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Seattle Now & Then: The Pioneer Place Pergola (and Privy), 1910

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THEN: Behind the pergola, Henry Yesler’s hallmark Pioneer Building (left, 1890) and the stately flat-iron Seattle Hotel (1891) straddle Yesler Way. The stairway to the park’s luxurious lavatory is seen beneath the pergola at front, near First Avenue. (Webster & Stevens, Paul Dorpat collection)
NOW: A 21-foot extension pole allowed for the capture of a slightly lower prospect. In the 1960s, the red Pioneer Building (behind the trees) became an icon for preservationists who spearheaded creation of the Pioneer Square Historical District in 1970. The Seattle Hotel, infamously demolished in 1961, was replaced with the “sinking ship” parking garage, now squatting below Smith Tower (1914). Reportedly, the sealed-off lavatory still exists but can be accessed only via a utility hole. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Jan. 21, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Jan. 24, 2021)

Underground convenience, sheltered from the storm
By Jean Sherrard

From a rooftop vantage in 1910, our “Then” photo looks east to a newly completed cast-iron and glass pergola straddling the triangular city park of Pioneer Place, now Pioneer Square. A collision of junctions charting early settlers’ land disputes, this fertile ground set the stage for Seattle’s future.

After the Great Fire of 1889, a downtown built of brick and stone rapidly rose from the ashes. Prolific architect Elmer Fisher led the charge, designing dozens of buildings in the muscular — and fireproof — Romanesque Revival style.

Taking the lead in 1890 was Henry Yesler’s Pioneer Building, the massive edifice at left. No slouch at right, on the south side of Yesler Way, was the Seattle Hotel, built in 1891 on the flatiron footprint of its destroyed predecessor, the Occidental.

Soon, fueled by coal and gold, adolescent Seattle nearly tripled in population to 237,194 in 1910 from 80,671 in 1900. Improvements in plumbing, electricity and transportation met the expanding need while the city also eagerly planned its coming-out party, the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition.

Boosters anticipated visitors from across the globe, many of whom would arrive by train and ship, passing through Pioneer Place, Seattle’s commercial hub. But they sensed that a key convenience was missing.

Their solution — considerate but controversial — was to build a lavishly appointed public lavatory with walls of Alaskan marble, brass fixtures and terrazzo floors. To welcome the expected hordes, the vision was to bury it at Pioneer Place and cover its stairwell entrance with a graceful, Victorian-style pergola that would double as a shelter for streetcar passengers.

A flurry of letters and editorials erupted. Many lamented potential loss of the tiny greensward. Others forecast yet another promotional feather in the city’s cap. In the end, fans of the commodious “comfort station” won the debate, and excavation began.

The dig yielded an intriguing archeological find. Newspapers breathlessly reported the unearthing of Henry Yesler’s 1852 sawmill foundations, west of the Pioneer Building where his first home once stood.

The lavatory and pergola, designed by architect Julian Everett, proved late for the dance, opening Sept. 23, 1909, mere weeks before the exposition closed. But naysayers fell silent when the underground toilets proved immensely popular, averaging more than 5,000 flushes a day.

The palatial privy survived until the late 1940s, when it was abandoned and capped off forever. The pergola, however, endured. Intermittently ravaged by rust, earthquakes and errant trucks, it has been restored repeatedly over the years and continues to serve as a reservoir of history and shelter from the storm.

WEB EXTRAS

What a treat! One of those rare occasions in which Jean uses his 21′ extension pole. Its full length must be seen to be believed. Check out our 360 video for proof.

And this just in! Our longtime column partner, photo historian Ron Edge, sends along the following which more precisely illustrate the entrances to the palatial loo!

