Seattle Now & Then: Broadway and Republican

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The billboard for Karo Syrup is the intended subject in this early 1930s cityscape at the Capitol Hill intersection of Broadway and Republican Street.
NOW: The early twentieth-century frame box at the corner was razed in 1977 for a brick commercial block.
The county tax photo, probably from 1937 when the first WPA illustrated inventory of taxable structures reached Capitol Hill. (Courtesy Washington State Archive)
We were kicked out of the corner box in 1977 when it was razed for this brick retail corner. This is the first tax photo of the change and “must” date from the late 1970s. If memory serves it was Winchell’s that first took the corner. A quarter-century later and it would have been Starbucks, and is.

It was a delightful surprise to come – but not stumble –upon this week’s “then.”  In the mid-1970s I lived on the second floor of this big box at the southeast corner of Broadway and Republican Street.  I shared the space with other instructors and students connected with the nearby Cornish School of the Arts.  (Seattle’s by now celebrated empresario Norm Langill [of both One Real and Teatro ZinZanni] had the attic – and the steep stairway to it.)

Norm Langill at my 40th birthday party in the fall of 1978. By then we had both moved off Broadway.  Bill Burden, then my new roommate, but in the Cascade Neighborhood and not on Broadway, tried to take a portrait of everyone attending the party in the third floor artists’ lofts on the top and Third floor of the American Meter Machine building on Westlake Ave.  Bill Burden is known to some of you as the propagandist-promoter for the good night salutations “Nighty-Bears.”  Bless him.

The featured photo at the top is another of the several 5×7 inch negatives included in a study of billboards and their settings photographed during the years of the Great Depression, from 1929 into the early 1940s. Many of the billboard negatives come with a full day-month-year date, but not our  featured photo.  For guidance we turned next to the property record cards from the 1937 W.P.A. photo-survey.

Another Billboard negative, this one looking south on Broadway from Harrison and especially interested in the billboard on the south side of Thomas. This one is dated Augurst 26, 1940. Fifteen year later Ivar Haglund would remodel the service station on the right into his first Capitol Hill eatery. It featured a mix of Puget Sound seafood, Mexican, Chinese and hamburger menus.
The hamburger grill at Ivar’s on Broadway. The camera looks south across Thomas Street.

The cards show that the narrow vacant lot seen here to the south of our corner lot was developed in 1935 by a jeweler named William Cobb. So our “then” dates from before 1935.  (See the right side of t he ca. 1937 tax photo five cards up.)  Coming with his own sidewalk clock, Cobb lent some class to the block-long collection of often-typical retailers on this east side of Broadway between Harrison and Republican Streets. The strip included a G.O. Guy Drugs, a Diamond 5c to $1.00 Store, a Brehms Delicatessen, the Yoshihard Laundry, Sam Tanneff’s Shoe Repair, John Jone’s Meats and three greengrocers, including the long-time tenant Queen City Grocery here at 434 Broadway. Whatever their age, there is something fresh about the retailers here, both brick and frame.  Between Harrison and Roy Streets they were all – including the big box – dragged east in 1930-31 for the widening and somewhat fussy straightening of Broadway. 

Looking north on Broadway from Harrison St street with the 1931 widening of Broadway a work-in-progress. Note the Broadway Market on the left, and the Pilgrim Congregational Church on the right with its tower topping the northeast corner of Broadway and Republican. That puts our “box rental” at the southeast corner to this side of the church. As a service in this hide-and-seek we’ll include a detail of it below.
(See the caption above.)
The city’s public works photograph took this photo of the work on Broadway on August 25,1931. Again, the subject looks north thru Harrison’s intersection with Broadway. The Pilgrim tower is also showing.
Both our featured box-rental and Pilgrim church appear at the top (center) to either side of Republican Street in a detail from the 1908 Baist Real Estate Map. At that time there was not much else on Block 30 of the Pontius Supplement Addition. It is centered in the map detail.

This week’s featured  “then” was probably photographed soon after the move.  Behind the signed windows upstairs are the offices of a chiropractor and the dentist Dr. J. Marvin Brown.  A mention about Brown from The Times in 1931 is not an advertisement for painless extractions, but news that he was part of the Reception Committee for a Capitol Club Banquet at Pilgrim Congregational Church, located across Republican Street from his office.  The impressive line-up of speakers included the governor, the mayor and the president of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. 

The dentist was probably as well known for his trigger-finger as for his drill.  Brown’s hunting and fishing feats often made the news.  He appeared on the front cover of the Seattle Sunday Times color rotogravure Pictorial for November 7, 1954. (Check out the Times archive, if you will.)  In that precursor of this magazine, Brown cuddles in a still life, with his Springer Spaniel, shotgun and bagged pheasant, beside a rustic barn near the Whitman County village of Hay. 

At early ad for Karo Syrup pulled from a Seattle Times for 1917.

But, of course, at least for the “then” photographer, the intended celebrity here is the billboard for the corn product Karo, a table syrup introduced in 1902 and soon advertised nation-wide as “The Great Spread for Daily Bread.”

