear wall is seen here kitty-corner and beyond the billboards, opened its 37 two-room units to renters. The Regent was considerably larger with 59 units. These two apartment houses were part of the earliest brick reconstruction of this “North Seattle” neighborhood that had been swiftly built of wood during Seattle’s first boom decades of the 1880s and 1890s.
The Regent’s managers did not promote this view south into the business district but rather that to the west. A Dec. 15, 1912, classified ad for the Regent reads, “Commanding a view of the Sound and being within easy walking distance of the city, or excellent car service, this building is exceptionally well located. The apartments are first class and modern in every respect. Three rooms at $15 and $20. Four rooms, $27.50 and $30.”
In 1925, after the apartments were sold to a San Francisco investor for “a consideration of $110,000,” the name was changed to the Arkona. This was short-lived. After John and Winifred Paul purchased the Arkona Apartments in 1927 for $150,000, they whimsically changed its name to Pauleze. Winifred died there in 1932, but Paul continued living in and managing their apartment house until 1957, when he too died, but not the punning name. It remained the Pauleze until the late 1970s, when, for reasons we have not found, the name Arkona Apartments was revived.
In the mid-1980s, with the help of Dave Osterberg, a friend who was then the development manager for Environmental Works, acting as guide for the transfer, the collection of negatives of which this subject was one, “came home” to Seattle from the Museum of North Idaho. With a donation to the museum from Ivar Haglund, the negatives were purchased for the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.
Anything to add, dear Paul? At first – and perhaps last – look Ron and I have found a dozen links to past features, all from within the still brief life of this blog: a few years. They are packed with Queen Anne – both upper and lower – history.
The first of these twelve includes brief illustrated essays on sever other Seattle apartment houses, including the Raymond, which is the pie-shaped brick apartment at the corner of Warren and First that partially blocks the view from our window above into both the regrade and the central business district. Following the links I’ll hang a some more images from the neighborhood, either before climbing to nighty-bears, or tomorrow. Meanwhile there is enough included in the dozen links below to keep one engaged for a long as it once upon a time took one to sit thru “Meet the Press.”
This picturesque pioneer snapshot was copied from a family album filled with prints, interpreted with terse captions hand-written on their borders. It reads simply “Salmon Bay, 1887,” a date used on several other photographs protected within the album’s covers. If correct, then this is a rare early photographic record of Salmon Bay.
To the inevitable “where on Salmon Bay?” there are two choices. The forested hill across the waterway must be either Queen Anne or the part of the Magnolia headland above where the Salmon Bay channel begins out of Shilshole Bay – near Ray’s boathouse. Both sites would have required James Lowman, the owner of the photo album and probably both the camera and the sailboat, to reach the bay by sailing from the Seattle waterfront around the Magnolia peninsula. The voyage may well have begun at Yesler’s Wharf, which Lowman managed for his uncle, Henry Yesler.
Jean and I chose the Queen Anne site, largely on the evidence of the timber trestle that runs beside the distant shoreline. It was also in 1887 that the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad completed its line from the Seattle waterfront north through Interbay to Salmon Bay, and then east to Lake Union along Ross Creek, the lake’s outlet below the north end of Queen Anne Hill. In 1887 there may have been some settlers’ docks beside Salmon Bay, but no extended trestles except this one.
In 1946, after greeting his 89th birthday with a morning visit to his barber, James Lowman returned to his First Hill mansion, The Seattle Times reported, to spend “several hours . . . reminiscing over a volume containing pictures of Seattle’s pioneer residences. In it is a picture of his home.” Somewhere between “very likely” and “highly possible,” the album that Lowman lost himself in was the one uncovered by friend Michael Maslan, a collector and dealer in vintage photographs and posters.
In the early 1980s Mike shared the Lowman album with me for copying and study. I have often used it in these pages. Included are pictures of Mary Emery Lowman, whom James married two years after he, we assume, photographed this Salmon Bay scene. Perhaps Mary is sitting in the sailboat and being courted. She would have been 24 years old. Married in 1889, they lived together for a half-century on First Hill, until Mary’s death in 1939. Still living in his mansion, James died eight year later at age 90.
Anything to add, Paul?
