Category Archives: Fair and Festival

Fair and Festival – No. 11: The West Facade (front) of the Civic Auditorium (1928), Opera House (1962), McCaw Hall (2003)

This is the first photograph that Jean recorded for our fair-festival project.  We had just entered the Bumbershoot gate on Mercer with press passes (The only way we could effortlessly afford it.) and followed instructions to the press room where with Ron Edge we were outfitted with other “special” passes and stickers and ephemera into other inner-spaces, which we rarely used, for we kept to the outside for the three days of Bumbershoot.

The proper and polite name for this space in front of the McCaw Hall is the Kreielsheimer Plaza – or is it the Kreielsheimer Promenade?  This uncertainly is evidence for what we knew at the time it was being built and dedicated; that is was unlikely that many would remember the proper name.  First it was a difficult name, and even if named Jones Plaza it would soon be swallowed whole by McCaw.

On an inspiration, Jean with his tall pole took this shot through the screens that are at night – sometimes – used as surfaces for colorful projections.  (As least I hope they are still used so.)  Jean and I, along with Mike James, Genny McCoy and Sheila Farr wrote the book  history of the Kreielsheimer Foundation, which gave the money for the plaza (or promenade) and about about 100 million more for art around the Northwest, although most of it’s in Seattle.  The family name with a difficult spelling is attached to many places hereabouts, but. again, rarely is it remembered or recognized.  It’s a shame.  While writing the book we grew fond of the family.

Jean’s recording at the top was for his pleasure.  In it there is a band playing at the end of this promenade.  I knew we had many photographs of the old Civic Auditorium and Opera House too, and we will next attach a few with short captions.  None of them will be a “scientific” repeat or prefiguring of Jean’s shot, but they will all be of the place or very near it.

Like new in 1928. The grounds are still rough from all the construction to build a civic center. (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)
The Kreielsheimer Plaza was previously a parking space in front of the classic row of front portals to the auditorium - a space where cars and here a nearly double-decker bus were posed for promotions. (Courtesy, Municipal Archives)
Some bunting for a Rotary convention in the late 1940s.
Jeweler-photographer Robert Bradley's not dated Kodachrome record of the Civic Auditorium. Note the window dressings above the grand entrance. We wonder if it was considered attractive at the time? Do you like it now?
This we propose - understanding that we can be very tolerant towards ourselves - was photographed from very near what is since 2003 the Kreielsheimer "space." The date is 1900. You can read it at the lower-right corner. You may have seen some of this earlier. For our fifth offering in this fair-festival package we gathered several shots that looked west and a little north on Republican Street from its intersection with Second Ave. The contemporary subject there is the Bagley Wright Theatre. In an earlier footprint that northwest corner of Second and Republican was held by the Sarah Yesler Home for working women. It had later and much longer use as an apartment house. We see it again here above the tents of the Army's horse and mule men here to watch over the stock headed for the Phillipines. Although not seen, Mercer Street is just out of frame to the right. So how far do you think this is from the big tenement with the tower? If it is one block and a few yards then these soldiers are posing in - or very near - the future promenade.
I took this shot of the promenade from the Mercer Street side when Jean and I paid a visit during our production of the book on the history of the Kreielsheimer Foundation. That may have been nine years ago, but it seems to alive to have been so long ago.

Fair and Festival – No. 10: Boulevard East (of Bouldevards of the World)

This No. 10 comparison on Boulevard East parallels the No. 9 on Boulevard West from yesterday.  Both of the unidentified photographers are looking north with their backs near Thomas, although nearer here than there.

The Armory/Food Circus/Center House on the right. (It is the big No. 11 on the map at the bottom.) The Armory was nearly a quarter-century old when it was renamed the Food Circus for the fair when it opened in 1962. It was modern enough to imagine in the twenty-first century - and it made it! As did we!! Two blocks north at Republican Street you will find the uplifting plywood creations of the Home of Living Light, the part of Century 21 that we touched with our No. 7.
Remember to CLICK TWICE to ENLARGE. Also, perhaps, consult Ron Edge's Double Exposure below: the helpful sandwich that superimposes a map of the '62 fair over a ca. 2007 vertical aerial of Seattle Center from space.


