All posts by jrsherrard

Just a guy, ya know...

Seattle Now & Then: The Corgiat Building near Pioneer Square

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THEN: Built in 1900 the Corgiat Building lost its cornice and identifying sign to the 1949 earthquake. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
THEN: Built in 1900 the Corgiat Building lost its cornice and identifying sign to the 1949 earthquake. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: When it was sold in 1953, the building was still in the hands of the Corgiat family. The purchaser was its neighbor, the distinguished furniture dealers, the Masin family.
NOW: When it was sold in 1953, the building was still in the hands of the Corgiat family. The purchaser was its neighbor, the distinguished furniture dealers, the Masin family.

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It would be a mistake to tack to the Hotel Main the setback tower rising from its roof.   Rather, the Italianate tower is set next door atop Firehouse No. 10.  It was used to connote the firemen’s high calling to smoke out hot spots in the Pioneer Square neighborhood

Fire Station at the northwest corner of Third Ave. S. and Main Street briefly before the 1928-29 Second Avenue Extension razed it. The work on the left reveals the new corner cut for the same intersection's southwest corner. (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)
Firehouse No. 10 at the northwest corner of Third Ave. S. and Main Street briefly before the 1928-29 Second Avenue Extension razed it. The work on the left reveals the new corner cut for the same intersection’s southwest corner. (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)
Looking north on Third Ave. So. with a glimpse of the fire house on the left across Main Street at the northwest corner.
Looking north on Third Ave. So. ca. 1911 with a glimpse of the fire house on the left across Main Street at the northwest corner.

and also to dry hoses. The hotel was constructed in 1900 to the plans of Architect R. L. Robertson and the Firehouse with its tower was lifted above the northwest corner of Third Avenue and Main Street three years later.  The station was stopped at two stories – plus the tower – but a third floor was added in 1912 for the department’s new Fire Alarm Office.  A mere sixteen years later the public works 1928-29 Second Avenue Extension – a straightening between Yesler Way and Jackson Street – cut directly through No.10 and just missed the hotel.

A 1900 ad for Hambach Co.
A 1900 ad for Hambach Co.

In 1900 architect Robertson was fresh from completing the nearby Hambach Co.’s similarly sized business block (now the parking lot on First Ave. S., one lot south of Main Street) when early in the summer of 1900 he submitted plans for this three-story brick structure, but somehow with walls of “insufficient thickness.”  It was W.N.G. Place, a city building inspector with a fitting name, who spotted Robertson’s code cutting trim and arrested him.  Perhaps John Corgiat, the architect’s client, paid the fine as part of the $9,500 it took to complete his namesake building. Once expanded to code, the walls soon reached their decorative cornice where centered above the Main Street façade both Corgiat’s name and the date, 1900, could be easily read from the street.   

J. Corgiat's obituary in The Seattle Times.
J. Corgiat’s 1935 obituary in The Seattle Times. [Cllick to Enlarge for Reading] (Courtesy, Seattle Public Library, Seattle Room)

Corgiat arrived in Seattle from California before the Great Fire of 1889, to which he lost his restaurant, the Louvre, Seattle’s first Italian-French eatery.  The garrulous Corgiat founded Italian Lodge No. 1 of Seattle.  Not surprisingly, his 1935 obituary described him as having been “much in demand as a public speaker.”  The obit for the 78-year-old Italian immigrant also shared the irony that he had once sold forty acres near Green Lake to Seattle’s founders, the Dennys.  Sometimes the glad-handering Corgiat could turn bellicose.  After the Great Fire, he helped form a vigilante committee to help protect Seattle from the expected infusion onto its ruins of opportunist pickers and “bad egg bums.”  While paying and collecting his accounts then, Corgiat had the habit of walking the streets of the business district with a bag of cash in one hand and a revolver in the other. 

A Seattle Times reported example of
A Seattle Times reported example of Corgiat’s  sometimes disputive temper.

John Corgiat’s name held to the top of his business block until it was severally rattled by the earthquake of April 13, 1949.  The removal of the cornice was then ordered by one of Building Inspector Place’s many successors. Through its years as a hostelry, the tenants of the Main Hotel were largely fixed-income single-room occupants.  One of these, John E. Clark, was also a victim of the ’49 quake.  Clark, a napping tenant, was awakened when part of the Main Hotel’s roof fell on him.  It injured his head.  The tenants of the two sidewalk storefronts to either side of the hotel’s keyhole front door included the Millionair Club in the late 1920s, and John Danz, Seattle’s long-lived motion picture scion who started as a clothier and haberdasher, perhaps here on the left at “The One Price Store.”   In

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1909 the Saloon on the right, then like the hotel still named for the street it faced, was ticketed for selling spirits on Sunday.  Thirty-Four years later in 1944 the Main Hotel was accused of violating war-time rent regulations.  In ten years more the hotel was sold by the Corgiat family estate to its neighbor, the Masin Realty Company. 

The Main Hotel's manager caught and find for charging excessive rentals. A Times clipping from January 28, 1946.
The Main Hotel’s manager caught and fined for charging excessive rentals. A Times clipping from January 28, 1946.
A clip from The Seattle Times on Nov. 21, 1954.
A clip from The Seattle Times on Nov. 21, 1954.
From The Times for December 18, 1934.
From The Times for December 18, 1934.

We wonder, are the bricks stacked on the sidewalk, on the right, in front of The Loop Saloon, headed for Firehouse No. 10’s 1912 third-floor addition? A circa 1911 date is, we figure, ‘about right.’ 

WEB EXTRAS

To answer curious readers definitively, here is a blow up of the signage on the right side of the modern photo:

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Click to enlarge

Happy New Year, lads! Let’s add a couple of photos from the Woodland Park Zoo, which I visited yesterday with my fifth/six graders from Hillside Student Community:

Hillside students fascinated by a playful otter
Hillside students fascinated by a playful otter
Otter at play
Otter at play
HSC kids suggest - you really otter visit
HSC kids suggest – you really otter visit
And if the otter isn't to your taste, try the Komodo dragon - at 8 feet long representative of the largest lizards on earth
And if you’d rather notter, check out the Komodo dragon – this one near 8 feet long and representative of the largest lizard species on earth

Anything to add, lads?  Nothing Jean so singularly impressive as your playful otter or our hulking Komado dragon, but with sheer numbers we may make an impression.   Ron Edge has put up a flock of relevant (from the neighborhood) features.  Open each and discover many more links within – some inevitably repeated.  We add bless Ron, redundancy, and our dogged decades of hunting and gathering. Damn, that is a fine dragon Jean!

When compared to most city scenes relatively little has changed in his view west on Main Street from First Avenue South in the century-plus between them. (Historical photo courtesy of Lawton Gowey)

Then: The Pacific House, behind the line-up of white-gloved soldiers, might have survived well into the 20th Century were it not destroyed during Seattle’s Great Fire of 1889. Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry

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THEN: Sitting on a small triangle at the odd northwest corner of Third Avenue and the Second Ave. S. Extension, the Fiesta Coffee Shop was photographed and captioned, along with all taxable structures in King County, by Works Progress Administration photographers during the lingering Great Depression of the late 1930s. (Courtesy, Washington State Archive’s Puget Sound Branch)

THEN: 1934 was one of the worst years of the Great Depression. This look north on Third Avenue South through Main Street and the Second Avenue South Extension was recorded on Thursday, April 19th of that year. Business was generally dire, but especially here in this neighborhood south of Yesler Way where there were many storefront vacancies. (Courtesy Ron Edge)

THEN: The Lebanon aka Jesse George building at Occidental and Main opened with the Occidental Hotel in 1891. Subsequently the hotel’s name was changed first to the Touraine and then to the Tourist. The tower could be seen easily from the railroad stations. It kept the name Tourist until replaced in 1960 with a parking lot. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Seen here in 1887 through the intersection of Second Avenue and Yesler Way, the Occidental Hotel was then easily the most distinguished in Seattle. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

THEN:In late 1855 the citizens of Seattle with help from the crew of the Navy sloop-of-war Decatur built a blockhouse on the knoll that was then still at the waterfront foot of Cherry Street. The sloop’s physician John Y. Taylor drew this earliest rendering of the log construction. (Courtesy, Yale University, Beinecke Library)

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THEN: In the older scene daring steel workers pose atop construction towers during the 1910 building of the Union Depot that faces Jackson Street.

