All posts by Clay Eals

Seattle Now & Then: House on Walnut Avenue, 1942

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THEN: The Walnut Avenue house stands in 1942. Built in 1925, it was the Slate home until 1956, the Rounds home until 1985 and the Bigelow home until this spring. Clay Eals’ grandfather, Joseph Slate, maintained a vegetable garden in the grassy area at left, across Lander Street from Hiawatha Park. In 1966, the plot was split off, and a smaller house arose there the following year. (Eals family collection)
NOW: Bill and Deb Bigelow stand before the Walnut house they owned from 1985 through this spring. Retired, they are moving south to Portland to live closer to their son and daughter-in-law. (Clay Eals)

Published in The Seattle Times online on May 19, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on May 22, 2022

A lovingly preserved house can help us find our way home
By Clay Eals

Can we go back home again? An oft-quoted aphorism says we can’t. But we all yearn to click our figurative ruby slippers.

THEN: Joseph and Florence Slate, first owners of the Walnut house, stand on its snowy back steps in January 1943. They sold the house in 1956 for $15,750 to Robert and Lois Rounds, who sold it in 1985 for $110,000 to Bill and Deb Bigelow. Its assessed value in 1938 was just $1,500. (Eals family collection)

In March, I learned that the home my grandparents had built 97 years ago on Walnut Avenue in West Seattle was up for sale. At its open house, I languished for two hours.

I imagined my young mom and her three older sisters running up and down its stairs and singing by an upright Ludwig piano in the first-floor sunroom. I pictured their pranks, one mischievously flushing a toilet while another talked with a boy on the nearby phone. I envisioned my parents’ wedding in front of the golden-brown tiled living-room fireplace, where in 2000 I posed them for a matching “Now” photo on their 50th anniversary.

Preschool-age recollections also surfaced as I sat on front-porch benches that opened into ostensibly secret storage pods. And I lingered in the remodeled kitchen where, in its former breakfast nook, I learned to sip from a straw.

In one sense, this house isn’t distinctive. Just a two-story, four-bedroom prairie Craftsman.

Yet its context, a stone’s throw from Seattle’s first indoor-outdoor community center at Hiawatha Park, has, for nearly a century, conveyed unspoiled neighborhood warmth. Seemingly everything one could want — schools, stores, even a library, ravine, wading pool and movie theater — was mere steps away.

Mainly, however, I marvel at a dwelling that has been owned by only three families, each one stewarding it with loving care.

Alisa and Brandon Allgood. (Courtesy Alisa and Brandon Allgood)

The soon-to-be fourth family, Brandon and Alisa Allgood, hail from California’s Silicon Valley. Brandon, 47, is an artificial-intelligence executive, and his wife, Alisa, 53, is an architectural and interior designer.

Because Brandon grew up in Marysville and on Capitol Hill and has family near Arlington and Darrington, the two have long eyed a move to Seattle. They got serious in February, gravitating to the Walnut house because of its streetside stature, open floor plan, plentiful light, proximity to Alki Beach and what today is called walkability. “We didn’t want run of the mill,” Brandon says. “We like aesthetics and uniqueness.”

The pair anticipates electrical and plumbing upgrades but will retain the house’s integrity. “We realize,” Alisa says, “we have a responsibility to keep it up.”

In Seattle’s dizzying real-estate spiral, preservation comes with a price — in this case, a purchase in excess of $1.4 million. As the cliché goes, for many the so-called American Dream remains just that: a dream.

But I also know that my early time at the Walnut house eventually led me to claim West Seattle as my own Emerald City base. May similar homes survive everywhere to inspire us all.

THEN: In about 1930, Clay Eals’ mother, Virginia Slate (left), and her sister, Betty, stand in back of the Walnut house, dressed as a “man and woman act” that performed “the cakewalk” four blocks away at the Portola Theatre, which in 1942 was enlarged to become today’s Admiral Theatre. (Eals family collection)
THEN: Joseph and Florence Slate, first owners, stand in back of the Walnut house in the mid-1940s. (Eals family collection)

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Bill Reid, Whitney Mason, Midori Okazaki, Ann Ferguson, Mahina Oshie, Joe Bopp and especially Deb & Bill Bigelow for their help with this installment.

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

Below are a video interview of Deb Bigelow, 7 additional photos, a property record card from the Puget Sound Regional Branch of Washington State Archives and 12 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

VIDEO (12:17): Click this image to see an interview with Deb Bigelow, who with her husband Bill owned the Walnut Avenue home from 1985 through spring 2022. (Clay Eals)
The Walnut Avenue house on April 12, 1926, shortly after the Slate family moved in. he oblong angles result from correcting the photo’s horizon line. (Eals family collection)
A rear view of the Walnut Avenue house on April 12, 1926, shortly after the Slate family moved in. The oblong angles result from correcting the photo’s horizon line. (Eals family collection)
The Walnut house today, near the corner of Walnut Avenue Southwest and Southwest Lander Street. (Clay Eals)
The Walnut house, built in 1925, with a newer home (left) built in 1967 on the former Slate vegetable garden. (Clay Eals)
Mountain detail of the golden-brown tiled living-room fireplace of the Walnut house. (Clay Eals)
Mountain detail of the golden-brown tiled living-room fireplace of the Walnut house. (Clay Eals)
A two-page spread in the April 2022 edition of Old House Journal, featuring the remodeled kitchen of the Walnut house. (Clay Eals)
Click the image to download a pdf of the late-1930s Property Record Card for the Walnut house. (Puget Sound Regional Branch, Washington State Archives)
Nov. 18, 1926, West Seattle Herald indicates Walnut house as meeting site.
March 11, 1934, Seattle Times, p11, indicates Walnut house as polling place.
March 13, 1934, Seattle Times, p2, indicates Walnut house as site of polling place.
Dec. 6, 1936, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p44, indicates Walnut house as luncheon site.
June 23, 1937, Seattle Times, p39, indicates lot north of Walnut house for sale.
Jan. 21, 1939, Seattle Times, p13, indicates Walnut house as site of talk.
April 7, 1939, West Seattle Herald indicates Walnut house as club meeting site.
May 25, 1939, West Seattle Herald indicates Walnut house as club meeting site.
August 1956 ad in West Seattle Herald indicates Walnut house for sale.
Aug. 15, 1956, Seattle Times, p52, indicates Walnut house for sale.
Oct. 30, 1983, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p74, indicates Walnut house for sale.
July 22, 1984, Seattle Times, p72, indicates Walnut house for sale.

 

Seattle Now & Then: Seward Park torii, 1953-54

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THEN1: With cherry blossoms abloom and the Seward Park torii to the north behind him, Don Taniguchi, 7 or 8 years old, stands near the park’s entry in 1953 or 1954. The torii was moved to this site in 1935. (Courtesy Taniguchi family)
NOW1: Before the April 2 ceremony to dedicate the new torii behind him, Don Taniguchi stands about 20 feet north of his childhood pose and holds a portrait of his late sister Diane, who raised funds for the project. Flanking him are the concrete foundations of the original span. The event was organized by Friends of Seward Park, Seattle Parks Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in The Seattle Times online on May 5, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on May 8, 2022

Seward Park’s torii was a welcome gateway, especially for a child
By Clay Eals

Unaware of her parents’ painful memories of World War II incarceration at Camp Tule Lake in northern California, preschooler Diane Taniguchi found that weekends in the early 1950s promised a family frolic.

“We used to take joy rides on Sunday afternoon after church,” Diane said in a 2015 video, citing drives from their home in the Publix Hotel in what is now called the Chinatown-International District to a South Seattle peninsular paradise — Seward Park.

