All posts by jrsherrard

Just a guy, ya know...

Seattle Now & Then: The Armory Ablaze, 1962

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THEN: Soon after this photo was taken in 1962, a section of the Seattle Armory’s western wall collapsed onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct, punching two holes in the northbound lanes and cracking a support beam. Repairs took several days.
NOW: Immediately north of the view in this photo, the viaduct has been completely demolished.

The Seattle Armory was built in 1908-09 at the north end of the then-nearly new Pike Place Public Market. It was designed to resemble a fort, but like most of America’s community armories after 1900, it battled nothing but the ghosts of the Spanish-American War and the costs of maintaining its many routine community services with meeting halls, public concerts, grand expositions (such as for new cars) and indoor marching drills.

THEN: The Seattle Armory, just after its completion in 1909.

Here, however, the Seattle Armory was in a war for its very survival, partnered with the Alaskan Way Viaduct where the arterial passed a few feet from the armory’s west wall. The faux-fort caught on fire during the early morning of Jan. 7, 1962, when the viaduct was just a child of nine years. The emergency was signaled with an alarm that likely was triggered by a concerned citizen or an excited firebug. (Two months earlier, in similar circumstances, another northwest Market building mysteriously caught fire. Predictably, the neighborhood’s truck farmers and merchants were thinking arson.)

For this week’s 1962 “Then” photo, brave Seattle Times staff photographer Larry Dion looks to the southeast from the then still-admired viaduct. Obviously shaken by the fire and its falling debris, the armory would not recover. It was eventually demolished in 1968, after attempts to preserve it failed. The bricks were sold for salvage to a company that fenced the ruins for their picking. After the fence was removed, an old friend, John Cooper, a local banker who also was a spare-time collector of abandoned or forsaken items such as salvaged bottles, discovered that several rows of dirt-covered bricks had been missed along the building’s south wall. Cooper rescued and employed them for a rustic facade on a home he owned in Shoreline.

Demolition of the Old Armory at Western Avenue and Lenora Street was begun yesterday. The structure has been one of the city’s eyesores since in was damaged heavily by fire January 7, 1962. The cit plans to purchase the site for $206,000 and later sell it for inclusion in the Pike Plaza project. (Courtesy, The Seattle Times)

Jean Sherrard reveals his tactful tactics for finding the prospect of the fire photographer in 1962: “In late March of this year, the Alaskan Way Viaduct was torn down almost to Lenora Street, and the crash and roar of demolition raged behind barriers and chain-link fences. Trying to repeat the ‘Then’ photo of the burning armory, taken from a now-disappearing section of the viaduct, sent me to the waterfront, looking for a comparable vantage point. A colorful lineup of five-story condos and hotels begins at Pine Street and continues north until Bell.

“Perhaps understandably, building managers are reluctant to allow access to their rooftops, but after some shimmy and jive and an appeal to history, I was allowed to clamber freely and snap away. The ‘Now’ photo approximates the same prospect as the ‘Then’ (back 100 feet), with a view of the soon-to-be demolished viaduct just below Market Place One and Two, the commercial structures that stand on the footprint of the old armory. The original steep hillside that confronted Seattle’s earliest settlers still looms above the waterfront.”

WEB EXTRAS

This week, we’re inaugurating a spanking new feature: Seattle Now & Then 360, which includes a 360 degree video of the ‘now’ location, along with a reading of the pertinent column. Enjoy!

Anything to add, lads?  Nahh just a little. You have already added so much JEAN.  I hope the readers are thrilled by your new – sort of – Deux Ex Machine.  I am.

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The Viaduct behind an Acres of Clams Clam Eating Bowl (contest)

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Seattle Now & Then: Fourth and Washington

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THEN: The hillside of the International District looking northeast from Fourth Avenue and Washington Street. (MOHAI)
NOW: Jean Sherrard and I both like exploring spatial relations that mark the modern intersection to its sides. The colors and masses distributed in Fire Station No. 10 are gratifying.

Many of the landmarks included in our “Now & Then” stories have appeared in these pages more than once, with instructive changes. This feature is a fine example.

Looking West on Washington from near 4th Avenue. Some of the constructions included here have been featured earlier, often approached from different prospects.

This week’s “Then” photo, which looks northeast from the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Washington Street, is a fine example of themes with variations. In our decades of recording “performances” here, the stage of this intersection has brought along five such encores. There are six repeaters, if we include the Yesler Way viaduct over Fourth Avenue in the count. And we should.