THEN: The Freedman Building on Maynard Avenue was construction soon after the Jackson Street Regrade lowered the neighborhood and dropped Maynard Avenue about two stories to its present grade in Chinatown. (Photo courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: At Warshal's Workingman's Store a railroad conductor, for instance, could buy his uniform, get a loan, and/or hock his watch. Neighbors in 1946 included the Apollo Cafe, the Double Header Beer Parlor, and the Circle Theatre, all on Second Avenue.

THEN: The Terry-Denny Building, better known in its earlier years as Hotel Northern, was part of the grand new Pioneer Place (or Square) neighborhood built up in the early 1890s after the old one was reduced to ashes by Seattle's Great Fire of 1889.

THEN: With the clue of the ornate Pergola on the right, we may readily figure that we are in Pioneer Square looking south across Yesler Way.

THEN: The original for this scene of a temporary upheaval on Mill Street (Yesler Way) was one of many historical prints given to the Museum of History and Industry many years ago by the Charles Thorndike estate. Thorndike was one of Seattle’s history buffs extraordinaire. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)

THEN: Frank Shaw’s pre-preservation visit to First Avenue South on February 26, 1961. He looks north from Main Street. (photo by Frank Shaw)

THEN: For the first twenty years of his more than 40 years selling tinware and other selected hardware, Zilba Mile's shop looked south across Yesler Way down First Ave. S, then known as Commercial Street.

THEN: Local candy-maker A.W. Piper was celebrated here for his crème cakes and wedding cakes and also his cartoons. This sketch is of the 1882 lynching from the Maple trees beside Henry and Sara Yesler’s home on James Street. Piper’s bakery was nearby (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

tHEN: An unidentified brass band poses at the intersection of Commercial Street (First Ave S.) and Main Street during the 1883 celebration for the completion of the transcontinental Northern Pacific Railroad.

THEN: Looking northwest from the 4th Avenue trestle towards the Great Northern Depot during its early 20th Century construction. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: This “real photo postcard” was sold on stands throughout the city. It was what it claimed to be; that is, its gray tones were real. If you studied them with magnification the grays did not turn into little black dots of varying sizes. (Courtesy, David Chapman and otfrasch.com)

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First appeared in Pacific, June 1, 2008
First appeared in Pacific, June 1, 2008

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First appeared in Pacific, June 29, 1997
First appeared in Pacific, June 29, 1997
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CLICK TO ENLARGE

Seattle Now & Then: The Ballard Fire Station ca. 1903

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THEN: Ballard’s short-lived fire station at the southwest corner of Broadway (NW Market Street) and Burke Avenue (Russell Ave. NW) circa 1903. Looking northwest the view includes, above the horses, a glimpse of Sypher’s Hall, a rentable venue for playful and/or political events. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
THEN: Ballard’s short-lived fire station at the southwest corner of Broadway (NW Market Street) and Burke Avenue (Russell Ave. NW) circa 1903. Looking northwest the view includes, above the horses, a glimpse of Sypher’s Hall, a rentable venue for playful and/or political events. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: In addition to his photo of the 1911 Ballard Fire Station No. 18, Jean Sherrard has widened his repeat to include Ballard’s Carnegie Public Library (1904) across NW Market Street.
NOW: In addition to his photo of the 1911 Ballard Fire Station No. 18, Jean Sherrard has widened his repeat to include Ballard’s Carnegie Public Library (1904) across NW Market Street.  Other snaps of these front doors are featured with gear near the bottom of this short essay.  

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On the back [above] of the original print of this Ballard subject, preserved in the Museum of History and Industry’s Sophie Bass Frye Library, is written the MOHAI print number “1042.”  It continues with a sparse description of the subject:  “Ballard Fire Dept. 1903, Market St. wooden bldg.”  Ballard, then commonly tagged the “Shingle Capitol of the World,” was still its own city with its own fire department in ca. 1903.

Detail from te 1904 Sanborn map of Ballard showing the fire station on Burke Street.
Detail from te 1904 Sanborn map of Ballard showing the fire station on Burke Street.  Market St. is on the left, although not market in this detail.    
Above: Judge on a walk downtown and not in Ballard. Below: A year's worth of recording looking north on Burke Street from N. 44th Street, shot during my Wallingford Walks of 2006 to 2010, or about as long as my knees lasted.
Above: Judge on a walk downtown and not in Ballard. Below: A year’s worth of recording looking north on Burke Street from N. 44th Street, shot during my Wallingford Walks of 2006 to 2010, or about as long as my knees lasted.
A year at Burke and 44th, looking north.
A year at Burke and 44th, looking north.

The caption writer’s claims for “Market St.” are slightly off, for the address of the station, with the hose and chemical wagon posing here, was set on Burke Street.  Admittedly, that is a bit fussy, for while looking northeast from the station’s footprint on its flatiron block’s irregular southwest corner, the station faced both Burke and Market Streets. Before annexation Market was named Broadway and was truly as broad then as it is now.  The street fronting the station was also trespassed.  It had been named in honor of Thomas Burke, one of the Pioneer bounders who first developed Ballard in the late 1880s.  With annexation the founder’s name was changed to Russell, another Ballard pioneer, on the principle of “First come first serve.”  In 1907 Seattle already had a Burke Ave., running north from Lake Union through Wallingford.

A clipped (at the top) clipping from the Seattle Times for Octobert 1, 1905 posing and naming the members of the Ballard Fire Department, with Chief H. Roberts third from the right. We have placed below this a letter from Roberts to Ballard's mayor and council that they fire Assistant Chief L. Roberts (no relation) for violating the rules and regulations, of the department we assume. The letter is dated Nov. 10, 1903, and we can find no posing L. Roberts in the 1905 crew portrait, nor the recommended successor M.G. Mabbuth (spelling?)
[CLICK to ENLARGE] A clipped (at the top) clipping from the Seattle Times for October 1, 1905 posing and naming the members of the Ballard Fire Department, with Chief H. Roberts third from the right. We have placed below this a letter from Roberts to Ballard’s mayor and council requesting that they fire Assistant Chief L. Roberts (no relation) for violating the “rules and regulations,” of the department we assume. The letter is dated Nov. 10, 1903, and we can find no posing L. Roberts in the 1905 crew portrait, nor his recommended successor M.G. Mabbuth (spelling?)

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The original photo offers nothing in the way of names for the firemen, or for the horses or the station’s mascot, who. we assume, is a Dalmation, the traditional fire station breed.   When I suggested this to Galen Thomaier, the director of Seattle’s Last Resort Fire Department, in Ballard, and its Museum in Pioneer Square, he smarty replied, “Where’s the spots!”  I answered that the want of them was no fault of the dog, but of the print’s highlights, which after about 111 years are washed out.  (Thomaier added that fire stations in Seattle rarely chose Dalmations.)  As for the uniformed men in the featured photo, posing in a line as straight as their buttons, we can feel confident that their names survive in “Archival Ballard,” the many boxes of letters, minutes, ordinances, proposals, plans, ledgers that, following the 1907 annexation, were carted to Seattle’s City Hall, then popularly named “Katzenjammer Kastle” for its battery of odd clapboard additions.  The Ballard archive remains in the caring hands of what has become Seattle’s Municipal Archives, now overseen by Seattle’s newest City Archivist, Anne Frantilla.