“Dad called it ‘Suwado Pock’ because he couldn’t say r’s, and his pronunciation was still very Japanese right after the war. But those were great times. It was carefree. I was 4 or 5 years old. Not a worry in the world.”

THEN2: The reddish-hued Seward Park torii stands in 1962. (Seattle Municipal Archives)

Welcoming the Taniguchis and myriad other park visitors was a cultural symbol that Diane “really loved” — an imposing, reddish span modeled on entrance structures at Shinto shrines in Japan, called a torii. Pronounced “torr-ee,” the word means “bird perch,” but such structures have become known more broadly as gateways to extraordinary spaces.

THEN3: In a still image taken from family home-movie footage, the torii stands in its original spot, on University Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues, for the 1934 International Golden Potlatch. The sign at top reads: “Seattle — America’s Gateway to the Orient.” Sponsored by the Seattle Japanese Chamber of Commerce, the torii’s total cost was just $172. (Kushi Collection, University of Washington Special Collections)

The wooden Seward Park torii had a 50-year life, starting on University Street downtown at the 1934 International  Potlatch and bearing a pro-trade sign: “Seattle — America’s Gateway to the Orient.”

The following spring, the torii (sans sign) found a verdant site at Seward Park’s entry isthmus, joining other Japanese elements, including cherry trees and an 8-ton stone lantern. It oversaw festivals and countless informal meadow gatherings through mid-1984, when Seattle Parks removed it due to decades of decay.

In 2011, the park’s centennial organizers vowed to build a new version. Fueled by $360,000 in grants and donations, a 20-foot-tall basalt-and-cedar replacement stands today in a plaza 20 feet north of the original’s tree-confined concrete foundations. At an April 2 ceremony, a crowd of 200 enjoyed musicians, dancers and speakers exulting beneath the edifice.

Officiants included Don Taniguchi, 76, honoring his younger sister, Diane, a preservationist who helped raise money for the new torii but died of cancer in 2016. Don’s thoughts also drifted to their dad, originally from Hawaii, and mom, of Tacoma, who both stayed silent about their camp challenges and the complexity of their new life while working “all the time” managing the Publix.

“They didn’t talk about the hardships,” Don says. “I guess it hurt them too much.”

From youthful eyes, he says, Seward Park and its torii bespoke “family time,” a cheerful refuge. “You felt a little prejudice, like somebody getting in line ahead of you, but you didn’t really understand why,” he says. “You didn’t think about those things. You just played. … You cherish those days now.”

NOW2: Drummers from the School of Taiko kick off the April 2 ceremony. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW3: Mayor Bruce Harrell speaks at the April 2 ceremony: “Being of biracial background [Japanese American and Black], I try to find out what’s common in cultures,” he said. “That’s what this [torii] represents: oneness. … This is Seattle at its best.” (Jean Sherrard)

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Paul Talbert of Friends of Seward Park and Karen O’Brien of the Rainier Valley Historical Society, as well as automotive expert Bob Carney and former Seattle Parks staffer Bob Baines for their help with this installment. For more info, visit their Seward Park torii page.

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

Below are 5 videos, 9 additional photos and 4 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

VIDEO (23:12): Click the image to view the Friends of Seward Park documentary on the campaign to re-create the Seward Park torii. An interview of Diane Taniguchi can be seen at time code 17:31. (Friends of Seward Park)
VIDEO (1:59): Click the image to see Don Taniguchi interviewed about his sister and childhood days at Seward Park. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO (1:54): Click image to see state Rep. Sharon Tomoko Santos speak at Seward Park torii dedication ceremony. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO (7:16): Click the image to see Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell speak at the Seward Park torii dedication ceremony. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO (2:48): Click the image to see excerpts of performances at the Seward Park dedication ceremony. (Clay Eals)
Diane and Don Taniguchi in about 1953. (Courtesy Taniguchi family)
The Taniguchi family, with young siblings Don and Diane in front, stands before the old Seward Park torii in the early 1950s. (Courtesy Taniguchi family)
Girls participate in a running race in the meadow near the old Seward Park torii during the annual Rainier District Pow-Wow on July 31, 1950. (Courtesy Rainier Valley Historical Society)
Officials preside at a 50th anniversary ceremony for the old Seward Park torii in July 1983, including (from right) state Rep. John O’Brien, Seattle Mayor Charles Royer, real-estatte agent John Merrill, Seafair pageant queen and princesses. (Courtesy O’Brien family)
Three days before the April 2, 2022, ceremony to dedicate the new Seward Park torii, Paul Talbert of Friends of Seward Park displays a section of the old torii on its western concrete base. (Clay Eals)
The same section of the old torii on display at Seward Park. (Clay Eals)
Sides of a marker credit donors to the new Seward Park torii project. (Clay Eals)
A marker credits donors to the new Seward Park torii project. (Clay Eals)
Story marker for the new Seward Park torii. (Clay Eals)
Aug. 26, 1934, Seattle Times, p9.
Aug. 21, 1938, Seattle Times, p72.
April 15, 1945, Seattle Times, p31.
April 2, 1962, Seattle Times, p44.

 

AKCHO to honor our Paul!

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Paul Dorpat, captured on May 2, 2022. (Clay Eals)

Congrats! Award goes to our column founder

Longtime Seattle historian Paul Dorpat, founder of the “Now & Then” column that appears Sundays in The Seattle Times (and with “web extras” on this blog), will receive the 2022 Board Legacy Award of the Association of King County Historical Organizations (AKCHO).

The honor will be presented during AKCHO’s annual awards event, online, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, 2022. To view the event, visit this link.

The award to Paul is triggered by his recent donation of a vast collection of historical photos, videos and printed materials to the Seattle Public Library so that they eventually can be accessed by anyone free of charge.

The donation reflects “your legendary loyalty to identifying and celebrating Seattle history,” says Pat Filer, award chair.

Paul, the author of many local history books, originated “Now & Then” in the Sunday magazine of The Seattle Times in January 1982. He prepared more than 1,800 columns over 37 years before retiring in 2019.

Seattle Now & Then: Beatles, 1964, Coliseum

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THEN: The Beatles — (clockwise from top) Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison — cast for fish in Elliott Bay from a window in room 272 of Seattle’s Edgewater Inn on the afternoon of Aug. 21, 1964, before delivering a 30-minute show that night at the Coliseum. (Clay Eals collection, possibly by Curt Gunther — see below)
NOW: Gleefully replicating the Beatles’ 1964 pose in a narrower window opening in the Beatles Suite of The Edgewater Hotel (no longer Inn) are four Seattle-area women who attended the 1964 show: (from top) Joey Richesson, Garnis Armbruster Adkins, Teresa Anderson and Carol Griff Reynolds. Peeking out behind them are Pier 69, redeveloped in the early 1980s, as well as Magnolia bluff, Bainbridge Island and the Olympics. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in The Seattle Times online on April 28, 2022
(visit that link for many extra photos!)
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on May 1, 2022

The Beatles found good fishing for young fans in 1964 Seattle
By Clay Eals

A long-ago best friend sometimes offered a question at social gatherings as an icebreaker: “What was your first concert?” One by one, all would mention fond memories of musicians and venues. Taking the final turn, my friend would stun everyone with three words:

“Beatles, 1964, Coliseum.”

The show was an instant Seattle legend. The third in 23 cities of the Beatles’ first North American tour, the Aug. 21 stop at what today is called Climate Pledge Arena drew a sellout throng of 14,045. Mostly young teens, reportedly “20 to 1” girls to boys, each paid just $3, $4 or $5 to contribute and/or endure waves of nearly continuous ear-splitting screams that all but drowned out the foursome’s half-hour, 12-song set.

This “Beatlemania” and attendant controversies typified the entire tour, reporters summoning the swoons historically incited by the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and even silent-film’s Rudolph Valentino.

