Category Archives: Seattle Now and Then

Seattle Now & Then: The USS Constitution, 1933

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN1: The three-masted USS Constitution (far center) sails in Elliott Bay in mid-1933 as part of a three-year tour of 76 ports. This west-facing view looks down Yesler Way from the Smith Tower. Skylights are visible on the Pioneer Building, as is (bottom center) the “Seattle” top of the sign for the old Seattle Hotel, site of today’s sinking-ship parking garage. Flaws at right could indicate the photo was taken inside a window. (University of Washington Special Collections)
NOW1: This view, from midway up the Smith Tower, matches the vantage of the 1933 photo. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in The Seattle Times online on Dec. 1, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Dec. 4, 2022

Treasure and mystery set sail in yard-sale images from 1933
By Clay Eals

When unexpected photographic treasures arise, sometimes they bear more than a modicum of mystery.

John Gerhard, a retired Boeing intellectual-property manager who lives in West Seattle, went on one of his usual prowls last summer, combing yard sales for finds. On a table at a house bordering Admiral Way, spilling out of an envelope was a set of 12 thin items, tiny and shiny.

They were medium-format photo negatives from long ago. Squinting while holding each one skyward, he discovered a negative with an airborne perspective of downtown and boat-packed Elliott Bay, backed by the West Seattle peninsula.

Gerhard grinned.

The seller, Caty Burt, had purchased the negs at a Georgetown sale years earlier but knew nothing about them. Gerhard asked her if he could donate them to University of Washington Special Collections, where he has volunteered for six years and which has a ships collection. Sure, she said.

The images centered on the 1797 warship USS Constitution, better known as Old Ironsides because, while it sank a British vessel during the War of 1812, its thick, oak hull survived a barrage of cannonballs. Restored, it toured 76 ports for three years starting in 1931. Its Seattle visit from May 31 to June 14, 1933, drew an astounding 201,422 visitors. Today, it’s on permanent exhibition at the Boston Naval Shipyard.

Of the 12 negatives, only one had the helicopter view, having been taken from the West Coast’s then-tallest building, the Smith Tower. Seen looking east down Yesler Way, the 2,200-ton, 175-foot, three-masted USS Constitution stands out among fishing boats, tugs, small craft and even a ferry.

THEN2: This image of the stern was John Gerhard’s first clue that the 12 negatives he acquired at a yard sale depicted the U.S. Constitution, aka Old Ironsides, while in Seattle in 1933. (University of Washington Special Collections)

Gerhard had no prior knowledge of the famous frigate. But he got up to speed after spotting, in another of the negatives, the ship’s name on its stern.

NOW2: With an archivist’s white gloves, John Gerhard examines one of the 12 negatives he acquired last summer at a West Seattle yard sale. This one shows the stern of the USS Constitution, which bears its name. (Clay Eals)

Six of the images depict Old Ironsides hosting tours while anchored at Pier 41 (now 91) at Magnolia’s Smith Cove, where cruise ships dock today.

One even reveals, in the distance, the remains of West Seattle’s Luna Park Natatorium, destroyed by fire in 1931.

THEN3: Docked at Pier 41 (now 91) at Magnolia’s Smith Cove, the USS Constitution takes on a lineup of visitors. A total of 201,422 toured the frigate during its two-week stay in Seattle. (University of Washington Special Collections)

But riddles remain: Who took the photos?

The negatives are unmarked. They include four images of a model sailboat. One of them shows a man examining a camera, seemingly about to photograph the model. Did he take the other 11 photos? He’s standing in front of a Spanish-style, stucco home near a bluff. Where was this house?

THEN4: Who is this man, shown with a medium-format camera, possibly about to photograph a model sailboat, and where are the house and front lawn where he is standing? The set of 12 negatives is unlabeled. (University of Washington Special Collections)

Gerhard speculates the guy was an engineer, interested in the mechanics of vessels. Perhaps, like Gerhard, he worked at Boeing?

“There’s a story here,” says Gerhard, a determined sleuth.

Can any of you come aboard with more details?

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Lisa Oberg and John Gerhard for their help with this installment!

No 360-degree video for this week’s installment.

Below are four additional photos, an online scrapbook, further links and eight historical clips from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and Washington Digital Newspapers, that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

With an archivist’s white gloves, John Gerhard examines one of the 12 negatives he acquired last summer at a West Seattle yard sale. This one (see THEN3 above) shows the USS Constitution docked at Smith Cove while visitors queue to climb aboard. (Clay Eals)
Another view of the mysterious model sailboat, with a peek at further clues to the neighborhood. (University of Washington Special Collections)
Another view of visitors lined up to board the USS Constitution at Pier 91 at Magnolia’s Smith Cove  in June 1933. In the background can be seen the remains of the Luna Park Natatorium, destroyed by fire in 1931. (University of Washington Special Collections)
Another image from one of the 12 negatives, this one a total mystery. Where was it taken, by whom and of what relevance is it to the others? (University of Washington Special Collections)
The cover of a USS Constitution scrapbook. Click it to see the full 126-page pdf, available from the USS Constitution Museum website.

Here are links to other websites relating to the USS Constitution:

May 28, 1933, Seattle Times, p2.
May 30, 1933, Seattle Times, p14.
May 30, 1933, Seattle Times, p15.
May 31, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p12.
June 1, 1933, Seattle Times, p1.
June 1, 1933, Seattle Times p11.
June 4, 1933, Seattle Times, p4.
June 15, 1933, Seattle Times, p16.

Seattle Now & Then: Octavia Butler in Lake Forest Park

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THEN1: The Lake Forest Park house that writer Octavia Butler lived in from 1999 to her death in 2006, pictured here in 1958, was built in 1957. (Courtesy Puget Sound Branch, Washington State Archives)
NOW1: Matt Milios stands in front of the house that Octavia Butler owned between 1999 and 2006. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in The Seattle Times online on Nov. 24, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Nov. 27, 2022

Ninety years before Octavia Butler moved in 1999 from sunny Pasadena, California, to Lake Forest Park, 10 miles north of Seattle, then-real-estate developer and future Seattle mayor Ole Hanson (1874-1940) envisioned a neighborhood that would provide an escape from frenetic city life. In a promotional pamphlet, Hanson described an environment removed from “the sordid commercialism of today.”

THEN2: A portrait of Lake Forest Park developer and future Seattle mayor Ole Hanson. Resigning after a brief but eventful 18-month term, Hanson moved to California, where he is recognized as one of the founders of San Clemente. (Seattle Municipal Archives)

In 1909, Seattle was booming. During the first decade of the 20th century, its population had nearly tripled (to 237,194 from 80,671 in 1900) in time to host its first world’s fair, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The Queen City had emerged as a major metropolis, with accompanying growth pains.

Hanson intended that his proposed development provide an antidote to the urban hustle and bustle: “Forget your schemes for a moment; lay aside your business; let the telephone ring; allow your callers to wait in the ante-room; Read — Ponder — and Dream.

Butler could have heeded Hanson’s call when choosing her ideal neighborhood. Her mid-century modern home, built in 1957, nestled within easy walking distance of a notable bookstore, grocery stores and Lake Washington. It also offered a green refuge for the nature-loving writer.