By now this should be nearly self-evident. We are standing near the southwest corner of the Food Circus - again, the big No. 11 - and looking north on Boulevard East to No. 22.

Fair and Festival – No.9: Boulevard West (of Boulevards of the World)

Much of where Second Avenue extends gently downhill from Thomas Street thru Harrison and on to Republican where it levels out preparing to soon climb Queen Anne Hill has been used by many Bumbershoots as a Food and Craft Way.   During Century 21 this stretch was called Boulevard West and much of it was sided by a colorful array of consumables and cosmopolitan exhibits with price tags squeezed into tight quarters.

(Click TWICE to Enlarge)

Looking north on Second Avenue aka Boulevard West of the Boulevards of the World at Century 21.
Fifty years later at Bumbershoot 2012 - still looking north on Second Ave. towards Harrison Street. (A Reminder: All the 'now' repeats in this fair/festival series were recorded by Jean, unless otherwise noted.)

Judging from the Space Needle's shadow, the unnamed photographer for this look west over the "Washington State Coliseum" into the Lower Queen Anne business district was an early bird visitor to the fair on a sunny day. Boulevard West runs through the scene from Thomas Street on the left to mid-block between Harrison and Republican on the right. On the left the shadow crosses what we called the Flag Plaza Pavilion not so long ago - until it was more recently replaced with the grander Fisher Pavilion. The fence at the left of the pavilion at the intersection of Thomas and Second Ave. reminds us that Century 21 was ticketed.


Leaning again on Ron Edge's superimposed map of Century 21 with a Space Shot from NASA, most likely, and using the Space Needle inspection inserted just above and some common sense we should all readily find the Boulevard of the West. It is also listed on the map's table - at the bottom - twice. The first listing "7" is misleading. Search for the second and generous last listing.

Fair and Festival – No. 8: The Gayway

Something like the Pay Streak of nickle and dime amusements at Seattle’s first big fair, the 1909 Alaska Yukon and Pacific Expo. on a U.W. Campus remade for it, Century 21’s  Gayway was given to cheap thrills and gaudy sensations, and so was popular.  Checking Ron Edge’s double-vision map directly below, the Gayway – section No. 7 – is found sprawling east from the Food Circus between the Monorail terminus and Memorial Stadium.  It was filled with the kind of modular constructions that could be brought in big pieces on big trucks and assembled quickly on the spot.  Its most eastern and southern parts are now covered by the Experience Music Project (EMP).  North of the Gayway, the fair’s most erotic sensations – the intended ones – picked up at the fairgrounds northeast corner, a site we’ll visit later.

(Click the blow – and all else – TWICE to Enlarge.)

Ron Edge's contrivance superimposed a map outlining the major attractions of Century 21 over a recent shot from space, but not recent enough to include the addition of the - or yet another - glass museum.

Remembering that Jean used his ten-foot pole to peek over the southeast corner of the Memorial Stadium to repeat the now-then we featured earlier today, for the repeat below he kept his camera high on the pole and turned about 140 degrees clockwise to the southeast to look over what was the Gayway to the EMP, thereby repeating Frank Shaw’s nearly same prospect to the southeast entrance to the Fair.