Above: Looking west on Yesler Way from the fifth Avenue overpass.
Here the Prefontaine building is interrupted by the last of the Yesler Way cable cars . The view looks east from Prefontaine’s intersection with Yesler Way. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

Seen here on the far left of the featured photo at the top, Yesler Way is a landmark that keeps on giving. The first pioneers soon discovered and followed it as a native path between Lake Washington (near and before the big lake’s Leschi Beach was named) and Elliott Bay (near Pioneer Square or, if you prefer, Pioneer Place).

Frank Shaw’s capture of the Cannon & McCinnley Building at 4th and Yesler on March 7 1965.

Many of us have long memories of this feature’s centerpiece, the Grand Union Hotel. We noticed it first with our young eyes as a dilapidated and then-deserted landmark built across Yesler Way from Seattle City Hall at 400 Yesler Way. Mayor Wes Ullman was the municipal hall’s savior around 1970. Here (in the week’s featured photo) it is mostly hidden behind the old hotel, although parts of the hall’s ornate corners reach above the hotel. Staying with the featured photo, that’s the top-heavy tower of the old King County Courthouse, upper right.

Looking south on Fourth Avenue from above Yesler Way.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Jimmy?  Yes Jean, we have Jimmy yet to add, but cannot find him.   Ron and I will be none too pleased if we discover that you have again been hiding Jimmy with another of your practical jokes.  And this prank of your’s is much too practical for it is Jimmys parents whom we have to pay off with no-charge Jimmy-sitting sessions every time you sequester Jimmy who by now loves this hide and seek far too much.  Remember his parents want him home by 5pm.  But now we give up and prepare to climb the stairs to Nighty-Bears (copyright:  Bill Burden.  Bill was last seen living near the hip Nevada City, California and running a small business there leaning on one of Bill’s long loves, Coffee.   Ask him sometime about its history.) .  We hope to return later today with more relevant clips for this week’s blog, but now, again, we walk the stairs.

Not Jimmy and his friends but five poster children used by Seattle Housing to promote its mixed-race housing plan with the opening of Yesler Terrace.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      EXTRAS RESUMED

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SeaFair float on Yesler Way

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Pergola and Pioneer Building by Lawton Gowey, Feb. 20, 1967. “”The Winter of Love.”

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Prefontaine Fountain, Third and Jefferson, 1926

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Prefontaine Park, Feb. 1993

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Yesler Cable concrete safety island, 3rd Ave. and Yesler Way, 1928,

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Yesler Cable climbing in front of electrical transformers on Yesler Way between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

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5thi Ave. south from Yesler Way, ca. 1953.

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1953, Smith stower taken from new and not ye opened Alaskan Way Viaduct, photographed by either Bradley or his friend Gowey, not sure which. Some of their collections got mixed-up long ago.

Seattle Now & Then: The Hoge Building, 1911

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THEN: Looking north on Second Avenue thru its intersection with James Street in circa 1911, the year the Hoge Building’s steel frame at the northwest corner of James Street and Second Avenue was completed.
NOW: The Butler hotel, far left, at the southwest corner of James and Second Avenue was for several years in the 20th century treated at the city’s best hostelry. It is now a comely and large parking garage.  Jean’s look up Second Ave. looks north thru its intersection with James Street.

In 1909, Seattle’s first World’s Fair, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, attracted to the University of Washington campus (home to the exposition) many of the citizen types for which local pioneers had long yearned.

The eastern investor-developers – if they would just listen to the siren about ‘manifest destiny’ – were constantly coaxed to the far Northwest with deals such as cheap land and natural resources waiting to be dug. The selling worked. Increasingly, the eastern bankers — and their suburban officers in San Francisco — gained a developing appreciation of the proven Northwest advantages. If they could be persuaded, the well-heeled visitors would lay down big cash. With Seattle’s booming population, it was not merely lumber, fish and minerals that locals hoped to sell, but the land itself, and the human touches that adorn it — including, eventually and inevitably, skyscrapers.

Looking aourtheast from the top – or near it – of the Hoge Building. The The Smith Tower (1914) is on the right and the Alaska Building, (1904) Seattle’s first steel frame scraper, is on the left at the southeast corner of Cherry Street and Second Avenue.   The King County Court House stands on the First Hill horizon.   

