Category Archives: Seattle Now and Then

Seattle Now & Then: Horiuchi mural, 1965

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN1: On a visit to Seattle on Aug. 28, 1965, three years after the Seattle World’s Fair, and posing in front of the mural created for the fair by his great uncle, is a grinning 3-year-old Brian Horiuchi, second from left, with family members (from left) Brian’s mother, Maynard Cooke Horiuchi; aunt, Gloria Lewis Horiuchi; cousin, Mark Shigetoshi Horiuchi; grandmother, Takeko Horiuchi; and uncle, Arthur Horiuchi. (Courtesy Brian Horiuchi)
NOW1: Cosima Horiuchi, 5, twirls as 15 other Horiuchi descendants join her on July 13 in front of the Paul Horiuchi mural at Seattle Center. Cosima’s dad, Brian Horiuchi, fourth from right, beams as he stands not far from his great uncle’s corner signature. Here is the full lineup (from left): Cosima Horiuchi, Trish Howard, Karen Ooka Hofman, Grant Wataru Horiuchi, Halli Hisako Horiuchi, Hiro Hayden Horiuchi, Hannah Amaya Horiuchi, Ottilie Horiuchi (purple hair), Cheryl Ooka (obscured), Naomi Ooka Bang, Greg Bang, Lucius Horiuchi (boy), Brian Horiuchi, Rowan Manesse, Mark Shigetoshi Horiuchi and Kassie Maneri. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in the Seattle Times online on Sept. 23, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Sept. 26, 2021

In celebration out of darkness, Horiuchi mural inspires reunion
By Clay Eals

Memorable moments abound naturally at Seattle Center, our collective keepsake from the 1962 World’s Fair. And for me, its touchstone is the amphitheater west of the Space Needle, anchored by the rich hues and galvanizing composition of its 60-by-17-foot mosaic mural by Paul Horiuchi.

Both arresting and unifying, the juxtaposed Needle, green grass and mural bear a timeless appeal, enveloping us like a hug. Where else, over the past six decades, could we rather have passed time alone in urban contemplation or enjoyed an outdoor experience with a festive crowd?

I’ve long presumed that the mural’s warmth and complexity derived from the art itself, but thanks to a recent reunion of Horiuchis at the mural, I know it also springs from a stinging saga.

THEN2: Paul Horiuchi relaxes Oct. 6, 1978, while visiting Kobe, Japan. (Courtesy Brian Horiuchi)

Born in 1906 in Japan, Horiuchi first delved into ink-wash painting as a boy. He came to the United States in 1920, becoming a railroad worker in Wyoming until World War II, when he was fired for being Japanese and lived largely in hiding with his young family in a truck while laboring as a janitor and gardener.

Postwar, after a move to Seattle, Horiuchi’s artistic career took off. Fifteen years later, the Century 21 Exposition commissioned what became the soft-spoken collagist’s best-known and most beloved piece. His melding of odd-shaped and multi-colored chunks of glass from Venice, Italy, was touted in 1962 as the largest single work of art in the Northwest.

Brian Horiuchi, a descendant and L.A. screenwriter-director who organized the reunion, sees accessibility and emotional truth in his great uncle’s creation.

NOW2: Paul Horiuchi’s 1962 mural signature. (Clay Eals)

“Though it’s abstract, it doesn’t strike me as intellectualized or at all forced,” he says. A family gathering at the amphitheater, he says, becomes a pilgrimage to a tangled but triumphant legacy: “I think there’s celebration with the darkness, for sure.”

His 5-year-old daughter, Cosima, a budding artist, catches the symbolism while twirling before the parabolic mural: “It’s about feelings.”

NOW3: Horiuchi mural plaque, 1962. (Clay Eals)

My own feelings about the mural hover to amphitheater events such as Pete Seeger inspiring a 1997 Northwest Folklife audience to sing along to “Amen/Freedom/Union” with the new Seattle Labor Chorus, as well as, more recently, the perennially mesmerizing performances of Eduardo Mendonça and Show Brazil.

The long ribbon of such occasions bespeaks permanence — and survival amid sporadic talk of redesigning Seattle Center, especially a scuttled late-1980s Disney scheme.

The mural’s endurance also breeds comfort that its maker expressed in a handwritten message, shared at his 1999 memorial service:

“I have always wanted to create something serene, the peace and serenity, the quality needed to balance the sensationalism in our surroundings today.”

NOW4: This view matches and expands the straight-on vantage of our THEN. Those posing are (from left) Grant Wataru Horiuchi, Halli Hisako Horiuchi, Hiro Hayden Horiuchi, Hannah Amaya Horiuchi, Lucius Horiuchi held by Rowan Manesse, Ottilie Horiuchi (purple hair), Cosima Horiuchi, Brian Horiuchi, Mark Shigetoshi Horiuchi, Kassie Maneri, Karen Ooka Hofman, Trish Howard, Cheryl Ooka, Naomi Ooka Bang and Greg Bang.

WEB EXTRAS

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

Also please click here to see a Queen Anne Historical Society story on the mural’s 2011 restoration.

We present an array of additional extras related to this column’s topic.

Here are video interviews of four Paul Horiuchi descendants attending the July 13, 2021, family reunion at the Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater: (1) Brian Horiuchi, (2) Mark Horiuchi, (3) Grant Horiuchi and (4) Trish Howard.

VIDEO: Click photo to see an interview with Brian Horiuchi, 7:07. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO: Click photo to see an interview with Mark Horiuchi, 14:47. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO: Click photo to see an interview with Grant Horiuchi, 8:27. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO: Click photo to see an interview with Trish Howard, 3:06. (Clay Eals)

We also present two other videos from the Seattle Center’s Mural Amphitheater: (1) a May 25, 1997, Pete Seeger performance of “Amen/Freedom/Union” at Northwest Folklife Festival and (2) a May 28, 2018, performance, also from Folklife.

VIDEO: Click photo to see folk legend Pete Seeger lead the newly formed Seattle Labor Chorus in “Amen/Freedom/Union” on May 25, 1997, at the Mural Amphitheater, 6:44. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO: Click photo to see a short glimpse from May 28, 2018, of another Mural Amphitheater performance, 0:15. (Clay Eals)

Below we present three examples of other Paul Horiuchi artworks from the private collection of Brian Horiuchi and Rowan Maness.

