All posts by Clay Eals

Seattle Now & Then: from the air, West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail, 1920

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: With the Duwamish Waterway in the foreground, this 1920 photo shows, in superimposed green lines, the route of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. It is among 44 hikes in the expanded “Hiking Washington’s History” by Judy Bentley and Craig Romano (University of Washington Press). For book events, visit JudyBentley.com and CraigRomano.com. (The Boeing Company)
NOW1: A century later, the First Avenue South Bridge and a filled-in oxbow dominate the industrial foreground while green lines trace today’s West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail above. For videos and closer aerials of the trail, visit PaulDorpat.com. For trail maps and more info, including plans for a new Ridge to River Trail emanating from the Duwamish Longhouse on West Marginal Way, visit WDGTrails.com. (Jean Sherrard, via Helicopters Northwest)
NOW2: Four former and current staff of nearby South Seattle College walk the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail: (from left) guidebook co-author Judy Bentley, Randy Nelson, Monica Lundberg and Colby Keene. (West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on May 6, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on May 9, 2021)

From up in the air, we get down to the Duwamish earth
By Clay Eals

It’s fitting, perhaps spiritual, that our first use of aerial photography for “Now & Then” showcases the wooded walkways above our city’s only river — a waterway named for the Native American tribe whose early chief is our city’s namesake.

An established public trail lets us walk this hillside and imagine the homeland of the Duwamish people, whose name means “the way in” and who once numbered 4,000 along the river and its tributaries. This, of course, was before Euro-American immigrants brought dominance and disease that decimated the tribe, even burning some members out of their shoreline dwellings.

You can find this path, called the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail, along superimposed green lines in our “Then” and “Now” photos.

The older view, from 1920, provides a stunning glimpse of the eastern ridge of West Seattle, fronted by the Duwamish Waterway and precursors of West Marginal Way and the First Avenue South Bridge. At right swirls a U-shaped oxbow created by the river’s recent widening, deepening and straightening. Standing at center is Plant 1 of the fledgling Boeing Airplane Co. (sign on roof). Intruding at far right is the wing of an early biplane, from which the photo was taken rather courageously.

Book cover for the enlarged second edition of “Hiking Washington’s History.” (University of Washington Press)

But our focus is on the trail, a new one in the expanded, soon-to-be-published second edition of “Hiking Washington’s History,” a color guidebook detailing 44 hikes statewide, with 12 added treks.

The route, accessed by two trail heads, snakes along a steep slope, which by 1920 had been logged for profit as well as operation of a streetcar line (faintly visible in our “Then” photo) that from 1912 to 1931 crossed the expanse, connecting bridges at Spokane Street to White Center and Burien.

Judy Bentley and Craig Romano, co-authors of “Hiking Washington’s History.

Today, the trail traverses a 500-acre forest buffering two intensive forms of 20th-century development — housing above and industrial glut below. Over time, Seattle Parks acquired most of the greenbelt parcels. West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails volunteers and others regularly replant the land and maintain its path.

To create a matching “Now” image, Jean Sherrard and I literally got a helicopter view in late February, he making stills and I shooting video. Aloft, we quickly appreciated a 1970s city report that called the hillside a potential “gift of peace and quiet in our busy, noisy, polluted city.”

Also ringing true was the insight of guidebook co-author Judy Bentley:

“We hike historic trails for resonance: for connection to the people on the land before us and to a landscape relatively constant across centuries. We also hike out of curiosity: Who went this way before? Where were they going? Who made this trail and why?”

WEB EXTRAS

Because we were airborne, there is no 360 video for this week’s installment. But you can see Clay Eals‘ video of the “Now” prospect and above the trail, taken from the helicopter view, and hear him read the column aloud by visiting this video link:

VIDEO: Aerial view of West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail, Feb. 27, 2021, (Clay Eals)

Look below for 21 additional aerial photos by Jean Sherrard that showcase the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. In each one, can you spot the temporarily placed white bags that mark the trail route? You may have to click on each photo twice.

Also, look below for video by Matthew Clark of the helicopter from the ground, along with photos and maps provided by the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails volunteers.

Special thanks to Craig Rankin, Judy Bentley, Kait Heacock from University of Washington Press and, from Helicopters Northwest, Anna Siegel, for their assistance with this installment.

In addition, we salute the volunteers present on the trail during the Feb. 27, 2021, aerial photo shoot, some of whom laid white plastic bags on the trail to make the route visible from the air. They were Judy Bentley, Asa Clark, Christine Clark, Matthew Clark, Mackenzie Dolstad, Alec Duncan, Susan Elderkin, Shannon Harris, Trissa Hodapp, Angela Johnson, Billy Markham, Karen Nelson, Randy Nelson, Antoinette Palmer, Craig Rankin, Hagen Rankin, Leela Rankin, Hans Rikhof, Holly Rikhof, Sarah Ritums, Shawnti Rockwell, Ruth Anne Wallace, Tom Wallace, Paul West and Barbara Williams.

Map of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail.
Map of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. The red line indicates the route of the Highland Park & Lake Burien Railway, which operated from 1912 to 1931.
West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail head at the foot of Highland Park Way Southwest, known locally as Boeing Hill. (Clay Eals)
Hikers on the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail.
Ken Workman (right), fourth-generation great-grandson of Chief Seattle, leads a group before walking the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Judy Bentley)
The Highland Park & Lake Burien Railway, looking northeast. The streetcar line ran from 1912 to 1931. (West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails.)
Hikers with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Matthew Clark)
Hikers with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Matthew Clark)
Hikers with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Matthew Clark)
Hikers with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Matthew Clark)
Hikers with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Christine Clark)
Hiker Leela Rankin with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Christine Clark)
Hikers with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Christine Clark)
Hikers with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Christine Clark)
Hikers with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Christine Clark)
Hikers with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Christine Clark)
Hikers with temporarily placed white bags, to make the trail visible from the air for the Feb. 27, 2021, photo shoot. (Christine Clark)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
Aerial view of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. (Jean Sherrard)
VIDEO: This 30-second clip shows the helicopter from the trail below. (Matthew Clark)

Seattle Now & Then: Quickly engineering the Space Needle, 1961

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: These two images of the Space Needle under construction may look other-worldly today, but they were just part of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene in summer 1961 as organizers and construction workers hustled to prepare for the April 21, 1962, opening of the Seattle World’s Fair. (Fora Meredith, courtesy Denise & Brad Chrisman)
ALMOST NOW: Gary Curtis (top right), one of the Needle’s Pasadena-based engineers, poses with his son and daughter-in-law, Gart and Deb Curtis, and grandchildren, Margo and Leland, at the Needle’s base in 2015. Curtis says when he was drafting Needle drawings, Gart was “in diapers.” (Courtesy Gary Curtis)
NOW: The Space Needle rises behind Alexander Liberman’s bright-red 1984 Olympic Iliad sculpture at Seattle Center. For an in-depth account of the Needle’s history, dig into Knute Berger’s colorful book “Space Needle: The Spirit of Seattle,” Documentary Media, 2012. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on April 15, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on April 18, 2021)

One Space Needle, coming right up! A 60th anniversary tale
By Clay Eals

It was an era of courageous quests: Nationally, landing on the moon within the decade. Locally, building a bold, enduring beacon.

