Seattle Now & Then: A Moveable Fiesta

 

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Sitting on a small triangle at the odd northwest corner of Third Avenue and the Second Ave. S. Extension, the Fiesta Coffee Shop was photographed and captioned, along with all taxable structures in King County, by Works Progress Administration photographers during the lingering Great Depression of the late 1930s.  (Courtesy, Washington State Archive’s Puget Sound Branch)
THEN: Sitting on a small triangle at the odd northwest corner of Third Avenue and the Second Ave. S. Extension, the Fiesta Coffee Shop was photographed and captioned, along with all taxable structures in King County, by Works Progress Administration photographers during the lingering Great Depression of the late 1930s. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive’s Puget Sound Branch)
NOW: Jean Sherrard has followed the landmark adobe hut’s move of 1938 across the Second Ave. Extension.
NOW: Jean Sherrard has followed the landmark adobe hut’s move of 1938 across the Second Ave. Extension.

With this week’s “Now and Then” Jean and I have conspired, perhaps, to confuse you, although not for long.  On first glimpse it is evident that in the 76 years that separate our “then” from our “now,” their shared subject, an adobe hut at the corner of Main Street and the Second Ave. S. Extension, has endured.  However, on second glimpse, it is also certain that the hut’s milieu has pivoted.  We explain.

Before the Second Ave. Extension, looking south from the Smith Tower on March 14, 1928.  (Courtesy Municipal Archive)
Before the Second Ave. Extension, looking south from the Smith Tower on March 14, 1928. (Courtesy Municipal Archive)
Fourteen months later, June 11, 1929.  (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
Fourteen months later, June 11, 1929. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)

In 1928 the long, wide, and straight path of Seattle’s Second Avenue, between Stewart Street and Yesler Way, was cut through to Jackson Street as the Second Ave. S. Extension.  Thereby, it was explained, “Seattle’s Market Street” (a little used nickname) might make a grand beeline to the railroad stations on the south side of Jackson. Of the fifteen buildings sliced into along the new route, three were entirely destroyed, including a fire station with tower that sat at the northwest corner of Main Street and Third Avenue.  (Station No. 10’s own feature is attached below.)  The Extension ran right through that station’s former location, except for its northeast and southwest corners, which became small triangular lots on either side of the Extension.  (Here you may wish to find a map.  There’s a good one on the blog listed at the bottom.  We’ll make it easier and put both a detail below from the 1912 Baist Map and another from the sky: a detail of the corner and more in Seattle’s city-wide 1936 aerial.)

Someone has drawn borders for the 1928 Second Ave. Extension through this detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map.  Yelser Way runs along the top, and Jackson Street the bottom.  Note, near the center, the Fire Department Headquarters, aka Fire Station No. 10. here at the northwest corner of Third Ave. South and Main Street.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
Someone has drawn borders for the 1928 Second Ave. Extension through this detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map. Yesler Way runs along the top, and Jackson Street the bottom. Note, near the center, the Fire Department Headquarters, aka Fire Station No. 10. here at the northwest corner of Third Ave. South and Main Street. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
A detail from the 1936 aerial map-survey of Seattle.  Yesler Way is at the top, Jackson St. at the bottom, and the Second Avenue Extension clearly cuts between them.  The two triangles - east and west - are found just below the middle of the subject.  (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
A detail from the 1936 aerial map-survey of Seattle. Yesler Way is at the top, Jackson St. at the bottom, and the Second Avenue Extension clearly cuts between them. The two triangles – east and west – are found just below the middle of the subject. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
The Fiesta's original location...
The Fiesta’s original location. Third Avenue is on the right, and Main Street behind Jean..

In our “then,” the Fiesta Coffee Shop stands on the triangle on the east side of Second.  The buildings behind it are on Third Avenue.  In our “now,”  however, the adobe hut survives on the Extension’s west side as the Main Street Gyro, and the structures that surround it are mostly on Second Avenue and Main Street.  To record his “repeat,” Jean stood just off the curb on Main.

Another of the Foster and Kleiser billboard records, this one dated July 8, 1929, and so soon after the completion of the Second Ave. Extension.  The scene looks west on Main Street and across the freshly paved Extension.  As the company's caption makes clear, this negative we exposed for the billboard on the east facade of the Hotel Main advertising Westerman's Oversalls.
Another of the Foster and Kleiser billboard recordings, this one dated July 8, 1929, soon after the completion of the Second Ave. Extension. The scene looks west on Main Street and across the freshly paved Extension. As the company’s caption makes clear, this negative was exposed for the billboard on the east facade of the Hotel Main.  It advertises Westerman’s Lee Oversalls.
A tax photo from January 1, 1938, showing the Hotel Main and, on the right, the west triangle what appears to be a hut, connected, perphaps to Schneiderman's gas station, when it was still on this the west side of the Second Ave. Extension.
A tax photo from January 1, 1938, showing the Hotel Main and, on the right in the west triangle, appears to be a hut, connected, perhaps to Schneiderman’s gas station, when it was still on this the west side of the Second Ave. Extension.

Sometime during the warmer months of 1938, the small café was moved across the Second Ave. S. Extension as Betty’s Coffee Shop, in a trade of triangles between Harry Schneiderman and Betty. The small service station Schneiderman had built on the west triangle, he rebuilt on the east side as a modern Signal station with four pumps and two bays for repairs.  Under his name, which he signed below the station’s roofline, the one time center for the UW football team added, “I Ain’t Mad at Nobody.”