The Pioneer Place pergola on a foggy day. Note the fenced stairwells leading to the underground toilets. (MOHAI)
Detail of a stairwell – the west side for “women only”. (MOHAI)

Seattle Now & Then: The Jackson Street Regrade, 1908

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THEN: To accommodate fill dirt expected from the Jackson Street regrade, pre-existing structures like these hotels near the southeast corner of Sixth and Weller were lifted by their owners onto posts. After the regrade, the incline between Twelfth and Fifth avenues was reduced to less than 5% grade from the previous 15%. This photo was taken on May 20, 1908, halfway through the project. (Lewis & Wiley, courtesy Ron Edge)
NOW: Shoppers line a walkway between Fifth and Sixth avenues in the Chinatown-International District in early December 2020. Photo historian Ron Edge positions the “Then” hotels just inside the walls of today’s Uwajimaya Village at right. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Jan. 7, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Jan. 10, 2021)

Sluicing away Jackson Street to unclog the city’s future arteries
By Jean Sherrard

Long before becoming a student of Seattle history, I had a recurring (and oddly unsettling) dream of hiking an unbroken ridge between First Hill and Beacon Hill. Were it not for Reginald Heber Thomson (1856-1949), our city’s current topography may have matched my dreamscape.

THEN 2: Reginald H. Thomson, Seattle city engineer, in 1905. (courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

When Thomson first stepped onto Seattle docks on Sept. 25, 1881, he told a friend that the city was built in a hole and he meant to dig it out. The 25-year-old’s ambition might have been attributed to youthful exuberance, but in the decades to come, his words would prove prophetic. Appointed city engineer in 1892, Thomson began by installing water and sewage infrastructures (still in use today) before attacking Seattle’s hills and valleys.

Notes David Williams in his masterful 2015 history of Seattle topography “Too High and Too Steep,” to Thomson “a functioning city was like a human body.” He insisted that “enlarging and improving what he called the city’s arteries” was vital to Seattle’s future health.

A view from lost Denny Hill, looking north to Magnolia

Picturesque piles of glacial deposit — like Denny Hill north of downtown — were, in Thomson’s view “an offense to the public,” interrupting the free flow of traffic. In 1898, the hill’s decapitation commenced, using hydraulic hoses (called “giants”) to liquify and sluice away the moraine.

One of the “giants” in action (courtesy Ron Edge)

When Rainier Valley residents complained that the Jackson Street incline’s steep 15% grade obstructed access to Seattle’s business district, Thomson lent a sympathetic ear. Intrigued by their initial suggestion to tunnel through the hill, he eventually advanced a “far cheaper and far better” solution — utter removal. “Every house and every garden and every street” in the affected areas might be lost, but he judged the sacrifice necessary to make municipal headway.

Looking east from the corner of Weller and Maynard

In May 1907, the hydraulic giants began their work. Enormous pumps fed up to 25 million gallons of salt and fresh water daily to their pressurized hoses, expelling a thousand cubic yards of dirt during each eight-hour shift.

Another view looking west from Eighth and Weller

Completed in December 1909, the Jackson Street project covered the largest surface area of all Seattle regrades: 56 blocks in total, with 29 lowered and 27 raised. More than three million cubic yards of dirt were moved, lowering Ninth and Jackson by 85 feet and raising Sixth and Weller by about 30.

My recurring dream may harbor some whiff of lost geography, yet the force of R.H. Thomson’s vision resides. While often trading natural beauty for an engineer’s expedience, his straightened, flattened, stretched Seattle provided a blank canvas for cityscapes to come.

WEB EXTRAS

To see our Now & Then featured in spectacular 360 video, along with an audio narration by Jean, click here.

A few more regrade-themed spectacles below:

A western view of the regrade, with King Street station’s clock tower just right of center

Seven Gables burning…

The Seven Gables Theater in flames on Christmas Eve, 2020

Was just emptying my spam filter and found this stunning photo shared by historian Kurt E. Armbruster.

Kurt comments: “We live just a couple of blocks away and Cedar saw a big puff of smoke, so I grabbed my phone and dashed over. Quite a spectacle. Sorry to see it go, but it was going anyway.”

‘Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred’ – still available for last minute gifting!

 

A quick reminder for column friends and fans: our prize-winning collection of ‘Seattle Now & Then’ columns (published in November 2018) is still available!

We’ve only got a few copies signed by Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard on hand, but they’re ready to be inscribed with a personal note and mailed out as last minute gifts.

Any questions, contact Jean directly at seattlenowandthen@gmail.com.

Here’s how to order

Another Rogue’s Christmas Carol at Town Hall, Sunday 2PM

Join us for our 13th annual Rogue’s Christmas in a live reading of Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ – this year featuring Seattle’s favorite Scrooge, Kurt Beattie, as well as Marianne Owen, Julie Briskman and Jean Sherrard.