City Hall, aka the "Katzenjammer Kastle," at the southeast corner of Third Ave. and Jefferson Street, ca. 1897, with the Yesler Mansion beyond it at the northeast corner.
City Hall, aka the “Katzenjammer Kastle,” at the southeast corner of Third Ave. and Jefferson Street, ca. 1897, with the Yesler Mansion beyond it at the northeast corner.

Last Resort’s Director Galen Thomaier served twenty-six years as a fireman for the Seattle Fire Department.  For eight of those he was stationed in Station No. 18, the brick Ballard landmark that in 1911 replaced the “wooden bldg.” featured here. Thomaier and his colleagues have many more photographs of both stations, brick and board, preserved in the Last Resort Fire Department’s collections. 

ABOVE and BELOW two looks at the "new" brick Ballard station No. 18 and its rolling stock from horses to horsepower.
ABOVE and BELOW two looks at the “new” brick Ballard station No. 18 and its rolling stock from horses to horsepower.

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The Last Resort Fire Department also cares for eighteen antique fire engines, sixteen of them road-worthy.  The Department’s collections are kept and shown in two locations: the Pioneer Square Museum at 301 2nd Ave. S., and the Ballard site at 1433 MW 51st Street.  Call first at 206 783-4474 and/or consult lastresortfd.org.  

Before building its own quarters Ballard's Burke Avenue, the Shingle Capitol's fire department was lodged in its brick City Hall. Here volunteers (mostly) pose with two of the department's hose reals. On August 25, 1902 the Ballard hose team won an invitational race and $124 on Firemen's Day. Running on Union Streeet between fourth and Seventh Avenues they made a run of 300 yards, laid a line (of hose), and had water running in forty-one seconds. The Columbia Cityi team was second in forty-nine seconds. At two extremes, the Seattle Team did not run, and the Hoquiam team ran too well. It easily made the best run, but went oo far, passing the first fire plug entirely. Hence no record of their run could be taken.
Before building its own quarters on Ballard’s Burke Avenue, the Shingle Capitol’s fire department was lodged in its brick City Hall., where volunteers (mostly) here pose with two of the department’s hose reals. On August 25, 1902 the Ballard hose team won an invitational race and $124 on Firemen’s Day.  Performing on Seattle’s Union Street between fourth and Seventh Avenues they made a run of 300 yards, laid a line (of hose), and had water spurting in forty-one seconds. The Columbia City team was second in forty-nine seconds. At two extremes, the Seattle Team did not run, while the Hoquiam team ran too well. It easily made the best run, but went too far, passing the first fire plug entirely. Hence no record of their run could be taken.  The Firemen’s Day contests and parade stirred some civic interest months later.  A clip from The Seattle Times for January 30, 1903 reads, “INFO as to where the Ballard Fire Department can secure photographs taken of the Firemen’s parade and race, August 25, 1902.. Address W. Baker, Secretary, Ballard.
Ballard Avenue fire alarm perhaps showing off for a crowd already in place or near it for a parade on Ballard Avenue - unless they heard the alarm. The pointed tower of Ballard's city hall is seen in the distance, just to the left of the racing apparatus.
Ballard Avenue fire alarm perhaps showing off for a crowd already in place or near it for a parade on Ballard Avenue – unless they heard the alarm. The pointed tower of Ballard’s city hall is seen in the distance, just to the left of the racing apparatus.
Looking northwest on Ballard Ave thru the slight jog at its intersection with 22nd Ave. N.W., with what was City Hall (before the 1907 annexation into Seattle proper) standing above the corner.
Looking northwest on Ballard Ave thru the slight jog at its intersection with 22nd Ave. N.W., with what was City Hall (before the 1907 annexation into Seattle proper) standing above the corner.  The cornerstone had been laid on May 17, 1899.  

A detail from the 1904 Sanborn map of Ballard before its 1907 annexation into Seattle. Here the future 22nd Ave. N.W. is still numbered Third Avenue. The City Hall footprint holds the pointed corner.
A detail from the 1904 Sanborn map of Ballard before its 1907 annexation into Seattle. Here the future 22nd Ave. N.W. is still numbered Third Avenue. The City Hall footprint holds the pointed corner.

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WEB EXTRAS

We interrupt our usually scheduled program on behalf of the public interest. Today, a short memorial was held on the steps of Blanchet High School for our neighbor Donelle “Nellie” Yelli, who died a few days ago in a hit-and-run.

Donelle "Nellie" Yelli (Courtesy of Michael McIntosh)
Donelle “Nellie” Yelli (Courtesy of Michael McIntosh)

Nellie was a pretty extraordinary woman, ‘mother hen’ at Greenwood House, a shelter for women in need – a fierce advocate and gentle supporter. I snapped a few photos of the event.

In memorium at Blanchet
In memorium at Blanchet
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L-R Lee Bruch, organizer; Gordon Padelford, policy director, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways; Pastor Nick Steinloski, Bethany Community Church
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“Remember Nellie” – and make our street safer
Lynn DeMarco,Low Income Housing Institute area manager spoke tearfully and with great affection for Nellie
Lynn DeMarco,Low Income Housing Institute area manager, spoke tearfully and with great affection for Nellie

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Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, spoke passionately of the need to strictly enforce impaired driving laws and improve public safety
Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, passionately addressed the need to strictly enforce impaired driving laws and save lives
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Flowers and a tribute at the corner of 82nd and Wallingford
A memorial silhouette posted above the flowers honoring Nellie; one of twenty recently placed around the city by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways at sites where pedestrians have died.
A memorial silhouette posted above the flowers honoring Nellie; one of twenty recently placed around the city by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways at sites where pedestrians have died.

Anything to add, gents?  Sure Jean.  We will start with a few relevant clips placed by Ron Edge.   We call them, you know, Edge Clips.   Then we’ll string along a few old clips with Ballard subjects, and conclude with some photos of a few friendly and brawny Ballardians.

THEN: A Seattle Street and Sewer Department photographer recorded this scene in front of the nearly new City-County Building in 1918. The view looks west from 4th Avenue along a Jefferson Street vacated in this block except for the municipal trolley tracks. (Photo courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: Captioned Salmon Bay, 1887, this is most likely very near the eastern end of the bay where it was fed by Ross Creek, the Lake Union outlet. (Courtesy, Michael Maslan Vintage Posters and Photographs)

THEN: James Lee, for many years an official photographer for Seattle’s public works department, looks south over Ballard’s Salmon Bay a century ago. Queen Anne Hill marks the horizon, with a glimpse of Magnolia on the far right. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: A circa 1908 look northeast through the terminus of the Loyal Electric Street Railway line at the corner of now Northwest 85th Street, 32nd Ave. Northwest, and Loyal Way Northwest. (Courtesy, the Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: With his or her back to the original Ballard business district, an unnamed photographer looks southeast on Leary Way, most likely in 1936.

THEN: Looking east from the roof of the still standing testing lab, the Lock’s Administration Building (from which this photograph was borrowed) appears on the left, and the district engineer’s home, the Cavanaugh House (still standing) on the center horizon. (Photo courtesy Army Corps of Engineers at Chittenden Locks)

Built for the manufacture of a fantastic engine that did not make it beyond its model, the Fremont factory’s second owner, Carlos Flohr, used it to build vacuum chambers for protecting telescope lenses. Thirty feet across and made from stainless steel the lens holders were often mistaken for flying saucers. (photo courtesy Kvichak marine Industries.)

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THEN: Like violence in a classic Greek play, the carnage suggested by this 1934 crash scene on the then new Aurora speedway was kept off stage, either behind the city’s official photographer, or in the county morgue. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.)

