Seattle Now & Then: Mill Street at Pioneer Place

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The original for this scene of a temporary upheaval on Mill Street (Yesler Way) was one of many historical prints given to the Museum of History and Industry many years ago by the Charles Thorndike estate. Thorndike was one of Seattle’s history buffs extraordinaire. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)
THEN: The original for this scene of a temporary upheaval on Mill Street (Yesler Way) was one of many historical prints given to the Museum of History and Industry many years ago by the Charles Thorndike estate. Thorndike was one of Seattle’s history buffs extraordinaire. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)
NOW: For his repeat Jean Sherrard stepped off the curb into Yesler Way with the Pioneer Square Pergola behind him.
NOW: For his repeat Jean Sherrard stepped off the curb into Yesler Way with the Pioneer Square Pergola behind him.

What is most revealing about this street scene may be that stack of bricks on the left.  The anonymous photographer stood his or her camera near where now stands the Pioneer Square Pergola and looked southeast to the clapboard businesses on the south side of Mill Street (Yesler Way). Second Ave. (Occidental Street) is on the left and the surviving alley between Occidental and First Avenue South is on the right. 

The Yesler-Leary building at the old pre-89-fire northwest corner of Front (First Ave) and Mill Street (Yesler Way.) The featured but anonymous photographer's back would have been - by my speculation - with his or her back to the construction site for this showpiece building. 1888, the date offered in its own caption, is most likely correct. The Front Street Cable Railway's turntable was constructed then for the new carrier to North Seattle.
The Yesler-Leary building at the old pre-89-fire northwest corner of Front (First Ave) and Mill Street (Yesler Way.) The featured but anonymous photographer’s back would have been – by my speculation – to the construction site for this showpiece building. 1888, the date offered in its own caption, is most likely correct. The Front Street Cable Railway’s turntable, seen here as well,  was constructed then for this new carrier to North Seattle.
The first of two pages for the 27th feature included in the book Seattle Now and Then Volume Three. To read the second page find the history books bug on the front page of this blog and call it forth. For this look along the Front Street show strip the photographer took a balcony near Columbia Street. (Courtesy, Kurt Jackson)
The first of two pages for the 27th feature included in the book Seattle Now and Then Volume Three. To read the second page find the history books bug on the front page of this blog and call it forth. For this look along the Front Street show strip the photographer took a balcony near Columbia Street. Most of the Yesler-Leary building’s corner tower at MIll Street is hidden here behind the power pole on the left.  (Courtesy, Kurt Jackson)

The featured print at the top is not dated, but based, in part, on the small clue of those bricks piled in the street, I think it was recorded in 1883.  Construction began in 1883-84 on multi-story structures of brick, stone, and ornamental cast iron, replacing many of the false fronts on Front Street (First Ave.) and at Pioneer Place (then aka Yesler’s Corner) with elegant facades. The bricks piled in the street may be designated for the 1883 construction of the elaborately ornate Yesler-Leary Building at the northwest corner of Front and Mill Streets.  Or they might be waiting on the equally ornate Occidental Hotel, which was raised in 1883-4 on what was then and is still the pie-shaped block between James St. and Yesler Way. At that time bricks sold for $16.00 to $18.00 a thousand in Seattle. 

Looking north across Mill Street (Yesler Way) from the frame box that once housed Kellog's drug store on the main floor and, for a few months, the Sammis photography studio upstairs. [Courtesy, Lawton Gowey]
Looking north across Mill Street (Yesler Way) from the frame box that once housed Kellog’s drug store on the main floor and, for a few months, the Sammis photography studio upstairs.  A likely date is 1887.  [Courtesy, Lawton Gowey]
The post 1889-fire ruins of the city's showstrip of ornate business structures that ran along the west side of Front Street (First Ave.) from Mill Street (Yesler Way) for the two blocks to Columbia Street.
The post 1889-fire ruins of the city’s showstrip of ornate business structures that ran along the west side of Front Street (First Ave.) from Mill Street (Yesler Way) for the two blocks to Columbia Street.
The same Front Street but earlier, about 1880. Front shows here the graded swoop of its improvement from 1876.
The same Front Street but earlier, about 1880. Front shows here the graded swoop of its improvement from 1876.

