Seattle Now & Then: The Summit Avenue Hospital

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN:  This detail from the prolific local photographer Asahel Curtis’s photograph of the Smith/Rininger home at the northwest corner of Columbia Street and Summit Avenue dates from the early twentieth century when motorcars, rolling or parked, were still very rare on the streets of Seattle, including these on First Hill.  (Courtesy, Historic Seattle)
THEN: This detail from the prolific local photographer Asahel Curtis’s photograph of the Smith/Rininger home at the northwest corner of Columbia Street and Summit Avenue dates from the early twentieth century when motorcars, rolling or parked, were still very rare on the streets of Seattle, including these on First Hill. (Courtesy, Historic Seattle)
NOW: Five Swedish Hospital nurses, from the twelfth floor oncology ward, gathered here in the hospital’s lobby for Jean Sherrard’s repeat.
NOW: Five Swedish Hospital nurses, from the twelfth floor oncology ward, gathered here in the hospital’s lobby for Jean Sherrard’s repeat.

In Jean Sherrard’s “now,” five nurses from Swedish Hospital’s oncology ward stand at or close to what was once the southeast corner of Columbia Street and Summit Avenue.  This was also the prospect for Asahel Curtis’s “then,” recorded early in the twentieth century when this First Hill neighborhood was still known for its stately homes, big incomes and good manners.

With about 110 years between them, both Sherrard and Curtis are sighting to the northwest, and both their photographs are only the center thirds of wide panoramas.  Sherrard’s shows Swedish Hospital’s lobby during a renovation.  Curtis’s pan at its full width is merged from three negatives.  It reaches from the northeast corner of Columbia and Summit, on the right, to far west down Columbia, on the left.  (The full pans of both now hang in the lobby of Town Hall, the former Fourth Church of Christian Science, another First Hill institution on the southwest corner of Eighth Avenue and Seneca Street.)

Asahel Curtis' original
Asahel Curtis’ original
Sherrard's repeat
Sherrard’s repeat

The big home, centered here at the northwest corner of the intersection, was built for the Seattle banker-industrialist, Charles J. Smith. He in turn sold it to the doctor-surgeon Edmund Rininger in 1905, about the time Curtis visited the corner, perhaps at Rininger’s request.  With his wife Nellie and daughter Olive, Rininger moved into the house next door on Columbia, in order to set about building his Summit Avenue Hospital at the corner.

Another detail pulled from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map.
Another detail pulled from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map.  The intersection of Columbia Street and Summit Avenue is center-lower-right, or between the blocks 120, 131, 132 and 101.  The Otis Hotel is at the northeast corner and the Rininger’s home west across Summit at its northwest corner with Columbia.  Madison Street crosses through the upper-left corner.
The Rininger home at the northwest corner of Columbia Street and Summit Ave. appears here
The Rininger home at the northwest corner of Columbia Street and Summit Ave. appears here right-of-center with its sun-lighted west facade.  Across Summit is the Otis Hotel.  A nearly new Providence Hospital is on the right horizon and the twin towers of Second Hill’s Immaculate Conception mark the center-horizon, directly above the Otis..  The photograph was taken from an upper floor of an apartment house at the northeast corner of Marion Street and Terry Avenue.

The surgeon’s plans were fatally upset on July 25, 1912,å when, while driving home from a house call in Kent, the forty-two year old Rininger, alone in his motorcar, collided with a Puget Sound Electric Railway train.  With the death of her husband, Nellie Rininger sold the nearly completed hospital to the Swedish Hospital Association in the spring of 1913.  As part of this fateful transfer, Nellie Rininger also gifted her late husband’s large medical library and his then new x-ray machine to Swedish Hospital.

A clipping from The Seattle Times for Feb. 16, 1913.
A clipping from The Seattle Times for Feb. 16, 1913. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Both the china and linen monogramed SAH for Rininger’s Summit Avenue Hospital came with the sale.  No doubt for reasons of economy the Swedish Hospital Association (SHA) decided to use both in spite of the reordering of the letters.

