Seattle Now & Then: The Frances Hotel (aka 5th Avenue regrade)

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking north from Yesler Way over the Fifth Avenue regrade in 1911. Note the Yesler Way Cable rails and slot at the bottom. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
THEN: Looking north from Yesler Way over the Fifth Avenue regrade in 1911. Note the Yesler Way Cable rails and slot at the bottom. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
NOW: The industrial parts of sculptor John Henry’s Songbird (2011) – a kind of blue bird, perhaps – unwittingly repeat some of the concrete and timber devices used to keep the three hotels on the east side of Fifth Avenue north of Yesler Way from sliding away in the summer of 1911.
NOW: The industrial parts of sculptor John Henry’s Songbird (2011) – a kind of blue bird, perhaps – unwittingly repeat some of the concrete and timber devices used to keep the three hotels on the east side of Fifth Avenue north of Yesler Way from sliding away in the summer of 1911.

We will concentrate first on Jean Sherrard’s ‘repeat’ that looks into the face of Songbird, by sculptor John Henry.  The Chattanooga artist visited Seattle twice to study this northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Yesler Way.  He determined what we, perhaps, have not considered. “The work would have to interact with the sight lines available, yield to the physical demands of the Yesler overpass and still compliment the architectural design of the building. It would be an exercise of creating a piece with enough strength to command the site yet subtle enough not to overpower its surroundings.”

Looking through the odd intersection of 5th and Yesler Way before the slide and the overpass.

Jean's repeat from below the Yesler Way overpass.
Jean’s repeat from below the Yesler Way overpass.
Looking northwest across Yesler Way to an early look at the Francis and its entrance on Yesler Way, with part of the east facade of the new City Hall (and Jail) showing far left across 5th Avenue. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
Looking northwest across Yesler Way to an earlier recording of  the Francis and its entrance on Yesler Way, with part of the east facade of the new City Hall (and Jail) showing far left across 5th Avenue.   Our Lady of Good  Help Catholic Church at 5th and Jefferson shows her steeple  upper-right. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
Jean's repeat looking northwest across Yesler Way.
Jean’s repeat looking northwest across Yesler Way.

The historical photo featured at the top, one of several taken by a public works photographer in the summer of 1911, documents the troubles the regraders were having here at Fifth Avenue and Yesler Way.  The clipping directly below form the Times for February 28, 1899 reveals that the slipping here was an old  worry.

A clipping from The Seattle Times for Feb. 28, 1899 introduces C. P. Dose the owner of the building at the northeast corner of 5th Ave. and Yesler Way, and his fundamental concerns.
A clipping from The Seattle Times for Feb. 28, 1899 introduces C. P. Dose, the owner of the building at the northeast corner of 5th Ave. and Yesler Way, and his fundamental concerns.
(I Click this one TWICE to read it.) The Times report on the left for July 14, 1902, describes the elaborate public work undertaken in 1902 to stabilize the fluid dynamics of this "Profanity Hill" (or later "Goat Hill") part of First Hill that bulges west from it like a resting tourist.
(I Click this one TWICE to read it.) The Times report on the left for July 14, 1902, describes the elaborate public work undertaken that year to stabilize the fluid dynamics of this “Profanity Hill” (or later “Goat Hill”) part of First Hill that bulges west from it like a resting tourist.

The featured subject looks north over the regrade mess on Fifth from the work-in-progress on the Yesler Way overpass. Beginning with the Frances Hotel, seen here at the northeast corner, there are two more structures between Yesler and Terrace, the next street north.  All three are in trouble.  When the responsibilities were at last resolved in the courts, twenty-four structures on Yesler, Terrace, Fifth, and Sixth, were counted as damaged by slides triggered by the Fifth Avenue regrade.

One of Dose's proposals for securing the neighborhood by making it part of his solution for the growing traffic congestion on downtown streets. That The Seattle Times printed his plans is a sign of his influence.
One of Dose’s proposals for securing the neighborhood by making it part of his solution for the growing traffic congestion on downtown streets.  Note the Dose proposals a wall as part of his plan to stabilize the hill.   That The Seattle Times printed his plans is a sign of his influence.  Again CLICK CLICK!!!

Real estate speculator, C.P.Dose, the owner of The Frances, described himself and his neighbors as victims of City Engineer R.H. Thomson’s  “cutting off the toe off First Hill,” similar to the little Dutch boy pulling his finger from the hole in the dike.  Like others, Dose understood the hill’s abundant fluid dynamics. Those dynamics were high on the list of reasons that most of the original pioneers on Alki Point soon left that dry prominence to build a city on and beside this wet hill. After the cutting off of its toe, Dose concluded that most of the “so-called First Hill” should be carefully removed; otherwise, he advised, “It will all come sliding down.”

A Times clip from Feb. 14, 1907.
A Times clip from Feb. 14, 1907.
Times clip from Sept. 10, 1909 with radical proposals.
Times clip from Sept. 10, 1909 with radical proposals.
Desperate attempts to save the Allen, the Francis Hotel's first neighbor to the north on 5th Avenue.
Desperate and failed attempts to save the Allen, the Francis Hotel’s first neighbor to the north on 5th Avenue.
Times clip from August 24, 1911.
Times clip from August 24, 1911.
Times clip from August 23, 1911.
Times clip from August 23, 1911. The Francis is on the far right of the illustration.

