Seattle Now & Then: Third Avenue South

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: 1934 was one of the worst years of the Great Depression.  This look north on Third Avenue South through Main Street and the Second Avenue South Extension was recorded on Thursday, April 19th of that year.  Business was generally dire, but especially here in this neighborhood south of Yesler Way where there were many storefront vacancies.  (Courtesy Ron Edge)
THEN: 1934 was one of the worst years of the Great Depression. This look north on Third Avenue South through Main Street and the Second Avenue South Extension was recorded on Thursday, April 19th of that year. Business was generally dire, but especially here in this neighborhood south of Yesler Way where there were many storefront vacancies. (Courtesy Ron Edge)
NOW: After the Second Avenue Extension was cut through the neighborhood south of Yesler Way in 1928-29, Third Ave South continued to be little used except for the increased traffic crossing it.
NOW: After the Second Avenue Extension was cut through the neighborhood south of Yesler Way in 1928-29, Third Ave South continued to be little used except for the increased traffic crossing it.

The primary subject here is left-of-center, the four-story high sign for Alt Heidelberg Lager Beer painted on the south wall of the Ace Hotel, squeezed between Third Avenue South, seen here, and the Second Avenue Extension. The original negative for this subject is dated April 19, 1934, one year and twelve days after legal 3.2 beer (percentage of alcohol) began flowing from bottle to glass in twelve states, including Washington.

A Blatz adver pulled from The Seattle Times for
A Blatz adver pulled from The Seattle Times for Oct, 26, 1933

In the scramble among breweries to win the taste of newly liberated drinkers, Blatz Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, began shipping trainloads of its Alt Heidelberg into the hinterlands.  Ornamented with a Gothic type style, the label spoke of the German brewing traditions (including facial scars from student duels). The Milwaukee marketers sometimes used the German “Alt” in place of the English “Old” to emphasize the venerable quality of its brew.  However, with the lifting of prohibition, Heidelberg, like every other beer, was rushed through brewing with such speed that it was bottled nearly “green.”

The original 5×7 inch negative for this subject (at the top) is one of several hundred photographs made in the 1930s, mostly of billboards and a few murals like this one, that were installed by roadside billboard barons Foster and Kleiser.  (Here follows four others from the neighborhood, the last of which looks across the Second Avenue Extension and west along Main Street on July 8, 1929, when the Extension was nearly new.)

FK-[Dearborn-lk-e-to-10th]-(NE)--R-49--April-18,-1939-copyWEB

FK-Airport-Way-lk-se-thru-Maynard-[B-1482-8-17-1934]-WEB

FK-Great-Northern-Railway-Terminal-P.O.-Bldg.,-Seattle--B-194--Nov.-29,-1927-lk.-wWEB

Looking West on Main Street and across the nearly new Second Avenue Extension.
Looking West on Main Street and across the nearly new Second Avenue Extension. Westerman is the name of the Foster and Kleiser client who ordered the sign at the scene’s center.

Almost certainly the company photographer drove to the featured scene in the Straight 8 model 1930 Dodge (if I have pegged it right) that seems to be bearing down on him or her, but which is actually parked driverless in the southbound lane of Third Avenue, a few feet south of Main Street.

Our only evidence for dubbing this a 1930 Dodge.  The restored Dodge (in color) is identified as from 1930. (Courtesy, World Wide Web)
Our only evidence for dubbing this a 1930 Dodge. The restored and spiffy Dodge (in color) is identified as from 1930. (Courtesy, World Wide Web and thanks to the owner)
A. Curtis's 1930s record of the City County Building after eight stories (capped with a jail) were added.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
A. Curtis’s 1930s record of the City County Building after four stories (capped with a jail) were added. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
Adding those stories.
Adding those stories.

Above the Dodge and three blocks to the north, Third Avenue almost reaches the City County building, right-of-center, before turning left to follow the city’s grid through the central business district north of Yesler Way.  North was the preferred direction for businesses to build and/or move even before the pioneer Frye family chose to stay in this most historic district and construct its namesake hotel on the south side of Yesler Way at Third Avenue in 1909.  The big block letters of its neon signs top the scene.

x.-Frye-Hotel-c46-WEB

The interior of the Frye Hotel.  (We have assumed this from context.  It came with the exterior view above it.)
The interior of the Frye Hotel. (We have assumed this from context. It came with the exterior view above it.)

