Seattle Now & Then: A Home on ‘The Ave’

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: First designated Columbus Street in the 1890 platting of the Brooklyn Addition, and next as 14th Avenue to conform with the Seattle grid, ‘The Ave,’ still its most popular moniker, was renamed University Way by contest in 1919. This trim bungalow at 3711 University Way sat a few lots north of Lake Union’s Portage Bay.  (Courtesy, Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Regional Archive)
THEN: First designated Columbus Street in the 1890 platting of the Brooklyn Addition, and next as 14th Avenue to conform with the Seattle grid, ‘The Ave,’ still its most popular moniker, was renamed University Way by contest in 1919. This trim bungalow at 3711 University Way sat a few lots north of Lake Union’s Portage Bay. (Courtesy, Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Regional Archive)
NOW: Both University Way and 15th Ave. E. were redirected for the UW’s expanding Health Sciences and Fisheries Departments.  Here Jean Sherrard stands with his back to the 265,000 square William H. Foege Building, the new home of the UW’s Department of Genome Sciences.
NOW: Both University Way and 15th Ave. E. were redirected for the UW’s expanding Health Sciences and Fisheries Departments. Here Jean Sherrard stands with his back to the 265,000 square William H. Foege Building, the new home of the UW’s Department of Genome Sciences.

If, for a moment, one squints the eyes and suspends disbelief, this little home on ‘The Ave’ may seem palatial, with guarding turrets, left and right, and a sunlit dome at the rear.  Alas, as well arranged as they are for illusions, those accouterments belong to mills near the north shore of Portage Bay, which most likely are closed down. This is a scene from 1937, set in the unwanted languor of the Great Depression.

Page one (of two)  of the W.P.A. tax card summarizing the qualities of 3711 University Way in 1937.  (Courtesy, Washington State Archives)
Page one (of two) of the W.P.A. tax card summarizing the qualities of 3711 University Way in 1937. (Courtesy, Washington State Archives  CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Remembering first that University Way is still named 14th Avenue in 1912, and remembering also that the W.P.A. tax card information is sometimes mistaken about any structure's construction date, then it seems that the footprint printed here on Block 35 Lot 25 & 26 of the Brooklyn Addition may be our featured home at 3711 14th Avenue, and in 1912, still three years before the date of origin given to it by the tax card.  It has the rough shape of the house itself, and on tax cards rough is all one needs.
Remembering first that University Way is still named 14th Avenue in 1912, and remembering also that the W.P.A. tax card information is sometimes mistaken about any structure’s construction date, then it seems that the footprint printed here on Block 35 Lot 25 & 26 of the Brooklyn Addition may be our featured home at 3711 14th Avenue, and in 1912, still three years before the date of origin given to it by the tax card. This  foot print (a half dozen narrow lots north of North Lake Ave.) has the rough shape of the house itself, and on tax cards rough is all one needs to make bold claims.

The subject is pulled from the Works Progress Administration’s photographic survey of every taxable structure in King County. With help only from these property record cards, city directories, and The Seattle Times archives, we can deduce that Clara and Ferdinand Krummel lived here in 1937 with their teenager Paul, and perhaps one or both of their daughters.  Paul was among the 586 seniors graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1938, and the ceremony was nearby in the UW’s Hec Edmundson Pavilion.  Four years more and the enlisted Paul would be completing a course in aviation mechanics in Texas.  In the spring of 1944, the intentions of the eighteen-year-old Gertrude A Nerdig to marry the soldier were published by The Times.

This somewhat soft panorama of the University District was photographed in 1915-16 when the bungalow at 3722 University Way (then still named 14th Ave. NE) was either being constructed or the first resident were moving in.
This somewhat soft panorama of the University District was photographed in 1915-16 when the bungalow at 3711 University Way (then still named 14th Ave. NE) was either being constructed or the first residents were moving in.   The photographer’s prospect above Portage Bay puts her or him in line with the backyard of the home, which is at least part hidden in the trees that stand about one-fourth of the way into the subject from its left border.  To help out, 15th Ave., the western border of the campus climbs from the bay eventually along the left side of the  campus grove, which have been considerably pruned since then.  Fifteenth seems to be heaving for that single tall tree on the horizon.   The “Ave.” or 14th Avenue then, is one block to the west (left) of 15th Avenue.  On the far right the ditch that will be the Montlake Cut is being prepared behind the coffer dam, which was opened or severed in October of 1916 to allow the waters of Lake Union to fill the cut before Lake Washington was lowered through a dam at the east end of the cut to the level of Lake Union.  CLICK TWICE to ENLARGE.

Two years later, in 1946, The Times printed a short obituary for Ferdinand, the then 76-year-old father, describing him as a German immigrant and a retired baker.  In the 1930 Polk City Directory the Krummels were living in Ballard and proprietors of the American Girl Bakery at 5431 Ballard Avenue.  Most likely the Krummel’s closing of their bakery and move to this modest home in the University District had something to do with both the Great Depression and their age.

