Seattle Now & Then: Seward Street, Juneau, Alaska

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Photographer Frank LaRoche arrived in Seattle a few weeks after its Great Fire of 1889. Through the 1890s he made scores of round-trips to the Klondike, including this visit to the Juneau intersection of Seward Avenue and Front Street. (Museum of History and Industry)
THEN: Photographer Frank LaRoche arrived in Seattle a few weeks after its Great Fire of 1889. Through the 1890s he made scores of round-trips to the Klondike, including this visit to the Juneau intersection of Seward Avenue and Front Street. (Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: Through the nearly 120 years that separate this week’s now and then, the Mount Juneau horizon has kept its same recognizable profile. Four-thousand feet up and about seven miles north-northeast rests the Juneau Icefield. It feeds about thirty glaciers, including the Mendenhall, which comes to within a dozen miles of this Juneau intersection. By Seattle analogy, that is roughly the distance between West Point at Discovery Park to Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Bay.
NOW: Through the nearly 120 years that separate this week’s now and then, the Mount Juneau horizon has kept its same recognizable profile. Four-thousand feet up and about seven miles north-northeast rests the Juneau Icefield. It feeds about thirty glaciers, including the Mendenhall, which comes to within a dozen miles of this Juneau intersection. By Seattle analogy, that is roughly the distance between West Point at Discovery Park to Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Bay.
Juneau with its namesake mountain above it. By LaRoche (Courtesy of Michael Maslan)
Juneau with its namesake mountain above it. By LaRoche (Courtesy of Michael Maslan)
Seward Street is in there somewhere.
Seward Street is in there somewhere.

Through our now thirty-four years of “weekly repeating,” the farthest we have strayed from Seattle’s Pioneer Square and/or the PacificNW offices has been to Spokane.  But this Sunday we have stepped as far as Juneau, Alaska’s capital. Jean Sherrard, this feature’s regular “repeater” for nearly a decade, has found it exhilarating.   Here’s Jean.

Dated 1916, a winter harbor scene at Juneau probably a bit colder than Jean's and Karen's a century later.
Dated 1916, a winter harbor scene at Juneau probably a bit colder than Jean’s and Karen’s a century later.

“Karen and I flew up to Juneau, a two-hour flight, on MLK Jr. weekend to visit our friends Robin Walz and Carol Prentice. Now we highly recommend Juneau in winter. It’s a small town of 30,000 people, nestled in the sea-level valley between impassible mountains (note: a little local ribbing at the expense of summer tourists, who stepping off the big ships and seeing snow, ask, “What’s the elevation of Juneau?”). During the chilly off-season the landscape is gorgeous and tourist-free. On Sunday morning we headed downtown to take this repeat of Frank LaRoche’s Gold Rush Seward Street. Robin and Carol, Karen, and some friendly locals crossed the street to enliven the photo, and then we adjourned to a table in the locally owned Heritage Coffee Company on the left – not too long ago a McDonald’s franchise.”

In the Video at the top, Robin locates this look across Juneau as near where the cruise ships now slip in.
In the Video at the top, Robin locates this look across Juneau as near where the cruise ships now slip in.
The same profile (in part) of Mount Juneau, upper-right, can be found in the wider LaRoche record printed above this one by "Winter and Pond." .
The same profile (in part) of Mount Juneau, upper-right, can be found in the wider LaRoche record printed above this one by “Winter and Pond.” .

Actually, the only snow we can find in Jean’s January repeat is high above where Seward Street is stopped at the steep foot of Mt. Juneau. The snow this Sunday is mostly hidden in the forest.  In LaRoche’s “then,” (below the video at the top)  photographed sometime in the late 1890s, the corner for Jean’s coffee retreat on the left is occupied in part by The New York Store, where any anxious argonaut heading for the gold fields was assured by a mural-sized sign that he could get “cheap . . .the best men’s heavy clothing, underwear, rubber boots, etc.” 

In Juneau - once upon a time - but not a likely retreat for tourists or pilgrims.
In Juneau – once upon a time – but not a likely retreat for Jean and Karen or other tourists and pilgrims.

Other outfitters, tobacco stores, bars, chop and oyster houses, and cheap lodgings covered most of the commerce done on Seward Street during the Rush.  Now jewelers, galleries, and souvenir shops waiting on what Robin Walz figures are the “up to fifteen- thousand passengers and crew who are set ashore from four-to-five cruise ships every day from April into October.”  Alaskan Heritage is an alternative to pricey knick-knacks on Seward Street.  The blue and pink banner hanging from the corner light standard on the right lists some of the attractions north of here at Front Street on Seward: “Governor’s House, Juneau City Museum, State Capital (and) St. Nicholas Church.”

A Juneau church, although not St. Nicholas, and lost. Presbyterian.
A Juneau church, although not St. Nicholas.  Now  lost and Presbyterian.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, pardners?  Sure Jean, and please mix with what you have written just above a few of the other shots from your visit to Juneau and its surrounds, although I suspect that some of those will be in the video at the top.  (What a labor it must have been to cut back Robbin and my dialogue from forty-plus minutes to twenty-something.)