Sept. 2, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p9.

What gave the Beatles’ visit a distinctly Seattle touch was their overnight at the waterfront Edgewater Inn, then 2 years old. From room 272, the “moptops” leaned out a window and famously posed with fishing poles over Elliott Bay.

Did they catch anything? No, they agreed at a press conference. Drummer Ringo Starr deadpanned, “Someone on the other side of the bay kept shouting, ‘There’s no fishing here.’ ”

Sandy Fliesbach, 11, holds Beatles autographs she secured by “fishing” out her window. See full story in news clips below. (Stuart B. Hertz, Seattle Post-Intelliegencer)

Endearingly, one floor above them, 11-year-old Sandy Fliesbach, attending a wedding at the Edgewater, cast her own line. On hotel stationery she wrote a note seeking the Fab Four’s autographs, lowering it out her window with ribbon from opened gifts. She whistled, and someone below pulled in the note. A minute later, it came back out the window, and Sandy reeled it in. All four had signed it. Hundreds of girls chanting outside the inn’s temporary plywood and barbed-wire barricade were not so fortunate.

Two years later, the Beatles returned for two shows at the Coliseum. After the group’s 1970 break-up, John Lennon never had another Seattle gig (he was shot and killed in 1980). George Harrison played the Coliseum in 1974 (he died in 2001). Starr and Paul McCartney have performed here in several separate incarnations, the latter’s Wings group notching the first concert at the old Kingdome in 1976.

Paul McCartney 2022 tour logo.

Astoundingly, the still-boyish McCartney, just six weeks shy of age 80, will play Climate Pledge on May 2-3. Perhaps he would twist and shout over a 58-year-old crack by parodist Allan Sherman (“Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah”), who played the Opera House and bunked at the Edgewater during the Beatles’ 1964 Seattle stay:

“The Beatles are really quite unpopular, but nobody knows it yet.”

Beatles, 1964, Coliseum — just the facts
  • Set list: “Twist and Shout,” “You Can’t Do That,” “All My Lovin’,” “She Loves You,” “Things We Said Today,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “If I Fell,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Boys,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Long Tall Sally.” To hear audio of their show, click here.
  • The Beatles play their Aug. 21, 1964, show at the Coliseum. John Lennon (left) and Ringo Starr on drums are recognizable. Note the extra drum set for opening acts, plus Navy volunteers in the foreground. Also in the foreground, with blonde hair, facing left and in a white sleeveless dress, is Colleen Convis Holmes, sister of the photographer, Christi Convis Perrault. Edward Holmes, husband of Colleen, recalls: “Both she (Colleen) and I were driven (separately) to the concert by our older sisters, who had just gotten their driver’s licenses. I was 13 and was forced to go because my parents didn’t want my sister to drive alone to Seattle. I could hear only the first few notes of every song before the teenage-girl screaming drowned the boys out. I was a very long way from the stage. I had zero interest in the Beatles, but I’m now glad I went. I met my wife 9 years later at the University of Washington.” (Christi Convis Perrault, courtesy Edward Holmes)

    Sound: The Beatles’ set, measured by acoustic expert Robin Towne, was 95+ decibels for 60% of the show and 100+ decibels for 30%. (Maximum exposure without earplugs, such as an industrial plant, was recommended as 85 decibels.)

  • Bucks: The show grossed $64,000. The Beatles were to earn $25,000 or 60% of the gross, whichever was greater, so after $7,000 in taxes, they were paid $34,200. Minus fees for warm-up acts, their take-home was $32,000 ($278,000 today).
  • Warm-up acts: the Bill Black Combo, the Exciters, the Righteous Brothers and Jackie DeShannon. (Smash hits for the latter two came later.)
  • Security: At the Coliseum were 50 Seattle police, 4 King County deputies, 14 firefighters, 6 Armed Forces police and 100 Navy volunteers from Pier 91.
  • Health: Hospitalized were 2 teens; 35 others received first aid. On hand were 5 ambulances, one of which carried the Beatles back to the Edgewater.
  • Souvenirs: After the Beatles left Seattle, their room 272 rug at the Edgewater was cut into 2-inch squares that sold for $1 apiece at MacDougall’s department store, to benefit Children’s Orthopedic Hospital.
  • Airwaves: The Beatles had five songs on KJR-AM’s Fabulous 50 the week of their Seattle show.
  • Silver screen: Playing the Paramount Theatre during the show was the Beatles’ first film, “A Hard Day’s Night.”

(Sources: The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive, and a recording of the show.)

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Kelsey Beniasch and Claudia Lew of Wagstaff Marketing, to staff of The Edgewater Hotel, to Joe Wren and Gavin MacDougall and especially to Teresa Anderson, Garnis Armbruster Adkins, Carol Griff Reynolds, Joey Richesson and Kate “Bobbey” Blessing, for their help with this installment.

Click here to see a previous “Now & Then” column  on the Edgewater.

We offer no 360-degree video for this installment, but instead we feature a video with interviews of all the participants in our “Now” photo (plus a backup), in which they reflect on the Beatles’ 1964 show at the Coliseum. To see it, click here or on the image below.

VIDEO (6:20): Click image to see video interviews of our “Now” photo participants about their experiences at the Beatles’ 1964 show at the Coliseum in Seattle. (Clay Eals)

In addition, below are 8 photos, an historical essay and 58 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

To start off the extras, we have an essay by Clay examining the orientation of our “Then” photo:

Hocus-focus: Here is our THEN photo, flopped in both directions, the Beatles facing right and facing left. Both versions can be found on the internet. (Clay Eals collection)
‘All I’ve  got is a photograph ‘ : Flipping over the Beatles
By Clay Eals

The topic du jour is the orientation of our color “Then” photo, the well-known image of the Beatles fishing out the window of their room 272 suite at the Edgewater Inn on the afternoon of their evening show Aug. 21, 1964, at the Coliseum.

On the internet, it’s easy to find our “Then” in two versions, one in which the Beatles face right, and one in which the Beatles face left.  But which version is correct? I was determined to solve the puzzle prior to our “Now” shoot.

Details of the Beatles’ hair parts and shirt collars in the photo, compared to the same details in several other photos from Getty Images of the Beatles inside their Edgewater suite seemed to indicate that that the facing-right version was correct. I also was skeptical of a facing-left orientation because the low-level, indistinct masses in the background appeared to me to likely depict Harbor Island and its ships and shipyards. However, the Edgewater’s website, as well as a blown-up display inside room 272 and a framed photo in the hotel lobby all use the facing-left version.

With these conflicting notions in mind, before our “Now” shoot I made a separate trip to the Beatles Suite (still room 272) of The Edgewater Hotel (formerly Inn) in the hope of figuring out the correct orientation. The Edgewater staff asserted that room 272 is in the same west/southwest-facing corner spot today as it was in 1964. When I examined the room’s windows and leaned out them, taking sample photos, it seemed clear to me that the facing-left version had to be correct.

I had two reasons for this conclusion: (1) The positioning of the fishing window immediately adjacent to the building’s corner in the facing-left version is consistent with the present-day position of a similar window along present-day room 272’s exterior wall that runs northwest/southeast. (2) Given this, if the facing-right version were correct, from the window of today’s room 272 the photographer would have looked southeast and captured in the distance the Smith Tower and the rest of Seattle’s 1964 waterfront and downtown scene, but instead we see the low-level, indistinct mass. This argued for the photographer shooting in a northwestern direction — the direction shown in the version with the Beatles facing left.

As I looked northwest from outside the room 272 window, I noted that the end of Pier 69 that jutted out in the background was not present in the 1964 “Then.” But this could be explained by separate newspaper research indicating that Pier 69 had been redeveloped in the early 1980s.