Also, through the magic of video, Paul Dorpat sings ‘The Little Birdie Song’ not to mention a special pre-recorded appearance of our house band Pineola.

For more information, click on through:

A Rogue’s Christmas 2020 (livestream)

Seattle Now & Then: ‘The Coals of Newcastle’

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THEN: The Ford Mine complex at Coal Creek churns at near peak production in 1922. The hand-colored photo was discovered near Green Lake in the Micheletti family home. Patriarch Joseph Micheletti, originally from Villa Carcina, Brescia in northern Italy, worked in the mines for years before his untimely death in 1937, possibly of mine-related lung disease. (courtesy, Joe and Tami Micheletti)
NOW: Circling the now-sealed-off entrance to the Ford mine, 12 members of the Newcastle Historical Society writing team display copies of their book along with miners’ tools, having briefly lowered their masks for the photo. From left: Ray Lewis, Diane Lewis, Malcolm Lawrence, Mike Intlekofer, Tom Greggs, Harry Dursch, Margaret Laliberte, Vickie Baima Olson, Steve Baima, Eva Lundahl, Steve Williams, Barbara Williams. Team members not present: Russ Segner, Carla Trsek, Rich Crispo, Kathleen McDonald, and Dan Philpot. The mine entrance lies upper center in our “Then” photo, mostly obscured by clouds of steam. For more info on “The Coals of Newcastle: A Hundred Years of Hidden History,” visit newcastlewahistory.org.

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Dec. 10, 2020
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Dec. 13, 2020)

Danger, poverty, hope fuel ‘Coals of Newcastle’ immigrant story
By Jean Sherrard

When I teach an annual Northwest history course to middle-school students, one of my favorite pre-COVID lessons included an often-muddy field trip to Cougar Mountain in the foothills between Bellevue and Issaquah and their once-flourishing but nearly forgotten mining communities.

In the wet Pacific Northwest, as every homeowner can attest, iron rusts and wood rots with alacrity. Entire towns may disappear into the tangle of eager rainforest.

Case in point: the adjoining villages of Newcastle and Coal Creek, once home to more than 1,000 residents. For nearly a century, the hamlets fed the hungry maw of industry, power generation and home heating with vast tons of coal, besides helping to build the rails and docks that transformed Seattle into a major port city.

Local journalist and historian Lucille MacDonald and son Dick MacDonald first published their classic monograph, “The Coals of Newcastle: A Hundred Years of Hidden History,” in 1987, in collaboration with the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and the Newcastle Historical Society. Thirty-three years later, the historical society deemed it time for an update.

It took a village of 15 to tackle the mammoth task of revision. Nearly 18 months in the making and approaching 200 pages, lavishly illustrated with maps, graphs and many previously unpublished photos, the updated version is a history buff’s delight.

The story begins Jan. 9, 1864, when after “months of diligent search,” an exploratory party led by King County Surveyor Edwin Richardson made an exhilarating discovery on the banks of today’s Coal Creek. “This brook,” a weary Richardson recorded in field notes, “is remarkable for its numerous croppings of superior stone coal.”

Within weeks, Richardson and several companions staked out 160-acre claims surrounding the creek. Extraction soon began, at first haphazardly but increasing exponentially, and over the next 100 years yielded nearly 11 million tons of coal.

While the area’s vivid history is told with careful attention to detail, the book also shines with moving accounts of the lives of miners, their families and communities. Immigrants arriving in a new world found a toehold at the coal face.

Newcastle’s cemetery, now a historic landmark, provides haunting evidence of these lives lived and lost. The names on its moss-covered headstones reflect a record of migration from across the world. From China, from Europe, from the Americas they came, of many races and religions, confronting physical danger and exploitation, poverty and discrimination, and yet seeded with hope for a brighter future.

As my students have come to understand, it’s a lesson worth mining.

WEB EXTRAS

A few items, beginning with another photo of the writing team members and a map from the book itself. For more info on “The Coals of Newcastle: A Hundred Years of Hidden History,” visit newcastlewahistory.org.

Team members gather round a coal car, on display near the Ford mine’s entrance.
A map from the new book depicts the extent of coal mining at Coal Creek, today mostly swallowed up by forest.

