Seattle Now & Then: Parades at 4th and Pine

(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.

THEN: Fewer than fifty years before this 1953 parade was photographed on Fourth Avenue, the block between Pine and Stewart Streets negotiated, barely, one of the steepest streets on Denny Hill.
NOW: On Saturday January 20, last, the second annual women’s march made its turn here from Pine Street north on to Fourth Avenue for its last leg to Seattle Center.

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 same east side of Fourth Avenue only fifty-two years earlier during the 1911 Potlatch Parade. The Carpenters Hall was built by the local for the carpenters union and was also home for the Hotel Ritz.

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.

Years later the Mayflower Hotel at the southeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Olive Way and next to it the modernized front of the Sherman Clay Music Store.

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.

A Seattle Times clipping for Sherman Clay from July 25, 1920.

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!”

The Whittelsys caught by a candid camera on April 17, 1937. Through the years of this feature we have used a few Whittelsy cityscape snapshots. The public works department employee and his poet wife lived on the north end of Capitol Hill.


My contribution this week, a few random shots from the Women’s March.

Coming down Pine
Cellphone photos abound
Wonder Woman marches too, impervious to cold and rain


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.

THEN: With feet nearly touching the Madison Street Cable Railway’s cable slot, five “happy workers” squeeze on to the front bumper of an improvised Armistice Day float. (Photo courtesy Grace McAdams)

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: 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: 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: This rare early record of the Fourth and Pike intersection was first found by Robert McDonald, both a state senator and history buff with a special interest in historical photography. He then donated this photograph - with the rest of his collection - to the Museum of History and Industry, whom we thank for its use. (Courtesy MOHAI)

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: Looking west on Pike Street from Fourth Avenue, the variety in the first block of this retail district includes the Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Mendenhall’s Kodaks, Fountain Pens and Photo Supplies, Remick’s Song and Gift Shop, the Lotus Confectionary, Fahey-Brockman’s Clothiers, where, one may “buy upstairs and save $10.00”. (Courtesy, MOHAI)

THEN: Lawton Gowey looks north through the tail of the 1957 Independence Day Parade on Fourth Avenue as it proceeds south through the intersection with Pike Street. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)



First appeared in Pacific, June 1, 2008
This ca. 1882 look south on Commercial Street (First Ave. S.).was photographed from the Occidental Hotel and like it everything in  photograph was destroyed during the 1889 Great Fire, except, of course, for the ruins.


First appeared in Pacific May 11, 1986.  Hence the NOW above it thirty-one years old.  I shot is from a window in my friend and mentor CLICK CLICK to ENLARGE


A circus parade looking north on Second Avenue from near Spring Street. The Denny aka Washington Hotel is on the horizon. We have long ago written a feature about this photograph but it is not yet scanned in toto, i.e. with text and the “now.”.



1912, First Ave. S. and Washington Street.
Potlatch Dad’s Day parade, looking north on 2nd Ave. to Marion Street.
1912 Potlatch parade totems, looking north on Fourth Avenue from near Virginia Street, the parade’s review stand is on the right and Denny School at the northeast corner of 5th and Battery on the horizon.



1911 Potlatch parade with nearly new Central Building. Courtesy Michael Maslan
Fruit Harvest Float on Fourth Avenue, 1911 Potlatch Parade.



DOUBLE-CLICK to ENLARGE. The Seattle Union Record’s take on preparations for the 1916 Preparedness Day Parade. This may remind you of Trump’s proposed military parade.
Looking north on First Ave. fro Seneca Street. We did a feature on this too, but like many others it is not yet scanned in toto.

A rare example of a pre-Jean NOW. I shot this for the Sept 17, 2006 feature. By then Jean and I were momentarily mixing the responsibility of the “nows.” Soon after this he would “take it over.”

The 1916 Preparedness Parade in Pioneer Square aka Place.




Looking south on 4th Avenue over Stewart Street and Olive Way beyond it. The Time Square building – once the home of this newspaper – enters, barely, on the far right. I once knew the occasion for this marching and hope to sometime know again.
A Word War I hoopla to recruit investors more than soldiers – it seems, at least, from the banner on the side of the parading tank.  This was among a handful of Wesbster and Stevens prints that Old Seattle Paperworks proprietor John Hanawalt shared with me early on in my search for regional historical photos.   Thanks again John.  His shot is still busy on the Public Market’s lower level.


Looking south on Second Avenue through the Knights Templar arch built at the intersection with Marion Street, 1925.. 



President Harding in Belltown.
More of Harding on July 27, 1923. Not feeling well he died in San Francisco a week later on August 2, 1923. (Courtesy, U.W.Northwest Collection aka Special Collections. )
Pres. Harry Truman in Seattle for his 1948 campaign. 


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.

Ritzville’s Pioneer Tower and Modern Art at Washington and Main.



One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: Parades at 4th and Pine”

  1. 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!
    Sincerely, Gayle

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