If I have read the clues correctly, Dose built his Fifth Avenue Hotel, its first name, for $6,000 in the summer of 1900, soon after relocating his prospering real estate business from Chicago to Seattle.  With his son, C.C. Dose, he opened his real estate office in the clapboard hotel and soon became a leader among his neighbors in plotting what to do about their slippery situation.  A solution arrived on the 23rd of August, 1911, when all the windows in The Frances cracked as, The Seattle Times reported, it moved “one foot closer to the brink.”  The three hotels on Fifth Avenue were abruptly abandoned and soon razed.  Dose was comforted in the Mt. Baker Neighborhood.  He had been holding onto ten acres there since 1870, when he purchased the lakeside land sight unseen while still in Chicago.  In 1904 and 1907 he platted his “Dose’s Lake Washington Addition to the City of Seattle” and in 1912 built his home there, a colonial-style mansion with grand Corinthian columns at the front.  It still stands tall at 3211 S. Dose Terrace.

Dose's big home in his namesake addition appears here on the far left of the illustrations running below the feature's header. It dates from August 3, 1913. [Please CLICK CLICK]
Dose’s big home in his namesake addition appears here on the far left of the illustrations running below the feature’s header. It dates from August 3, 1913. [Please CLICK CLICK]
The Yesler Way slide was included in The Times four page chronology of the big local events of 1911 - although not on this page, which we have chosen for the cartoon.
The Yesler Way slide was included in The Times four page chronology of the big local events of 1911 – although not on this page, which we have chosen for the cartoon. CLICK CLICK
Alas, for Dose, The Seattle Times reports on March 25, 1914, that he lost to the city in his attempt to be paid for the loses of the 1911 slide.
Alas, for Dose, The Seattle Times reports on March 25, 1914, that he lost to the city in his attempt to be paid for the loses of the 1911 slide.
Looking north through Terrace Street on a muddy 5th Avenue from a soft spot between the new City Hall (the 400 Yesler Building) on the left and the Francis and its neighbors off camera on the right. Note Our Lady of Good Night's Sleep two blocks north at Jefferson. After putting up Jean's repeat for this, I'm off to bed, but will be back tomorrow with a few things to add.
Looking north to Terrace Street on a muddy 5th Avenue from a soft spot between the new City Hall (the 400 Yesler Building) on the left and the Francis and its neighbors off camera on the right. Note Our Lady of Good Help (and luck)  two blocks north at Jefferson.

FRANCIS-looking-N-on-5th-WEB

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?  A few more Edge Clips from the neighborhood and then some more old features from the same.  We will get as far as we can, but then surrender at 2am for the latest climb to nighty bears.  (How should we spell it?  Bill.)

THEN: This “real photo postcard” was sold on stands throughout the city. It was what it claimed to be; that is, its gray tones were real. If you studied them with magnification the grays did not turn into little black dots of varying sizes. (Courtesy, David Chapman and otfrasch.com)

THEN: The Sprague Hotel at 706 Yesler Way was one of many large structures –hotels, apartments and duplexes, built on First Hill to accommodate the housing needs of the city’s manic years of grown between its Great Fire in 1889 and the First World War. Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey

THEN: Sometime around 1890, George Moore, one of Seattle’s most prolific early photographers, recorded this portrait of the home of the architect (and Daniel Boone descendent) William E. Boone. In the recently published second edition of Shaping Seattle Architecture, the book’s editor, UW Professor of Architecture Jeffry Karl Ochsner, sketches William E. Boone’s life and career. Ochsner adds, “Boone was virtually the only pre-1889 Fire Seattle architect who continued to practice at a significant level through the 1890s and into the twentieth-century.” (Courtesy MOHAI)

THEN: On his visit to the Smith Tower around 1960, Wade Stevenson recorded the western slope of First Hill showing Harborview Hospital and part of Yesler Terrace at the top between 7th and 9th Avenue but still little development in the two blocks between 7th and 5th Avenues. Soon the Seattle Freeway would create a concrete ditch between 7th and 6th (the curving Avenue that runs left-to-right through the middle of the subject.) Much of the wild and spring fed landscape between 6th and 5th near the bottom of the revealing subject was cleared for parking. (Photo by Wade Stevenson, courtesy of Noel Holley)

THEN: A winter of 1918 inspection of some captured scales on Terrace Street. The view looks east from near 4th Avenue. (Courtesy City Municipal Archives)

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)

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RETURNING to OUR LADY OF GOOD HELP – Looking Southeast across the intersection of 5th and Jefferson.

Our-Lady-of-Good-Help-web

Our Lade at the northeast corner of 3rd and Washington, its original location.
Our Lady at the northeast corner of 3rd and Washington, its original location.

OUR-LADY-of-GOOD-HELP-text-scanWEB

The Prefontaine Fountain at 3rd and Jefferson.
The Prefontaine Fountain at 3rd and Jefferson.
The Prefontaine Fountain, 1993.
The Prefontaine Fountain, 1993.

