Seattle Now & Then: Wallingford Fisticuffs

(click to enlarge photos)


I first saw this snapshot of high-school fisticuffs years ago. The venerable North End journalist Stan Stapp shared it with me for possible use in The Seattle Times or an exhibit. It was one part of a thick handful of mostly Wallingford glossies he used as editor, columnist, reporter and photographer for his family’s neighborhood newspaper, The North Central Outlook.

I don’t remember Stapp explaining the circumstances of the scene — whose fist, whose chin, when and where. But Stapp was a 1936 graduate of Wallingford’s Lincoln High School; the family home and newspaper office were two blocks from Lincoln, and the bungalow behind the impetuous teens is also very Wallingfordian. Stapp passed in 2006.

Recently I stumbled upon my copy and showed it to John Sundsten, a 1950 graduate of Lincoln. On first glance, the retired University of Washington neuroanatomist thought, “The boys are dancing. Isn’t that odd.”

After quickly surrendering to the idea that this was a fight not a dance, the peace-loving musician-scientist carried the print to the Fremont Public Library where back issues of the Outlook are stored. Sundsten started with the issues in 1950, the year he graduated. Thumbing forward he soon found the picture and its story on page 3 of Stapp’s weekly tabloid, published May 2, 1952.

It was, not surprisingly, Stapp who took the picture and wrote the copy. He gave no names except that of Wallingford’s juvenile officer, Walter J. Hauan, who took the two pugilists to a Wallingford precinct room. Stapp leaves his story with a happy ending, we assume. He concludes, “Hauan’s fatherly manner of approach has helped clear things up for thousands of local youths in the past.”


Anything to add, Paul?

No so much this week Jean – small but packed with value.  (A reminder.  Click the pictures TWICE for the greatest enlargement.)

First a picture of our neighbor, friend and sometimes contributor, the anatomist John Sundsten standing in the Fremont Library and showing off the page he found in the 1952 North Central Outlook – the page with the fisticuffs photograph and story shared above.

In these pages John the contributing U.W. professor and “man of feeling” (an 18th Century phenomenon that is being revived)  can be revisited with the three links that follow.   Please Do.

A Green Lake Sampler – John Sundsten’s Morning Walk

More Green Lake Morphology with John Sundsten, Ph.d.

More From Morphologist John Sundsten on Characteristic Brain Faculties

John recently returned from a “drumming tour” of Cuba and recorded much of his long bus trip down the island with many stops to visit with the local musicians and make music with them too.  Jean went he gets up this Sunday morning will link  you to John’s little YouTube edit for his 7th Day in Cuba.

And now more John Sundsten.   I asked him to reminisce about his time at Lincoln High School in the late 1940s.  He offered to free-associate about all that while driving with a friend north for lunch to Port Townsend earlier today (well yesterday, Saturday.)   I have pulled a few approximate illustrations for some of his Lincoln High memories.


When was that … late 40’s television had started … little round 6 inch window only saw it a couple of times at Fritzy & Georgia’s house and this was when Electrolux tube vacuum cleaner for every household were around and refrigerators too… well maybe that was a bit earlier when you got milk with the yellow cream at the top I have a lack of clear memory of Lincoln Hi as it was so

uneventful and for a time I was living with grandma in the Paramount Theatre building let into free movies by the nice older 20 year old usher girls I was shy and there were those stubby rainier beer bottles  never liked the taste much but all the guys thought it was a big deal oh dear someone knocked over tombstones at the  cemetery next to Volunteer park one night

Much later than John’s memory of upset stones here Jean takes a picture on the right and I do too of him at Lakeview Cemetery after attending a memorial for the spreading – and throwing to the wind – of Walt Crowley’s ashes. Walt will come forward again before we go to bed this morning.

coming back from a boy scout meeting it wasn’t me but I knew about it what a dilemma… one Lincoln Hi teacher owned wheat fields in eastern WA  later I learned the word “anti-semite”… fear of a very militant teacher who ran the study hall no messing around …

Not John’s teacher’s wheat but still about the right time. This is a Horace Sykes late 40s photo. It may seem familiar because it was printed here as one of our Daily Sykes months ago.