This old story of high-rise vanity, often repeated, features armaments and typewriter manufacturer Lyman Cornelius Smith and banker-developer James Hoge. The two paused to chat and interrogate each other while visiting the fair. Both had acquired a good amount of Seattle real estate, and each was coyly itching to raise a namesake cap to his credit: Seattle’s tallest tower.

In preparation for their private excesses, the happy hucksters wondered what might be a proper height limit for such a building. Both agreed that Seattle’s first tower, the 1904 Alaska Building, was perhaps for something like eternity a passionate-enough expression of raw loft, an example set above its own corner at Second Avenue and James Street that did not need to be exceeded.

Looking north up Second from the Hoge Buildingv, with the Thomas Burke’s back pile, bottom-left, at the Northwest corner of Marion and Second, and one block north of the Burke at the southeast corner of Second and Madison stands he Empire Building, which many years later was distinguished by it destruction – the city’s first imploded high-rise.

Of course, we now know who won this trickster’s vanity game for fat wallets. Because the two landmarks ascended only two blocks apart, we still can count the sum of their floors from the corner of James Street and Second Avenue. It wasn’t the banker named Hoge who did the excessive reaching. Rather, it was Smith, with our gleaming terra-cotta-tiled Smith Tower, professed when it opened in 1914 to be 42 stories high. To this count, we prudently will add: “more or less.”

Hoge started the competitive lifting first, and he built fast. The Hoge building’s steel frame, shown in our “Then” photo, was completed to its top 18th story in 1911. It took a mere 30 days to raise the frame, which at the time was claimed a record. This speed gave Smith plenty of time to assemble his own frame, to “something like” 42 floors. (It has always been a local question: “How do you count the floors in the Smith Tower’s pyramid top?”)

Work on the Hoge’s steel frame appears here far right and far down Second Ave. in this pan from the New Washington Hotel’s roof at the northeast corner (still, as the Josephenum)  ot Stewart and Second. in this 1911 panorama of the city from an elevation that approximated that of the front (south) summit of the then recently razed Denny Hill..   Beacon Hill stretches across the distant horizon,
First Hill from the roof of the Hoge.  The Central Building,  bottom-left, is one of the survivors.
The look west on Cherry in 1932.
An earlier now-then treatment of the Hoge and also it’s competitive nativity.
Slunnyside, banker Hoge’s home in the Highlands Seattle’s early gated neighborhood for its “one percent”.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?  Not quite.  I’m going nighty-bears (copywrite Bill Burden) first.   Perhaps some clips later today.  Ron’s already long asleep. Or is he up and giving the bears a bath?

Seattle Now & Then: The Lumber Exchange Building, 1904

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THEN: In mid-1904 or shortly thereafter, the Lumber Exchange stands at the southwest corner of Second Avenue and Seneca Street. It was demolished in 1990. (Webster & Stevens photo courtesy the Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: At the same site rises the 22-floor Second and Seneca Building, which upon its opening in September 1991 was one of four towers within a year’s time to provide a total of 4 million square feet of new, high-rise office space downtown.

(Published in Seattle Times online on March 25, 2019,
and in print on March 28, 2019)

Signs of commerce in an earlier Seattle boom
By Clay Eals

When the Lumber Exchange building appeared here last September, it stood as a mere backdrop as we focused on a panoply of political signs hoisted by labor protesters parading on Second Avenue.

In today’s view (at the top) looking southwest at the intersection of Second and Seneca Street, and taken in mid-1904 or soon thereafter, one year after its completion, the appeal is different. Instead of the street, we are drawn to the collection of commercial signs above storefronts and in the windows of this stately, seven-floor sentinel.

Each name evidences the bustle of business in the midst of a population boom in the first decade of the century that solidified Seattle’s status as the Northwest’s dominant city. Enterprises inside included lumber sales, reflecting the name of the edifice, and ranged from the trades of apparel, insurance and steel to the practices of law, dentistry and government.

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Builder J.A. Moore took pride that inside the alluring entry arch could be found a vestibule and hallways finished in white onyx and marble quarried in northeastern Washington. This stonework, the Seattle Daily Times reported, “is not excelled in beauty by the marbles from the most famous quarries in the Old World.”

Two ground-floor shops competed by contrasting cut-rate with couture. From its coveted corner spot, Singerman & Sons – descended from venerable Toklas, Singerman & Sons, later morphing into MacDougall’s department store – promoted the high life. In advertising “top-notch” men’s spring and summer suits for $15 to $25, the firm proclaimed, “The fabrics are of the purest wool, in grays, browns, stylish plaids and fancy mixtures. The tailoring is of the highest class, insuring faultless fit.”