This 1944 Paul Horiuchi painting depicts Brian Horiuchi’s father, Lucius Horiuchi, and aunt, Marie Horiuchi, walking by the guard tower of the Minidoka relocation camp in Hunt, Idaho. (Courtesy Brian Horiuchi and Rowan Maness)
This July 21, 1976, Paul Horiuchi collage is done with paper strips. On its reverse side, the piece is titled “Reflections” and is dedicated to Brian Horiuchi’s mother and father, Maynard and Lucius, on Lucius’ 48th birthday, from Paul and his wife Bernadette Horiuchi. (Courtesy Brian Horiuchi and Rowan Maness)
This Paul Horiuchi watercolor was painted in 1952. On its reverse is this note: “This watercolor was done after WWII by Paul Chikamasa Horiuchi (represents an area of Alkai (sic), outside Seattle). Paul gave this to Lucius in either 1957 or 1959 in Seattle. (Lucius was visiting Paul’s shop; and Paul was grateful for little favors Lucius extended to Paul’s mother who lived in Oishi, Yamanashi-ken, Japan.)” (Courtesy Brian Horiuchi and Rowan Maness)

Here, in chronological order, are 22 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

July 26, 1961, Seattle Times, page 1.
July 27, 1961, Seattle Times, page 15.
July 28, 1961, Oregonian, page 12.
July 28, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
Sept. 10, 1961, Seattle Times, page 160.
Oct. 22, 1961, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 106.
March 2, 1962, Seattle Times, Lou Guzzo column, page 13.
March 25, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 32.
March 25, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 112.
April 8, 1962, Seattle Times, page 229.
April 19, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
April 22, 1962, Seattle Times, page 123.
April 23, 1962, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
June 2, 1962, Oregonian, page 19.
Feb. 24, 1964, Seattle Times, page 20.
Dec. 8, 1964, Seattle Times, page 26.
May 14, 1965, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 50.
Aug. 13, 1967, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 61.
Aug. 13, 1967, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 62.
Feb. 16, 1969, Oregonian p88.
Dec. 21, 1979, Tacoma News-Tribune, p26.
Sept. 12, 1986, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
Aug. 31, 1999, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 27.

Seattle Now & Then: Clallam County Courthouse, 1914

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The nearly completed Clallam County Courthouse looms above the Lincoln Street ravine, whose elevated plank roadway provided temporary passage during the extensive regrading. Snow-topped Olympics suggest that this exposure is from late fall of 1914. The four-faced clock’s maker, E. Howard and Co., also supplied Seattle’s King Street Station Tower clock (1906). (Paul Dorpat collection)
NOW: Today’s courthouse at 319 Lincoln St. continues to house county administrative departments, the county prosecutor and county permitting office as well as courtrooms in use today. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. On this late summer day, the Olympics are largely smothered in smoke. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in The Seattle Times online on Sept. 16, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Sept. 19, 2021)

Tower lets Port Angeles hear a regular ring of promise

By Jean Sherrard

On a warm evening in mid-August, smoke from hundreds of British Columbian fires had crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca, turning the sun an unsettling red over Port Angeles, where I’d paused for a photo and a bite to eat. Offering solace, the Clallam County courthouse bell tolled the hour as it had for over a century.

For Port Angeles, 1914 was a banner year, pregnant with promise. A gleaming hydroelectric dam had just been erected on the Elwha River, supplying the county seat’s electrical needs. The city’s first large sawmill was built on the waterfront and connected by rail to stands of virgin timber to the west. A vast regrade was well under way, raising the waterfront, filling gullies and lowering the steeper hills. And work on the new courthouse, featured in our “Then” photo, was largely complete.

Evidence of the area’s human habitation reaches back almost three millennia, with two Klallam villages sharing the harbor for at least 400 years. They called it I’e’nis (reportedly meaning “good beach”), which morphed into two names now in use: Ediz Hook (the city’s long and protective signature sand spit jutting east into the Strait) and snow-fed Ennis Creek, which empties into the bay.

Port Angeles’ natural, deep-water harbor was noted by Spanish explorer Francisco de Eliza in 1791 and dubbed Puerto de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles (Port of Our Lady of the Angels). One year later, British Royal Navy Captain George Vancouver, a staunch Anglican, shortened the name to its current two words.

In the mid-1850s, the first permanent white settlers arrived, staking Donation Land Act claims near Native villages. Over succeeding decades, land speculators, shady political operators, a utopian colony and pulp and paper mill operations flourished while ejecting the Klallam from their ancestral homes.

Designed by early 20th century Seattle architect Francis W. Grant, the two-story neo-classical brick and terra cotta-trimmed courthouse was nothing if not aspirational. Built to replace a wooden structure destabilized by the regrade, its graceful, sturdy lines reflected bright boomtown hopes. Locals also appreciated its rock-bottom price of $64,000.

The four-faced clock/bell tower — today proudly featured on the Clallam County seal — was installed after a serendipitous discovery. Francis Grant unearthed an unclaimed, Boston-based E. Howard and Co. clock, manufactured in 1880 and shipped around Cape Horn to Seattle. It languished in storage for decades until the architect encouraged Clallam County to pick it up for a $5,115 song.

It continues to sing to this day, faithfully striking every half hour.

WEB EXTRAS

No 360 video this week due to the theft of my monopod on a beach near La Push. However, a few oceanside photos may help salve the loss.

Seattle Now & Then: University National Bank, 1925

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: In 1925, streetcar tracks gracefully inscribe brick-lined curves in the paved intersection before the renamed University National Bank, which anchors the northeast corner of 45th and University Way. (courtesy MOHAI)
NOW: Michael Oaksmith, President of Development for Hunters Capital stands with the Beezer brothers’ creation across the street. The city-landmarked building has been lovingly remodeled, with a restoration of much of its early elegance. After 108 years as a bank, most recently a Wells Fargo branch, the structure is repurposed for shops and offices. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in The Seattle Times online on Sept. 9, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Sept. 12, 2021)

Twin architects banked on a legacy of faith plus finance

By Jean Sherrard

Keen to serve both God and Mammon, Louis and Michael Beezer defied scriptural maxims to the contrary. Twins whose architectural firm produced edifices for faith and finance, they skillfully negotiated the two worlds.