Harry "I ain't mad at nobody" Schneiderman's Signal Station snugged in the triangle on the east side of the Second Ave. Extension, on Oct. 4, 1938.  (Courtesy, Washington State Archive, Bellevue Community College branch)
Harry “I ain’t mad at nobody” Schneiderman’s Signal Station snuggled in the triangle on the east side of the Second Ave. Extension, on Oct. 4, 1938.  That is 3rd Ave. S. on the right. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive, Bellevue Community College branch)

With the help of Bob Masin, the hut’s owner since 1980, we have figured that since the small café’s 1938 move across the Extension, it has had six names with six cuisines.  It began in 1938 as Betty’s Coffee Shop and continued so into the 1970s.  Masin remembers sitting as a child with his father and grandfather at the small counter watching Betty, always in her apron, serve the policemen standing in the aisle drinking coffee.  Following Betty’s came the Greek Villa, the Masada Café, the Penguin Café, the Main Street Teriyaki, and presently the Main Street Gyro.

The "east triangle" with the Boston Baked Beans log cabin in 1937.  Sometime soon after this tax photo was recorded the sides were flattened with plaster and the menu changed to Mexican.  The Ace Hotel at 312-318 Second Ave., was one of the buildings sliced thru with the 1928-29 Second Ave. S. extension. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive, the branch on the Bellevue Community College campus.
The “east triangle” with the Boston Baked Beans log cabin in 1937. Sometime soon after this tax photo was recorded the sides were flattened with plaster and the menu changed to Mexican. The Ace Hotel at 312-318 Second Ave., was one of the buildings sliced thru with the 1928-29 Second Ave. S. extension. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive, the branch on the Bellevue Community College campus.

Returning now to the hut’s origins, the earliest tax photo (above) from 1937 shows it as a log cabin for the short-lived sale of New England Baked Beans and Brown Bread, and the tax card accompanying the photo has it built in 1934.  And so we may confidently make note that without leaving the corner, the café’s earliest move was from Massachusetts to Mexico when the logs were covered with adobe and the roof with red tiles for the also short-lived Fiesta Coffee-Shop.

WEB EXTRAS

Additions galore this week, lads?  Jean, Ron has put up a healthy seven links, and the first one looks north and directly through the new intersection of Third Ave. S., the Second Ave. Extension and Main Street.  Look close and you will find the Fiesta in the “east triangle” before it was moved to the other (west) side of the Second Ave. Extension.   [If this triangle business is not clear by now, I’m wringing my hands!]  The links will be followed by three or four other features that are not so recent as The Seven Below, but still are either of the neighborhood or one of the this feature’s subjects that being fast food, and want of food fast.

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)

https://sherrlock.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/max-loudons-girls-on-3rd-s-w-motorcycle-then-mr1.jpg?w=1272&h=854

irene_igloo

THEN: The Dog House at 714 Denny Way was strategically placed at the southern terminus for the Aurora Speedway when it was new in the mid-1930s.  (Photo courtesy of Washington State Archive, Bellevue Community College Branch.)

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A FIVE BALL CLUSTER at THIRD AVE. S. AND MAIN STREET, CA. 1911

(Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
(Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)   A corner of Fire House No. 10 shows across  Main Street on the left.  This appeared first in Pacific, October, 9, 1994.

5 BALL - Main-and-Third-5-ball-cluster-TEXT

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FIREHOUSE NO. 10

Both the Great Northern (with the tower) and Union Pacific Depots, are found on the far side of Jackson Street in this ca. 1913 look down from the new Smith Tower.  A second tower, appearing on the bottom-right, is part of Firehouse No. 10 at the northwest corner of Main Street and Third Ave. South.  There is, of course, as yet no Second Ave. Extension.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
Both the Great Northern (with the tower) and Union Pacific Depots, are found here on the far side of Jackson Street in this ca. 1913 look down from the new Smith Tower. A second tower, appearing on the bottom-right, is part of Firehouse No. 10 at the northwest corner of Main Street and Third Ave. South. There is, of course, as yet no Second Ave. Extension. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
Firehouse No.10 - and its tower - under construction in 1903.  Looking northwest to the northwest corner of Third Ave. and Main Street.
Firehouse No.10 – and its tower – under construction in 1903. Looking northwest to the northwest corner of Third Ave. and Main Street.

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

Fire-Station-3rd-and-Main,-Peiser-WEB

Above and below, page 32 & 33 from Jim Stevenson's 1972 published sketchbook of Seattle firehouse with thumbnail  histories.  (Thanks to Jim!)
Above and below, pages 32 & 33 from Jim Stevenson’s 1972 published sketchbook of Seattle firehouses with thumbnail histories. (Thanks to Jim!)

Fire-#10-Stevenson-Sketch-WEB

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EAST ON MAIN FROM FIRST AVENUE

(Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)
(Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)
First appeared in Pacific, January 1, 2005.
First appeared in Pacific, January 1, 2005.

main-st-lk-e-fm-1st-NOW-WEB

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Militia Pacific-House-swC-2-Main-1886-MR then

Milliatia-TEXT-WEB

Militia Now Pacific-House-swC-Occidental_Main-NOW-WEB

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Tourist-aka-Occi-2-Main-then-web

Tourist-Clip-SNT-Feb.-22---2009-WEB

Tourist-Hotel-Occident-&-Main-NOW-WEB

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Bricks, stripes and lids copied from Main Street near Second Avenue and multiplied.
Bricks, stripes and lids found on  Main Street near Second Avenue and multiplied.

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