Seattle Now & Then: The Wallingford Wall at the Latona Knoll

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: From 1909 to the mid-late 1920s, the precipitous grade separation between the upper and lower parts of NE 40th Street west of 7th Ave. NE was faced with a timber wall. When the wall was removed, the higher part of NE 40th was shunted north, cutting into the lawns of the homes beside it. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
THEN: From 1909 to the mid-late 1920s, the precipitous grade separation between the upper and lower parts of NE 40th Street west of 7th Ave. NE was faced with a timber wall. When the wall was removed, the higher part of NE 40th was shunted north, cutting into the lawns of the homes beside it. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
NOW: The chain fence seen on the far side of the intersection, at the scene’s center, was used recently to corral the 110 goats of the “Rent-a-Ruminant” shrub-eating service. Between jobs the goats make their home on Vashon Island. The Interstate-5 Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge was added to this scene in 1962. On the far left stands the rear red brick wall of the UW’s Benjamin Hall Interdisciplinary Research Building.
NOW: The chain fence seen on the far side of the intersection, at the scene’s center, was used recently to corral the 110 goats of the “Rent-a-Ruminant” shrub-eating service. Between jobs the goats make their home on Vashon Island. The Interstate-5 Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge was added to this scene in 1962. On the far left stands the rear red brick wall of the UW’s Benjamin Hall Interdisciplinary Research Building.
Rented goat relaxing from their clearing labor in the grade separation on N.E. 40th Avenue. This nutritious labor took about eleven days, after which the goats returned to Vashon Island. Their fence, however, is still up at this writing.
Rented goats relaxing from their nutritious chewing along the grade separation on N.E. 40th Street. This labor took about eleven days, after which the goats returned to Vashon Island.  Their fence, however, is still up at this writing.  Neither during the goat-work nor the fence-work has it been possible for anyone to easily sleep in those bushes.   And that, apparently, was part of the motivation by those who ordered the clearing and for the most part, we imagine, sleep comfortably at home in their own beds on sheets, some of them with floral designs.

This look west on NE 40th Street is not as sharp as desired, especially to reveal what the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map marks simply as the “wall” that separates the upper and lower grades of 40th in its atypical four block run between Latona and 7th Avenues NE.  I’ll add great – the ‘Great Wall’ – the Great Wall of Latona.  (Still this is sharper than two others of the “Wallingford Wall” lifted directly from the municipal archive, and attached below this first paragraph.)  Except that “The Great Wall of Wallingford” is both appropriate and euphonic. About a century separates the historical photograph from Jean Sherrard’s repeat.  Most likely the featured view, like the two immediately below, was also recorded on  May 12, 1921.

x-Wall-May-12-1921-GRAB

Like the view printed above it, this was pulled directly from the Seattle Municipal Archives' on-line photo archive. Exploring it can be very rewarding. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.)
Like the view printed above it, this was pulled directly from the Seattle Municipal Archives’ on-line photo collection. Exploring it can be very rewarding. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.)
Another distant glimpse of the "Wallingford Wall" on N.E. 40th Street, this time looking through Eastlake from the south end of both the Latona Bridge with the lifted spans, and the new University District Bridge, a work-in-progress out of frame to the right. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.)
Another distant glimpse of the “Wallingford Wall” on N.E. 40th Street, this time looking through Eastlake from the south end of both the Latona Bridge with the lifted spans, and the new University District Bridge, a work-in-progress out of frame to the right, ca. 1919.. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.)

The earliest photo evidence I’ve seen of this ‘great wall’ is included in a 180-degree panorama that was recorded from a tethered balloon high above the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYP), Seattle’s first world’s fair.  The pan extends from Lake Washington’s Union Bay through all of Portage Bay and into the Latona and Wallingford neighborhoods.  In the pan, the dark stained retaining wall on 40th that we use in our ‘then,’ appears to be whitewashed.  It gleamed when new. The wall’s construction was part of the city’s both ambitious and anxious effort to prepare the “north end” of town for the upcoming Exposition.