Born on July 6, 1869, in Bellefont, Pennsylvania, the Beezers arrived in Seattle in 1907. Different from competing firms, they were hands-on designers, overseeing every step of the construction process.

In 1908, their vision for a new “mosquito fleet” terminal at Colman Dock, with its Italianate clock tower and dome, drew acclaim, Thereafter, the industrious pair enjoyed commissions from Alaska to California.

The Beezers were devout Roman Catholics whose extensive work for the Archdiocese of Seattle included the Immaculate Conception School (1909), Dominican Priory of the Blessed Sacrament (1909–25) and Edward J. O’Dea High School (1923). After the St. James Cathedral dome collapsed beneath a 1916 record snow, a trusted Louis Beezer helped rebuild the destroyed sanctuary while improving its abysmal acoustics.

Financial institutions provided bread to match the ecclesiastical butter. The Beezers’ neo-classic banks throughout the West include the focus of this week’s column.

Having relocated from downtown digs in 1895, the University of Washington was booming — in both enrollment and revenue. Its beleaguered comptroller regularly ferried cash and checks to central-city repositories, spending a half-day or more in weary commute.

Providing a sober solution was the University District’s first financial institution, Washington State Bank, founded in 1906 by professors, administrators and business leaders — and we do mean sober. By state law, the sale of alcohol was banned within two miles of campus.

By 1913, the bank, expanding with the university, commissioned the Beezers to erect a stately, two-story structure at 45th and University Way. It was such a calm, rural intersection that neighbors described choruses of frogs serenading from nearby ponds and swamps.

The establishment’s ground floor and basement offered opulence and security, while a lofty, second-floor ballroom and concert hall welcomed fraternity and community dances.

Our “Then” photo depicts a livelier U-District, packed with shops and businesses catering to students. A banner stretched across 45th Street publicizing a “University Legion Frolic” accurately dates the photo to 1925. In late September that year, the new American Legion Hall on the southwest corner of 10th Avenue and 50th Street hosted the affair, which promised dancing, “free vaudeville” and a “Young Woman’s Popularity Contest.”

We offer a fiery footnote: In 1976, the legion sold its hall to Randy Finley, who converted it to the Seven Gables Theater. Shuttered in 2017, the charming moviehouse burned down last Christmas Eve.

WEB EXTRAS

We visit 45th and University Way for a 360 degree video featuring the column. To watch, click here.

Mike Oaksmith and Noah Macia admire the downstairs vault of the University National Bank.
The spacious second floor was once used as a ballroom.

 

Seattle Now & Then: The Tacoma totem pole, 1927

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: In this Tacoma Historical Society lobby card for the 1927 silent film “Eyes of the Totem,” filmed in Tacoma, actress Wanda Hawley, playing a homeless single mother, wears sunglasses while sitting at the base of the Tacoma totem pole, searching for the killer of her husband. This view is at 10th and A streets looking east to the Municipal Dock and tideflats, including Tacoma Lumber Co. (The pole was moved one block north in 1954.) The historical society has just released a digital version of “Eyes” for rental or purchase. (Courtesy Tacoma Historical Society)
NOW: A Tacoma Power worker uses a chainsaw to slice a midsection from the 118-year-old Tacoma totem pole. (Jean Sherrard) See below for many more NOW photos.

Published in the Seattle Times online on Sept. 2, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Sept. 5, 2021

Tacoma’s totem-pole takedown aims to ease tribal trauma
By Clay Eals

All the arguing over tearing down what some consider to be inappropriate public monuments becomes palpable once you hear the revving-up of chainsaws.

The roar came to Tacoma’s Fireman’s Park, the South A Street vista overlooking the port’s industrial tideflats, at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3. That’s when Tacoma Power workers hoisted cherry-picker buckets and began slicing into pieces a 118-year city landmark — the Tacoma totem pole.

Capped by an eagle, it was erected just before then-President Teddy Roosevelt’s May 22, 1903, visit to Tacoma as a lasting way to promote the City of Destiny in favorable comparison to northern neighbor Seattle. Described as 75 to 105 feet long, with some 15 feet underground, the pole bore a plaque calling it “the largest totem pole in the world,” a status touted for decades but eclipsed elsewhere.

First it stood at 10th Street next to the old Tacoma Hotel, then was moved one block north in 1954. It came down in 1974-76 for extensive restoration and was steadied in 2014 by a tall metal brace.

Its most prominent national role came in the 1927 silent film “Eyes of the Totem” (working title “The Totem Pole Beggar”), helmed by famed director W.S. Van Dyke and restored and re-premiered in 2015 by the Tacoma Historical Society. As shown in our “Then” photo, the pole figured strikingly in the melodrama.

NOW: The carved eagle atop the 118-year-old Tacoma totem pole is held by a strap around its neck as a Tacoma Power worker below uses a chainsaw to cut the uppermost slice off the pole. (Jean Sherrard)

Trouble is, the pole, long said to have been carved by Alaskan Natives hired by Tacoma businessmen, recently has been deemed both inauthentic in origin and purpose and unrepresentative of the indigenous Puyallup Tribe, which sought its exile. “There has been a lot of trauma,” tribal council chair Annette Bryan has said, “and we have to tell the true story to be able to heal.”

Tacoma officials agreed. They plan to commission new Coast Salish art for the park while storing the pole’s pieces and working with the historical society to display them with appropriate interpretation.

Debate rages on, however. Doug Granum of Southworth, who led the pole’s mid-1970s restoration, calls its amputation tragic. “Destroying history,” he says, “is right out of the Communist playbook.”

The feelings of Don Lacky, former member of the Tacoma Arts Commission who fervently pursued the pole’s preservation, are more mixed. “I can understand why the Puyallup nation finds it offensive,” he says. “It would be like Russia putting up a monument here in the United States.”

Meanwhile, 46-year Tacoma resident Verna Stewart, one of a few non-city staff or media witnessing the two-hour chainsaw takedown, was grateful to see removal of what she calls “another American history lie.”

WEB EXTRAS

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

We present a huge collection of extras related to this column’s topic.

