Through the last three years or four we have included in this feature a few street scenes that included billboards. An unnamed photographer working for the Foster and Kleiser Billboard Company recorded all of our selections, most from the 1930s. In this billboard portrait, the centerpiece sign has been stationed perfectly to keep the message directly in the eye of any driver or passenger. The “outdoor medium” boldly plugs the low $815 cost of the latest in four-door 6-passenger 1940 Dodge Sedans.
Our anonymous photographer is standing beside a trolley safety island on the N.E. 40th Street ramp off the University Bridge. (We have dealt with or featured these “satety islands” before.) The billboard rests on the northeast corner of 40th, where it jogs just east of 11th Ave. N.E.
The date, March 14, 1940, is typed on a strip of paper taped to the bottom of the negative for the featured photo at the top. For this sunlit Monday afternoon the Seattle Times reported that the sun that had risen at 6:30 that morning had warmed Seattle to 45 degrees by noon with winds that quivered between “gentle and moderate.” On the front page the newspaper asked, “When and how will Roosevelt answer the Third Term Question?” That is, when will FDR reveal if he will run or not run November next? He did. The day’s headline is about the war between Russian and Finland, and whether the U.S., France and England will come to the aid of the Finns. They didn’t.
For local rail fans, both then and now, the two parallel trolley tracks running on N.E. 40th are reminders that most of Seattle’s half-century old trolleys would be prepared for scrap before the year was out. As already noted with this feature last Sept.12, N.E. 40th Street was improved for moving visitors from the Latona Bridge to the on-campus Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909. (This Sept. 12 feature is included below at the very top of the “edge links”
that follow this little essay.) The ramp came in 1918 with the completion of the University-Eastlake Bridge. (When completed the new bridge was sometimes referred to as the “Eastlake Bridge,” and it link with the primary arterial that still follows above the east shore of Lake Union. It was also, by habit, sometimes referred to as the Latona Bridge, taking the name of the bridge it replaced in 1919.)
In the early 1940s University District boomers began their campaign for a new main entrance to the campus, one removed from this somewhat less-than-grand approach on 40th Street. The result was the nearby Campus Parkway, one small block north of 40th, completed in 1949. Critics described it as a “five-block-long $845,000 street to nowhere,” and it is true that 40th Street remained the main access to the campus. Everett O. Eastwood, a professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at the U.W., explained to The Times for March 4, 1949 “I don’t believe that anybody who contemplated the street as it is now would have deemed it advisable. It has no logical beginning and no logical end. It is utterly unnecessary. It serves no purpose and it is utterly illogical.”
On an inside page of the day’s Times, the paper reports that E.H. Jones, the University of Washington’s Campus Mailman, had at 9:02 this morning spotted near Parrington Hall the year’s first swallow to visit the campus. This is official. Jones had been for years the campus bird registrar for the U.W.’s annual Swallow Derby. Marjorie Shields, assistant manager of the Association of Women Students, won the $2.50 prize by guessing earlier that the bird would arrive at 9 o’clock this morning.
Anything to add, boys? Yes Jean, once again Ron Edge has pulled forth a number (16 I’ve counted) of fitting links from former now-ten features, and he has also added some 11th hour illustrations used in the text above. Thanks again Ron – and again. It is now fast approaching our scheduled “nighty-bears” hour and so will take a slumbering break, but hope to add a few more relevant features after a late breakfast.
RETURNING NOW (Sunday Nov. 8 at 4 PM) AFTER A LATE BREAKFAST
NOTE: I hope to complete, sort of, this Sunday’s blog before I retire from it – from Sunday. Now I must turn to write next week’s deadline with the Times with a feature on Rich Haad’s Gasworks Park and a kind of review of Thaisa Way’s biography of Rich. It was published recently by the University Press.