With help from the Seattle Public Library, clipped from the THE SEATTLE TIMES, April 15, 1968.
With help from the Seattle Public Library, clipped from the THE SEATTLE TIMES, April 15, 1968.  CLICK TO ENLARGE

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Yes Jean and again with help from Rod Edge.   First, several links below, and all include features that relate to the neighborhood and sometimes just beyond it.  Some will be found twice, perhaps even thrice.  The most relevant feaure is probably the last one about the General Hospital.  It first appeared here not so long ago.   Also featured here is my “mea culpa” (I am guilty) confession concerning my flubs with the  the Anderson mansion, and my humble correction.

THEN:

THEN: First Hill’s distinguished Old Colony Apartments at 615 Boren Avenue, 1910.

THEN: Both the grading on Belmont Avenue and the homes beside it are new in this “gift” to Capitol Hill taken from the family album of  Major John Millis. (Courtesy of the Major’s grandchild Walter Millis and his son, a Seattle musician, Robert Millis.)

THEN:The front end damage to the white Shepherd Ambulance on the right is mostly hidden behind the black silhouette of either officer Murphy or Lindberg, both of whom answered the call of this morning crash on Feb. 18, 1955.

THEN: This Seattle Housing Authority photograph was recorded from the top of the Marine Hospital (now Pacific Tower) on the north head of Beacon Hill. It looks north to First Hill during the Authority’s clearing of its southern slope for the building of the Yesler Terrace Public Housing.   (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Looking northwest to Seattle General Hospital at the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Marion Street, circa 1909. (Courtesy of Michael Maslan)

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SOME OTHER HOSPITALS ON THE HILL

GRACE HOSPITAL on Summit Avenue between Union and Pike Streets.  Seattle's Protestant hospital could not compete with the Catholic's Providence, and it closed to be replaced with Summit School, below.
GRACE HOSPITAL on Summit Avenue between Union and Pike Streets. Seattle’s Protestant hospital could not compete with the Catholic’s Providence, and it closed to be replaced with Summit School, below.

Grace - Summit

A new Harborview from above.
A new Harborview from above.
Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason
Before their was a Virginia Mason Hospital there was photographer Imogen Cunningham's home and studio.
Before their was a Virginia Mason Hospital there was photographer Imogen Cunningham’s home and studio.  (You can find this feature FULL-SIZED in the history books button, at the top.   It is the 111th feature included in SEATTLE NOW THEN Vol. One. 
A 1950 aerial with Marion Street climbing First Hill far right.  That makes the next thruway up the hill Columbia Street.  New the upper-left corner it reaches the early Swedish Hospital in 1950 on the Rininger corner with Summit Ave.  Sixth Avenue runs along the bottom of the subject, between James Street on the right and Marion.  A little more than a decade later the blocks between Sixth and Seventh were cleared for the Seattle Freeway, as it was then called.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
A 1950 aerial with Marion Street climbing First Hill far left. That makes Columbia Street the next thruway up the hill Columbia. Near the upper-left corner it reaches the early Swedish Hospital campus  in 1950 on the Rininger corner with Summit Ave. Sixth Avenue runs along the bottom of the subject, between James Street on the right and Marion. A little more than a decade later the blocks between Sixth and Seventh were cleared for the Seattle Freeway, as it was then called. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)  CLICK TWICE TO ENLARGE

BACK TO THE CORNER

Otis ADRIAN-COURT-pix-and-map-DYPTICH-WEB

Otis-Hotel-on-Summit'-with-NOW-3-28-2001-WEB

coda HO144

Jumping nurses
Jumping nurses

 

 

2 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: The Summit Avenue Hospital”

  1. Hello, Paul, nice piece this morning. I especially enjoyed the nurses. However, Dr. Rininger did not drive. See the report of the coroner’s report, Seattle Times, July 26, 1912, page 1 (along with photos of Riverside crossing where it happened). There were three in the car; the nurse survived.

    Cheers,
    Dotty DeCoster

  2. Wonderful Now and Then article –

    Put together nicely for the layman like me!
    Marjorie Ayres Peterson a serious History Buff- Born @ home 126 Taylor,1922, Seattle, Wa.

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