All posts by Clay Eals

Seattle Now & Then: Town Hall Seattle, pre-1968

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: This undated view of Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, looks southwest from the corner of Eighth and Seneca, sometime prior to the 1968 demolition and reconstruction of neighboring First Presbyterian Church, whose own dome peeks out at left. (Paul Dorpat collection)
Walking toward the “now” camera at Eighth and Seneca, poised for a green “go” light for Town Hall’s post-renovation festival in September are (from left) Candace Wilkinson-Davis, event manager; Anthony Canape, development coordinator; Dana Feder, production director; Jini Palmer, digital media producer; Grant Barber, individual giving manager; Jonathan Shipley, associate director of communications; Kate Weiland, AIA, project architect, BuildingWork; Matt Aalfs, AIA, design principal, BuildingWork; Wier Harman, executive director; Zac Eckstein, digital marketing manager; Megan Castillo, community engagement manager; Shane Unger, event manager; Shirley Bossier, rental and booking director; Missy Miller, communications and marketing director; Alexander Eby, staff writer; Renate Child, bookkeeper; Mary Cutler, general manager; Kate Nagle-Caraluzzo, development director; and Haley Fenton, donor relations and membership manager. (Not pictured: Amanda Winterhalter, institutional giving manager; Ashley Toia, director of programming; Bruno L’Ecuyer, technical lead; Edward Wolcher, curator of lectures; Laurel Taylor, senior database administrator; plus event staff and sound engineers.) Visible at top are stalwarts of our skyline: the Seattle Municipal Tower (1990, left), the Columbia Center (1985, center), Safeco Plaza, “the box the Space Needle came in” (1969, right) and, yes, a construction crane. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in Seattle Times online on Aug. 15, 2019,
and in print on Aug. 18, 2019)

Encircling the quest to share ‘music and the music of ideas’
By Clay Eals

It bears a square shape, but to me Town Hall Seattle has always felt round. This derives from its dome, but also from the sensation of sitting in its Great Hall. Scores of pews angled in a giant half-circle envelop the stage, bringing performer and audience together as one.

Coming to mind are people I’ve enjoyed there, both nationally known (folk legend U. Utah Phillips and a non-singing Linda Ronstadt) and home-grown (speakers at a memorial for newspaperman Emmett Watson, as well as this column’s own Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard in their annual “A Rogue’s Christmas” show).

A focus on people bolstered the vision of Town Hall’s founder, David Brewster, when it opened in 1999. In cultivating investors, the civic and journalistic entrepreneur conceptualized it as a gathering place for citizens to share “music and the music of ideas.”

To house his idea, Brewster chose the three-floor Roman Revival edifice at Eighth and Seneca, the former Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist. Built in two stages, in 1916 and 1922, more than 40 years before Interstate 5 sliced the site away from downtown proper, it offered an auditorium with room for 1,000, befitting a faith that once drew crowds to its message that prayer can triumph over sickness. It also was among several local Christian Science churches yielding to new owners and uses as congregations declined.

Initially, Brewster wanted to rename the building Landmark Hall, but it was not yet an official city landmark (that happened in 2012). Having grown up near New York City and familiar with its Town Hall, he decided to adapt the more down-to-earth moniker for Seattle.

His vision took flight. In the ensuing two decades, Town Hall lured more than 1.5 million attendees to nearly 7,000 events featuring artists and scholars, musicians and presidential candidates — as the saying goes, “thinkers and doers.”

To remain viable and withstand earthquakes for decades to come, Town Hall just finished a two-year, $35.5 million interior renovation, improving its underpinnings in ways that are largely and intentionally invisible while also enhancing sound and upgrading ancillary rooms. Matt Aalfs, principal architect, sums up: “We wanted to keep the building’s soul.”

That soul returns to full bloom this September during a 40-event Homecoming Festival. Wier Harmon, executive director since 2005, says it exemplifies an ongoing mission to provide low- or no-cost tickets to a kaleidoscope of events dreamed up by hundreds of local producers and organizations. It’s a quest that touches him personally.

“Town Hall truly speaks to the highest aspirations of this community because it inspires creativity, activism and civic engagement,” he says. “The chance to help a place that’s founded on preserving and celebrating those values has been irresistible.”

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, in chronological order, are 11 clippings from The Seattle Times online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that, among others, were helpful in the preparation of this column.

July 4, 1909, Seattle Times, page 19
July 22, 1914, Seattle Times, page 10
June 21, 1916, Seattle Times, page 5
July 8, 1916, Seattle Times, page 5
Aug. 12, 1916, Seattle Times, page 5
Sept. 11, 1916, Seattle Times, page 17
March 3, 1917, Seattle Times, page 7
June 18, 1922, Seattle Times, page 12
Dec. 25, 1967, Seattle Times, page 69
Dec. 17, 1968, Seattle Times, page 3
May 24, 1969, Seattle Times, page 15

Seattle Now & Then: puppeteer Aurora Valentinetti – late 1940s/early 1950s

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THEN: Much as Aurora Valentinetti asked children to do in her puppet shows, transport yourself to a different realm – in this case the drama department in the basement of Denny Hall at the University of Washington where, in this view from the late 1940s/early 1950s, the new professor coaxes the personality of her handmade Pip marionette for a production of “The Shoemaker and the Elves.” (James O. Sneddon, Aurora Valentinetti collection)
NOW: In a vestibule of Meany Hall, Valentinetti poses with the same seat prop and Pip marionette prior to her June 13, 2019, receipt of the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award. To see more of her and her students’ original creations and puppets of all kinds, from tiny to life-size, visit the Valentinetti Puppet Museum in downtown Bremerton. (Clay Eals)

(Published in Seattle Times online on Aug. 1, 2019,
and in print on Aug. 4, 2019)

A distinguished lifetime of bringing puppets to moppets
By Clay Eals

It all might seem rather simple, maybe childlike. But concocting, constructing and bringing to life an inanimate object to stir emotions and imagination is complex, profound business.

Just ask Aurora Valentinetti, winner of the University of Washington’s 2019 Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award, who as this column appears has reached her 98th birthday.

