Seattle Now & Then: Music at Commercial and Main

(Click to enlarge photos)

tHEN: An unidentified brass band poses at the intersection of Commercial Street (First Ave S.) and Main Street during the 1883 celebration for the completion of the transcontinental Northern Pacific Railroad.
THEN: An unidentified brass band poses at the intersection of Commercial Street (First Ave S.) and Main Street during the 1883 celebration for the completion of the transcontinental Northern Pacific Railroad.
NOW: The Seattle quintet Pineola (pronounced Piney-ola) also poses two blocks south of Pioneer Square at our oldest neighborhood’s intersection of First Ave. South and Main Street. L-R: John Owen, Josh Woods, Dirk Lebsack, Leslie Braly, and Ed Brooks. Their second album, Ordinary Things, was released on June 3rd.
NOW: The Seattle quintet Pineola (pronounced Piney-ola) also poses two blocks south of Pioneer Square at our oldest neighborhood’s intersection of First Ave. South and Main Street. L-R: John Owen, Josh Woods, Dirk Lebsack, Leslie Braly, and Ed Brooks. Their second album, Ordinary Things, was released on June 3rd.

[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.” 

 

The flip side of the featured photo, from MOHAI's old McDonald Collection,
The flip side of the featured photo, No. 2495-N from MOHAI’s ‘Old McDonald’ Collection, furthers, or introduced, the mistake that the band posing is Wagner’s.  As the stamp reveals the collector/contributor, Ralph B.McDonald was a local insurance salesman.   Fortunately, he was also a history buff a good ways beyond the  bluff.   His collection is rich with the classics he collected and preserved in the early 20th Century.   McDonald’s  few mistakes are more than forgiven, as, we hope, ours are.  McDonald did a lot of slide-show lecturing around town, and also wrote an occasional essay  for publication.   

 

Another print of Villard's Visit used courtesy of the Museum of History & Industry, its McDonald Collection, showing the same unidentified band this time posing in front of the New Brunswick Hotel, aka the Squire Opera House.
Another print of Villard’s Visit used courtesy of the Museum of History & Industry, its McDonald Collection, showing the same unidentified band this time posing in front of the New Brunswick Hotel, aka the Squire Opera House.  The hotel was on the east side of Commercial Street (First Ave. S.), closer to Main Street (of-frame to the right) than to Washington Street.  A year earlier in 1882 it was the primary venue for welcoming and entertaining Pres. Harrison during his visit to Seattle.
The New Brunswick on another day, taken again from the intersection of Main Street and Commercial Avenue.
The Brunswick on another day, taken again from the intersection of Main Street and Commercial Avenue.
A Hotel Brunswick ad from the Sept 15, 1883 issue of the Post-Intelligencer.
A Hotel Brunswick ad from the Sept 15, 1883 issue of the Post-Intelligencer.

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.

The University of Washington decorated for the Villard visit.
The University of Washington decorated for the Villard visit.
The bedecked Arlington Hotel at the southeast corner of Main St. and Commercial St. during the Villard visit of 1883.
The bedecked Arlington Hotel at the southeast corner of Main St. and Commercial St. during the Villard visit of 1883.

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 campus barbaceu photographed from the main UW building.
The campus Villiard picnic  photographed from the main UW building.

clip-Gillen-Salmon-on-Campus-1883-web

The Villard visit celebration arch erected at the head of Commercial Street where it originates at Mill Street, (Yesler Way). The view looks north from mid-block between Mill and Washington. Photo by Peiser. Courtesy MOHAI.
The Villard visit celebration arch erected at the head of Commercial Street where it originates at Mill Street, (Yesler Way). The view looks north from mid-block between Mill and Washington. Photo by Peiser. Courtesy MOHAI.   The northwest corner of the then new Yesler-Leary  Building is seen above the arch and to right.   We will include near the bottom (after the Edge Links) a description of buildings basement bar in 1883.  It is most revealing of the ‘manly culture’ of the time.  (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry, MOHAI)

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.”  

2. Forestry-Bldg-with-Pop-Wagner's-bandWEB

First appeared in Pacific May 19, 1996.
First appeared in Pacific May 19, 1996.
 Again, Wagner above, and Mahler below. Both on campus.