Sixty years ago, ground was broken for our city’s 605-foot Space Needle — on April 17, 1961, to be exact. A year later, on April 21, 1962, the Seattle World’s Fair opened, and so did the Needle.

Today’s warp-speed endeavors have little on this one. It’s hard to fathom how fast the fair’s signature symbol went up, but Gary Curtis has a grasp.

The 24-year-old was two years out of Walla Walla University’s engineering program in March 1961 while working in the five-person Pasadena office of structural engineer John Minasian, an expert in the wind and seismic loads of towers. There, Curtis began pumping out detailed drawings that guided the Needle’s assembly.

From the get-go, adrenaline fueled the overtime pace. “Thirteen months later, the structure’s going to be done,” Curtis says. “They hadn’t even rolled the steel yet in Chicago.”

Daily, Curtis and others produced and overnighted tubes of oversized documents to Seattle at 11 p.m. for use by 8 a.m. “We would look at where they were, the actual construction, the guys putting steel together, and we’d be detailing stuff 150 feet above where they were working,” he says. “You didn’t mess around.”

Instead of cutting corners, however, the engineers strengthened them.

“We just threw the steel at it,” he says. “What we did was brutal. It was a beautiful design, but we didn’t have time to do a refined analysis. If you found out that a quarter-inch plate was going to probably be about right, use three-eighths, use five-sixteenths. You didn’t skimp on anything. If 50 bolts made a connection, 75 went in. There was no time to try to figure out how to save money. Saving money wasn’t the point. Getting it done on time was the point.”

Through the Needle’s decades of wear and renovation, the work has held up — and so has Curtis. Now 84 and living 80 miles and a ferry ride north of Seattle, Curtis lovingly preserves copies of his drawings and the tools he used to create them: a slide rule, triangle, drafting pencils, a pencil sharpener, erasers and an erasing shield. Eyeing his 1961 lettering and “GNC” initials on the plans, he breaks into a grin.

“It was really exciting,” he says. “You’re 24? Come on! Good grief, that’s just what you do.”

Though he’s worked on high bridges and geodesic domes and consulted at the South Pole, for him the Needle stands supreme: “It’s the most dramatic project that people know most about.”

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Special thanks to Gary Curtis, Denise and Brad Chrisman and Bruce and Emily Howard for their assistance with this installment.

Below are a link to an in-depth video interview of Gary, two additional “Now” photos by Jean, five additional photos by Gary, two additional photos by Fora Meredith and a book cover.

Also, to vividly illustrate the intense interest and excitement over the speedy construction of the Space Needle, we present, in chronological order, 102 historical photo clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archives (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

VIDEO: Gary Curtis is interviewed by Clay Eals on Feb. 20, 2020, at his Guemes Island home about his engineering work on the Space Needle. Click image to view the 58-minute video!
The Space Needle under construction in September 1961. (Gary Curtis)
The Space Needle under construction in September 1961. (Gary Curtis)
The Space Needle under construction in September 1961. (Gary Curtis)
A worker is transported to a lofty spot while the Space Needle is under construction in September 1961. (Gary Curtis)
Curved steel beams await placement while the Space Needle is under construction in September 1961. (Gary Curtis)
The Space Needle under construction in late summer 1961. (Fora Meredith, courtesy Denise & Brad Chrisman)
The Coliseum under construction in late summer 1961. (Fora Meredith, courtesy Denise & Brad Chrisman)

 

Additional NOW of Space Needle. (Jean Sherrard)
Additional NOW of Space Needle. (Jean Sherrard)
Cover of “Space Needle: The Spirit of Seattle” by Knute Berger (Documentary Media, 2012)
A full year of newspaper clippings, documenting the Space Needle under construction, April 22, 1961, to April 22, 1962:
April 22, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
May 8, 1961, Seattle Times, page 4.
May 18, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 14.
June 16, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 21.
June 21, 1961, Seattle Times, page 8.
June 27, 1961, Seattle Times, page 8.
June 30, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
July 1, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
July 7, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
July 18, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 5.
July 18, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
July 19, 1961, Oregonian, page 32.
July 21, 1961, Seattle Times, page 4.
July 22, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 7.
July 27, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
Aug. 8, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 7.
Aug. 20, 1961, Seattle Times, page 5.
Aug. 22, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 6.
Aug. 26, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
Sept. 2, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Sept. 8, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Sept. 8, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Sept. 9, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 7.
Sept. 13, 1961, Seattle Times, page 20.
Sept. 14, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 17.
Sept. 14, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Sept. 23, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 9.
Sept. 26, 1961, Seattle Times, page 4.
Sept. 28, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
Sept. 28, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Oct. 2, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 5.
Oct. 2, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, pae 1.
Oct. 2, 1961, Seattle Times, page 1.
Oct. 3, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Oct. 7, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 9.
Oct. 13, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Oct. 14, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 4.
Oct. 14, 1961, Seattle Times, page 1.
Oct. 16, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Oct. 17, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Oct. 18, 1961, Seattle Times, page 52.
Oct. 21, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Oct. 26, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Oct. 29, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Oct. 29, 1961, Seattle Times, page 15.
Oct. 31, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Oct. 31, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 11.
Nov. 2, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 2.
Nov. 6, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 6.
Nov. 7, 1961, Seattle Times, page 31.
Nov. 20, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Nov. 21, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 2.
Nov. 26, 1961, Seattle Times, page 111.
Dec. 3, 1961, Seattle Times, page 1.
Dec. 3, 1961, Seattle Times, page 22.
Dec. 4, 1961, Seattle Times, page 14.
Dec. 6, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Dec. 7, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Dec. 8, 1961, Seattle Times, page 1.
Dec. 8, 1961, Seattle Times, page 3.
Dec. 15, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Dec. 20, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 29.
Dec. 31, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 55.
Jan. 10, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Jan. 10, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 8.
Jan. 11, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 8.
Jan. 25, 1962, Seattle Times, page 3.
Jan. 30, 1962, Seattle Times, page 9.
Feb. 1, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Feb. 1, 1962, Seattle Times, page 3.
Feb. 1, 1962, Seattle Times, page 5.
Feb. 3, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Feb. 7, 1962, Seattle Times, page 5.
Feb. 11, 1962, Seattle Times, page 123.
Feb. 12, 1962, Oregonian, page 4.
Feb. 15, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
Feb. 18, 1962, Seattle Times, page 105.
Feb. 25, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Feb. 25, 1962, Seattle Times, page 104.
Feb. 26, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
March 4, 1962, Seattle Times, page 52.
March 8, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 8.
March 11, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 5.
March 11, 1962, Seattle Times, page 115.
March 21, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 19.
March 25, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 161.
March 25, 1962, Seattle Times, page 108.
March 25, 1962, Seattle Times, page 125.
March 27, 1962, Seattle Times, page 3.
April 1, 1962, Seattle Times, page 1.
April 4, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
April 4, 1962, Seattle Times, page 3.
April 8, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
April 8, 1962, Seattle Times, page 228.
April 8, 1962, Seattle Times, page 232.
April 13, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 8.
April 16, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
April 16, 1962, Seattle Times, page 19.
April 19, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
April 19, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 5.
April 21, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
April 22, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 68.