Thus, the facing-left orientation seemed the better bet when Jean Sherrard and I shot our “Now” photo on March 24, 2022. Jean looked northwest, and our four “Now” posers matched the Beatles, facing left. That’s how they appear in this post and in the Seattle Times online and in print.

But on April 29, 2022, after this column had been posted for a day, the plot thickened. New evidence and insight emerged from one of our column’s stalwart volunteers, Gavin MacDougall.

Though I had searched Google Images and Getty Images for relevant Beatles fishing photos I could find, Gavin’s own search turned up two Getty black-and-white versions of out-the-window Beatles fishing photos that I hadn’t seen — and that obviously were taken slightly before or after our “Then.” These photos, which you can see at this link, and at this link, provide definitive evidence that the correct orientation of the photo has the Beatles facing right, not left.

Here’s why: The background of these black-and-white photos is much more distinct than in the color photo of the same situation. Clearly in the background are not only Harbor Island and silhouetted ships in for repair but also a ribbon of white further in the distance reflecting construction underway on the Fauntleroy Expressway snaking diagonally up the east bluff of West Seattle.

But how could this be, if this view is not possible from the windows of present-day room 272? The answer, as the Edgewater had told me, is that in 1964 when the Beatles stayed in room 272, the room was larger and/or likely connected to adjacent rooms, whereas today’s room 272, marketed as the Beatles Suite, is smaller and designed for a couple, not a Far Foursome. So in 1964, the larger version of room 272 had to extend around the corner along part of the adjacent exterior wall that ran due north and south and included windows that faced due west. Thus, when the Beatles fished out the southernmost window along that wall, the photographer leaning out the window to its north would have been facing due south and would have shown Harbor Island and West Seattle in the background of the resulting photos.

That room 272 was larger and provided windows straddling the Edgewater’s west/southwest facing corner is apparent from the Getty photo at this link. There, the fishing window is shown at right, and drapes cover another window at left on a wall that is at an irregular angle to the fishing-window wall, indicating the corner.

Bottom line: Though I tried hard to suss out this question before the “Now” shoot, I should have been able to dig up the Getty Images that served as the “smoking gun.” Had I done so, we would have flopped our 1964 “Then” photo so that the Beatles were facing right. We also would have sought access from the Edgewater to the room next door to — and around the irregular corner of — today’s Beatles Suite in room 272 to shoot our “Now.”

Why take pains to explain this how this error occurred? The answer may lie in the chorus of a 1973 Ringo Starr song, “Photograph”:

“All I’ve got is a photograph
And I realize you’re not coming back anymore …”

Incidentally, while versions of the out-the-window fishing photo have been widely circulated in both orientations, its photographer is rarely mentioned. KOMO-TV archivist Joe Wren notes that in a 1995 interview that Beatles companion and confidant Derek Taylor did with the station, the photographer for the exterior fishing shot was identified as the Beatles’ official photographer, the late Curt Gunther. But such attribution is made difficult by the assertion on the Getty Images website that several photos of the Beatles inside their Edgewater suite were taken by a William Lovelace. The mystery continues, but here’s the KOMO-TV story, aired April 28, 2022:

VIDEO (3:34): Click the image to see a KOMO-TV story from April 28, 2022, in which Derek Taylor identifies Curt Gunther as the photographer for the fishing photo. (Joe Wren)

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More photos, a ticket stub, a letter, another video, an essay,
an array of news clippings and the Beatles’ 1964 tour booklet

Here are additional photos taken March 24, 2022, the day of our “Now” shoot, of the Edgewater’s Beatles Suite and of our “Now” posers therein. At the end of this gallery you will find a brief video of our posers standing before a Fab Four portrait in the suite’s bathroom gamely making their way through a minute or so of one of the songs the Beatles sang at their 1964 show: “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

ALTERNATE NOW: Replicating the Beatles’ serious facial expressions in their 1964 fishing pose in a narrower window opening in the Beatles Suite at The Edgewater Hotel (no longer Inn) are four Seattle-area women who attended the 1964 show: (from top) Joey Richesson, Garnis Armbruster Adkins, Teresa Anderson and Carol Griff Reynolds. (Jean Sherrard)
Our Beatles “Now” posers — (from left) Carol Griff Reynolds, Garnis Armbruster Adkins, Joey Richesson and Teresa Anderson — stand in The Edgewater Hotel lobby before the 1964 photo they replicated. (Jean Sherrard)
Our Beatles “Now” posers — (from left) Carol Griff Reynolds, Garnis Armbruster Adkins, Joey Richesson and Teresa Anderson — stand in The Edgewater Hotel lobby, saluting the 1964 photo they replicated. (Jean Sherrard)
The bedstead in the Beatles Suite of The Edgewater Hotel. A one-night stay in the suite goes for $700 today. (Jean Sherrard)
The bathtub in the Beatles Suite of The Edgewater Hotel. A one-night stay in the suite goes for $700 today. (Jean Sherrard)
VIDEO (1:14): On March 22, 2022, five women who attended the Beatles’ 1964 show at the Coliseum in Seattle — Joey Richesson, Kate “Bobbey” Blessing, Teresa Anderson, Carol Griff Reynolds and Garnis Armbruster Adkins, good sports all — stand in the bathroom of the Beatles Suite of The Edgewater Hotel and make their way through a portion of a song the Beatles sang that night 58 years ago, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” (Clay Eals)

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This is Teresa Anderson’s ticket stub from the Beatles’ Aug. 21, 1964, show at the Coliseum. (Teresa Anderson collection)
A plaintive 1964 letter to Seattle Mayor Dorm Braman from a young Lu Ellen Peterson. (Seattle Municipal Archives)
Click this image to download a pdf of a detailed article from summer 1996 Columbia magazine on the Beatles’ 1964 show at the Coliseum.

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These 57 newspaper clippings document the Beatles’ 1964 show in Seattle:

March 25, 1964, Seattle Times, p44.
April 24, 1964, Seattle Times, p1.
April 24, 1964, Seattle Times, p25.
April 25, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p5.
Aug. 16, 1964, Seattle Times, p88.
Aug. 18, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p1.
Aug. 18, 1964, Seattle Times, p19.
Aug. 19, 1964, Seattle Times, p8.
Aug. 19, 1964, Seattle Times, p20.
Aug. 19, 1964, Seattle Times, p27.
Aug. 19, 1964, Seattle Times, p27.
Aug. 19, 1964, Seattle Times, p29.
Aug. 20, 1964, Seattle Times, p20.
Aug. 21, 1964, Seattle Times, p3.
Aug. 21, 1964, Seattle Times, p27.
Aug. 21, 1964, Seattle Times, p29.
Aug. 21, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p1.
Aug. 21, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p3.
Aug. 21, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p10.
Aug. 21, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p12.
Aug. 21, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p13.
Aug. 21, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p17.
Aug. 21, 1964, Seattle Times, p1.
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p1.
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p1.
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p2.
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p6.
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p7.
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Times, p1.
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Times, p2.
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Times, p3.
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Times, p3. (Teresa Anderson)
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Times, p3. (Teresa Anderson)
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Times, p3. (Teresa Anderson)
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Times, p3.
Aug. 22, 1964, Seattle Times, p13.
Aug. 23, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p67.
Aug. 23, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p72.
Aug. 23, 1964, Seattle Times, p1.
Aug. 23, 1964, Seattle Times, p3.
Aug. 23, 1964, Seattle Times, p17,
Aug. 23, 1964, Seattle Times, p22.
Aug. 24, 1964, Seattle Post-intelligencer, p8.
Aug. 24, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p21.
Aug. 24, 1964, Seattle Times, p9.
Aug. 24, 1964, Seattle Times, p22.
Aug. 24, 1964, Seattle Times, p23.
Aug. 26, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p8.
Aug. 26, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p29.
Aug. 26, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p42.
Aug. 26, 1964, Seattle Times, p10.
Aug. 26, 1964, Seattle Times, p31.
Aug. 27, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p1.
Aug. 27, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p16.
Aug. 28, 1964, Seattle Times, p51.
Aug. 31, 1964, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p15.
Aug. 26, 1966, Seattle Times, p28.

