We had a lovely evening at the Taproot Theatre and I received a number of requests for a list of the readings performed by our stellar cast. Here they are in order:
‘Christmas in Qatar’ by Calvin Trillin (read by Paul Dorpat)
‘You Better Not Cry’ (an excerpt) by Augusten Burroughs (Jean Sherrard)
‘Christmas Every Day’ by William Dean Howells (Kurt Beattie)
‘A Christmas Spectacle’ by Robert Benchley (Kurt)
‘The Three Wise Guys’ by Sandra Cisneros (Bill Ontiveros)
‘Christmas Cracker’ by Jeanette Winterson (Marianne Owen)
Our wonderful house band, Pineola, performed intro and interim music. I’ll update their set list when I can get it.
There’s only one more chance to catch this program: next Saturday at the Rainier Arts Center in Columbia City. But this show’s only available to Town Hall members. What a fine time to show your support and join Town Hall – then join us for the party on Saturday!
Greetings, all! FYI, this evening’s performance will not be held at the usual Town Hall location, which is closed for remodel and reconstruction! All Town Hall events are now sprinkled throughout the city in many different venues. Ours is at Greenwood’s Taproot Theatre. For direction and info on parking, please click here.
Thanks for the suggestion to clarify this, Clay Eals!
A note from Jean: Before continuing on to this week’s column, please excuse Paul and me for a shameless plug of our upcoming event. Sunday evening, we will return with our annual celebration of literature and music ‘A Rogues’ Christmas’, a part of ACT Theatre’s Short Stories Live series (usually held at Town Hall, but moved this year to the Taproot Theatre during reconstruction).
(Now, as always, please click to enlarge photos)
For his contemporary repeat Jean Sherrard has moved a few feet north of this week’s featured “then.” The brick Google Building at the southwest corner of Fremont Avenue and 43rd Street, got in his way. While both views look west from the north end of the Fremont Bridge, the historical photographer stood a few feet south of Jean’s prospect to include, on the left, the then new double trackage of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The construction confusion on the right hides the work-in-progress on the grade separation between the railroad tracks and the line of false-front businesses on the north side of Ewing Street.
The businesses showing in this first block west of Fremont Avenue as far north as Evanston Street are from left-to-right, a dye works, a pool hall, a café, a real estate, loans and insurance office, the New York Laundry (which in a 1910 Times classified was looking for an “experienced ladies’ clothes ironer”), and the Star Plumbing and Sheet Metal Works. The plumbing store shows two small windows on its second floor with a door between them that oddly or imprudently opens to neither steps nor a balcony. This is surely a vestige of this business row when Ewing Street was at its original elevation, nearly twenty-feet lower than it stands here. Continuing to the right (east) the business lineup is stocked with more community necessities: a bar, an undertaker, a store for shoes and another for home furnishings.
Ewing Street was named for Henry Clark Ewing, a precocious real estate agent who came to Seattle with his parents as a fourteen-year-old in 1886 and was building his own real estate office within ten years. In the biographical section of Seattle and Environs, judge and pioneer historian Clarence Hanford describes Ewing as one who “has acquired a wonderfully intimate knowledge of realty values and his judgment of such carries as much significance as that of any other man’s in Seattle.” Ewing’s significance reached Fremont in the late 1880s with his own street name. However, beginning in 1923 the street remembered Ewing only south of the canal where it was kept in the mostly residential Lower Queen neighborhoods. On the industrious Fremont side of the canal Ewing and its historical connotations were surrendered for another street-grid number, North 34th Street.
I feel safe in ascribing the date for the featured view as sometime between 1910-1912. On Sept. 2, 1910, The Seattle Times reported “work was begun this morning on the new Fremont Avenue viaduct across the Lake Washington Canal site just below Lake Union.” We note that the bridge is called a viaduct in The Times report and the canal merely a site. Committed canal cutting between Lake Union and Shilshole Bay began in 1911 and continued into 1916. (Remember, we celebrated its centennial last year.) Although about two stories taller than the first bridge at Fremont, the new “viaduct” was much longer and so actually resembled a viaduct while reaching new and higher grades at both ends. Also in 1911, the north shore of Lake Union received a second temporary bridge – a lower
pile-driven viaduct that reached across the northwest corner of the lake from Westlake to the foot of Stone Way. The Stone Way Bridge was razed in 1917, soon after the viaduct on Fremont was replaced by “the busiest bridge in America”, the bascule span on Fremont Ave. that we still cross and/or wait to cross. (Note the second Edge Link below on the opening of the Fremont Bridge.)