For our 360 degree video taken at the site, and to hear this column read by Jean, visit us here.

Seattle Now & Then: ACT Theatre’s Christmas Carol

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THEN: In ACT’s production of “A Christmas Carol” from 1998, the chained ghost of Jacob Marley, played by Jeff Steitzer, confronts Scrooge, played by Kurt Beattie, who says, “It’s a story told with enormous compassion, which everybody needs these days.”
NOW: At the northwest corner of Seventh and Union, Jeff Steitzer (left) and Kurt Beattie gamely prepare for an upcoming recording session about to commence inside ACT across the street. For the current audio production, they will swap the roles of Scrooge and Marley.

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Nov. 26, 2020
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Nov. 29, 2020)

In our Covid crisis, ACT’s ‘Carol’ strikes a compassionate chord
By Jean Sherrard

“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”
from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

In a column comparing historical photos with their modern counterparts, we are particularly keen not to “shut out” still timely lessons of empathy and forbearance offered by Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” particularly during today’s pandemic and civic crises.

Published on Dec. 19, 1843, his instantly popular novella had been written over several weeks in a white heat of exuberant creation. While the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign saw the reinvention of Christmas conventions from decorations to turkey dinners, Dickens’ ghost story etched them into routine.

A Seattle tradition for 45 years, ACT Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol” continues to strike a chord for generations of families.

Founded in 1965 by Gregory Falls, head of the UW School of Drama, ACT provided an alternative to the Seattle Repertory Theatre, then devoted to classical fare. The vibrant young company emphasized modern playwrights and themes, as well as adding jobs for a growing community of actors.

In 1976, Falls adapted and directed Dickens’ “Carol,” featuring acclaimed local actor John Gilbert as Scrooge. At a lean 90 minutes, the ACT version not only sold out two shows nightly, providing a sturdy income stream, but also won praise as one of the nation’s best.

To understand why, I spoke with ACT’s former artistic directors Kurt Beattie and Jeff Steitzer, as well as today’s artistic director John Langs.

Through the years, the ACT version avoids the trap of “bloated spectacle,” says Beattie who has often played Scrooge. He says it hews to Dickens’ original intent, which was to encourage “actual change in a class-bound society indifferent to the suffering of the poor.”

Dickens’ tale of redemption and transfiguration also is “the essence of great drama,” says Steitzer. “Scrooge is a man who was given a second chance and took it.”

For many Northwest theatergoers, the ACT “Carol” has become a ritual not to be missed, even during a season in which live theater is suspended.

“In a very difficult year,” says Langs, “we didn’t want to deprive people of a beloved holiday tradition, so we’ve created a kind of movie for your ears.”

This year’s audio show features music, sound effects, and a cast of 17, with Beattie and Steitzer reversing their previous roles from 1998. It will be available on-demand Nov. 27-Dec. 27 at acttheatre.org.

WEB EXTRAS

Check out Jean’s 360 video, captured across the street from ACT Theatre. Also featured, photos from previous ACT productions of ‘A Christmas Carol’:

Jeff Steitzer as Scrooge, 2011 (Chris Bennion)
Timothy McCuen Piggee as Scrooge, 2017 (Dawn Schaefer)
Leslie Law, Ghost of Christmas Present (Spirit #2), 2012 (Chris Bennion)
Timothy McCuen Piggee as Scooge, Fawn Ledesma as Belle, Chip Sherman as Middle Scrooge, 2017 (Dawn Schaefer)
Keiko Green, Ghost of Christmases Past, 2017 (Dawn Schaefer)
Kurt Beattie as Scrooge, the late G. Valmont Thomas as Marley, 2015 (Chris Bennion)
Piper Harden as Tiny Tim. 2019. She is reprising her role this year. (Rosemary DaiRoss)

 

Seattle Now & Then: The Yakima Canyon by Asahel Curtis, 1932

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THEN: From his perch in 1932 above the Yakima River Canyon Road, Asahel Curtis looks wistfully into the Yakima Valley, in the direction of his lost family retreat. Our auto informant Robert Carney identifies the solo car as a 1929 Buick sedan.
NOW: While today’s State Highway 821 hews close to its earlier path, it was widened and regraded in the early 1960s to accommodate huge trucks loaded with produce. BNSF trains continue to roll through the canyon, although automotive traffic, moving and idle, accents this view. A very shy Mt. Adams peeps over the canyon shoulder center-right.