A local news clip from the Dispatch for Oct. 28, 1878. [Courtesy, Ron Edge Newspaper Collection]
A local news clip from the Dispatch for Oct. 28, 1878. [Courtesy, Ron Edge Newspaper Collection]
The opposite direction, looking south on Front through its intersection with Cherry Street, with the front facade of the box-shaped two story commercial building holding the Kellog Drug store centered on the south side of Mill Street (Yesler Way). Note that the scrawl on the mud of Front Street just above the worn foot crossing on Cherry, dates this scene 1878. [Courtesy, Seattle Public Library]
The opposite direction, looking south on Front through its intersection with Cherry Street, with the front facade of the box-shaped two story commercial building holding the Kellogg’s Drug store centered on the south side of Mill Street (Yesler Way). Note that the scrawl on the mud of Front Street just above the worn foot crossing on Cherry, dates this scene 1878. [Courtesy, Seattle Public Library]

Sammis' recording of the box that held his upstairs studio (note the skylight for studio work) and his landlord druggist Kellogg's shop at the sidewalk. The stairway at the alley is still intact here in 1865-66. (Courtesy, UW Libraries, Special Collections.)
Sammis’ recording of the box that held his upstairs studio (note the skylight for studio work) and his landlord druggist Kellogg’s shop at the sidewalk. The stairway at the alley is still intact here in 1865-66. (Courtesy, UW Libraries, Special Collections.)

 

 

First appeared in Pacific, Sept. 6, 1992.
First appeared in Pacific, Sept. 6, 1992. DOUBLE-CLICK TO READ!!
A numbered key to Sammis' panorama of Seattle. It was photographed from the top of the roof on Snoqualmie Hall on the southwest corner of Commercial Street (First Ave. S.) and Main Street in 1865.
A numbered key to Sammis’ panorama of Seattle. It was photographed from the top of the roof on Snoqualmie Hall on the southwest corner of Commercial Street (First Ave. S.) and Main Street in 1865.  CLICK CLICK
The credit at the lower right corner confesses that this is not an original print, but one copied by the photographer-partners Curtis-Mill much later than 1865. I held what is surely one of the few originals surviving, at home in the U.W. Libraries Northwest Collection. As I remember it, this first panorama of Seattle was about four inches wide - or perhaps five.
The credit at the lower right corner confesses that this is not an original print, but one copied by the photographer-partners Curtis-Miler. amdl much later than 1865. I held what is surely one of the few originals surviving when I was producing a series of television magazines for channel Nine in 1987.   That original is held  in the U.W. Libraries Northwest Collection. As I remember it, this first panorama of Seattle was about four inches wide – or perhaps five. CLICK CLICK CLICK
The Kellogg box can be identified by its balcony in this 1874 look west on Mill Street from Second Avenue. The Occidental Hotel is on the right, now home for the Sinking Ship Garage. Yesler's second Mill appears on the distant right beyond the civic flag pole in set in the middle of Pioneer Place.
The Kellogg box can be identified by its balcony in this 1874 look west on Mill Street from Second Avenue. The Occidental Hotel is on the right, now home for the Sinking Ship Garage. Yesler’s second Mill appears on the distant right beyond the civic flag pole in set in the middle of Pioneer Place.
Both the flag pole and the Occidental Hotel appear in this look up Mill Street from what is now the intersection of First and Yesler Way. This is perhaps the earliest look up Yesler, which runs about as far as Sixth Avenue before being reduced to a path. Perhaps you can date the scene at least relative to the other street scenes included here. Ron Edge hopes that you will note the cow resting near the center of Mill Street.
Both the flag pole and the Occidental Hotel appear in this look up Mill Street from what is now the intersection of First and Yesler Way. This is perhaps the earliest look up Yesler, which runs about as far as Sixth Avenue before being reduced to a path. Perhaps you can date the scene at least relative to the other street scenes included here. Ron Edge hopes that you will note the cow resting near the center of Mill Street. [Please keep clicking]