Frank Shaw stood very near where Jean poked his camera 50 years later, which is from the roof of the "lip" above the Memorial Stadium's southeast gate. In the foreground he includes most of the Gayway's Hot-Rods, a ride suitable for all ages but doing its greatest service, we suspect, to the awakening glands of adolescents. That's the intersection of 5th Avenue and Harrison Street on the distant left. Capitol Hill, left, and First Hill, on the right, meld the horizon.
Jean used a lens considerably wider than Frank Shaw's. Still the meeting of Harrison Street and 5th Avenue can be detected here directly left of the EMP's shining north facade. I am included in Jean's pole shot. See me descending some steel stairs to a dumpster. While not diving there I did snap the squid that appears behind the banner at the bottom-left corner of Jean's repeat. It follows.
Like a revolving ball of small mirrors hung above a ballroom floor the eccentrically curving sides of the Experience Music Project seem to scatter strange reflections about the neighborhood. That, at least, is my first interpretation of the strange warm light in the shadows of the landscape on the right behind the bike rack. The wall behind it is part of the Memorial Stadium. Or was that light scattered by the dumpster or a squid on a late Indian Summer afternoon?
A fair fair-time reveal of much of the Gayway, Memorial Stadium and, upper-right, some of the fair's sexiest corner as well. Compare, if you will, the forms of these objects of art and entertainment with those in the Edge-Map. Note, for instance, the familiar Hot-Rod attraction's figure-8, right-of-center. From this we can easily imagine where on the stadium wall Frank Shaw stood and where below him a half-century later Jean held his pole. The running track in the stadium is fitted with water for the fair's water-skiing show, evidence for what was then tooted as "the pleasure boat capitol of the world." See the boat run and see the small harbor at the circle's southeast (lower-right) corner.
Dipping the Space Needle camera south some to show the monorail leaving the fair, and 5th Avenue on the right. The red construction at center-bottom is the south terminus of the fair's flybye, the Union 76 Skyride. One-half of Hot-Rods' figure-8 is showing in the upper-left corner. And for later reference note the fair's "Giant Wheel" - No. 97 on the map - at the bottom-right corner.
Dipping still lower, but now thru the Needle's protective bars, most the Monorail terminus is included, and even the last - most easterly - articulation of the roof on Ivar's fish bar is evident far left just above the bottom-most protective bar.
Borrowed - or lifted - from a popular bit of fair ephemera, a slim book with "pictorial panorama" in the title, if memory serves me as well as the book. This look east from an upper floor in the Food Circus shows the night lights of my of the sensational structures seen from the Space Needle shots just shown. Hot-Rod shows, again, above-left. The Memorial Stadium's southeast wall looms in the shadows beside it. On the left, the Calypso is blurred by its speed. The three circles of the Monster, right-of-center at the bottom, may be resting. And there is that Giant Wheel down the Gayway on the right horizon. With neither fanfare nor huckster, the dark rectangle at the center is listed "67-68 Concessions."
Still in the heirloom panorama chapbook, but on the ground and with No. 67-68 Concessions on the left. (Apparently the unnamed photographer did not use a tripod. The focus is soft.)
A ferris-wheel of sorts beside the Monorail but not, I think, the Big Wheel. It shall be revealed - hopefully by a reader.
Returning with Jean to the old Gayway acres, here home for the Experience Music Project and several attractions, which yet have not attracted throngs on this Bumbershoot Sunday. All of this is outside the Bumbershoot gates. Two children or three ride the revolving swings above the painted labyrinth while a puzzled old man in a Hawaiian print shirt looks on holding, perhaps, his life-support in a dark bag.
Nearby and still outside the Bumbershoot gate.
Looking northwest through the brand new Civic Center from the corner of 4th Ave. and Harrison Street in 1928. The "then" featured at the top of this Sunday Nov. 21, 2012 feature was taken kitty-corner from this prospect, and as noted there just before the green acres of David and Louisa Denny's claim were developed for what we see here. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)

The clipping from the Nov. 14, 1993 printing of Pacific.  And by the way, the video history of Seattle promoted at the bottom of the clipping is still available – now on DVD.  See the “store” connected to this blog for instructions on how to order its sublime story of the “Seattle Spirit.”  Although I lived off such huckstering in ’93, this documentary is cheaper now, as am I.  (Click to Enlarge)

FINALLY and from the same prospect, there goes the sun.

