Seattle Now & Then: Third and Seneca

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Seattle’s new – in 1910-11 – cluster-ball street lighting standards stand tall in this ca. 191l look north on Third Avenue from Seneca Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)
THEN: Seattle’s new – in 1910-11 – cluster-ball street lighting standards stand tall in this ca. 1911 look north on Third Avenue from Seneca Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)
NOW: After the Savoy Hotel was imploded in 1986, the popular 1201 Third Avenue Building (1988), formerly the Washington Mutual Tower. reached its locally “second highest” status at fifty-five stories and 772 feet.
NOW: After the Savoy Hotel was imploded in 1986, the popular 1201 Third Avenue Building (1988), formerly the Washington Mutual Tower. reached its locally “second highest” status at fifty-five stories and 772 feet.

The pedestrians ‘posing’ here seem selected for their silhouettes and artful stepping.  The view looks northwest from the southeast corner of Seneca Street and Third Avenue.  If I have correctly figured the snuggled clues, this was recorded in 1910 or perhaps 1911.  Why the Webster and Stevens Studio photographer snapped this street scene, I don’t know.  But the brickwork itself is impressive enough to warrant a portrait.  The new pavement came with the 1906-07 Third Avenue Regrade, which lowered Third Avenue a full story here at Seneca.  Because of the city’s manic growth, the regrading was easily boosted by Seattle’s Public Works Department.       

The Third Avenue Regrade looking northwest thru Third Ave's southeast corner of Third's intersection with University Street and
The Third Avenue Regrade looking northwest thru the southeast corner of Third’s intersection with University Street.   Plymouth Congregational Church at the northeast corner gets more attention below.

The Post-Intelligencer for June 24, 1906, explained it. “The Third and Fourth Avenue regrades are the outgrowth of the wonderful expansion of Seattle’s retail business. With First and Second Avenue congested the retail trade must spread, and it was the judgment of property owners along those streets that the leveling of them with the accompanying reduction for the approaching grades for First and Second would make them desirable for business purposes.”  We may say the same for the purposes of spiritual economics.

 

To ENLARGE for READING click twice!!
To ENLARGE for READING click twice!!  And keep clicking below.

clip-church-row-p-2-7-11-82-web

Anothere
Another feature showing the line-up of Presbyterians and Methodists interrupted by the Stacy Mansion at the northeast corner of Third and Marion.   This second but similar approach also includes, far-left, the corner  facade of the Third Avenue Theatre at the northeast corner of Third and Madison.  This feature is a confession, as well, of how we have sometimes returned to subjects through the now 34 years (and hopefully still counting) life of the now-and-then feature.
Appeared first in The Times for December 16, 1984.
Appeared first in The Times for December 16, 1984.  (CLICK CLICK)

Before the regrade, Third Avenue had developed into a “Church Row,” with sanctuaries tended by Methodists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and biggest of them all, the Congregationalists.  The landmark tower of Plymouth Congregational Church (1891) is seen in part in the featured photo at the top. far-right at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and University Street.  Although less than twenty years old, it is waiting to be razed for an even larger secular sanctuary, the terra-cotta clad Pantages Theatre.  [The next-to-last of the Edge Links, no. 17 – although we have not numbered them, as such –  included here below the main feature, concentrates on the Pantages.]  With the gaining commercial status of Third Avenue, Lutherans, Methodists, Catholics and Presbyterians sold their sacred footprints and moved away to cheaper corners, most of them nearby. 

The week's featured photo set beside a detail from the 1912 Baist real estate and fire insurance map.
The week’s featured photo set beside a detail from the 1912 Baist real estate and fire insurance map. (CLICK CLICK to ENLARGE)
Both the earlier Pantages at the northeast corner of Seneca and Second Avenue and construction work on the new one at the northeast corner of University and Third Avenue are on show here - along with the Hotel Savoy on the east side of Second Avenue mid-block between Seneca and University streets. Note that the Reeves home at the northwest corner of Third and Seneca has been razed and replaced with a two story brick business block. Like the featured photo this is another from MOHAI and its Webster and Stevens Studio collection.
Both the earlier Pantages at the northeast corner of Seneca and Second Avenue and construction work on the new one at the northeast corner of University and Third Avenue are on show here – along with the Hotel Savoy on the east side of Second Avenue mid-block between Seneca and University streets. Note, far-right, that the Reeves home at the northwest corner of Third and Seneca has been razed and replaced with a two story brick business block. Like the featured photo, this is another from MOHAI and its Webster and Stevens Studio collection.

The ascending skyline here is the most obvious concretion of the city’s growth.  Hotel Savoy, midblock on the east side of Second Avenue, was built in 1905-06 to a height of eight floors but then soon pushed higher to the dozen seen here.  The seven-floor Eilers Music House, on the right at the northwest corner of Third and University, was first named the D.S. Johnston Bldg. for its founder, a piano salesman extraordinaire.  For its summer opening in 1907 Johnston stocked the building with what he promised “is the largest shipment of high-grade pianos ever made west of Chicago.  We unhesitatingly predict that this … will mean the greatest sale of pianos ever witnessed in the United States.”  The full-page ad below includes an etching of Johnston’s “Magnificent New” building at the northwest corner of University and Third, the building showing left-of-center in the featured photo at the top.   The caption reads “The magnificent new D.S.Johnston Co. Building, at Third Avenue and University Street, will not only be the largest but also the finest music emporium in the West – arranged and equipped with every modern facility for the up-to-date and economical retailing of high-grade Pianos and Musical Instruments.”