Seattle Now & Then: Prescott-Harshman House in Fall City, 1940

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: Signs saying “Telephone Office” and, in faded letters, “Fall City Telephone,” along with the old Bell system logo, adorn this 1904 home along the Snoqualmie River in unincorporated Fall City. The photo, taken May 9, 1940, is hand-labeled “Falls City,” in popular use at the time. (Puget Sound Regional Branch, Washington State Archives)
NOW: With smartphones to their ears, celebrating Prescott-Harshman House’s receipt of the John Spellman historic-preservation award for adaptive reuse (named for the late King County executive) are (from left) Aroma Coffee Co. proprietors Kelsey Wilson, Sara Cox and Emily Ridout and Fall City Historical Society members Cindy Parks, Donna Driver-Kummen and Paula Spence, along with Sarah Steen, King County landmarks coordinator, and her niece, Ellie Steen. In the background at right is Fall City Library. (Clay Eals)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on April 8, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on April 11, 2021)

Can we talk? Fall City celebrates communication in any form
By Clay Eals

Because of its expense and spam, I’m ready to shed our household’s telephone landline. “It’s about time — LOL,” my nephew Chris chides me. He’s probably right, but as a history writer, maybe I get some leeway.

No question: Landlines were once a big deal. More than a century before so-called smartphones and other technology, and in an era of telegraphs and handwritten letters, a telephone tethered to other phones through switchboards in country homes and wires strung along roadways from pole to pole was … well, revolutionary. People hearing real voices in real time over really long distances? Imagine that.

Our “Then” photo hints at how vital this was for tiny towns like Fall City, 25 miles and two lakes east of Seattle. With laundry rippling on a backyard clothesline and a manual lawnmower leaning against the side porch, this lived-in home also displayed three signs (can you spot them?) that it was communications central.

Fledgling telephones in Fall City date to 1900. By 1905, residents banded together, with $300 from lawyer-lumberman Newton Harshman and wife Julia, to connect phone lines from their stores to the local Northern Pacific Depot. In 1912, the Harshmans moved the switchboard to the 1904 home in our “Then” photo, first occupied by Martin and Parthena Prescott, at River and Mill streets along the Snoqualmie River.

Newton died in 1929, and Julia in 1933, when her Fall City Telephone Company sported 250 customers. Keeping the business afloat were their daughter, Gertrude Harshman, and her husband, George Satterlee, until 1947 when a new dial system soon would eliminate the need for a switchboard and operators.

The house was restored as office space, became a county landmark in 1984 and later hosted a Montessori school. Last fall, after 13 years of planning and hands-on fix-up, the building (known as Prescott-Harshman House and owned by Judy and Emily Nelson of nearby Preston) took on a retail persona that hearkens to its chatty roots.

Run by three local women, Aroma Coffee Co. aims to build connections — even with takeout only during the pandemic — at the busy intersection, now 335th Place Southeast and Redmond-Fall City Road (state Highway 202).

“More communication,” observes Metropolitan King County Council member Kathy Lambert, “is always going to be buzzing through here, and it’s very exciting.” So, too, is the county’s 2020 John Spellman historic-preservation award for adaptive reuse, bestowed to Prescott-Harshman House in December.

Like the rest of us, Aroma yearns for a post-virus day when friends and neighbors can gather in homey quarters for eye-to-eye conversation over a hot drink. Now that’ll be revolutionary.

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Special thanks to the Fall City Historical Society, the Snoqualmie Valley Museum and the King County Historic Preservation Program for their assistance with this installment!

Below are two video links, nine photos, five documents and seven historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archives (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

VIDEO: Click the image to see the full 24-minute video on the 2020 John Spellman King County Preservation Awards. The segment on Prescott-Harshman House is at time code 6:55-11:50.
VIDEO: Aroma Coffee Co. proprietors (from left) Kelsey Wilson, Sara Cox and Emily Ridout explain how and why they opened a coffeehouse inside the renovated Prescott-Harshman House in Fall City. Click the image to see the two-and-a-half-minute video.
1878 Seattle Post-Intelligencer, squib on “the telephone.” (Courtesy of Ron Edge)
Sept. 15, 1921, Seattle Times, page 15.
Aug. 24, 1929, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 14.
July 23, 1950, Seattle Times, page 78.
The porch of the Prescott-Harshman House. (Fall City Historical Society)
An early view of the Prescott-Harshman House. (Courtesy Fall City Historical Society)
This is the state Historic Property Inventory Form for Prescott-Harshman House. Click the image to see the full pdf file. (King County Historic Preservation)
History of telephones in Fall City. Click the image to see the full pdf. (Fall City Historical Society)
Excerpt from Jack Kelley’s history of Fall City. Click the image to see the full pdf. (Fall City Historical Society)
The telephone chapter of the Fall City oral-history memory book. Click the image to see the full pdf. (Fall City Historical Society)
Obituary of Gertrude Harshman. Click the image to read the full pdf. (Fall City Historical Society)
An early view of Prescott-Harshman House. (Snoqualmie Valley Record collection, Fall City Historical Society)
Newton Roswell Harshman and Julia Gertrune Camp at Prescott-Harshman House, Nov. 17, 1915. (Fall City Historical Society)
Satterlee wedding party, 1919. (Fall City Historical Society)
Undated newspaper ad for Fall City telephone exchange. (Fall City Historical Society)
George Satterlee and Gertrude Harshman wedding article, 1919. (Snoqualmie Valley Museum)
Gertrude Harshman Satterlee with her children outside Fall City Church. (Snoqualmie Valley Museum)
Gertrude Harshman, 1917. (Snoqualmie Valley Museum)
Newton Rosewell Harshman. (Snoqualmie Valley Museum)
Newton Harshman. (Snoqualmie Valley Museum)
Obituary for Gertrude Harshman Satterlee. (Snoqualmie Valley Museum)

 

Seattle Now & Then: Mukilteo monument and its missing plaque for Point Elliott Treaty, 1931

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN1: The May 2, 1931, ceremony to dedicate a monument to the consequential Point Elliott Treaty on hillside Mukilteo included Gov. Roland Hartley, left in suit, and University of Washington historian Edmond S. Meany, right of the monument, who wrote the plaque text and who is largely hidden by Native American headdress. (Mukilteo Historical Society)
THEN2: The event, organized by the Everett-based Marcus Whitman chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, drew more than 3,000 people, including 300 Native Americans. The chapter relinquished custody of the monument to the city of Mukilteo in 1977. (Mukilteo Historical Society)
THEN3: Attendees filled much of the block at 304 Lincoln Ave., then the site of Rosehill High School, now a city park and home of Rosehill Community Center. (Mukilteo Historical Society)
NOW: “What happened to the plaque?” asks Ralph Wittmeyer of south Everett, who stopped recently at the monument while in town to get a haircut. Down the hill at left is the Mukilteo Lighthouse. To the right, out of frame, stands the new Mukilteo state ferry terminal, designed like a Coast Salish longhouse, with interpretive signage about the Point Elliott Treaty. (Clay Eals)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on April 1, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on April 4, 2021)

Treaty monument in Mukilteo is plaqueless — perhaps forever?
By Clay Eals

Sometimes history isn’t where you think you’ll find it.

