The easiest and so also, perhaps, the almost obvious subject here is Lake Union. The earliest panorama of the lake was recorded in 1882 by the since famous Californian Carleton Watkins while visiting Puget Sound as an itinerate photographer. He did his shooting from a platform that he built on the top of a nearly clear-cut Denny Hill.
The pan by A.J. McDonald printed on top dates from about ten years later. McDonald’s Seattle street address in the 1892-1893 Corbett City Directory was 514 9th Avenue, on the southwest corner of First Hill.
I struggled some in figuring out from what First Hill prospect McDonald took this wide view. My early intimation was that it was from near the intersection of Terry Avenue and Union Street, and this was eventually confirmed by comparing the panorama with the impressive 1891 Birdseye view of Seattle. All the homes standing in the foreground of McDonald’s subject are drawn, with considerable care given to their footprints and rooflines, into the Birdseye. I concluded that McDonald was indeed looking down a freshly graded Terry Avenue with Union Street near his back, if not at it, as was Jean Sherrard about a century and a quarter later.
Another panorama (directly above), taken from Denny Hill looking east to First Hill a few months before McDonald made his, reveals something about the featured pan that is not easy to discover. In the pan at the top, Pike Street, at this point still more a widened path than a street, climbs left to right (west to east) between the three sizable homes center and left of center, and the still larger white home – probably an early tenement – on the right. (It is the “T-shaped home” noted in the caption above.) We found its address, 1101 Pike Street, with help from the 1904 Sanborn real estate map. Just out-of-frame to the right was George and Louise Ward’s home,
which was built in 1882 at the then ungraded southwest corner of Pike Street and Boren Avenue. Wonderfully, it survives nearby at the northwest corner of Denny Way and Belmont Avenue, moved there about thirty years ago by attorneys – and preservationists – David A. Leen and Bradford Moore. It is probably the second oldest structure in Seattle, after the Doc Maynard home in West Seattle.
The wide horizon of McDonald’s pan, above the north shore of Lake Union, extends from the then young mill town Fremont on the left, through Edgewater (a name rarely used today) to Latona (now part of Wallingford) on the far right. Brooklyn, the preferred name for the University District in the 1890s, is hidden behind Capitol Hill. Pine Street runs left to right through the center of the pan. It was the first graded street to reach Capitol Hill, and the 1891 Birdseye confirms it. Pike, however, was also soon extended to the Hill and became much the busier street with trolleys and commerce.
During his Seattle stay, McDonald recorded several other panoramas, including at least four from Queen Anne Hill, two from Denny Hill and two more from First Hill. I think it likely that by 1893 McDonald had returned to that other “city of hills,” San Francisco, where most of his surviving prints are found in scattered collections.
Anything to add, Paul and Ron? A few more past features clipped by Ron Edge and placed by Ron Too. I wrote the text for the pan, first clip below, for what occasion or publication I no longer remember. But one of the last points the text makes is a challenge to the reader to find in that pan the place where the future Roosevelt Theatre would be parked. And so we included as the second “web extra” a feature done a few years ago on that the modern Roosevelt. At the bottom of this group is a detail taken from the featured photo at top, which shows both the mansion and farm house of the Pontius Family in what is struggling to still be called the Cascade Neighborhood (if it can survive Amazopolis) after its grade school, which was a victim to the 1949 earthquake. It follows the last of the Edge grab-links, which is also about the Pontius farm house, and appeared here not so long ago – sometime this past summer.
THE PONTIUS HOMES as REVEALED by MCDONALD
The RETURN of the WARD HOME
ANOTHER EARLY 1890S LOOK TO LAKE UNION
TOMORROW we may proof read. But now off to Nighty-Bears. Shhhhh.
(Lantern slide Courtesy of Bob Monroe. “Nighty-Bears” courtesy of William “Bill” Burden”)