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South of the arch, under awnings, and accompanied in our “then” by a horse-drawn wagon and newfangled motorcar, The Leader dry-goods store promoted periodic “fire sales” of damaged goods as low as 10 cents on the dollar. Its slogan: “Seattle’s Great Price Fighter / The Great Cheap for Cash Store.”

Sauntering down Seneca to the building’s below-grade floor, we find the prow-shaped sign of Max Kuner, “Nautical Optician,” a beguiling name for an esteemed watch and chronometer maker who dealt in items and services related to the sea. Five years later, in 1909, Kuner joined a covey of experts accusing explorer Frederick Cook of fabricating that he had reached the North Pole. As Kuner told the Times, “I think it’s a fake.”

A further allusion to today’s headlines came on Nov. 13, 1903, when the Timesreported that federal inspectors, based in the Lumber Exchange, had intercepted a train to take into custody 30 people from Japan who had “surreptitiously” bypassed immigration law to enter the country from British Columbia. The inspectors interrogated their captives in a two-room office on the building’s second floor. The Times ended its story: “It is not yet been determined what will be done with the Japanese.”

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WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lumberjacks?  Mostly more lumber Jean.

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Seattle Now & Then: Snow Days on the Ave, 1937

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THEN: A pair of Seattle’s municipal trollies brave the drifts of the city’s 1937 snow.
NOW: For his repeat the patient Jean Sherrard waited for his contemporary flurries and was rewarded with big flakes on the ‘Upper Ave.’ of University Way.

Our February snow, like the October 1937 deposit photographed here on University Way, was something greater than one of our more-typical winter teases that rush to mush. In these two years — 1937 and 2019 — a white blanket packed a few inches above our chilled cityscape and stuck around.

Portland, 170 scenic miles to the south, received its heaviest snowstorm in 31 years in 1937. Hundreds of autos were stalled, truck farmers were unable to reach Portland’s markets, and all the city’s schools were closed. It was called a “child memory event.” Here in Seattle that year, at the northwest corner of University Way and 55th Street, University Heights School (built in 1903) also was closed, but only for one day.

The photographer’s preferred subject here is surely the two husky trolleys busting north through the half-foot-deep drifts on “The Ave.” These municipal carriers had a mere three years left for rolling on rails before being scrapped when the city’s street railways were replaced with buses and trackless trolleys, most of them in 1940.

Portland’s greater 1937 storm taught its transit team an unrequested lesson: It was neither streetcars nor gas-powered buses that worked best in the 1.-foot drifts that fell there. It was the trackless trolleys and rolling rubber.

Many of our readers, I suspect and hope, can identify the high-rise immediately to the right of the charging trolleys at the Seattle scene’s center. The modern 15 stories (some sources claim 16) of Art Deco design were dedicated in 1931. The hotel was built and financed with a community bond drive during the early years of the Great Depression.

There was then plenty of time for Edmond Meany, the hotel’s namesake professor, to prepare one of his speeches for the dedication. Meany’s sententious offerings were typically well-stocked with school and neighborhood history.

Meany lived with his wife near the north end of the University Bridge and so also near the hotel. He died in 1935 in his campus office while getting ready for a class. Eventually, and perhaps inevitably, his name was removed from the front door of the hotel. It is now called the Hotel Deca — not for Meany and his stories, but for the landmark’s modern design. Meany also had a campus hall named for him.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?

Seattle Now & Then: The Battery Street Tunnel

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THEN: Some 180 idling vehicles simulate the worst possible traffic in the northbound Battery Street Tunnel in a successful test of the ventilation system (courtesy Ron Edge).
NOW: Crowds pass southbound through the tunnel, pausing to view Vanishing Seattle’s video projection, collected and assembled by artist/activists Cynthia Brothers, Jill Freidberg, and Rachel Kessler. Several times throughout the day, Brothers recounts, the vestigial ventilation fans powered up, flushing cold, clean air over the nostalgic walkers.
This week we conclude our final walkabout on the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a stroll through the Battery Street Tunnel, which was completed in July, 1954, a little more than a year after the viaduct’s opening ceremony. The tunnel connected the Viaduct to Aurora Avenue, fulfilling the promise of an efficient, new Highway 99 to divert and reduce the snarl of downtown traffic.
Our historical photo records a City Engineering Department test of the tunnel’s ventilation system. Lined up in two northbound lanes are 180 cars and trucks of city and state employees, simulating the worst of traffic jams, idling their motors for 30 minutes. (Modern eyes might also note the pipes and cigarettes adding to the haze.) Within minutes, 36 big fans were blowing enough fresh air into the tunnel that “the amount of carbon monoxide in the air … would not be dangerous to a person after eight hours of exposure,” claimed city engineers.