Thanks to Ron Edge for merging these several shots looking over Portage Bay from a tethered balloon held above the AYPE's Pay Streak carnival avenue in 1909. The balloon can be found on the right of the pan attached below. It looks northeast across Portage Bay to the AYP fair grounds.
Thanks to Ron Edge for merging these several shots looking over Portage Bay from a tethered balloon held above the AYPE’s Pay Streak carnival avenue in 1909.  Far left is Lake Washington’s Union Bay.   The north end of Capitol Hill reaches the Latona Bridge on the far right.  The brilliance of the Wallingford Wall dividing 40th Street into upper and lower parts is far far right. The balloon can be found on the right of the pan attached below. The pan looks northeast across Portage Bay to the AYP fair grounds.  CLICK CLICK TO ENLARGE.
The AYP expo grounds on the U.W. campus seen across Portage Bay. The captured balloon appears far right. [Courtesy Monica Wooton]
The AYP expo grounds on the U.W. campus seen across Portage Bay. The captured balloon appears far right. [Courtesy Monica Wooton]  CLICK CLICK

During the summer of 1909 an estimated four million people crossed the Latona Bridge: most of the visitors rode the trolleys, which reached the Exposition through this intersection.  Moving the multitudes from the bridge to the AYP held on the grounds of the University of Washington, the trolleys followed a new route that began with a one block run on 6th Avenue north from the bridge.  The new tracks were aimed directly at the great timber wall and the Latona Knoll above it. Just before reaching the lower half of NE 40th Street, the cars first passed under the then new Northern Pacific railroad trestle and then made a right-turn east for the fairgrounds.

This was recorded late in the life of the Latona Bridge, and looks south from the railroad overpass (Burke Gilman Trail now). The circa date is 1919. The photo is treated to its own feature above the Ron Edge links added below.
This was recorded late in the life of the Latona Bridge, and looks south from the railroad overpass (Burke Gilman Trail now). The circa date is 1919. The photo is treated to its own feature with the Ron Edge links added below.
Sometime in the 1980s I paused on the top part of the divided N.E. 40th Street to record this look south over the Burke Gilman Trail and along 6th Avenue, in line with the Lk Washington Ship Canal Bridge on 1-5. Note how barren or void of trees is the grade dividing the upper and lower 40ths.
Sometime in the 1980s I paused on the top part of the divided N.E. 40th Street to record this look south over the Burke Gilman Trail overpass and along 6th Avenue in line with the Lk Washington Ship Canal Bridge on 1-5. Note how barren or void of trees was the grade then dividing the upper and lower 40ths.  There is little there for the goats.
Looking east on the lower part of the divided N.E. 40th Street from Latona Ave. N.E. on Oct. 7, 2006 while on one of my then daily Wallingford walks.
Looking east on the lower part of the divided N.E. 40th Street from Latona Ave. N.E. on Oct. 7, 2006 while on one of my then daily Wallingford walks.
. . .and looking east on the upper part of N.E. 40th Street from Latona Ave. N.E., on Oct. 7, 2006. [I was a mere 68 at the time and so still nimble enough to walk for hours at a time.]
. . .and looking east on the upper part of N.E. 40th Street from Latona Ave. N.E., also on Oct. 7, 2006. [I was a mere 68 at the time and so still nimble enough to walk hours at a time.]

While the lower and upper halves of the NE 40th Street grade separation are glimpsed, respectively, to the left and right of the couple walking in front Jean Sherrard’s camera, (in his repeat for the featured photo at the top) the trestle and the trail are hidden behind the landscape and signs on the left.  (A later – and yet early – “repeat” or return to the corner by a public works photographer is printed directly below.  A steep grade has replaced the Wallingford Wall and the upper or northern part of 40th Street has been moved farther north with some new structures on it’s north side.)

Later the wall was removed and the top "half' of N.E. 40th Street was pushed or regraded further to the north. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
Later the wall was removed and the top “half’ of N.E. 40th Street was pushed or regraded further to the north.   The last time I looked – recently – the boxish apartment building at the northeast corner of Pasadena and 40th endured on the right.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

The importance of this arterial to the Expo grounds was accompanied during its construction by a flood of anxious speculations about the likelihood of its not getting done in time for the Expo’s June 1, 1909 opening day.  The local press maintained its critical eye with skeptical reports. For instance, less than two months before the AYP’S opening The Seattle Times for April 11, reported, “The exposition management was promised a year and a half ago that Sixth Ave. NE would be pushed under the Northern Pacific tracks and Fortieth would be graded and paved six months before the AYPE opened . . . Even now the tunnel under the railroad tracks is incomplete; grading teams are working both on Sixth Avenue and Fortieth Street and there is not a great prospect that the street will be opened for general traffic by June 1.”