Mike Daly, her across-the-street neighbor, moved into the neighborhood within months of Butler’s arrival. “We got to know Octavia little by little,” he says. “She didn’t have a car, which fit with her environmentalism. Sometimes I’d see her walking home from Albertson’s with two bags of groceries and offer her a ride. ‘I need the exercise,’ she’d say.

NOW4: With a collection of motorcycles, Mike Daly lives directly across the street. An active 74, he recently completed an 11,000-mile ride to every corner of the United States. He recalls Octavia Butler as “a reclusive sweetheart.” (Jean Sherrard)

“We invited her over for dinner on numerous occasions, but she always politely declined. … A great neighbor, very personable but more of a private than a social-type person.”

Deborah Magness of Third Place Books concurred. While Butler attended reading and signing events, she also was a regular customer. “I very clearly recall ringing Octavia up at the cash register,” Magness says, “but between being starstruck and having the feeling she wished to go about her business quietly and anonymously, I did not interact with her at length.”

Susan McMurry, a neighbor several doors north of Butler’s former house, wasn’t aware of her presence in the neighborhood until reading her obituary in local papers. “After she passed, our local book club decided to read her wonderful novel ‘Kindred,’ in which a young Black woman travels through time to the era of slavery. I’m not very well versed in science fiction, but for me Octavia’s books transcend the genre, with their mix of history, philosophy and ethics.”

NOW2: Matt Milios greeted more than 500 trick-or-treaters for Halloween this year. His Christmas decorations are already in place. (Jean Sherrard)

Matt Milios, who owns Butler’s former Lake Forest Park property and has been a devoted reader of science fiction since childhood, was delighted to discover that a favorite author once shared his home. While little trace remains of Butler’s tenure, several times a year ardent fans show up on his doorstep, seeking posthumous connection.

NOW3: Milios gazes out the window of what was once Octavia Butler’s study. (Jean Sherrard)

A nudge from the past arrived in Milios’s mailbox last summer. In a letter addressed to Butler, sent 16 years after her death, a local bank sought overdue payment for a safety deposit box. Milios forwarded the request to her California estate managers, who paid the time-traveling debt.

Seattle Now & Then: nursery site for seven decades, 1958

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THEN1: Looking southeast, this 1958 view of 2939 Madison St. shows Clifton’s Nursery and Garden Store. State records indicate that no building stood here before that year, but two mid-1970 newspaper articles reported that owner Hubert Clifton had operated his business there since 1951. (Puget Sound Branch, Washington State Archives)
NOW1: (From right) owner Alison Greene, former owner Steve Magley and Save Madison Valley board member Tony Hacker join longtime staff and supporters of City People’s Garden Store re-create the 1958 view of this nursery site. The rest of those pictured (from right): Kate Allen, Rolland Hiebert, Vivian Ares, Ann Wyman, Anne Janisse, Beth Farrow, Jeff Hedgepeth, Sarah Trethewey, Maija Zageris, Heather Cullen Knapp, Kyra Butzel, Susan Denning, Rose Palmer Miess, Mairead Galloway, Bob Horan, Doug McDonnal, Tristen Sallande, Elizabeth Donahue, Jodi Jaecks, John Victor, Lisa Crabtree, Kathleen Glasman, Deb Woodland, Jordan Colvard, Dee Wyman, Virginia Wyman and Eva Jensen. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in The Seattle Times online on Nov. 17, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Nov. 20, 2022

Longtime ‘sanctuary’ nursery to be uprooted by six-floor complex
By Clay Eals

On Thanksgiving, many of us will gather with family and friends to share a cornucopia of cuisine, including garden greens and other symbols of nature’s bounty.

Now instead of the food, envision a mammoth building dropped onto the table. With this unwieldy centerpiece, you couldn’t see or talk with many of your fellow guests. You might even be shocked enough to wonder why you pulled up a chair in the first place.

That’s how some locals feel about a retail-residential project slated at 2939 E. Madison St. in the Madison Valley. The new structure — six floors, 87 market-rate apartments and 140 parking stalls with a ground-level supermarket — would end the site’s seven-decade run as a single-floor hub that plant fans deem an oasis crucial to Seattle’s psyche.

THEN2: This snapshot captures the 1988 transition between Lynn’s Garden Center and City People’s Garden Store. (Courtesy City People’s Garden Store)

The lowland setting is near Washington Park Arboretum and Broadmoor Golf Club and its gated community. Clifton’s Nursery and Garden Store (owner Hubert Clifton) operated at the site starting in 1951, succeeded by Lynn’s Garden Center (owner Lynn Meyer) in 1981. City People’s Garden Center took over in 1988.

Alison Greene, City People’s owner, says garden lovers converge there from all over Seattle and out of town. “It’s like a park, it’s filled with beauty, and it’s inspiring,” she says. “One customer told me, ‘This is my church, my safe place.’ In this crazy world we live in, it’s a sanctuary.”

NOW2: Jodi Jaecks peruses the City People’s Garden Store nursery. (Jean Sherrard)

“Gardening brings people a lot of joy. It’s not like buying a washing machine,” adds Steve Magley, City People’s owner from 1990 to 2016. “Plants bring people satisfaction on a different level.”

Velmeir Companies, the developer, hasn’t responded to requests for comment on the project. But directly across the busy arterial, City People’s already faces the four-floor Madison Lofts, built in 2008, which only furthers fears of a concrete canyon.

NOW3: Through the entry of the City People’s nursery and across Madison Street stands four-floor Madison Lofts, built in 2008. (Jean Sherrard)

The symbolism of losing a growing, nurturing, life-giving enterprise is not lost on Save Madison Valley, a nonprofit that opposed the project for years and is dismayed that Seattle approved a master-use permit for it in June. Tony Hacker, on the group’s board, laments the pending demise of a neighborhood cornerstone.

Greene has searched in vain for a new site within the city. She anticipates having to shut down at year’s end, with her annual Christmas-tree sale a bittersweet finale, but she hopes for an extension.

“Where is the soul of Seattle going?” she asks. “Current zoning doesn’t take into account a business like ours that creates community, and we seem to be forgotten in the name of maximizing profit. It would be really tragic if this had to close forever.”

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Alison Greene for her help with this installment!

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photos, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column.