Below are 14 additional NOW photos (in chronological order), four other photos and, in chronological order, 119 historical clippings from the Tacoma News Tribune and other online newspaper sources (including two period reviews!) that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

We also present four videos: (1) comments from Amy McBride, Tacoma’s arts administrator, (2) comments from Don Lacky, former Tacoma arts commissioner, (3) comments from Verna Stewart, 46-year resident of Tacoma, and (4) a start-to-finish, 43-minute account of the totem pole’s takedown.

In addition, we present a provocative essay by Southworth artist Doug Granum, who led the restoration of the totem pole in 1976 and strongly opposed its takedown. Below the essay are photos of the pole taken by Granum prior to its 1976 restoration.

We also present (1) an Aug. 5, 2021, press release from the Tacoma Historical Society announcing the ability to see online its restoration of the 1927 silent film “Eyes of the Totem” and (2) extensive packets from three recent meetings of Tacoma’s arts and landmarks preservation commissions. The packets include letters from citizens, staff assessments and historical photos and graphics.

In addition, here are two “Eyes of the Totem” video links:

NOW: In this southeast-facing view in the post-sunrise haze of Tuesday, Aug. 3, the 118-year-old Tacoma totem pole stands in the city’s Fireman’s Park one half-hour before its takedown by a Tacoma Power crew. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: Prior to the cutting, the 118-year-old base of the pole proudly proclaims “Largest Totem Pole in the World.” (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: In this south-facing view early Tuesday morning, Aug. 3, the 118-year-old Tacoma totem pole is framed by artist Lance Kagey’s new Port of Tacoma sculpture called SWELL, which was installed last December in the city’s Fireman’s Park. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: A Tacoma Power crew lifts a cherry-picker bucket to the top of the Tacoma totem pole in preparation for slicing it in pieces on Tuesday morning, Aug. 3. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: A Tacoma Power worker steadies the top (eagle) section of the pole after it was sliced off, while a second bucketed worker looks on. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: The top (eagle) portion of the pole is eased downward to a waiting truck. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: The top (eagle) portion of the pole is eased downward to a waiting truck. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: A Tacoma Power worker eyes a mid-section where it is attached to its metal brace. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: Tacoma Power workers tie off a midsection of the pole before slicing it with a chainsaw. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: The carved eagle that made up the top portion of the 118-year-old Tacoma totem pole rests with other pieces on a Tacoma Power truck, ready to be stored by the city for possible later display by the Tacoma Historical Society. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: A Tacoma Power worker wields a chainsaw to slice another midsection off the 118-year-old totem pole. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: Pieces of the 118-year-old Tacoma totem pole rest in a city truck next to the pole’s stump. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: A Tacoma Power worker uses a chainsaw to slice off the pole’s stump. (Jean Sherrard)
NOW: The moon rises on the evening of Aug. 15, 2021, near the top of the metal brace for the Tacoma pole in Fireman’s Park. The brace was installed in 2014 and was not removed on Aug. 3 because city officials say it may be used later in conjunction with Coast Salish art. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO: Click above to see Amy McBride, arts administrator for the City of Tacoma, explain the city’s perspective on Aug. 3, 2021, the morning of the city’s removal of the Tacoma totem pole from Fireman’s Park downtown. Video length: 1:56. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO: Click above to see Don Lacky, a former arts commissioner for the City of Tacoma, explain his perspective on Aug. 3, 2021, the morning of the city’s removal of the Tacoma totem pole from Fireman’s Park downtown. Video length: 5:29. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO: Click above to see Verna Stewart, a 46-year resident of Tacoma, explain her perspective on Aug. 3, 2021, the morning of the city’s removal of the Tacoma totem pole from Fireman’s Park downtown. Video length: 1:24. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO: Click above to see the entire takedown of the Tacoma totem pole on Tuesday morning, Aug. 3, 2021. Video length: 43:01. (Clay Eals)
TWO-PAGE ESSAY: Click above to download and read a pdf of the case made by Southworth artist Douglas Granum, who led restoration of the Tacoma totem pole in 1976, for why it should not have been removed.
THEN: This is a composite photo of the Tacoma totem pole as it lay in Doug Granum’s care for restoration in 1976. Double-click it to see the full detail. (Doug Granum)
THEN: The deteriorated top (eagle) portion of the Tacoma totem pole lies in Doug Granum’s care for restoration in 1976. (Doug Granum)
THEN: The deteriorated top (eagle) portion of the Tacoma totem pole lies in Doug Granum’s care for restoration in 1976. (Doug Granum)
NOW: The four lobby cards for the restored 1927 silent film “Eyes of the Totem” are sold by the Tacoma Historical Society. (Tacoma Historical Society)
Click above to download and read the Aug. 5, 2021, press release from the Tacoma Historical Society for details about the online opportunity to see the organization’s restored version of the 1927 silent film “Eyes of the Totem.” (Tacoma Historical Society)
Click above to download the extensive packet from the June 4, 2013, meeting of the Tacoma Arts Commission in which the Tacoma totem pole was a prominent topic.
Click above to download the extensive packet from the May 12, 2021, meeting of the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission in which the Tacoma totem pole was a prominent topic.
Click above to download the extensive packet from the May 26, 2021, meeting of the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission in which the Tacoma totem pole was a prominent topic.
May 25, 1903, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 7.
April 25, 1923, Tacoma News Tribune, page 17.
April 2, 1925, Tacoma News Tribune, page 8.
April 4, 1925, Tacoma News Tribune, page 4
May 23, 1925, Tacoma News Tribune, page 7.
Dec. 23, 1925, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Jan. 11, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 8.
Jan. 22, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 12.
Jan. 29, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 8.
Feb. 11, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 14.
Feb. 18, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 8.
Feb. 20, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 16.
Feb. 23, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 8.
March 6, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
March 6, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 2.
March 13, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 8.
March 29, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 23.
April 9, 1926, Tacoma News Tribune, page 12.
May 13, 1927, Motion Picture Daily review.
May 15, 1927, Film Daily review.
June 11, 1927, Tacoma News Tribune, page 4.
Sept. 5, 1929, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Dec. 16, 1938, Tacoma News Tribune, page 17.
July 24, 1940, Tacoma News Tribune, page 3.
July 25, 1943, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
July 25, 1943, Tacoma News Tribune, page 11.
Jan. 31, 1945, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
June 2, 1945, Tacoma News Tribune, page 4.
May 13, 1949, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Nov. 1, 1950, Tacoma News Tribune, page 7.
March 16, 1952, Tacoma News Tribune, page 67.
Aug. 19, 1952, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Sept. 24, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 14.
Oct. 3, `953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 16.
Oct. 9, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 20.
Oct. 23, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 46.
Oct. 28, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 7.
Nov. 1, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 23.
Nov. 4, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 2.
Nov. 19, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Nov. 30, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 4.
Dec. 3, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Dec. 3, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 3.
Dec. 6, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 6.
Dec. 16, 1953, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
July 13, 1954, Tacoma News Tribune, page 14.
July 28, 1954, Tacoma News Tribune, page 15.
Nov. 21, 1954, Tacoma News Tribune, page 33.
Nov. 25, 1954, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
May 8, 1955, Tacoma News Tribune, page 28.
May 24, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 22.
July 7, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 9.
July 12, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 64.
July 29, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 18.
Aug. 2, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Aug. 16, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Aug. 16, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 10.
Aug. 17, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Aug. 23, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 77.
Aug. 23, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 78.
Sept. 1, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 10.
Aug. 2, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 2.
Sept. 2, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 41.
Sept. 6, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 9.
Sept. 10, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 12.
Sept. 12, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 6.
Sept. 17, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 44.
Oct. 25, 1959, Tacoma News Tribune, page 60.
April 10, 1960, Tacoma News Tribune, page 72.
June 19, 1960, Tacoma News Tribune, page 65.
June 19, 1960, Tacoma News Tribune, page 66.
Dec. 11, 1960, Tacoma News Tribune, page 33.
June 24, 1962, Tacoma News Tribune, page 69.
July 3, 1966, Tacoma News Tribune, page 12.
March 19, 1969, Tacoma News Tribune, page 54.
March 23, 1969, Tacoma News Tribune, page 20.
April 26, 1969, Tacoma News Tribune, page 2.
June 10, 1969, Tacoma News Tribune, page 4.
June 27, 1969, Tacoma News Tribune, page 95.
June 29, 1969, Tacoma News Tribune, page 37.
Feb. 1, 1970, Tacoma News Tribune, page 32.
Jan 4, 1973, Tacoma News Tribune, page 25.
Aug. 17, 1974, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Oct. 27, 1974, Tacoma News Tribune, page 5.
Nov. 1, 1974, Tacoma News Tribune, page 2.
March 12, 1975, Tacoma News Tribune, page 3.
March 22, 1975, Tacoma News Tribune, page 3.
April 15, 1975, Tacoma News Tribune, page 13.
July 17, 1975, Tacoma News Tribune, page 4.
Dec. 11, 1975, Tacoma News Tribune, page 55.
March 17, 1976, Tacoma News Tribune, page 3.
July 10, 1976, Tacoma News Tribune, page 3.
Sept. 12, 1976, Tacoma News Tribune, page 7.
March 20, 1977, Tacoma News Tribune, page 13.
May 19, 1978, Tacoma News Tribune, page 23.
Nov. 1, 1981, Tacoma News Tribune, page 116.
Nov. 1, 1981, Tacoma News Tribune, page 117.
Click to download pdf of article  from June 7, 1996, Tacoma News Tribune, page 8.
Click to download pdf of article  from May 2, 2013, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Click to download pdf of article  from May 17, 2013, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Click to download pdf of article  from May 19, 2013, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Click to download pdf of article  from May 23, 2013, Tacoma News Tribune, page 3.
Click to download pdf of article  from June 2, 2013, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Click to download pdf of article  from June 5, 2013, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Click to download pdf of article  from June 5, 2013, Tacoma News Tribune.
Click to download pdf of article  from June 13, 2013, Tacoma News Tribune.
Click to download pdf of article  from Sept. 26, 2013, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Click to download pdf of article  from Sept. 29, 2013, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Click to download pdf of article  from May 9, 2014, Tacoma News Tribune, page 3.
Click to download pdf of article  from May 24, 2015, Tacoma News Tribune, page 1.
Click to download pdf of article  from Sept. 18, 2015, Tacoma News Tribune, page 20.
December 2017 article in Grit City online.
Click to download pdf of article  from March 17, 2021, Tacoma News Tribune.
March 21, 2021, Tacoma News Tribune, page 4.
Click to download pdf of article  from June 30, 2021, Tacoma News Tribune.
July 1, 2021, Tacoma News Tribune, page 2.
July 7, 2021, Tacoma News Tribune, page 7.
July 11, 2021, Tacoma News Tribune, page 8.