=====

These photos depict the Beatles’ 1964 tour booklet “Beatles (U.S.A.) Ltd.,” available for purchase at their shows. The images are courtesy of Teresa Anderson. Click once or twice on each one to enlarge it.

Seattle Now & Then: Ballard railroad, late 1910s/early 1920s

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: In the cover image of a new book, “Preserving Ballard,” three young women straddle a railroad track along Ballard’s west flank in the late 1910s or early 1920s. Two are Swedish sisters from the Peterson family: Rhoda, left, and Ethel, center. The third is believed to have been their friend. A younger sibling, Ted Peterson, became a state senator and during his retirement led a successful campaign to restore the Ballard Bell to its original position on Ballard Avenue. (Peterson Collection, Ballard Historical Society)
NOW: Ballard Historical Society leaders replicate the pose near the old Ballard train depot on 37th Place Northwest: (from left) Cass O’Callaghan, treasurer; Laura K. Cooper, trustee and “Preserving Ballard” producer; and Mary Shile, president. The book will launch at 5 p.m. April 19 at Secret Garden Books, 2214 N.W. Market St.; 7 p.m. April 22 at Sunset Hill Community Association, 3003 N.W. 66th St.; and at 4 p.m. April 24 at the National Nordic Museum, 2655 N.W. Market St. More info: ballardhistory.org. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in the Seattle Times online on April 14, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on April 17, 2022

A trio from a century ago bids a
warm welcome to ‘Preserving Ballard’
By Clay Eals

From about 100 years ago, three young women cheerfully invite us into Seattle’s northwesterly neighborhood of Ballard.

Their sanguine salutation seems germane, given the area’s geographic separation; the formidable length of its namesake 1917 bridge; and its storied, early concentration of work-seeking northern European immigrants who arrived by train.

As the late longtime Ballard resident Maxine Shallow Tuck genially noted in an oral-history interview, “Bus drivers used to say, ‘You got your passports ready? We’re going into Ballard.’ … Because it was a foreign country. It was Scandinavian.”

In fact, when the Ballard News-Tribune produced a 304-page, large-format history book in 1988, the title reinforced that theme: “Passport to Ballard.”

The latest “passport” will be published this month by the all-volunteer Ballard Historical Society. “Preserving Ballard” is trimmer and slimmer at 128 pages, and, as an Arcadia book, it favors visuals over text.

But its narrative and nearly 200 images cover a wide swath, including the life of the Shilshole branch of the Duwamish people and Ballard’s 27-year stretch as an incorporated city before its 1907 annexation to Seattle, along with ample views of industries, businesses, residences and churches.

The book’s cover features our “Then” photo. Clad in bloomers (less restrictive than heavy dresses and promoted by women’s rights activists), the jolly trio looks south while cavorting on Ballard’s west-flank railroad tracks, symbolizing the area’s rapid initial growth.

“For non-Native settlers, this part of the world was about resource extraction from the get-go,” says Laura K. Cooper, who led production of the book. “This was a great place for timber. That’s what really built Ballard, and the fishing industry came along after that. So from the beginning there was the need to move things around.”

The rail line, opening in 1891 and featuring a Ballard depot from 1914 to 1948, runs roughly perpendicular to the Ship Canal locks, built from 1912 to 1917, and borders the bridge-hugging Fisherman’s Terminal, established in 1914. This formative infrastructure helps define Ballard to this day.

The book complements an online innovation of the historical society, funded by 4Culture, that lets visitors click a map to see photos and data linked to 60 Ballard residences and listen to complete, decades-old audio interviews of those who lived therein, some from Polish and other underrepresented nationalities. This parallels another project that tracked more than 2,200 Ballard buildings over 100 years old as of 2016.

The overall aim, Cooper says, is as straightforward as a welcoming wave: “There are a lot of cool things that have happened here over time, and we want people to know about them.”

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Laura Cooper, Peggy Sturdivant and Mike Bergman for their help with this installment.

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

Below are a video of Laura Cooper plus a historical clipping from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

VIDEO: Click this photo to see a 3-minute video of Laura Cooper talking about the Ballard railroad and the new book, “Preserving Ballard”! (Clay Eals)
Oct. 7, 1905, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 5.

 

Seattle Now & Then: Puget Sound Regional Archives, late 1970s and 1958

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN1: In the late 1970s, a Western Airlines jet flies over Sunset Junior High School, from which the Puget Sound branch of the state archives operated from 1979 to 1998. Formerly open space, the site hosted the school from 1957 to 1975, when it closed due to protests over jet noise. (King County Archives)

 

THEN2: In one of more than 750,000 prints from the archives’ Property Record Card collection, featuring distinctive white lettering hand-scratched into the negative, the former Sunset Junior High School stands in 1958 at 1809 S. 140th St. Scans of such photos throughout King County — part of the lifeblood of this column— are available for a nominal fee. (Puget Sound Regional Branch, Washington State Archives)
NOW1: Eleven longtime Puget Sound regional archives staff and other veteran agency leaders, anchored at left by retiring regional archivist Michael Saunders (1980-85/1989-2022), stand at the former Sunset Junior High School site while a Spirit Airlines jet at upper right flies south to land at Sea-Tac Airport. Those besides Saunders, from left, are David Owens (deputy state archivist 1970s-2000), Scott Cline (Seattle city archivist 1985-2016), Charles Payton (former longtime King County museum adviser), David Kennedy (collections inventory and transport in 1998 from the Sunset to Bellevue College facilities), Deborah Kennedy (assistant regional archivist 1997-2000/King County archivist 2000-2011/King County archives, records management and mail services manager 2011-20), Greg Lange (research assistant 1997-2011/King County archivist 2012-present), Philippa Stairs (research assistant 1989-2019), Elizabeth Stead (research assistant 1986-89), Candace Lein-Hayes (regional archivist 1985-88/National Archives regional administrator 1988-2016) and Chuck Cary (regional archivist 1988-89). (Jean Sherrard)
NOW2: Gathered below the 1997 sculpture “A Collection” by Harold Balazx at the entrance to the Bellevue College-based Puget Sound branch of the state archives are 18 longtime regional archives staff and other veteran agency leaders and supporters, from left, retiring regional archivist Michael Saunders, new branch manager Emily Dominick, Greg Lange (research assistant 1997-2011/King County archivist 2012-preent), Philippa Stairs (research assistant 1989-2019), T.A. Perry (Bellevue College instructor and volunteer), Janette Gomes (assistant regional archivist 2002-2007/current Northwest branch manager), Jessica Jones (research archivist 2021-present), Emily Venemon (branch records management consultant 2019-present), Graham Haslam (Bellevue College instructor and volunteer), Midori Okazaki (lead branch archivist 2005-present), Chuck Cary (regional archivist 1988-89), David Owens (deputy state archivist 1970s-2000), Tsang Partnership Design Team members Randall Robbins (project manager), Scott Shaw (project architect), Kelly Shaw (interior designer), David Kennedy (collections inventory and transport in 1998 from the Sunset to Bellevue College facilities), Deborah Kennedy (assistant regional archivist 1997-2000/King County archivist 2000-2011/King County archives, records management and mail services manager 2011-20), Charles Payton (former longtime King County museum adviser). (Jean Sherrard)

Published in the Seattle Times online on March 31, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on April 3, 2022

Smile! Here’s where you can find a DNA test for your home
By Clay Eals

Whether we’ve been here 40 years or 40 days, we all yearn to embrace the place we call home. One way to do so is to see what came before.