Anything to add, blokes? Yes Jean – more older neighborhood/vicinity features.
REPUNZEL at the FRONT DOOR of the WEST TOWER
I snapped this while crossing the Fremont Bridge many years ago when the orange primer on the bridge was turning pink. It was several years before Fremont glass artist Rodman Hiller convinced the powers that then were both downtown in City Hall and in Fremont, ( perhaps then already “the center of the universe”) to help him brighten the north facade of the west tower with shining neon tubes giving shape to a glowing likeness of Rapunzel the Teutonic beauty with blonde (or golden) hair that grew so fast and unrelenting that “before the tower” she wrapped it around herself. She had no need for clothes, although with adolescence wore them for fear of arousing the loggers who worked for a very bad witch who owned the forest that Rapunzel and her parents lived beside. And much else. The hag paid well enough to keep the men chopping. The forest surrounded a tower that was fated to move Rapunzel’s tale into it and toward tragedy if not into it. As with most enduring tales there are versions. With this one we need to both learn more and get some sleep. We pause noting that at the age of about thirteen (about development one cannot be sure with fairy tales) Rapunzel was locked in a tower without doors and but one high window by a very very bad witch named Gothel who was easily one of the one percent of Bavaria and who was owed something – Rapunzel – by Rapunzel’s parents, who were also her renters. Rapunzel was named for the plant her mother craved when she was pregnant. Her father stole it at night from the only source, the witches garden, and was caught. I have read that one does not censure the diet of a pregnant woman. I’ll pause here back on bridge. My capture of the blonde on the door to the north tower predates artist Hiller’s portrait installed and captured there by many years. I’ll count them later following more study of the fable.
Once more, into the merry breach, my friends! Join me and Paul, Kurt Beattie, Marianne Owen, Bill Ontiveros and Pineola for our annual evening of roguish cheer, short stories, music and delight. Although Town Hall is closed for reconstruction, the show must go on! We’ll be in full celebration mode at the Taproot Theatre, tomorrow at 6PM.
For occupying the attention of his two youngest sons, David and me, during long family road trips Dad devised and repeatedly replenished what we called “Pop’s Pop quizzes.” On one such trip from Spokane to Seattle, I was able to easily answer Pop’s query, “What is the name of the world’s first streamlined ferry.” That this then ten or eleven-year-old’s answer was correct is testimony to the widespread popularity of the feted Kalakala.
The Black Ball Line’s flagship ferry was the most popular man-made creation on Puget Sound until the raising of the Space Needle in 1962. We have, perhaps inevitably, featured this ferry for “Now and Then” more than once. For instance, on the Sunday of November 3, 1991, we showed her passing through the Chittenden Locks in 1947 for one of the ferry’s few visits into our fresh waterways. Ordinarily, busy carrying both tourists and Naval shipyard workers back and forth to Bremerton, the Kalakala did not need our lakes.
Of the many photographs or illustrations of this ferry that I have collected and/or copied, the over-the-shoulder portrait by Frank Shaw that we have chosen for our feature this week is one of my favorites for several reasons. We put it at the top. By contrast, the clouded sky brightens the ferry’s silver shine. The colored slide’s stern end view improves the ferry’s streamlined claim. Still, the Kalakala’s less kind nickname, “The Silver Slug,” may have been inspired as much by this tapered stern as by the ferry’s bowl-shaped bow where two doors opened wide enough to admit the big trucks of its years, 1935 to 1967.
Perhaps the photographer’s most effective assistant for embellishing the streamlined qualities of the ferry was the low tide. It drops some of the ferry’s vertical chunkiness, hiding it below Shaw’s prospect, the exposed deck of one of the two Northern Pacific piers are the foot of Yesler Way. The N.P. was Colman Dock’s neighbor to the south. (In the PacificNW’s printing I mistakenly – and foolishly – named this pier, which served as stand for the photographer, the Grand Trunk Pier. That, of course, was on the north side of Colman Dock. My dyslexia seems to be increasingly settling into an early dementia. Stay tuned. I’m trying to remember my cane. It has no name that I can share.)
With the sensational introduction of its modern service in the mid-1930s, the streamlined ferry was promoted with a modern makeover of its Colman Dock terminal with Art Deco touches. You will know, perhaps, that the Kalakala had been transformed from the burned shell of the Peralta, a fire-gutted San Francisco Bay ferry that was sold cheap to the Puget Sound Navigation Company. Rebuilt here as the PSNC’s flagship it is also a moving monument to Deco design.