Jean I hear the pacing of soft pads with retracted claws signaling me to nighty-bears. It is 3am, but Ron Edge will be up soon – most likely around 5am – and put up, I believe, no less than NINE relevant links. Early Sunday afternoon I’ll return for proofreading and with two features printed now long ago in the Times, and one of them also in the second Seattle Now and Then volume. Both are short essays on two more of Lowman’s nature subjects – Lake Union shorelines – and like our feature at the top, both are dated from or in 1887.
In response to our last blog feature, the one about the Fremont Car Barn and the rest, an old friend and officer in these trenches, archivist Ernie Dornfield, answered our question regarding what was the use of those ghost-colored solid forms in the otherwise vacant lot between the house on the left of the subject and the car barn beyond both? Here’s Ernie’s letter plus a “grab” from this computer’s screen of a City Archive photograph that shows one of those “gray things” being installed. If you follow his advice and access the city clerk’s information service you will find many more and even much more beyond gray concretions.
The negative for this scene of industrial clutter is marked “Fremont Barn – N.E. Corner, Dec. 11, 1936.” “Barn” is short for “trolley car barn,” that long and well-windowed brick structure that fills the horizon from N. 35th Street on the right to the interrupting house on the left. It was photographed without credit, although most likely by an employee of Seattle’s municipal railways. From mid-block, the prospect looks west through the long block on Fremont’s 35th Street between Evanston and Phinney Avenues.
The featured photo was one of a few taken the December day centering on “barn.” We will follow here with three more.
When it was completed in 1905, the ornate barn, along with the B.F. Day School nearby on Fremont Avenue, was one of the few brick structures in this mill town neighborhood. Inside the barn there were accommodations for the trainmen and also three bays for trolley car repairs. Most of the homes built in the Fremont neighborhood, after 1888 when the lumber mill opened, were modest residences for workers. In 1936 there were sixteen houses on this long block. Now, it seems, only six have endured.
As can be seen in the primary feature photo at the top, between the home and the barn there was room for both a yard of well-packed trollies, and closer to the photographer, an uncovered storage for stacks of what appear to me to be trolley-car-wide blocks of formed concrete. (Perhaps a reader will know and share their use.) With the help of a 1936 aerial photograph, we can see both the stacks of concrete and count a dozen rows of trollies resting on their tracks – spurs off N. 34th Street – in the yard between the barn and the stacks. The twelve tracks were all five cars long, and so this parking lot could accommodate a maximum of 60 trolley cars tightly fit like these.
In 1936 the municipal system ran 410 often-dilapidated electric trolleys over its worn 224 miles of tracks. Leslie Blanchard, Seattle’s trolley historian, described 1936 as “the beginning of one of the most violent and spectacular political free-for-alls ever witnessed in the city of Seattle.” The fight was over whether to keep to the tracks and fix-up the system or convert it entirely to rubber, with busses and trackless trollies. Of course, the latter won, and between 1940 and 1942 the tracks were pulled up and the trollies scrapped. The Fremont Barn was then purchased by the army for wartime storage.
Friday the eleventh of December 1936 is well remembered on both the sentimental and scandalous sides of world history. While the photographer for this Fremont scene was, perhaps, having breakfast, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Windsor, explained to the British Empire by radio from Windsor Castle, that the burden of being king was a “heavy responsibility too great to bear without the help and support of the woman I love.” The trouble, of course, was that “that American woman,” Mrs. Wallace Simpson, was already married.
Anything to add, Paul?
JEAN, as our readers may suspect, we often return to Fremont. Still this week for Ron “EDGE-LINKS” we will restrain ourselves and include only a half-dozen or so. In this conspiracy, for reasons we will make clear below, we have an eye out for the blog you did years ago recording (with whatever Nikon you had at the time) one of the Fremont Solstice Day parades. We will not fail in this. In our several years of producing dorpatsherrardlomont it has been easily the most viewed – or goggled – post we have put up. This shaking of hits has more to do with hirsute than heritage Following the links we will chain a few Fremont strays to this barn. First, the reader is encourage to click on the seven pictured links below. They all include Fremont features and more. Of the seven we have put at the bottom the recent feature on they day the Fremont Dam broke in 1914.