(click to enlarge photos)
WE INTERRUPT Here at the TOP, but BELATEDLY – with something we promised in The Times PacificNW printing of this feature but failed to fulfill – until now. It is a look up Fourth Avenue before its and Denny Hill’s regrade. We insert this photo (shot from the southwest corner of Fourth and Pike) for a comparison between it and this Sunday’s featured photo of the parade scene, now the second photo below. The tardy and intruding photo at the top looks north on Fourth Avenue, on the left, and the nearly new Westlake shortcut to Lake Union, on the right. Pine Street passed left-right behind the triangular HOTEL PLAZA that was wedged between Fourth and Westlake. Therefore, the first block showing in the parade shot is the same block as the first hillside block that ascends Denny Hill behind and to the left of the Hotel. Get it? It once got steep north of Pine but no more since the hill was flushed away.
Here we compare Jean Sherrard’s confident and colorful farrago of the recent Women’s March with a manly marching band heading south on Fourth Avenue sixty-five years ago. Its baton-wielding leader is entering the crosswalk of Fourth’s intersection with Pine Street. We have not found the name for this marching band, but hope that the uniforms might be clue enough for an astute PacificNW reader to let us all know. We do know the occasion. It is the Memorial Day parade of May 30, 1953.
The block-long line of businesses on the east side of Fourth includes, right-to-left, the Ben Paris, Raff’s Shoes, the Hotel Ritz, the Up & Up Tavern, Sherman Clay Co. music store, and last, at the southeast corner of Fourth and Olive Way, the still floating Mayflower Hotel. On the out-of-frame west side of Fourth, the Bon Marche Department Store was a block-long point of prestige for its neighbors.
Raff’s Shoes was, I think, an economy chain. I remember purchasing a pair of Raff loafers at its Spokane branch, also in the early 1950s. (I may still have them in storage.) Carpenters Local No. 131 built the Hotel Ritz in 1906. It continued to serve as a parody of the Parisian Ritz until well after WWII. Next door to the north, the Sherman Clay Company was Seattle’s music mecca, selling not only instruments but concerts and tickets to them. The coast-wide chain began in San Francisco around 1870. In 1929, when the ornate home on Fourth was about to open, its Seattle manager ironically boasted – just before the Great Depression – “It will be more than a store. It will be a very real Cathedral of Music.” Here on its marquee in 1953, more neon flash is given to radios than to pianos. The Seattle store closed in the fall of 2013. It was the last of the chain.
We’ll conclude this little cityscape sketch with the once very popular Ben Paris, the combo sporting goods store/restaurant on the far right. We’ll quote from notes Seattle Time’s humorist Emmett Watson shared before his passing in 2001. Emmett interviewed his friend Guy Williams, a wit and legend among local promoters and publicists. Emmett asked Guy and Ivar Haglund, the fish restaurateur who sat next to him, “Where did you guys hang out in the 1930s?” Guy answered, “Ben Paris. Everyone was going there. You could cash your check – if you had one. Get your shoes shined. Shoot snooker. Play cards. Get a roast beef sandwich with plenty of gravy. I mean that was one great place . . . There’s been nothing quite like it. There wasn’t a phony thing about it. There were fighters in there, newspaper guys, politicians Ivar answered “Oh, that was wonderful!”
My contribution this week, a few random shots from the Women’s March.
Anything more to add, kids? Sure PaPa Jean, and more of the same or similar. By now many of these should be familiar to our readers, recalling now that “repetition is the mother of all learning. (Our mothers taught us that.” We will include at the bottom (or near it) MORE PARADES with terse captions. First, Ron’s pulls of nearby and recent features.
POTLATCH PARADES SAMPLER
PREPAREDNESS DAY PARADE, JUNE 10, 1916 (Warming for WWI)
INDEPENDENCE DAY ON PIONEER PLACE (aks Square) ca 1900
MORE MILITARY PARADING
FAUX MILITARY PARADING
TWO PRESIDENTS OF THESE UNITED STATES
And NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT – A PIONEER PARADE IN RITZVILLE, WA. Jean recorded the “now” for our book (now long out of print) of “Washington State Then and Nows”. Jean is currently at work on a fourth volume of SEATTLE NOW AND THENs, except it wont be titled so. Here’s Ritzville on our visit a few years back. To catch the red-suited marching band, Jean’s NOW is a bit wider than the THEN.
One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: Parades at 4th and Pine”
Dear Paul – Thank you so much for your Then and Now from Feb 18, 2018!! I’ve been trying to find a photo of Ben Paris in my old family photos. My Grandfather, George Dodds, was the manager of the pool hall there. I am not sure when he started but he was there in the 50’s, at least. My mom would take me and my brother in the summer to visit my Grandfather. We felt SO special as we got to actually go into the pool hall to see him. It usually was a place reserved for men only. I remember the big grin on his face. I also remember the fountain in the lobby with fish in the pool and getting to sit at the counter. Once I pulled a betting pull tab. I didn’t know what it was! My Mom was a bit mortified. I have often wondered if there is anything left downstairs of what used to be there ( I’m thinking we had to go downstairs to get to the pool hall….no n sure). The photo of the couple strolling down the street in 1937 in front of Ben Paris was GREAT! (My parents got a shot of themselves in Vancouver B C like that.) At one time I could remember what is, or was, recently, in the spot of Ben Paris, was it a Subway, not sure now. Always wanted to get a Then and Now for myself to have. I will try again to find that old photo. Again, thank you for the photos AND the wonderful memories from Guy and Ivar! It truly was thrilling for me!