Propelling a walker as she strode across the Meany Hall stage June 13 to receive the award medal, the pint-sized honoree drew a roaring ovation while mirroring the fortitude that she carried from her West Seattle upbringing to the UW in the fall of 1939 and that helped her forge a lifetime persona – that of puppeteer.

From the early 1940s to her retirement in 1992 and beyond, this puppetry professor and promoter took her hand, rod and string creations seemingly everywhere – from the Showboat Theatre to the Metropolitan Theatre (both long gone), from St. Mark’s Cathedral to First African Episcopal Church, from Bainbridge to Bumbershoot, from Fremont to Federal Way, from statewide tours to national festivals, from the beloved Christmas windows of the old Frederick & Nelson department store downtown to her own “Puppet Playhouse” show on KCTS-TV, Channel 9.

Though her productions sometimes targeted adults by exploring themes from operatic to existentialist, Valentinetti’s deepest impact – and love – lay in her shows for children, tapping into worldwide cultures and using puppets that each took 200 hours to build.

She wasn’t a recognizable kids’ TV icon like Wunda Wunda or Brakeman Bill because her work, by definition, was behind the scenes. “You have to become the soul of that figure, and you don’t count,” she says.

Nonetheless, she mesmerized moppets, no doubt because most of the time, their eyes wide open, mouths agape and minds “still in touch with fantasy and magic,” they were reacting to the escapades of her puppets in person and in real time.

Such engagement, she says, validates a universal, desperate need for artistic endeavor.

“Without the arts, we are going to be robots or back to the level of animals,” she says. “Real learning happens through all of the arts, particularly for young children. That’s where they grow and expand. That also is where children can be individuals.”

Since college days, she lived in Wallingford to be close to her classes. She never married or drove a car, instead bidding rides from students. “They knew that if they drove me home, I’d feed them.”

To live closer to a niece, Joanne Bratton, she moved in 2016 to Wenatchee. There, she keeps several of her puppets close by. “They have a power all their own,” she says. “I just treat them like human beings.”

Perhaps she’s imparting a deeper lesson to us all.

WEB EXTRAS

This week, instead of a 360-degree video, we are providing links to several video interviews of Aurora Valentinetti from which quotes were drawn for this column.

Aurora Valentinetti, one month shy of 98, receives the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award June 13, 2019, at Meany Hall. This award presentation is at the end of this video, preceded by a “now” photo shoot for the Seattle Times “Now & Then” column and an interview of Aurora by Clay Eals.
Aurora Valentinetti,, 97, the legendary puppetry professor at the University of Washington for 50 years, received the Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award from the University of Washington Alumni Association on April 12, 2019, in a ceremony at her home in Wenatchee, Washington. This video depicts the ceremony only. It was emceed by Grant Kollett, UW assistant vice president for alumni and stakeholder engagement. Speakers were nieces Katy Larson and Joanne Bratton.
This is the same video as above but includes an interview at the end, starting at 37:10. Aurora Valentinetti,, 97, the legendary puppetry professor at the University of Washington for 50 years, received the Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award from the University of Washington Alumni Association on April 12, 2019, in a ceremony at her home in Wenatchee, Washington. This video depicts the ceremony, as well as displays and greetings beforehand from well-wishers and Aurora describing some of her favorite puppets afterward. The ceremony was emceed by Grant Kollett, UW assistant vice president for alumni and stakeholder engagement. Speakers were nieces Katy Larson and Joanne Bratton.
In this 1992 interview, “Upon Reflection” host Marcia Alvar speaks with Aurora “The Puppet Lady” Valentinetti, puppeteer and professor emeritus at the University of Washington School of Drama. Valentinetti examines the history of puppetry around the world. While Americans have regarded puppets as little more than a childish amusement, she highlights the importance of puppets in other cultures and recognizes the efforts of Jim Henson in gaining a wider acceptance for puppets as a viable form of theater.

Also, below are two additional photos, plus, in chronological order, several clippings from The Seattle Times online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and one from the Mercer Island Reporter that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

In the early 1950s, Aurora Valentinetti displays seven of her marionettes at the University of Washington. (Aurora Valentinetti collection)
Aurora Valentinetti displays her University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award medal minutes after she received it on June 13, 2019. (Clay Eals)
Oct. 19, 1947, Seattle Times, page 63
July 20, 1948, Seattle Times, page 9
Dec. 18, 1950, Seattle Times, page 21
Dec. 31, 1950, Seattle Times, page 54
Dec. 13, 1951, Seattle Times, page 62
Dec. 17, 1951, Seattle Times, page 27
June 20, 1952, Seattle Times, page 20
Jan. 25, 1959, Seattle Times, page 69
March 29, 1959, Seattle Times, page 109
April 14, 1959, Seattle Times, page 39
Feb. 4, 1962, Seattle Times, page 144
June 24, 1962, Seattle Times, page 62
Jan. 24, 1963, Mercer Island Reporter
April 3, 1963, Seattle Times, page 21
April 7, 1963, Seattle Times, page 16
Nov. 10, 1963, Seattle Times, page 16
March 16, 1964, Seattle Times, page 141
March 29, 1964, Seattle Times, page 130
July 5, 1964, Seattle Times, page 41
Aug. 18, 1965, Seattle Times, page 21
Oct. 27, 1968, Seattle Times, page 206
Oct. 27, 1968, Seattle Times, page 211
Dec. 8, 1968, Seattle Times, page 53

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle Now & Then: East Seattle School, 1925

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THEN1: In 1925, more than 60 students at then-11-year-old East Seattle School, some in dresses, ties or knickerbockers, take their exercise outside the school’s east-facing backside. (See THEN2 below to see the building outside its west-facing entry.) For a complete history of the school and its environs, see the 2013 book “Mercer Island: From Haunted Wilderness to Coveted Community” by Jane Meyer Brahm. (Webster & Stevens, Museum of History and Industry, 1983.10.3016)
NOW1: Organized by East Seattle School graduate Kit Malmfeldt (lower left), 80 grads and supporters emulate their predecessors on June 8, 2019. Margaret Vik, who attended East Seattle from 1933 to 1941, poses in a wheelchair, front center. See NOW2 below to see the group posing (Jean Sherrard)
Days may be numbered for piece of ‘heaven’ in East Seattle
By Clay Eals

Quick quiz: Where is East Seattle? If you’re thinking Madison Park, Leschi or other places east of Broadway where the street names begin with “East,” you may be forgiven.

