(click to enlarge photos)
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
RETURN TO CONTINUE SUNDAY AFTERNOON
SECOND AVENUE EXTENSION 1928-29
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)
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.
2 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Third Avenue South”
Alt Heidelberg was brewed right here in the PNW.
Hi there –
I have been contacting people to find someone to give me source information around Atlas Theatre/Kokusai Theatre. We are working on a time sensitive mural project in Japantown and would love to highlight this photograph of Dong’s funeral procession. Anyone know a good person to contact?
Thank you –