Seattle Now & Then: Local TV’s original cartooning weatherman, Bob Hale, 1956 and 1962

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN 1: Bob Hale creates a weather cartoon in 1956 at the KING-TV studio at 320 Aurora Ave. N. (Courtesy Peter Blecha)
NOW: As engineering tech Bob Konis trains a camera on them, KING-TV meteorologists Rich Marriott and Rebecca Stevenson (holding her own weather cartoon) watch as Peter Blecha stands in for Bob Hale, displaying an original 1962 KING weather cartoon by Hale outside the KING studio in SoDo. Blecha has aggregated more than 200 Hale artifacts. He showcases Hale’s art on Facebook and penned a recently posted Hale essay at HistoryLink.org. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in the Seattle Times online on Aug. 26, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Aug. 29, 2021

Old Sol came alive in Bob Hale’s wild art on early Seattle TV
By Clay Eals

Many of us ride a media treadmill, ingesting recorded events that we re-run at our command. But the most astonishing stuff of life often is ephemeral, solely in the moment. In other words, “You have to be there.”

Like the weather itself, Bob Hale, Seattle’s original cartooning TV weatherman, once wove such momentary magic. Maple Leaf-based historian Peter Blecha, though just a tyke at the time, was “there” to revel in it. He methodically collects all things Hale to keep his hero’s legacy alive.

Early TV weather reporting, Blecha says, was retrospective, documenting yesterday’s rain with only a touch of Farmer’s Almanac-like prediction. Hale helped change that. A commercial artist who left Bellingham for Seattle in 1938, Hale began doing illustrated forecasts for KING-TV’s fledgling news shows in 1955.

