Seattle Now & Then: Delta Gamma on the Ave

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The first house for Delta Gamma at N.E. 4730 University Way. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
THEN: The first house for Delta Gamma at N.E. 4730 University Way. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: The literate developers of the recently constructed Lothlorien Apartments got their place name from fantasist J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”
NOW: The literate developers of the recently constructed Lothlorien Apartments got their place name from fantasist J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”
A Google Earth detail of the feature block frames with a detail from the 1905 Sanborn Map. Delta Gamma has been marked with a red frame. (Courtesy Ron Edge)
A Google Earth detail of the feature block frames with a detail from the 1905 Sanborn Map. Delta Gamma has been marked with a red frame. Click-Click to Enlarge. (Courtesy Ron Edge)

The designers and/or carpenters of this slender house may have taken care to give its front porch a stairway both wide and high enough to pose a large group portrait, perhaps of Delta Gamma Sorority’s charter membership.  It was the first local sorority to receive a charter from a national organization. The lobbying, which began in 1900, was rewarded on May 15, 1903, the last day of Delta Gamma’s annual convention held that year in Wisconsin.  One year later the coeds were living here at 4730 University Way.

 

From The Seattle Times for May 18 , 1903
From The Seattle Times for May 18 , 1903. BELOW, group portrait of member in 1904.

xx-montage-dela-gamma-girls-grab-web2

The Times Oct. 26, 1907 report on a reception given by Delta Gamma to the school faculty is a sign of the important role this sorority, and others, played in the social and ceremonial life of the University.
The Times Oct. 26, 1907 report on a reception given by Delta Gamma to the school faculty is a sign of the convivial  role this sorority, and others, played in the social and ceremonial life of the University.

The Greek letters Delta and Gamma are signed on the tower of the featured photo at the top, which seems otherwise useless, since there is neither room enough nor light for either a crow’s nest study or a co-ed’s bed chamber. The photograph’s source, the Museum of History and Industry, gives this University District scene an annum of 1904. The neighborhood was then still more likely referred to either as Brooklyn or University Station.  The latter was named after or for the trolley that carried students and faculty to the new university from their remote residences in spread-out Seattle.  The former was the name first given the neighborhood by James Moore, Seattle’s super developer, in 1890, the year the future University District was first successfully platted.  There was then no knowledge of the coming surprise: the University of Washington.  The name Brooklyn was embraced as a cachet pointing to another suburb (Brooklyn) that also looked across water (the East River) to another metropolis (New York.)

A Post-Intelligencer clipping from December 1, 1890
A Post-Intelligencer clipping from December 1, 1890
From The Seattle Press, Dec. 1, 1890
From The Seattle Press, Dec. 1, 1890

Columbus Avenue was the name that Moore gave to the future University Way.  This was soon dropped for 14th Avenue, until 1919 when the University Commercial Club joined the neighborhood’s newspaper, the University Herald, to run a contest for a new name, which University Way easily won. Brooklyn Avenue and 14th Avenue were Seattle’s first fraternity/sorority rows.  In early December of 1904, the Seattle Times reported, “The Beta Chapter of the Delta Gamma Sorority of the state university gave a dancing party at its new clubhouse on Fourteenth Ave. N.E. Friday.”

The rear facade of Delta Gamma shows on the left in another photograph taken by the Webster Stevens Studio and used here courtesy of the Museum of History and Industry. Kappa Kappa Gamma, the primary subject here is mid-block on the west side of 15th Ave. East. The montage of Secret Societies included below dates from Sept 10, 1905. It show a new home for Delta Gamma, most likely on the east side of 14th Ave. aka "The Ave." (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
The rear facade of Delta Gamma shows on the left in another photograph taken by the Webster Stevens Studio and used here courtesy of the Museum of History and Industry. Kappa Kappa Gamma, the primary subject here is mid-block on the west side of 15th Ave. East. The montage of Secret Societies included below dates from Sept 10, 1905. It show a new home for Delta Gamma, most likely on the east side of 14th Ave. aka “The Ave.” (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
A page from The Times for Sept. 10, 1905. Note the new home for Delta Gamma, bottom-center.
A page from The Times for Sept. 10, 1905. Note the new home for Delta Gamma, bottom-center of the above montage, and below on its own.. CLICK CLICK to ENLARGE

x-delta-gamma

A Seattle Times clipping from August 21, 1916.
A Seattle Times clipping from August 21, 1916.

University Way, especially, was a sign of the city’s and its university’s then manic growth.  Other Greeks soon joined the co-eds of Delta Gamma at addresses north of N.E. 45th Street in Moore’s then new and only two-block-wide University Heights Addition, which had  been platted in 1899.  Seven years later, and directly to the east of University Heights, Moore opened his much larger University Park

Looking southeast toward the Cascades and Mt. Rainier.
Looking southeast toward the Cascades and Mt. Rainier. [CLICK CLICK to ENLARGE]

Addition.  In this 1904 featured look east from the Ave. we can see that University Park is still a forest.  After 1906 it was increasingly stocked with homes for the University of Washington’s growing faculty and Greek community. Many of the students’ ‘secret societies’ first got their start in University Heights, often in mansion-sized houses larger than Delta Gamma’s, which were profitably let go for the developing businesses along University Way.  Typically the Greek houses eventually moved to nearby University Park.