The correct answer is that, unlike the directional designations of North, South and West Seattle, East Seattle isn’t in Seattle at all. You have to head one mile east on Interstate 90 and across Lake Washington to find it at the northwestern edge of Mercer Island.

Nestled just south of where I-90 begins tunneling beneath the Mercer Island lid, the neighborhood of East Seattle is the island’s oldest, serving as the then-unincorporated community’s business and residential hub for decades before the floating bridge opened in 1940. It boasted a hotel, store, church, post office and the only civic vestige still standing from that era – 105-year-old East Seattle School.

The school may not stand much longer.

Built in 1914, operating as a public school (and sporting views of the lake and the majestic Olympics) until 1982 and as a Boys & Girls Club until 2008, the two-floor, Mission-style concrete structure has sat vacant in recent years and looks rather bedraggled. Its owner, auto magnate Michael O’Brien, who lives nearby, is seeking city permits to demolish it and fill its 2.9-acre trapezoidal parcel with 14 single-family homes.

This fate troubles some longtime islanders and graduates of the school. For Margaret Vik, 92, who attended East Seattle in the 1930s when Seattleites reached the island by boat, the school summons memories of simpler times – from echoing ferry foghorns to a steady corps of teachers, led by longtime principal Ethel Johnson, “who just required you to do your best,” she says. “I learned how to accept things the way they were. We were real country kids and lived country-style. Everybody knew everybody. Now you don’t. To me, it was heaven.”

The school’s demise, however, would be no surprise to those who have witnessed the island’s boom-bust school-age population cycles and relentless development pressure. No viable proposal to retain East Seattle School is surfacing, and, depending on how island city officials rule this fall, all that may survive its razing is an entrance archway or an interpretive plaque. But hope remains.

“There needs to be a creative reuse of this building,” says Jane Meyer Brahm, co-president of the local historical society and former city council member and newspaper editor, speaking in a video for the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, which listed East Seattle School on its Most Endangered Places list.

“This is the oldest public building on the island. For a community like Mercer Island with such a short history, we need to do a better job of preserving those historic buildings we do have.”

THEN2: This undated photo, likely from the early or mid-20th century, certainly prior to 1965, shows East Seattle School’s original, west-facing entry. (Mercer Island Historical Society)
NOW2: Organized by East Seattle School graduate Kit Malmfeldt (front row, sixth from left), 80 grads and supporters gather in front of East Seattle School’s west face on June 8, 2019. Margaret Vik, who attended East Seattle from 1933 to 1941, poses in a wheelchair (front row, seventh from right).

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard’s 360-degree video of the NOW1 prospect and compare it with the THEN1 photo, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay Eals, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Here is a video on East Seattle School produced in 2018 by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation:

This 2018 video produced by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation explains why the organization placed East Seattle School on its Most Endangered Places list.

Below are three photos from Grant Spearman, East Seattle School graduate, along with, in chronological order, 16 clippings from The Seattle Times online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and the Mercer Island Reporter (available at Mercer Island Library) that, among many others, were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Grant Spearman, a graduate of East Seattle School, displays a vintage crossing-guard sign during a tour of the school in 2014. (Grant Spearman)
This stairway leads to what was the principal’s office at East Seattle School. The photo was taken during a 2014 tour of the school (Grant Spearman)
The late Phil Flash (left), who headed the Mercer Island Historical Society, poses with Grant Spearman, East Seattle School graduate, in 2014. (Grant Spearman)
April 18, 1914, Seattle Times, page 8
May 30, 1914, Seattle Times, page 3
June 9, 1915, Seattle Times, page 11
April 2, 1921, Seattle Times, page 4
May 29, 1939, Seattle Times, page 8
May 2, 1940, Seattle Times, page 40
Sept. 6, 1946, Seattle Times, page 17
Sept. 23, 1954, Seattle Times, page 25
Feb. 21, 1960, Seattle Times, page 1
April 27, 1960, Seattle Times, page 29
February 11, 1965, Mercer Island Reporter, part one
Feb. 11, 1965, Mercer Island Reporter, part two
Feb. 21, 1965, Seattle Times, page 84
Sept. 7, 1965, Seattle Times, page 35
Nov. 21, 1968, Mercer Island Reporter
Jan. 28, 1981, Seattle Times, page 77

 

Seattle Now & Then: Neil Armstrong Dial, 1969

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THEN1: Held by his mom, Patricia, and eyed by his masked dad, Dallas, the hours-old Neil Armstrong Dial poses July 20, 1969, in a Northwest Hospital room. Décor included a model lunar module made from an inverted Styrofoam cup, with Q-tips for legs. (Bruce McKim, Seattle Times)
THEN2: Nearly 18, Neil Dial visits the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, 1988. (Courtesy Neil Dial)
THEN3: Dial (left) meets his namesake at the Washington Athletic Club, 2007. (Courtesy Neil Dahl)
NOW1: Neil Dial stands beside the Apollo 11 command module Columbia at the “Destination Moon” exhibit on display through Sept. 2, 2019, at Seattle’s Museum of Flight. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW2: Neal Dial stands in front of a “Destination Moon” display at Seattle’s Museum of Flight. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW3: Neil Dial stands at the entrance of Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, now operated by University of Washington Medicine. (Jean Sherrard)
‘Living with honor’ in the shadow of his hero
By Clay Eals

Where were you and what were you doing when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon?

For many, the moment is etched deeply in memory.

My own recollection of July 20, 1969, is indelible. On the eve of my 18th birthday, my girlfriend took us to see “Oliver!” at the Magnolia Theater (now razed), but the auditorium was empty. Instead, we all crowded together in the lobby, craning our necks to peer at Armstrong’s “giant leap,” broadcast on a tiny black-and-white TV set perched on a chair next to the popcorn counter.

An Auburn attorney also knows where he was that day but has no memory of it. The very minute the lunar module Eagle touched the moon, he emerged on Earth, feet first, from his mother’s womb.

His birth, at Northwest Hospital near Northgate, became a media sensation because of his given name. Among many options, his parents considered Buzz, for Armstrong’s fellow astronaut Aldrin, and Apollo, for the space program. What stuck was the ultimate personal salute: Neil Armstrong Dial.