Below are 10 additional photos and 24 historical clips from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and Washington Digital Newspapers, that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Lynn’s Garden Center, 1988. (Courtesy City People’s Garden Store)
Lynn’s Garden Center, in transition to City People’s Garden Store, 1988. (Courtesy City People’s Garden Store)
Under construction: City People’s Garden Store, 1988. (Courtesy City People’s Garden Store)
City People’s Garden Store opens, 1988. (Courtesy City People’s Garden Store)
New owner Steve Magley with Bess Bronstein at City People’s Garden Store, 1990. (Courtesy City People’s Garden Store)
The entrance today to City People’s Garden Store’s outdoor nursery. (Jean Sherrard)
A glass red rose presides in the City People’s Garden Store nursery. (Jean Sherrard)
Artwork enhances a shrubbery display at the City People’s Garden Store nursery. (Jean Sherrard)
Former owner Steve Magley peruses the City People’s Garden Store nursery. (Jean Sherrard)
Kathleen Glasman, City People’s Garden Store nursery manager, arranges plants. (Jean Sherrard)
Dec. 13, 1958, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p20.
Dec. 18, 1960, Seattle Times, p21.
Feb. 11, 1962, Seattle Times, p35.
Dec. 20, 1962, Seattle Times, p49.
Sept. 27, 1963, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p7.
Oct. 24, 1964, Seattle Times, p20.
Sept. 10, 1965, Seattle Times, p13.
Sept. 26, 1974, Seattle Times, p44.
Nov. 2, 1975, Seattle Times, p55.
Sept. 26, 1976, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p20.
Jan. 13, 1977, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p7.
Jan. 13, 1977, Seattle Times, p14.
Jan. 14, 1977, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p42.
Jan. 26, 1979, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p3.
Jan. 26, 1979, Seattle Times, p23.
Oct. 7, 1979, Seattle Times, p163.
March 12, 1981, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p15, Emmett Watson column.
Oct. 14, 1981, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p9.
Oct. 13, 1981, Seattle Times, p50.
Jan. 8, 1982, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p51.
Aug. 14, 1983, Seattle Times, p201.
Aug. 16, 1989, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p32.
Sept. 4, 1982, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p91.
Oct. 20, 1996, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p68.

Seattle Now & Then: Original Red Robin, 1969

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THEN1: This north-facing view from 1969 by Paul Gillingham, today a retired trial lawyer and Ravenna resident, shows Sam’s Red Robin Tavern at 3272 Fuhrman Ave. E. near the south end of University Bridge. Heidelberg and Budweiser boxes and a beer keg lie next to a now-rare telephone booth. Seattle Times restaurant columnist John Hinterberger cracked, “In the old Robin, if they’d passed a pool cue around, someone would have smoked it.” (Paul Gillingham, courtesy Ron Edge)
THEN2: In a 1937 view looking northeast, the building that became the Red Robin Tavern five years later operates as all-night Bee’s Corner Cafe, advertising Pabst Blue Ribbon and (painted out) Heidelberg beer. (Puget Sound Branch, Washington State Archives)
THEN3: In this northeast-facing view, the Red Robin Tavern stands in April 1970 after Gerry Kingen purchased and expanded it, posting a cartoon logo near the door. Kingen converted it to what he termed an “emporium” for dozens of hamburger styles. “I basically created a grownup’s McDonalds,” he recalled in a 2010 Seattle Times interview. (Puget Sound Branch, Washington State Archives)
NOW: Two men carry away a food order from the three-floor Robin’s Nest retail-residential complex on the initial Red Robin site, in a wider north-facing view that takes in part of the mid-1960s Interstate 5 Ship Canal Bridge to the west (left). The building houses 61 apartments and a ground-floor pizzeria. A protruding, decorative bird signals the site’s history. (Clay Eals)

Published in The Seattle Times online on Nov. 10, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Nov. 13, 2022

Legendary Red Robin chain arose from a tiny site near a bridge

By Clay Eals

It’s a behemoth restaurant chain with 546 outlets in 44 states and British Columbia, known for lighthearted TV commercials that end with a resonant voiceover chorus of “Yummm!”

However, the enterprise reportedly took root in 1916 as a tiny grocery perched above Portage Bay just a stone’s toss from the south end of University Bridge. By 1926, it was an eatery. Seattle Times classified ads reflect a tenuous tenure:

  • July 1, 1926: “HAMBURGER, waffles: busy corner; rent $30.”
  • March 31, 1929: “FOR SALE — Cheap, lunchroom; rent $30 per month. Owner leaving town. Come to see it Monday if you want a bargain.”
  • Jan. 7, 1930: “PARTNER — Established café; small investment; new taxi stand; must stay open nights. Too long hours for one.”

Ads and Polk directory listings reference a succession of 12 proprietors and a bevy of business names for the property at 3272 Furhman Ave. E. It was the Zimmerman Cafe, the Bridge Cafe, Bee’s Corner Cafe, Ann’s Corner Cafe and, starting in 1942, the Red Robin Tavern. That name stuck.

Legend has it that in the 1940s the watering hole’s avian appellation originated from tavern-keeper Samuel Caston, whose barbershop quartet warbled the 1926 hit “When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along)” and who added “Sam’s” to the name for good measure. But Polk listings indicate that Caston assumed ownership later, in 1953. No matter. Legends can befit a storied sudshouse.

Seattle Freeway postcard, mid-1960s, with Red Robin indicated by red circle.

By the late 1960s, the Robin, as it was known, was a Bohemian hangout, says Paul Gillingham, then a University of Washington philosophy and history student, folksinger and motorcyclist. “Strictly a tavern,” offering popcorn and “horrible” Polish sausages as the only food, the 1,500-square-foot pub bulged with students, Gillingham says. Some “would take bets on who would jump off the bridge.”

One morning in 1969, Gillingham vroomed by and photographed the dilapidated saloon, its awning ragged and sagging. That year, Caston sold the Robin to fledgling Seattle restaurateur Gerry Kingen, triggering a final-night, legendarily rowdy free-for-all.

Kingen expanded the Robin, adding a huge deck, and dropped “Sam’s” from its name. Later, he transformed it into a hamburger “emporium” and opened namesakes citywide. Starting in 1985, the chain went to outside interests that eventually grew Red Robin into a national presence. The initial eatery closed in 2010 and was razed in 2014, yielding to a three-floor retail-residential complex dubbed the Robin’s Nest.

Today you can find a Red Robin in 31 Washington cities. Perhaps fittingly, if sadly, only one remains in Seattle, at Northgate, five miles from the original site.

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Ron Edge and Joe Bopp for their help with this installment!

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photos, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column.

Below is a collage of 8 images of the Red Robin site from 2007 to 2019, plus 30 historical clips from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and Washington Digital Newspapers, that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

A collage of eight Google Maps images of the Red Robin site from 2007 to 2019.
July 1, 1926, Seattle Times, p34.
March 31, 1929, Seattle Times, p51.
Jan. 7, 1930, Seattle Times, p24.
Sept. 1, 1934, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p22.
Oct. 31, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p4.
July 21, 1942, Seattle Times, p21.
June 3, 1942, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p23.
Feb. 18, 1943, Seattle Times, p34.
Dec. 7, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p1.
Feb. 28, 1965, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p23.
March 25, 1967, Seattle Times, p2.
March 27, 1970, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p14.
April 12, 1970, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p40.
May 23, 1970, Seattle Times, p1, John Hinterberger.
May 25, 1970, Seattle Times, p24.
June 12, 1974, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p4.
Aug. 19, 1977, Seattle Times, p18.
Jan. 5, 1978, Seattle Times, p19.
Sept. 10, 1978, Seattle Times, p166.
Dec. 27, 1978, Seattle Times, p84.
Oct. 5, 1979, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p60.
Dec. 15, 1979, Seattle Times, p11.
Feb. 3, 1980, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p33.
June 22, 1980, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p28.
Feb. 1, 1981, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p75.
June 23, 1985, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p130.
May 11, 1986, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p89.
Aug. 8, 1991, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p25.
Jan. 10, 1982, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p64.
March 3, 2010, Seattle Times blog.