From The Seattle Times for Sept. 6, 1928 one of the rare mentions of the Queen City Grocery as the main tenant at the southeast corner of Republican and Broadway during its long stay.  CLICK TWIC TO ENLARGE


Anything to add, les mecs?   Yes Jean, Ron has gathered a sweet collection of relevant features and will attached them below.  I’m quitting, however, off to nighty-bears.  It’s 5:15am.   I’ll add a few more features and bon-bons after my mid-afternoon breakfast later today.   And if time encourages me I’ll put up a few of the thousands of Broadway Bus Stop portraits I snapped  in 1976-77 from the Kitchen Window on the second floor of our rental-box above Peters on Broadway.  I am fond of them.

THEN: Looking south on 10th Avenue E. to the freshly re-paved intersection where Broadway splits into itself and 10th Avenue North in 1932.


THEN: Looking across Capitol Hill’s Broadway Avenue during its 1931adjustments. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: An early portrait, circa 1911, of The Silvian Apartments, one of Capitol Hill’s abiding architectural jewels. (Courtesy, Bill Burden)

THEN: Capitol Hill’s Society Theatre first opened its doors in 1911. This record of it most likely dates from 1920, the first year in which the theatre could have shown the four films promoted with sensational posters near its front doors: the comedy “Mary’s Ankle,” “The Sagebrusher,” a western, “Silk Husbands and Calico Wives,” and “Everywoman,” a feminist allegory appropriately filmed in 1919, on the eve of women’s suffrage in the United States. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Most likely in 1902 Marcus M. Lyter either built or bought his box-style home at the northwest corner of 15th Avenue and Aloha Street. Like many other Capitol Hill addition residences, Lyter's home was somewhat large for its lot.

THEN: The Volunteer Park water tower was completed in 1907 on Capitol Hill’s highest point in aid the water pressure of its service to the often grand homes of its many nearly new neighbors. The jogging corner of E. Prospect Street and 15th Avenue E. is near the bottom of the Oakes postcard. (Historical Photo courtesy Mike Fairley)

Holy Names THEN

THEN: Both the grading on Belmont Avenue and the homes beside it are new in this “gift” to Capitol Hill taken from the family album of Major John Millis. (Courtesy of the Major’s grandchild Walter Millis and his son, a Seattle musician, Robert Millis.)

THEN: Samuel McKnight’s early 1890s panorama of Lake Union also looks north into most of Seattle’s seventeen square-mile annexation of 1891, when the city limits were pushed north from McGraw Street to 85th Street. Fremont, Edgewater, the future Wallingford, Latona, and Brooklyn (University District) were among the neighborhoods included. (Courtesy, Dan Kerlee)

THEN: A carpenter’s jewel with Victorian ornaments recorded by a tax assessor’s photographer in 1936, nestles at 615 Eastlake beside the surviving Jensen Apartments, aka the O’Donnell Building, on the left. (Courtesy Stan Unger)

THEN: The brand new N&K Packard dealership at Belmont and Pike in 1909. Thanks to both antique car expert Fred Cruger for identifying as Packards the cars on show here, and to collector Ron Edge for finding them listed at this corner in a 1909 Post-Intelligencer. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry.)

THEN: Revelers pose on the Masonic Temple stage for “A Night in Old Alexandria,” the Seattle Fine Art Societies annual costume ball for 1921. (Pic courtesy of Arthur “Link” Lingenbrink)



[below]  BROADWAY & REPUBLICAN BUS STOP AS SEEN LOOKING WEST ACROSS BROADWAY FROM OUR KITCHEN WINDOW IN 1976-77  (at the the bottom of these few examples pulled from hundred of snaps we have put a link to a past feature that also included a few of these Broadway candors.)

A look at the Bus Stop at the southwest corner of Republican and Broadway from the north, looking south across Republican, ca. 1976-77.

3 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Broadway and Republican”

  1. Paul, why was your birthday party at the American Meter Company building? Were you living there, or was it the home of a friend?

    Also, please do put up more of your bus stop photos! I love the few that you attached to a previous article about street photography.

    Thank you for adding the extra photos beyond the ST artile. The billboard photos are fantastic, they always have a broad view of the street.

  2. Hi Paul, a quick note of deep thanks for your dedication to your “Now and Then” work, which has become my all-time favorite feature of the Sunday Times. Until moved to send you these thanks, I hadn’t discovered your blog and the treasure trove of pics and reflections into which I can get lost for hours. Born in Seattle and raised in Montlake/Capital Hill, I especially love your Broadway and Republican memories and the bus stop candids (fabulous!!!!). You and I saw each other regularly back then when I was your bank teller at Rainier Bank on Broadway, across the street from The Deluxe Tavern (as it was known then, where I later drank and worked, underage). With you at Cornish, our paths likely crossed there as well (or perhaps at the Jade Pagoda, The Elite, Boondock’s, Charlies, BJ Monkeyshines, or any other of the long-gone, iconic Capital Hill haunts). The city I loved so much then seems gone to me now, except whenever I settle back in to your (and Jean’s Sherrard’s) Sunday offerings. It feels like home–and even a bit like church sometimes. Thank you so much.

    P.S. (We ran into each other several years ago in line at Fred Meyer in Shoreline. After I greeted you by name and reminded you of our history you said the sweetest thing to me, “You look exactly the same and haven’t changed a bit,” which reminded me of why you were always one of my favorite people to see come in the door at the bank. So very kind…)

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