Seattle Now & Then: Queen Anne’s Scenic Conkling Place

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: This wide-angled panorama sights south on Queen Anne Hill from the corner of Conkling Place West and West Bertona Street. On the far left the Fremont bascule bridge is up and open. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: Among the variety of home styles featured among the residences of the Queen Anne Park Addition are both the Spanish Colonial, and the Dutch Colonial, English Tudor and elegant small homes with towers that resemble miniature French castles.

Is it obvious that here is a work-in-progress?  Evidences of a new city addition in the throes of creation include the rough ground cover on the far right.  It is in need of a home.  A meandering clue is the fresh and hardly-stained concrete ribbon that has laid its eccentric path both beyond and behind the line of unfinished homes that cross thru the scene’s center. That the last two or three of the eight or nine homes built here all in a row are the least finished, at least suggests that most of the motorcars parked here belong to carpenters, realtors perhaps more than to prospective buyers.

The nearly new Queen Anne Park Addition revealed in a detail from the city’s 1929 aerial survey. The curving street that extends at the top from a then still patchy West Bertona Street thru the middle of the addition and detail from upper-left is the featured Conkling Place.  You are encouraged to compare these curves to the angles used in the earlier addition and shown in the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map below.

This is Conkling Place, named for the family of pioneer historian Thomas Prosch’s mother, Susan Conkling Prosch.  In the late 1890s Thomas Prosch wrote the Chronological History of Seattle that a century later historylink, the popular on-line encyclopedia of Washington history and heritage, used for the first factoid construction of its webpage.  Although the Prosch mansion was on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill, in the early 20th century the family purchased these acres near the northwest corner of the Hill.  They submitted the plans for their Queen Anne Addition to the city on September 27, 1909.

This detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate map shows the street and plot configurations for the Prosch’s Queen Anne Addition, and not yet the Queen Anne Park Addition with its fine curving lines.  (CLICK to ENLARGE)

The Conklin Place Jean Sherrard recently visited to repeat our featured “then”, begins at the corner of W. Bertona Street and 10TH Avenue West. Prosch’s Conklin was different, it was cut to the southwest with one long straight block to the center of the addition drawn but never developed.  Had it been fulfilled with homes they would have crossed through the footprints of first four or five residences standing here since 1926, the year this concrete was first given its serpentine pour.

A series of display ads for the Queen Anne Park Addition were placed in The Seattle Times in 1927 .This one dates from May Day.

It seems that the new developers were aesthetes allured by the poetic platting and curvilinear inclinations of the City Beautiful Movement.  They named their sensitive acreage the Queen Anne Hill Addition and started building along romantic lines diversely styled residences fit for their curving streets.  The developer’s model home, built in a Spanish style at 3042 10th Avenue West, survives well kept on the avenues pointed corner with West Etruria Street.  It stands one long block and a few feet south of Jean’s prospect above Conklin Place.  Should you decide to explore this unique addition you will discover that most of the homes showing here on Conklin Place in 1927 or 1928 still hold to their uniquely foot-printed lots.

The F.W. Keen Co. classified promotion for a home on Conkling Place. The ad was placed on March 8, 1936 in The Seattle Times. It was one of the pits of the Great Depression. Note that Keen still has “other homes and vacant building lots” in the Queen Anne Park addition.

On February 21, 1926 the F.W. Keen and Company announced in that the building of their new forty-acres residence addition on Queen Anne Hill was underway. “The plat was filed last week.  This is one of the last large close-in tracts suitable for platting.  It will contain 235 lots, with the streets laid out to take advantage of the natural contour of the ground.  The addition has been designated Queen Anne Park.”

To learn much more on the history of this neighborhood, we recommend an essay by the Queen Anne Historical Society’s Florence Halliesen.

WEB EXTRAS

For those enchanted by this lovely prospect, please know that the ‘Now’ view was accomplished with aid of my 21-foot extension pole. A blown-up detail reveals a portion of I-5 and Gasworks Park through the trees:

Conkling photo detail, upper left

Anything to add, kids?

Yes Jean but a little late.   I fell to sleep twice at my desk while preparing this and so was not able to coordinate with Ron Edge for more attractions before he he climbed his own stairs to his own nighty-bears.  (I think he embraces our bears although I do not remember asking him about the same.)  It is now 6am.   Ron is usually up by now.  I suspect that he will get the features he gathers into the blog before most of you (dear readers) have left your Sunday Times and visited this blog.   [These uninvited naps of mine are the “gift” of my increasingly ancient metabolism, I figure. ]  I do know that Ron also climbs stairs to reach his bed, unlike you who sleep on the same floor as  your gas oven.