From the same perspective - looking northwest over 4th and Harrison - this sketch appeared in the April 1, 1951 edition of The Seattle Times. The picture's caption reads in whole, "STADIUM ROOF PROPOSED: The High School Memorial Stadium would resemble this architect's sketch under a proposal by the Greater Seattle Gospel Crusade, Inc. The proposed high, arching wooden roof would cost about $100,000. The gospel group is prepared to spend $30,000 for a canvas cover for use during next summer's appearance in the stadium of Billy Graham, evangelist, and would contribute the $30,000 toward construction of a permanent roof, representatives told the School Board. The board indicated no objections to the project, but pointed out that no school funds were available." We note that this proposal was printed on April Fools Day, but discount it as a coincidence. Still the GSGC may have expected a miracle. Better, perhaps, to pray - but not for rain - before spending thirty thousand on a big tent to turn down the sun.





Fair and Festival – No. 7: the HOME of LIVING LIGHT

Here looking northeast over Freedom Way, aka Republican Street, this eccentric home's full name was more revealing: the Century 21 Plywood Home of Living Light. It sat on a Center site that has been variously used during the now 40-plus years of Bumbershoot, most often for one of the festival's smaller stages. Sometimes this lawn immediately south of the Exhibition Hall and contiguous to one of the fairs food fairs was free for sprawled eating serenaded by buskers and jamers.
Jean's Bumbershoot 2012 repeat reveals an unusually quiet setting on this lawn directly south of the Exhibition Hall. At some point - not remembered here - the covered promenade on Third Avenue (running north-south between the International Fountain and the west end of the Memorial Stadium) was extended thru the site where once shown "living light."

A better photograph of this plywood construction that suggests that it warrants the name is printed on page 247 of The Future Remembered, historylink and the Seattle Center Foundation’s well-wrought book on both Century 21 and Seattle.  For its caption the book’s authors,  Paula Becker and Alan J. Stein,  explain the intentions of this manipulatable construction – and its name too.  “In response to projected overpopulation in the future, the Home of Living Light was designed to provide private refuge on small, scarce building lots.  Walls of wood paneling, rigid in one direction and flexible in the other, could take any shape while supporting the required roof loads.  Four conical skylights located over each major area of the house and could be turned toward or away from the sun to adjust the level of natural lighting.”  Hence Living Light!

Although soft on focus this Kodachrome loom east on Freedom Way (Republican Street) from Boulevard West (Second Ave.) puts the Home of Living Light at home, one block east at Boulevard East (Third Ave.) Also showing is the roof-line stage architecture of both the Playhouse, far left, and the Opera House, at the center,

This leaves only the hide-and-seek securer – Ron Edge’s map sandwich – for the reader to peg the Century 21 location for the Plywood Home of Living Light.  HINT: Look for the smugged “60” that reads more like “80.”


The Edge Seattle Center / Century 21 Sandwich


Fair and Festival – No. 6: Ivar's

Ivar’s Century 21 fish and chips bar – or stand with Hamburgers! – was nestled to the north side of the Monorail terminal.  It opened directly onto  the southwest corner of the carni’ part of the fair called the Breezeway.  Here below – and again – is Ron Edge’s superimposition of a recent space shot of Seattle Center over the 1962 Century 21 map, which both names and numbers its primary parts – but not Ivar’s, as such.  DOUBLE CLICK this for your hide-and-seek.  (Clue: No. 63)

A recent space shot of Seattle Center superimposed on a 1962 map of Century 21, numbering and naming its parts. (Constructed by and courtesy of Ron Edge)
A chummy note from the boss to his staff as they prepared for the fair.
Looking south to the full Needle soaring above Ivar's Century 21 Fish Bar (with hamburgers and shakes).
The bar with a breeze, designed by architect Howard A. Kinney, using bamboo trellises and fitted exposed timbers with both modern and rustic properties - somewhat like the Polynesian Restaurant on Pier 52.
Jean's repeat from this year's Bumbershoot reveals that the "Next 50 Pavilion" is the latest holder on Ivar's footprint. The futurism of this "next 50" years included lots of minimalism, recognizing that we are wearing out the planet and so the Center and Seattle too. Next 50 has none of the forward thrust of Century 21. In this light the decision to put another ticketed glass museum nearby rather than, for instance, the Native American Center promoted by a different cadre of regional sensitives, suggests a "oh what the hell - lets sink with the glass and enjoy the colors along the way - the the money too" fatalism. The use of Seattle Center for a Native American center may have well been without cash register and ticket takers. Appropriately too, for the meadow was once used for native potlatches, those rituals of being admired and thanked for giving gifts and not for selling tickets or trinkets.

