(click to enlarge photos)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Electrical Storms? above and financial struggles below.
THE WILLIAM and/or KENNETH MORRIS Rose Lodge Month of May Example for 1928 & 1929
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.
4 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Hanson Avenue, 1913”
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.
Hi there, Any chance you recall what map is pictures above for the “A.A. Smith addition” I’m curious what’s happening over in the Central Addition (where I currently live) on 61st (underneath the photo of the Schutt home). Thanks!