 

THEN 2: Battery Street tunnel under construction in 1953, looking west. The Hull Building, upper right, still guards the northwest corner of First and Battery. (courtesy, Ron Edge)

This past Feb. 2, 2019, I joined a line of ticket holders stretching round the block to enter the Viaduct via the Seneca Street off-ramp. Tens of thousands paid their last respects and bid a fond farewell – for some, a hearty good riddance – to the double-decked edifice admired for its spectacular, egalitarian views of Seattle and its waterfront. Gray skies clearing, the Hello/Goodbye Viaduct Arts Festival lined the upper deck with art exhibits, performers and food trucks.

Over the next few months, the half-mile of the Battery Street Tunnel will be filled to about seven feet from its ceiling with rubble from the Viaduct, then topped with low-density cellular concrete poured in through surface vents along Battery Street.

For our modern repeat, we look north along the southbound lanes of the tunnel, on whose walls the group Vanishing Seattle projected an evocative 15-minute video of collected photos, movie clips, and written memories of the viaduct. For more, visit www.vanishingseattle.org or #vanishingseattle on Instagram or Facebook. To experience the last commute on the viaduct in 360-degree video, click on through.

WEB EXTRAS

Just a quick shout out to Clay Eals, the editor of our new book Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred. (Incidentally, good news about the book. Out of an initial 5,000 copies, we are down to several hundred. And most of those sales were made, due to the book’s tardy arrival from China, in the month before Christmas!)

Together, Clay and I took that final commute along the Viaduct and recorded it for posterity; we also walked the Viaduct on its last pedestrian weekend, and among the photos I shot was this special portrait of Clay. Above his left shoulder (riding a Market pig) is the Terminal Sales Building on the corner of First and Virginia where his parents first met and courted. According to Clay, were it not for that structure, he would not exist!

Clay Eals poses below his parent’s “meet cute” building.

And below, a few more Viaduct snaps to round things out….

At the tunnel’s entrance
This view many will recall as the Needle appeared as if by magic just before entering the tunnel
A kinetic sculpture, installed for this final weekend
The band played on….

Chalk art perspective

Long shadows at sunset along the Pike Street hillclimb
Another lost perspective…
Ivar’s with ferry
Last view up Western from the Seneca ramp

Anything to add, spelunkers?

Alas my old MAC has at last failed me. Ron has gone to bed long ago, as is his steadfast habit of health, and so we have no Mac-machine to take Old Mac’s place. Perhaps next week we will get MAC going again, or more likely replaced with the new MAC purchased for me and given to me at my 80th birthday last Oct. 28, 2018. And so meanwhile Ron and I are not in this run. — Paul

Seattle Now & Then: Opening Ceremonies

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THEN: Probable members of the Seattle Photography Club, most likely taken by fellow member Horace Sykes in 1953, although we don’t know for sure. (courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
NOW: Denizens of the waterfront: from left, Kevin Clark, owner of Argosy Cruises and Tillicum Excursions; Ryan Smith, 3rd generation manager of Martin Smith, Inc., who own 15 historic buildings throughout downtown Seattle, including Piers 55 and 56; and the ubiquitous Bob Donegan, who helps manage Ivar’s from Pier 54.
Dear Pacific readers, both this week and next Jean Sherrard, our ‘repeater’ will also serve as our writer-researcher. Jean has been both climbing and covering the last days of our Alaskan Way Viaduct with his reaching pole and, as you will discover, his ready prose. Me? Because of something I ate, at my fresh age of eighty I’ll be ‘busy’ on the couch exploring my first vacation at The Times since I began this weekly service in the winter of 1982. Appropriately, perhaps, it is snowing. Paul.
Jean here, fresh from wandering an Alaskan Way Viaduct making its final curtain call, equal parts Irish wake and a celebration of new beginnings. A couple of minor mishaps at two major ribbon cutting ceremonies, separated by nearly 66 years, provide wry bookends to examine the nearly 66-year-long lifespan of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The first, on April 4th, 1953, marked its triumphal opening. Built for $8,000,000 (yes, you read that right!), the new double-decker highway was expected to funnel 25,000 vehicles daily above the confused tangle of downtown city streets, alleviating Seattle’s increasingly snarled traffic, and providing ample room for an expanding population.

