(click to enlarge photos)
Penned across the bottom-right corner of this week’s featured photo, is its location: Second and Spring Streets. The caption is easily confirmed by both landmarks and signs. For instance, the street name, ”Second,” is nailed to the power pole on the left. This view looks east up Spring Street from Second Avenue. (We have also posted below Jean’s “now” the flip-side of the featured subject,) which is kept in the Museum of History and Industry’s collection of historical photographs.)
Most historical photographs taken in the central business district record the relatively long avenues that run north and south along the western slope of First Hill. The streets climbing the hill are wonderfully revealed from Elliott Bay but not up close. With Seattle streets, pioneer photographers gave some interest to Mill Street (Yesler Way), Madison Street, and Pike Street. The others were given less regard.
The featured photograph’s look up and through the regrade upheaval on Spring Street includes small parts of structures that in their time were proudly considered landmarks. Also unsparingly revealed here, upper-right, is one big landmark: the Lincoln Hotel, Covered with white bricks and stone, it stood for twenty years at the northwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Madison Street. Opened in 1900, its inaugural name, the Knickenbacher, was later dropped for
reasons not explained in the boasting advertisements and press releases that described it as “Seattle’s first apartment hotel.” For the generally upscale tenants it came with a lavish pleasure garden on the roof. For its last tenants the Lincoln left with tragedy: a sudden fire that killed four including a father and daughter who jumped together from their sixth floor apartment to the alley.
We will use the hotel to find parts to three more landmarks. First Seattle’s central library, the largest of the Seattle libraries built with a Andrew Carnegie endowment. We can find most of its roofline, but not much else, to the left of the Lincoln. Like today’s library it faces west from the east side of Fourth Avenue, between Madison and Spring Street. The Carnegie library was dedicated on December 19, 1906, where that public guardian of the vox populi still stands two plants later. Its northwest corner shines near the center of Jean’s repeat.
The cross rising here (in the featured photo) seemingly from the roof of the library, topped Providence Hospital, another pioneer landmark. The construction began in 1882 on the east side of Fifth Avenue. Fifty-seven years later the site was fitted with the surviving Federal Court House.
With some help from the what remains of the Third Avenue Theatre at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and Madison Street, we have pulled circa dates of late 1906 or early 1907 for the featured photograph. The barn-like rear of the theatre partially hides the west façade of the Lincoln Hotel. The regrade’s deep cuts at Third and Madison left the theatre’s front door stranded high above the new grade. Russel and Drew, the theatre’s managers explained in a caption to another photo of the threatened theatre that “The work (of razing the theatre) will be started at once, and in a few days a vacant lot will greet the eye where once stood one of the most popular and successful playhouses in all the West.”
Anything to add, goslings?