The Puget Sound Regional Branch of Washington State Archives — a godsend to some, unknown to others — provides just such a peek, drawing 5,000 research requests annually. Among its wide-ranging governmental records is a showcase collection that can touch nearly every King County resident.

The collection, starting in the late 1930s, assembled a Property Record Card for each of 146,000 buildings, revealing year of construction, structural materials and myriad other specifics, often with crisp black-and-white photos of same.

Taken with large-format view cameras, the photos bear dates and addresses hand-scratched into their negatives, appearing in white in corresponding prints. Today they might be called a DNA test for your home. But that wasn’t their original purpose.

VIDEOS: Click image above to reach the “Films of King County Assessor Roy Misener” page, where you can access several videos from the late 1930s about his Land Use Project.

In 1935, King County Assessor Roy Misener sought to jettison poor data and subjective appraisals that had produced incomplete property-tax valuations. With federal Works Progress Administration dollars, over five years he hired 700 workers to create maps, interview residents and create photos to equalize assessments.

After initial work ended in 1940, if a building was upgraded, staff updated its data and took a new photo. In 1972, high-grade imaging ended. Seven years later, the collection transferred to the state archives. Ever since, copies and reprints (digital scans today) have been available to the public for nominal fees. The reasons for such requests range from nostalgic to legal.

Photos for a few sites, such as areas beneath Interstate 5, are missing. But the collection, which often provides a historic building’s only visual evidence of existence, has remained largely intact— from 1979 to 1998 inside the jet-noisy former Sunset Junior High in the north clear zone of Sea-Tac Airport and since 1998 at a facility built for the archives at Bellevue College.

T-shirt design based on the late 1970s photo. Michael Saunders gifted these T-shirts to his staff and others upon his retirement. The T-shirts were created by destination-goods.com. (Michael Saunders)

That the collection survives and thrives owes to a tenacious staff led by a regional archivist who retired in March after 46 years, Michael Saunders. He is quick to credit the “innate stubbornness” of his team and support from the Secretary of State’s office, partner agencies and scores of volunteers.

Of course, digitizing, gatekeeping and otherwise managing the records is an endless task fit for the mythical Sisyphus. It requires, Saunders says, “the ability to see how a bunch of mundane and even sometimes tedious work gets you to a better outcome.” Which is, he says, to serve “a legacy of societal memory.”

In other words, for our collective psyche, there’s no place like home.

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Michael Saunders for his invaluable help with this installment.

Below are 2 additional photos, 4 pages of a 20th anniversary program, a newsletter page and 24 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Also helpful was a HistoryLink essay on the King County Land Use Survey.

Regional Archives System graphic. (Puget Sound Branch, Washington State Archives)
Dedication plaque for the entry sculpture “A Collection.” (Clay Eals)
First page of a program marking the 20th anniversary of the archives branch Bellevue College location. (Michael Saunders)
Second page of a program marking the 20th anniversary of the archives branch Bellevue College location. (Michael Saunders)
Third page of a program marking the 20th anniversary of the archives branch Bellevue College location. (Michael Saunders)
Fourth page of a program marking the 20th anniversary of the archives branch Bellevue College location. (Michael Saunders)
March 2010 page from Fall City Historical Society newsletter saluting the archives. (Ruth Pickering)
Jan. 15, 1936, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p10.
March 15, 1938, Seattle Times, p5.
May 19, 1940, Seattle Times, p3.
Sept. 3, 1940, Seattle Times, p5.
Sept. 5, 1940, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p8.
June 16, 1956, Seattle Times, p5.
Oct. 28, 1956, Seattle Times, p133.
May 12, 1957, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p36.
Sept. 15, 1957, Seattle Times, p37.
March 23, 1958, Seattle Times p38.
Feb. 1, 1973, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p4.
Feb. 18, 1973, Seattle Times, p37.
May 17, 1973, Seattle Times, p8.
May 22, 1973, Seattle Times, p3.
May 22, 1973, Seattle Times, p15.
Dec. 2, 1977, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p3.
Dec. 2, 1979, Seattle Times, p166.
March 23, 1980, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p43.
March 23, 1980, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p45.
June 18, 1980, Seattle Times, p101.
March 25, 1981, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p25.
Feb. 24, 1982, Seattle Times, p87.
July 6, 1983, Seattle Times, p81.
March 23, 1994, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p22.
March 31, 2007, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p88.

Seattle Now & Then: Fifth Avenue Theatre, 1926

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: As seen from room 502 of the nearly 2-year-old Olympic Hotel, a Sept. 24, 1926, crowd rivaling Seattle’s Armistice Day outpouring in 1918 greets the opening of the Fifth Avenue Theatre. (Webster & Stevens, Museum of History & Industry)
NOW: Framed by the 1977 Rainier Tower pedestal and seen from the same guest room of the now-named Fairmont Olympic Hotel, a crowd circles the block to enter the Fifth Avenue Theatre on Feb. 15 for the opening of “Jersey Boys.” The “5th” atop the marque rotates during shows. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in the Seattle Times online on March 17, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on March 20, 2022

Fifth Avenue Theatre endures as the pride of downtown Seattle
By Clay Eals

Pearls of promotion can bear timeless truths, as in this pair of catch-phrases 95-1/2 years apart:

  • “The Magic Sign of a Wonderful Time.”
  • “Joy is essential. Laughter is essential. Escape is essential. Inspiration is essential.”
Sept. 13, 1926, Seattle Times, p8.

The former graced ads for the Sept. 24, 1926, grand opening of downtown Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theatre. The latter exhorts from today’s marquee. Either can apply to each era.

Beneath the hype is a bedrock message: An alluring array of entertainment venues can bolster a downtown’s durability and buoy the soul of an entire city.

No doubt the Fifth’s first-night throng — its girth likened to the spontaneous celebration that broke out at the end of World War I eight years prior — heartily agreed.

“More humanity to the square inch than was ever crowded into a similar space in this northwest corner of these United States packed the streets of seven city blocks radiating from the Fifth Avenue Theatre last night,” exulted the next-day Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The turnout, spurred by an outdoor carnival and free streetcar service, equaled “the populace of Ballard and Georgetown, Ravenna, Alki and the whole Rainier Valley.” It was “the closest approach to a human sardine can that Seattle has seen since Armistice Day.”

Lobby card for “Young April.”

Inside the 2,400-seat, elaborately Chinese-themed palace, those with tickets enjoyed three stage shows, each climaxed by Cecil B. De Mille’s silent cinematic drama “Young April.”

Emblematic of a raft of vintage downtown theaters, the Fifth has stood tall through the years, supported crucially by a massive 1978-80 renovation. Sadly, many Seattle showplaces (notably the Orpheum, Music Box and Blue Mouse) have fallen, while one was preserved for a different use (the Coliseum, as the now-closed Banana Republic clothier) and two others (the Moore and Paramount) survived largely intact.

After a two-year pandemic-induced closure, the Fifth reopened in January, providing hope for all who see such institutions as instrumental to the physical and mental health of Seattle’s core.

Architectural historian Lawrence Kreisman is the former longtime program director for Historic Seattle. For info on his online theater-history talk set for March 31, visit PreserveWa.org. (Historic Seattle)

Surveying more than a century of context and detail about the rich history of downtown theaters, longtime Seattle architectural historian Lawrence Kreisman has assembled a lavishly illustrated online talk, “Another Opening, Another Show,” which he will present at 5 p.m. March 31, for the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

The sponsor couldn’t be more apt, as the Trust, with the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, launched in 2020 a grant program to bolster the viability of 80 eligible historic theaters statewide.

