(Click to enlarge photos)
[Jean here. As a special treat, we thought we should share a video link to one of our all time favorite Pineola songs! Produced by Trent Siegel -http://www.trentsiegel.com]
With 133 years of local music reverberating between them, this week we compare two bands posing at the intersection of Main Street and First Avenue South. For our contemporary repeat Jean and I chose Pineola, a quintet we know, admire and enjoy. But for the uniformed eighteen brass players in the historical photo, we consulted Seattle author-historian Kurt Armbruster, our mentor in diverse matters, including both the early history of Seattle’s music and railroads. Kurt first offered a complaint that the big drum held in the shadows on the left does not have the band’s name painted on it. Next Kurt dismissed our first assumption that it was Seattle’s most legendary band, Wagner’s. It seemed a reasonable choice because the stickered caption attached to the flip side of the original print reads, “Groups-musical The Town Band on 1st Ave. and Main, Sept. 14, 1883. Wagner’s Band.”
This, Kurt noted, was both too easy and too early, for T.H. “Dad” Wagner did not arrive in Seattle until the peculiarly smoldering day of June 7, 1889, a day after the city’s “great fire.” Instead, the author of Before Seattle Rocked offered us three possible candidates: the Queen City Band, the Seattle Cornet Band and the Carbonado Band. All are listed as playing during, and probably repeatedly for, Seattle’s grand celebration on a late-summer weekend. The city put on a big show when welcoming the Northern Pacific Railroad’s President Henry Villard and his trainload of VIP guests to the last stop on the Northern Pacific’s Inaugural transcontinental run. Because the tracks between the competing cities were not yet laid, they arrived from Tacoma not by train, but on board the steamer, Queen of the Pacific.
Kurt also encouraged us to confirm his own research by repeating it, that is, by reading news coverage of Villard and his entourage’s brief but boisterous visit to Seattle. The Post-Intelligencer of Sunday Sept. 16, 1883, includes a sensational day-after summary of the celebration. “If Seattle was filled with people on Friday, she fairly boiled over yesterday. Talk about Fourth of July, yesterday was Fourth of July with a vengeance.” The Saturday parade “surpassed anything of the kind ever attempted on Puget Sound.” The parade was led by the twenty-piece brass band from Carbonado, the town with Pierce County’s largest coal mine. Later, the Seattle Cornet Band came before a special carriage carrying “Angeline, daughter of old Chief Seattle . . . for whom the ‘Queen City’ was named.” The Queen City Band led the parade’s next division, which began with the fire department’s several apparatuses, followed by more horse-drawn floats, VIP carriages, and a “long line of mud wagons and dump carts, concluding with citizens on horseback and on foot.” Two-miles-long, the procession concluded at the university’s then still downtown campus for grandeloquent speeches, followed by a feast of roasted salmon and steamed clams for the thousands attending.
The parade route was decorated with flags, posters, lines of fir trees arranged to both sides of the parade, and three arches. One of the arches is seen in part in our featured photograph that looks north on Commercial Street (First Ave. S.) through its intersection with Main Street. The Post-Intelligencer described its construction: “For several days workmen have been engaged in putting together this bower of beauty. The arch, or rather arches, of which there are four, are in the form of a square, one facing the entrance from each street, profusely trimmed with evergreens and Chinese lanterns, and studded with bunches of red mountain ash berries.”
Anything to add, guys? LOTS. Ron Edge has put up twenty-seven (27) links to past features from 2008 to now. Most have, again, something to do with the neighborhood, including the first two below that begin at this intersection of Main Street and First Avenue South. At the bottom of this Edge list, nos. 26 & 27 are about music. The first of these touches Town Hall, where Jean has produced now for many years the Rogues Christmas Show, which now regularly puts on stage the original music of Pineola, the band featured here at the top. The last, No. 27, reminds us of Kurt Armbruster and his book on the history of local music (most of it) titled, “Before Seattle Rocked.” Finally, as time allows tonight I’ll fetch more features from the many more years before the blog began (which was about eight years ago), and a few other ephemeral attractions. Please except our good intentions to edit all this tomorrow, most likely after many of you have already read it.
THE BAR in the BASEMENT of the YESLER-LEARY BUILDING