…now and then a teacher (chemistry,  Mr Thompson?) gave me a ride to school (from 10th and Boston on Capitol hill)  in his Model A ford still running in the late 40’s and a super math teacher who everybody loved ( Miss Miles?) …

Lincoln Pig Skin handlers from 1912 – much too early for John.

… took cooking in senior year and learned how to fry eggs I’m still really good at it low temp and bacon  turn frequently  the football players also liked the course as it was filled mostly with girls …there was a Lincoln Hi ski team train to Snoqualmie (Milwaukee Bowl?)  car to Stevens …

(spun out once on black ice almost totaling my father’s Buick) and holidays at the old Mt. Baker  lodge and my pal Ken and I raced slalom Ken got first and I got a 3rd place medal once (at Stevens pass) … made the sports page in the PI …

The Mt. Baker lodge with Mt. Shuksan behind it, and a wee bit early for John and his skis.

… we used Emile Alle thongs to strap our boots to the skis so that they would never come off I cant believe we did that and also attached little triangular  metal pieces from Swanson’s Shoe Repair on 45th to the bottom of our shoes  so as to walk with a really cool click click sound …

… still in associative memory  banks the smell of old waxed wooden floors and clanging lockers …

A waxed hall at Lincoln High in the 1950s.

… and throwing the big “medicine” ball at each other in the gym period and the “Woody” contest where one would pitch a baseball through a frame and win a prize ticket for the Seattle Rainiers baseball team …

Seattle Rainiers huddle with radio announcer Frosty Fowler.

… had one really good friend Ken who is dead now and dead too several half know guys a year or so later wasted by our Korean folly I was gung-ho then also and ended up as a Navy corpsman in San Diego and then the Marine Barracks at one of Camp Pendleton’s tent camps Los Pulgas (the fleas) for a couple of years…oh well there was the softness and taste of a  kiss and how wondrous the feeling from a quick glance and touch of a nipple an amazing thing with a life of it own and in those days, walking in Volunteer Park and holding hands was a really big deal and the back seat of a car was the best so much for Lincoln Hi memories… so far so good.

As proof that this blog is at least three years old, this montage was included here soon after I attended the Feb. 16, 2008 pan reunion of Lincoln Hi classes at a Lincoln High, which was closed in 1981 but then restored in 1997 to temporarily host a long list of other public schools while their plants were being restore or rebuilt. Here the alums of the class of 1949 remember themselves. One year before John’s graduation it includes the important secondary associations dependent on primary sexual characteristics, e.g. the Knight Fraternity (all suited young men and/or older boys), the Chanters (coeds modestly uniformed in black sweaters), and three photos from the Senior Prom. Was John a Knight? We have not asked.
Here – for comparison – is the Class of 1968. Remember please to CLICK TWICE to enlarge.
Other scenes from the 2008 pan-reunion at Wallingford’s Lincoln High School.

Evidence of “high culture” in Wallingford, the Lincoln High School Orchestra performs for students and parents.
The school newspaper, the Lincoln Totem, joins the bond drive during WW2,  counts the dead, and bemoans student apathy for good causes while noting that a chaplain – connected to Lincoln, we assume – will be appealing for a  “serious outlook” on the war. 
Looking (twice) northeast from the Lincoln roof during the first clearing stages of the school’s 1959 expansion with a new wing to the east. Lincoln’s enrollment for 1959-60 reached 2,800, making it Seattle’s largest High School. In 1969 the plant got a major remodel. Ten years later the school district announced its plans to “probably” close Lincoln because of the building’s age, its small campus, and declining enrollment. It would seem that at some point in the mid-1960s many of the parents of Wallingford stopped having children.