THEN: Constructed in 1890 as the Seattle Fire Department’s first headquarters, these substantial four floors (counting the daylight basement) survived until replaced by Interstate Five in the 1960s. (photo by Frank Shaw)

THEN: Frank Shaw’s late winter composition of waterfront landmarks at the foot of Madison Street in 1963. (Photo by Frank Shaw)

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THEN: Built in 1910, Ballard’s big brick church on the northwest corner of 20th Avenue NW and NW 63rd Street lost the top of its soaring tower following the earthquake of Nov. 12, 1939.

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First appeared in Pacific, July 15, 1984.
First appeared in Pacific, July 15, 1984.

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Appeared first in Pacific, June 24, 1984.
Appeared first in Pacific, June 24, 1984.

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Ballard's bascule bridge on 15th Ave. n.w. seen over the masts & stacks of Fishermen's Terminal.
Ballard’s bascule bridge on 15th Ave. n.w. seen over the masts & stacks of Fishermen’s Terminal.

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First appeared in Pacific, January 29, 1987
First appeared in Pacific, January 29, 1987

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First appeared in Pacific, August 19, 2001.
First appeared in Pacific, August 19, 2001.

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First appeared in Pacific, June 26, 1992.
First appeared in Pacific, June 26, 1992.

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First appeared in Pacific, May 6, 2001
First appeared in Pacific, May 6, 2001

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First appeared in Pacific, March 9, 1986.
First appeared in Pacific, March 9, 1986.

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First appeared in Pacific, October, 10, 2004.
First appeared in Pacific, October, 10, 2004.

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First appeared in Pacific, March 10, 1996.
First appeared in Pacific, March 10, 1996.

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First appeared in Pacific, December 11, 1988.

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Ballard preparing, it seems, to make American great again.
Ballard preparing, it seems, to make American great again.

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The Ballard Marching Band following a performance in Wallingford's* Meridian Park. (" Wallingford, "The Gateway to Ballard."
The Ballard Marching Band following a performance in Wallingford’s* Meridian Park.  *Wallingford, “The Gateway to Ballard.”

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Friends of Ballard and/or Ballardian friends at sea, or near it.
Friends of Ballard and/or Ballardian friends at sea, or near it.

LaPush, December 30th

Morning on First Beach

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Rialto in the afternoon. A girl wearing an American flag dress; mom taking photos…

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James Island

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Rye (a shelter dog rescued by my sister-in-law) waiting for a skipped rock and a wave

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Looking north towards Hole in the Wall

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Back to First Beach for sunset and a fingernail moon

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Seattle Now & Then: First and Seneca

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THEN: An electric trolley heading north for Green Lake completes its crossing of Seneca Street, continuing its passage beside a diverse cluster of one small tailor shop – at the center – and four hotels named right-to-left, the Hotel Ramona, the Yates, the Yellowstone, and at the corner with University Street, the Hotel Diller. (Courtesy, MUSEUM of HISTORY & INDUSTRY)
THEN: An electric trolley heading north for Green Lake completes its crossing of Seneca Street, continuing its passage beside a diverse cluster of one small tailor shop – at the center – and four hotels named right-to-left, the Hotel Ramona, the Yates, the Yellowstone, and at the corner with University Street, the Hotel Diller. (Courtesy, MUSEUM of HISTORY & INDUSTRY)
NOW: Only the 126 year-old red brick Hotel Diller, at the southeast corner of First Avenue and University Street, survives in what a 110 ago was a block of seven hotels and one tailor.
NOW: Only the 126 year-old red brick Hotel Diller, at the southeast corner of First Avenue and University Street, survives in what a 110 ago was a block of seven hotels and one tailor.

This week’s feature on First Avenue, like last week’s on Third, looks north from Seneca Street, here a few yards south of Seneca.  Imagine, if you will, in place of Seneca, a ravine.  Following the 1852-3 pioneer settlement on the east side of Elliott Bay, a bridge was eventually needed to cross this gully that broke through the waterfront bluff.  The Native Americans had favored the eroded cut as suitable for burials, and during pioneer days bodies were still exposed during heavy rains. In 1876 the bridge over the ravine was reinforced with a log retaining wall during the regrading of Front Street (First Avenue) from Mill Street (Yesler Way) to Pike Street.  It was Seattle’s first oversized public work.

The bridge over the Seneca Street ravine is marked in this detail from the Peterson & Bros. 1878 panorama of the nearly new Front Street Regrade (1876). The green coloring clumsily "enhances" the green growth that is attached to the log-constructed retaining wall on the west side of Front Street. The vegetation was encourage or fed by the drainage on Seneca.
The bridge over the Seneca Street ravine is marked in this detail from the Peterson & Bros. 1878 panorama of the nearly new Front Street Regrade (1876). The green coloring clumsily “enhances” the green growth that is attached to the log-constructed retaining wall on the west side of Front Street. The vegetation was encourage or fed by the drainage on Seneca.  The intersection is shown again below in a detail from the 1888 Sanborn Map and in post 1889 Great Fire photo.
The intersection of Seneca and Front Street (no.5) photographed from a waterfront rebuilding after the Great Fire of June 6, 1889. The 1888 map show the fire-destroyed subject including the Cracker factory and the electric generating plant to either side of Seneca and just west of Front/First.
The intersection of Seneca and Front Street (no.5) photographed from a waterfront rebuilding after the Great Fire of June 6, 1889. The 1888 map shows a few fire-destroyed subjects including the Cracker factory (3) and the electric generating plant (4) to either side of Seneca and just west of Front/First.

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First appeared in Pacific Nov. 12, 2000.
First appeared in Pacific Nov. 12, 2000.

I speculate that this energetic featured subject – at the top –  was photographed in 1906.  A clue is found at the far end of this block of crowded hotels between Seneca and University Streets.  There across University Street parts of the first two floors of structural steel point skyward above the Arcade Annex construction site.  In The Times for Jan. 10, 1907, the building is shown incomplete but well along.  (In 1991 the Arcade Annex was replaced with the Seattle Art Museum.)

A screen photo of the Arcade Annex from The Seattle Times for February 1, 1907.
A screen photo of the Arcade Annex from The Seattle Times for January 10, 1907.
A scene from the Preparedness Parade of June 10, 1916 that shows both the Diller Hotel on the right and the Aracde Annex at the center. (Courtesy Everett Library)
A scene from the Preparedness Parade of June 10, 1916 that shows both the Diller Hotel on the right and the Aracde Annex at the center. (Courtesy Everett Library)
Lawton Gowey's March 4, 1982 record of what remains of the Arcade Building at the northeast corner of Univeristy St. and First Ave.
Lawton Gowey’s  record of what remains of the Arcade Building at the northeast corner of Univeristy St. and First Ave. on March 4, 1982.   At some point two floors have been added and its north half razed for a larger Rhodes Department Store.

Let’s imagine the cluster of five brick structures that comprise the centerpiece of the featured subject as a sampling of how Seattle might have developed without the interruption (and inspiration) of its Great Fire of 1889.  Built in the 1890s just beyond the fire zone, the five are not architecturally current as were the more commonly larger structures that were built on the ashes.  Here is a lingering devotion to the French curve, chimney caps, arching window lintels and rectangular bays. 

Side-by-side the Yates and Ramona hotels in another Webster and Stevens Studio photograph, courtesy of the Museum of History and Industry, AKA MOHAI.
Side-by-side the Yates and Ramona hotels in another Webster and Stevens Studio photograph, courtesy of the Museum of History and Industry, AKA MOHAI.

The best survivor here is the most distant one, the Diller Hotel at the southeast corner of University and First.  A heavy cornice, since removed as an earthquake precaution, tops its four floors.  The Diller developed into a popular hangout for political and fraternal huddling.  Named for its builder’s family – the family home had been on the corner – the Diller was conceived before the Great Fire and built soon after of Japanese bricks.  Understandably, bricks were then hard to come by.