Architect Kinney's artistic wife Ginny, decorated much of the bars' interior with collages she constructed from driftwood, shells and other beach desiderata like sand-worn glass. After the fair her panels were installed in the main house at the cattle ranch Ivar then owned near Ilwaco on the Long Beach peninsula. This subject is from Ivar on the farm. Later the panels were moved back to Seattle and some of them are still decorating a hallway at Ivar's Salmon House, as shown next/below.
Some of Ginney Kinney's driftwood collages sharing a Salmon House wall with Native American portraits shared by the University of Washington's Special Collections.

Ivar’s mid-20th century band-wagoning with what’s modern was most flirtatiously expressed for the Ford Edsel – although Ivar never purchased one, nor did many others.  (CLICK to ENLARGE)

Fair and Festival – No. 5: Looking Northwest From and/or Thru Second Avenue and Republican Street

CLICK TWICE to Enlarge and so to seek the intersection of interest northeast of the Coliseum, and so somewhat upper-left. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

Most of today’s fair/festival repeat looks northwest from the corner of Republican Street and Second Avenue.  The centerpiece during the fair was the northwest terminus of the fair’s Union 76 Skyride.  Earlier it was the home of a long-lived apartment that, as you will learn from the short feature reprinted as a clipping near the bottom, began in the early 1890s as an ornate home/dormitory for single working women, which was converted into a hospital first and then for most of its life the apartments that were razed for Century 21.  The Rep’s Bagley Wright Theatre was completed in the early 1980s, and it survives with some additions, most notably the smaller Kreielsheimer stage at the north end.   Again, for a hide-and-seek prelude, we put at the top Ron Edge’s superimposition of a recent photo of Seattle Center taken from space (ca. 2007) with a map of Century 21 that numbers and names its attractions, most of them temporary.

Part of Queen Anne resident Lawton Gowey's pre-fair survey of the site. This, again, looks northwest thru the intersection of 2nd Ave. and Republican Street.
The northwest corner during the fair with the Union 76 Skyride overhead and it's northwest terminus at the center. (Courtesy Ron Edge)
Jean's repeat at this year's Bumbershoot
My empty record from last May (2012).
The Union 76 Skyride terminus shows - barely - right-of-center at the top. This Century 21 shot from the Space Needle includes bottom-right a reveal of the northeast corner of Nob Hill Avenue and Harrison Street, the subject of our second fair-festival repeat. The keen eye may also find the Belgian Pancake feeder while rolling its way to the upper-right.
The promised short history of the corner.
As is his revealing and appealing custom, Jean has taken other looks from his prospect. This one aims west on Republican.

Fair and Festival – No. 4: Late Construction, Looking south on 5th Ave. through Republican Street.


Ron Edge's sandwich of a Century 21 features map with a ca.2007 shot from space.
Frank Shaw's record of Century 21 construction looking south on 5th Avenue to/thru its intersection with Republican Street.
Jean's repeat. (A very few of the "nows" in this fair-festival project were not recorded by Jean and/or his big ten foot pole, so we establish now the practice of attribution. Jean shot this.

Fair and Festival – No. 2: Looking West on Thomas St. ca. 1955

This comparison jumps ahead – or behind –  to a future Seattle Center scene when there was a yet no Space Needle nor Breezeway nor Monorail, but only the first inklings that these civic acres might be overhauled for all humankind and their most recent and magnificent inventions; that is, for a worlds fair.   The approximate date here is 1955, and the view looks west on Thomas Street past a short row of houses and sheds where a ramp to the monorail would be built.  A block away Thomas intersects with Nob Hill Avenue and then continues west beside the south facade of the Armory, aka Food Circus, aka Center House.  (Click TWICE to enlarge)

TOMORROW – Another look at the Monorail ramp –  across it to the base of the Space Needle.