THEN 2: One of Peter Blecha’s many Bob Hale finds is this cover for a 1962 cartoon booklet, “Web Feet and Fir Trees.” It incorporates a trademark Hale self-portrait. During the World’s Fair year, he did many of his comic weather segments from the Coliseum (today’s Climate Pledge Arena under renovation), depicted here along with other fair symbols: the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center and the Monorail. (Courtesy Peter Blecha)

Hale’s magic derived from delivering jokey meteorological details while drawing wildly comic cartoons with personified characters such as Sammy Seagull. It was all live, in real time. Adults and kids alike couldn’t take their eyes off him.

His personal appearances, ad work and zany products (cans of “Pure Puget Sound Air”) ballooned. Clients ranged from Sunny Jim peanut butter to Seattle Rainiers baseball. His fame matched that of local TV’s other stars, from child-focused Wunda Wunda to sportscaster Rod Belcher.

A warm smile gave Hale a genial persona, while his eyeglasses and balding dome conveyed authority. But his calling card was a sharp visual style.

“He loved drawing people and critters in motion, Old Sol grimacing, shaking its fists, clouds angry with menacing eyes,” Blecha says. “It wasn’t just cutie-pie, easygoing fun. He was purposely adding drama to what otherwise could be a dry situation. He also was possibly projecting tensions from his own life.”

The tensions, Blecha says, included being a closeted gay man who battled alcohol addiction. His KING reign ended in 1963, the station eventually replacing him with cartoonist Bob Cram. Short stints followed in California TV and, in 1968-69, back in Seattle at KIRO-TV. Alcoholism recovery became a late-life cause. In 1983 at age 64, he died in obscurity.

Hale’s broadcast tapes do not survive, and he typically gave thousands of his KING drawings to kids. Undeterred, Blecha is preparing a cartoon-heavy Hale biography. It will reflect the quaint, in-the-moment sentiment of E.R. Babcock of Vashon Island, who, in a 1969 Seattle Times letter, lamented KIRO’s dismissal of Hale:

“In a world and area where protests, taxes, wars, politicians and you-name-it hog the news programs, it was a real pleasure to have a little humor on something, thank God, we mortals have no control of yet — and that is the weather.”

WEB EXTRAS

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

Special thanks to Denise Frisino, Harry Faust, Barbara Manning, Libby Sundgren and Peter Blecha for their invaluable help with this installment.

Below are three additional photos and, in chronological order, 64 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

We also present two special videos: (1) a 360-degree Bob Hale residential room mural from 1946 previously unseen until now and (2) an assemblage of images and footage of Bob Cram that was shared at Cram’s 2017 memorial service.

VIDEO: Harry Faust of north Seattle describes the room of his house that is decorated with a 360-degree mural of skiing images drawn by Bob Hale in 1946. (Clay Eals)
This panorama shows the 360-degree mural of skiing images drawn in 1946 by Bob Hale on the bedroom walls of Harry Faust’s north Seattle home. (Clay Eals)
VIDEO: This collection of video and images of Bob Cram was distributed at Cram’s memorial service in 2017. (Courtesy daughter Robin Hall)
Frames from 1959 TV commercial for a weight-loss product. (Courtesy Peter Blecha)
Frames from 1959 TV commercial for Tirend, a caffeine product. (Courtesy Peter Blecha)
May 9, 1951, Seattle Times, page 6.
April 11, 1954, Seattle Times, page 60.
April 29, 1956, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 94.
Dec. 2, 1956, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 63.
Jan. 9, 1957, Seattle Times, page 7.
July 3, 1957, Seattle Times, page 30.
Sept. 13, 1957, Seattle Times, page 22.
Jan. 27, 1958, Seattle Times, page 10.
Aug. 8, 1958, Seattle Times, page 36.
Sept. 17, 1958, Seattle Times, page 14.
April 22, 1959, Seattle Times, page 33.
July 30, 1959, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 23.
March 19, 1960, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 10.
July 15, 1962,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 54.
Aug. 1, 1962,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 17, Emmett Watson column.
Aug. 29, 1962,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 17, Emmett Watson column.
Sept. 9, 1962,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 119.
Oct. 14, 1962, Seattle Times, page 87.
Nov. 25, 1962,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 28.
Nov. 25, 1962,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 34.
Nov. 25, 1962,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 30.
Dec. 4, 1962,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 10.
Dec. 30, 1962,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 34.
March 24, 1963,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 71.
March 24, 1963, Seattle Times, page 61.
Aug. 27, 1963,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 15, Emmett Watson column.
Sept. 2, 1963, Seattle Times, page 30.
Sept. 3, 1963,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 19, Emmett Watson column.
Sept. 10, 1963, Seattle Times, page 16.
Sept. 29, 1963, Seattle Times, page 27.
Feb. 12, 1964,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 6, Mike Mailway column.
Feb. 23, 1964, Tacoma News Tribune, page 8.
June 26, 1964, Seattle Times, page 43.
Sept. 30, 1965,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 8, Emmett Watson column.
Jan. 30, 1966, Seattle Times, page 97.
Feb. 6, 1966, Seattle Times, page 100.
April 24, 1966,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 134.
May 9, 1966, Seattle Times, page 28.
July 14, 1966, Seattle Times, page 28.
Nov. 23, 1966,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 2, Emmett Watson column.
Sept. 1, 1967, Seattle Times, page 20.
March 13, 1968, Seattle Times, page 57.
March 14, 1968,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 5, Emmett Watson column.
March 29, 1968, Seattle Times, page 29.
April 30, 1969, Seattle Times, page 38.
May 1, 1969,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 50.
May 4, 1969,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 63.
May 9, 1969,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 4, Emmett Watson column.
May 18, 1969, Seattle Times, page 146.
June 1, 1969,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 131.
June 5, 1969,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 64.
July 21, 1969,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 6, Emmett Watson column.
Nov. 27, 1970,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 65, Emmett Watson column.
Dec. 17, 1970, Seattle Times, page 20.
July 2, 1972, Seattle Times, page 61.
Jan. 17, 1973, Tacoma News Tribune, page 34.
Feb. 1, 1973,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 11, Emmett Watson column.
Aug. 18, 1974, Oregonian, page 167.
April 20, 1975,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 2.
July 17, 1975,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 11, Emmett Watson column.
Sept. 7, 1975,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 29.
May 27, 1979, Seattle Times, page 168.
Dec. 6, 1981, Seattle Times, page 44.
June 13, 1982, Seattle Times, page 274.