The winter of 1909 was not always kind to the AYP'S preparations.
The winter of 1909 was not always kind to the AYP’S preparations.  (From a Seattle Times January, 1909 clipping.)
A good sign that transportation from the Latona Bridge to the Expo is shaping up well is expressed in these congratulations from the Tenth Ward Club published in The Times for May 21, 1909, less than a week before the fair opened.
A good sign that transportation to the Expo is shaping up well is expressed in these congratulations from the Tenth Ward Club published in The Times for May 21, 1909, less than a week before the fair opened.
The joyful news of July 30, 1909 that the N.E. 40th Street "main" route to the AYP's main gate was, at last, decoratively lighted.
The joyful news of July 30, 1909 that the N.E. 40th Street “main” route to the AYP’s main gate was, at last, decoratively lighted.  CLICK CLICK

In spite of the anxious doubts expressed by the press, the improved trolley service was ready for the June 1 opening of the AYP, although on this stretch it had required eleventh-hour-help of a chain gang from the city jail.  The Times complimented the prisoners for their “able assistance.” By mid-July the Seattle City Council was sufficiently aglow with the fair’s success and the early evening light shows that outlined the many grand – if temporary – Beaux-Arts buildings, that they found an additional $300 to extent the string of carnival lights along NE 40th Street and so through this intersection.

POSTSCRIPT:  The post-expo grandeur of this promenade from the Latona Bridge to the U.W. campus and Brooklyn and 14th Avenue (University Way) the “main streets” of Brooklyn (the University District), was short-lived.  Neighborhood anxiety – especially among the businesses – came with the building of the Lake Washington Ship Canal in 1911.  The bridge at Latona would clearly need to be enlarged for the canal, but if the pioneer bridge was moved as well, then the Latona community, the first addition developed near the northeast corner of Lake Union, would surely also lose its commercial influence, although not yet the sole abiding significance of its primary school.  (That threat came much later with the school’s conversion to the John Sanford School, which it was carefully explained was renovated and enlarged on the “Latona Campus” in the 1990s.) On June 7, 1908, a year before the AYP, The Times noted that both the road on 24th Ave. N.E. over “the portage,” and a proposed bridge via 10th Ave. N.E., might replace the bridge at Latona.  Both of the proposed bridges crossed the canal at higher elevations and so allowed for more vessels to pass below them without the bridges needing to open.   And so it was.  The bridge on 10th took the place of the bridge at Latona in 1919, although as late the 1922 the new bridge was sometimes identified as the Latona Bridge.  The Montlake bascule over the canal followed in 1925, largely on the hustle of Husky promotions to make it easier for citizens to reach sporting events on campus. 

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?   Lots of Edge Links Jean, directly below.

THEN: For the four-plus months of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the center of commerce and pedestrian energy on University Way moved two blocks south from University Station on Northeast 42nd Street to here, Northeast 40th Street, at left.

THEN: The historical view looks directly south into the Latona addition’s business district on Sixth Ave. NE. from the Northern Pacific’s railroad bridge, now part of the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

THEN: The Latona Bridge was constructed in 1891 along the future line of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge. The photo was taken from the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway right-of-way, now the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail. The Northlake Apartment/Hotel on the right survived and struggled into the 1960s. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: Long-time Wallingford resident Victor Lygdman looks south through the work-in-progress on the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge during the summer of 1959. Bottom-right are the remnants of the Latona business and industrial district, including the Wayland Mill and the Northlake Apartments, replaced now with Ivar’s Salmon House and its parking. (Photo by Victor Lygdman)

THEN: When the Oregon Cadets raised their tents on the Denny Hall lawn in 1909 they were almost venerable. Founded in 1873, the Cadets survive today as Oregon State University’s ROTC. Geneticist Linus C. Pauling, twice Nobel laureate, is surely the school’s most famous cadet corporal. (courtesy, University of Washington Libraries)

https://sherrlock.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/wash-state-bldg-then-mr1.jpg?w=735&h=419

THEN: Photographed in the late 1950s, the floating restaurant’s huge on deck hooligan got no competition as yet from the Space Needle (1962) in breaking the horizon.

