Seattle Now & Then: The Prince Rupert Hotel

[No video this week as Jean is off visiting Juneau. He will, however, return with visual treasures for a future blog post!]

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Built quickly in the winter of 1906-07, the Prince Rupert Hotel faced Boren Avenue from the third lot north of Pike Street. About fifty-five years later it was razed for the I-5 Freeway. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
THEN: Built quickly in the winter of 1906-07, the Prince Rupert Hotel faced Boren Avenue from the third lot north of Pike Street. About fifty-five years later it was razed for the I-5 Freeway. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
NOW: With no hotel-apartment to block his view, Jean Sherrard shows us some of the new construction in the neighborhood that was first called North Seattle when the growing city reached it in the 1870s
NOW: With no hotel-apartment to block his view, Jean Sherrard shows us some of the new construction in the neighborhood that was first called North Seattle when the growing city reached it in the 1870s

Most likely the name for this classical structure, the Prince Rupert Hotel, was chosen as an allusion either to then proposed British Columbia port city, about six-hundred miles north of Seattle, or to that city’s namesake Prince Rupert of the Rhine (1619-1682), the first Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. A contest, for a prize of $250, was held to name the town.  The naming match was held by

Seattle Times clip from February 25, 1906.
Seattle Times clip from February 25, 1906.
Seattle Times clip, June 3, 1906
Seattle Times clip, June 3, 1906
Seattle Times clip from June 6, 1906.
Seattle Times clip from June 6, 1906.
Seattle Times clip, October 3, 1906
Seattle Times clip, October 3, 1906

the Grand Trunk Pacific, the Canadian railway that built its West Coast terminus at Prince Rupert, and, constructed the Grand Trunk Pacific Wharf on Elliott Bay as a link to Seattle’s booming commerce.  When completed in 1910 on our waterfront between Madison and Marion Streets, it was the largest wooden pier on the Pacific Coast.  Prince Rupert was increasingly in the news.

The Grand Trunk Pacific pier ca. 1909 looking north from the Marion Street pedestrian overpass to Colman Dock.
The Grand Trunk Pacific pier ca. 1909 looking north from the Marion Street pedestrian overpass to Colman Dock.
A "now" for the above "then" taken about ten years ago.
A “now” for the above “then,” also from the Marion overpass,  taken about ten years ago.
The 1914 fate of the Grand Trunk pier to burn down to its pilings. Note the Smith Tower on the right, which was dedication this year. Colman Dock on the right was saved by the fire boats that were stationed at Fire Station No. 5, directly north (to the left) of the Grand Trunk pier, which had lower insurance rates because of them.
The 1914 fate of the Grand Trunk pier to burn to its pilings. Note the Smith Tower on the left, which was dedication this year. Colman Dock on the right was saved by the fire boats that were normally stationed at Fire Station No. 5, directly north (to the left) of the Grand Trunk pier.  The Canadian railroad got lower insurance rates because of them.

When the hotel was first noticed in this newspaper it was named the Hotel Prince Rupert.  Sometimes it took new hotel builders or managers time to decide between introducing their newest gift to local hostelries with the generic ‘hotel’ at the front or the rear of their chosen name.  The Prince Rupert was built during the winter of

A Prince Rupert Seattle Times classified from May 16, 1907.
An early  Prince Rupert Seattle Times classified from May 16, 1907.
Meanwhile, or about that time . . . A Seattle Times clip from April, 11, 1907.
Meanwhile, or about that time . . . A Seattle Times clip from April, 11, 1907.

1906-07 and opened at 1515 Boren Avenue in May of 1907.  Listed in classifieds, the attractions of this five-story fireproof hotel with 115 rooms included “strictly modern, outside windows in every room, short walking distance of business center, within a half-block of four car lines, first-class dining room in connection.”  In an August 4, 1907, short report on the hotel, the Seattle Times noted that it “at once became extremely popular, and although it was opened less than three months ago, it is impossible to accommodate all who apply.” 