Seattle Now & Then: Waterfront Fiction, 1936

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN 1: Vessels representing several classes populate this postcard: (from left) the steamer Iroquois, the ferry Kalakala, the tug Goliah, a pair of mystery craft that stumped even our experts, the Coast Guard cutter Tallapoosa and the Army Corps of Engineers dredger Michie. Also note the painted-on (and super-sized) Mount Baker. This historical postcard is still quite popular on eBay. (Courtesy Ron Edge)
THEN 2: Charles F. Laidlaw’s unretouched 1936 original bears a handful of docked ships: (from left) at Pier 6 (now Pier 57 with the Great Wheel), the British freighter M.S. Devon City; at Pier 3 (now Pier 54, home to Ivar’s), the Bureau of Indian Affairs cutter North Star; and at Pier 1 (now Ferry Piers 50-52), the freighter SS Susan V. Luckenbach. Mid-World War II, on May 1, 1944, the military renumbered all the piers. (Courtesy Ron Edge)
NOW: This aerial photo was taken on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. The Washington State ferry arriving at Colman Dock is the genuine article. (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in The Seattle Times online on Aug. 19, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Aug. 22, 2021)

An aerial depiction of Seattle’s too-busy bay feels right for its time
By Jean Sherrard

The camera never lies, so goes the maxim. Yet photographers have stretched the truth on occasion, long before Photoshop made fakery a breeze.

Last Feb. 27, Clay Eals and I chartered a helicopter, the left door removed for photography. This week’s “Now” photo, from 800 feet above the waterfront, illustrates the potential for spectacle and perspective.

Seeing this elevated view, photo historian Ron Edge responded by sending me our serendipitous first “Then” photo — a shot I’d never seen. “Pretty close!” Ron marveled.

It was a prevalent postcard of a vibrant Elliott Bay, taken Sept. 15, 1936, by pilot/aerial photographer Charles F. Laidlaw, who apparently captured a miracle of near-misses. In it, various crisscrossing vessels provide visual bon-bons for today’s maritime historians.

Most recognizable at lower left is the beloved, streamlined ferry Kalakala, placed into service in 1935 and departing Colman Dock on the Bremerton run that she would make for 30 years. Above left, the night steamer Iroquois arrives from Victoria via Port Angeles. Puffing from Pier 3 (now Pier 54) is the sturdy oceangoing tug Goliah, built in 1882 and later converted from steam to diesel. Barreling south is the Coast Guard cutter Tallapoosa, fresh from fleet duties with the Bering Sea Patrol. At lower right, the Army Corps of Engineers dredger Michie heads due west.

Whew! Such a spectacular view of Seattle’s busy port.

Trouble is, it’s mostly fiction. Skillfully inserted, complete with brushed-in wakes and waves, none of these vessels (identified by veteran ship historians Michael Mjelke and Paul Marlow) were present in Laidlaw’s original photo, our second “Then.”

One explanation for the empty bay lies in the widening ripples of the Great Depression. Imports and exports had plummeted since the 1929 crash, threatening maritime commerce with ruin.

By the mid-1930s, widespread labor unrest sporadically shuttered ports along the West Coast. Under sympathetic President Franklin Roosevelt, unions flourished. William Randolph Hearst’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer even paused publication for the first time since its 1863 founding due to striking writers and editors.

What’s more, Puget Sound’s Mosquito Fleet, dozens of lively craft ferrying passengers and cargo bowed to grander but fewer vessels. “Suddenly, in the mid-(19)30s, people found that their Fleet was gone,” wrote marine historian Gordon Newell. “(Seeing) the quiet reaches of the Sound, they began to feel that something fine and exciting was missing.”

In that context, Laidlaw’s marine manipulations feel right for the time, a quiescent harbor being no subject for a popular postcard. With no end in sight to the Depression, maybe Seattle was ready for a boost, even one fabricated with a photographer’s fib.

WEB EXTRAS

In place of Jean Sherrard‘s usual 360-degree video of the “Now” prospect, below we have aerial video of downtown by Clay Eals.

Here is a two-and-a-half-minute video tour of downtown Seattle from the air on Feb. 27, 2021. Jean Sherrard takes stills while Clay Eals takes video.

Seattle Now & Then: entrance archway to Schmitz Park, 1918

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: This 1918 view looks south and slightly east along 59th Avenue Southwest through the Schmitz Park arch, which stood from 1913 to 1953. Alki Elementary School, which was built in 1912 and stands in upgraded form today, is faintly visible behind the 1917 Paige auto, whose slogan was “the most beautiful car in America.” (Debbie Lezon collection)
NOW1: At the same vantage, the northwest corner of today’s Alki Playfield, present-day family matriarch Vicki Schmitz (left) provides a human welcome while leaning on the hood of a gleaming 1940 Mercury convertible coupe owned by Lee Forte (second from right). In the driver’s seat is his son, Omri, and behind Lee is their neighbor and this column’s automotive consultant, Bob Carney. They are West Seattleites all. (Jean Sherrard)

Published in the Seattle Times online on Aug. 12, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Aug. 15, 2021

Backed by a bustling beach, old-growth endures at Schmitz Park
By Clay Eals

Next time you pull out your phone and aim it to snap a picture, consider the scene playing out in exactly the opposite direction. Sometimes what’s behind the camera is as important as what’s in front. Context can be everything.

Our 1918 “Then” photo illustrates the point. We are in West Seattle, looking south and slightly east to a unique, old-growth preserve, Schmitz Park. Yet over our shoulder lies our city’s sandy, saltwater showcase, Alki Beach.

Beneath a stone-pillared arch leading to the park, three gents in hats, suits and ties, with an equally fashionable woman in the driver’s seat, are eyeing the camera — and the beach. These unknown adventurers have pulled a 1917 Paige touring car to the side of 59th Avenue near its intersection with Lander Street, beyond which the park’s sturdy trees are visible in the distance.