On the left, Delta Gamma's new home in 1916, and a century later, on the right. It was this structure that was arranged for use by the Russian House years after it had been moved across 25th Avenue, where it survives.
On the left, Delta Gamma’s new home in 1916, and a century later, on the right. It was this structure that was arranged for use as the Russian House years after it was  moved across 21st Avenue, where it survives.
News of the Russian House from The Times for August 2, 1963.
News of the Russian House from The Times for August 2, 1963.

After several moves, in 1916 Delta Gamma reached its present location at the northwest corner of NE 45th Street and 21st Avenue NE in 1916.  Twenty years later it ‘moved’ again while staying put.  In 1936 the sorority’s house was sold and rolled across 21st Avenue from the northwest corner with NE 45th Street to the northeast corner to become the house for the Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity.  It was later named the Russian House, for its popular Russian studies and “Russian Only” rule.  Across 21st Avenue, NE. at the recently vacated northwest corner, the sorority built again, this time the grand Arthur Loveless-designed 80-year-old Delta Gamma house. In sum the sorority has now held to this corner for a century.  

From The Times for April 16, 1937.
Above: From The Times for April 16, 1937.
From The Times for September 1, 1936.
From The Times for September 1, 1936.
Pulled from The Seattle Times for November 23, 1936.
Pulled from The Seattle Times for November 23, 1936.
The north shore of Lake Union circa 1898.
The north shore of Lake Union circa 1898.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, guys?  Yup Jean – from the neighborhood where once we sometimes hung out, and the greater neighborhood where we still live with our lakes.   First Ron Edge comes up with about twenty links (again, all of which have their  own links, which inevitably include some duplicates), and I will follow Ron’s list with another string of clips – sometime after I have walked the dog.  It is now 3:54 AM.  And so depending on Guido’s performance, I may wait until tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon to add the promised string.

THEN: With great clouds overhead and a landscape 45 years shorter than now, one vehicle – a pickup heading east – gets this part of State Route 520 to itself on a weekday afternoon. (courtesy Lawton Gowey)

This rare glimpse of the rapid Ravenna Creek’s fall through Cowen Park was photographed not long before the stream that had had “topped off” Green Lake into Lake Washington’s Union Bay for thousands of years was shut off in 1911. (Photo courtesy of Jim Westall)

THEN: When it was built in 1902, this box home, with classic Ionic pillars at the porch, was set above the northwest corner of the freshly graded Brooklyn Avenue and 47th Street in the University District. (Courtesy, John Cooper)

THEN: First designated Columbus Street in the 1890 platting of the Brooklyn Addition, and next as 14th Avenue to conform with the Seattle grid, ‘The Ave,’ still its most popular moniker, was renamed University Way by contest in 1919. This trim bungalow at 3711 University Way sat a few lots north of Lake Union’s Portage Bay. (Courtesy, Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Regional Archive)

THEN: On March 25, 1946, or near it, Wide World Photos recorded here what they titled “University Vet Housing.” It would soon be named the Union Bay Village and house the families of returning veterans. The first 45 bungalows shown here rented for from $35 to $45 dollars a month. It would increase to a “teeming conglomerate of 500 rental units.” With housing for both married students and faculty. The view looks north over a street that no longer exists. The homes on the right horizon face the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail on N.E. Blakeley Street near N.E. 45th Place. (Courtesy Ron Edge)

THEN: The Gothic University of Washington Campus in 1946 beginning a seven-year crowding with prefabricated dormitories beside Frosh Pond. In the immediate background [on the right] is Guggenheim Hall. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: The historical view looks directly south into the Latona addition’s business district on Sixth Ave. NE. from the Northern Pacific’s railroad bridge, now part of the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Roosevelt Way bustling after the war. This subject first appeared in The Seattle Times on July 7, 1946. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: sliver of the U.W. campus building called the Applied Physics Laboratory appears on the far right of this 1940 look east towards the U.W. campus from the N.E. 40th Street off-ramp from the University Bridge. While very little other than the enlarged laboratory survives in the fore and mid-grounds, much on the horizon of campus buildings and apartments still stand. (Courtesy, Genevieve McCoy)

THEN: When the Oregon Cadets raised their tents on the Denny Hall lawn in 1909 they were almost venerable. Founded in 1873, the Cadets survive today as Oregon State University’s ROTC. Geneticist Linus C. Pauling, twice Nobel laureate, is surely the school’s most famous cadet corporal. (courtesy, University of Washington Libraries)

THEN: Above Lake Washington’s Union Bay the Hoo-Hoo Building on the left and the Bastion facsimile on the right, were both regional departures from the classical beau arts style, the 1909 AYPE’s architectural commonplace. Courtesy John Cooper

THEN: An estimated 50 percent of the materials used in the old Husky Union Building were recycled into its recent remodel. The new HUB seems to reach for the roof like its long-ago predecessor, the AYP’s landmark Forestry building. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: For the four-plus months of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the center of commerce and pedestrian energy on University Way moved two blocks south from University Station on Northeast 42nd Street to here, Northeast 40th Street, at left.

https://sherrlock.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/wash-state-bldg-then-mr1.jpg?w=696&h=397

One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: Delta Gamma on the Ave”

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