Case in point: the Jan. 22, 1855, accord known as the Point Elliott Treaty, signed with an “X” by Chief Seattle and 81 other Puget Sound tribal leaders.

While it conferred tribal sovereignty and later was judicially interpreted to protect tribal fishing rights, it also ceded countless acres of land to European newcomers and has long been considered a lordly license for settler supremacy.

Nearly 90 years ago, a ceremony commemorated the treaty with a granite monument. The marker was installed at Third and Lincoln in downtown Mukilteo, a site thought to be near the place the treaty was signed. A Daughters of the American Revolution event on May 2, 1931, drew more than 3,000 people, including 300 Native Americans, some who were descendants of the treaty signers.

THEN4: The treaty plaque, before it vanished last October. The monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. (Andrew Ruppenstein, (Historical Marker Database)

To absorb the dedication’s hillside milieu, I recently drove north to see the marker at its Mukilteo city block. Imagine my surprise when I reached the stone and found its plaque missing. All that remained in its rectangular frame were three screw holes and a washered pin.

The plaque has been gone since October, when the city discovered its absence, along with graffiti that covered the monument. The scrawls included an anarchist symbol, an expletive and the phrase “BROKEN TREATIES.” Staff scrubbed off the defacement but have puzzled over the plaque’s whereabouts.

Jennifer Gregerson, two-term mayor of Mukilteo, issued a statement hinting that the plaque would not be replaced: “The signing location itself has an important significance in our shared history with the Northwest tribes. I believe this act of vandalism can provide an opportunity to spur our community forward into a new conversation. I hope that we can find a different way to explain and acknowledge that history at this site in Mukilteo.”

The Mukilteo Historical Society doesn’t plan to weigh in on the monument’s future, but Joanne Mulloy, president, is curious about what, if anything, the city will do.

Leaving the marker plaqueless appeals to Ken Workman, fourth-generation great grandson of Chief Seattle, whose Duwamish Tribe still lacks federal recognition. Lyrically, Workman notes that granite and computer memory chips both contain silicon.

“Granite holds the memories of people,” he says. “It’s a symbolic link to the genetic pain of 170 years.”

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Below are a photo, brochure, a HistoryLink backgrounder, a map, a DAR timeline and, in chronological order, four historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archives (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Special thanks to local historian Phil Hoffman and his Alki History Project for the initial idea for this installment and for invaluable assistance. He reminds us that the formal name of the Point Elliott Treaty is “Treaty between the United States and the Duwamish, Suquamish, and other allied and subordinate tribes of Indians in Washington Territory.” Hoffman adds, “I am operating on the premise that what we call things reveals what we really think and our biases.”

Joanne Mulloy, president of the Mukilteo Historical Society, offers this additional information and insight: “John Collier, our past president, wrote a quote that I quite like: ‘The Point Elliott Treaty remains a significant historical event for both the Tulalip people and the City of Mukilteo. As such, it should be remembered and, more important, continue to be studied as a means of strengthening cooperation and progress today.’ There are several plaques down at Lighthouse Park still. One was leftover from a bench that was on the beach in the 1950s, but the bench washed out in the Sound.”

Mukilteo monument, March 15, 2010. (Andrew Czernek)
Point Elliott Treaty brochure. Click image to see full pdf. (Courtesy Mukilteo Historical Society)
Signatures of territorial Gov. Isaac Stevens and Chief Seattle (“X”) on 1855 Point Elliott Treaty. (The Indigenous Digital Archive)
HistoryLink article on Point Elliott Treaty monument in Mukilteo. Click image to see full article.
Map showing boundaries of land ceded by Native American tribes in the 1855 Point Elliott Treaty. (Courtesy Phil Hoffman)
Timeline of the connection between the Marcus Whitman chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Point Elliott Treaty monument in Mukilteo. Click image to see full document. (Courtesy Teri Lynn Scott)
Jan. 25, 1925, Seattle Times, page 24.
April 20, 1931, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 4.
May 1, 1931, Seattle Times, page 13.
Nov. 11, 2020, Mukilteo Beacon. The expletive in the graffiti has been digitally obscured. Click image for full story.

Seattle Now & Then: Baseball’s ‘Western Wonder’ Vean Gregg — 1922 and 1925

(Click and click again to enlarge photos — and these severely horizontal gems fairly demand to be enlarged!)

THEN1: When the Seattle Post-Intelligencer printed a closer image from this March 28, 1925, photo shoot for Vean Gregg Service Station at 2006 Rainier Ave., the headline read “3 Gallons and You’re Out.” However, Vean is not in the picture. The station bore the Gregg name through 1927. (David Eskenazi collection) Here, thanks to automotive informant Bob Carney, are the years and makes of the cars (from left): 1920-21 Dodge touring car, 1922-24 Studebaker roadster (behind front row), 1923-24 Oldsmobile coupe, 1922 Chandler two-door sedan, unidentified, 1925 Nash two-door sedan, 1920s Model T Ford with cargo box (behind front row), 1925 Willys-Knight touring car, 1922-1925 REO Speedwagon truck, 1920s Model T Ford.
NOW: On the same triangular lot, celebrating the Vean Gregg Service Station site 96 years later are (from left) baseball historians David Eskenazi and Eric Sallee, the owners of eight vintage cars from the Evergreen As and Gallopin’ Gertie Model A clubs and Daniel Tessema and Mesh Tadesse of today’s YET Oil and Brake Services. Here are the names of the car owners and their cars (from left): Win & Cathy Brown, 1931 Tudor Delux; Christy & Robert McLaughlin, 1931 Blindback Sedan; Rich Nestler, 1930 Coupe; Steve Francois, 1931 Delux Roadster; Ahna Holder & Tammy Nyhus, 1931 Roadster; Don Werlech, 1931 Coupe; Dale Erickson, 1931 Coupe; and John Hash, 1931 Victoria.