From The Seattle Times for August 11, 1907. CLICK TWICE to Read.
From The Seattle Times for August 11, 1907. CLICK TWICE to Read.

The big frame house left-of-center, with the address 1203 Third Avenue, William H. Reeves family probably in the early 1880s.   Here it is enterprisingly fronted with brick storefronts, an enriching practice that  was typical of many other big homes in Seattle’s developing business strips during the booming growth years of the Yukon Gold Rush and after.  At the time of the photo, the Reeves are

A detail from the 1890 Polk Directory identifying the Reeves as the residents at 1203 Third.
A detail from the 1890 Polk Directory identifying the Reeves as the residents at 1203 Third.
A clip from The Times for June 2, 1900 with news of the Reeves home's sale.
A clip from The Times for June 2, 1900 with news of the Reeves home’s sale.
In 1897, the year this ad was run in The Times of Dec. 7, for the Christmas toy trade, Reeves, the prexy of the Seattle Doll Manufacturing Company was still living at the northwest corner of Seneca and Third. The company's veep, the banker Dexter Horton, was Reeves neighbor living on the northeast corner of the same intersection.
In 1897, the year this ad was run in The Times of Dec. 7 for the Christmas toy trade, William Reeves, the prexy of the Seattle Doll Manufacturing Company, was still living at the northwest corner of Seneca and Third. The company’s veep and Reeves neighbor, the banker Dexter Horton, lived on the northeast corner of the same intersection.

no longer living at the corner.  This cosmopolitan retail row includes a French dry cleaners, a shop selling post cards,  and at the corner, the Beautiful Orient Store where an ad in The Times (below) advises “all the latest styles of silk and crepe Kimonos” can be had and on sale.  As witness to neighborhood’s cosmopolitan touches, in the featured photo at the top, a sign at the corner points down Seneca Street to the San Francisco Kosher Restaurant.

x-beautiful-orient-store-ad-st-2-27-14-web

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, boys?  Surely Jean, Ron starts his Edge Links with a look north of Third Avenue with the “biggest brick church in town” filling the northeast corner of University Street and Third Avenue, and so one block north of Seneca.   We will prelude Ron’s contribution with three other photos that show the Plymouth Congregational sanctuary in times before, during and after the Third Avenue Regrade of 1906-7.

THE THIRD AVENUE REGRADE, BEFORE – DURING – AFTER: Looking north from near the corner of Third and Spring

Third Ave. at it old grade as it moves north towards Denny Hill and its namesake Hill in the 1890s recorded from Seneca Street on
Third Ave. at its old grade moving north towards Denny Hill and its namesake Hotel in the 1890s.

clip-denny-hotl-3rd-regrade-n-fm-spring-06-web

post-third-ave-n-fm-spring-st-web

==========================

follows, EIGHTEEN EDGE LINKS, all for unfolding with a click!

THEN: Looking north from Seneca Street on Third Avenue during its regrade in 1906. (Photo by Lewis Whittelsey, Courtesy of Lawton Gowey)

THEN: In the 32 years between Frank Shaw's dedication picture and Jean Sherrard's dance scene, Freeway Park has gained in verdure what it has lost in human use.

THEN: Where last week the old Washington Hotel looked down from the top of Denny Hill to the 3rd Ave. and Pine St. intersection, on the left, here the New Washington Hotel, left of center and one block west of the razed hotel, towers over the still new Denny Regrade neighborhood in 1917. (Historical photo courtesy of Ron Edge)

THEN: An early-20th-century scene during the Second Avenue Regrade looks east into its intersection with Virginia Avenue. A home is being moved from harm's way, but the hotel on the hill behind it would not survive the regrade's spoiling. Courtesy of Ron Edge.

THEN: Sometime between early December 1906 and mid-February 1907 an unnamed photographer with her or his back about two lots north of Pike Street recorded landmarks on the east side of Third Avenue including, in part, the Washington Bar stables, on the right; the Union Stables at the center, a church converted for theatre at Pine Street, and north of Pine up a snow-dusted Denny Hill, the Washington Hotel. (Used courtesy of Ron Edge)

THEN: Looking north from Columbia Street over the construction pit for the Central Building. On the left is a rough section of the Third Avenue Regrade in the spring of 1907. (Courtesy, MOHAI)

THEN: Looking north-northeast from a low knoll at the southwest corner of Seneca Street and Seventh Avenue, circa 1916. By 1925, a commercial automobile garage filled the vacant lot in the foreground. [Courtesy, Ron Edge]

tsutakawa-1967-then

THEN: With the stone federal post office at its shoulder – to the left – and the mostly brick Cobb Building behind, the tiled Pantages Theatre at Third Ave. and University Street gave a glow to the block. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: As explained in the accompanying story the cut corner in this search-lighted photo of the “first-nighters” lined up for the March 1, 1928 opening of the Seattle Theatre at 9th and Pine was intended. Courtesy Ron Phillips

2 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Third and Seneca”

  1. Perhaps the largest change between the two photos at this spot is something unseen: the downtown bus (and now light rail) tunnel and station that serves thousands of daily transit riders. I wonder what the area looked like in the late 80s when the station box was being dug from the surface.

  2. I think I remember one of those little storefronts on Seneca was a place selling magic tricks; cards, supplies and such. Neat little place packed full. At least it was in the 60’s – 70’s?

Leave a Reply