Most of these wooden structures were built in the 1870s and destroyed in the Great Fire of 1889.  One exception is the oldest box on the block, the one with the balcony, center-right.  (It is featured here five and six photos up.)  In 1865, when standing alone, this was home for Kellogg’s Drug Store at the sidewalk and E. M. Sammis’ photography studio upstairs.  Sammis was the first professional picture-taker to set up a temporary studio in Seattle.  He recorded the first portrait of Chief Seattle and another of the chief’s friend, Doc. David Maynard.) A painted outline of the external but removed stairway to the Sammis studio is easily recognized on the building’s west façade at the alley.  [Jean Sherrard points to this place in the attached video.]  Most likely the carpenter G.W. Kimball, whose sign slightly overlaps with the faux stairway, had his shop south down the alley.  The building’s two first floor tenants are named above the sidewalk. The Occidental Grocery sign hangs from the balcony railing and the Goodman Variety Store sign swings in the shadow of the balcony above the boarded sidewalk.  These neighbors compliment more than compete. 

A advertisement from the Oct 15, 1877 issue of the Dispatch.
A advertisement from the Oct 15, 1877 issue of the Dispatch.

The 1880 census counted 3,533 Seattle inhabitants, 55 fewer than Walla Walla, at the time the largest town in Washington Territory.  In his Chronological History of Seattle, 1850 to 1897, Pioneer historian Thomas Prosch noted that three years after the federal census of 1880, in matters of wealth, additions, transfer of real estate and public works, “Seattle and King County unmistakably took the lead among Washington towns and counties . . . Though the figures seem small in the light of later days, they were then simply immense.” Seattle’s population at the close of 1883 was about 7,500.

NEARBY MISCELLANY

First appeared in Pacific, April 22, 2007/

First appeared in Pacific, April 22, 2007.
First appeared in Pacific, April 22, 2007.

CLIP-Post-Alley-postfire-NOW-WEB

=====

First appeared in Pacific, November 23, 2003.
First appeared in Pacific, November 23, 2003.

=====

First appeared in Pacific, March 16, 2003.
First appeared in Pacific, March 16, 2003.

=====

Langston's-Livery-THEN-WEB copy

LANGSTON'S-NOW-WEB copy

First appeared in Pacific, July 9, 2006
First appeared in Pacific, July 9, 2006

=====

First appeared in Pacific, January 24, 1999.
First appeared in Pacific, January 24, 1999.

=====

First appeared in Pacific, February 9, 2003.
First appeared in Pacific, February 9, 2003.

=====

First appeared in Pacific, March 22, 2002
First appeared in Pacific, March 22, 2002

=====

First appeared in Pacific, January 17, 1999
First appeared in Pacific, January 17, 1999

=====

clip-KLONDIKE-OUTFITS-frye-hotes-WEB

=====

First appeared in Pacific, December 26, 1982. For READING this surely needs CLICKING.
First appeared in Pacific, December 26, 1982. PACIFIC often gave this feature two pages in its first year or two.  For READING this surely needs CLICKING.

=====

First appeared in Pacific, June 1, 2008.
First appeared in Pacific, June 1, 2008.
The original recording of the parade scene looking south on Commercial Street from the Yesler-Leary Building, and with a surprising (for me) date. The flip side follows - with the hand-written date, and I believe it.
The original recording of the parade scene looking south on Commercial Street from the Yesler-Leary Building, and with a surprising (for me) date. The flip side follows – with the hand-written date, and I believe it.
Note the date: May 30, 1884. Thanks to the Museum of History and Industry for use of the original print and for the probably correct date, which I shall add to my list of my mistakes.
Note the date: May 30, 1884. Thanks to the Museum of History and Industry for use of the original print and for the probably correct date, which I shall add to my list of my mistakes.