(Published in the Seattle Times online on March 18, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on March 21, 2021)

Baseball’s ‘Western Wonder’ knew how to fuel a negotiation
By Clay Eals

On a late-1950s Saturday morning when I was a tyke, my Kentucky-born dad beckoned me to the living room and pointed at the CBS Game of the Week on TV. “Take a look: The pitcher’s a southpaw.” I peered at the screen and blurted out, “He’s left-handed, too!”

This lefty appreciated the impromptu vocabulary lesson. And trust me, in this righty world, lefties give each other a certain recognition and respect. Of course, that extends to Vean Gregg.

What, you haven’t heard of Gregg? Obscurity can’t dim the fact that among early big-league pitchers, the Chehalis native, raised mostly in the Eastern Washington border town of Clarkston, was a phenom.

THEN2: Vean Gregg, the lanky, 6-foot-2, 180-pound “Western Wonder,” shown at age 37 in 1922, winds up for the Seattle Indians. Newspaper crop marks are intact in this scrapbook photo. (David Eskenazi collection)

Nicknamed the “Western Wonder,” Sylveanus Augustus Gregg dazzled in 1911 as a Cleveland Naps rookie. The 26-year-old won 23 games and topped the American League with a 1.80 earned-run average. The fierce Ty Cobb called him the toughest lefty he ever faced. Gregg became the only 20th century hurler to win at least 20 games in his first three years in the majors.

Then came severe, mysterious arm pain and so-so seasons. A plasterer by trade, he even abandoned the pro game for three years. But he built a delightfully local comeback.

For the Seattle Indians based at Dugdale Park (future site of the storied Sicks’ Seattle Stadium and today’s Lowe’s Home Improvement on Rainier Avenue), he won 19 games in 1922, led the Pacific Coast League in earned-run average in 1923 and, with 25 wins, spurred the team to its first PCL pennant in 1924.

Gregg could taste a big-league rebound. In February 1925, with the Washington Senators calling, his brother, Dave, a journeyman righty who ended up pitching just one inning in the majors, opened a service station one-half mile north of Dugdale on Rainier Avenue. In this owner-dominated era, the siblings hatched a plan.

The trick was to name the station for Vean. “The idea,” says Eric Sallee, who with fellow Seattle diamond historian David Eskenazi has written extensively about Gregg, “was to prove to the Seattle and Washington team owners that he had another way to earn a living besides baseball.”

The ploy worked. The Senators snagged him for $10,000 and three players. But arm pain and humdrum performances soon resurfaced. He split that season with Washington (his last stint in the majors) and a Class A minor-league team. Other than one-third of an inning with Class AA Sacramento in 1927, his professional career was over. After pitching for semi-pro teams, he retired in 1931. For 37 years, he ran a Hoquiam sporting-goods store and cafe called The Home Plate. He died in 1964.

The triangular lot on Rainier still hosts a service station. It all reminds me of my usual advice to my daughter: Life is negotiable. And lefties get frequent practice.

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Below are 25 additional photos, two book chapters and, in chronological order, 31 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archives (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Special thanks to local baseball historians Dave Eskenazi and Eric Sallee , Rich Nestler of the Evergreen A’s Model A Club and automotive informant Bob Carney, as well as Joseph Bopp, Albert Balch curator and Special Collections librarian at Seattle Public Library, for their assistance with this column!

With vintage clothing and equipment, Eric Sallee (left) and Dave Eskenazi have a catch on the day of the “Now” shoot, Feb. 20, 2021. (Jean Sherrard)
Win & Cathy Brown and their 1931 Tudor Delux on the day of the “Now” shoot, Feb. 20, 2021. (Jean Sherrard)
Christy & Robert McLaughlin and their 1931 Blindback Sedan on the day of the “Now” shoot, Feb. 20, 2021. (Jean Sherrard)
Rich Nestler and his 1930 Coupe on the day of the “Now” shoot, Feb. 20, 2021. (Jean Sherrard)
Steve Francois and his 1931 Delux Roadster on the day of the “Now” shoot, Feb. 20, 2021. (Jean Sherrard)
Ahna Holder and her 1931 Roadster on the day of the “Now” shoot, Feb. 20, 2021. (Jean Sherrard)
Don Werlech and his 1931 Coupe on the day of the “Now” shoot, Feb. 20, 2021. (Jean Sherrard)
Dale Erickson and his 1931 Coupe on the day of the “Now” shoot, Feb. 20, 2021. (Jean Sherrard)
John Hash and his 1931 Victoria on the day of the “Now” shoot, Feb. 20, 2021. (Jean Sherrard)
Three Greggs (from left) Vean, circa 1924; Vean, 1910 with Portland Beavers; and Dave, circa 1912, Vaughan Street ballpark. (David Eskenazi collection)
Cy Young (left) and Vean Gregg, 1911. (David Eskenazi collection)
Plows Candy card of Vean Gregg, 1912. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg in The Sporting News supplement, Nov. 2, 1911. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg with Portland Beavers on Obak cigarette baseball card, 1910. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg on Portland Beavers, postcard, 1910. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg (left) with Boston Red Sox rightfielder and pitcher Smoky Joe Wood, 1914-1915. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg Service Station, 2006 Rainier Ave., March 28, 1925. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg Service Station, 2006 Rainier Ave., March 28, 1925. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg Service Station, 2006 Rainier Ave., March 28, 1925. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg Service Station, 2006 Rainier Ave., March 28, 1925. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg Service Station, 2006 Rainier Ave., 1925-1926. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg autograph. (David Eskenazi collection)
Matchbook cover from Vean Gregg’s The Home Plate, Hoquiam. (David Eskenazi collection)
Matchbook cover from Vean Gregg’s The Home Plate, Hoquiam. (David Eskenazi collection)
Token from Vean Gregg’s The Home Plate, Hoquiam. (David Eskenazi collection)
Vean Gregg portrait from the collection of Sam Thompson, who writes, “He was a friend of my dad’s many, many years ago. They owned service stations on Rainier Avenue at the same time. I remember going to see him in Hoquiam, probably around 1960, and being lifted into his arms. Haven’t thought about him in years until reading your article. Thanks for bringing back fond memories!” (Courtesy Sam Thompson)
April 21, 1910, Oregonian, page 8.
April 24, 1910, Oregonian, page 3.
Jan. 14, 1912, Billy Evans article. (Eric Sallee collection)
December 1912 Baseball Magazine article on Vean Gregg. Click the page to open the pdf. (Eric Sallee collection)
June 21, 1913, Cleveland Press. (Eric Sallee collection)
Jan. 12, 1922, Seattle Times, page 15.
Feb. 20, 1922, Seattle Times, page 10.
March 19, 1922, Seattle Times, page 19.
April 23, 1922, Seattle Times, page 34.
June 7, 1922, Seattle Times, page 14.
Jan. 14, 1923, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 37.
July 13, 1924, from a Seattle newspaper. (Eric Sallee collection)
July 7, 1924, Seattle Times, page 17.
July 13, 1924, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 54. (It turns out that the P-I was one year early with its 40th birthday celebration.)
Jan. 7, 1925, Washington Post. (Eric Sallee collection)
Feb. 17, 1925, Seattle Times, page 17.
Feb. 18, 1925, from a Seattle newspaper. (Eric Sallee collection)
Feb. 18, 1925, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 7.
March 29, 1925, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 34.
March 29, 1925, Seattle Times, page 22.
April 21, 1925, Seattle Times, page 28.
April 25, 1925, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 4.
May 8, 1925, Washington Post. (Eric Sallee collection)
June 8, 1925, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 9.
July 19, 1925, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 8.
June 27, 1925, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 7.
June 31, 1925, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 5.
Dec. 28, 1925, Seattle Times, page 17.
Feb. 19, 1926, Seattle Times, page 29.
June 5, 1931, Tacoma News-Tribune, page 21.
Aug. 31, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 4.
July 5, 1949, Oregonian, L.H. Gregory column, page 23.
Vean Gregg chapter of “They Tasted Glory” book. Click image to read pdf. (Eric Sallee collection)