THEN: Looking west down Ewing Street (North 34th) in 1907 with the nearly new trolley tracks on the left and a drainage ditch on the right to protect both the tracks and the still barely graded street from flooding. (Courtesy, Michael Maslan)

https://sherrlock.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/lincoln-h-s-fistfight-then-mr1.jpg?w=735&h=502

What the house looked like in 1997 soon after Claudia purchased it.

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clip Latona-Trolley-bridge-lk-N-CLIP-WEB.-

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First appeared in Pacific, Jan 6, 2002.
First appeared in Pacific, Jan 6, 2002.

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First appeared in Pacific, November 21, 1993.
First appeared in Pacific, November 21, 1993.

clip LATONA-MAY-DAY-NOW-1993-WEB-

clip Latona-May-Day-text-WEB.-

clip MAY-DAY-now-LATONA-SCHOOL-playfield-with-sisters-WEB

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clip-Main-Latona-Boat-House-WEB

First appeared in Pacific, Oct. 6, 1996.
First appeared in Pacific, Oct. 6, 1996.

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First appeared in Pacific, 12 - 29 - 1991.
First appeared in Pacific, 12 – 29 – 1991.
Same corner but a different class.
Same corner, different class.
The original Latona school house sat near the center of the grounds.
The original Latona school house sat near the center of the grounds.  This view of the inset school house looks southeast from near the corner of N.E. 42nd Street. and 4th Avenue N.E.., as does the “repeat” below.
September 6, 2006, looking southeast thru the then newly adorned campus.
September 6, 2006, looking southeast thru the then newly adorned campus.

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Boomers news about both Latona and Brooklyn (future University District) from Dec. 1, 1890.
Boomers news about both Latona and Brooklyn (future University District) from Dec. 1, 1890.
A detail from the 1894 "Real Roads Map of Seattle" centered on Latona at the north shore of Lake Union. Note the railroad spur onto the future University of Washington Campus, which opened in 1895. The spur leads to the Denny Building. There is as yet no Brooklyn noted on this map, and University District is a name still ten years from being used - sometimes. The transition from Brooklyn to University District was busy with University Station, using the trolley stop at University Way and 42nd Ave. as the oft-used synecdoche for the neighborhood of town and gown.
A detail from the 1894 “Real Roads Map of Seattle” centered on Latona at the north shore of Lake Union. Note the railroad spur onto the future University of Washington Campus, which opened in 1895. The spur leads to the Denny Building. There is as yet no Brooklyn noted on this map, and University District is a name still ten years from being used – sometimes. The transition from Brooklyn to University District was given to University Station, using the trolley stop at University Way and 42nd Ave. as the oft-used synecdoche for the neighborhood of town and gown.
Still no Wallingford in this map of North shore communities, ca. 1899, but Brooklyn has come up and Edgewater too.
Still no Wallingford in this map of North shore communities, ca. 1899, but Brooklyn has come up and both Edgewater and Ross as well, three neighborhood names now remembered by antiquarians only.
Traffic on the Latona Bridge as reported in The Times for Nov. 20, 1913, six years before being replaced by the nearby University Bridge.
Traffic on the Latona Bridge as reported in The Times for Nov. 20, 1913, six years before being replaced by the nearby University Bridge.
The comparative use of north shore bridge excerpted with a clip from the Seattle Times for July 24,1932.
The comparative use of north shore bridges (and others)  excerpted with a clip from the Seattle Times for July 24,1932.
A detail from the 1908 Baist Real Estate Map, Latona before the railroad overpass above 6th Ave. and the trolleys rerouted for the 1909 AYP.
A detail from the 1908 Baist Real Estate Map, Latona before the railroad overpass above 6th Ave. and the trolleys rerouting  for the 1909 AYP.
Detail from the 1929 aerial, with the Wallingford Wall replaced by the steep grade separation on N.E. 40th Street, left-of-center.
Detail from the 1929 aerial, with the Wallingford Wall replaced by the steep grade separation on N.E. 40th Street, left-of-center.
A Latona detail from a recent Google Earth cityscape.
A Latona detail from a recent Google Earth cityscape.

 

 

 

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