Again, Wagner above, and Mahler below. Both on campus.

z-MAHLER'S-BAND-at-Quad-springtime-1996-web

Above: Kurt Armbruster sides by two of the three namesakes for this blog, together wearing in proper order the colors of the Swiss flag, while waiting for chowder at Ivar's Salmon House. BELOW: The beating tail of Wagner's marching band heading south on Second Ave. at Madison Street during a Potlatch parade.
Above: “Before Seattle Rocked” author Kurt Armbruster sided by two of the three namesakes for this blog,  wearing in proper order the colors of the Swiss national flag, while waiting for chowder at Ivar’s Salmon House. BELOW: The beating tail of Wagner’s marching band heading south on Second Ave. at Madison Street during a Potlatch parade.

z-Potlatch-Parade-flower-float-Madison-2nd-w-Drummer-Wagner's-band-web

WEB EXTRAS

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.

THEN: Frank Shaw’s pre-preservation visit to First Avenue South on February 26, 1961. He looks north from Main Street. (photo by Frank Shaw)

When compared to most city scenes relatively little has changed in his view west on Main Street from First Avenue South in the century-plus between them. (Historical photo courtesy of Lawton Gowey)

Then: The Pacific House, behind the line-up of white-gloved soldiers, might have survived well into the 20th Century were it not destroyed during Seattle’s Great Fire of 1889. Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry

THEN: The Lebanon aka Jesse George building at Occidental and Main opened with the Occidental Hotel in 1891. Subsequently the hotel’s name was changed first to the Touraine and then to the Tourist. The tower could be seen easily from the railroad stations. It kept the name Tourist until replaced in 1960 with a parking lot. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN:In late 1855 the citizens of Seattle with help from the crew of the Navy sloop-of-war Decatur built a blockhouse on the knoll that was then still at the waterfront foot of Cherry Street. The sloop’s physician John Y. Taylor drew this earliest rendering of the log construction. (Courtesy, Yale University, Beinecke Library)

THEN: At Warshal's Workingman's Store a railroad conductor, for instance, could buy his uniform, get a loan, and/or hock his watch. Neighbors in 1946 included the Apollo Cafe, the Double Header Beer Parlor, and the Circle Theatre, all on Second Avenue.

THEN: Local candy-maker A.W. Piper was celebrated here for his crème cakes and wedding cakes and also his cartoons. This sketch is of the 1882 lynching from the Maple trees beside Henry and Sara Yesler’s home on James Street. Piper’s bakery was nearby (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: Seen here in 1887 through the intersection of Second Avenue and Yesler Way, the Occidental Hotel was then easily the most distinguished in Seattle. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: The original for this scene of a temporary upheaval on Mill Street (Yesler Way) was one of many historical prints given to the Museum of History and Industry many years ago by the Charles Thorndike estate. Thorndike was one of Seattle’s history buffs extraordinaire. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)

THEN: The Terry-Denny Building, better known in its earlier years as Hotel Northern, was part of the grand new Pioneer Place (or Square) neighborhood built up in the early 1890s after the old one was reduced to ashes by Seattle's Great Fire of 1889.

THEN: For the first twenty years of his more than 40 years selling tinware and other selected hardware, Zilba Mile's shop looked south across Yesler Way down First Ave. S, then known as Commercial Street.

THEN: In Lawton Gowey’s 1961 pairing, the Smith Tower (1914) was the tallest building in Seattle, and the Pioneer Square landmark Seattle Hotel (1890) had lost most of its top floor. (by Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Between the now lost tower of the Pioneer Building, seen in part far left, and the Seattle Electric Steam Plant tower on the right, are arranged on First and Railroad Avenues the elaborate buzz of business beside and near Seattle’s Pioneer Square ca. 1904.

THEN: 1934 was one of the worst years of the Great Depression. This look north on Third Avenue South through Main Street and the Second Avenue South Extension was recorded on Thursday, April 19th of that year. Business was generally dire, but especially here in this neighborhood south of Yesler Way where there were many storefront vacancies. (Courtesy Ron Edge)

THEN: Sitting on a small triangle at the odd northwest corner of Third Avenue and the Second Ave. S. Extension, the Fiesta Coffee Shop was photographed and captioned, along with all taxable structures in King County, by Works Progress Administration photographers during the lingering Great Depression of the late 1930s. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive’s Puget Sound Branch)

 ————–===========—————-=========== —————-

THE BAR in the BASEMENT of the YESLER-LEARY BUILDING

CLIP Yesler-Leary-bldg-WEB

clip-YESLER-LEARY,-Chronicle,-8231883-Yesler-Leary-Blocks-basement-WEB-

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s