At its center, Frank Shaw’s (or Robert Bradley’s ) waterfront glimpse also includes a second Art Deco landmark, the Securities Building. (sic. And here falls a second mistake of fact put forth in this trending-pitiful feature. Thanks to my friend Gavin MacDougall for catching that the Art Deco landmark on Marion St. is the Exchange Building and not the Securities, which is on the northwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Pike Street. I have confused the names for these before – and may again.) The Exchange Building still faces Marion Street from the full block between First and Second Avenues. In his contribution to the University Press’s book “Shaping Seattle Architecture,” Seattle architect-historian Grant Hilderbrand considers this 1929-31 landmark as “perhaps architect John Graham, Sr.’s finest work.” The reader will surely enjoy a visit to the building’s lobby. The Exchange Building still stands back-to-back and in contrast with the seventeen stories of International Style aluminum and glass curtain-wall construction of the Norton Building. Built in 1959 it is considered by some to be Seattle’s first modern skyscraper. The tops of both the Securities and Norton Buildings can be found in Jean’s repeat — just barely.
LAYING THE CORNERSTONE – SEPTEMBER 30, 1959
ONE MONTH LATER THE NORTON GARAGE OPENS
Later, LAWTON GOWEY LOOKS NORTH OVER THE SHOULDERS OF BOTH THE NORTON & EXCHANGE Buildings from the SMITH TOWER.
Our good friend Clay Eals contributes the following:
“I understand that the focus of tomorrow’s “Now and Then” is on the “Then” of the Kalakala, not its “Now,” because, of course, the Kalakala no longer exists with integrity. But its large wheelhouse and drive train exist in the south parking lot of Salty’s on Alki, courtesy of the restaurant’s owner, Gerry Kingen, who salvaged them in Tacoma on the day in February 2015 that they were to be wholly scrapped. I’m attaching a fun photo I took on Feb. 23, 2015, of the downtown skyline as seen through the portholes of the wheelhouse as it sits at Salty’s on Alki. On one hand, it’s quite sad that the Kalakala is no longer intact, but on the other hand, it’s nice to have a couple of (large) remnants.
Anything to add, lads? For sure slim Jean, more old features and most of them from the Seattle waterfront. The first example will be the other Kalakala feature noted above. It is scanned out of the paper. After that the first seventeen of these are recent features pulled forth by Ron Edge from the blog, which has been around now for a decade or more. They need to be clicked to open. The rest are older features that were scanned as clippings. They also need to be clicked for enlargements – to read them.
Is it obvious that here is a work-in-progress? Evidences of a new city addition in the throes of creation include the rough ground cover on the far right. It is in need of a home. A meandering clue is the fresh and hardly-stained concrete ribbon that has laid its eccentric path both beyond and behind the line of unfinished homes that cross thru the scene’s center. That the last two or three of the eight or nine homes built here all in a row are the least finished, at least suggests that most of the motorcars parked here belong to carpenters, realtors perhaps more than to prospective buyers.
This is Conkling Place, named for the family of pioneer historian Thomas Prosch’s mother, Susan Conkling Prosch. In the late 1890s Thomas Prosch wrote the Chronological History of Seattle that a century later historylink, the popular on-line encyclopedia of Washington history and heritage, used for the first factoid construction of its webpage. Although the Prosch mansion was on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill, in the early 20th century the family purchased these acres near the northwest corner of the Hill. They submitted the plans for their Queen Anne Addition to the city on September 27, 1909.
The Conklin Place Jean Sherrard recently visited to repeat our featured “then”, begins at the corner of W. Bertona Street and 10TH Avenue West. Prosch’s Conklin was different, it was cut to the southwest with one long straight block to the center of the addition drawn but never developed. Had it been fulfilled with homes they would have crossed through the footprints of first four or five residences standing here since 1926, the year this concrete was first given its serpentine pour.
It seems that the new developers were aesthetes allured by the poetic platting and curvilinear inclinations of the City Beautiful Movement. They named their sensitive acreage the Queen Anne Hill Addition and started building along romantic lines diversely styled residences fit for their curving streets. The developer’s model home, built in a Spanish style at 3042 10th Avenue West, survives well kept on the avenues pointed corner with West Etruria Street. It stands one long block and a few feet south of Jean’s prospect above Conklin Place. Should you decide to explore this unique addition you will discover that most of the homes showing here on Conklin Place in 1927 or 1928 still hold to their uniquely foot-printed lots.