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Nov. 5, 2020
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Nov. 8, 2020)

Light – and a legendary photographer – carom through the canyon
By Jean Sherrard

On a recent early fall day, I once again scrambled after a hero. From La Push to the Columbia River, from Mount Rainier to the Denny Regrade, renowned photographer Asahel (pronounced “EH-shell”) Curtis (1874-1941) has led me on a decades-long, merry chase.

With boundless energy and ambition, Asahel explored every corner of our fair state with a visual imagination that, to my mind, surpasses the artfully composed photos of his more famous brother Edward (noted for his 20-volume masterwork, “The North American Indian”).

In contrast, Asahel hauled his battered camera through every environ and season to snare serendipitous scenes that crossed his lens. Eschewing fussy studio portraits, his “slice-of-life” photos document the quotidian, from Makah whalers to wheat farmers, loggers to factory workers. A founder of the Mountaineers Club, he also captured breathtaking vistas of our highest peaks.

This week’s “then” photo, taken by Asahel in 1932 at the south end of the Yakima River Canyon, is a picturesque joy. The ribbon of highway — with its single lonely car headed north, the empty railroad alongside the river, cradled by basalt hills — offers a haunting portrait of a singular landscape.

Gazing into the fertile Yakima Valley, Asahel would have conjured a lost paradise. In 1907, he had purchased a 9-acre orchard near Grandview as a family retreat from the hurly burly of Seattle city life. After the 1929 stock-market crash, Curtis forfeited his farm and deeply regretted it.

Inarguably, the 25-mile canyon is a photographer’s dream. Light plays over tawny hills around whose roots the Yakima River winds like a verdant green fuse. Driving the canyon road 20 years ago, I assumed wrongly that the water had eroded a path through the basalt.

Counterintuitively, the river came first, says Central Washington University geologist Nick Zentner, perfectly exemplifying an “entrenched meander canyon.” Twelve million years ago, the river twisted and curved across a flat plain, he says, while the basalt hills heaved into place 7 million years later, the result of tectonic pressures originating in what is now central California.

Today, tamed by road and rails — and the diversionary Roza Dam (erected in 1939) — the canyon drive supplies a series of spectacles that shapeshift dramatically with each season.

Asahel died in 1941 at age 66. Not until 1964 were his ashes interred at a Snoqualmie summit wayside memorial. Soon after its dedication, daughter Polly recalled in a 1988 Seattle Times interview, a lightning bolt destroyed the urn, scattering Curtis’ ashes to the winds. Her roving father would have keenly appreciated this fate.

WEB EXTRAS

Jean here: Several extras this week. The 360 video was taken on a Yakima Canyon slope – David Lee provided support as I shot the ‘now’ photo.

Below, a number of Yakima Canyon photos I’ve taken over the years – including, at top, recent photos of the canyon blackened by late summer fires; specifically the Evans Creek complex, which burned many square miles down to the river’s edge.

More black hills line verdant fields where cattle often graze.
The river has long been a fisherman’s paradise – even post-fire.
On the Ellensburg end of the Yakima Canyon, fire has blackened the usually golden slopes.
Howard Lev (L), founder of Mama Lil’s Peppers walks a canyon ridge just above Roza Dam. David Lee, creator of Field Roast, stands on the right. Over David’s shoulder, more fire damage.
Roza Dam, seen from above

Now, a few more photos from the canyon’s caroming light and shadow, taken over the last decade or so.

Midway down the canyon, a spectacular precipitous view – and a train!
A wider view of the ox-bow like effect of the Yakima River
I can’t resist this perspective, particularly on a day with superb if glowering clouds
Another favorite view.
The same view in evening light
Spiky precise beauty near Umtanum creek – now burned in the recent fires
A road runs through it
Gone fishing – take me there now please…
A railroad bridge on the Ellensburg side
On a winter’s day, frost covers the hillside above Roza Dam
On the ridge above Roza Dam at winter
The frozen river
Another photo I repeated for years: rock, sagebrush, and river
Rock, sage, and river again
Another view of the Yakima side of the canyon in winter

On the same day I took the ‘now’ for this column, we visited Johnson Foods in Sunnyside. The cannery has been packing Mama Lil’s Peppers for many years.

