Seattle Now & Then: Golden Potlatch Parade, 1911

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: A Golden Potlatch parade from 1911 (Courtesy, Dan Kerlee)
NOW: The Waverly Apartments, razed in 1926, were replaced by the still-standing Mayflower Park Hotel. Since 1916 the terra-cotta clad Times Square Building has filled the flatiron block bordered by Olive Way, Stewart Street, on the left, and Fourth Avenue, in the foreground.

After Seattle’s summer-long 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, many of its VIP citizens, those who could “make things happen,” longed for more of its multifarious fun.  For new excitement they got the “joyous week of July 17 through 22,” the Golden Potlatch of 1911.  It was the first of several Potlatches produced sporadically by community impresarios up until World War II when public demonstrations became limited to fairwells and welcome-home celebrations for veterans.

Most likely this featured scene on top is  from the first Potlatch’s Industrial Parade.  Judging from the printed banner attached to the roof of the float at the scene’s center, this well-knit wagon carried a loom backed on both sides by women costumed with its knitted dry goods.  Both the rug stretched for a roof and the rug on the floor are examples of this “industry on parade.”  Surely it was very colorful,

more at least than the costumes worn by those watching here (in the featured photo at the top)  as the southbound horse-powered parade takes a turn off Fourth Avenue to Olive Way.  The seemingly idle electric trolley on the left of the featured photo with “express” written on its signboard is probably parked for the duration.  It was here on Stewart Street that streetcars that used Fourth Avenue turned around by moving forward-backward-forward through a t-shaped terminus.

Courtesy: Museum of History and Industry, AKA MOHAI
Details of 4th, Stewart and Olive Way from the 1912 (left) and 1908 (right) Baist Real Estate Maps.
Before: Pan looking east from the Denny (aka Washington) Hotel on Denny Hill (see its shadow at the bottom) to the Capitol Hill horizon, with Fourth Avenue at the bottom and the triangle block of Steward, 4th, 5th and Olive Way, split at the bottom-right corner. The block is home for  the first sanctuary of St. Marks Episcopal.   Lake Union is far left. (And Wallingford too!)  CLICK TO  ENLARGE
After: Lower-right corner, the triangular block bordered by 5th, 4th, Stewart, and Olive Way, taken from the New Washington Hotel, looking east to the Capitol Hill horizon.
Same flatiron block,, here with The Seattle Times Building. This taken from the Securities Building.

You will be correct to discern a vacant city block behind the rug float (in the fatured photo).  It is shaped like a flatiron or triangle. The grade is a new creation of the then work-in-progress, the Denny Regrade, before which this was the steep southeast corner of this eponymous hill.  In 1906 the intersection of Fourth and Stewart was still several stories higher.  That year Westlake Avenue was cut through from Fourth and Pike to Denny Way making the intersections along Westlake considerably more imaginative.  Here in 1911 Westlake barely touches the southeast corner of itself, Fifth

The same triangular block seen here looking west from Fifth Avenue with the Denny aka Washington Hotel behind it on the south summit of Denny Hill, and so before the regrade.

Avenue and Olive Way. In 1890, well before the regrade, St Mark’s Episcopal built it first sanctuary on the hillside triangle.   When they relocated to a larger First Hill sanctuary in 1897, the abandoned church was first converted into a livery stable and then the “We Print Everything” Cooperative Printing Company.  In 1916 the long vacant flatiron block was filled with the well-loved and still-standing Time’s Square Building, the terra-cotta confection that Jean Sherrard shows off in his repeat.

The well-fitted clerk above is not Diana James, author of Shared Walls and expert on Seattle’s Apartment Houses history.  We  do not know his name.  Below are “Season’s Greetings” in a Times photo of itself from the 1920s,  This, of course (by now) is the eastern border of the triangle block on 5th Avenue and so looking west. 

Finally, we turn right to the four-story apartment house on the south side of Olive Way.  It was the Waverly and is now a studied object of interest for preservationist and historian Diana James.  (The northwest corner of the Waverly appears in the first photo beyond this point.  It is the southeast corner of Fourth Ave. and Olive Way, and so the origin of Olive Way at its west end.) What I know of these apartments – and many others – I learned directly from Diana.  Jean and I have, in the past, featured a number of her discoveries, which PacificNW readers may also know from her book “Shared Walls”, a history of Seattle’s early apartments.  Thankfully, her research continues.


Anything to add, boyos?  Surely Jean, and starting, again, with the appropriate or relevant features (usually from the neighborhood) grabbed from recent features, followed by older ones presented, with few exceptions, merely as clips scanned from older Sunday Times.  So please click away.

