(click to enlarge photos)
We continue last week’s feature about the friendly pioneer priest Father Francis Xavier Prefontaine and his Our Lady of Good Help parish. On October 12, 1904, The Times published what was most likely the last contemporary photograph of the first Our Lady, although the caption, “Old Catholic Church is Being Torn Down” was premature. Nearly one month later, the ladies of Our Lady held a one-day bazaar on November 22 in the “parlors of the church,” where beside serving a “hot home cooked dinner, ” they sold their own “fancy (needle) work … at moderate prices.”
The bazaar was a benefit for Our Lady, but which one? Certainly not for the little Lady first built by Prefontaine’s own hands at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and Washington Street in the late 1860s. It was enlarged in 1882 for the growing congregation. (Shown directly above.) The archdiocese, anxious to build its new cathedral, sold the Our Lady corner lot to the Great Northern Railroad for construction of the south portal of its railroad tunnel beneath the city. At that time a new and nearby Our Lady was in the planning for the southwest corner of Main Street and Fifth Avenue. However, a month before the benefit bazaar, the city’s building department discovered that James Stevens, architect of the new Our Lady, had drawn outside walls for the church that were higher than the thirty-six feet allowed by the fire code. Following the process of what the city’s inspector termed “wrestling with the problem,” the new Our Lady of Good Help wound up not on Main Street but here where it is photographed at the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Jefferson Street. It was close to the old corner, but not as close.
A more comely version of the featured photo first appeared in The Times May 13, 1905, with the header “New Church of Our Lady of Good Help Completed.” (The sizeable power standard on the right was cropped.) The article also noted that “The new edifice will be opened tomorrow with a grand sacred concert … Right Rev. Bishop O’Dea will deliver an address of welcome. The church will be ready for service on Sunday May 21.” By then the two painters in the featured photo at the top working at the corner beside the small gothic window with the curvilinear wooden tracery would surely have completed their brushwork. Weeks later, June 16, 1905, The Times reported that Prefontaine was present for the silver anniversary of Holy Names Academy, noting that he “made a brief address,” for he had “aided in founding the school in 1880.”
Most of his remaining years were spent with his niece Miss Marie Pauze and her piano in their home overlooking Volunteer Park. She later recalled that when the archdiocese moved from Vancouver, WA to Seattle in 1903, the original Our Lady of Good Help at Third and Washington was used for three years as a procathedral while St. James was being built on First Hill. “My uncle didn’t want to leave, but he was the little dog, as we say. He wouldn’t fight, he simply quit.”
Father Prefontaine died in the spring of 1909 of “heart trouble,” a few months after Pope Pius X made him a Monsignor and five years after Seattle’s mayor R.A. Ballinger named Prefontaine Place for him on Christmas Day 1904.
Anything to add, fellahs? Certainly Jean but dawdling. Following Ron’s faithful clip collecting just below, we will not just now add more of our discovering until tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon. It is 5am and time to climb the stairs in remembrance of Bill Burden’s nighty-bears. Thanks Ron and thanks bill.