Turning 50 this month, Dial enjoys pondering how a quirk of timing gave him a guiding shadow he has always embraced.

While growing up in Richmond Beach, in seventh grade he gravitated to wrestling, which, he reflects, “taught me a lot about discipline and hard work.” Inspired by his namesake, he became an Eagle Scout and toyed with entering flight school to become an astronaut. Instead, he was drawn to the law. A husband and father of three, he works in the Tacoma firm founded by Ed Eisenhower, older brother of former president Dwight.

Wrestling remains a touchstone. He is head coach for about 20 wrestlers at Thomas Jefferson High School in Federal Way, where he advises against “showboating or doing things in a way that would make you more important than the team. That’s kind of how I am. Doing things right and living with honor have been important to me.”

A dozen years ago, Dial encountered those qualities first-hand when Armstrong, passing through Seattle, met with him for 15 minutes at the Washington Athletic Club. Dial found him humble, unassuming. “He really didn’t want to talk about himself. He wanted to know about me.”

Five years later, Armstrong died. Today, Dial, with gentle lawyerly humor, perceives in his hero some universality amid the uniqueness:

“He had an opportunity that came to him. It could have been many people in the program, and it fell that way for him. In some respects, that’s how it’s worked out for me. Anybody could have been born at that moment. It’s nothing I did. I don’t even remember the event, so everything I could tell you is hearsay.”

WEB EXTRAS

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 is a 14-minute interview of Neal Armstrong Dial from July 9, 2019, in which he reflects on how he was given his name, meeting his famous namesake and how the Neil Armstrong legacy has affected his life. To see the video, click the photo or here.

Video, July 9, 2019, Neil Armstrong Dial interview

Below are two photos and, in chronological order, four clippings from The Seattle Times online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that among many others were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer front page, July 21, 1969
Seattle Times front page, July 21, 1969
This is the July 20, 1969, Seattle Times article that documented the birth of Neil Armstrong Dial.
Magnolia Theatre ad, July 20, 1969, Seattle Times
Nov. 7, 1974, Seattle Times
July 17, 1977, Seattle Times

Seattle Now & Then: Are these five streetcars in Interbay or Belltown?

(click once and twice to enlarge photos)

THEN: This view, probably looking southeast at five streetcars heading north, dates from 1890, 17 years before Ballard annexed to Seattle. (Boyd and Brass photo, Ron Edge Collection)
NOW1: In this southeast-looking view, Ron Edge stands in Belltown near the intersection of Cedar and Western Avenue, one of two possible locations of our “then.” (Jean Sherrard)
NOW2: Also looking southeast, this view shows Ron warily dodging traffic in Interbay near the busy intersection of West Boston Street and 15th Avenue West, the other possible location of our “then.” (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in Seattle Times online on July 4, 2019,
and in print on July 7, 2019)

Somewhere on the line between Ballard and Seattle
By Paul Dorpat

We begin our installment with indecision – is it Interbay, or is it Belltown? – and hope that one or more of Seattle’s rail fans eventually will expose which of our two “now” images comes closer to repeating this week’s featured historical photograph.

Ron Edge appears in both of our “nows” because he first introduced the “then” to us. He acquired this slumbering classic of five early Seattle streetcars from an internet dealer in Austin, Texas. It would be interesting to know the travels of this cabinet card over the last 129 years and how many hands it passed through before returning home.

You may know by now that Ron frequently contributes to this weekly feature. An impassioned collector-cartographer, he has become familiar with Seattle’s history through clues found in its artifacts and ephemera. These may include artists’ panoramas and the calculations, sketches and maps held in private hands throughout the world – all of them awaiting researchers.

Such efforts often are revealed to us with the uncovering of an old photograph like this one. Although this is clearly a Seattle classic, after a half-century of looking I had never seen it. Surely many more unknown historic images of Seattle have been distributed to the four winds and are slowly reappearing for sale on the internet.

For our two “now” images, Ron put his safety in the clicking hands of Jean Sherrard, who posed him near the centerlines of two Seattle arterials, Western Avenue in Belltown and 15th Avenue West in Interbay.

In 1890, the likely year for our “then,” both streets were sections of then-new West Street and served by North End Electric Railway Company’s fresh franchise between its suburban terminus in the new and burgeoning Ballard and the Seattle waterfront near West (now Western Avenue) and Madison Street. For evidence of the line’s Ballard origin, note the “Salmon Bay” sign painted on the front car.

A MILDLY ANXIOUS CALL FOR READERS’ REPORTS

So which “now” is it, dear reader? Eventually, Ron persuaded Jean and me that these trolleys, along with two-dozen hatted motormen and gentleman passengers, are posing on Western Avenue, somewhere near Cedar Street in Belltown. To make this claim, Ron compared the relative inclines of Denny Hill (then still standing) above Western Avenue and the still-steep Queen Anne Hill ridge above 15th Avenue West.

There are, however, other “considerations.” For the curious among you, we might have elaborated them in our blog, listed below. But we shall not. The last word here (in the printed feature) is the liberal suggestion from Ron. He advises, “Perhaps we are all wrong.”  Riding this reluctance, we will wait on your our readers’ calculation.  It this Western Avenue or 15th Avenue West? Jean assures Clay and me that you readers know how to respond, and so we will expect your selections — Western or 15th — and in a week or three  share the accounting with our first “readers’ report.”

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard’s 360-degree video of the “now” prospect and compare it with the “then,” and to hear this column read aloud by Paul Dorpat, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Anything to add, fellas?  Sure, and easy, too — a few past links that touch on Ballard or approach it.

