Seattle Now & Then: Postscripts on Hutch and the (no more) Viaduct

Here are two of what The Seattle Times calls “postscripts” — items that follow up stories (including “Now & Then” columns) printed in 2019 in its PacificNW magazine.

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THEN: Seattle Mariners star outfielders Ken Griffey Jr. (center) and Jay Buhner hoist 5-year-old Joey Hutchinson, grandson of Fred Hutchinson, after Joey’s rounding of the bases before the first M’s game at brand new Safeco Field on July 15, 1999. Watching proudly at left is Joey’s dad and Fred’s son Joe Hutchinson of Anna Maria Island, Florida. (Clay Eals, courtesy Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)
NOW1: Joey Hutchinson, 25, and girlfriend, Sandra Ordonez, pose in commemorative T-shirts prior to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Joey’s grandfather, Fred Hutchinson, on July 7, 2019, at T-Mobile Park, formerly Safeco Field. At rear, Seattle baseball historian Dave Eskenazi (left) chats with Joey’s dad and Fred’s son, Joe Hutchinson. (Clay Eals)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Dec. 20, 2019
and in the PacificNW Magazine print edition on Dec. 22, 2019)

Grown-up Joey Hutchinson’s fire is ‘all part of the legacy’
By Clay Eals

Joey Hutchinson, it turns out, is a chip off the old Fred.

Last June 30, we at “Now & Then” previewed a tribute to Fred Hutchinson held July 7 at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners. The occasion was the 100th anniversary of Fred’s Aug. 12, 1919, birth. We saluted his baseball acclaim and namesake role for the world-renowned Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Fred Hutchinson in 1955 Rainiers uniform. (Josef Scaylea, courtesy Dave Eskenazi))

Fred’s grandson Joey, a real-estate agent from Anna Maria Island, Florida, flew to Seattle with his dad, Joe (Fred’s son), for the tribute. Because of their presence, the tribute also was a 20th anniversary.

On July 15, 1999, when the ballpark (then named Safeco Field) opened, the pre-game ceremony featured Joey, then just 5. His tiny body nearly swimming inside a replica uniform and hat of the 1955 Seattle Rainiers, whom his gramps piloted to the Pacific Coast League title, Joey ran the bases to be greeted at home by his dad and M’s stars Ken Griffey Jr. and Jay Buhner. I was fortunate to be on the field to capture this emotional moment for the Hutch center.

Last July, I reconnected with now-25-year-old Joey, who sported long, curly locks in contrast to the closely shorn, mid-20th century Fred. Joey disclosed later that while he likes baseball, “soccer is my go-to sport.” But the differences end there. Fred’s famed fiery spirit has taken root in Joey’s heart.

“My whole family has a strong athletic background, and we play to win,” he says. “Even playing Monopoly when I was 12 or 13, once I had most of the board filled up with properties, I would take advantage of people, not cutting them any slack. … It can translate to a lot of things in life. It’s good to have that competitive nature.”

What about Fred’s well-known wall-busting at a loss? Joey allows for some Fred-like downsides. “For me, there’s been a few broken benches, a few drywall holes, car doors and doors slammed in the house,” he says. “It’s a little bit more than we want, but that’s all a part of the legacy, good or bad.”

A rock-star moment bolstered the legacy at this year’s Hutch Award luncheon July 18, which raised $575,000 for cancer research. The keynote speaker, retired one-handed pitcher Jim Abbott, asked for a “kid” in the audience to help him display his patented mitt transfer. The “kid” became West Seattle’s Eddie Vedder, of Pearl Jam. (Next year’s Hutch Award luncheon will take place Wednesday, May 6, 2020.)

Joey’s appraisal of the year’s tributes reflects his grandfather’s gentlemanly side and civic stature that offset the fire. “We’re just thankful for the tradition that the Mariners and Fred Hutch keep alive,” he says. “It’s a great thing for us to come back to.”

WEB EXTRAS

Here is an additional “Now” photo.

NOW2: Against a T-Mobile Park backdrop of retired Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki, 25 Hutchinson family members wear commemorative T-shirts while posing for a group photo prior to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Seattle-born baseball great Fred Hutchinson. In the front row, Fred’s son, Joe, in 1955 Seattle Rainiers replica jersey, is second from left. Grandson Joey is third from left. (Clay Eals)

 

Also, here is where to find the original column (June 30, 2019).

And here is a link to video of the July 7, 2019, opening ceremony at T-Mobile Park.

Video: The opening ceremony of Hutch 100 Day on July 7, 2019, at T-Mobile Park,  including a bio of Fred Hutchinson, a field gathering of Hutch supporters and a first-pitch ceremony. 4:35.

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THEN: Looking north on Railroad Avenue in 1920 from a new municipal trolley trestle at Washington Street — some 30 years before the Alaskan Way Viaduct was constructed in this corridor. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)
NOW1: Photographed one week after the Jan. 11 closing of the Alaska Way Viaduct, the pie-shaped 1 Yesler Way is visible at right. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW2: The three-story former Bedford Hotel shines in afternoon sun that never made its way to the building in viaduct days. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Dec. 20, 2019
and in the PacificNW Magazine print edition on Dec. 22, 2019)

The Alaskan Way Viaduct – gone with a golden legacy
By Jean Sherrard

In 2019, Seattle underwent a public facelift as startling and momentous as any in recent memory.