That aim catches the 1926 sentiment of the P-I, which proclaimed the Fifth “a large asset to this city” that “far excels the ordinary.”

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Larry Kreisman and Huy Pham, program director for the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, as well as Victoria Dyson and Kara Terek at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel and Rachel Liuzzi of the Fifth Avenue Theatre, for their help with this installment.

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

Below are 15 added photos and 23 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

We saved the best clipping for last. Don’t miss it!

A wider view of our NOW perspective. (Jean Sherrard)
A ground-level view of the opening-night scene on Feb. 15, showing the “essential” litany on the Fifth’s south-side marquee. (Jean Sherrard)
The cover of the opening-night program for the 5th Avenue Theatre, Sept. 24, 1926. (Courtesy Lawrence Kreisman)
Inside pages of the opening-night program for the Fifth Avenue Theatre, Sept. 24, 1926. (Courtesy Lawrence Kreisman)
The vestibule of the Fifth Avenue Theatre, Sept. 24, 1926. (Courtesy Lawrence Kreisman)
Panoramic view of present-day vestibule. (Clay Eals)
Entry plaque recognizing contributors to 1978-80 restoration. (Clay Eals)
Daytime view of marquee, looking south. (Clay Eals)
Daytime view of marquee, looking north. (Clay Eals)
The old Coliseum Theatre, northeast corner of Fifth and Pike (now the closed Banana Republic clothier), promotes the silent film “Sweet Daddies” in 1926. (Historic Seattle, courtesy Lawrence Kreisman)
A faux hatbox promotes the Coliseum Theatre showing of the silent film “Her Sister from Paris” in 1925. (Historic Seattle, courtesy Lawrence Kreisman)
A miniature locomotive promotes the showing of John Ford’s silent film “The Iron Horse” in 1924 at the old Liberty Theatre, First and Pike. (Historic Seattle, courtesy Lawrence Kreisman)
A horse-drawn wagon and a young bicyclist promote the showing of the sound film “The Whole Town’s Talking,” starring Edward G. Robinson, at the Liberty Theatre in 1935. (Historic Seattle, courtesy Lawrence Kreisman)
A faux tank promotes the showing of the World War I-based silent film “Behind the Front” at the Liberty Theatre in 1926. (Historic Seattle, courtesy Lawrence Kreisman)
Ten costumed ushers promote the Douglas Fairbanks silent film “Robin Hood” at the Liberty Theatre in 1922. (Historic Seattle, courtesy Lawrence Kreisman)
July 24, 1926, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p2.
July 25, 1926, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p44.
July 25, 1926, Seattle Times, p85.
Aug. 1, 1926, Seattle Times, p19.
Aug. 4, 1926, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p5.
Aug. 22, 1926, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p47.
Sept. 2, 1926, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p23.
Sept. 3, 1926, Seattle Times, p28.
Sept. 7, 1926, Seattle Times, p23.
Sept. 13, 1926, Seattle Times, p8.
Sept. 16, 1926, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p13.
Sept. 19, 1926, Seattle Times, p26.
Sept. 21, 1926, Seattle Times, p13.
Sept. 21, 1926, Seattle Times, p13.
Sept. 23, 1926, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p28.
Sept. 23, 1926, Seattle Times, p16.
Sept. 23, 1926, Seattle Times, p17.
Sept. 24, 1926, Seattle Times, p1.
Sept. 24, 1926, Seattle Times, p15.
Sept. 24, 1926, Seattle Times, p15.
Sept. 24, 1926, Seattle Times, p24.
Sept. 25, 1926, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p1.
Sept. 25, 1926, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p2.
Sept. 25, 1926, Seattle Times, p1.
Sept. 25, 1926, Seattle Times, p3.
Sept. 25, 1926, Seattle Times, p3.

Seattle Now & Then: Shell gas station, 1937-38, 1958

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN 1: A 1906 home with a furniture store on its first floor presides along Northeast 45th Street at 11th Avenue circa 1937-38. The corner address of 4345 11th Ave. N.E. was later changed to 1013 N.E. 45th St. (Puget Sound Regional Branch, Washington State Archives)
THEN 2: In the same spot in April 1958 is a Shell service station that was built in 1950. (Puget Sound Regional Branch, Washington State Archives)
NOW: The Shell station stands today but soon is to be replaced by a 27-floor apartment tower called OneU. For details, visit here and search 3037792-LU. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in the Seattle Times online on March 3, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on March 6, 2022

The inexorable trend on many Seattle street corners: small to big
By Clay Eals

We at “Now & Then” usually focus on places we find distinctive. Meanwhile, on our city’s everyday corners, change is churning. So inured are we that our reaction is often a wan shrug.

Which brings us to this week’s “Then” photo, looking southwest across busy Northeast 45th Street at 11th Avenue in the University District.

Relatively few are old enough to recall this unpretentious 1906 home, with charming third-floor gables and a second-floor bay window. In this late-1930s view, the first-floor store sold furniture. In 1914, the retail space was touted in The Seattle Times as a “dandy little grocery.”

To its west, a General Motors billboard presages the property’s coming incarnation. In October 1949, the building was razed. In its place in 1950 arose a Shell service station, which, remodeled, survives today. But not for long.

A careful peek at our “Now” photo reveals a vandalized Seattle land-use sign. Beneath the graffiti, it discloses the planned construction of a 27-story edifice with 366 apartments and 52 parking spots, plus room for street-level stores and offices.

The working name of the high-rise, developed by global Onelin Capital Corporation, reflects the firm and the neighborhood: OneU. It’s one of several tall towers in the works between the University of Washington and Interstate 5, triggered by a 2017 upzone that allows construction up to 320 feet.

Julia Nagele, principal of Hewitt Seattle, which designed OneU, pinpoints the boom’s catalyst — last October’s opening of a new light-rail U District Station. “Because of light rail,” she says, “a person easily could work downtown while living near a very cool university.”

To her, the project’s symbolism is both stark and apt. “We are converting the site from auto-centric and not environmentally friendly to more than 300 places for people to live,” she says. “It’s going full-stop in a 180-degree direction, which is a good thing.”

An eye-opening feature is that into the face of floors 7-9 and 16-18 are to be carved “social greenways.” Drawings depict them as huge, open stairways to encourage residential mixing.

Symbolism and innovations aside, OneU is destined to become yet another big box in a metro area of so many new ones. Unsurprisingly, demolition permit applications have soared citywide: 609 in 2019, 676 in 2020 and 739 in 2021. Small to big is the inexorable trend.

So we are well beyond Joni Mitchell’s 1970 “Big Yellow Taxi” punchline: “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.” But the lyric’s lead-in line still stings: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?”

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Larry Kreisman, Joe Bopp, Wendy Shark, Sean Ludviksen, Julia Nagele and Midori Okazaki as well as to Kurt Armbruster (who brought this corner’s pending development to our attention and is featured in this week’s 360-degree video) for their invaluable help on this installment.