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Seattle Now & Then: 100th anniversary of Fred Hutchinson’s birth

(click once and twice to enlarge photos)

THEN1: Mayor Allan Pomeroy is at the microphone, and Seafair Queen Carol Christensen stands center stage at this April 18, 1955, rally. Left of center, behind team owner Emil Sick and his trademark bowler, Fred Hutchinson peeks out. For IDs of others onstage, see “extra” photo below. (David Eskenazi collection)
THEN2: Fred poses in the 1955 Seattle Rainiers uniform, from the cover of the April 17, 1955, edition of the Seattle Times Pictorial magazine. To salute the 100th anniversary of Fred’s Aug. 12, 1919, birth, the Seattle Mariners will present Hutch bobble heads to the first 10,000 fans on Sunday, July 7, at T-Mobile Park. For the bobblehead itself, see “extra” photo below. (Josef Scaylea, Seattle Times)
NOW: Family and fans of “Hutch” –- (from left) Clay Eals, Jason Barber, David Eskenazi, Fred’s grand-nephew Brock Reed, Connor O’Shaughnessy, George La Torre, Fred’s niece Charlee Hutchinson Reed, Josh Belzman, Charlee’s husband Paul Reed, Jill Christensen, Tom Kim, Tara Palumbo-Egan, Dan Kerlee, Dave Kolk and Olin Gutierrez –- cross University Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues at the Metropolitan Theatre rally site, now the drive-through entrance of the Fairmount Olympic Hotel. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in Seattle Times online on June 27, 2019,
and in print on June 30, 2019)

Where’s Fred? 100th anniversary for birth of baseball hero ‘Hutch’
By Clay Eals

Time was, the name Fred Hutchinson stood for baseball excellence. You couldn’t grow up here and escape the “Hutch” legend. Often as a child, long pre-Mariners, I stood in the cavernous foyer of Sicks’ Seattle Stadium (now a Lowe’s Home Improvement store in the south end), looked up and admired Fred’s photographic portrait high on the wall in the Seattle Rainiers Roll of Honor.

Today, “Hutch” signifies cancer research and the pioneering Seattle center, founded by his surgeon brother Bill, that has borne Fred’s name for 44 years. Employing 2,700 scientists and staff, “the Hutch” memorializes Seattle’s first baseball star of national stature. If he were alive, this hometown hero would turn 100 on Aug. 12.

In late 1999, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer named him Seattle’s Athlete of the 20th Century. The Seattle Times rated him second only to a recent phenom, Ken Griffey Jr.

Fred’s deep local significance is disproportionate to his short stints here in professional uniform, and minor league at that. One year was as a pitcher (his Cinderella season of 1938, post-Franklin High, when he went 25-7 for the new Rainiers), and one year plus half of another as a manager (again for the Rainiers, in 1955 and early 1959).

Still, he was the classic local boy made good. His big-league success (notching 95 wins as a pitcher, managing Cincinnati to the 1961 World Series), plus the respect accorded his alternately gentlemanly and fiery persona, gave him a lasting impression. The perseverant Fred also could turn a phrase. “Sweat is your only salvation,” he once told columnist Emmett Watson.

After his lung-cancer death in 1964, sportswriters created the Hutch Award. It didn’t hurt that the namesake’s nickname felt both informal and virile. (One original criterion for recipients, long ago discarded, was “manliness.”) The award grew into one of the Seattle center’s biggest fundraisers.

Our first “then” captures Fred at a peak of popularity, the day before the Rainiers’ 1955 home opener. This 1:30 p.m. rally at World War II-themed Victory Square – in front of soon-to-be-razed Metropolitan Theatre (circa 1911) on University Street – celebrated Fred’s return after 11 years in Detroit. Even the most hopeful fans could not have forecast his craftiness in shepherding a team with no .300 hitter in the regular lineup for the full season or 20-game-winning pitcher to the 1955 Pacific Coast League crown.

In this photo, before a sea of adoring fans (mostly male, mostly fedoraed) and on a stage crowded with business-suited players, the Barclay Girls can-can troupe and the Jackie Souders Orchestra, Fred is a “Where’s Waldo” figure. Try to find him. If you give up, we’ll help you in the first “then” caption and in the “extra” photos below.

WEB EXTRAS

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

Below are three additional photos, plus, in chronological order, seven clippings from The Seattle Times online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that among many others were helpful in the preparation of this column.

In the interest of public disclosure, I should note that I worked at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as a curriculum writer and publications editor from 1990 to 2003. From 1999 to 2001, I conducted more than 100 interviews with family, friends and professional baseball figures, with the intent of writing a biography of Fred Hutchinson. I still nurture that intention. –Clay

This photo is a crop of the first “then” above, with a more complete accounting of those who are onstage (names are in maroon). The IDs are courtesy of David Eskenazi, from whose collection the photo originates. Double-click on the photo to make the names legible.
Here is a closer-in photo of the same scene depicted in our first “then.” Fred Hutchinson (center right) is waving. Looking on are (from left) pitcher Elmer Singleton, catcher Bob Swift, infielder Gene Verble, catcher Joe Ginsberg, coach Alan Strange, owner Emil Sick, pitcher Bill Kennedy and one of the Barclay Girls. (David Eskenazi collection)
This is the Fred Hutchinson bobblehead that will be given to the first 10,000 fans attending the Seattle Mariners game on Sunday, July 7, 2019, at T-Mobile Park. It depicts Fred in 1938, when he went 25-7 in his only season as a pitcher for the Seattle Rainiers. Note that the photographer, Ben VanHouten, positioned the oval on the stanchion to create the illusion that the ball that Fred has just thrown is heading toward you. As the photo depicts, Fred also appears in mid-pitch on the end of each 100-level seat stanchion at the ballpark. (Ben VanHouten)
Feb. 23, 1911, Seattle Times, page 19
Nov. 7, 1911, Seattle Times, page 22
Dec. 26, 1915, Seattle Times, page 18
April 28, 1942, Seattle Times, page 26
Dec. 6, 1954, Seattle Times, page 25
Dec. 7, 1954, Seattle Times, page 25
April 10, 1955, Seattle Times, page 55
April 17, 1955, Seattle Times, page 36

 

April 18, 1955, Seattle Times, page 28
February 13, 1956, Seattle Times, page 34

 

 

 

Seattle Now & Then: Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, 1909

(click once and twice to enlarge photos)

Count the flags, big and small, strewn throughout this glimmering 1909 “then.” We calculate at least 75. For detailed maps, engaging narrative and stunning photos on the A-Y-P, check out a centennial book by Alan J. Stein, Paula Becker and the staff of HistoryLink. (MOHAI Panorama Collection)
This vantage, slightly higher than the A-Y-P Ferris wheel, looks north from atop the Unversity of Washington Physics-Astronomy Building. Rising in the foreground is the new UW Population Health Facility, set to open in late 2020. Peeking to its right is a portion of the UW Architecture Building, formerly Fine Arts Building. It, along with the UW Cunningham Building – formerly the Washington Woman’s Building, which was moved north in 2009 to a spot just left of the construction crane in this view – are the only remaining public structures on the  A-Y-P fairgrounds. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in Seattle Times online on June 20, 2019,
and in print on June 23, 2019)

A fairly wide view of the A-Y-P from 110 years ago
By Clay Eals

Back in 1962, the glitz of the Seattle World’s Fair filled my 11-year-old eyes with wonder. I still treasure its curios, including a souvenir tabloid with a custom banner headline, printed on the spot, employing the six-month show’s crowning landmark to convey whimsy: “Clay Eals Jumps Off Space Needle.”