Seattle Now & Then: Ravenna corner, 1921

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THEN1: A taxi and likely its driver dominate this depiction of the northeast corner of Ravenna Avenue Northeast and Northeast 65th Street, likely in 1921. The four-cylinder touring car is a 1917 Studebaker Series 18 Model SF. The building behind it has, since 1920, housed a pharmacy, a cleaners, cooperatives and the King County branch of the National Organization for Women (NOW). (Courtesy Peter Blecha)
NOW: Positioned in front of McCarthy & Schiering Wine Merchants are (left) Jay Schiering, former co-owner, and Gene Yeldon, current managing central partner. Historian Peter Blecha, former employee of the wine shop, is behind his 2013 Honda Fit, which stands in for the 1917 Studebaker. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in The Seattle Times online on Nov. 3, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Nov. 6, 2022

Like fine wine, this Ravenna Avenue anchor has aged well
By Clay Eals

Do you yearn to travel in time — say, to a century ago? For the trip, you might hail this jaunty, four-cylinder touring car, a 1917 Studebaker Series 18 Model SF.

The gent standing by is likely the taxi’s driver. His territory, indicated on the windshield, was Cowen Park, west of Ravenna Ravine in northeast Seattle. If we assume the city license (left of the driver’s right shoulder) is current, you likely would be stepping into the year 1921.

We look almost due east across Ravenna Avenue at its intersection with 65th Street, just out of frame at right, which was Seattle’s northern boundary at this crossroads until the mid-1940s.

Beyond the taxi stands a charming, two-floor brick façade built in 1920. Topped by an apartment, its street-level retail space over the years supplied a range of what broadly could be called apothecary assistance, medicinal and non-.

In its earliest days, the building housed Ravenna Pharmacy, assuredly a center for prescriptions, but also general-store dalliances such as locally made Stokes Ice Cream (“supremely good”) and wind-driven whirligigs, both promoted in the front window.

THEN2: A June 2, 1927, ad in the Seattle Times promotes Calport wine grape tonic. Ravenna Pharmacy was one of more than 200 businesses named below the ad as carrying the product. (Seattle Times online archive)

The pharmacy signed on to newspaper ads offering free enticements, from Kotex sanitary pads (“each sample wrapped in plain paper”) to Gillette safety razors (“complete with blade”). Shoppers also could find Sunset dye (“58 fashionable shades, 22 standard colors”), Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral (a fix for coughs or colds “in a day or so” or money back) and Calport wine grape tonic (“brings to a tired world tingling, vibrant force”).

It also served as a polling place for elections, a meeting site for the Masonic-based Social Club of the Seattle Court (Order of Amaranth) and a hub for free tickets to see Independence Day fireworks at nearby University of Washington Stadium.

In 1937, the pharmacy became Monsen Cleaners and Self Service Laundry, which in the early 1960s gave way to Car-Tel TV Radio (featuring the Philco Cool Chassis TV “with 82-channel VHR-UHF tuning”), then Monsen’s Ivory Jade Collectors.

In the mid-1970s, Puget Mercantile, an adjunct of today’s PCC Community Markets, moved in. Also hosting speakers and gatherings there were King County NOW (National Organization for Women, promoting the Equal Rights Amendment, still unratified today) and the North End Housing Cooperative.

The edifice assumed its most enduring identity in 1980, as an award-winning wine shop that adopted the name of owners McCarthy & Schiering and continues today under new owners who kept the appellation.

In a city bursting with redeveloped business corners, such a mainstay anchor earns esteem. You might say it’s part of the cure for what ails you.

SIDE NOTE

Did any of you wonder about the little vehicle at the left side of our main “Then” photo? Reader Bob Bernstein did. And we have an answer from our automotive expert, Bob Carney:

Detail from the left side of our main “Then” photo.

“It’s probably a home-built version of a ‘speedster,’ which was an early version of a hot rod in the 1910s and 1920s. You remove the body and fenders and add a big gas tank and bucket seats, and you then have your personal version of a Mercer Raceabout or Stutz Bearcat at a fraction of the cost. Most were based on the Ford Model T, but any car could be the basis for a speedster. The one in the photo looks too big to be a Ford, and also has right-hand steering, which the Model T did not have. I think the wheels shown toward the front of the little car are not part of it, but rather leaning against it. Not sure why.”

Thanks, Bob (both of you)!

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Peter Blecha for his help with this installment!

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photos, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column.

Below are 43 historical clips from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and Washington Digital Newspapers, that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Oct. 22, 1903, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p6.
Feb. 7, 1904, Seattle Times, p68.
July 29, 1920, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p11.
Dec. 3, 1920, Seattle Times, p8.
Sept. 12, 1920, Seattle Times p9.
June 9, 1922, Seattle Times, p12.
Dec. 15, 1922, Seattle Times, p26.
June 16, 1922, Seattle Times, p12.
June 23, 1924, Seattle Times, p22.
Sept. 7, 1924, Seattle Times, p28.
Dec. 7, 1924, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p74.
June 19, 1926, Seattle Times, p17.
March 11, 1928, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p87.
April 24, 1928, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p11.
March 14, 1928, Seattle Times, p15.
June 24, 1928, Seattle Times, p1.
June 24, 1928, Seattle Times, p8.
Jan. 21, 1929, Seattle Times, p30.
Nov. 7, 1937, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p58.
Nov. 7, 1937, Seattle Times, p30.
Feb. 22, 1942, Seattle Times, p34.
Aug. 4, 1960, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p7.
Aug. 5, 1960, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p11.
Aug. 4, 1960, Seattle Times, p23.
Jan. 15, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p24.
April 3, 1966, Seattle Times, p70.
Feb. 5, 1974, Seattle Times, p27.
July 27, 1974, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p24.
Aug. 9, 1974, Seattle Times, p42.
Nov. 20, 1975, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p32.
May 2, 1976, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p28.
Sept. 3, 1976, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p37.
May 12, 1976, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p45.
Oct. 1, 1976, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p44.
March 18, 1977, Seattle Times, p16.
Feb. 10, 1977, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p3.
April 22, 1977, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p42.
Sept. 18, 1977, Seattle Times, p82.
March 18, 1979, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p56.
March 19, 1980, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p47.
Oct. 14, 1979, Seattle Times, p154.
March 29, 1980, Seattle Times, p18.
Jan. 5, 1982, Seattle Times, p43.
Aug. 8, 1984, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p33.
Dec. 6, 1987, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p33.

Seattle Now & Then: The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, 1936

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Newly constructed concrete ponds teem with Green River hatchlings. Nets soon were erected to protect the ponds from scavengers. This 1936 photo, looking southwest, was taken from the upper floors of Issaquah’s Myrtle Masonic Lodge, built in 1914. (Courtesy Issaquah Salmon Hatchery)
NOW1: The ponds, reconstructed in 1981, are completely covered with protective netting. Standing in the foreground are (from left) Darin Combs and Travis Burnett, state Department of Fish and Wildlife hatchery specialists; Robin Kelley, executive director of Friends of Issaquah Hatchery (FISH); Alex Sindelar and J.J. Swennumson, hatchery specialists. A group of touring students can be glimpsed at upper right. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in The Seattle Times online on Oct. 27, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Oct. 30, 2022

As young vampires, ghouls and superheroes prowl our neighborhoods cadging for candy this Halloween, actual monsters roam the deeps — and the shallows.

