(click to enlarge photos)
For this week’s “repeat” Jean and I are including for somewhat sentimental reasons a third visit to the same Belltown (or North Seattle) intersection of Second Avenue and Bell Street. The oldest of these three looks south thru the intersection when the neighborhood was shaped by Denny Hill.
(BELOW: As this feature first appeared as the 52nd Chapter of Seattle Now and Then, Volume One, first published in 1984.)
This is WAS the northwest “corner” of the hill since razed: Denny Hill. The difference in the elevations recorded here sometime in 1902 or 1903 and now was a mere one foot. This part of the Denny Hill regrade along Second Avenue began in 1903. It is a rare look into the neighborhood when it was still a hill.
John Hannawalt of Old Seattle Paperworks (still in the Pike Place Market) first showed it to me in the late 1970s. I was quickened. While I knew nothing about it I wanted it to be at least part of Denny Hill, the Seattle hill had been episodically removed between 1876 and 1931. And it was. These two-plus blocks between Bell and Lenora streets were razed to their present elevations between 1903 and 1908. With the photo in hand, finding the intersection came
quickly, largely because I liked the bowls of beans, rice and cheese served at Mama’s Mexican Kitchen, still here at the southeast corner of this intersection. Of course Mama was not in the Webster and Stevens Studio photo ca. 1902, but it was on my diet in 1978.
With the help of a jeweler’s hand-held magnifying glass I soon found the street name “Bell” on the telephone pole at the corner. Standing above the corner, both in the photo and on my visits to Mama’s, were the three gables of the Wayne Apartments, a row built in 1890 and wonderfully still standing. I first published my “findings” in the Seattle Sun and it was on the evidence of that discovery that this newspaper first engaged me to write this feature in 1982.
The “then” in this week’s “repeat” pair probably dates from the late 1930s or even 1940, the year that, city-wide, many of the street cars were replaced with buses or trackless trollies.
Anything to add, boys? Some visits with a few friends from the neighborhood – extended.