I imagine that many Pacific NW readers will remember this parking lot filled with municipal buses. It was not so long ago. However, few are likely to recall the earlier and regular overnight visits here of the city’s orange trolleys, scores of them packed side-by-side on parallel tracks.
This North Seattle Storage Yard was built in 1906 by the Seattle Electric Company, the transportation “octopus” that by then had consolidated most of the city’s independent trolley lines and also kept on building new ones while Seattle grew like an adolescent. The brick car barn, upper-left, was added in 1907 for trolley repairs. By 1910 the expanding system had yards and barns in Fremont, Georgetown and at 14th Ave. and Jefferson St.
As the original print reveals at its base, the subject lookling west over the parking yard was photographed on Dec. 11, 1936. The “N.E. Corner,” captioned bottom-right, is at Sixth Ave. N. and Mercer St., which is on the right. The Auditorium Apartments, the dark four-story brick construction at the northwest corner of Fifth and Mercer, is partially hidden behind the power pole on the far right. This apartment house, with two exceptions, is the only notable building (from this prospect) that has survived from the “then” into Jean Sherrard’s “now.” The two exceptions are the Civic Auditorium and its linked neighbor, the Ice Arena. And in 1936, from this point of view, the Civic Auditorium seems to be named the Ice Arena.
However, the sign to the left of the stubby power pole in the featured photo at the top, is not posted on the Civic Auditorium, but rather stands on the roof of the auditorium’s attached neighbor to its east, the Ice Arena.
The 1927 auditorium has gone through two elaborate make-overs: first as the Opera House for the 1962 Century 21 Worlds Fair and again in 2003 as McCaw Hall.
On this Friday night of Oct. 11, 1936, the Ice Arena was booked for the first night of two with the Nile Temple Shriners Ice Carnival, which mixed “the pick of Seattle’s skating talent,” which included Shriners in their “vivid costumes, freak acts and comedy performances,” sharing the ice with “some of the finest exhibition skaters in the world.” This was also the season when the Ice Arena’s offerings switched from the faked, if often bruising, melodrama of professional wresting to ice, with the city’s well-outfitted amateur skaters and a professional hockey club. Devoted Seattle sports fans will know that the professionals then were also called the Seattle Seahawks.
Anything to add, Paul?
Aside from what is inserted in the text “proper” above, Ron and I have chosen a few more features either from the neighborhood or the subject and attached them below.