Seattle Now & Then: Husky Stadium, 1920

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The Husky Stadium’s basic horseshoe bleachers were barely completed in time for the transcontinental visit of the Dartmouth College team on Nov. 27, 1920. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
NOW: Half time at this years Husky Utah Utes game on Nov. 18.

Ninety-seven years have passed between these two games? The game played “then” was the first in Husky Stadium, brand new in 1920 when the Dartmouth College Indians from Hanover New Hampshire beat the Huskies 28 to 7.

UW football team of 1920. Courtesy Museum of History and Industry, aka MOHAI

Besides a few points, the most important thing missing in 1920 was a bridge, a way for fans to readily get to the new stadium from the more populated south side of its intimate neighbor, the Lake Washington Ship Canal (1916).  For the Dartmouth game the Huskies graduate manager, Dar Meisnest improvised a row of barges that would only temporarily block shipping.  Meisnest was also a leading promoter for the Gothic Montlake Bridge first opened in 1925. It is the last of the bascules to span the canal.

Montlake Bridge construction, February 6, 1925. Courtesy Loomis Miller

Husky Stadium has also hosted a few performances without footballs.  In 1923 hundreds of local pastor-led Christian thespians staged a passion play before forty thousand on a stage that filled the

Preparing for the Wayfarer at the east end of the stadium.  Photo by Louis Whittelsy.
Wayfarer program

west end zone.  In 1927 Charles Lindbergh buzzed the stadium in his Spirit of St. Louis, and after landing at Sandpoint took the short ride to the stadium in a yacht for a “visit” with about 30,000 admirers.

Seattle Mayor Bertha Landes with Charles Lindbergh during his 1927 tour.

For lifting spirits on the home front, civilian-defense workers produced a mock “Bombing of Seattle” by a squadron of P-38 fighters firing blanks on faux but flammable homes and businesses built and ignited on the playing field (not by the fighters) for the spectacle of destruction.  The fake but fiery bombing of June 13, 1943 was well attended.

My photographs of the WWII stunt bombing having escaped me, I include above a wartime aerial of the stadium, upper-left, and the temporary student housing, center. For the faux fighting and also in 1943, or nearly, I include below a photograph of myself [p,d,] saving the world for democracy far from the front in the back yard of the Dorpat family home on Reeves Drive in Grand Forks, North Dakota. [CLICK  TO ENLARGE]

For his repeat Jean chose the Husky’s game with the Utah Utes on the Saturday night of November 18 last.  With the last minute victory of 33 to 30, Husky quarterback Jake Browning broke the UW career record for touchdown passes (now with seventy-seven.)  We wonder how many football games have been played on this gridiron since its 1920 loss to the Ivy League, and how many of those were won by the Pacific Northwest lads. Given the ripening now of another Husky centennial we expect that the athletic department’s public relations statisticians will to come forth with answers by 2020.


I took a few panoramic shots of the stadium in 2013 – back when there were day games! Here’s my fave:

Further back, wider angle, 2013

Anything to add, fellahs?  Yup – more of the same: neighborhood shots of yore pulled for your Horatian pleasures by Ron Edge and myself.

THEN: Pioneer Arthur Denny's son, Orion, took this photo of popularly named Lake Union John and his second wife, Madeline, sometime before the latter's death in 1906.

THEN: With great clouds overhead and a landscape 45 years shorter than now, one vehicle – a pickup heading east – gets this part of State Route 520 to itself on a weekday afternoon. (courtesy Lawton Gowey)

Walter Ross Baumes Willcox, the architect who planned this 1911 Arboretum aqueduct, went on to design another city landmark mades of reinforced concrete and ornamental bricks: the 1913 Queen Anne Boulevard retaining wall. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: The Latona Bridge was constructed in 1891 along the future line of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge. The photo was taken from the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway right-of-way, now the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail. The Northlake Apartment/Hotel on the right survived and struggled into the 1960s. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: The historical view looks directly south into the Latona addition’s business district on Sixth Ave. NE. from the Northern Pacific’s railroad bridge, now part of the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Long-time Wallingford resident Victor Lygdman looks south through the work-in-progress on the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge during the summer of 1959. Bottom-right are the remnants of the Latona business and industrial district, including the Wayland Mill and the Northlake Apartments, replaced now with Ivar’s Salmon House and its parking. (Photo by Victor Lygdman)

THEN: An estimated 50 percent of the materials used in the old Husky Union Building were recycled into its recent remodel. The new HUB seems to reach for the roof like its long-ago predecessor, the AYP’s landmark Forestry building. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: On March 25, 1946, or near it, Wide World Photos recorded here what they titled “University Vet Housing.” It would soon be named the Union Bay Village and house the families of returning veterans. The first 45 bungalows shown here rented for from $35 to $45 dollars a month. It would increase to a “teeming conglomerate of 500 rental units.” With housing for both married students and faculty. The view looks north over a street that no longer exists. The homes on the right horizon face the Burke Gilman Recreation Trail on N.E. Blakeley Street near N.E. 45th Place. (Courtesy Ron Edge)

THEN: The Gothic University of Washington Campus in 1946 beginning a seven-year crowding with prefabricated dormitories beside Frosh Pond. In the immediate background [on the right] is Guggenheim Hall. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: First designated Columbus Street in the 1890 platting of the Brooklyn Addition, and next as 14th Avenue to conform with the Seattle grid, ‘The Ave,’ still its most popular moniker, was renamed University Way by contest in 1919. This trim bungalow at 3711 University Way sat a few lots north of Lake Union’s Portage Bay. (Courtesy, Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Regional Archive)

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: sliver of the U.W. campus building called the Applied Physics Laboratory appears on the far right of this 1940 look east towards the U.W. campus from the N.E. 40th Street off-ramp from the University Bridge. While very little other than the enlarged laboratory survives in the fore and mid-grounds, much on the horizon of campus buildings and apartments still stand. (Courtesy, Genevieve McCoy)


First appeared in Pacific, July 7, 2002]
By Robert Bradley


Union Bay repose, easly 20th Century and years before the 1916 lowering of Lake Union for the ship canal.  Note, between the trees,  the ASUW boat house along the distant shore.  It is shown again, below.


First printed in The Seattle Times on February 2, 2003



Part of the text pulled or copied from Chap. 89, Seattle Now and Then Volume Two. You can find it all on this blog – elsewhere – with a little searching.   CLICK TO ENLARGE


First appeared in Pacific, June, 6, 2002.


First published in The Sunday Times on February 7, 1993.





Appeared first in The Times on January 6, 2002.



First appeared in Pacific on November 6, 2002.


Martha Owens, wife of long-time UW football coach Jim Owens, watches from the press box at half-time. A caption for the Seattle Times glossy continues, “Mrs. Owens keeps it simple. Although she is married to the coach and has been watching games for more than 20-years, Mrs. Jim (Martha) Owens isn’t sure she can tall an “I formation” form a single-wing.”



I first talked with Seattle Times humorist Byron Fish a few weeks before his death. I knew and admired his wit largely from his features with The Times. Since then I’ve learned more about Byron from his family and from his work as Ivar Haglund’s first press agent, for the most part in the 1940s. Look for THE ILLUSTRATED IVAR later next year (2018 – or the year following) for a greater display of Fish’s fine fish humor.  CLICK TO ENLARGE







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