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Looking north on 5th Avenue from Terrace Street with the sidewalk face of Our Lady of Good Help on the right. 1939
Looking north on 5th Avenue from Terrace Street with the sidewalk face of Our Lady of Good Help on the right. 1939

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FOURTH AVE. REGRADE LOOKING NORTH FROM YESLER WAY

CLIP-4TH-AVE-regrad-n-fm-Yesler-web

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YESLER WAY CABLE’S LAST DAY

Yesler-Cable-at-Occidental-loading-may-be-last-ride-SNT-WEB

Yesler-Cable-Last-day-clippingWEB

"Safety Island" on Yesler Way, 1928.
“Safety Island” on Yesler Way, 1928.

yesler cable-Yesler-Way-cable-on-a-role-in-a-rr-car-web

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Looking west down Yesler Way and its overpass above 5th Avenue.
Looking west down Yesler Way and its overpass above 5th Avenue.

Yesler-fm-5th-overpass-ca.-1912-WEB

Yesler-lk-w-fm-5th-w-city-hall-WEB

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Yesler-Way-lk-w-fm-ca7,7-ca

First appeared in Pacific,
First appeared in Pacific, May 5, 2002

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Seattle City LIght-Yesler-Way-Transfer-station-web

First appeared in Pacific,
First appeared in Pacific, March 15, 1987.

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First appeared in Pacific, Dec. 26, 1999
First appeared in Pacific, Dec. 26, 1999

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First-Brick-home-in-Seattle-#1-WEB

 First appeared in Pacific Oct. 12, 2002.
First appeared in Pacific Oct. 12, 2002.
The first brick home is found in this look up First Hill below the towered Court House on the horizon. That is Terrace Street with the steep steps climbing to the top of "Profanity Hill.' Jefferson Street is on the left and Yesler Way cuts through the cityscape. City Hall is left of center, the bright facade with the centered tower. It faces Third Avenue.
The first brick home is found in this look up First Hill below the towered Court House on the horizon. That is Terrace Street with the steep steps climbing to the top of “Profanity Hill.’ Jefferson Street is on the left and Yesler Way cuts through the cityscape. City Hall, aka the Katzenjammer Castle,  is left of center, the bright facade with the centered tower. It faces Third Avenue.

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KATZENJAMMER FRONT DOOR on THIRD AVE.

MIaIAH-CITY-HALL-THEN-WEB

First appeared in Pacific,
First appeared in Pacific, Sept. 30, 1984

Mariah-Now-#2-City-Hall-Park-web2

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Knights-Templar-faux-fort-WEB

First appeared in Pacific
First appeared in Pacific.

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clip-Return-to-Fortson-Sq. WEB

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CITY HALL, 1886

cityhall-ca-1886-WEB

CITY-HALL-1886--TEXT-WEB-

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LATER – RETURN TO FIFTH AND YESLER WAY

On the horizon Harborview Hospital is under construction and the top of King County's abandoned courthouse has been removed in prelude to it razing. This 1930 look from the Smith Tower also shows off the barren or cleared acres top-center and behind the flat-iron shaped 400 Yesler Building at the center. Our Lade of Good Help is on the left.
On the horizon Harborview Hospital is under construction and the top of King County’s abandoned courthouse has been removed in prelude to it razing. This 1930 look from the Smith Tower also shows off the barren or cleared acres top-center behind the flat-iron shaped 400 Yesler Building at the center.  These, some will remember, were roughly developed into a steep parking lot.   (See what follows.)  Our Lady of Good Help is on the left.
March 12, 1957, looking north on Fifth Avenue from the Yesler Way overpass into part of the sprawling and steep parking lot developed on the shaky acres once home to the tenements on Fifth Avenue's east side. Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.
March 12, 1957, looking north on Fifth Avenue from the Yesler Way overpass into part of the sprawling and steep parking lot developed on the shaky acres once home to the tenements on Fifth Avenue’s east side. Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.
Also from March 12, 1957 looking southeast through the parking lot to Yesler Way with Fifth Avenue at the base. (Courtesy, Municipal Archives)
Also from March 12, 1957 looking southeast through the parking lot to Yesler Way with Fifth Avenue at the base. (Courtesy, Municipal Archives)
Two years later, grading the former lot of the Lady of Good Help. The Yesler Way overpass is on the right. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)
Two years later, grading the former lot of the Lady of Good Help. The Yesler Way overpass is on the right. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)

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Reaching from Elliott Bay on the far right to First Hill on the left, this pan from the Smith Tower includes the "forsaken" or undeveloped slide area of its "Profanity" or Goat" hill part directly above the dark mass of the 400 Yesler Building,
Reaching from Elliott Bay on the far right to First Hill on the left, this pan from the Smith Tower includes the “forsaken” or undeveloped slide area of First HIll’s  “Profanity” or Goat” part directly behind and above the dark mass of the 400 Yesler Building in the flat-iron block bordered by Terrace Street, Yesler Way and Fifth Avenue (behind it) on the bottom-left, about one-fifth of the way in from the pan’s left border,  CLICK TWICE to ENLARGE

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