THEN: While visiting Seattle for some promoting, silent film star Wallace Reid shares the sidewalk at 4th and Olive with a borrowed Stutz Bearcat. (Courtesy, Museum of History & Industry)

THEN: An early-20th-century scene during the Second Avenue Regrade looks east into its intersection with Virginia Avenue. A home is being moved from harm's way, but the hotel on the hill behind it would not survive the regrade's spoiling. Courtesy of Ron Edge.

THEN: Where last week the old Washington Hotel looked down from the top of Denny Hill to the 3rd Ave. and Pine St. intersection, on the left, here the New Washington Hotel, left of center and one block west of the razed hotel, towers over the still new Denny Regrade neighborhood in 1917. (Historical photo courtesy of Ron Edge)


THEN: With her or his back to the Medical-Dental Building an unidentified photographer took this look northeast through the intersection of 6th and Olive Way about five years after the Olive Way Garage first opened in 1925. (Courtesy, Mark Ambler)

Great railroad signs, theatre signs and ranks of neon were still the greatest contributors to night light at 4th and Westlake in 1949. (Photo by Robert Bradley compliment of Lawton and Jean Gowey)


THEN: Thanks to Pacific reader John Thomas for sharing this photograph recorded by his father in 1927. It looks north across Times Square to the almost completed Orpheum Theatre. Fifth Avenue is on the left, and Westlake on the right.

THEN: A motorcycle courier for Bartell Drugs poses before the chain’s Store No. 14, located in the Seaboard Building at the northwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Pike Street, circa 1929. (Courtesy Bartell Drugs)

THEN: This Webster and Stevens studio photo dates from either late 1917 or early 1918. The grand Frederick and Nelson Department store, rising above Fifth Avenue, has not yet reached its sumptuous Sept. 3. 1918 opening. In the foreground, the much smaller but also elegant flatiron building, bordered by Pine Street, in the foreground, and Westlake and Fifth Avenues to the sides, was razed and replaced also in 1918 by a three story retail block on the same flatiron footprint. (Courtesy, the Museum of History & Industry)

THEN: Built in 1888-89 at the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Pine Street, the then named Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church marked the southeast corner of Denny Hill. Eventually the lower land to the east of the church (here behind it) would be filled, in part, with hill dirt scraped and eroded from North Seattle lots to the north and west of this corner. (Courtesy, Denny Park Lutheran Church)

THEN: Sometime between early December 1906 and mid-February 1907 an unnamed photographer with her or his back about two lots north of Pike Street recorded landmarks on the east side of Third Avenue including, in part, the Washington Bar stables, on the right; the Union Stables at the center, a church converted for theatre at Pine Street, and north of Pine up a snow-dusted Denny Hill, the Washington Hotel. (Used courtesy of Ron Edge)

THEN: Thanks again and again to Lawton Gowey for another contribution to this feature, this ca. 1917 look into a fresh Denny Regrade and nearly new “office-factory” at 1921 Fifth Avenue. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey.)

THEN: In 1910, a circa date for this look north on First Avenue across Virginia Street, the two corners on the east side of the intersection were still undeveloped – except for signs. The Terminal Sales Building, seen far right in Jean Sherrard’s repeat, did not replace the billboards that crowd the sidewalk in the “then” until 1923. (Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: Swedish Lutheran (Gethsemane) Church’s second sanctuary at the northeast corner of Ninth Avenue and Steward Street circa 1920, photo by Klaes Lindquist. (Courtesy, Swedish Club)

THEN: The five buildings shown here on the west side of Third Avenue south of Virginia Street have endured with few changes since the ‘then’ photo was snapped in 1936. The exception is the smallest, far-right, the Virginian Tavern now stripped for an open garage at Third’s southwest corner with Virginia Street. The six-story Hardon Hall Apartments, at the center of the five, was renovated in 2006 for low-income housing by the Plymouth Housing Group.





click click click




















2 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Golden Potlatch Parade, 1911”

  1. In that second photo of the three photos looking up towards Capitol Hill, there is a tall structure on the Cap Hill horizon that isn’t present in the other two. Is that a building or a water tower? Just curious because it’s pretty dominating!

  2. In 1900, some relatives lived at “1908 4th av” but I can’t read house numbers on your 1908 map : “Details of 4th, Stewart and Olive Way from the 1912 (left) and 1908 (right) Baist Real Estate Maps.”
    Can you help me please ?
    Thank you very much.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.