It was the Stapp family Wallingford Weekly the North Central Outlook that ran the fisticuffs story of 1952 printed at the top.  Stan was a man of great civility with a zestful curiosity about his community.  Born in 1918 he was printer’s ink diaper baby, and inevitably he eventually this youngest of four Stapp boys took over the editing of the paper.  The clip that follows is also taken from a 1952 Outlook and shows now-and-thens of Stan and Milton, one of his older brothers.

Stan lived to be 88, passing in 2006.  Walt Crowley delivered the principal oration at Stan’s funeral and here follows a picture of the event – at the University Unitarian Church – with Walt at the pulpit  Walt’s eulogy can be read on and deserves to be read too.   It is wonderfully written and revealing of what Stan meant to Walt and many others myself included.

Many years ago Stan loaned me a Stapp family album filled with pictures of their Outlook facilities in the basement of the Staff home on Woodlawn Ave. at 43rd, and so a few feet from where the boys would be brutes.   Here follows a few pages from that album.  I do not know who wrote the captions, but I doubt that it was Stan because some of the personal associations implied are too early for Stan who was born in 1918 and graduated from Lincoln High in 1936.

The Stapps also ran a music school upstairs.
Scenes around the Woodlawn Ave. home during the 1937 snow.

The Stapp album also includes a few views of by now long-gone Wallingford neighborhood businesses. A reader familiar with the landmarks along 45th Street might be able to figure out the location for the Smith Music Store by the reflections in the window.

An early look at Lincoln High School across the intersection of 43rd Street and Interlake Avenue. A “now” follows.

Now-then Caps together:  Looking southeast from the corner of N. Allen Place and Interlake Avenue North the circa 1914 view of Lincoln High and its new North Wing looks very much like the contemporary record.  The original 1907 symmetrical section faces Interlaken Avenue on the far right and in the “now” view only the 1930 south wing is mostly hidden behind the landscaping.

Historical Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey

In the now 29  years of writing the “now and then” feature for Pacific I have featured Lincoln High School three times, no doubt because I live in the neighborhood.  The above repeat was used in the first feature, but I’ll not reprint it here.  Instead, I’ll include the other two.  First a later and enlarged Lincolns as seen looking south on Interlaken from North Allen Place.


This little sketch of Lincoln High School history began by consulting Nile Thompson and Carolyn M. Marr’s “Building for Learning, Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000.”  And within this nearly new book we learn that although Lincoln High closed its doors to Wallingford teens in 1981 the now nearly century old story of the school on Interlake Avenue is far from over.

First in 1997 it was the students of Ballard who used a renovated Lincoln campus while a new Ballard High School was built for them.  Next followed the kids from Latona for their two-year stint during the renovation of their campus. Next came Roosevelt High for its visit to these egalitarian halls while north end students get their own makeover.  (The Roosevelt visit, of course, required a special street parking study in Wallingford.)  Garfield was next – if memory serves.  Perhaps others schools will be coming to Lincoln in the years ahead.

In a way the Roosevelt visit is a return of what that school took from Lincoln when it opened in 1922 capturing about half of the older school’s territory with it.

Early in 1906 an anxious school board committee scouted the Wallingford site when there were still stump fields scattered about from the original clear-cutting of the late 1880s.  The 30 room “Little Red Brick Schoolhouse” was built with speed and 900 students were enrolled the following September – many of them from Queen Anne.  Two years later Queen Anne got its own high school, which it has also since lost.   Still Lincoln kept growing.

The view above  dates probably from 1914, the year its new north wing (shown here) was added.  In 1930 a south wing followed and in 1959 an east side addition as well.  That year Lincoln was the largest high school in town with an enrollment of 2,800.  And yet, acting like a barometer for the cultural changes of 1960s and 1970s, in only another 21 years Lincoln High School, home of fighting Lynxes, would close for a rest until it would reopen again and again and most likely yet again and again.  Note the Garfield High sign (below) across the intersection in 2007.