Hideously transmogrified, they struggle upstream past the banks of Pacific Northwest lakes, rivers and streams in an intricate and terrifying water ballet.

While on the hunt for ghost stories suitable for this shivery season, I thumbed through regional reports of the supernatural, from a haunted Georgetown mansion to the spooky lower level of the Pike Place Market, but each tale seemed more trick than treat.

But I caught a break investigating a potential “Then” photo at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery when serendipity inspired a question.

“Know any scary stories about fish?” I asked hatchery specialist J.J. Swennumson.

Hatchery specialist J.J. Swennumsen sorts Coho hatchlings. “This is the job I was born to do,” he says.

“Soos Creek Hatchery,” J.J. said, referencing an Auburn facility. “That place was super freaky.”

The reputedly haunted Soos Creek Hatchery. These spooky old structures have mostly been replaced by spanking new ones.

Mysterious, dead-of-night music and an apparition named Homer made regular appearances. After the hatchery’s eerie old building was replaced, however, the spooks fell silent.

“But,” J.J. added impishly with a twinkle, “we’ve got zombies.”

Out of dozens of state, federal and tribal hatcheries, Issaquah with 250,000 annual visitors is our state’s most popular. Built in 1936 by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration, the facility aimed to restore historic salmon runs to Issaquah Creek, devastated by decades of coal mining and logging.

The hatchery’s first salmon stock, borrowed from nearby Green River, was released into the creek to general rejoicing, followed by decades of activity.

We’ll get to J.J.’s zombies, but if you have forgotten your salmonid factoids, here’s a quick refresher:

For at least two million years, Pacific salmon have flourished in our cold mountain rivers and streams. From freshwater spawning beds, hatchlings eventually head downstream to the ocean where, after several years of feeding and growth, they chart a course for home.

In what marine biologists describe as one of nature’s most remarkable mysteries, migrating salmon take cues from the Earth’s geomagnetic field to traverse thousands of miles of saltwater and arrive at their natal river’s mouth. Upon entering fresh water, a sense of smell thousands of times more sensitive than a bloodhound’s guides the fish to their original spawning grounds.

A salmon leaps out of the creek, seeking entry to the hatchery.

With the change in salinity, however, they stop feeding entirely. Their once-sleek silver bodies alter color and shape as their internal organs, save those charged with reproduction, begin to fail.

A mottled “zombie” salmon swims in Issaquah Creek, skin scraped away, lips sheared off.

Battered, scarred, scarcely alive, these “zombie” salmon finally arrive home to spawn a next generation. But their contribution doesn’t end there. Their decaying bodies, strewn along riverbanks, provide autumnal protein for wildlife and nitrogen-rich fertilizer for surrounding trees.

A female mallard duck feasts on salmon remains in Issaquah Creek.

In other words, tricks and treats!

WEB EXTRAS

A few more photos of the hatchery and Issaquah creek below. Also, check out our 360 video featuring a visit to the hatchery.

J.J. dips a net into the adult tank where returning salmon throng
The adult tank filled with returning chinook
Issaquah Creek flows outside the hatchery walls. Gulls and ducks prowl in search of salmon sushi.
A gull watches “zombie” salmon swim past
J.J. tosses a salmon carcass into the creek where it will feed and fertilize

Seattle Now & Then: Italian villa, 1930s

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN1: In 1952, then-17-year-old Virginia Cettolin perches in what she and her five siblings called the “wonder tree” (a Magnolia) in front of her childhood home at 4022 32nd Ave. S.W. that took her father 13 years to finish, starting in 1926. “How many hours we spent in our wonderful tree,” Virginia says. “It was an airplane, a stagecoach. Even the dog went up in the tree.” (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
NOW1: Virginia Cettolin, visiting from her present home in Blaine, stands before the same tree today. Her mom and dad lived in the house until their deaths in 1966 and 1969, respectively. (Clay Eals)

Published in The Seattle Times online on Oct.20, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Oct. 23, 2022

‘A dream to do good’ inspired steelworker to build Italian villa
By Clay Eals

The phrase “hidden in plain sight” could have originated with the Cettolin house in West Seattle.

Nestled along the unpretentious, extended block of 32nd Avenue between the Fauntleroy Expressway (opened in 1965) and Nucor Steel (opened in 1905 as Seattle Steel), the dwelling, upon further examination, looks to be a villa straight from Italy.

Which was the intention. It was created by Fausto Urbano Cettolin (sett-oh-LEEN), who came to the United States in 1913 from the northern Italian town of Pianzano. In 1921, he married Erma Dina Monti, also a 1913 newcomer, arriving from Italy’s coastal city of Livorno.

THEN2: The Cettolin house in progress, without a finished front porch, in a battered late 1930s print. (Puget Sound Brnach, Washington State Archives, courtesy Marilyn Kennell)

In 1926, the industrious Fausto, who worked in the steel mill’s open hearth, began giving shape to a vision. “My father had a great love for my mother. That’s why he built the house,” says Virginia Cettolin, youngest of their six children. (Her sister Emma Dina Wislocker is the only other living sibling.) The project took 13 years.

THEN3: Fausto Cettolin works on his house’s brick foundation, a project that began in 1926. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)

“It was all in his head. He never had a plan as far as we knew,” says Virginia, an 87-year-old retired teacher and Dominican nun, visiting the three-story house from the Washington border town of Blaine. “I think it was just in him to create a family memory.”

Fausto’s pride materialized in the house’s slender stature, terrazzo floors, leaded windows and the arches and columns of its front porch, which also bears a colorful, if weathered, inlay circled by the words “Cettolin Autore” (Italian for “author”).

NOW2: Backed by the porch of her childhood home, Virginia Cettolin is flanked by owners Alan McMurray and Marilyn Kennell. (Clay Eals)

Stewarding the house are Marilyn Kennell, a former yoga teacher, and Alan McMurray, a cabinetry engineer, owners since 2014. The charm of the light-filled home brings tears to Kennell’s eyes: “It’s got such a good feeling to it.” Adds McMurray, “There’s nothing like it around.”

Welcoming Virginia Cettolin to their home is part of the couple’s dogged effort to gather data to support a Seattle landmark nomination they have commissioned.

NOW3: The Cettolin house (shaded, far right) stands on 32nd Avenue Southwest, possibly due for demolition in Sound Transit’s plan for the West Seattle light-rail extension. (Clay Eals)

While they would vouch for preserving the home in any event, the two hope landmark status would help persuade Sound Transit not to threaten their neighborhood by constructing its West Seattle light-rail extension through their street. The light-rail decision could come in 2023.

THEN4: The Cettolin house, 1944. (Puget Sound Branch, Washington State Archives, courtesy Marilyn Kennell)

In early years, the Cettolin house stood alone on three lots, with the Pigeon Point bluff, south Seattle and downtown as a stunning backdrop. Today, with subdivisions by later owners, the home is hemmed in, and the growth of greenery makes it nearly hidden and easy to miss.