A Seattle Times clip from August 4, 1907.
A Seattle Times clip from August 4, 1907.
This Feb. 25, 1906 clip is pulled from a special Seattle Times section illustrating the splendors of Seattle in 1906. It was a remarkable boom town. The "typical" part of this page's title is a bit self-assured. Yet, it is remarkable that all of this and much more had been constructed after the city's Great Fire of 1889. These are the Prince Rupert's downtown competitors, most of them with many more rooms.
This Feb. 25, 1906 clip is pulled from a special Seattle Times section illustrating the splendors of Seattle in 1906. And it was then still a remarkable boom town, although the “typical” part of this page’s title is a bit self-assured. Yet, it is remarkable that all of this and much more had been constructed after the city’s Great Fire of 1889. These are the Prince Rupert’s downtown competitors, most of them with many more rooms.  You might wish to count the survivors among them. [Click to Enlarge]

While exploring the former location of the Prince Rupert Hotel’s front door and its four classical columns that faced Boren Street, one will be careful not to fall into the I-5 ditch that took with its cutting this hotel and many others along the western slope of the First Hill/Capitol Hill ridge in the early 1960s.  The ever-alert Jean

Climbing First Hill in 1914 for a visit with Rod Edge with Rich Berner at Skyline, I snapped this from the passenger's side while crossing above the I-5 ditch. This is near (or at) the Prince Rupert's front door. Note the landscaped roof of the Convention Center just above the railing. The tree on the far left is part of the landscape of Plymouth Park at the northwest corner of Pike and Boren.
Climbing First Hill in 1914  with Rod Edge for a visit with Rich Berner at Skyline, I snapped this from the passenger’s side while crossing above the I-5 ditch. This is near (or at) the Prince Rupert’s front door. Note the landscaped roof of the Convention Center just above the railing. The tree on the far left is part of the landscape of Plymouth Pillars Park at the northwest corner of Pike and Boren.

Sherrard has widened the frame for this week’s ‘repeat,’ second from the top, to include the most western corner of Plymouth Pillars Park. There, although still off-frame to the left, the rescued columns of Plymouth Congregational Church, which formerly faced Sixth Avenue between Seneca and University Streets, are nicely blended within a copse of deciduous trees in their own triangular park at the northwest corner of Pike Street and Boren Avenue. 

Two years earlier, again riding with Ron on one of our lunchtime visits with Rich Berner, I snapped this autumnal record of Plymouth PIllars Park on Oct. 29, 2012.
Two years earlier, again riding with Ron on one of our lunchtime visits with Rich Berner, I snapped this autumnal record of Plymouth PIllars Park from the window on Oct. 29, 2012.
An early full-face frontal of the Plymouth Sanctuary at the southwest corner of 6th Avenue and University Street.
An early full-face frontal of the Plymouth Sanctuary at the southwest corner of 6th Avenue and University Street.
First appeared in Pacific . . .
First appeared in Pacific November 2, 1997. 
Photographed by Lawton Gowey on March 21, 1966.
Photographed by Lawton Gowey on March 21, 1966.

Plymouth-pillars-Boren-and-Pike-moreWEB

It is a satisfying coincidence that both the four surviving Plymouth Pillars and those that supported the top floor portico of the Prince Rupert were of the Ionic order, although in their 1966 removal from the demolished church, the Plymouth pillars lost their scrolled capitals.  Still we permit ourselves to fashion an Ionic irony that the church’s pillars were saved and moved to Boren Street to replace those of the razed hotel.

By Lawton Gowey
By Lawton Gowey
Borrowed from wikipedia or somewhere near it in the cloud.
Borrowed from wikipedia or somewhere near it in the cloud.
Our week's feature superimposed on a detail from the 1912 Baist real estate map.
Our week’s feature superimposed on a detail from the 1912 Baist real estate map.  The lower-left corner of the photo-insert nearly touches the intersection of Pike and Boren.   You will find the footprint for the Prince Rupert above  the intersection on the west side (right) of Boren. Avenue, which runs here towards the upper-left corner of the map.
A detail of Prince Rupert, British Columbia today, used courtesy of Google Earth.
A detail of Prince Rupert, British Columbia today, used courtesy of Google Earth.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?  Not at this moment.  It is early Saturday morning.  Soon Jean and Karen will be flying to Juneau for two days with friends there, their first Alaska visit.   Also sometime later today Ron will put up about fifteen links to this week’s feature about a  hotel and-or apartment, and a swath of its neighborhood lost to the I-5.  Late today, in the evening and on into Sunday, I’ll add a few things more that are relevant either to the subject or the neighborhood.  For the lead-off video we thought or had hoped to interview Dianna James, author of “Shared Walls,”  and local apartment house historian whom we have often featured here.   We  could not squeeze it in, but will the next time we feature some shared walls, and that’s inevitable.  Bon Voyage to Jean and Karen.

