(click to enlarge photos)
While none of the names for this team and the driver of this U.S. Post wagon are known, the intersection is. The view looks east-southeast on Marion Street and across Western Avenue, in about 1903, to a three-story stone structure advertising the Seattle Hardware Company. (The business was so prosperous that it required an 1100-page hard-bound catalog to cover its inventory.) James Colman built the rustic stone structure across narrow Post Alley from his Colman Building, and named it, perhaps predictably, the Colman Annex. The Puget Sound News Company, a retailer of stationary, books and periodicals, was the Annex’s first tenant. The hardware store soon followed, the tenant until 1906 when the Imperial Candy Company moved in after Seattle Hardware moved to its own new home at First Ave. S. and King Street. With its popular Societe Chocolates, Imperial became the Colman Annex’s most well-known and abiding tenant.
After the city’s Great Fire of June 6, 1889, most of the streets between Yesler Way and Madison were extended east into Elliott Bay, as far as the fire’s dumped rubble would support them. Soon both Post Alley and Western Avenue were extended off-shore and between the streets on rows of pilings driven into the tideflats. More than pilings, heavy stone and/or brick structures like the Annex also needed a hard packing of earth for their foundations. Colman built his Annex from stone delivered around the Horn that was intended for a new central post office at Third and Union, but the stone was rejected as too soft for a government building. Colman got it cheap.
We’ll note that this “studio” location for a mail wagon’s portrait has a fine coincidence. Arthur Denny, the city’s first postmaster, built his family’s cabin two short blocks to the east of this intersection, at the northeast corner of First Avenue (originally Front Street) and Marion Street. It was also the first Post Office. The party of pioneers led by the Dennys, Bells and Borens had moved over from Alki Point early in 1852 to mark their claims. The first mail to arrive in Seattle came later that year by canoe from Olympia. Robert Moxlie, the mailman, may have paddled his dugout through this intersection. The future foot of Marion Street was a low point on the beach where it was easy to step ashore. When Arthur and David Denny’s parents later joined them from Oregon, they built their home at the southeast corner of Union Street and Third Avenue. In 1908 the new Post Office and Federal Building opened on that corner. It was made of nearby Chuckanut sandstone, apparently harder stuff than that salvaged by James Colman.
The Polson Implement Hardware Company, far-right, prospered by facing the Great Northern Railroad’s tracks on Railroad Avenue, here out-of-frame. Established in 1892, Polson sent its farm machinery throughout the west by rail. By 1906, the year this rudimentary structure of corrugated iron was replaced with the brick building on the right in our “now,” Polson had moved south to another train-serviced warehouse on the tideflats.
[DISREGARD the video order DIRECTLY above. I’ve changed my box from the University District to Wallingford where it is Box 31636, which I must right down for I have had a hard time memorizing it. ]
Anything to add, history hucksters? Hubba-hubba-hubba Yes Jean, and once again Ron starts it by rolling out some relevant links. Please Click Them.
To be continued sometimes on Sunday, March 8 . . .