On a lovely afternoon in April, one day before Easter Sunday, Seafair Queen Iris Adams handed a Paul Bunyan-sized four-foot long pair of silver scissors to Mayor Allan Pomeroy, who attempted to cut the ribbon. It creased but would not cut. “Aw, come on!” the mayor exclaimed. D.K. MacDonald, the director of the Automobile Club whipped out his pen knife and adroitly sliced the ribbon in half to the cheers of the crowd.

This February 2nd, dignitaries gathered again to celebrate the opening of the viaduct’s replacement, the double-decker Highway 99 tunnel bored out beneath the waterfront – a huge project of civil and civic engineering, dividing residents into conjectural camps: of views lost and gained, congestion abated or increased, a cityscape invigorated. Celebrants included past mayors, city and county council members, and Governor Jay Inslee, reputedly running for president. When the governor stood to address the crowd, however, his mic cut out. He improvised gamely, shouting at the top of his lungs, but his unamplified speech could scarcely be heard; nevertheless, minutes later, his smaller, sharper scissors separated the ceremonial green ribbon quite handily.
Ribbon cutting at the tunnel’s south entrance
This week’s “then” photo was taken a day or two before the opening ceremonies in 1953. Amongst the three photographers pictured here, comparing their gear, are unidentified enthusiasts, snapping shots from an exciting new vantage. Behind them stands Smith Tower, then 40 years old, and still the tallest building on the West Coast (unsurpassed until the Space Needle in ‘62). At its base, the gleaming flat-iron Seattle Hotel, built after the Seattle fire of 1889 (70-plus years will pass before it is replaced by the infamous “sinking ship” garage in the early 1960s). And on the left, the Mutual Life Building, whose signage remains intact, still anchors a corner of Pioneer Square.

Next week, we spelunk into the Battery Street tunnel, soon to be filled with viaduct rubble.

WEB EXTRAS

Just for fun, I’m including several photos below from that last crowded walk along the Viaduct.

Historylink staff gather on the viaduct
Pointing the way into an uncertain future?
Hello, Waterfront!
Splitting the difference…
Bob Donegan of Ivar’s (3rd from left) with fellow movers and shakers, illustrating the escape routes…
Last shadows at sunset (attention, Cynthia and Steve!)…
A final stroll and goodbye

Anything to add, lads?  Here’s some modest relevances to your splendid captures on our esemplastic (momentarily) arterials.

postscript

Now at 4am on the Sunday (March 10) that your paper is delivered and so also our blog that dances with it, something is sprained.   The company from which we rent the software and the platform for the blog has made some changes since last I used it a week ago. I missed the warnings and instructions in changes, which they, no doubt, consider improvements and most likely are.  I, however, abide in my pre-digital fog and will need to take some instructions for an oxtogenarian’s (spelling? – please correct the spelling on your own.) fumbling.  And while you are at it look up the latest definition of esemplastic.) I suppose it is a fortunate coincidence that next week’s feature is a continuation of our viaduct reflections.  And so we’ll move what we have missed and messed this weekend to a long and playful time of it all next weekend.

Seattle Now & Then: Denny Regrade, 1905 (a mound of spite)

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THEN: Dated Jan. 17, 1905, this photo looks south from the southern slope of Denny Hill. (courtesy, Ron Edge)
NOW: Brickwork of the landmark Colonnade Hotel building, far right, and the delicate ornamentation of the J.S. Graham Building, at the southwest corner of Second Avenue and Pine Street, survive.

Here, side-by-side in one photograph, stands a three-part lesson in the changes at the southern slope of Denny Hill between about 1890 and Jan. 17, 1905 — the date consistently inscribed on this and a dozen other photographs uncovered by persistent explorer Ron Edge.

Most were recorded within two blocks of this unidentified photographer’s prospect on the north side of Pine Street between First and Second avenues. Many of the subjects are readily identified, especially the Denny Hotel, standing at the top of the hill’s north summit. Both grand and picturesque, the hotel is the centered landmark in six of the 13 photographs, self-evident even in the midst of the smoking regrade’s unfiltered commotion.