Seattle Now & Then: Yakima exaggeration postcard, early 1930s

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: Mount Rainier and its foothills falsely rise above the north end of downtown Yakima’s Second Street in this early 1930s exaggeration postcard. The 11-floor Larson Building at left entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Got an old exaggeration postcard? Scan and send it to ceals@comcast.net so that we can share it here. (Courtesy Dan Kerlee)
NOW: The Art Deco walls of the Larson Building still reign over downtown Yakima. Since 2016, its Second Street façade has been illuminated with multiple colors at night under downtown’s Larson Light project. (John Baule)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on March 4, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on March 7, 2021)

With exaggeration postcards, we’re not in Kansas anymore
By Clay Eals

As springtime wanderlust beckons, so does a road trip. Just fill the tank and drive someplace civilized but close to nature. If the town seems nice enough, consider moving there.

That’s the underlying message of our 1930s “Then” postcard. It positions the Eastern Washington burg of Yakima as a gateway to recreation on the most topographically prominent peak in the then-48 states.

Oh, but what was a newcomer or out-of-stater to think? On the card, Rainier looks as close to downtown as the fictional Emerald City appeared to Dorothy and her cinematic compatriots.

Reality was quite different. This view of Second Street, anchored by the majestic Larson Building at left, looks north, while the mountain, as locals know, rises to the west. Even if someone standing at this vantage swiveled to gaze left, Rainier would be much more distant and invisible.

This is what collectors term an exaggeration postcard. Call it early-day Photoshop. Such mass-produced novelties often superimposed outrageously enormous vegetables or fake animals (“jackalopes,” anyone?) to promote fertile farming or abundant hunting. The intent was to bring a vacation laugh to folks back home.

The whimsical cards also fed tourism, as business districts everywhere strove to survive during the Great Depression. Yakima — at 27,000 population, part of a “trading territory” of 100,000 residents, according to a 1929 chamber of commerce brochure — was no exception. (Included were 3,000 Yakama tribal members on a 30,000-acre reservation.)

Adelbert E. Larson in the early 1930s. He died in 1934 at age 71. (Courtesy Yakima Valley Museum)

If any downtown feature was a flashy draw for visitors, it was the Larson Building, constructed in 1931 by entrepreneur and civic leader Adelbert E. Larson, who devoted himself to the city he adopted in 1884 when he arrived as a 22-year-old, legendarily carrying all his belongings in a pack.

Though the financial crash had begun when Larson broke ground on the area’s first skyscraper, he “persevered because he wanted people to continue to believe in the future of Yakima,” says John Baule, archivist and longtime former director of the Yakima Valley Museum.

The resulting edifice rose to 11 stories. The Society of Architectural Historians says the detail and prestige of this John Maloney-designed structure is rivaled statewide only by Seattle’s 1929 Northern Life Tower. Inside and out, it stands as an Art Deco masterpiece.

Just north, the white Yakima Trust Building is the other remaining structure from the postcard. The massive Donnelly Hotel and other storefronts on the east side of Second Street fell victim to urban renewal in the 1970s and 1980s. A planned plaza was never built.

The result was street-level parking — the likes of which would never be seen in Oz.

WEB EXTRAS

John Baule (Washington Trust for Historic Preservation)

Below are a two-part Yakima Chamber of Commerce brochure, an additional photo, a National Register nomination and, in chronological order, 14 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archives (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Special thanks to John Baule, archivist for and, from 1992 to 2016, the director of Yakima Valley Museum, for his assistance with this column!

1929 Yakima Chamber of Commerce brochure, part one. (Courtesy Yakima Valley Museum)
1929 Yakima Chamber of Commerce brochure, part two. (Courtesy Yakima Valley Museum)
A Boyd Ellis postcard of downtown Yakima’s Second Street from the same vantage as our “Then” postcard, circa 1937.
The 1984 nomination of the A.E. Larson Building to the National Register of Historic Places. Click to see full pdf file.
Aug. 12, 1930, Oregonian, page 9.
Oct. 6, 1930, Seattle Times, page 33.
Dec. 21, 1930, Seattle Times, page 19.
Feb. 1, 1931, Seattle Times, page 12.
April 17, 1931, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 11.
May 13, 1931, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 11.
Oct. 18, 1931, Seattle Times, page 4.
Oct. 18, 1931, Seattle Times, page 38.
Nov. 22, 1931, Seattle Times, page 30.
July 8, 1932, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 14. The Larson Building is at bottom left.
Feb. 18, 1934, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 36.
June 8, 1934, Seattle Times, page 34.
June 9, 1934, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 8.
Feb. 23, 1936, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 96. She was an active socialite in Yakima.

Seattle Now & Then: Firland Sanatorium, 1934

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: This Feb. 14, 1934, view looks northwest at 19 workers paving the entrance to Firland Sanatorium. The image is from an album of 93 New Deal-era prints of local sites purchased decades ago at a thrift store and recently loaned to this column for scanning — itself a gift of love for our region. (Courtesy Marvin Holappa family)
NOW: Standing before CRISTA’s Mike Martin Administration Building beside sanitation workers are (from left) Aaron Bard, great-grandnephew of author and former Firland Sanatorium patient Betty MacDonald; Paula Becker, author of an acclaimed 2016 MacDonald biography; Vicki Stiles, executive director of Shoreline Historical Museum, home of a Firland exhibit in 2007; Jan Screen, receptionist affiliated with CRISTA since 1957; and Kyle Roquet, facilities VP. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Feb. 18, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Feb. 21, 2021)

Inside and out, a stately, cross-topped edifice nurtures acts of love
By Clay Eals

We at “Now & Then” heartily proclaim that Valentine’s Day is worth not just 24 hours’ attention but rather a season — nay, a full year. So while the holiday fell last Sunday, we still can celebrate that our “Then” photo, taken 87 years ago on Feb. 14, represents the largess of love.

