Seattle Now & Then: Hanson Avenue, 1913

(click to enlarge photos)

Hanson-St.-ca.-1913-THEN
THEN: First named Hanson Avenue, for Hans Hanson, an Alki Point settler, 63rd Ave. SW extends about a third of a mile across the Point. In 1908 an electric trolley line first crossed the Point on 63rd. The tracks can be found here in the graded dirt street. This view looks north. (Courtesy: Walt Baker Williams)
NOW: Jean Sherrard recorded his “repeat” in the late summer of 2015.
NOW: Jean Sherrard recorded his “repeat” in the late summer of 2015.

In spite of its soft focus, I delight in this week’s historical subject.  It is rare: a nearly pioneer look into the heart of the Alki Point neighborhood early in its development.  Photos of the Point’s early beach life are nearly commonplace, but not off the waterfront shots like this one of its interior along what was then still called Hanson Avenue. 

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The featured print at the top and the few more above this writing were copied from a cord-bound album of by now mostly scruffy photos originally gathered to promote and revive Rose Lodge in 1913. That was a dozen often struggling years after Benjamin and Julia Baker opened the lodge and its pleasure grounds on the Puget

A Times clip from March 3, 1911.
A Times clip from March 3, 1911.
A Times clip from June 9, 1912.
A Times clip from June 9, 1912.

Sound waterfront south of the Point.  Among the dozen or so photographs included in the album, the featured  one declines to promote the Lodge’s advantages or pose its recreating tenants and fifty neatly-framed tents. (The next print below includes some of those tents and playful guests.)  Rather, the photographer turns her or his left shoulder away from the resort to look north-northeast on what was then, six years after West Seattle’s incorporation into Seattle and its conformity of street names, 63rd Ave. SW.  Of course, some of the locals continued long after to call it by its original name, Hanson Avenue. 

Rose lodge and a few of its housekeeping tents seen from the beach.
Rose lodge and a few of its housekeeping tents seen from the beach.

Norwegian immigrants Anna and Hans Hanson, with their brother-in-law Knud Olson, and their families, purchased Alki Point from Seattle Pioneer Doc Maynard in 1869.  The extended family farm, here in the featured photo at the top off camera to the left, kept producing into the 1930s, while rentals on the Point property helped its members through the Great Depression.  This Hanson-Olson “Alki-Aristocracy” included the Clam Digger, future restaurateur Ivar Haglund, whose mother Daisy was the Hanson’s youngest child, the only one born (in 1870) on the Point.

The intersection of Olson and Hanson seen here near the center of a Alki Point detail lifted from the 1908 Baist Real Estate Map. The two yellow footprints to the right of the circle "15", bottom-left, mark - inadequately - the primary structures at Rose Lodge.
The intersection of Olson and Hanson seen here near the center of an Alki Point detail lifted from the 1908 Baist Real Estate Map. The two yellow footprints to the right of the circle “15”, bottom-left, mark – inadequately – the primary structures at Rose Lodge.  Johan Haglund and his son Ivar’s first addition to the point is marked (& marketed) in blue, right-of-center.  CLICK TO ENLARGE

Daisy’s uncle Knud Olson had his own namesake street that intersected Hanson Avenue where now Admiral Way does the same with 63rd SW.  That intersection is a few lots north of the large white-box-of-a-home that stands above the center of this streetscape. It was for many years the family home of Asa and Irene Schutt.  Irene

The Schutt home sits on lot 5 of the A.A. Smith addition. Lena Smith was Ivar's aunt and helped raise him after his mother's early death.
The Schutt home sits on lot 5 of the A.A. Smith addition to Alki Point.  Lena Smith was Ivar’s aunt and helped raise him after his mother’s early death.  CLICK TO ENLARGE

was an activist in the Alki Women’s Improvement Club and club meetings were often held in her home at 3226 63rd SW.  The home, now painted green, survives.  Across the street from the Schutt’s home were still undeveloped acres that a pair of Los Angeles showmen proposed in 1927 to develop into a twelve-acre amusement park.  Its neighbors were mostly not amused and the necessary rezone failed.     

A Seattle Times coverage of the point's ambivalence toward the proposed amusement park. Note that Ivar Haglund is quoted.
The Seattle Times 1927 coverage of the Point’s ambivalence toward the proposed amusement park notes that both Ivar Haglund and Rose Lodge developer Benjamin Baker were in favor of the park.  (They were, after all, both entertainers too.)  Their names are  noted at the bottom of the left column.  The most spirited opponent was Rev. A.O. Kuhn, pastor of the Alki Congregational Church, which was a beach rock’s throw from  Rose Lodge, and still is. Kuhn did some “profiling” when he remarked “We all know the kind of people that an amusement park draws.”  