Edna Noah, her grandchild Grace and I pose together on Edna’s living room couch in her Wallingford home about four years ago. Grace and I have just completed a video interview with her grandmother. Edna had a wonderfully detailed memory of Wallingford and Lincoln High history. She was a spirited researcher and had a fine sense of humor too. Two important qualities for secular sainthood. She passed away within two years following this sitting.  The story that follows was written because of her help identifying the subjects in it. I confess to having not found the “now” recordings for this now-then feature, but when I do I’ll make a Lincoln High addendum.


The alumnae of Seattle’s Lincoln High School are faithful.  Many of the graduating classes from as far back as the early 1930s have yearly reunions.  And many graduates still live in or near Wallingford. Edna Noah, class of 1934, is one of these.  (This was first written for Pacific in 1998 when Edna was still living.)

This week’ record of the Lincoln bobby-soxers dancing after school withheld the mystery of the coed’s identities until Edna Noah went to work “making a nuisance of myself,” as she describes it.  Noah numbered each of the dancer son a blow-up of this scene (printed below) and circulated it among every Lincoln class meeting she could attend.  In two years of collecting she got fourteen identifications, including those of Muriel Davies Wenke and Oddrun Wiek Hansen, who stand, left and right respectively, in the foreground of the contemporary scene.

Front row, left, Muriel Davies Wenke, right, Oddru Wiek Hansen.  Second row, far right with the Lynx white sweater, is Edna Noah. Far left is Stan Stapp. Perhaps we will find the names for the others next.

Close friends since kindergarten, Muriel and Oddrun graduated with the class of 1942 and went directly to the University of Washington.  By their recounting, in this scene members of the Girls Club – many in the club uniform of navy blue skirts and midi-blouses – are getting into the swing before members of the Boys Club – here still meeting in the school gymnasium – join them for an after school street dance on Interlaken Avenue.  A band is playing – probably near the photographer.

Among the dancers, Muriel Davies is the furthest back of the trio dancing in the foreground, just left of center.   She seems to be peeking at the photographer.   Here friend Oddrun Wiek appears full-faced to the right and just behind the coed with the zigzag patterned dress, right of center.  Oddrun is dancing with a smiling Vida West.

Although Lincoln H.S. closed in 1980, its recent restoration for Ballard students (and by now for years many other schools temporarily dispossessed of their homes) waiting on the rebuilding of their own high school has given Lincoln grads the opportunity to return to their Wallingford school for reunions and, here, last June’s open house. (Again, that was in 1998.) There have been other reunions since as evidenced by the accompanying photos taken, I believe, in 2004 at an all classes reunion at Lincoln.)

[It’s 2 in the morning and time to advance into the four stages of spending the night adrift with dreams.  1 Turn off what is connected.  2. Brush the teeth and take the vitamins  3.  Read.  4. Put head to pillow by 3 a.m..  So be it.   I’ll add a little more on Lincoln High after breakfast and proofread the lot.]









6 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Wallingford Fisticuffs”

  1. Hi Paul,
    I am an old acquaintance of John Sundsten and was delighted
    to read about him in your article and blog. At one time I was part of a flute trio with him and Charles Cooper. Could you forward my email address to John so we could reconnect. I would love to catch up on what he’s been doing (a lot as always) and how much his girls have grown up.
    Thank you,

  2. The Hart Music store has an address on the door: 2110. On 45th, that would put it approximately across form the Guild 45th. I don’t think this was taken on 45th, since the reflected houses are elevated from the street. That would also rule out the commercial district on 55th.

    Perhaps this is not from Wallingford? Another clue is the slope of the street, though not a helpful one for me.

  3. I knew John Sunsten when I went to LHS from 1947 to 1951. His good friend was Ken Swedop. They were both good guys and well liked at Lincoln. I enjoyed the stories and the pictures.

  4. Thanks so much for this article and photographs. It was so far before my days at Lincoln, as I graduated in 1955, still I enjoyed the entire article. Thanks again. ~Ruthie Zimmerlin, class of 1955~

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