NOW4: In this east-facing view, the Cettolin house stands at far right, with West Seattle’s Pigeon Point in the distance. (Clay Eals)

But not for Virginia Cettolin: “It’s the fulfillment of an immigrant, and to me, that’s why it’s very important. It truly shows from nothing to something in America. You come with a dream to do good in America.”

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to Deb Barker and especially Virginia Cettolin, Marilyn Kennell and Alan McMurray for their help with this installment!

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photos, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column.

Below are 35 additional photos and 26 historical clips from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and Washington Digital Newspapers, that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Fausto and Erma Cettolin. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Erma and Fausto Cettolin in younger years. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Erma and Fausto Cettolin. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Fausto Cettolin. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Erma Cettolin in back garden, 1950. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Erma Cettolin in garden, 1950. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
June 5, 1953, Erma Cettolin in garden. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Virginia (Sister Cabrini) between parents Erma and Fausto Cettolin with nun, August 1960.
Monkey tree in Cettolin yard. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
August 1961 (from left): Marian (Fausto Jr.’s ex-wife), Erma and Sister Olive. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Steps at side of Cettolin house. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
(From left) Erma Cettolin with dog Blackie and friends Eugene and Kathy Gallanetti. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Cettolin children on front porch (clockwise from top left) Fausto Jr., Gloria, Norma and Ricardo. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Erma Cettolin. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Norma Cettolin next to the family home. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Fausto Cettolin at work. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Fausto Cettolin with daughters Norma (left) and Gloria. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
(From left) Gloria, Norma and Ricardo Cettolin and their house. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
The rear of the house under construction. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Erma and Fausto Cettolin. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Cettolin children (from left): Gloria, Fausto Jr., Norma and Ricardo. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Cettolin children (from left): Ricardo, Gloria and Norma.. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Erma Cettolin (third from left) and six children (from left): Norma, Erma, Virginia, Gloria, Ricardo (with violin) and Fausto Jr. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
The Cettolin lily garden. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
The rear of the Cettolin house. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Virginia Cettolin in the garden. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
The Cettolin garden. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Two girls hide in the garden at the side of the Cettolin house. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Side of Cettolin house. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
(From left) Erma and Virginia Cettolin sit in a carved shrub next to the family house. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Erma Cettolin in the back of the family home. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Cettolin lily garden. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
Erma and Fausto Cettolin with nun, August 1960.
In later years, a gathering of the Cettolin siblings (from left): Erma, Norma, Gloria, Ricardo, Virgini and Fausto Jr. (Courtesy Virginia Cettolin)
A map of the Cettolin house and property. (Virginia Cettolin)
The wooden form Fausto Cettolin used to create the house’s columns. (Courtesy Marilyn Kennell)
Fausto Cettolin’s name, with “Autore” (author) embedded in the porch. (Clay Eals)
Dec. 2, 1926, Seattle Times, p24.
Aug. 17, 1929, Seattle Times, p13.
Jan. 13, 1935, Seattle Times, p34.
Nov. 30, 1933, Seattle Times, p25.
Sept. 27, 1935, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p3.
Sept. 27, 1935, Seattle Times, p3.
July 11, 1949, Seattle Times, p13.
Feb. 1, 1951, Seattle Times, p23.
Dec. 5, 1950, Seattle Times, p6.
Oct. 29, 1951, Seattle Times, p29.
Feb. 2, 1952, Seattle Times, p32.
Sept. 11, 1952, Seattle Times, p22.
July 3, 1954, Seattle Times, p4.
March 29, 1959, Seattle Times, p47.
March 9, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p27.
April 5, 1963, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p29.
April 4, 1963, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p36.
July 12, 1966, Seattle Times, p8.
Aug. 1, 1966, Seattle Times, p26.
Aug. 1, 1966, Seattle Times, p26.
Aug. 2, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p11.
April 1, 1969, Seattle Times, p32.
April 20, 1969, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p68.
April 17, 1991, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p45.
March 29, 1992, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p87.
May 1, 1994, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p70.

 

Seattle Now & Then: Piper on Front Street, 1878

THEN1: A.W. Piper with son, Walter, and dog, Jack, pose on Front Street and Madison circa 1878. The ghostly apparition of another couple owes to a long camera exposure. Henry Yesler’s wharf and mill can be glimpsed between the looming Woodward Grain House (center right) and a section of a balcony (far right) attached to the Pontius Building, where Seattle’s great fire would begin a decade later. (Peterson Bros. Photographers, courtesy Seattle Public LIbrary)
NOW: A camera mounted on a 22-foot extension pole looking south captures two federal buildings and a sidewalk under construction at the corner of First (formerly Front) and Madison. The young family stands very near A.W. Piper’s location in the “Then” photo. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in The Seattle Times online on Oct. 13, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Oct. 16, 2022

Bavarian-born Andrew Piper brought sweet treats to 1870s Seattle
By Jean Sherrard

“I scream! You scream! We all scream if we don’t get Piper’s ice cream!”

This advertisement, from May 1874 in the Puget Sound Dispatch, may be the first recorded version of the ever popular ice-cream lovers’ ditty. It was the brainchild of beloved Seattle confectioner, baker, ice-cream purveyor and socialist city-council member Andrew W. Piper.

At age 19, the Bavarian-born Piper had joined the 1848 German revolution, an expression of social unrest sweeping Europe. After its defeat, he fled to the United States to avoid political persecution.

After 20 years in San Francisco, and seeking greener, less-populated pastures, Piper arrived in Seattle in 1873, where he opened the Puget Sound Candy Manufactory, our region’s first candy shop. His large family, including wife Wilhelmina, three daughters and six sons, was welcomed by a community eager for sweets and treats.

Several years of bitterly cold winters provided more opportunities for the ambitious candy man. Hacking great blocks of ice from frozen Lake Union, Piper built the city’s first commercial icehouse. The summertime addition of ice cream to an already booming confectionary and bakery business enhanced his profits and popularity.

THEN: Waring’s Pennsylvanians, a popular band of the 1920s, are often credited with originating this slogan with their 1925 foxtrot. A.W. Piper got there earlier, indicated by this ad in the May 1874 Puget Sound Dispatch. (Washington Digital Newspapers)

His capacious First Hill mansion and a Puget Sound shoreline homestead (today located in northwest Seattle’s Carkeek Park) only confirmed his business acumen.

THEN : A.W. Piper in 1883. The popular baker advertised that his friend Henry Yesler’s health and longevity could be credited to consumption of his German “milk bread.” (Courtesy Seattle Public Library)

The heavily accented German also was an artist. His sketches, paintings and sculptures were widely admired. In his spare time, he served as a scene painter to local theaters.

Our “Then” photo features a portrait of Piper in his prime. Posing with his 6-year-old son, Walter, and their dog, Jack, Piper pauses at the southeast corner of Front Street (today’s First Avenue) and Madison circa 1878.

Perched on the balcony of Maddock drugstore, the Peterson Brothers photographer also captured a view of Seattle’s first major public work, completed in 1877: the regrading of a stump-filled, uneven pathway into smoothly graded Front Street, elevated on timbers above the Elliott Bay tideline.