=====

WEB EXTRAS

Let’s begin with our spanking new feature – a video interview with Paul about this week’s column:

Anything to add, boys? YES! And in order or line with remarks on the above video (10-plus mins on a bench beneath the Pioneer Square – aka Pioneer Place – Pergola) Ron Edge and I will try to pack our EXTRAS with lots of past features from the oldest neighborhood.  Surely many will be familiar to our readers, and perhaps others not so.   The last link in line is mostly an exception to our Pioneer Place theme, but still it is current.  We’ll not name, but it is down there at the bottom.

THEN: Local candy-maker A.W. Piper was celebrated here for his crème cakes and wedding cakes and also his cartoons. This sketch is of the 1882 lynching from the Maple trees beside Henry and Sara Yesler’s home on James Street. Piper’s bakery was nearby (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN:In late 1855 the citizens of Seattle with help from the crew of the Navy sloop-of-war Decatur built a blockhouse on the knoll that was then still at the waterfront foot of Cherry Street. The sloop’s physician John Y. Taylor drew this earliest rendering of the log construction. (Courtesy, Yale University, Beinecke Library)

THEN: For the first twenty years of his more than 40 years selling tinware and other selected hardware, Zilba Mile's shop looked south across Yesler Way down First Ave. S, then known as Commercial Street.

THEN: In Lawton Gowey’s 1961 pairing, the Smith Tower (1914) was the tallest building in Seattle, and the Pioneer Square landmark Seattle Hotel (1890) had lost most of its top floor. (by Lawton Gowey)

https://sherrlock.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/max-loudons-girls-on-3rd-s-w-motorcycle-then-mr1.jpg?w=1011&h=678

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: A Seattle Street and Sewer Department photographer recorded this scene in front of the nearly new City-County Building in 1918. The view looks west from 4th Avenue along a Jefferson Street vacated in this block except for the municipal trolley tracks. (Photo courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: Between the now lost tower of the Pioneer Building, seen in part far left, and the Seattle Electric Steam Plant tower on the right, are arranged on First and Railroad Avenues the elaborate buzz of business beside and near Seattle’s Pioneer Square ca. 1904.

THEN: Seen here in 1887 through the intersection of Second Avenue and Yesler Way, the Occidental Hotel was then easily the most distinguished in Seattle. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

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: Sitting on a small triangle at the odd northwest corner of Third Avenue and the Second Ave. S. Extension, the Fiesta Coffee Shop was photographed and captioned, along with all taxable structures in King County, by Works Progress Administration photographers during the lingering Great Depression of the late 1930s. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive’s Puget Sound Branch)

THEN: By 1907 it was possible to bump about Seattle on spring seats visiting its favored attractions for a fee. The ride included both a driver and barker – here the swell fellow in the flattop straw hat arranging his pose in profile second from the right. (Pic courtesy Lawton Gowey)

=============

Seeing-Seattle-ParodyWEB copy

5 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Mill Street at Pioneer Place”

  1. What a great addition to your weekly article/photo presentation/gift to the city. 10 minutes is plenty of time, and I appreciate being able to read it here. Good work, keep it up.

  2. As I recall, the Pergola fell in January 2001, before the Marti Grass riot and the Nisqually earthquake. A time of much tumult in the neighborhood.

  3. What a timely article! I have been researching the first watchmakers and jewelers in Seattle this past week thanks to some Ron Edge leads. This is part of my interest in Joseph Mayer, Seattle street clock maker. There are several watchmaker signs in the photos above. The one of most interest is in the 1884 photo looking south on Commercial. There is a watchmakers sign next to Schwabachers. This must be Gerhard Beninghausen. He arrived in Seattle early 1883, having emigrated from Germany the year before. An 1884 directory lists him working for another jeweler, then opening his own business later that same year. An 1885 directory lists him on the west side of Commercial between Mill and Washington. An 1887 directory places him at 121 Commercial which I think is consistent with the picture. He was a very colorful businessman who eventually had a successful business on 2nd Ave. This sported a street time ball which was his trademark. He was still in business in 1922 when he passed away.
    Paul Middents
    Silverdale

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s