This featured photo and the others from the album were first shared with me in 1997 by Walter Baker Williams at the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s then recently opened Log House Museum.  We met in the courtyard paved with bricks named for and contributed by donors, Williams included. In the 1960s, the Harvard educated attorney was a member of the state senate.  He was what was then called a “moderate Republican.”  For a middle name, his parents handed him Baker, the name of his grandparents.  Again, it was the Bakers that had opened Rose Lodge, and quite possibly grandpa Benjamin Baker who took this week’s featured historical photograph. 

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Electrical Storms?  above and financial struggles below.

By 1918 Baker was ready to sell lots. The struggles of running a still remote and somewhat minimal attraction may have managed electrical storms but not familial ones. They got a divorce.
It seems that by 1918 Baker was ready to sell lots while still renting furnished tents. The struggles of running a still remote and somewhat rugged attraction may have vanquished  electrical storms but not familial ones. The Bakers got a divorce.  The above clip is from August 4, 1918.   The one below  from Sept 25, 1918. 

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THE WILLIAM and/or KENNETH MORRIS Rose Lodge Month of May Example for 1928 & 1929

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NEARLY THE END: A Times clip from June 12, 1932.
NEARLY THE END: A Times clip from June 12, 1932.   Not just another clean and reasonable large room near the beach.  But single too. 

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, les mecs?  Yes Jean, yes yes.  Ron begins this week with some Alki Beach wear and then with a few more West Seattle features.  Following those we will tie some clippings to the tail of this week’s blog.

THEN: Looking southeast from above Alki Avenue, the Schmitz Park horizon is serrated by the oldest trees in the city. The five duplexes clustered on the right were built 1919-1921 by Ernest and Alberta Conklin. Ernest died in 1924, but Alberta continued to live there until well past 1932, the year this photograph was recorded. (Seattle Municipal Archives.)

THEN: The Seattle Times in its lengthy coverage of the then new Seattle Steel in the paper’s Magazine Section for Sept. 10, 1905 – the year this photograph was recorded – noted that “the plant itself is a series of strong, substantial, cavernous sheds, built for use, not for beauty.” (Courtesy, MOHAI, the Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: In 1852 many of Seattle’s first pioneers removed from Alki Point by dugout canoe for the deeper and safer harbor along the east shore of Elliott Bay (our central waterfront). About a half-century later any hope or expectation that the few survivors among these pioneers could readily visit Alki Beach and Point by land were fulfilled with the timber quays and bridges along Spokane Street. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: Built in 1893, West Seattle School kept teaching until ruined by the region’s 1949 earthquake. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)

THEN: The Gatewood Craftsman Lodge was built on a road, in a neighborhood, and near a public school all named for the developer Carlisle Gatewood, who also lived in the neighborhood. The three women posing in the third floor’s open windows are the Clark sisters, Jean, Dorothy and Peggy, members of the family that moved into the home in the late 1930s.

THEN: Included among the several detailed photos taken for the Bernards of their new and yet rustic Fir Lodge, was this one of the living room with its oversized fireplace and the piano on which Marie, their older daughter, learned to play well enough to concertize. (Courtesy Doris Nelson)

THEN: Totem Place, at 1750 Palm Ave. S.W., was home for Joseph Standley proprietor of Ye Old Curiosity Shop on Colman Dock. His death notice in The Seattle Times for Oct. 25, 1940 described the 86-year-old “Daddy” Standley as “almost as much a part of Seattle’s waterfront as the waves that dash again the seaweall.” =========

First appeared in The Times on 7-24-1988
First appeared in The Times on 7-24-1988

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First appeared in Pacific, Jan. 9, 2000.
First appeared in Pacific, Jan. 9, 2000.

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First appeared in Pacific, January 23, 2000.
First appeared in Pacific, January 23, 2000.

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First appeared in Pacific April 10, 1994.
First appeared in Pacific April 10, 1994.

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p ALKI PYLON TIDY-UP#5 copy

One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: Hanson Avenue, 1913”

  1. Well, Puget Sound does have a little bit less electrical storm activity than other parts of the world, such as Florida. I remember one sunny day at home at Kent East Hill I heard the very loud sound of grinding metal. I didn’t know what it was, but soon found out it was a thunder storm. Once it finally got safe to go back outside, I found that month’s National Geographic in the mail box. In it was an article about thunder storms, and it said, “Western Washington hardly has any lightning storms.” Careful what you declare. Even more strange was the letters column reacting to this issue a few months later. Someone else from Seattle related the same experiences I had that day. Small world.

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