Seattle Now & Then: Sea View Hall

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: In 1954, the then 50-year-old Sea View Hall featured swinging, wooden “logoglyph”-style letters to proclaim its name, next to a large television antenna. (Photo from MOHAI, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, 1986.5.9199.1.)
NOW: Terry Mann, proprietor (with partner Glen Poor) of Sea View Hall, now an online short-term rental, displays a welcome sign made from beach wood by her daughter, Margie Almario, at West Seattle High School five years ago. (Photo by Clay Eals)

Back when the beaches of West Seattle offered a remote respite from the raucous rebuilding of downtown Seattle, an outpouring of tents, shacks, camps and cottages welcomed visitors for a salty stay. One of the sturdiest of these was in the neighborhood called South Alki, now more plainly Beach Drive. This unique structure was – and still is — called Sea View Hall.  It was not really a hall and didn’t sport a view of the sea. But the no-less compelling vision from this 1904 vertical-log home was of Puget Sound, a vista that remains today from the second and third floors over the rooftops of houses that sit closer to the water’s edge.

First appears in The Times on January 23, 2000.

One year after its 1904 construction in then-unincorporated King County, it hosted “one of the dainty weddings of the season,” the bride being Marguerite Rose Maurer, daughter of the builder, John Mauer. as reported in the Nov. 5, 1905, Seattle Sunday Times, “The house, which is one of the prettiest on the point, was elaborately decorated and lighted only by candles.”  With its “Adirondike styled logs set vertical rather than horizontal like the “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House museum.  The Lodge and the Museum, with the rustic Bernard Mansion (long the Homestead Restaurant), are Alki Point’s three surviving log houses.

The South Alki trolley stop. See its feature below.
The beach south of Alki Point photographed by Robert Bradley on May 4, 1964. Bradley also recorded the time of day on his slide. It was two in the afternoon. Search, if you like, the highest elevation in Seattle, marked by the two water tanks on the left horizon. (CLICK to ENLARGE)
A ca. 1930 Laidlaw Aerial of Alki Point looking southeast to the South Alki neighborhood on the far right. (Courtesy, the Museum of History and Industry)  CLICK TO ENLARGE

The Sea View Lodge soon became a cherished landmark on South Alki warranting its own colored postcard.  One example kept in the archive of the Log House Museum and dated June 17, 1911, reads invitingly “This is a good town having parties here every week.  Big time here on the 4th, firing up the street already.”

The Stockade Hotel at Alki Beach Drive and 63rd Ave. SW, stood where the trolley along Alki Beach first made its turn south to South Alki in 1908.  By then the hotel and “chicken dinner house” was seven years old.  It seems possible, perhaps even likely, that the Stockade’s vertical log construction help inspired John Maurer to choose the Adirondike style for his family’s South Alki Log landmark.  

Our featured “then” photo dates from 1954, five years before Benny Goltz with her two sisters moved into the Hall when their mother, Margaret, acquired it.  Benny recalls, the place was then nearly “falling down” so much that banks wouldn’t loan her mother money to purchase it. But “Mom fell in love with it,” tapped her savings and hired a carpenter to return again and again to “straighten it up.”  Benny was married at Sea View Hall in February 1968.

Somewhere on Alki, ca. 1910.

This week’s feature is our return to Sea View Hall, having first marked it with the postcard photo for a “now and then” on Jan. 23, 2000. (Its is printed here three or more illustrations up.) We revived our interest because after years of careful restoration and renovation of the Hall and its colorful grounds, it is ready for its starring role in the annual “If These Walls Could Talk” home tour of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. The tour will be both a wonderfully unique exploration of Sea View Lodge and a fundraiser for the 33-year-old organization that promotes the heritage of the West Seattle peninsula and operates from aforementioned log house-turned-museum.   Runs from 3 to 5 p.m. next Sunday, June 4, rain or shine. The South Alki address for Sea View Lodge, 4004 Chilberg Avenue, is fittingly one block off  the beach and Weather Watch Park.

Porch Hanging on Alki Point, this one site across Stevens Street from the Log Cabin front door.

Those attending (by $10 donation for members, $15 non-members) will be welcomed by proprietors Terry Mann and Glen Poor, as well as volunteer researchers and greeters including Ann McClary, Sandie Wilkinson, Dora-Faye Hendricks, Bobbie Meehan, Molly McNees, Brad Chrisman, Bethany Green, Mary Beth Hatfield. Displays will detail the history of the home and its once-quaint tourist surroundings. For those wanting the benefit of a full presentation on Sea View Hall, plus refreshments and old-time ukulele music, a VIP session is on tap earlier in the afternoon. You can learn more at


Climbing on Othello up from South Alki.



