(click to enlarge photos)
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.
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.
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.)
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
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.
JOHN B. ALLEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
GRADING ON NORTHWEST 57TH AVENUE
WOODLAND PARK (Northwest Corner)
SIMPSON BIBLE INSTITUTE
COLUMBIA LUTHERAN HOME