Seattle Now & Then: Fourth and Washington

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The hillside of the International District looking northeast from Fourth Avenue and Washington Street. (MOHAI)
NOW: Jean Sherrard and I both like exploring spatial relations that mark the modern intersection to its sides. The colors and masses distributed in Fire Station No. 10 are gratifying.

Many of the landmarks included in our “Now & Then” stories have appeared in these pages more than once, with instructive changes. This feature is a fine example.

Looking West on Washington from near 4th Avenue. Some of the constructions included here have been featured earlier, often approached from different prospects.

This week’s “Then” photo, which looks northeast from the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Washington Street, is a fine example of themes with variations. In our decades of recording “performances” here, the stage of this intersection has brought along five such encores. There are six repeaters, if we include the Yesler Way viaduct over Fourth Avenue in the count. And we should.

Above: Looking west on Yesler Way from the fifth Avenue overpass.
Here the Prefontaine building is interrupted by the last of the Yesler Way cable cars . The view looks east from Prefontaine’s intersection with Yesler Way. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

Seen here on the far left of the featured photo at the top, Yesler Way is a landmark that keeps on giving. The first pioneers soon discovered and followed it as a native path between Lake Washington (near and before the big lake’s Leschi Beach was named) and Elliott Bay (near Pioneer Square or, if you prefer, Pioneer Place).

Frank Shaw’s capture of the Cannon & McCinnley Building at 4th and Yesler on March 7 1965.

Many of us have long memories of this feature’s centerpiece, the Grand Union Hotel. We noticed it first with our young eyes as a dilapidated and then-deserted landmark built across Yesler Way from Seattle City Hall at 400 Yesler Way. Mayor Wes Ullman was the municipal hall’s savior around 1970. Here (in the week’s featured photo) it is mostly hidden behind the old hotel, although parts of the hall’s ornate corners reach above the hotel. Staying with the featured photo, that’s the top-heavy tower of the old King County Courthouse, upper right.

Looking south on Fourth Avenue from above Yesler Way.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Jimmy?  Yes Jean, we have Jimmy yet to add, but cannot find him.   Ron and I will be none too pleased if we discover that you have again been hiding Jimmy with another of your practical jokes.  And this prank of your’s is much too practical for it is Jimmys parents whom we have to pay off with no-charge Jimmy-sitting sessions every time you sequester Jimmy who by now loves this hide and seek far too much.  Remember his parents want him home by 5pm.  But now we give up and prepare to climb the stairs to Nighty-Bears (copyright:  Bill Burden.  Bill was last seen living near the hip Nevada City, California and running a small business there leaning on one of Bill’s long loves, Coffee.   Ask him sometime about its history.) .  We hope to return later today with more relevant clips for this week’s blog, but now, again, we walk the stairs.

Not Jimmy and his friends but five poster children used by Seattle Housing to promote its mixed-race housing plan with the opening of Yesler Terrace.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      EXTRAS RESUMED

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SeaFair float on Yesler Way

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Pergola and Pioneer Building by Lawton Gowey, Feb. 20, 1967. “”The Winter of Love.”

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Prefontaine Fountain, Third and Jefferson, 1926

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Prefontaine Park, Feb. 1993

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Yesler Cable concrete safety island, 3rd Ave. and Yesler Way, 1928,

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Yesler Cable climbing in front of electrical transformers on Yesler Way between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

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5thi Ave. south from Yesler Way, ca. 1953.

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1953, Smith stower taken from new and not ye opened Alaskan Way Viaduct, photographed by either Bradley or his friend Gowey, not sure which. Some of their collections got mixed-up long ago.

One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: Fourth and Washington”

  1. My grandfather had a saloon in the Grand Union Hotel. I am so happy to see these pictures of it and other Yesler landmarks.

    Thank you,
    Mary

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