The Diller Hotel at the southeast corner of University Street and First Avenue.
The Diller Hotel at the southeast corner of University Street and First Avenue.
First appeared in Pacific, March 20, 1994.
First appeared in Pacific, March 20, 1994.
A 1892 record of the new SAM (Seattle Art Musuem) and the old Diller to either side of University Street facing First Ave. from its east side.
A 1992 record of the Seattle Art Museum and the Diller Hotel, on the, respectively, north and south sides of University Street, facing First Avenue.  The Hammering Man is as yet not in his place. 

Jumping now to the south end of the block and the Hotel Ramona, we may hazard a suspicion that some of its 100 rooms were used for unlicensed therapies.  Given the boisterous growth of Seattle that began even before its Great Fire, and kept building during the Yukon gold rush of the late 1890s, there was a general over-building of hotels, including the larger and finer ones two-to-five blocks up the hill.  Consequently, the seven hotels on this block (counting both west and east sides) offered relatively cheap stays. In 1907 a room could be had at the Hotel Ramona for fifty cents a night or $2.50 a week.  Such prices encouraged the steady transformation of First Avenue into the Flesh Avenue that some may still remember from the 1970s.  For instance, in a Feb 12, 1904, Seattle Times classified, May Donally in room no. 9 offered massages and vapor baths, while in room 10 Miss Harrison did the same. Miss Ellsworth, “accomplished masseuse,” offered a “famous Assyrian treatment,” and in room no. 3 of the Ramona, the “experienced masseuse” Miss Las Riu offered both new treatments and “real luxury.” 

A clip from The Times for April 17, 1908.
A clip from The Times for April 17, 1908.

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WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, ye wise men?   Because you treat us so swell, surely we will.  Before browsing through this week’s relevant Edge Clips, we will top them with Ron’s seasonal card to all our readers.  Typically, it is an old card created  a little while before the Great Fire of 1889 when the jeweler Nichols was still at 709 Front Street, and so a tenant in the fanciest address then town, the show-strip of pre-fire well-ornamented structures built on the west side of First Avenue between Yesler Way and Columbia Street, and all of them doomed.   Following the clips we will allow the remaining  neighborhood relevant subjects we have gathered  to remain wrapped and left beneath this tree, in order to open or show a few more seasonal subjects at the bottom.

Seasons Greetings from the Festive Ron Edge
Seasons Greetings from the Festive Ron Edge
The Jeweler Nichols' shop was shaded by the awning on the far left at 109 Front Street and so closer to the Foot of Cherry Street than Columbia, which is at the knees of the photographer.
The Jeweler Nichols’ shop was shaded by the awning on the far left at 709 Front Street (First Ave.) and so closer to the Foot of Cherry Street than Columbia, which is below the knees of the photographer.

Then: Looking north from Pioneer Place (square) into the uptown of what was easily the largest town in Washington Territory. This is judged by the 3218 votes cast in the November election of 1884, about one fourth of them by the newly but temporarily enfranchised women.Tacoma, in spite of being then into its second year as the terminus for the transcontinental Northern Pacific Railroad, cast 1663 votes, which took third place behind Walla Walla's 1950 registered votes.

THEN: The Moose float heads south on First Avenue at Columbia Street during the 1912 Potlatch parade of fraternal and secret societies. Behind them are Julius Redelsheimer's clothing store and the National Hotel, where daily room rates ran from 50 cents to a dollar.

THEN: Seattle Architect Paul Henderson Ryan designed the Liberty Theatre around the first of many subsequent Wurlitzer organs used for accompanying silent films in theatres “across the land”. The Spanish-clad actor-dancers posed on the stage apron are most likely involved in a promotion for a film – perhaps Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925) or Douglas Fairbanks’ The Gaucho (1929) that also played at the Liberty. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: The Hotel York at the northwest corner of Pike Street and First Avenue supplied beds on the American Plan for travelers and rooms for traveling hucksters. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

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THEN: Arthur Denny named both Marion and James Streets for his invalid brother, James Marion Denny, who was too ill to accompany the “Denny Party” from Oregon to Puget Sound in 1851. (Courtesy, Gary Gaffner)

THEN: Following the city’s Great Fire of 1889, a trestle was built on University Street, between Front Street (First Avenue) and Railroad Avenue (Alaskan Way). By the time Lawton Gowey photographed what remained of the timber trestle in 1982, it had been shortened and would soon be razed for the Harbor Steps seen in Jean Sherrard’s repeat. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Charles Louch’s grocery on First Avenue, north of Union Street, opened in the mid-1880s and soon prospered. It is possible – perhaps probable – that one of the six characters posing here is Louch – more likely one of the two suited ones on the right than the aproned workers on the left. (Courtesy RON EDGE)

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THREE EARLY 20TH CENTURY LIVING ROOM “STUDIES” AT THE BROWN FAMILY HOME ON DEXTER AVENUE, NEAR DENNY PARK.

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The Brown children, a girl and a boy, are, it seems, enjoying their presents.
The Brown children, a girl and a boy, are, it seems, enjoying their presents and younger than in the family snapshot above this one. .
The family tree and a few opened presents. Note the painting of Snoqualmie Falls on the wall behind the tree.
Another family tree and a few opened presents. Note the painting of Snoqualmie Falls on the wall behind the tree.
Christmas on The Ave.
Christmas on The Ave.
More Xmas-Ave, north of 43rd Street.
More Xmas-Ave, north of 43rd Street.
Ivar playing - and singing - his Christmas contribution, "The Sixteen Days of Christmas" for radio host Don McCune. (see the story below)
Ivar playing – and singing – his Christmas contribution, “The Sixteen Days of Christmas” for radio host Don McCune. (see the story below)
From the Seattle Times for December 22, 1963. [Click it to Read it]
From the Seattle Times for December 22, 1963. [Click it to Read it]
A younger Ivar takes his Aquarium star Patsy to visit Santa at Frederick and Nelson's department store.
A younger Ivar takes his Aquarium star Patsy to visit Santa at Frederick and Nelson’s department store.
Frederick and Nelson's - closed. Shot by Lawton Gowey through the front door.
Frederick and Nelson’s – closed. Shot by Lawton Gowey through the front door.

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Waiting for the saint's visit at the Duffy family home on Queen Anne's Highland Drive, ca. 1900.
Waiting for the saint’s visit at the Duffy family home on Queen Anne’s Highland Drive, ca. 1900.
First appeared in The Times for December 20, 1998.
First appeared in The Times for December 20, 1998.

Seattle Now & Then: Third and Seneca

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THEN: Seattle’s new – in 1910-11 – cluster-ball street lighting standards stand tall in this ca. 191l look north on Third Avenue from Seneca Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)
THEN: Seattle’s new – in 1910-11 – cluster-ball street lighting standards stand tall in this ca. 1911 look north on Third Avenue from Seneca Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry.)
NOW: After the Savoy Hotel was imploded in 1986, the popular 1201 Third Avenue Building (1988), formerly the Washington Mutual Tower. reached its locally “second highest” status at fifty-five stories and 772 feet.
NOW: After the Savoy Hotel was imploded in 1986, the popular 1201 Third Avenue Building (1988), formerly the Washington Mutual Tower. reached its locally “second highest” status at fifty-five stories and 772 feet.

The pedestrians ‘posing’ here seem selected for their silhouettes and artful stepping.  The view looks northwest from the southeast corner of Seneca Street and Third Avenue.  If I have correctly figured the snuggled clues, this was recorded in 1910 or perhaps 1911.  Why the Webster and Stevens Studio photographer snapped this street scene, I don’t know.  But the brickwork itself is impressive enough to warrant a portrait.  The new pavement came with the 1906-07 Third Avenue Regrade, which lowered Third Avenue a full story here at Seneca.  Because of the city’s manic growth, the regrading was easily boosted by Seattle’s Public Works Department.       