I’m grateful it was fake news.

At no time, in visits that summer, did my child’s mind grasp that this was the city’s second world’s fair. But a nod to its precursor lay in the final word of its alternate name: the Century 21 Exposition.

Fifty-three years before, in 1909, Seattle’s – indeed, Washington state’s – first world’s fair embraced the sprawling title of Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition to salute the 1897 Gold Rush and what today we call the Pacific Rim. The A-Y-P opened 110 years ago this month at the University of Washington, which had relocated from downtown 14 years prior, in 1895.

The fair transformed the campus. With attractions from fine art to lowbrow amusements, it also instigated neoclassical (if largely temporary) architecture, Olmsted Brothers gardens, a new statue of the UW’s namesake and a stately promenade and fountain pointing to Mount Rainier.

The sweep was as wide as our “then,” taken atop the A-Y-P Ferris wheel by official photographer F.H. Nowell. It looks north and east, the western border of 15th Avenue slicing by at far left. But this panorama holds irony. While it conveys the fair’s grandeur, it covers only a fraction of its grounds.

Visible are the main entrance at 40th Street, off 15th. A short walk east reveals the George Washington statue (today one block north) and an array of gleaming structures: the Fine Arts Building (center-left), the domed U.S. Government Building, the Alaska Building (center), the smaller Washington Woman’s Building, the Klondike Circle, the Agriculture Building (behind a foreground spire of the Swedish Building) and an unintended presage of World War I, the Battle of Gettysburg cyclorama (“War! War! War! Replete with the Rush, Roar and Rumble of Battle”).

“It’s the greatest cultural event that has ever taken place in the city’s history,” asserts Magnolia’s Dan Kerlee, A-Y-P researcher and collector who runs aype.com, an educational website. He says the 3,740,551 people who attended over 138 days enjoyed a uniquely inspiring, even elegant experience. “If people could walk the A-Y-P today, they would be beside themselves.”

World’s fairs, a prolific phenomenon of the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries, have fallen out of fashion here, the most recent U.S. fairs being 45 years ago in Spokane (Expo ’74) and in Knoxville and New Orleans in the early 1980s. A few hours north, Vancouver, B.C., put on Expo ’86, the last world’s fair in North America. Still, we can smile that Seattle hosted a spectacular pair.

WEB EXTRAS

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

Below, in chronological order, are clippings from The Seattle Times online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that among many others were helpful in the preparation of this column.

These are just five of the 54 stories in the Seattle Times that mentioned the A-Y-P during the six-month 1962 fair. Of course, I wish I had paid more attention to these stories back then! Click on any clipping to enlarge it. –Clay

April 21, 1962, Seattle Times, page 1
April 22, 1962, Seattle Times, page 105
June 22, 1962, Seattle Times, page 2
Sept. 14, 1962, Seattle Times, page 52
Oct. 19, 1962, Seattle Times, page 24

Anything to add, fellas?

Seattle Now & Then: Judkins panorama, 1880s

(click to enlarge photos)

Careful readers may spot clothes hanging on two backyard lines at lower center of this 1885 or 1886 cityscape. This could narrow the time of year Judkins made his recording, but I remember my mother hanging clothes in the backyard during the winter in Spokane. (Paul Dorpat collection)
This prospect looks south from above the entrance to the alley on the south side of Stewart Street between Second and Third Avenues. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in Seattle Times online on June 13, 2019,
and in print on June 16, 2019)

Stacking up evidence of Seattle’s growth in the 1880s
By Paul Dorpat

This week’s “then” photo looks south toward early downtown Seattle from halfway up the southern slope of then-Denny Hill. With his extension pole, Jean Sherrard lifted his “now” camera to approximate the prospect used by pioneer photographer David Judkins for his panorama – close but, Jean and I agree, still a few feet below Judkins’ roost.

After studying the crowd of clues showing in Judkins’ prospect, Ron Edge, our feature’s frequent sleuth, agrees that Judkins’ photo was recorded in 1885 or 1886. That was three or four years before the Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889, destroyed about 30 city blocks, including almost everything shrouded here behind the industrial smoke ascending from the right (west).

In early photographic cityscapes, stacks were frequently embraced as the most obvious signs of a community’s industrial success. They stood as booming pillars of pride, and a study of Seattle’s demographics from that time – city directories, tax records and such – confirms it.

In his typewritten “Chronological History of Seattle from 1850 to 1897,” Thomas Prosch, the owner/editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the city’s busiest booster, included a panegyric to the growth of his city, which since the 1880 national census was the largest town in Washington Territory, surpassing Walla Walla by a few hundred citizens.

“The boom that began in 1886 and grew in volume and force in 1887 continued with unabated activity and vigor in 1888,” Prosch wrote. “It was manifested in a thousand ways, but particularly with real estate speculation, in the platting of additions to the city, hundreds of new buildings, scores of graded streets, the new railways, banks, hotels, stores, factories, shops and people.

“The inhabitants of Seattle, who numbered 3,533 in 1880 and 9,786 in 1885, increased in number to 12,167 in 1887 and to 19,116 in 1888. Much as this great increase signified, it was dwarfed by that of the next two years, for the census of 1889 showed Seattle to have 26,740 inhabitants and that of 1890, 42,837.”

(Such rapid growth some 130 years ago should excite a “Wow!” from some of our readers. Want more? Our blog features a complete copy of Prosch’s thick chronology from the mid-1890s.)