Hi Paul, Jean here, with a few shots from Juneau and surrounds:

Upon arrival, Robin and Carol drove us out to catch the last rays of sun on the Mendenhall Glacier
Upon arrival, Robin and Carol drove us out to catch the last rays of sun on the Mendenhall Glacier
Just a bit closer...
Just a bit closer…
The waterfall pouring into Mendenhall Lake from the vast snowfield above...
The waterfall pouring into Mendenhall Lake from the vast snowfield above…
Mendenhall lake after sunset - click to zoom into the blue glacial ice circled by ice skaters
Mendenhall lake after sunset – click to zoom into the blue glacial ice circled by ice skaters
The old Russian church in Juneau
The old Russian church in Juneau
A citizen of Juneau contemplates one of many stair climbs leading out of the central business district
A citizen of Juneau contemplates one of many stair climbs leading out of the central business district
Juneau sheet metal fabricator with a unique hobby
Juneau sheet metal fabricator with a unique hobby
A retreat/shrine to St. Therese of Lisieux - nestled in a lovely islet forest
A retreat/shrine to St. Therese of Lisieux – nestled in a lovely islet forest
A view of the islet from the shrine's maze
A view of the islet from the shrine’s maze
Sunset from the shrine
Sunset from the shrine
flight home
flight home

Immediately below are ten Edge-Links connected by Ron Edge to former blog features that are more-or-less relevant to this week’s subject.  Under these  links we will attach the several Alaska photos – most of them by LaRoche, one of the gold rush photographers from Seattle – that appear in the video at the top.  The bottom will round-out  – so to speak – with a few more by now nearly ancient now-and-then features that relate to the allures of Alaska.

THEN: During the few years of the Klondike Gold Rush, the streets of Seattle’s business district were crowded with outfitters selling well-packed foods and gear to thousands of traveling men heading north to strike it rich – they imagined. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Through its two decades — 1892 to 1913 — at the northeast corner of Cherry Street and Third Avenue, the Seattle Theatre was one of the classiest Seattle venues for legitimate theater as well as variety/vaudeville

THEN: Above Lake Washington’s Union Bay the Hoo-Hoo Building on the left and the Bastion facsimile on the right, were both regional departures from the classical beau arts style, the 1909 AYPE’s architectural commonplace. Courtesy John Cooper

THEN: For the four-plus months of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the center of commerce and pedestrian energy on University Way moved two blocks south from University Station on Northeast 42nd Street to here, Northeast 40th Street, at left.

THEN: The new sub H-3 takes her inaugural baptism at the Seattle Construction and Dry Dock Company’s ways on Independence Day, 1913. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: The driver, lower left, leads his team towards First Avenue up a planked incline on Madison Street. (Courtesy MOHAI)

THEN: From boxcars and rooftops to the planks of Railroad Avenue, excitement builds for the ceremonial re-enactment of the S.S.Portland’s 1897 landing with its “ton of gold” on the Seattle waterfront, the city’s first Golden Potlatch Celebration. [Courtesy, Michael Maslan]

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ALASKA GOLD RUSH ERA PHOTOS (seen and described in the video at the top)

As explained in the video by Robbin, these Alaskan's - Eskimos - are farther north of Juneau than Seattle is south of it.
As explained in the video by Robin, these Alaskan’s – Eskimos – are farther north of Juneau than Seattle is south of it.   AK is  a big sky country larger than Texas, and much larger than Montana.
As taught by Robin Metlakahtla is the last stop in the Alaska panhandle before crossing south into British Columbia.
As taught by Robin, Metlakahtla is the last stop in the Alaska panhandle before crossing south into British Columbia.
Another glacier - the Muir in Alaska's Glacier Bay - about thirty-plus miles north of Juneau. Like a drive to Everett.
Another glacier – the Muir in Alaska’s Glacier Bay – about thirty-plus miles north of Juneau. Like a drive to Everett.

 

The strange and/or unique Chilkoot Pass, the highest step in the trek from salt water to the Yukon River and its gilded dreams of 1897-8.
The strange and/or unique Chilkoot Pass, the highest step in the trek from salt water  of Lynn Canal to the Yukon River and its gilded dreams of 1897-8.
The later and easier way over that ridge.
The later and easier way over that ridge.
The harbor that we noted in the video as unidentified. Now Robin has pegged it. It is Skagway, and the LaRoche that follows is of Skagway's Broadway. Skagway, I believe, is where you caught the train but now a bus or rent a car..
The harbor that we noted in the video as unidentified. Now Robin has pegged it. It is Skagway, and the LaRoche that follows is of Skagway’s Broadway. Skagway, I believe, is where you caught the train but now a bus or rent a car..
Skagway's Broadway during the warmer cruising months a mad-way of Gold Rush nostalgia and boardwalk kitsch.
Skagway’s Broadway during the warmer cruising months a mad-way of Gold Rush nostalgia and boardwalk kitsch.

FOUR FROM SITKA (as described in the Video at the Top.)

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a Sitka,-Greek-Orthodox,-interior-WEB

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The last of LaRoche's Alaska included here.
The last of LaRoche’s Alaska included here.

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Click to Enlarge!
Click to Enlarge!

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AYP-House-Upside-Down---[12_28_2003]

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First appeared in Pacific on April 29, 2001.
First appeared in Pacific on April 29, 2001.

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CLICK TWICE to ENLARGE
CLICK TWICE to ENLARGE

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