Minutes before the photographer snapped this (the top) shot on an unseasonably warm spring day – it reached 79 degrees – the Young Men’s Republican Club met for lunch in the Frye.  That evening the Paramount Theatre opened a mixed fare of film and six vaudeville acts.  The Hollywood star Frederic March was featured on the screen in “Death Takes a Holiday,” which was followed by “Beauty, Boneless and Brainless,” an on-stage acrobatic performance.  Also that Thursday, The Seattle Times printed under the header “Romance on Rocks,” some scandalous news about the daughter of the local celebrity Presbyterian preacher, the Rev. Mark Matthews.  Gwladys, her name, who was then living in San Francisco and teaching French, had filed for divorce.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?

Yes Jean and again with Ron Edge’s help.  Here or below we have found five links with more features on the neighborhood’s heritage – for the  most part.  We have among these additions what may be a first: a feature that includes among its own extras the primary or lead photo for this week’s feature.  Inevitably some weekend we will put up a feature that includes a feature that like this one includes a repeat of the lead photo of that Sunday’s first feature but then more, a link within it that repeats the same photograph for a third time.  For this we offer no apology in advance, remembering mother’s advice – again and again – that “repetition is the mother of all learning.”  How many times did she advise, “Don’t leave  your wet bathing suit on the bus.”

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STATION No. TEN

A 2-story headquarters for the Seattle Fire Department was constructed at the northwest corner of Third Avenue S. and Main Street in 1903, and so in line with today’s featured photo, had the station and its  corner survived the 1928/29 extension of Second Avenue.  The cutting was done in order to give Second a straight line to the train stations, which were most important then.    In order below are three photographs of the fire station.  The first is the earliest, before a top floor was added in 1912 – the third floor that can be found in both of the remaining photos of this trio.   For the second record, a municipal photographer stands very near the prospect taken in 1934 by the Foster and Kleiser photographer.   We date it from about 1911.  The last of the three shows the fire station during the early preparations for the slicing work of the Extension as it cut through the neighborhood south of Yesler Way.  Many of the diminished buildings were saved – in part.  Not, however, the fire station.

x. Fire-Station-3rd-&-Main-nw-Cor-WEB

x. fire, 3rd-ave-lk-n-fr-Main-St-circa-1911-web

x. fire, Extension-work,-1928-29-2nd-lk-n-thru-Fire-station-WEB

The Central Business District recorded from the Great Northern Railroad Depot's tower about 1930, and certainly after the Second Avenue Extension, south of Yesler Way.  Third Avenue leads up from center-bottom of the photograph.
The Central Business District recorded from the Great Northern Railroad Depot’s tower about 1930, and certainly after the Second Avenue Extension, south of Yesler Way. Third Avenue leads up from center-bottom of the photograph. The Frye Hotel, the City County Building and the Smith Tower are easily found.  The billboard photographer of the featured photo at the top stood in the afternoon shadows at the bottom of this subject.
Especially this month, Jean has been busy shooting repeats of now-and-then exhibit he is preparing for the foyer of TOWN HALL.  The unveiling will be this coming October Third, a Friday evening on which he and I will also be lecturing in the hall on what we have carefully (or loosely) titled, "First Hill and Beyond."  Please Come.  The very  illustrated lecture starts at 7:30, and you can be confident the Jean and I will be interrupting each other throughout.  Questions follow.  The Sherrard repeat printed here reveals the carving made by the 1928-29 Second Ave. Extension very well.  It a "now" for A.Curtis' ca. 1913 look south from the top of the Smith Tower when it first possible to reach its imaginatively counted 42nd floor.
Especially this month, Jean has been busy shooting repeats of the now-and-then exhibit he is preparing for the foyer of TOWN HALL. The unveiling will be this coming October Third, a Friday evening on which he and I will also be lecturing in the hall on what we have carefully (or loosely) titled, “First Hill and Beyond.” Please Come. The very-illustrated lecture starts at 7:30, and you can be confident the Jean and I will be interrupting each other throughout. Questions will follow. The Sherrard repeat printed here reveals very well the carving made by the 1928-29 Second Ave. Extension.. It is a “now” for A.Curtis’ ca. 1913 look south from the top of the Smith Tower when it was first possible to reach its imaginatively counted 42nd floor. (Remember to click – or even double-click – both shots, above and below.)
The developing tideflats and the Great Northern and Union Pacific stations on Jackson Street.  The tower of the fire station at the northwest corner of Main Street and Third Avenue is seen near the bottom of the photograph, right-of-center.
The developing tideflats and the Great Northern and Union Pacific stations on Jackson Street. The tower of the fire station at the northwest corner of Main Street and Third Avenue is seen near the bottom of the photograph, right-of-center.