The most striking aspect of this “then” photo may be the two hand-drawn Mount Rainiers, the result of merging the panorama’s two halves, each of which sported a peak. Did Judkins believe anyone would fall for his manufactured substitutes? In 1885, it was still difficult to photographically record bright, snow-covered icons such as “The Mountain That Was God” (title of a 1910 guidebook self-published by John H. Williams).

WEB EXTRAS

To see Jean Sherrard’s 360-degree video of the “now” prospect and compare it with the “then,” and to hear this column read aloud by Paul Dorpat, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Anything to add, fellas?

This morning Jean it will be alas and good night, aka nighty-bears (copy write: Bill Burden).  That is we will soon  again climb the stairs to our small bed resting beside a full-wall reflection – a ballet practice mirror.  (The sometimes frightening effect some early mornings is to awaken with sunrise and face myself.  At eighty it is not a flattering confrontation.)  Now Jean reminds me that this week we promised something more about the Thomas Prosch’s sustained contribution to recording Seattle history.  That will need to wait for later this week.  Now, I’ll be climbing the stairs, again to nighty-bears.  At eighty I use two canes.  Below, as a consoling custom we will again attach some relevant clips.

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Seattle Now & Then: DAR Rainier Chapter House, 1930

(click once and twice to enlarge photos)

Five years after the Rainier Chapter House was built, nearly 90 women pose on its portico, illustrating the age-old photographer’s challenge of getting everyone to face the same direction. In the middle, can you also spot a costumed George Washington? (Rainier Chapter House)
Beneath the cupola (unfortunately sliced from the top of our “then”), 34 chapter members attending their annual spring brunch emulate the pose of their ancestors. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in Seattle Times online on May 23, 2019,
and in print on May 26, 2019)

Registering a replica in honor of George and Martha
By Clay Eals

If you have flown to America’s Other Washington and taken the popular tourist trip 10 miles south to Mount Vernon, your mind’s eye can see the mansion of our first president and first lady, George and Martha Washington. Though its construction and expansion coincided with the beginnings of our egalitarian democracy, the manor overlooking the Potomac River was, and remains, majestic – 10 times the size of the average home in mid-1700s colonial Virginia.

We needn’t trek 2,800 miles to get an in-person approximation of the experience. Here we have what the Seattle Times once called “Seattle’s Own Mount Vernon,” embodied in the 94-year-old Rainier Chapter House of the Daughters of the American Revolution. A faithful reproduction of George and Martha’s famed residence, it simultaneously salutes its eastern counterpart and our state’s namesake.

When this replica was dedicated on April 11, 1925, in a ceremony attended by Gov. Roland Hartley, the Seattle Times favorably compared it to the original, “lacking only its water border and great expanse of grounds.” Today it retains a striking stature while surrounded by a city streetscape bearing three other treasures: the Loveless Building, the Cornish School and the Women’s Century Club (site of the former Harvard Exit moviehouse), all part of the Harvard-Belmont Landmark District atop Capitol Hill.

It also recently scored a coveted countrywide standing. On March 20, the Rainier Chapter House became listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is not merely a promotable honor. It also paves the way for valuable tax credits and grants. To celebrate, the 167 chapter members are inviting the public to a plaque unveiling on Sunday afternoon, June 2.

These women, all descendents of Revolutionary warriors who struggled for independence from Britain, embrace an inspiring legacy. Their ancestors formed the chapter in 1895 and raised money after World War I to build their elegant local headquarters. They even scoured attics to find items to sell at Pike Place Market. As a result, Seattle’s DAR chapter was the only one in the nation, at the time, to own the ground for its building.

Daniel Huntington, coming off nine years as Seattle’s municipal architect, infused a classical design, with wood siding grooved to resemble stonework. The edifice was erected in just four months, after which chapter members filled it with period furniture, dishes, art and historical objects. They also began an enduring tradition – renting the facility, including its second-floor ballroom, to groups that seek immersion in a sumptuous past.

If George and Martha themselves were to appear on its doorstep today, they might momentarily mistake Rainier Chapter House for their home. Their clue otherwise would be our urban milieu.

WEB EXTRAS

For even more great history, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column!

Here, in chronological order, are a flier for the June 2, 2019, public celebration, plus three clippings from The Seattle Times online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) that were helpful in the preparation of this column. Click on any clipping to enlarge it. –Clay

Flier for June 2, 2019, public celebration of National Register of Historic Places recognition
April 5, 1925, Seattle Times, page 52
April 12, 1925, Seattle Times, page 19
April 12, 1925, Seattle Times, page 48

Anything else to add, gents?

 

For Emmett Watson, ‘Lesser’ is more

This caricature of the legendary Seattle newspaper columnist Emmett Watson by the equally legendary former Seattle Post-Intelligencer cartoonist Bob McCausland appeared in Watson’s 1988 Lesser Seattle wall calendar.

The following story, an interview of longtime Seattle newspaper columnist Emmett Watson, appeared Dec. 16, 1987, in the West Seattle Herald/White Center News. More than 30 years later, Watson’s comments have a lot of resonance given today’s development boom. The interviewer, Clay Eals, was editor of the papers at the time. The story is reprinted here by permission of Robinson Newspapers. To see the story as printed, click here or scroll to the bottom.

For Watson, ‘Lesser’ is more

Columnist comes home Saturday to sign calendars
By Clay Eals

One of the West Side’s more famous/notorious native sons returns to his home turf this weekend.

He comes hat in hand, however, looking for holiday shoppers who are having trouble finding just the right item for those remaining on their lists.

It helps if the toughies on the list are from Seattle – now or sometime in the past.

That’s because Watson is pushing his new Lesser Seattle wall calendar for 1988. It’s a fanciful look at the not-so-attractive aspects of the Queen/Emerald City as detailed by Seattle’s consummate newspaper columnist. The $9.95 calendars also feature more than a dozen caricatures of Watson by ex-Seattle Post-Intelligencer cartoonist Bob McCausland.

Watson will sign copies of the calendar at Pioneer West Book Shop, 4510 California Ave. S.W. in the Junction, from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Those who miss him there can find him scribbling his signature Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4 at Frederick and Nelson downtown.