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Jean and Karen have arrived in Juneau and right-off visited the Mendenhall Glacier, which is practically in town.   He sends this picture, which I have joined to a Google Earth detail of downtown Juneau (lower-right) and  the Mendenhall (upper-middle).  Jean explains his position as “South of the glacier  and north of the visitor’s center.  Taken on my cell phone.  Sent from my iPhone.”  Jean and Karen are both well-equipped and clothed for the elements.   [Click to Enlarge]

Jean's-Mendenhall-w-Google-WEB2

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THEN: Beginning with the Reynolds, three hotels have taken tenancy in this ornate three-story brick block at the northeast corner of Boren Avenue and Pike Street. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: The city’s north end skyline in 1923 looking northwest from the roof of the then new Cambridge Apartments at 9th Avenue and Union Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: A.J. McDonald’s panorama of Lake Union and its surrounds dates from the early 1890s. It was taken from First Hill, looking north from near the intersection of Terry Avenue and Union Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Looking north-northeast from a low knoll at the southwest corner of Seneca Street and Seventh Avenue, circa 1916. By 1925, a commercial automobile garage filled the vacant lot in the foreground. [Courtesy, Ron Edge]

tsutakawa-1967-then

THEN: Constructed in 1890 as the Seattle Fire Department’s first headquarters, these substantial four floors (counting the daylight basement) survived until replaced by Interstate Five in the 1960s. (photo by Frank Shaw)

BOREN-&-University-Denny-&-Ainsworth-Homes-THEN-mr

THEN: The city's regrading forces reached Sixth Avenue and Marion Street in 1914. A municipal photographer recorded this view on June 24. Soon after, the two structures left high here were lowered to the street. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

THEN: With great clouds overhead and a landscape 45 years shorter than now, one vehicle – a pickup heading east – gets this part of State Route 520 to itself on a weekday afternoon. (courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: The home at bottom right looks across Madison Street (out of frame) to Central School. The cleared intersection of Spring Street and Seventh Avenue shows on the right.

THEN: A circa 1923 view looks south on Eighth Avenue over Pike Street, at bottom left.

THEN: In the 32 years between Frank Shaw's dedication picture and Jean Sherrard's dance scene, Freeway Park has gained in verdure what it has lost in human use.

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UP THE HILL on BOREN, TWO MORE NEIGHBORS

The Ward tower, Dec. 30, 1977.
Above: The Ward tower, Dec. 30, 1977.

WARD-HOUSE-boren-and-PikeTHEN-WEB copy

Ward-Home-WEB

The move, the last part of it, up Denny Way.
The move, the last part of it, up Denny Way.
The Ward home now - photographed, again, on one of Ron and my lunch excursions to visit Rich Berner.
The Ward home now – photographed, again, on one of Ron and my lunch excursions to visit Rich Berner.

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Backus-Home-Boren-Univ-WEB

First appeared in Pacific, August 10, 2003.
First appeared in Pacific, August 10, 2003.

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The injured history of Grace Torlicher, once a resident of the Prince Rubert, can be followed, in part, with the few Seattle Times' clips that track her between 1917 and 1935.
Like the rest of us, covered by the Second Amendment, the injured history of Grace Torlicher, once a resident of the Prince Rupert, can be followed, in part, with the few Seattle Times’ clips that track her between 1917 and 1935.  May we assume that Grace and her John continued to practice till death did them part for the “regulated Militia” and the security of our somewhat free state?
A Times clip from Sept. 16, 1917.
A Times clip from Sept. 16, 1917.
A Times clip from Sept. 21, 1917.
A Times clip from Sept. 21, 1917.
A Seattle Times clip from July 8, 1921.
A Seattle Times clip from July 8, 1921.
Clip from the Seattle Times for May 28, 1935.
Clip from the Seattle Times for May 28, 1935.
Continued Times clip form May 28, 1935.
Continued Times clip form May 28, 1935.

SURE, AND A PUZZLED JUDGE PONDERS THE CASE

TIMES Clip from Oct. 5, 1939.
TIMES Clip from Oct. 5, 1939.          

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