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A NIGHTY-BEARS APOLOGY

Some users of this blog may have noticed that on going to bed, aka Nighty-Bears, I make promises that I do  not keep in the morning.  This is not because I get up at noon.  Rather I do not return to conclude the feature – as I certainly intended when blowing out the candle – because I am always distracted by other duties, ordinarily  joyful ones like getting our next feature off to the Times.  However, I will qualify.  Tomorrow after a late breakfast I hope to add a few more photos that are relevant to this feature, but failing that I’ll bring them (and the other abused codas) up with an addendum later on.  I do like addendums so, in part because it makes my high school Latin seem almost worth it.   Until then, Nighty Bears.

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RETURN TO CONTINUE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Another look from the Tower to the former tideflats.  Lawton Gowey is the likely photographer, and circa 1960 would be close.  The I-5 Freeway is not yet scouring through the Beacon Hill greenbelt on the left, and the Kingdome (remember that?) is not around either.
Another look from the Tower to the former tideflats. Lawton Gowey is the likely photographer, and circa 1960 would be close. The I-5 Freeway is not yet scouring through the Beacon Hill greenbelt on the left, and the Kingdome (remember that?) is not around either.

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SECOND AVENUE EXTENSION 1928-29

Second Avenue South from an office floor in the Smith Tower.  Most likely this is a scene from the big snow of 1916.  Second is still a dozen years from being cut through the buildings on the left.
Second Avenue South from an office floor in the Smith Tower. Most likely this is a scene from the big snow of 1916. Second is still a dozen years from being cut through the buildings on the left.
From a higher floor in the Smith Tower, Second Avenue shows its first signs - with the bared wall at the center - of its being extended through the neighborhood.  The Municipal Archive negative is date, bottom-left, March 14, 1928.
From a higher floor in the Smith Tower, Second Avenue shows its first signs – with the bared wall at the center – of its being extended through the neighborhood. The Municipal Archive negative is date, bottom-left, March 14, 1928.
The completed Second Ave. extension recorded by a municipal photographer from the Smith Tower on June 11, 1929.
The completed Second Ave. extension recorded by a municipal photographer from the Smith Tower on June 11, 1929.

 FORTSON SQUARE AKA PIGEON SQUARE

The feature below was scanned from “Seattle Now and Then, Vol. 2,” which is long out of print.   It first appeared in Pacific on Sept. 23, 1984.  The book printing include the “before and after” views – above – of the Second Ave. Extension with some explanation on the second page of the feature. (Click to Enlarge)

ext.-Fortson-Square-p.1-WEB

ext.-Fortson-Square-p2-WEB

Late work on the Extension looking east-southeast with the Union Pacific depot on the right.
Late work on the Extension looking east-southeast with the Union Pacific depot on the right.
Although this copy of The Times clipping from Oct. 18, 1925 is too soft on focus to easily read, it still gives an impression of what the Second Avenue Extension's planners had in mind when they announced and illustrated their intentions.
Although this copy of The Times clipping from Oct. 18, 1925 is too soft on focus to easily read, it still gives an inflated  impression of what the Second Avenue Extension’s planners had in mind when they announced and illustrated their intentions.  On the right you will find Ye Olde Curiosity Shop’s founder J.E. Standley at his West Seattle home, which was lavishly decorated with totems and grandchildren.
The completed Extension looking north from the Union Station.  At some point the envision pylon, seen in the planner's illustration above, was sacrificed.  There are city-wide man other examples of how elegant or glorious first plans are ultimately cut back in local construction.  We should make a list.  Later.
The completed Extension looking north from the Union Station. At some point the envision pylon (or column), seen in the planner’s illustration above, was sacrificed. There are city-wide many other examples of how elegant or glorious first plans are ultimately cut back in local construction. We should make a list, but later if our funding holds out.

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MEANWHILE

NEAR

A page two clipping from The Seattle Times for April 19, 1934 recounting the efforts of U.W. students to hold an off-campus conference on the hot issue of war.
A page two clipping from The Seattle Times for April 19, 1934 recounting the efforts of U.W. students to hold an off-campus “All-University Conference on the hot issues of war.  [CLICK to Enlarge]
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NEARBY

A soft-focus recording of a moment in the neighborhood – or near it up Main Street near 8th Avenue, and so in what is now Yesler Terrace.   There is some focus in this snapshot but it is given to the distant landmarks like City Light’s station at 7th and Yesler – its ornate towers appear to the left of the right arm of the girl on top – and the crown of the King County Courthouse tower seen just left of the power pole, far right.  Don’t miss the dog.

1.-ca-8th-&-Main'-2-girls-w-pup-WEB

 

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