Piper’s businesses thrived until Seattle’s great fire of 1889. His shop and the Manufactory, along with 25 downtown city blocks, were reduced to ashes. Piper did not reopen until two-and-a-half years later, in November 1891. Increasing competition and a fragile economy hobbled his prospects.

Upon his death in 1904, his close friend, journalist and historian Thomas Prosch, offered an affectionate eulogy. Piper was “invaluable … always able and never failed,” someone of great kindness whom “everybody regarded as a friend.”

Today, the eponymous Piper’s Creek, Piper Canyon and restored Piper’s Orchard in Carkeek Park mark the only extant namesakes of this pioneer. The orchard’s apples reportedly filled his scrumptious strudel.

WEB EXTRAS

We can’t find an earlier version of “I Scream You Scream” than Piper’s from 1874. Here’s a link to Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians and their hit song from the 1920s:

Paul Dorpat’s “Now & Then” column on the same “Then” photo, published Oct. 28, 1984, in the Seattle Times.

Stay tuned for our 360 video narrated by Jean.

Seattle Now & Then: 1966 Seattle Angels win Coast League championship

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN1: Edo Vanni, former Seattle Rainiers outfielder and, in 1966, general manager of the Pacific Coast League-topping Seattle Angels, stands on the ledge of the team’s sky-high promotional sign at Sicks’ Stadium along Rainier Avenue South north of South McClellan Street. (David Eskenazi Collection)
NOW: Former 1966 SeAngels batboy George Bianchi (left) and part-time catcher John Olerud (with wife Lynda) mimic Edo Vanni’s “Then” pose next to a weathered sign at Rainier and McClellan that memorializes Sick’s Stadium (later Sicks’ Stadium). The SeAngels caps and jerseys they are wearing were provided by Seattle baseball historian extraordinaire David Eskenazi. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in The Seattle Times online on Oct. 6, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Oct. 9, 2022

Aided by a Rodriguez, baseball flag last flew over Seattle in 1966
By Clay Eals

Once upon a time, a Seattle baseball team thrived on playoff hope. News stories brimmed with “pennant,” “flag” and “magic numbers” to success.

Sound familiar? Except we’re not talking about the 2022 Mariners. Instead, we salute the last Seattle pro-baseball team to win a championship — the Seattle Angels, who, one step below the majors, topped the Pacific Coast League in 1966.

Based at venerated Sicks’ Stadium (razed in 1979, now the site of a Lowe’s home-improvement store ) and managed by former pitching stalwart Bob Lemon (Hall of Fame, 1976), the team was dubbed the SeAngels by sportswriters to distinguish it from its Los Angeles-based parent club.

THEN3: The 1966 Seattle Angels team photo. Aurelio Rodriguez joined the team later. (David Eskenazi Collection)

Dotting the roster were former and future big-leaguers, including pitchers Jim McGlothlin, Roger Craig and Andy Messersmith and outfielders Jay Johnstone, Al Spangler and Bubba Morton. Veteran third-baseman Felix Torres led the team with 20 home runs and 90 runs batted in. Young first-baseman Charlie Vinson hit 19 homers, with 84 RBI.

THEN2: Official Seattle Angels portrait of Aurelio Rodriguez, who was acquired from the Mexican League in August 1966 and helped spark the Halos to the Pacific Coast League pennant. Note the “Leo” first name. (David Eskenazi Collection)

But firing up the SeAngels in their final weeks was a sensation from the Mexican League, an 18-year-old infielder whose last name matched that of Julio, today’s megawatt M’s star — Aurelio Rodriguez.

In his first game Aug. 18, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound shortstop went three-for-four. The Seattle Times’ headline: “SeAngels Pick Up Three Hits at Airport.” The future longtime major-leaguer played 17 games down the stretch for the ’66 SeAngels, hitting 254 and adding vim to the lineup. He made his first appearance in the majors the next year.

Unlike latter-day M’s luminary Alex Rodriguez, he was not nicknamed A-Rod. In fact, his first name often was shortened to Leo. He didn’t speak English, writers said, so he used sign language and was assisted in conversations by roomie Hector Torres, an infielder. After the SeAngels’ Western Division clincher, the Times’ Gil Lyons noted Rodriguez’ “ear-splitting smile.”

Rodriguez played 17 seasons for seven big-league teams, most notably the Detroit Tigers from 1971 to 1979. He was a strong-armed third-baseman in the majors, winning a Gold Glove in 1976. Rodriguez appeared in 2,017 major-league games and hit 124 homers. Tragically, he died in 2000 at age 52  while walking in Detroit when a car jumped a sidewalk and ran over him.

The 1966 season  became a jolly run for a team that synonym-seeking journalists called the Halos, Cherubs and Seraphs. The nailbiter playoff victory against Tulsa (head-scratchingly far from the Pacific Coast) stretched to all seven games. The SeAngels won the final contest 3-1.

Masterminding 44 player transactions that year was SeAngels general manager Edo Vanni, no stranger to pennants, having starred for the PCL-leading Seattle Rainiers in 1939-1941. “It’s a thrill, I’ll tell you,” Vanni said as the Halos entered their playoff. “If that’s what it takes to get major-league ball here, Seattle is in.”

His words were prescient. The Pilots arrived at Sicks’ for their solitary year in 1969, and one year after the old Kingdome opened in 1976, the M’s sailed into Seattle for good.

The rest is history — to be made.

THEN4: A 1966 Seattle Angels scorebook, which showcases Sicks’ Stadium beneath the superimposed SeAngels’ cartoon mascot Homer. (David Eskenazi Collection)

WEB EXTRAS

Special thanks to the incomparable  Dave Eskenazi for his help with this installment!

To see Jean Sherrard‘s 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect and compare it with the “Then” photos, and to hear this column read aloud by Clay, check out our Seattle Now & Then 360 version of the column.

For a comprehensive look at the SeAngels’ 1966 season, click here.