Watson, who spent his youth in West Seattle, was one of the dignitaries featured in the West Side Story history book published this year by the West Seattle Herald and White Center News.

The history book is on sale at the News-Herald office, 3500 S.W. Alaska St., during the holiday season. It also is on sale at Pioneer West Book Shop, along with Watson’s calendar, and Watson will sign both on Saturday for those who are interested.

Watson, who lives next to the Pike Place Market, sat down for an hour to reflect on the mythical Lesser Seattle organization and on West Seattle earlier this month, over a cup of coffee at his favorite haunt, Lowell’s cafeteria in the market. Here is an edited transcript of the interview:

You’ve had Lesser Seattle around for quite a while.

Yeah, and a couple of times guys have come to me and said they wanted to market it, and I said no. But Fred Brack, a freelance writer, he does those cookbooks with Tina Bell, Taste of Washington, he’s a hell of a reporter and writer, worked for Sports Illustrated and the Washington Post, in fact he even had a hand in hiring Carl Bernstein. Anyway, he was trying to figure out a way to make some dough.

So we talked about it, and I had to go to the (Seattle) Times to get the OK, and I did, and we began to fool around with it. We already had those T-shirts out, sweatshirts and stuff, so we knew the designer, a guy named Tim Girvan, and Tim is one of the hot young designers in the country. Nice guy. I don’t know why Tim fooled with us. I think he just liked the concept of it.

So he went to working on it, then we got Bob McCausland out of retirement. (The caricatures) are all new. Some of them look like the old ones, but he did ’em all new. He really outdid himself.

Then I sat and wrote the stuff and took about two months or so to get it out.

With the flood of calendars on the market, what is this one’s appeal?

It’s a novelty calendar. We tried to get some tongue-in-check fun into it. That’s all Lesser Seattle is anyway, a tongue-in-cheek spoof.

There’s a serious message in it, too. A lot of people feel that way about the city. They don’t want it to balloon up. See, at the rate they’re going, why, they’re going to really make the streets deserted around here with all those high-rises. High-rises just wipe out a whole block of shops. And now we’re getting these elaborate plazas and a bunch of upscale shops that the ordinary person can’t afford. See, Third Avenue’s going to be wiped out.

Do you have any answers for the situation?

It’s too late now. Hell, they got so many new high-rises going in. They’ve got about four going up right now, and to some people that’s OK. I don’t like it that way. I like it the way it was on Third Avenue with the cigar store and the pool hall right around the corner. That’s all being moved out.

Does the character of a city stem from its downtown?

All you have to do is imagine what Seattle would be like if we didn’t have the Pike Place Market. Really.

Do you get into painting outlying areas with the Lesser Seattle swath?

Oh, yeah, we talk about Lesser Poulsbo, Lesser Winslow.

How about Lesser West Seattle?

Oh, I don’t know. Is it growing over there? It’s very much of a mix over there. I don’t know how dramatic the bridge has been, but it looks like it would have an impact. What I’d say there probably is, “Tear down the bridge.”

So far, how is the Lesser Seattle sentiment appealing to people through the calendar?

We were hoping that people would get carried away and buy four or five of them and send them to their relatives as sort of a tongue-in-cheek joke. And that’s happened. They give ’em to friends who have moved away. I always sign ’em, “Come back soon. Lesser Seattle welcomes you back.”

I was signing at Union Station the other night, and a lot of younger people bought ’em for their parents. There is that feeling. People don’t like to see Seattle get big.

Memories are funny things. We all think back on what it was like in the ’50s and the ’40s and ’30s, and I guess it’s kind of a growing-up process. We look back with nostalgia and fondness. I suppose it was just as hard to find a parking place in those days as it is now, but it doesn’t seem like it, y’know? People don’t like to have their lives disrupted.

Has Lesser Seattle had any tangible effect on the way things develop?

No, if anything, it’s probably counterproductive. I don’t think it has that much influence anyway. But people enjoy it because it’s a vehicle for saying a lot of things, like denouncing the high-rises.

And why do we want a Super Bowl here? All we’re going to do is get a bunch of drunken football fans in here for a week, and we’re going to subsidize them with free rent and parties. God, I really hate to see that. You just fall on your face in front of ’em and say, “Please come.” It’s just one big bash.

Anyway, you can always take off on it and use it that way.

Coming to West Seattle for a calendar signing, do you look forward to seeing people you know?

I was amazed when I did the book over there (five years ago) at how many people showed up who I’d forgotten, people I’d gone to school with.

West Seattle always was sort of a city in itself. See, when I grew up, we had the streetcar like everybody remembers, and it was a fair task to go downtown or to the U district. You had to ride that thing on those trestles, and it would take you 45 minutes to get downtown, and another 40 minutes to get to the U district.

I used to do that when I went to college. It was a bit of an isolation, and I’m convinced there are many, many families who grew up in West Seattle and never left, never went to any other part of the city.

West Seattle was also semi-country, really, and that wasn’t all that long ago. In the ’30s, there were an awful lot of wooded areas. In those days, as kids, we just ran loose. Back behind (James) Madison Junior High, there were little paths and trails, and you could walk almost clear to the Junction that way.

You once wrote, “I have never known anyone who moved to West Seattle for the sheer status of it, only because they liked it.”

I think that’s true. I really. You never got the feeling that there was any Highlands or Broodmoor mentality in it. At least I never did.

The people who had enough money would get beach property in those days. West Seattle always struck me as a mix, because you had people with real money down on the beach: the Schmitz family, the Colman family down along Fauntleroy. But then not very far away from that, very close, would be a middle-class and blue-collar neighborhood.

About Admiral Way and 45th, 46th, a lot of that is still with us. Once in a while, when I was recovering from my heart attack, I’d go over and go for walks around there, and it’s amazing how little of it has changed. A lot of rehabs everywhere. But the same kinds of people were there.

What do you remember best about West Seattle?

Well, I was born on Duwamish Head, and in college I lived with my brother and sister up on 35th. You could see down, and it was always kind of industrial, but I don’t think as kids we appreciated a lot of that. We didn’t think too much in terms of views. We thought too much of our own little problems.

Several years later, you get away from it, you go back over there, and Holy Toledo, the views.

The Dec. 16, 1987, interview as printed.