Most obvious is its esteem for jobless Americans during the Great Depression. Nineteen men are shown paving the road to the City of Seattle’s 44-acre Firland Sanatorium, west of Highway 99 in today’s Shoreline. The labor was funded by the federal Emergency Relief Administration (ERA), a New Deal relief program.

Also potent is the devotion inherent in the sanatorium, whose stately 1913 Administration Building was topped by the two-barred Cross of Lorraine, longtime logo for the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis, later the American Lung Association.

In our coronavirus era, the word “sanatorium” seems obscure, but before the mid-20th-century discovery and distribution of antibiotics to combat TB, it denoted an institution for isolated treatment of the notoriously contagious and deadly lung infection.

In Firland’s heyday, those admitted for one of its 250 openings endured 24-hour bed rest, nonstop fresh air and other strict regimens and surgeries for months or years. Patients who beat the disease emerged deeply grateful for a new chapter of life.

“The Plague and I” book cover, 1948.

Its most famous survivor, author of the multi-million-selling farm chronicle “The Egg and I” and four Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children’s books, was Seattle’s beloved Betty MacDonald. In 1938-39, amid her own New Deal administrative employment, she spent nine months at Firland. A decade later, she wrote a second memoir echoing the title of her first: “The Plague and I.”

While etching droll portraits of fellow patients and staff, the thankful MacDonald also rendered the darkness of her experience. Life there, she wrote irreverently, would “make dying seem like a lot of fun.” A paean to public health, “Plague” became her favorite of four books she penned for adults. Ovarian cancer claimed her in 1958 at age 50.

Today, the Administration Building bears a single-barred cross under the private auspices of CRISTA (first called King’s Garden), which since 1949 has housed and cared for seniors and served students among its ministries based at the now-56-acre campus.  Of its own volition, CRISTA has preserved the edifice lovingly.

At its door in early days, a prescient plaque placed a heart on the building’s figurative sleeve: “Generosity and a liberal spirit make men to be humane and genial, open-hearted, frank and sincere, earnest to do good, easy and contented and well-wishers of mankind.”

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Below are three more book covers, a movie poster, five additional photos and, in chronological order, 14 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archives (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Special thanks to Rex Holappa, Paula Becker and Vicki Stiles for their assistance with this column!

“The Egg and I” book cover, 1945.
“Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle” book cover, 1947.
“Looking for Betty MacDonald” book cover, 2016.
“The Egg and I” movie poster, 1947.
Plaque depicted in 1937 Firland book assembled by patients. (Courtesy Paula Becker)
Firland Sanatorium founder Horace Henry, depicted in woodcut from 1937 Firland book assembled by patients. (Courtesy Paula Becker)
Aerial sketch of Firland Sanatorium depicted in 1937 Firland book assembled by patients. (Courtesy Paula Becker)
The path from Seattle to Firland, depicted in front-endpaper woodcut from 1937 Firland book assembled by patients. (Courtesy Paula Becker)
The path from Firland back to Seattle, depicted in back-endpaper woodcut from 1937 Firland book assembled by patients. (Courtesy Paula Becker)
Aug. 13, 1913, Seattle Times, page 4.
March 13, 1915, Seattle Times, page 3.
Dec. 27, 1925, Seattle Times, page 12.
Sept. 19, 1926, Seattle Times, page 9.
April 9, 1927, Seattle Times, page 5.
Feb. 2, 1931, Seattle Times, page 1.
Feb. 14, 1931, Seattle Times, page 6.
Nov. 14, 1937, Seattle Times, page 39.
Oct. 4, 1939, Seattle Times, page 26.
May 18, 1943, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 11.
May 22, 1945, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 18.
March 1, 1947, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 10.
June 14, 1953, Seattle Times, page 72.
April 21, 1979, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 8.

Seattle Now & Then: Sixth & Pike, 1969

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: In 1969, the two-floor brick building on the southwest corner of Sixth & Pike sparkled with colorful marquees, anchored the wraparound neon of Burt’s Credit Jewelers. The decorative black-and-white squares above gave the modest edifice an inexpensive focal point to draw eyes upward. (Frank Shaw / Paul Dorpat collection)
NOW: With a welcoming gesture at the southwest corner of Sixth & Pike, which had been dominated by his grandfather Max Bender’s store, Burt’s Credit Jewelers, stands Scott Bender, who carries on the family business tradition with his jewelry in Bellevue. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Jan. 28, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Jan. 31, 2021)

Confident commerce of a colorful corner beckons from 1969
By Clay Eals

As we envision a post-virus time when the heart of the city can feel colorful again, this red-bricked beauty with its kaleidoscopic signage serves as a talisman.

The scene, the southwest corner of Sixth & Pike, is specific to the day — Sept. 21, 1969, an overcast Sunday afternoon with no one on the streets. But the stillness masks a season that was anything but quiet.

Richard Nixon was president, Woodstock had drawn 350,000 rock fans, Sen. Edward Kennedy had driven off the Chappaquiddick bridge, Neil Armstrong had walked on the moon, and the anti-war “Chicago Eight” trial was nigh. Locally, the first Boeing 747 had taken flight, the Seafirst Tower (peeking at top left) had opened, and the Seattle Pilots were finishing their lone baseball season.

Anchoring this modest corner with sparkling neon and a perpetually opening and closing ring box was Burt’s Credit Jewelers, “the Northwest’s only diamond cutters.” Latvian immigrant Max Bender started the store in 1926, operating it until its closure in 1975 after the family launched a Ballard outpost.

Next to Burt’s was the equally enduring Home of the Green Apple Pie. Opening on Union Street across from the post office in 1918 and arriving at Sixth & Pike in 1932, this restaurant and bar, founded by Myrtle and Floyd Smith, swelled with cheeky hype. For example, a Nov. 4, 1960, Seattle Post-Intelligencer ad claimed “15 Million Persons (They Could Swing This Election) Have Eaten the Pies Baked on the Premises.” In 1971, the eatery bragged of having served up (urp!) more than 4 million pies. By decade’s end, it had closed.

On the second floor percolated an early outlet for Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), before the outdoors giant expanded to Capitol Hill and later to its flagship along Interstate 5.

Minnesotan Dick Swenson recalls carrying a folding camp tool he had just invented, called the Sven-Saw, as he bounded up the long flight of stairs to REI while visiting the World’s Fair in 1962. Greeting him was REI’s first full-time employee, Jim Whittaker, one year from becoming the first American to scale Mount Everest. Whittaker eyed the saw and said, “Why don’t you send me six?” When Swenson got home, Whittaker had ordered another six. REI remains Sven-Saw’s best retailer.

No surprise, the building eventually gave way to a high-rise, half-block business complex, City Centre. From 1995 to 2004, the corner’s newly rounded façade housed a flashy branch of FAO Schwarz toys, accented by a 15-foot-tall waving bronzed teddy bear outside.