An earlier view of "town and gown" - the University District and the University - from 1909 showing off part of the campus remade for the Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition.  Continuing our brief custom of showing distant looks at our featured home hidden in the trees, in this 1909 look we might have found it behind the first tree rising here from the center,
An earlier view of “town and gown” – the University District and the University – from 1909 showing off part of the campus remade for the Alaska Yukon and Pacific Exposition. Continuing our brief custom of showing distant looks at our featured home hidden in the trees, in this 1909 look we might have found it behind the first tree rising here from the center, or hidden, in part, behind the smoke of the lumber mill’s burner,  the same mill (but open) that features in the WPA subject as a faux sun room attached, it seems, to the rear of 3711 The Ave.
This keyed map (but not the keys of a computer) speculates on when the empty lots and worn residences in the University District would be developed with what it does not indicated.  But note that the purple blocks, which include our home site, are expected to go first and be "renewed" in ten years of the map's drawing, which was about 1963.  The map came to me through Cal, the one-time "Mayor of the University District."
This keyed map (but not by the keys of a computer) speculates on when the empty lots and worn residences (“properties obsolete or blighted”) in the University District would be developed, but with what is not indicated. Note that the purple blocks, which include our home site in the “lower district,” are expected to be “renewed” in ten years of the map’s decidedly circa 1963 drawing. The map came to me through Calmar McCune, the one-time “Mayor of the University District.”    And now in a half-century later many of the black blocks are getting their working-over too.

The WPA card describes this bungalow as built on a footprint of 875 square feet and divided into five rooms.  The card has University Way made of bricks, and the neighborhood’s “use” as “residential-industrial,” as this photo’s melding of mill and domicile is a clear witness.  Like almost everywhere then, the neighborhood’s “status” is listed as “static.”  This stasis was disrupted in the 1960s when the UW began buying up much of the “lower district.”

Five blocks up the Ave, from our featured home, and two years later on September 29, 1939, there are a few bricks to be seen here south of 42nd Avenue, those protecting the trolley rails.  The intended subject is - again - the Foster and Keiser billboard on the left.
Five blocks up the Ave, from our featured home, and two years later on September 29, 1939, there are a few bricks to be seen here south of 42nd Avenue, those protecting the trolley rails. The intended subject is – again – the Foster and Keiser billboard on the left.

The tidy accommodations of the home at the top were built in 1915 (or so claims the tax card), but demolished in 1962 or 1963, and so did not reach their golden anniversary.  Paul Krummel, however, kept on until March 3, 2014. In his obituary in The Times, one of his grandchildren describes him as “a loving husband who was often seen holding his wife’s hand.”  Another adds that he “loved to dance and had a great sense of humor.”

THE KRUMMEL’S NEIGHBORS IN THE 3700 BLOCK IN 1937

Next door at 3709 University Way.  Note the "sun room" on the right.
Next door at 3709 University Way. Note the “sun room” on the right.
3737 University Way
3737 University Way
3764 University Way
3764 University Way
Reaching the corner and 3772 University Way in 1937.  (Courtesy of Washington State Archive, Bellevue Puget Sound Branch - like the rest.)
Reaching the corner and 3772 University Way in 1937. (Courtesy of Washington State Archive, Bellevue Puget Sound Branch – like the rest.)
3731 University way in 1937, and below also 3721 but in 1955 after eighteen years of wear.
3731 University way in 1937, and below also 3721 but in 1955 after eighteen years of wear.
3731 University Way, May 31, 1955
3731 University Way, May 31, 1955

WEB EXTRAS

I have to comment, Paul, it’s rare to capture you in one of these photos, but there you are in this week’s ‘Now’ whistling your happy tune! Anything to add?  Yes Jean, beginning with a question in return.  Can you name the tune?   Otherwise, as is our way, Ron Edge starts our response with several CLICKABLE links to other features from the past that treat on “The Ave,” and all of them have subjects within them that elaborate on your and my long-lived interest in, to repeat, both “Town and Gown” north of Portage Bay (and extending south of the bay to include the now razed Red Robin Tavern.)  At the bottom, if time allows before our climb to  “Night-Bears” (The copyright is guarded with pillows.) we will include more on The Ave.

THEN: For the four-plus months of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the center of commerce and pedestrian energy on University Way moved two blocks south from University Station on Northeast 42nd Street to here, Northeast 40th Street, at left.

https://sherrlock.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/wash-state-bldg-then-mr1.jpg

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VARSITY INN

The Varsity Inn and trolley platform at the northeast corner of University Way and 42nd Avenue.
The Varsity Inn and trolley platform at the northeast corner of University Way and 42nd Avenue.
First appeared in Pacific, July 30, 1995.
First appeared in Pacific, July 30, 1995.

Varsity-Howards-WEB

Circa 1994
Circa 1994
From one of those street fairs - probably in the 1980s.  I'll know but later.  As one of my last rites I am now organizing my 55 years of collecting: my archive.  Peace to me and my dust.
From one of those street fairs – probably in the 1980s. I’ll know later. As one of my last rites I am now organizing my 55 years of collecting: my archive. Peace to me and my dust.   Good night Jean – ah but you are long gone to bed.  Good night Berangere – ah but you are long up for a Sunday morning in Paris. 

2 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: A Home on ‘The Ave’”

  1. Thank you, Paul, for posting this information.. I was alerted to this from my cousin. Ferdinand and Clara Krummel were my great-grandparents and their daughter, Clara (known as Kay) was my grandmother and her son is my dad. I loved learning some things about my family that I didn’t even know!!!

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