The Third Avenue Regrade looking northwest thru Third Ave's southeast corner of Third's intersection with University Street and
The Third Avenue Regrade looking northwest thru the southeast corner of Third’s intersection with University Street.   Plymouth Congregational Church at the northeast corner gets more attention below.

The Post-Intelligencer for June 24, 1906, explained it. “The Third and Fourth Avenue regrades are the outgrowth of the wonderful expansion of Seattle’s retail business. With First and Second Avenue congested the retail trade must spread, and it was the judgment of property owners along those streets that the leveling of them with the accompanying reduction for the approaching grades for First and Second would make them desirable for business purposes.”  We may say the same for the purposes of spiritual economics.

 

To ENLARGE for READING click twice!!
To ENLARGE for READING click twice!!  And keep clicking below.

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Another feature showing the line-up of Presbyterians and Methodists interrupted by the Stacy Mansion at the northeast corner of Third and Marion.   This second but similar approach also includes, far-left, the corner  facade of the Third Avenue Theatre at the northeast corner of Third and Madison.  This feature is a confession, as well, of how we have sometimes returned to subjects through the now 34 years (and hopefully still counting) life of the now-and-then feature.
Appeared first in The Times for December 16, 1984.
Appeared first in The Times for December 16, 1984.  (CLICK CLICK)

Before the regrade, Third Avenue had developed into a “Church Row,” with sanctuaries tended by Methodists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and biggest of them all, the Congregationalists.  The landmark tower of Plymouth Congregational Church (1891) is seen in part in the featured photo at the top. far-right at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and University Street.  Although less than twenty years old, it is waiting to be razed for an even larger secular sanctuary, the terra-cotta clad Pantages Theatre.  [The next-to-last of the Edge Links, no. 17 – although we have not numbered them, as such –  included here below the main feature, concentrates on the Pantages.]  With the gaining commercial status of Third Avenue, Lutherans, Methodists, Catholics and Presbyterians sold their sacred footprints and moved away to cheaper corners, most of them nearby. 

The week's featured photo set beside a detail from the 1912 Baist real estate and fire insurance map.
The week’s featured photo set beside a detail from the 1912 Baist real estate and fire insurance map. (CLICK CLICK to ENLARGE)
Both the earlier Pantages at the northeast corner of Seneca and Second Avenue and construction work on the new one at the northeast corner of University and Third Avenue are on show here - along with the Hotel Savoy on the east side of Second Avenue mid-block between Seneca and University streets. Note that the Reeves home at the northwest corner of Third and Seneca has been razed and replaced with a two story brick business block. Like the featured photo this is another from MOHAI and its Webster and Stevens Studio collection.
Both the earlier Pantages at the northeast corner of Seneca and Second Avenue and construction work on the new one at the northeast corner of University and Third Avenue are on show here – along with the Hotel Savoy on the east side of Second Avenue mid-block between Seneca and University streets. Note, far-right, that the Reeves home at the northwest corner of Third and Seneca has been razed and replaced with a two story brick business block. Like the featured photo, this is another from MOHAI and its Webster and Stevens Studio collection.

The ascending skyline here is the most obvious concretion of the city’s growth.  Hotel Savoy, midblock on the east side of Second Avenue, was built in 1905-06 to a height of eight floors but then soon pushed higher to the dozen seen here.  The seven-floor Eilers Music House, on the right at the northwest corner of Third and University, was first named the D.S. Johnston Bldg. for its founder, a piano salesman extraordinaire.  For its summer opening in 1907 Johnston stocked the building with what he promised “is the largest shipment of high-grade pianos ever made west of Chicago.  We unhesitatingly predict that this … will mean the greatest sale of pianos ever witnessed in the United States.”  The full-page ad below includes an etching of Johnston’s “Magnificent New” building at the northwest corner of University and Third, the building showing left-of-center in the featured photo at the top.   The caption reads “The magnificent new D.S.Johnston Co. Building, at Third Avenue and University Street, will not only be the largest but also the finest music emporium in the West – arranged and equipped with every modern facility for the up-to-date and economical retailing of high-grade Pianos and Musical Instruments.”

From The Seattle Times for August 11, 1907. CLICK TWICE to Read.
From The Seattle Times for August 11, 1907. CLICK TWICE to Read.

The big frame house left-of-center, with the address 1203 Third Avenue, William H. Reeves family probably in the early 1880s.   Here it is enterprisingly fronted with brick storefronts, an enriching practice that  was typical of many other big homes in Seattle’s developing business strips during the booming growth years of the Yukon Gold Rush and after.  At the time of the photo, the Reeves are

A detail from the 1890 Polk Directory identifying the Reeves as the residents at 1203 Third.
A detail from the 1890 Polk Directory identifying the Reeves as the residents at 1203 Third.
A clip from The Times for June 2, 1900 with news of the Reeves home's sale.
A clip from The Times for June 2, 1900 with news of the Reeves home’s sale.
In 1897, the year this ad was run in The Times of Dec. 7, for the Christmas toy trade, Reeves, the prexy of the Seattle Doll Manufacturing Company was still living at the northwest corner of Seneca and Third. The company's veep, the banker Dexter Horton, was Reeves neighbor living on the northeast corner of the same intersection.
In 1897, the year this ad was run in The Times of Dec. 7 for the Christmas toy trade, William Reeves, the prexy of the Seattle Doll Manufacturing Company, was still living at the northwest corner of Seneca and Third. The company’s veep and Reeves neighbor, the banker Dexter Horton, lived on the northeast corner of the same intersection.

no longer living at the corner.  This cosmopolitan retail row includes a French dry cleaners, a shop selling post cards,  and at the corner, the Beautiful Orient Store where an ad in The Times (below) advises “all the latest styles of silk and crepe Kimonos” can be had and on sale.  As witness to neighborhood’s cosmopolitan touches, in the featured photo at the top, a sign at the corner points down Seneca Street to the San Francisco Kosher Restaurant.

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WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, boys?  Surely Jean, Ron starts his Edge Links with a look north of Third Avenue with the “biggest brick church in town” filling the northeast corner of University Street and Third Avenue, and so one block north of Seneca.   We will prelude Ron’s contribution with three other photos that show the Plymouth Congregational sanctuary in times before, during and after the Third Avenue Regrade of 1906-7.

THE THIRD AVENUE REGRADE, BEFORE – DURING – AFTER: Looking north from near the corner of Third and Spring

Third Ave. at it old grade as it moves north towards Denny Hill and its namesake Hill in the 1890s recorded from Seneca Street on
Third Ave. at its old grade moving north towards Denny Hill and its namesake Hotel in the 1890s.

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follows, EIGHTEEN EDGE LINKS, all for unfolding with a click!

THEN: Looking north from Seneca Street on Third Avenue during its regrade in 1906. (Photo by Lewis Whittelsey, Courtesy of Lawton Gowey)

THEN: In the 32 years between Frank Shaw's dedication picture and Jean Sherrard's dance scene, Freeway Park has gained in verdure what it has lost in human use.

THEN: Where last week the old Washington Hotel looked down from the top of Denny Hill to the 3rd Ave. and Pine St. intersection, on the left, here the New Washington Hotel, left of center and one block west of the razed hotel, towers over the still new Denny Regrade neighborhood in 1917. (Historical photo courtesy of Ron Edge)

THEN: An early-20th-century scene during the Second Avenue Regrade looks east into its intersection with Virginia Avenue. A home is being moved from harm's way, but the hotel on the hill behind it would not survive the regrade's spoiling. Courtesy of Ron Edge.