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

Below are three added photos, two documents and nine historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Here is a March 31, 1950, view of the newly built Shell service station at 1013 NE 45th St. (Puget Sound Regional Branch, Washington State Archives)
Here, looking southeast, is the snowy site on Dec. 28, 2021, with the Seattle land-use sign in the foreground. (Kurt Armbruster)
Seattle historian Kurt Armbruster stands at the Shell site on Jan. 29, 2022. Kurt says of the pending development, “Yep, we’re gettin’ canyonized right along, but as a longtime U District denizen, I find a lot of the new buildings exciting, especially if they make possible more affordable housing and amenities that contribute to urban living.” (Jean Sherrard)
Click the image above to download a pdf of Seattle Public Library researcher Joe Bopp’s accounting of the site’s early 20th-century residents.
The front of the Seattle Side Sewer card for the site. (Joe Bopp)
The back of the Seattle Side Sewer card for the site. (Joe Bopp)
March 25, 1914, Seattle Times, p21.
April 5, 1914, Seattle Times, p19.
June 6, 1925, Seattle Times, p13.
Feb. 24, 1935, Seattle Times, p27.
July 19, 1952, Seattle Times, p15.
Jan. 4, 1955, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p25.
Jan. 4, 1955, Seattle Times, p11.
March 30, 1955, Seattle Times, p24.
May 27, 1955, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p25.

Seattle Now & Then: Alki Statue of Liberty replica

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN1: In this composite of three snapshots from Feb. 23, 1952, a reported crowd of 2,000 Sea Scouts and Boy Scouts, bearing 68 flags, joins others in dedicating the Alki Statue of Liberty replica just before its shroud was lifted next to the Alki Bathhouse (right rear). The Sea Scouts’ 44-foot wooden ketch, the S.S.S. Yankee Clipper, anchors offshore. (Courtesy Steve Grassia, Sea Scouts, Chief Seattle Council)
NOW1: Representing those at the 1952 ceremony, teenage Sea Scouts (a branch of the Boy Scouts) and their leaders salute the 2007 Alki Statue of Liberty replica while their 65-foot, steel-hulled Army t-boat, the S.S.S. Propeller, skippered by Al Bruce, anchors offshore. They are (from left) leaders Robyn Kolke, Jeremy Makin and Daniel McMinn; and scouts Daniel Kolke, Liam Rolstad, Ryan Covey, Finley Russell, Arnav Venna, Sam Vick, Vaughn Russell and Sylvia Adams, all of the Propeller, and Gavin Walker of sister ship Yankee Clipper. The uniform of Walker, holding the U.S. flag, bears a 1952 design. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in the Seattle Times online on Feb. 17, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Feb. 20, 2022

What can we learn about liberty from a replica at Alki?
By Clay Eals

When I led a tour for a mother and her 3-year-old daughter along Alki Beach a few years back, we stopped at the Statue of Liberty replica. I asked the girl to look up and tell me what she thought the statue was raising aloft in her right hand. Her innocent, timeless response:

“An ice-cream cone!”

The next question was tougher. What was the statue cradling in her left arm?

“A phone?”

Of course, the correct answers are a flaming torch and a tablet, the latter inscribed with the Declaration of Independence date of July 4, 1776.

The replica, in two renditions over the years, has prompted countless moments, teachable and otherwise, ever since 200 of the 8-1/2-foot-tall miniatures — modeled on the 151-foot, 1886 original in New York harbor — were erected across the country by the Boy Scouts of America following World War II. The patriotic campaign was dubbed “Strengthening the Arm of Liberty.”

THEN2: John Kelly is interviewed on April 3, 2017, by Circa TV before the Alki Statue of Liberty replica. He joined the Sea Scouts as a West Seattle High School junior in 1938. For the 1952 dedication, he was a Yankee Clipper mate and later its longtime skipper. He died a year ago at age 99. (Clay Eals)

At Alki, after filling a 15-block-long parade, 2,000 scouts dedicated a water-facing replica along the park’s promenade on Feb. 23, 1952. This Wednesday marks its 70th anniversary.

Weather and dispiriting crime took a toll. By climbing her ridged foundation, vandals repeatedly yanked off Lady Liberty’s right arm, flame and seven-point crown. In 1975, she even was knocked off her base.

Further heartache surfaced in 2000 when, as scheduled, a 1952 time capsule of thousands of scout names and other ephemera in the base was opened, but water had destroyed much of its contents.

The replica assumed new poignancy after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. For days, locals congregated at its base, inscribing 1,000 paper bags that held tea-light candles and lined the Alki promenade as luminarias.

Messages ranged from anger (“You can hide, you cowards, but we will find you”) to hope (“We have really only one thing in common: freedom to believe what we want, in peace”). The Southwest Seattle Historical Society preserved and later displayed the bags annually.

NOW2: Best friends and Alki Elementary School fourth-graders Esme Jones (left), 9, and Eliza Cooper, 10, stand with the original 1952 Alki Statue of Liberty replica, on display at the Log House Museum of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, 3003 61st Ave. S.W. (Clay Eals)

A new replica arose on the old base in 2007 and, thanks to a campaign funded by inscribed bricks, was rededicated in 2008 on a sheer, lighthouse-themed base in a redesigned plaza. The battered earlier version was moved to the historical society’s nearby Log House Museum.

In 2009, fueled partly by children’s items, the historical society and Alki Community Council buried near the new replica’s base a better-protected time capsule, to be opened in 2059.

Only 100 of the replicas still stand nationwide. With liberty’s hard truths and stern ideals buffeted by today’s tyrannical forces, those visiting the Alki statue just might rediscover a measure of honest inspiration.

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Sea Scouts skippers Steve Grassia, Al Bruce and Robin Kolke for their invaluable help on this installment. Also thanks to Mary Kay Walsh, who loaned the U.S. flag!

Below are 8 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and West Seattle Herald that were helpful in the preparation of this column. At the bottom, we also present a brief reflection by Paul Monk, as related via his niece Kirstie Cameron.

Feb. 13, 1952, Seattle Times, p19.
Feb. 20, 1952, West Seattle Herald, p1.
Feb. 22, 1952, Seattle Times, p14.
Feb. 24, 1952, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p12. (Courtesy Steve Grassia)
Feb. 24, 1952, Seattle Times, p14.
July 2, 1986, West Seattle Herald. (Courtesy Clay Eals)
July 15, 1987, West Seattle Herald, p1. (Courtesy Clay Eals)
July 15, 1987, West Seattle Herald, p3. (Courtesy Clay Eals)
July 5, 2000, West Seattle Herald, p1.
July 5, 2000, West Seattle Herald, p2.
A brief reflection by Paul Monk, via his niece, Kirstie Cameron.

Seattle Now & Then: The architecture of love

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

The pre-Valentine’s Day cover of the Feb. 13, 2022, PacificNW magazine of the Seattle Times. (Design by David Miller)

Building love over time

Our “Now & Then” column often focuses on the built environment, but in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, we turn our cameras (and hearts) to the architecture of romance.

We are delighted that PacificNW magazine of The Seattle Times granted Jean and Clay the opportunity to prepare this “Now & Then Special” cover story on four longtime couples for the print edition of the magazine’s pre-Valentine’s Day edition of Feb. 13, 2022.

Below are links to:

  • The personal backstory
  • The stories of the four couples, with “web extras”

You also can visit the Seattle Times website for the four couples in our cover story plus the backstory. Enjoy!

THE BACKSTORY

Clay Eals (left) and Jean Sherrard

How much do we love love? Let us (re)count the ways

And here is the Seattle Times link for the backstory.

THE BRISCOES

Phill and Louise Briscoe, June 1993

‘A lot of damn questions’ helped romance bloom in their 40s

And here is the Seattle Times link on the Briscoes.

ILUMIN-ROTH

Rena Ilumin and Tom Roth, November 1978.

From stool to stool, and house to home, their love endures

And here is the Seattle Times link for Ilumin-Roth.

OSEGUERA-WILLENDORF

Debra Willendorf (left) and Jaci Oseguera, June 1995.

‘Could I have this (second) dance for the rest of my life?’

And here is the Seattle Times link for Oseguera-Willendorf.

THE SEDLIKS

Charyl Kay and Earl Sedlik, 1975.

Interruptions can’t interrupt this 55-year marriage

And here is the Seattle Times link for the Sedliks.