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THE BELOW IS RESERVED FOR RON ONCE HE RISES. 

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THEN: This panorama could have used a tower (or drone) to better survey the size of the June 1, 191l, crowd gathered in Fremont/Ross to celebrate the beginning of construction on the Lake Washington Ship Canal. (Courtesy, Museum of History & Industry)

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THEN: From the Fremont Bridge, this subject looks northwest across the torrent that followed the washout of the Fremont Dam in the early afternoon of March 13, 1914. Part of the Bryant Lumber and Shingle Mill appears left-of-center. The north end of the Stone Way Trestle appears in the upper right corner. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

THEN: Long thought to be an early footprint for West Seattle’s Admiral Theatre, this charming brick corner was actually far away on another Seattle Hill. Courtesy, Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

THEN: If I have counted correctly this ca. 1930 Fremont Baptist Orchestra is appointed with three cellos, eleven violins and violas, two saxophones, two clarinets, one coronet, one oboe, one flute and two members who seem to be hiding their instruments. (courtesy Fremont Baptist Church)

Built for the manufacture of a fantastic engine that did not make it beyond its model, the Fremont factory’s second owner, Carlos Flohr, used it to build vacuum chambers for protecting telescope lenses. Thirty feet across and made from stainless steel the lens holders were often mistaken for flying saucers. (photo courtesy Kvichak marine Industries.)

THEN: With his or her back to the original Ballard business district, an unnamed photographer looks southeast on Leary Way, most likely in 1936.

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THEN: For his May Day, 1901 portrait of the Seattle City Council, the photographer, Anders Wilse, planted them, like additions to the landscape, on the lawn somewhere in the upper part of Kinnear Park. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

THEN: The 1906-07 Gas Works at the north end of Lake Union went idle in 1956 when natural gas first reached Seattle by pipeline. In this photo, taken about fifteen years later, the Wallingford Peninsula is still home to the plant’s abandoned and “hanging gardens of metal.” (Courtesy: Rich Haag)

THEN: This look west from the West Woodland neighborhood toward Ballard comes by way of the Museum of History and Industry, with some help from both Ron Edge and West Woodland historian Susan Pierce.

 

 

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VIRETTA PARK, another City Beautiful addition for Seattle.

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Developer James Moore’s intended curve for his Capitol Hill Addition.

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A Queen Anne Hill curve made not for beauty but convenience with the joining of Phinney and and Greenwood Avenues at North 67th Street. (Courtesy, Gordon Miley)

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Not far from Queen Anne Park Addition and up the northern side of the hill, McGraw Street, with its picturesque bridge is laid more on a slant than a curve.

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Near the Queen Anne Park Addition, although long before it, Annie Craig’s front lawn on Florentia Street. (I too lived on Florentia – in 1966, a half-century ago.)

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The municipal trolley car barn at the north Queen Anne foot of 3rd Avenue west and now part of the Seattle Pacific University Campus and so contiguous to the east with the Queen Anne Park Addition.

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Not so far away, the George Washington – aka Aurora – Bridge nearing completion with the tall ship Monongahela below it escaping entrapment in Lake Union.

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With the Fremont bridge up, a mid-late 1920s traffic jam on both Dexter Avenue and Westlake Avenue. This photograph was recorded by the municipal public works dept while building evidence for a new “high” bridge: the Aurora Bridge.

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First appeared in Pacific on January 11, 1998.

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The south slope of Queen Anne Hill photographed from Phinney Ridge and so over the outlet to Lake Union. The acres developed for the Queen Anne Park addition are just out of frame to the right and not yet conceived as a “city beautiful” addition. Note the top floor of the Queen Anne High School above the horizon, center-left.  CLICK TO ENLARGE

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A hand-colored scene from Kinnear Park.

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One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: Queen Anne’s Scenic Conkling Place”

  1. Enjoyed your books and weekly column for many years, but just discovered the blog. Much appreciated the post from Feb. 2016 about the Ballard Bridge. Whose centennial will be this next month–not sure of exact date–another story on it seems indicated, in the Times as well as here. I look forward to its centennial.

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