(click to enlarge photos)
Now one hundred and thirty years old, the oldest Lutheran congregation in Seattle has moved only once, and that only eight blocks. It has, however, had four sanctuaries, and in Jean Sherrard’s kitty-corner recording we can see the latest of these with the first three floors serving the congregation and the top five affordable housing. Abutting to the south (right) is the surviving chancel of the third sanctuary, which was dedicated in 1954. The prospect looks east across the intersection of 9th Avenue and Stewart Street.
The Swedish Lutherans dedicated their first church in 1885 on the east side of Third Avenue, one lot north of Pike Street. It was the southern slope of Denny Hill and the neighborhood was then decidedly residential. By 1901, when the congregation moved those eight blocks to this corner, their first location was rapidly turning commercial, and the sale of that property helped finance the changes.
With its first and only move the church avoided the many years of confusion wrought by the Denny Hill Regrade. It did not, however, escape the regrading of Stewart Street. In 1910 the city instructed the church to lower their Gothic sanctuary fourteen feet. The results of that cutting are shown here (in the featured photo at the top) on both the far right, with an exposed hill, and far left, with the long steep stairway to the front door of the church’s parsonage, home of its then pastor, Martin L. Larson.
The Steward Street regrade put the growing congregation more emphatically “on the map” when the improved Stewart was linked to Eastlake Avenue, making a joined arterial that was one of the city’s primary routes to the north. (On a 1916 map of the city’s auto routes, both Stewart and Eastlake are emphasized with a widened dark line and bold lettering.) The building in 1927 of the city’s Central Stage Terminal (Greyhound Depot), across 9th Avenue from the church, also emphasized the centrality of Gethsemane’s location. [See the links below and Jean’s added photos there as well for photographs and stories featuring the depot.]
The 1921 dedication of Gethsemane’s Lutheran Hospice for Girls on Capitol Hill prefigured Mary’s Place, the day shelter for women and children that are also tenants of the new sanctuary. Other “open and affirming” Gethsemane services include the meals programs of Hope Center,
The featured photograph of Gethsemane’s second sanctuary at the top was copied from an album of photos taken by Klaes Lindquist, and shared with us by the Swedish Club. It dates from about 1920, a year in which the city directory lists twenty-two Lutheran churches, six of them in Ballard and five, including Gethsemane, here in the greater and then quite Scandi-Cascade Neighborhood.
Let me add a few snaps here which illustrate a few of the vast changes underway around 9th and Stewart:
Anything to add, boys? Certainly. More links from Ron Edge and pixs and clips from our robust archives, and all in sympathy to this week’s primary subjects: Swedes (some of them Lutherans), and this interstitial neighborhood on the fringe of downtown. First, eleven links to past features, which will include their own links and those theirs . . . [Nifty “now” Jean.]
FOLLOWS – A FEW PAST FEATURES SCANNED FROM CLIPPINGS
CONCLUDING WITH MORE LUTHERANS – German ones.