This portrait of Georgetown’s sharp but short-lived Oregon-Washington Railroad Station is the third “then” we have pulled from an album of snapshots shot and/or gathered by Henry J. Fickheisen. Henry was the son of Carl W. Fickeisen, an early Georgetown baker who started sweetening the Duwamish Valley with his cream cakes in the 1890s. Our first Ficheisen choice was a portrait of the Georgetown Volunteer Fire Brigade pausing and posing in uniform during a parade on Seattle’s Pike Street (Jan. 20, 2013. We will place it below as the second “Edgle Link” after Jean’s request for “Web Extras). Next we featured a sensational winter shot of Rainier Beer’s Venus fountain (Feb. 16, 2014). It was shown not flowing but frozen. (Venus will also appear below with the Web Extras: the fourth one. ) The depot photograph’s postcard qualities may make one wonder if Henry Fickeisen purchased it from a professional. But his album has many examples of personal snapshots of both family subjects and landmarks sensitively composed. Certainly we will feature other of Fickeisen’s early-20th-Century photos in future now-then features.
On July 28, 1910, the Seattle Times noted some early work-in-progress at this station. “NEW DEPOT BUILDING foundation work has begun for the $5,000 passenger station of the Oregon and Washington Railroad at Georgetown. The new depot will be located north of Graham Street and west of Swift Street . . . The new station should be completed within a short time.”
Finding little else on the tidy depot, aside from the Times notice, I turned to Kurt Armbruster, Seattle’s encyclopedic rails historian, who answered with the photo below, which also includes the new depot.
In this search, Kurt also reached rail archivist Dan Cozine, whom Kurt describes as “one of our region’s leading authorities on railroad facilities and owner of possibly the largest local collection of engineering drawings, official correspondence, and other historic railroad ephemera.” We learn from Dan that the Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Co., regional subsidiary of the Union Pacific, built the depot in 1910. The building’s large waiting room, baggage room, and 300-foot platform indicated that it was intended as a suburban passenger station to serve the growing south Seattle area.
These grand intentions, however, were not to be. Most Georgetown-bound passengers arrived by street trolley and not on a main line train. After the 1911 opening of the Union Pacific’s grand station at 5th Avenue and Jackson Street, few trains stopped at Georgetown. The frequent exceptions were those loading cases by the hundreds of Rainier Beer at the Seattle Brewing and Malting Company’s big brewery about two hundred feet to the north of the depot and across the tracks.
Another reason, perhaps, that the depot received little attention was that in 1910 Georgetown was preoccupied with being encircled by Seattle. On March 20, the Times predicted “Georgetown Will Come In.” The newspaper’s list of advantages that would come with annexation into Seattle included Cedar River water, “high school privileges,” a much better police force “for the same price,” a move from “practically no street improvements” to “all she needs,” respected contracts and protected rights, her own councilmen (for the Fifteenth Ward), and something more than “a meager fire department” like the one that the Fickheisen’s volunteered for. The Times made no mention of trains or trolleys. On the 29th of March, the citizens of Georgetown decided on annexation and enhanced encirclement. They joined Seattle.
Anything to add, laddybucks? The seventeen “Edge Links” stacked below are all of the south-end subject – from “below the line” or south of Yesler Way. The second one is a kind of exception. Another Fickeisen photo – like the day’s feature – it follows the Georgetown Volunteer Fire Department to the corner of Pike Street and Seventh Avenue, most likely for a parade.