THEN: Sometime between early December 1906 and mid-February 1907 an unnamed photographer with her or his back about two lots north of Pike Street recorded landmarks on the east side of Third Avenue including, in part, the Washington Bar stables, on the right; the Union Stables at the center, a church converted for theatre at Pine Street, and north of Pine up a snow-dusted Denny Hill, the Washington Hotel. (Used courtesy of Ron Edge)

THEN: Looking north from Columbia Street over the construction pit for the Central Building. On the left is a rough section of the Third Avenue Regrade in the spring of 1907. (Courtesy, MOHAI)

THEN: Looking north-northeast from a low knoll at the southwest corner of Seneca Street and Seventh Avenue, circa 1916. By 1925, a commercial automobile garage filled the vacant lot in the foreground. [Courtesy, Ron Edge]

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THEN: With the stone federal post office at its shoulder – to the left – and the mostly brick Cobb Building behind, the tiled Pantages Theatre at Third Ave. and University Street gave a glow to the block. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: As explained in the accompanying story the cut corner in this search-lighted photo of the “first-nighters” lined up for the March 1, 1928 opening of the Seattle Theatre at 9th and Pine was intended. Courtesy Ron Phillips

Seattle Now & Then: 5th and Pike

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking east on Pike Street from Fifth Avenue early in the twentieth century. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
THEN: Looking east on Pike Street from Fifth Avenue early in the twentieth century. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: Much of the modern Pike Street, including the Coliseum Theatre (1916) on the left, was in place before the Great Depression. The exception, of course, is the Washington State Convention Center (1988).
NOW: Much of the modern Pike Street, including the Coliseum Theatre (1916) on the left, was in place before the Great Depression. The exception, of course, is the Washington State Convention Center (1988).
Title page for F.J. Grant's 1891 History of Seattle.
Title page for F.J. Grant’s 1891 History of Seattle.

In 1891, a dozen years or so before the recording of our featured photo of Pike Street at Fifth Avenue, journalist-historian Frederick James Grant published his “History of Seattle,” the city’s first book-length history.  Grant described Pike as “having been from the first a business street” and predicted that it “will always be crowded with retail houses and minor business establishments.”    We know that it

Pike Street looking east from First Ave., ca. 1899
Pike Street looking east from First Ave., ca. 1899

was not to be.  Pike, the main street of early Seattle’s north end, continued its development into the city’s retail center not with “minor houses” but major multi-story retail blocks, most notably the Frederick and Nelson Department Store in 1918, although not on Pike but on Pine, one block to the north.  

Pike looking east from the public market. You might pull the date by the motorcars or the construction work on the Bon Marche at the southeast corner of Pike and Second, here right of center.
Pike looking east from the public market. You might pull the date by the motorcars or the construction work on the Bon Marche at the southeast corner of Pike and Second, here right of center.

Before the Denny Hill Regrade, Pike was the most northerly street to cross with ease the southern flank of the hill. Essentially, for Pike between First and Fifth Avenues, there was almost no Denny Hill.  It was because of this natural kindness that both a narrow-gauged coal railroad in the 1870s and a horse-drawn trolley in the 1880s used Pike, and not Pine, to move east from the bluff above the waterfront.  Heading for Lake Union from the Pike Street wharf, the coal-hauling railroad turned north toward the lake a few feet from where a Webster and Stevens photographer later set his tripod to record this week’s featured photo printed here at the top.  Judging from the low studio number 679 (seen near the base of the pole far right), the subject was recorded very early in the twentieth century. In this record we also discover two electric trollies, but no motorcars, which were still rare.  Of the 3,959 vehicles counted crossing through the nearby intersection of Pike and Second Avenue on December 23, 1904, only fourteen were automobiles. [We have used that statistic so often that we are blushing.]

Another Webster and Stevens look east on Pike from Fifth Avenue, this one numbered 26939.
Another Webster and Stevens look east on Pike, here from Fourth Avenue, this one numbered 26939.  It is late enough for the studio to add twenty-six thousand negatives to its collection.  It was a hardy labor with most of them on glass, a surface hardly comparable to our facile digits.  Reaching the distant Capitol HIll horizon does not appear to be a challenge.  

From this prospect we can also see Pike Street’s second topographic advantage: it easily climbed First Hill. One block to the east at Sixth Avenue, Pike begins its bearable rise to the hill. Union Street, paralleling Pike one block to the south, could not manage the climb, because it ran into one of the steeper parts of the ridge that aside from a pedestrian path, still blocks Union Street at Ninth Avenue. The paved street resumes one block east at Terry Avenue and about eighty feet higher. 

The Idaho Block at the northeast corner of Piake and Fifth Avenue appears at the center of this detail from the 1904 Sanborn real estate and fire insurance map. The Idaho is just above the "Pike" printed on the street.
The Idaho Block at the northeast corner of Pike and Fifth Avenue appears at the center of this detail from the 1904 Sanborn real estate and fire insurance map. The Idaho is just above the “Pike” printed on the street. (Click to Enlarge)

The Idaho Block, here on the left at the northeast corner of Pike and Fifth Avenue, appears in the 1890 city directory.  It was considered the first business block raised in this then north end neighborhood of mostly modest homes, one-story tenements and tall stumps.  The Idaho was built by and/or for Aaron and Esther Levy. The latter is still remembered as the founder of the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society, the first Jewish charitable organization in Seattle.  The Idaho’s units were stocked with both homemakers and small businesses.  For instance, a Times classified for May 28, 1897, reads

The featured photo used in a "now-then" feature about the "Bridal Row" built one block east on Sixth Avenue.
The featured photo used in a “now-then” feature about the “Bridal Row” built one block east on Sixth Avenue.  (CLICK CLICK to Enlarge)

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Bridal Row, northeast corner of Pike and Sixth Avenue. (Courtesy Luci Campbell Coe)
Bridal Row, northeast corner of Pike and Sixth Avenue. (Courtesy Luci Campbell Coe)  CLICK TO ENLARGE

“Hats and bonnets, reshaped, dyed, cleaned or pressed; latest styles. 1504 Fifth, Idaho Block.”   With the rest of the businesses facing Pike, the Idaho survived a 1906 widening of the street by being moved back.  It just missed a quarter-century of service when it was razed in 1914 for construction of the Coliseum Theatre, which has been revamped as the Banana Republic clothing store in our “now”.

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NAMESAKE JOHN PIKE ( a 1988 letter from his granddaughter)

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Pike Street was named for John Pike by his friend Arthur Denny, the ‘city father’ who made the claim, surveyed it, and sold off its lucrative parts.  A carpenter, Pike helped build the Territorial University and was paid with land and the tribute of his own street.

WEB EXTRAS

Hey, lads and lasses, it’s that time of year again. This year’s Rogue’s Christmas once again features me and Mistah Dorpat, along with special guest Kurt Beattie (artistic director-emeritus of ACT, actor, writer, and our longtime friend) and the amazing Khanh Doan, an actress who has dazzled on NW stages for the past decade. Music, as always, provided by the inimitable Pineola.

Join us tomorrow afternoon at 2PM at Seattle’s Town Hall!

Anything to add, fellahs?   Ya, and relevant too.  The last of the Edge links below – put up by Ron – features some news of a past Rogue’s Christmas.  So there Jean.  See you tomorrow with my rocking chair, and in it.

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Great railroad signs, theatre signs and ranks of neon were still the greatest contributors to night light at 4th and Westlake in 1949. (Photo by Robert Bradley compliment of Lawton and Jean Gowey)

THEN: We are not told but perhaps it is Dora and Otto Ranke and their four children posing with their home at 5th and Pike for the pioneer photographer Theo. E. Peiser ca. 1884. In the haze behind them looms Denny Hill. (Courtesy Ron Edge)

THEN:The early evening dazzle of the Roosevelt Theatre at 515 Pike Street, probably in 1941. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: As explained in the accompanying story the cut corner in this search-lighted photo of the “first-nighters” lined up for the March 1, 1928 opening of the Seattle Theatre at 9th and Pine was intended. Courtesy Ron Phillips

THEN: The brand new N&K Packard dealership at Belmont and Pike in 1909. Thanks to both antique car expert Fred Cruger for identifying as Packards the cars on show here, and to collector Ron Edge for finding them listed at this corner in a 1909 Post-Intelligencer. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry.)