On February 21, 1926 the F.W. Keen and Company announced in that the building of their new forty-acres residence addition on Queen Anne Hill was underway. “The plat was filed last week. This is one of the last large close-in tracts suitable for platting. It will contain 235 lots, with the streets laid out to take advantage of the natural contour of the ground. The addition has been designated Queen Anne Park.”
For those enchanted by this lovely prospect, please know that the ‘Now’ view was accomplished with aid of my 21-foot extension pole. A blown-up detail reveals a portion of I-5 and Gasworks Park through the trees:
Anything to add, kids?
Yes Jean but a little late. I fell to sleep twice at my desk while preparing this and so was not able to coordinate with Ron Edge for more attractions before he he climbed his own stairs to his own nighty-bears. (I think he embraces our bears although I do not remember asking him about the same.) It is now 6am. Ron is usually up by now. I suspect that he will get the features he gathers into the blog before most of you (dear readers) have left your Sunday Times and visited this blog. [These uninvited naps of mine are the “gift” of my increasingly ancient metabolism, I figure. ] I do know that Ron also climbs stairs to reach his bed, unlike you who sleep on the same floor as your gas oven.
I’m pulled into this clutter of storefront commerce and small hotels that extend through about half of the west side of 8th Avenue between Pine and Olive Streets. Photographed in 1938, the year of my nativity, it offers attractions that I remember from my youth first in Grand Forks, North Dakota and then – beginning in 1946 – in Spokane. Following Locksmith Snyder’s many keys and services, far left, are the 35 cent haircuts available from the Eighth Avenue Barber at 1619 8th Avenue, and Jackson C. Clifford’s Red Front Cigar Store, at 1621. After that comes the modest front door to the Olive Court Apartments. There Mrs. Sigrid Fales is in charge, equipped with a telephone. Most likely, Sigrid was originally from Northern Europe, and as Scandinavian as her nearby neighbors directly across 8th Avenue, the Viking Tavern and Krono Coffee Shop, both at 1622 Eighth Ave. And next door to Sigrid is her grandest neighbor, The Swedish Club.
“The Club,” as its many members called it, was the best evidence that downtown Seattle had its own “Snooze Junction” or corner, a variation on Ballard. From the beginning the Swedish Club was an institutional reminder of the left homeland. It was a profound and shared nostalgia that ran through its many banquets for fondly remembered traditional gatherings, and its choral concerts, dances, and opportunities for mixing and courting. Also in a less secular line, neighborhood’s Gethsemane Lutheran, Swedish Baptist, First Covenant, Reformer Presbyterian, and others churches, were all Scandinavian sourced congregations.
The club was first organized on August 12, 1892 by recently arrived Swedes. They were young and living in Belltown’s Stockholm Hotel. It was a name chosen to attract them. In spite of the economic crash or panic of 1893 and following, the club flourished, largely because there were so many migrating Swedes. (Migrating Norwegian’s and Danes had their own clubs.) Using the often generous contributions from members of the burgeoning Swedish community, the Club built its home here on 8th Avenue on its own terms. Andrew Chilberg, the Seattle-based vice consul for both Sweden and Norway was a charter member and the Club’s first president. He was also founder of the Scandinavian-American Bank: Seattle’s Scandinavian godfather. Chilberg bought the property for the Club’s construction and half-century of use. N.D. Nelson the partner in Frederick and Nelson Department Store, also helped with the club’s financing and first construction, as did Otto Roselead, the contractor for both the Swedish Club and the Swedish Hospital. The dark brick façade with its ornamental banding and spiral scrolls or volutes, both seen in the feature photo, were soon added to the original frame structure when the neighborhood was regraded.
The diverse flips in needs and interests that have understandably followed through the club’s now century and a quarter of service are typical for cultural institutions that have their origins in other hemisphere’s. It has been long since members were more likely to join classes to learn Swedish than English. Now sponsored group flights to the homeland are fast and for many affordable. (Thanks to Club president Christine Leander for lots of help with this.)
In the Hyatt’s glass curtains, from a slightly less oblique angle, we find a reflection of the lovely Camlin Hotel, recently featured in this column:
Anything to add, fellahs? Lots of past but not lost features Jean – all but two are from the neighborhood or near it but one of the two is named Anderson. Let us hope that our readers CLICK TO ENLARGE.