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Closed to the featured photo’s prospect – about a half-block to the east – the corner of Second Avenue and Pine Street in 1884. Beacon Hill is on the horizon.  (click to enlarge)

Many more intimate subjects — like polluting steam shovels and spraying water cannons — are also readily found in several of the photographs. In our “Then” photo, there is a wagon on the left and a cadre of regrade watchers gathered far left at the southwest corner of Second and Pine.

You would, of course, be correct to treat the Ice Age remnant standing like a wedge of chocolate cake at the center of the scene as its oldest part. This monolith is part of the pioneer claim marked by Arthur Denny, one of the city’s first founders, as his Third Addition to Seattle. During its regrading years, standing remnants of the hill were sometimes described as “spite mounds” that were kept free of development — including cutting — by owners objecting to the special taxes levied for the regrade’s public works improvements.

We are left with the bookends of our “trinity” on Pine Street. The Griffith Hotel, far left, was an early and impressive addition to what would become the city’s retail district. It is depicted lifting its four stories at the southern base of Denny Hill in the 1891 bird’s-eye view of Seattle. The four floors of the landmark brick Colonnade Hotel, showing far right, were first built in 1900. They survive, reaching west of Jean Sherrard’s “Now” photo to the corner of Pine Street and First Avenue.

Should you care to play hide and seek with all 13 of Edge’s Denny Regrade prints dated Jan. 17, 1905, you will find them below, along with additional captions and other photos from the same “corner” of the Denny Regrade that have reached us through other collections.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?  JEAN this Ron Edge and I now hope – still hope – late in the morning.   Check back – perhaps.

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(A reminder from above.)  1884 SECOND AVE. LOOKIN SOUTH from Pine Street, and so a few feet (half-a-block) east of the featured photographer’s prospect.

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Parade looking north from Fourth and Pine on May 30, 1953.

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LOOKING SOUTH on Second Ave. OVER THE HILL from Bell Street.

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below; PARISIAN DOPPERLGANGER by B. LOMONT (please indicated number and size and what you are willing to pay.)

Related N&T features.

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: Before this the first shovel of the last of Denny Hill was ceremonially dropped to the conveyor belt at Battery Street, an “initial bite of 30,000 cubic yards of material” was carved from the cliff along the east side of 5th Avenue to make room for both the steam shovel and several moveable belts that extended like fingers across the hill. It was here that they met the elevated and fixed last leg of the conveyor system that ran west on Battery Street to the waterfront. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)

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: 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)

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)

THEN: While visiting Seattle for some promoting, silent film star Wallace Reid shares the sidewalk at 4th and Olive with a borrowed Stutz Bearcat. (Courtesy, Museum of History & Industry)

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: Louis Rowe’s row of storefronts at the southwest corner of First Ave. (then still named Front Street) and Bell Street appear in both the 1884 Sanborn real estate map and the city’s 1884 birdseye sketch. Most likely this view dates from 1888-89. (Courtesy: Ron Edge)

THEN: Werner Lenggenhager's recording of the old St. Vinnie's on Lake Union's southwest shore in the 1950s should remind a few readers of the joys that once were theirs while searching and picking in that exceedingly irregular place.

THEN: The scene looks north through a skyline of steeples toward the Cascade neighborhood and Lake Union, ca. 1923.

THEN: Steel beams clutter a freshly regraded Second Avenue during the 1907 construction of the Moore Theatre. The view looks north toward Virginia Street.

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THEN: Thanks again and again to Lawton Gowey for another contribution to this feature, this ca. 1917 look into a fresh Denny Regrade and nearly new “office-factory” at 1921 Fifth Avenue.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey.)

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

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)

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)

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THEN: Looking east on Pike Street from Fifth Avenue early in the twentieth century. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

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: With her or his back to the Medical-Dental Building an unidentified photographer took this look northeast through the intersection of 6th and Olive Way about five years after the Olive Way Garage first opened in 1925.  (Courtesy, Mark Ambler)

THEN: First dedicated in 1889 by Seattle’s Unitarians, the congregation soon needed a larger sanctuary and moved to Capitol Hill.   Here on 7th Avenue, their first home was next used for a great variety of events, including a temporary home for the Christian Church, a concert hall for the Ladies Musical Club, and a venue for political events like anarchist Emma Goldman’s visit to Seattle in 1910. (Compliments Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Looking west (not east) on Battery Street from Seventh Avenue, approaching the end of the last of Denny Hill’s six regrade reductions. The dirt was carried to Elliott Bay on conveyor belts like the two shown here. (courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives)

