Seattle Now & Then: Second and Spring, 1902

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The energetic northeast corner of Spring Street and Second Avenue, circa 1902. (Courtesy Paul Dorpat)
NOW: This terra-cotta building at the corner was completed and dedicated in 1908 as the Baillargeon Building, named for the pioneer merchant who built it but then soon sold it. It survives today as the Security Pacific building, a name that does not suggest the street urchins that Jean Sherrard caught crossing the intersection in the foreground, perhaps after making a deposit.
A look south thru the same block on Second Avenue between University Street (on the left) and Seneca Street offers another look (far right) at the Congregationalists..

We are giving this wonderfully cluttered northeast corner of Second Avenue and Spring Street a confident photography date of 1902.  A look at the corner from 1901 does not include the two-story brick building with its five basket-handle windows irregularly arranged on the second floor. Both photos, though — from 1901 and 1902 — show the Singer Sewing Machine building, seen here at far left.

Isaac Merritt Singer patented his foot-pedaled sewing machine in

Plymouth Congregawtional’s second home, at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and University Street.

1851, the year that Seattle’s pioneer party landed at Alki Point, unfortunately with neither a sewing machine nor a camera. I remember well from my mom’s home the Singer brand’s red “S” trademark. (It is seen here printed several times on the storefront.)

Now I am wondering whether the Gothic ornamental parts topping those second-floor windows might have been chosen by the building’s owner or architect to act as variations on the stained-glass window standing tall in the facade of Olympic Hall, behind the Singer building.

The Hall’s stock name is printed above the window. Without color, it is almost impossible to decipher from the sun and rain-bleached sanctuary first dedicated on Aug. 24, 1873, by Plymouth Congregational Church.

1899 S. Times large classified  for Olympic Hall event.

Like many other Seattle churches, the crowded Plymouth Congregational moved after the city’s Great Fire of 1889. It was a mere three-block move to a new and monumental redbrick sanctuary at the northeast corner of University Street and Third Avenue. After its abandonment, the clapboard church here at Spring and Second soon lost its tall spire. However, the old church was not neglected. Rather, it was well-used through its remaining 15 years as Olympic Hall by a variety of rent-paying educators and entertainers: both secularists and spiritualists.

The new Baillargeon Bldg’s steel frame recorded in The Seattle Times for June 20, 1907.

We will conclude by noting which post-pioneer human needs were met in these storefronts in the early 1900s, before they were flattened in 1907 for the first four stories of the Baillargeon Building. (On June 9, 1907, its owners tooted in The Seattle Times: “We are asserting a claim to having completed a structure in the retail business section of Seattle, the superior of which cannot be found on the North Pacific Coast.”) To the right of the sewing machines, the row continues with a hat blocker and cleaner; a tailor; a watch maker with an optician; and, at the corner, what is probably a cafe.

The corner renewed with a skin of terra-cotta tiles.


Anything to add, lads?

Selections from the blog that are  now fitting touches on  some of the  subjects above.

THEN: Plymouth Congregational Church barely reached maturity – twenty-one years – when it was torn down in 1913 for construction of the equally grand but less prayerful Pantages Theatre, also at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and University Street. (Museum of History & Industry)

THEN: The west side of Second Avenue between Columbia and Marion Streets was typical of the commercial district that was quick to develop after the city’s Great Fire of 1889. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)


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)

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: William O. McKay opened show rooms on Westlake in July of 1923. After fifty-seven years of selling Fords, the dealership turned to the cheaper and more efficient Subaru. Now reconstructed, the old Ford showroom awaits a new tenant.


THEN: The Hotel York at the northwest corner of Pike Street and First Avenue supplied beds on the American Plan for travelers and rooms for traveling hucksters. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: A circa 1920 look north along the tiled roofline of the Pike Place Market’s North Arcade, which is fitted into the slender block between Pike Place, on the right, and Western Avenue, on the left. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Mark Tobey, almost certainly Seattle’s historically most celebrated artist, poses in the early 1960s with some Red Delicious apples beside the Sanitary Market in the Pike Place Market. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)


THEN: In this April morning record of the 1975 “Rain or Shine Public Market Paint-in,” above the artists, restoration work has begun with the gutting of the Corner Market Building. (Photo by Frank Shaw)

THEN: Seattle Architect Paul Henderson Ryan designed the Liberty Theatre around the first of many subsequent Wurlitzer organs used for accompanying silent films in theatres “across the land”. The Spanish-clad actor-dancers posed on the stage apron are most likely involved in a promotion for a film – perhaps Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925) or Douglas Fairbanks’ The Gaucho (1929) that also played at the Liberty. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)



THEN: Looking south from Pine Street down the wide Second Avenue in 1911, then Seattle’s growing retail strip and parade promenade. (courtesy of Jim Westall)

THEN: Looking north from Seneca Street on Third Avenue during its regrade in 1906. (Photo by Lewis Whittelsey, Courtesy of Lawton Gowey)

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: 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: 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: Seattle’s new – in 1910-11 – cluster-ball street lighting standards stand tall in this ca. 191l look north on Third Avenue from Seneca Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)





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