Below are 23 additional photos and 43 historical clips from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and Washington Digital Newspapers, that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Workers hoist and assemble the Seattle Angels’ “Homer” emblem at Sicks’ Stadium in April 1967 after the team’s championship year. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Billy Murphy Seattle Angels. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Jay Johnstone, Seattle Angels. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Jim Englehart, 1968 Seattle Angels. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Coach Jimmie Reese, Chuck Vinson, Seattle Angels 1966. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Coach Jimmie Reese, Seattle Angels 1967. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels figure by cartoonist Bob Hale. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels Bob Lemon, Sporting News 1966 Minor Manager of the Year award. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels Bubba Morton, 1966 Seattle Angels Silver Glove award. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels bus sign. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels’ new manager Chuck Tanner, club president Bert West and general manager Edo Vanni with championship banner and trophy, December 1966. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Andy Messersmith, Seattle Angels 1966. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Bubba Morton, Seattle Angels 1966. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Al Spangler of Los Angeles Angels at exhibition game vs. SeAngels. August 1965. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels coach Jimmie Reese, 1966. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels’ Jim Campanis scores, Sept. 10, 1966, Sicks’ Stadium. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels Jim Campanis, Bill Kelso and Tom Summers celebrate pennant-winning victory Sept. 13, 1966. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels souvenir “Homer” decal, 1966. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels Bill Kelso, manager Bob Lemon, Jim Campanis and Don Wallace, 1966. (David Eskanazi Collection)
Seattle Angels’ Don Wallace holds ball he caught, initiating a double play to end the seventh game of the playoff vs Tulsa, Sept. 14. 1966, resulting in the PCL pennant. (David Eskenazi Collection)
(From left) Seattle Angels Marty Pattin, Bill Kelso, Jackie Warner, John Olerud, Jorge Rubio, trainer Curt Rayer, Mike White, Bill Spanswick, 1966. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Seattle Angels (from left) Al Spangler, Mike White, Bubba Morton. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Original Stu Moldrem newspaper art, 1965. (David Eskenazi Collection)
Aug. 13, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p9.
Aug. 13, 1966, Seattle Times, p6.
Aug. 19, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p23.
Aug. 19, 1966, Seattle Times, p1.
Aug. 19, 1966, Seattle Times, p55.
Aug. 20, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p13.
Aug. 21, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p35.
Aug. 21, 1966, Seattle Times, p67.
Aug. 22, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p23.
Aug. 22, 1966, Seattle Times, p19.
Aug. 23, 1966, Seattle Times, p33.
Aug. 24, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p28.
Aug. 24, 1966, Seattle Times, p15.
Aug. 25, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p18.
Aug. 25, 1966, Seattle Times, p74.
Sept. 1, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p32.
Sept. 2, 1966, Seattle Times, p17.
Sept. 4, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p17.
Sept. 4, 1966, Seattle Times, p25.
Sept. 5, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p21.
Sept. 6, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p31.
Sept. 6, 1966, Seattle Times, p19.
Sept. 9, 1966, Seattle Times, p57.
Sept. 10, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p10.
Sept. 15, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p26.
Sept. 16, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p43.
Oct. 20, 1966, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p21.
Jan. 5, 1967, Seattle Times, p30.
March 29, 1967, Seattle Times, p31.
July 10, 1967, Seattle Times, p14.
July 12, 1967, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p26.
July 13, 1967, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p26.
July 21, 1967, Seattle Times, p21.
July 24, 1967, Seattle Times, p18.
July 27, 1967, Seattle Times, p61.
Aug. 24, 1967, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p22.
July 30, 1967, Seattle Times, p43.
Aug. 31, 1967, Seattle Times, p36.
Sept. 2, 1967, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p11.
Sept. 24, 1967, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, p59.
March 31, 1984, Seattle Times, p28.
Sept. 24, 2000, Seattle Times, p44.

Seattle Now & Then: Mercer Island’s Industrial School, 1904 (now Luther Burbank Park)

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN1: In summer 1904, more than 30 boys wearing sailors’ whites stand at attention on the north end of today’s Luther Burbank Park, where they sheltered in tents awaiting construction of the Industrial School’s first dormitory. Major Cicero Newell sits at far left, also dressed as a sailor. His wife, Emma, sits beside him. The school continued, in various incarnations, through the mid-1960s. (Courtesy RON EDGE)
NOW: Videography students from Bellevue’s Hillside Student Community explore the concrete remains of the Industrial School’s practice dairy farm. In the foreground, from left, Liam Wallace, James Doyle and Ashton Westfahl. In 1970-79, Hillside rented upper floors of the then-Mercer Island Community Center’s brick headquarters.

(Published in The Seattle Times online on Sept. 29, 2022
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Oct. 2, 2022)

Jean’s note: We must assign credit where credit’s due. The “then” photo attached to this column–and the original notion to tell the story of Major Cicero Newell–came from the ever-inventive and perpetually helpful photo historian and collector Ron Edge, whose name we praise! Thanks a million, Ron!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *

Stepping ashore on Mercer Island, my friend Mark and I were thrilled by our discovery. Both 13, we were keen to explore and plunder. Before us stretched acres of golden, waist-high grass, dotted with fruit trees and thorny Himalayan blackberry bushes, as well as crumbling old buildings promising untold treasures.

On this early summer 1970 day, we had paddled from Bellevue’s Enatai Beach, passing under arches of the old East Channel bridge (just days earlier, on a dare, we had leapt from the span’s deck) then muscling north to the grounds of evidently abandoned Luther Burbank Park. We did not know we were repeating a journey in reverse made 66 years earlier.

Just past midnight on a cold, wet November night in 1904, 13-year-olds William Kiger and Albert Cook, wearing only their skivvies and chained together with ankle manacles, cradled the shackles to stop them clanking. Labeled incorrigible “bad boys,” they were forging a second attempt to escape from Major Cicero Newell’s Industrial School, which had recently relocated to a dozen rural acres on Mercer Island’s north shore.

Kiger and Cook crept out of the recently built dormitory and down to the water’s edge. Having earlier noted a neighbor’s decrepit rowboat tied up nearby, the boys clambered in and pushed out into the channel.

“For hours they paddled, making little headway,” the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. “Several times their frail little craft came near swamping, and one of the boys had to bail water to prevent it from going to the bottom. Soon after dawn, the boys, exhausted and all but unconscious, made land opposite the island on the east shore of the lake.”

Sympathetic Northern Pacific belt-line workers used hammers and chisels to cut off the boys’ leg chains and wrapped the pair in borrowed jackets.

Newell (1840-1913), a Civil War veteran commended for bravery by President Lincoln and respected among the Sioux as an Indian agent, had arrived in Seattle in the early 1890s.

THEN2: A portrait of Major Cicero Newell in 1863. He commanded the White Horse company of Michigan’s Third Cavalry.

With wife Emma, he founded the Boys’ and Girls’ Aid Society, sheltering “homeless, neglected and abused children.” They garnered strong community support, including a Seattle School Board eager for solutions to a growing problem.

Early in the 20th century, however, Newell’s increasingly punitive methods, including beatings and chaining, drew increased scrutiny and criticism. Following newspaper accounts and public outcry, Newell was quietly replaced as school principal in spring 1905.

William and Albert were not recaptured, according to the P-I story.  “The boys were allowed to go on their way. Nothing has been seen of them since.”

William Kiger became a Seattle truck driver with a large extended family until his death in 1962. No further record can be found of Albert Cook.

WEB EXTRAS

For our 360 degree video of this column, please visit our YouTube channel.

Here’s several newspaper articles from the digital archives regarding Maj. Cicero Newell.

The first is an open letter from Newell published in 1900 that seems reasonable, laying out methods for addressing the needs of young delinquents which might help rather than harm. Within two years, however (see the next archival article from 1902), the Major’s shocking practices belie his stated good intentions.

Before moving to the Mercer Island Industrial School site in 1904, Newell located in Seattle. The 1902 escape of another boy–this one eight years old, found wandering on the waterfront, raised questions about the Major’s tactics.

The article from which we quote in the column is included below.

And, also courtesy of Ron Edge, a copy of Cicero Newell’s book about his years as an Indian agent. He found much to admire, even venerate, during his tenure with the Dakota Sioux.

Indian_Stories