THEN 1: Recorded on April 14, 1928, about sixth months before the Denny Hill Regrade No. 2 began, the last of the scarred Denny Hill rises to the right of Fifth Avenue. Denny School (1884) tops the hill at the northeast corner of Battery Street and Fifth Avenue. On the horizon, at center, Queen Anne Hill is topped by its namesake high school, and on the right of the panorama, the distant Wallingford neighborhood rises from the north shore of Lake Union. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

 

Seattle Now & Then: Railroad Avenue, 1920

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking north on Railroad Avenue in 1920 from a new municipal trolley trestle at Washington Street. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: Photographed one week after the January 11th closing of the Alaska Way Viaduct.

Here we agree, again, with the caption composers for the Museum of History & Industry’s archive.  Using a variety of sources, including city directories, tax records, and company signs, the MOHAI investigative staff dates this waterfront “Then” print to 1920 and so nearly a century ago.

As I remember it, the Museum’s need for skilled interpreters of the mostly donated holdings in their photographic archives was multiplied a few thousand times in the early 1980s (1983) when Pemco Insurance purchased the Webster and Stevens Studio (WS) negatives – most of them glass – for a philanthropic gift to the museum. Its nearly 44,000 images are a fine record of Seattle’s growth, primarily thru the first half of the 20th Century. This week’s “Then” feature is included among those thousands.

From Washington Street the studio photographer looks north on Railroad Avenue — even above it. To his or her advantage the sensitive recorder reached this elevated position by climbing the city’s then nearly-new trestle for carrying municipal trollies south along the waterfront.  The riders were mostly headed to the many wartime manufacturers built above the tideflats and beside the man-made Harbor Island and its waterways. Or like many of those who were using the Alaska Way Viaduct until it closed for good on January 11, they were heading for their West Seattle homes.  A reminder: here we cannot see the  1919 trestle because the camera is looking north thru the widest part of Railroad Avenue, which was north of Yesler Way. The viaduct was already closed for a week when Jean Sherrard snapped this “Now” photo with his 21-foot monopod on January 18.  Clay Eals, the West Seattle resident-activist who served as the driver for Jean’s repeating was in mourning.  Clay remains a faithful promoter of the viaduct’s elevated views, but now only in nostalgia and shared pictures and stories. (You can follow Jean and Clay’s last day trip along the trestle on YouTube and on our blog listed below.  They used a 360-degree video camera.) I am especially fond of the triangular three story red brick building that stands out upper-right in Jean’s repeat as a Pioneer Square survivor.  In 1920, it was the home for the Truck Tire Company.   The sign shows far-right in the shadows of the building’s east façade.  This odd and curving cut was first drawn in the 1880s for a right-of-way along what was then still a mostly imagined waterfront litigated by competing railroads.   It was then cutely called the “Ram’s Horn.”

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?  Yes Jean an explanation or even perhaps an apology for not being able to fully ‘assemble’ the extra helpful photos for this exploration of an earlier viaduct than the one we are tearing down now.  Like the latter-day viaduct, THIS dear old MAC is exhausted and so we are about to replace it not with a tunnel or tube but with a new MAC that was paid for in part by donations of friends celebrating and ‘in service” at my 80th birthday party held on October 28 last (truly my birthday, indeed) at Pioneer Hall on the shore of Lake Washington.  We hope to return to this feature and stock it with what we planned for it, unless we have moved on to another preoccupation.  That is typical, perhaps, for you dear reader as well.

Ron Edge, on his super-machine (not a mac) will here put up a few relevant past features as it his helpful custom.

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Below: looking east on Washington Street from the curve on the Railroad Ave. elevated (for trollies) from which the featured photo at the top was recorded looking north.

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Here we say good bye to MAXINE my mac who did well for the last decade, but now, it seems no more, or too little to carry on. We hope to be back back NEXT weekend with MAXINE’S youngest brother MAX.

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The YESLER HOTEL from the west. I seen in both the featured photos from the south.

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)

THEN: The S. S. Suveric makes a rare visit to Seattle in 1911.  (Historical photo courtesy of Jim Westall)

THEN: Pier 70 when it was still Pier 14, ca. 1901, brand new but not yet "polished."  Courtesy, Lawton Gowey

THEN: Tied momentarily to the end of the Union Oil Co dock off Bay Street, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s ship Maud prepares to cast-off for the Arctic Ocean on June 3, 1922.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)