(click to enlarge photos)
When I first saw this pioneer print pulled from its MOHAI files, I recognized none of it and yet sensed all of it. By the qualities of its housing stock, a hilltop topography that is kind to construction, and the street work, this, I thought, is First Hill. For judging my hunch, I quickly went to the top of Coppin’s water tower where the photographer Arthur Churchill Warner recorded a few clear impressions of that then adolescent neighborhood in 1890 or 91. Of course, I did not actually climb the tower but rather studied the Warner panorama that looks east northeast from high above the intersection of Terry Avenue and Columbia Street.
Warner’s revealing photograph can be found on page 142 of Tradition and Change on Seattle’s First Hill, Historic Seattle’s still new book on the Propriety, Profanity, Pills and Preservation of what we think of as Seattle’s first exclusive neighborhood. However, First Hill was not really so restrictive, and these two residences are proof of its equitable side. While trim and even pleasing, they are still not fancy. In the Warner pan, they can be easily found side-by-side at the northwest corner of Columbia and Boren.
On the left at 1016 Columbia Street is a typical box house of the time, with some trimmings. There were many more examples of modest residences like this in every Seattle neighborhood. Next door at 1020, the three stairways to the three front doors make this row house appear bigger than it is. Its central tower gestures at the grandeur of its neighbors, many of the city’s biggest homes. Within
two blocks are the Lowman, Hanford, Carkeek, Stacy, Lippy and Ranke mansions, and many more were under construction. Of these just noted, only the Stacy mansion at the northeast corner of Boren and Madison survives, as the University Club. By the authority of a King County tax card, the corner row house was razed in 1952, and probably its smaller neighbor, too. The card’s construction date for the row house, 1875 (see above), is almost certainly too early by years.
“Pacific Northwest” readers are encouraged to find a copy of Tradition and Change on Seattle’s First Hill. Well-wrought and well-illustrated (with Jean’s panorama from the Smith Tower on the cover), it is Historic Seattle’s admired study of the diverse history of this neighborhood, which includes among its preserved mansions the Dearborn House, home since 1997 for Historic Seattle.
And here’s a look just around the corner at O’Dea High School:
Anything to add on this beautiful Spring weekend?
Sure Jean, a sight tan on the top of my bald head, and your repeat looking north-northeast from the Coppins Water Tower, which we may decide to insert into the text “proper” above, side by side or following the historical view. And the tower ascends again near the bottom with two more Times clips from former Pacific features. But now we begin with more links pulled by Ron Edge from the archive of those now-then features which we have hither-too scanned, and often used for other of this blog’s Sunday sets.
MORE OF THE COPPINS WATER TOWER