Seattle Now & Then: West Woodland Neighbors

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: This look west from the West Woodland neighborhood toward Ballard comes by way of the Museum of History and Industry, with some help from both Ron Edge and West Woodland historian Susan Pierce.
THEN: This look west from the West Woodland neighborhood toward Ballard comes by way of the Museum of History and Industry, with some help from both Ron Edge and West Woodland historian Susan Pierce.
NOW: Susan Pierce, posing with her son Andy in front of the 1890s Jensen home, researches and shares information about her West Woodland neighborhood. Pierce lives across the street from the pioneer home.
NOW: Susan Pierce, posing with her son Andy in front of the 1890s Jensen home, researches and shares information about her West Woodland neighborhood. Pierce lives across the street
from the pioneer home.

Here’s an early mist-enveloped glimpse looking west into Ballard from the West Woodland corner of 4th Avenue NW and NW 60th Street.  Turn around and the landscape rises sharply to the east, climbing Phinney Ridge to its Woodland Park summit. The homes of sawyers and other breadwinners have not as yet filled the blocks this far east from Ballard’s many lumber mills, although this West Woodland neighborhood has been nearly clear-cut and is waiting for buyers.   

A detail from the Jensen home photo feature. Thanks to Susan
A detail from the Jensen home photo feature. Thanks to MOHAI for the featured print and to Susan Pierce for the the quartet of mostly tax photos below.

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The modest and yet surely comfortable home, posing above with its residents at the center, dates from the 1890s. It was probably built by the carpenter-contractor Rasmus “Robert” Jensen, the man standing on the front porch with his wife Marie and most likely their daughter Anna. The lawn is fitted with a small orchard.  In a later photo the fruit trees have multiplied and taken charge of the acres surrounding the home.  These learned observations come by way of Susan Pierce. who is posing with her son Andy for Jean Sherrard in his recent repeat.  Nine years ago Susan and her husband Blake moved into the home that stands directly east across 4th Avenue from the pioneer Jensen abode.

Flip side for the featured Museum of History and Industry
Flip side for the featured Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) print.

 

From their kitchen window the couple look out upon the Jensen homestead.  It is a prospect not far removed from that taken by, if we can believe the pencil note on the back of the original print (above), Broback Photo, an itinerate photographer from San Francisco. The original print, number 6446, is kept in the Museum of History and Industry’s “original photo file.”  It is from these files that many grapevines of heritage study sprout – including mine. (I began my study of Seattle’s pictorial history with visits to the MOHAI library forty-five years ago.)

This detail from the 1908 Baist Real Estate map reach from the west short of Green Lake on the right to the Jensen home at the northeast corner of 4th West and West 60th Street at its bottom-left corner.
This detail from the 1908 Baist Real Estate map reach from the west short of Green Lake on the right to the Jensen home at the northeast corner of “4th Ave. NW”  and “N. 60th Street” at its bottom-left corner.    It also surrounds the marked West Woodland Park Addition.    Phinney Ave., the ridge’s spine or summit, runs up-down thru the center of the detail.
Looking north on Phinney Avenue from 65th Street in 1937.
Looking north on Phinney Avenue from 65th Street in 1937.

With her son Andy’s birth three years ago, Susan was awakened not only to nurturing her boy but the western slope of Phinney Ridge as well.  These nourishing urges came together while taking Andy and her camera for perambulations around the neighborhood, and her research continued at home during Andy’s naps.  By now the baby is a boy who can distinguish between a gable and a bay window. Susan opened both a Facebook page and blog on the subject of her neighborhood’s history.  The results are admirable, and flourishing too, with over 600 users.  With the help of her neighbors this genial grapevine keeps on growing.  You may wish to review the fruits of these labors, either on the blog at https://vintagewestwoodland.wordpress.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vintagewestwoodland

Front page to the latest edition of Susan Pierce's blog, which you can enter by clicking the link above this illustration.
Front page to the latest edition of Susan Pierce’s blog, which you can enter by clicking the link above this illustration.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, mates?  First what we did NOT add – another video.  The play is the thing.  Jean has two more weeks of play production ahead and then we hope to resume the video treatments of these weekly features again.  Otherwise we have more neighborhood features, some recent and some rather old.   We start again with the more recent features pulled forward by Ron Edge.  Click them to open them.   We count “neighborhood” here as anything from Ballard to Green Lake, but still we have acted with restraint.

THEN: Midwife Alice Wood Ellis, far right, joins her mother and two children on the front lawn of their half-finished home in the East Green Lake neighborhood, ca. 1901. Courtesy Carol Solle

THEN: James Lee, for many years an official photographer for Seattle’s public works department, looks south over Ballard’s Salmon Bay a century ago. Queen Anne Hill marks the horizon, with a glimpse of Magnolia on the far right. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: With his or her back to the original Ballard business district, an unnamed photographer looks southeast on Leary Way, most likely in 1936.

THEN: Ballard photographer Fred Peterson looks south-southeast on Ballard Avenue on February 3rd or 4th, 1916. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

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)

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Then: The thousands of skaters on Green Lake in this late January 1916 view could not have known that the skating would soon be over, one of the victims of the Big Snow of 1916. Courtesy Fairlook Antiques

THEN: Captioned Salmon Bay, 1887, this is most likely very near the eastern end of the bay where it was fed by Ross Creek, the Lake Union outlet. (Courtesy, Michael Maslan Vintage Posters and Photographs)

THEN: Built in 1910, Ballard’s big brick church on the northwest corner of 20th Avenue NW and NW 63rd Street lost the top of its soaring tower following the earthquake of Nov. 12, 1939.

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JOHN B. ALLEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

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GRADING ON NORTHWEST 57TH AVENUE

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WOODLAND PARK (Northwest Corner)

First appeared in Pacific July 29, 1990
First appeared in Pacific July 29, 1990

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SIMPSON BIBLE INSTITUTE

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First appeared in Pacific July 27, 2003.
First appeared in Pacific July 27, 2003.

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First appeared in Pacific November 10, 1996.
First appeared in Pacific November 10, 1996.

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First appeared in Pacific March 4, 2001
First appeared in Pacific March 4, 2001

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COLUMBIA LUTHERAN HOME

First appeared in Pacific on December 22, 1991.
First appeared in Pacific on December 22, 1991.
The Columbia Lutheran Home on Phinney Ridge, Courtesy of the Swedish Club
The Columbia Lutheran Home on Phinney Ridge, Courtesy of the Swedish Club

2 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: West Woodland Neighbors”

  1. Having grown up for my first ten years at 216 West 62nd St. in this neighborhood I found this very interetsting.

    Frank Leathley

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