With the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the waterfront, after 66 years, is no longer unhitched from the city’s downtown. After a long (and noisy) separation, there are high hopes for the new marriage.

Four of our columns this year commemorated this extended event. At the end of this creative destruction, we revisit two of them (and reference the third and fourth in our Web extras below).

In our Feb. 24 installment, we looked north on Railroad Avenue (now Alaskan Way), wide and busy in 1920. Our “Now,” taken one week after the viaduct closed permanently, was dominated by the grey, elevated structure.

The new “Now” seen here, taken in late November, has the same vantage. Looking north up Alaskan Way from Washington Street, my camera atop a 21-foot extension pole, I drew the admiration of an onlooker leaning from a second-story window in the Washington Park Building (far right, built in 1890, mere months after the Seattle Fire).

I asked him what he felt was the most dramatic effect of removing the viaduct.

“Silence and sunlight,” he crisply replied. “This conversation wouldn’t be possible because of the roar of traffic. And no more concrete shade.”

Further north, we see the three-story, pie-shaped building at 1 Yesler Way (originally the 1911 Bedford Hotel) emerging in golden sunlight from nearly seven decades in the shadows.

The entire waterfront is celebrating the same destiny, says Greg Nickels, Seattle’s mayor from 2002 to 2010, who offers sage advice: “For 66 years, the viaduct served as a placeholder, giving us a unique chance to re-imagine our city’s waterfront. Let’s not waste it.”

Part of that advice applies to chunks of the viaduct itself.

THEN: In 1953, some 180 idling vehicles simulate the worst possible traffic in the northbound Battery Street Tunnel in a successful test of the ventilation system (courtesy Ron Edge).
NOW1: Crowds pass southbound through the tunnel, pausing to view Vanishing Seattle’s video projection, collected and assembled by artist/activists Cynthia Brothers, Jill Freidberg and Rachel Kessler. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW2: Jimmy Vukelich of Kiewit, onsite tunnel superintendent, stands upon gravel-topped fill, just a few feet shy of the ceiling of the Battery Street Tunnel. (Jean Sherrard)

 

In our March 17 installment, we showcased a 1953 interior view of the Battery Street Tunnel, which served as the northern entry to the viaduct. Our “Now” was taken Feb. 2, when we joined tens of thousands of pedestrians walking through the tunnel while visiting the viaduct for the last time.

Today the tunnel, brimful with viaduct debris in the new “Now” seen here, offers a final view before being sealed forever. Bits of the rubble were offered to the public gratis in late November, allowing viaduct supporters one last concrete chance to preserve their nostalgia.

“Nothing about this job was easy,” concludes Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar. “The viaduct stood perilously close to buildings and utilities and a critical rail corridor. We appreciate our contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, which finished the job with no injuries and no significant damage. And we’re proud to have cleared the way for Seattle’s new waterfront.”

WEB EXTRAS

Here’s where to find the original Viaduct-related columns referenced above on Railroad Avenue (Feb. 23, 2019) and the Battery Street Tunnel (March 16, 2019).

Also, here are two more “Then/Now” triads, related to Viaduct columns we did in 2019.

The first triad is based on our original column of March 10, 2019:

THEN: Probable members of the Seattle Photography Club, most likely taken by fellow member Horace Sykes in 1953, although we don’t know for sure. (courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
NOW1: Denizens of the waterfront on the final day of public access to the Viaduct, Feb. 2, 2019: (from left) Kevin Clark, owner of Argosy Cruises and Tillicum Excursions; Ryan Smith, third generation manager of Martin Smith, Inc., who own 15 historic buildings throughout downtown Seattle, including Piers 55 and 56; and the ubiquitous Bob Donegan, who helps manage Ivar’s from Pier 54. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW2: Firmly planted on the ground where the Viaduct formerly stood are (from left) Kevin Clark, Ryan Smith and Bob Donegan. (Jean Sherrard)

The second triad is based on our original column of April 21, 2019:

THEN: Soon after this photo was taken in 1962, a section of the Seattle Armory’s western wall collapsed onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct, punching two holes in the northbound lanes and cracking a support beam. Repairs took several days. (Larry Dion, Seattle Times)
NOW1: Immediately north of the view in this March 2019 photo, the viaduct has been completely demolished. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW2: The Murray family enjoys the newly clear view. On Nov. 21, 2019, at the foot of Lenora, a stone’s throw north of the Great Northern Tunnel, the last remaining columns of the viaduct were removed, for good reason. To accommodate the dozens of trains passing through each day, the current owner, BNSF Railway, mandated that demolition near the tunnel be limited to only six hours per week beginning at 11 PM each Saturday, concluding early Sunday morning. (Jean Sherrard)

3 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Postscripts on Hutch and the (no more) Viaduct”

    1. While both ends of the Battery Street tunnel remain open for the time being to allow for final disposal of Viaduct remains, they will soon be closed forever, without possibility of further access. I don’t have an exact timeline, but over the next few weeks and months, the rubble in the tunnel will be covered with a thick layer of poured concrete, and the mouths of the tunnel WILL be closed off. Does that answer your question?

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