With its legacy of commercial ingenuity, this charmed corner stands ready for post-virus life.

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Below are two additional photos and, in chronological order, 39 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archives (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Special thanks to Linnea Swenson Tellekson for her assistance with this column!

Dick Swenson (right) displays the Sven-Saw, a folding camp tool, during a mid-1960s trade show in Chicago. (Courtesy Linnea Swenson Tellekson)
Dick Swenson and the Sven-Saw, summer 2020, at Namakan Lake in upper Minnesota. (Courtesy Linnea Swenson Tellekson)
July 26, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 23.
June 22, 1934, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 7.
May 10, 1936, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 40.
Sept. 26, 1954, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 76.
Feb. 19, 1956, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 79.
Sept. 30, 1956, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 138.
Aug. 11, 1958, Seattle Times, page 14.
May 15, 1960, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 70.
Oct. 30, 1960, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 78.
Nov. 4, 1960, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 5.
Feb. 23, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 23.
March 16, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 20.
Aug. 12, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 9.
Aug. 24, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 24.
April 19, 1962, Seattle Times, page 31.
May 18, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 59.
Sept. 12, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 10.
Dec. 8, 1963, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 26.
July 3, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 17.
Nov. 10, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 22.
March 30, 1965, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 29.
Nov. 16, 1967, Seattle Times, page 77.
Nov. 26, 1967, Seattle Times, page 241.
Nov. 26, 1967, Seattle Times, page 242.
Dec. 24, 1967, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 24.
Oct. 30, 1970, Seattle Times, page 33.
Nov. 26, 1970, Seattle Times, page 29.
June 20, 1971, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 92.
Feb. 6, 1972, Seattle Times, page 82.
May 19, 1972, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 30.
May 20, 1972, Seattle Times, page 9.
Sept. 16, 1972, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 8.
Nov. 25, 1972, Seattle Times, page 24.
Oct. 3, 1975, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 41.
Oct. 6, 1976, Seattle Times, page 68.
April 10, 1977, Seattle Times
June 17, 1979, Seattle Times, page 180.
July 22, 1979, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 138.
Oct. 17, 1979, Seattle Times, page 120.
Nov. 7, 1979, Seattle Times, page 123.

 

Seattle Now & Then: La Quinta Apartments, 1929

UPDATE: The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted unanimously on March 17, 2021, to designate the La Quinta apartment building an official city landmark. Congratulations!

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: Two years after the complex opened, this photo of the La Quinta Apartments from a 1929 Anhalt Company brochure exemplifies the pitch therein: “ ’Every Man’s Home Is His Castle’ is an Ideal realized to an unusual extent for tenants of Anhalt Apartment-Homes.” (Courtesy Larry Kreisman)
NOW: Socially distanced and momentarily unmasked, two dozen current and past tenants of La Quinta Apartments (some leaning from windows) are joined by historian Larry Kreisman (left) and Historic Seattle’s director of preservation services, Eugenia Woo (fourth from left), in displaying support for landmarking the Spanish Eclectic-style complex. For more info on the campaign, visit vivalaquinta.com. Following are the names of everyone. On the parking strip (from left): Larry Kreisman, Jacob Nelson, Brandon Simmons, Eugenia Woo, Alex Baker, Lawrence Norman, Tom Heuser (Capitol Hill Historical Society president), Juliana Roble, Eliza Warwick, Rebecca Herzfeld, Gordon Crawford, Samantha Siciliano, Ryan Batie, Michael Strangeways, Chelsea Bolan, Jerry Jancarik, Sean Campos, Clea Hixon, Jenifer Curtin, Marta Sivertsen, Aaron Miller, Finn (dog) and Mariana Gutheim. In the windows (from left): Zach Moblo (above), Ryan Moblo (below), Carlos Chávez (waving flag), María Jesús Silva (above) and Begonia Irigoyen (below). (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Jan. 28, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Jan. 31, 2021)

U-shaped edifice courts its tenants in 1927 and today
By Clay Eals

How can a house feel more like a home if the home isn’t a house? That’s no trick question. It was a real concern for prolific Seattle developer Frederick Anhalt during the Roaring ’20s nearly a century ago.

Of note among some 45 buildings Anhalt constructed were 19 apartment complexes on Capitol Hill and in Queen Anne. Each exuded unique charm that eludes the modern tendency toward mega-unit boxes.

The first example of Anhalt’s approach and execution presides in our “Then” photo. Built in 1927, the La Quinta Apartments at 1710 East Denny Way in south-central Capitol Hill clearly reflect Spanish influences, with red-clay roof tiles and stucco embedded with colored stones and panels artfully arranged in arches.

Even more significant, however, is the early use of a U-shaped footprint surrounding an ample courtyard filled with foliage and places to sit. It’s long been a welcoming centerpiece for residents of the dozen apartments (two floors each), including units in the pair of turrets at the inner corners. This element creates the notion of “home” even today, when social gatherings are discouraged but an uplifting vision can provide at least the sense of belonging.

Frederick Anhalt, circa 1929. The self-taught builder, who lived to age 101, died in 1996. (Courtesy Larry Kreisman)

“I thought that people should have a nice view to look out to and the feeling that they were living in a house of their own, different from their neighbor’s,” the developer reflected in the 1982 book “Built by Anhalt” by Steve Lambert. “It didn’t seem to make sense … to spend a lot of extra money on a building site just because it had a pretty view in one direction. Somebody else could always put another building between you and your view.”

Small wonder that a for-rent ad in the Nov. 6, 1927, Seattle Times labeled La Quinta “the prettiest and best-arranged individual apartment building in Seattle.”

Today, tenants echo the sentiment. “I know all my neighbors, I talk to them all, I trust them,” says Chelsea Bolan, a resident since 2003. “You interact, you share, you see each other all the time.”

“There just aren’t places like this anymore,” says Lawrence Norman, who grew up there when his dad owned it in 1964-74. “It brings community together. That’s a special thing, and I think that should be preserved.”

Historic Seattle agrees and is nominating it for city landmark status. The first hearing is Feb. 3.

Heartily endorsing the effort is longtime architectural historian Larry Kreisman, who wrote the 1978 book “Apartments by Anhalt” and salutes the developer’s boomtime vision: “For an expanding middle class, Anhalt made dense city-living palatable.”

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Below are five additional photos, a brochure, a landmark nomination, a support letter and, in chronological order, 10 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Special thanks to Eugenia Woo, Larry Kreisman and the residents of La Quinta for their assistance with this column!

The 1937 King County assessor’s tax photo for La Quinta. (Puget Sound Regional Archives)
Panorama of the La Quinta apartments taken Dec. 28, 2020. (Clay Eals)
Detail of La Quinta exterior art, Dec. 28, 2020. (Clay Eals)
La Quinta entry gate, Dec. 28, 2020. (Clay Eals)
La Quinta entry sign promoting landmark campaign, Dec. 28, 2020. (Clay Eals)