Just shot a gathering of West Seattle High School alums on the 100th anniversary of its opening. Another in a long series of Clay Eals extravaganzas he calls “group hugs.”

Here’s a pretty high resolution version for your enjoyment:

Anything to add, fellahs?   Yes Jean and we will begin with a question.  How do you reach these heights?  I know you purchased a new extender pole of 22&1/2-plus feet for you heavy Nikon,  Add to that your about nine-foot reach and perhaps a ladder too, with a wide-angle lens – was that the piggybacking that did it?  Or did Clay deliver a cherry-picker to you?

[JEAN ANSWERS HERE:            ]

Somewhere in the bunch of related features below, most of them from West Seattle, you will find one that looks at the same front facade of West Seattle Hi.  It was graciously shot by Clay Eals years ago – when the story was first published.   It was not the first time that Clay helped out with his camera – or more –  for this feature.  Surely there cannot be many others through the history of West Seattle who have given as much exuberant help to its culture as has this director of the West Seattle Historical Society.   I first met Clay thirty-plus years ago when he was the editor of the West Seattle Herald.  I gave him minor help with preparing Westside Story, his and the newspaper’s illustrated history of the peninsula.  I’ve been fond of him every since.


FIRST a bundle of EDGE CLIPS followed by a few more from ancient features with a reminder from Eda Garena, my mother (also called Cherry) “Repetition is the Mother of All Learning.”  (Note: she may have shared it with Horace.)



RON’S LINKS FIRST, followed by a few OLDER LINKS

THEN: Included among the several detailed photos taken for the Bernards of their new and yet rustic Fir Lodge, was this one of the living room with its oversized fireplace and the piano on which Marie, their older daughter, learned to play well enough to concertize. (Courtesy Doris Nelson)

THEN: Twenty years ago the Mukai Farm and Garden on Vashon Island was designated a King County Landmark. (Courtesy, Vashon Maury Island Heritage Association)

THEN: Looking southeast from above Alki Avenue, the Schmitz Park horizon is serrated by the oldest trees in the city. The five duplexes clustered on the right were built 1919-1921 by Ernest and Alberta Conklin. Ernest died in 1924, but Alberta continued to live there until well past 1932, the year this photograph was recorded. (Seattle Municipal Archives.)

THEN: Looking into West Seattle’s Junction and north on California Ave. SW to its intersection with SW Alaska Street in 1941. The Hamm Building, is seen above the light-colored car, and the Campbell Building is at right, behind the G.O. Guy Drugs sign.


THEN: Built in 1893, West Seattle School kept teaching until ruined by the region’s 1949 earthquake. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)

THEN: Totem Place, at 1750 Palm Ave. S.W., was home for Joseph Standley proprietor of Ye Old Curiosity Shop on Colman Dock. His death notice in The Seattle Times for Oct. 25, 1940 described the 86-year-old “Daddy” Standley as “almost as much a part of Seattle’s waterfront as the waves that dash again the seaweall.”

THEN: The Gatewood Craftsman Lodge was built on a road, in a neighborhood, and near a public school all named for the developer Carlisle Gatewood, who also lived in the neighborhood. The three women posing in the third floor’s open windows are the Clark sisters, Jean, Dorothy and Peggy, members of the family that moved into the home in the late 1930s.

THEN: In 1852 many of Seattle’s first pioneers removed from Alki Point by dugout canoe for the deeper and safer harbor along the east shore of Elliott Bay (our central waterfront). About a half-century later any hope or expectation that the few survivors among these pioneers could readily visit Alki Beach and Point by land were fulfilled with the timber quays and bridges along Spokane Street. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: The Seattle Times in its lengthy coverage of the then new Seattle Steel in the paper’s Magazine Section for Sept. 10, 1905 – the year this photograph was recorded – noted that “the plant itself is a series of strong, substantial, cavernous sheds, built for use, not for beauty.” (Courtesy, MOHAI, the Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: The first Alki Natatorium was built in 1905 at Alki Point eight years before the lighthouse. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)




First appeared in Pacific on October 10, 2004.


First appears in Pacific, May 10, 1994


First appeared in Pacific, October 17, 2004


Fist appeared in Pacific, May 19, 1985  CLICK TO ENLARGE





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