We paid a visit to Johnson Foods, the Sunnyside cannery that bottles Mama Lil’s Peppers. Manager Gary Stonemetz (R) examines goathorn peppers with Howard Lev.
Inside the cannery, bottles fly past after being labelled
At Johnson foods, unlabeled bottles of Mama Lil’s Peppers herd together

 

 

Seattle Now & Then: The Post Edwards Building (aka Lusty Lady), 1904

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THEN1: Workers at C. Sidney Shepard & Co. assemble for a portrait in March 1904. The windows reflect the block-long Arcade Building directly across First Avenue, where the Seattle Art Museum stands today. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
THEN2: To mark the Lusty Lady’s last day on June 12, 2010, dancers – from left, Hexe, Wildflower, Isis, Heather and Tonya – gather at the entrance. For more of the story, visit photographer Erika Langley’s website at http://www.erikalangley.com. (Erika Langley)
NOW: The Post Edwards building has been unoccupied since the 2010 closing of the Lusty Lady, though the interior has been gutted for eventual renovation. Two modern towers, the 25-story Harbor Steps Apartments and the Four Seasons Hotel, muscle in on either side. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Oct. 22, 2020
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Oct. 25, 2020)

This classic masonry building met a lot of peeps along ‘Flesh Avenue’
By Jean Sherrard

This week’s “Then” photo features an amiable bunch of C. Sidney Shepard Co. employees who might have enjoyed a bit of wordplay if given a chance. Their short-lived wholesale metal shop operated between University and Union streets on the west side of First Avenue.

Mirrored reflections in the shop windows date the image. A billboard across the street promotes Denman Thompson’s touring production of “The Old Homestead” for March 17-19, 1904. Though the hit play tempted audiences for years to come, Shepard’s shop ended its run at the Post Edwards Building in 1906.

The Post Edwards (aka the Hotel Vendome) arose in the boom one year after the 1889 Great Seattle Fire. Prolific architect William E. Boone (descendant of Daniel of the legendary raccoon-skin cap) adopted the then-popular Romanesque Revival style. For torched Seattle, the fireproof masonry stonework offered a sense of security that wood could not.

The Hotel Vendome (“Commercial and Family Patronage specially solicited”) promoted itself as a respectable alternative to sketchier lodging on First Avenue, though itinerant psychics, mediums and spiritualists prowled its lower floors for decades. Madame Melbourne and Venus the Gypsy (who promised “satisfaction or no fee”) read the palms of Yukon-bound gold seekers, while the Rev. Edward Earle (“world’s greatest psychic”) foretold the fortunes of soldiers headed into what then was called the Great War.

By the mid-1940s, Anne and Lucius Avery had bought Post Edwards, rechristening it the Seven Seas Hotel and Tavern. Upon her death in 1969, “Mom” Avery was feted for her fondness for seafarers and skills as a bouncer, but the increasingly gritty street had filled with strip shows, porn and pawn shops, cementing its reputation as “Flesh Avenue.”

So when the Lusty Lady, the peep show with a famously punny marquee, arrived at the Post Edwards in 1985, it seemed to suit the neighborhood. Uniquely, however, the venue was run by women, and it was there, in 1992, that young photographer Erika Langley found a gutsy and radical project.

To tell the real story of the place, manager June Cade urged her to sign on as a dancer. Shy and terrified, Langley nevertheless agreed and never looked back. Her 1997 book “The Lusty Lady” was the celebrated result.

After publication, Langley continued dancing until 2004. “I learned so much about humans and sexuality and judgment,” she says, “and in this unlikely place, I had found my tribe.”

Since the 2010 closure of the Lusty Lady, the Post Edwards has drooped with inactivity. As the marquee might say, the building needs more than a sheet to test its metal.

WEB EXTRAS

First, most definitely visit ErikaLangley.com. She’s an amazing photographer with a genius for both image and storytelling.

To see our 360 video taken along First Avenue, and hear Jean’s accompanying narration, dance on over here.