THEN: Beginning with the Reynolds, three hotels have taken tenancy in this ornate three-story brick block at the northeast corner of Boren Avenue and Pike Street. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Looking west on Pike Street from Fourth Avenue, the variety in the first block of this retail district includes the Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Mendenhall’s Kodaks, Fountain Pens and Photo Supplies, Remick’s Song and Gift Shop, the Lotus Confectionary, Fahey-Brockman’s Clothiers, where, one may “buy upstairs and save $10.00”. (Courtesy, MOHAI)

THEN: This rare early record of the Fourth and Pike intersection was first found by Robert McDonald, both a state senator and history buff with a special interest in historical photography. He then donated this photograph - with the rest of his collection - to the Museum of History and Industry, whom we thank for its use. (Courtesy MOHAI)

THEN: A motorcycle courier for Bartell Drugs poses before the chain’s Store No. 14, located in the Seaboard Building at the northwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Pike Street, circa 1929. (Courtesy Bartell Drugs)

THEN: The Hotel York at the northwest corner of Pike Street and First Avenue supplied beds on the American Plan for travelers and rooms for traveling hucksters. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: In this April morning record of the 1975 “Rain or Shine Public Market Paint-in,” above the artists, restoration work has begun with the gutting of the Corner Market Building. (Photo by Frank Shaw)

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GRANT’S HISTORY of SEATTLE is introduced with this panegyric by W.P. Heneage.

Grant, we assume, chose to introduce his 1891 History of Seattle with this panegyric by W. P. Henerge, which is dated five years before Walt Whitman's 1992 death, and seems to have not been under any Whitmanesque influence.
Grant, we assume, chose to introduce his 1891 History of Seattle with this panegyric by W. P. Heneage, which is dated five years before Walt Whitman’s 1992 death, and seems to have not been under any Whitmanesque influence.

Seattle Now & Then: Licton Springs

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Before it became a city park, Licton Springs was run as a health spa. The distant home, left-of-center, at the northeast corner of N. 97th Street and Densmore Avenue N., survives in Jean Sherrard’s repeat. It can be found on the left above the Y in the Licton Springs Park pathway. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)
THEN: Before it became a city park, Licton Springs was run as a health spa. The distant home, left-of-center, at the northeast corner of N. 97th Street and Densmore Avenue N., survives in Jean Sherrard’s repeat. It can be found on the left above the Y in the Licton Springs Park pathway.  And the house on the hill  can also be found below just above Jean’s salutations, my response  and Ron’s llinks.  (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)
NOW: Jean Sherrard estimates that for his repeat he needed to move forty or fifty feet to the northeast to escape a planted woodland of park trees that now crowd the prospect taken by the city photographer for the 1945 photo of the Licton Mineral Springs health spa.
NOW: Jean Sherrard estimates that for his repeat he needed to move forty or fifty feet to the northeast to escape a planted woodland of park trees that now crowd the prospect taken by the city photographer for the 1945 photo of the Licton Mineral Springs health spa.

In The Seattle Times Sunday Magazine for September 24,,1978, the wit Tom Swint, then one of this newspaper’s humorist feature writers, confessed that while on his “daily walker around the Green Lake track, I have often wondered about the scud of beer suds that from time to time formed on the north shore.”  Jean Sherrard, the ‘repeater’ for this feature, confirms Swint’s observation.   In addition to walking around the lake, Jean also lives near its north shore and has seen the “suds.”  

By Louise Wittelsy
By Louise Wittelsy

The source for this froth was the mineral-rich springs that are a mere mile north of Green Lake.  The Native Americans named them Liq’tid, or Licton, for the maroon mud that once it was blended at the springs, sloshed south in a small stream to Green Lake.  What the Indians applied as a cosmetic, E.A. Jensen attempted to exploit as a natural panacea. In the 1930s Jensen opened a spa at the springs that as the sign in the 1945 “then” reads, “Home of Licton Mineral Springs Thermal Baths Relief for Rheumatism Neuritis Arthritis Asthma.”  Jensen installed a steam plant to make these cold springs hot for soaking. 

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We chose this week’s subject to thank public historian Mimi Sheridan for her prolific contributions to Seattle cultural heritage.  Jean has posed her right-of-center in his “now” repeat of the 1945 Seattle Municipal Archive photograph.  Almost anyone who researches local history will have learned from Mimi, who has proved to be something of a renaissance woman.  Her delving and delivering has become a great local resource on subjects of local heritage, big subjects and small, from the Seattle waterfront to countless local landmarks. 

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Mimi has also enriched our understanding of many neighborhoods, including the one that rings the restful green Licton Springs Park from the Aurora Avenue’s stuttering speedway on the west to the Northgate commercial parking lot on the east.   Apropos the Springs, you may wish to take the time to read Mimi Sheridan and Carol Tobin’s historical study of the greater Licton Springs neighborhood.  Here’s the link:  http://www.lictonsprings.org/localin/history.html   On the fate of the Springs we learn that “the City of Seattle annexed the area and sought acquisition of the property in a 1954 park bond. “  It was approved in 1960.  

Twenty years ago Mimi Sheridan earned her degree in Urban Planning and Historic Preservation from the University of Washington. About a year ago a life-changing plan came to her in a flash. She calls it her “Saul on the road to Damascus” moment.  Mimi, who moved to Seattle from California in 1973, has now returned to it, choosing Monterey, which she reminds us, was the “first capitol of Alta California.”  While she has left much for us to learn, we will still miss Mimi. 

BELOW:  The House on the Hill at the northeast corner of N. 97th Street and Densmore Avenue North as seen in the featured NOW AND THEN at the top.

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WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?  Yup.  Ron has found a few repeats that keep to the neighborhood – with one exception for you to find.   Ron has also added a clue at the bottom with a 1946 aerial of the then still future park.  You will find both spa and the home “as clue” at 97th and Densmore.   A clue to the last clue: it is near the upper-right corner.

Then: The thousands of skaters on Green Lake in this late January 1916 view could not have known that the skating would soon be over, one of the victims of the Big Snow of 1916. Courtesy Fairlook Antiques

This rare glimpse of the rapid Ravenna Creek’s fall through Cowen Park was photographed not long before the stream that had had “topped off” Green Lake into Lake Washington’s Union Bay for thousands of years was shut off in 1911. (Photo courtesy of Jim Westall)

Temporarily untended the Good Shepherd orchard awaits its fate, ca. 1978.

THEN: Midwife Alice Wood Ellis, far right, joins her mother and two children on the front lawn of their half-finished home in the East Green Lake neighborhood, ca. 1901. Courtesy Carol Solle

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THEN: Like violence in a classic Greek play, the carnage suggested by this 1934 crash scene on the then new Aurora speedway was kept off stage, either behind the city’s official photographer, or in the county morgue. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.)

THEN: Chalk-written real estate notices to the sides of Seattle’s Aurora Speedway in 1937 prelude by several decades the profession’s book and computer listings and the expectation of some that an agent will now be driving a Mercedes. (Courtesy, Washington State Archives, Bellevue Community College branch.)

4719 Thackeray Place NE. The 1938 WPA tax photo.

THEN: Far-left, Playland’s Acroplane, a carni’ flight-simulator, stands admired by future pilots in 1932. Behind them sprawls the amusement park’s fated Fun House. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: Julia and Richard Ballinger owned a “gas-powered” rowboat to reach their summer home on their namesake Lake Ballinger. This 1911 view looks east from near the tracks of the Seattle-Everett Interurban. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: Roosevelt Way bustling after the war. This subject first appeared in The Seattle Times on July 7, 1946. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

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1946 AERIAL  – Wherein you may find both the spa and the home-as-clue.  

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