The philanthropic Schmitz family donated the hillside property to the city in portions from 1908 to 1912, with the proviso that it be maintained largely in its natural state. The arch, erected in 1913, served as a grand entry through which motorists could parade their vehicles and pedestrians could stroll to the sanctuary.

NOW2: The reverse view today, with Alki Beach one-half block away. (Clay Eals)

But how did visitors get here? Likely via the beach directly in back of the photographer, one-half block away.

Of course, Alki was the site of the city’s first non-Native settlement in 1851, thus its vaunted “birthplace.” When this photo was taken, 11 years after West Seattle’s annexation to Seattle, Alki had become a crowd-pleasing daytime destination and summertime retreat. Easing access was a just-opened wooden swing bridge across the Duwamish River mudflats, augmenting a streetcar that had served the coastline since 1908.

Alki Beach Park had opened formally in 1911, its bathing pavilion drawing 73,000 visitors in 1913 alone. A mile northeast, on piers above lapping waves stood the private Luna Park amusement center, all of which but a natatorium (saltwater pool) closed in 1913 after a raucous, seven-year run.

Given the pressures of Seattle’s gargantuan growth, it’s astonishing that bastions of beauty survive intact near this photographic site. Creek-centered and trail-lined, 53-acre Schmitz Park remains a sensory refuge from urban life.

Likewise, Alki Beach Park encircles the peninsula’s northern tip on the water side of Alki and Harbor avenues, still providing a panorama nonpareil. One shudders to envision the vanished vistas had the city not acquired and protected these precious parcels.

So as we navigate and reinvigorate our society post-virus, we might do well to express gratitude for the context of our lives, before and behind us, a century ago and now.

WEB EXTRAS

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

Below are several interpretive signs from Schmitz Park plus, as provided and annotated by our ace automotive informant Bob Carney, a complement of vintage photos of cars on Alki Beach. Thanks, Bob!

Entry pillar to Schmitz Park. (Clay Eals)
Schmitz Park trail sign. (Clay Eals)
Schmitz Park restoration sign. (Clay Eals)
A history sign at Schmitz Park. (Clay Eals)
Cars line Alki Beach in 1912. Cars represented include Model T Ford, Packard, Hudson, Buick and Olsmobile. “Latham” on building at right could stand for C.W. Latham, West Seattle real-estate agent. (Bob Carney collection)
Above the women lounging on Alki Beach are several cars (from left): unidentified, 1925-26 Chrysler, 1920s Model T Ford, 1925-26 Chevrolet and three more 1920s Model T Fords. (Bob Carney collection)
Circa 1945, this view of Spud Fish & Chips on Alki Beach features these cars (from left): unknown, 1940 Oldsmobile, 1938-39 Ford, 1940s Oldsmobile and 1937 Chevrolet. At left are signs for the Alki Beach Cafe and a souvenir and gift shop. (Bob Carney collection)
A woman displays a new-looking 1950 Studebaker Land Cruiser across from the “Birthplace of Seattle” monument on Alki Beach. In the background are (left) a 1942 Chevrolet and a 1946-48 Ford. (Bob Carney collection)

Seattle Now & Then: La Quinta Apartments, 1929

Tenants of La Quinta Apartments pose in front of the building in December 2020. (Jean Sherrard)

UPDATE: You may recall our “Now & Then” column on the La Quinta Apartments from Jan. 28, 2021. The La Quinta tenants are attempting to buy the building, and today they announced that the sale of La Quinta to a developer has been successfully delayed to allow the tenants to prepare their offer. For more info, visit this link.

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UPDATE: The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted unanimously on March 17, 2021, to designate the La Quinta apartment building an official city landmark. Congratulations!

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Here is our “Now & Then” column from Jan. 28, 2021.

(click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN: Two years after the complex opened, this photo of the La Quinta Apartments from a 1929 Anhalt Company brochure exemplifies the pitch therein: “ ’Every Man’s Home Is His Castle’ is an Ideal realized to an unusual extent for tenants of Anhalt Apartment-Homes.” (Courtesy Larry Kreisman)
NOW: Socially distanced and momentarily unmasked, two dozen current and past tenants of La Quinta Apartments (some leaning from windows) are joined by historian Larry Kreisman (left) and Historic Seattle’s director of preservation services, Eugenia Woo (fourth from left), in displaying support for landmarking the Spanish Eclectic-style complex. For more info on the campaign, visit vivalaquinta.com. Following are the names of everyone. On the parking strip (from left): Larry Kreisman, Jacob Nelson, Brandon Simmons, Eugenia Woo, Alex Baker, Lawrence Norman, Tom Heuser (Capitol Hill Historical Society president), Juliana Roble, Eliza Warwick, Rebecca Herzfeld, Gordon Crawford, Samantha Siciliano, Ryan Batie, Michael Strangeways, Chelsea Bolan, Jerry Jancarik, Sean Campos, Clea Hixon, Jenifer Curtin, Marta Sivertsen, Aaron Miller, Finn (dog) and Mariana Gutheim. In the windows (from left): Zach Moblo (above), Ryan Moblo (below), Carlos Chávez (waving flag), María Jesús Silva (above) and Begonia Irigoyen (below). (Jean Sherrard)

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Jan. 28, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Jan. 31, 2021)

U-shaped edifice courts its tenants in 1927 and today
By Clay Eals

How can a house feel more like a home if the home isn’t a house? That’s no trick question. It was a real concern for prolific Seattle developer Frederick Anhalt during the Roaring ’20s nearly a century ago.

Of note among some 45 buildings Anhalt constructed were 19 apartment complexes on Capitol Hill and in Queen Anne. Each exuded unique charm that eludes the modern tendency toward mega-unit boxes.

The first example of Anhalt’s approach and execution presides in our “Then” photo. Built in 1927, the La Quinta Apartments at 1710 East Denny Way in south-central Capitol Hill clearly reflect Spanish influences, with red-clay roof tiles and stucco embedded with colored stones and panels artfully arranged in arches.

Even more significant, however, is the early use of a U-shaped footprint surrounding an ample courtyard filled with foliage and places to sit. It’s long been a welcoming centerpiece for residents of the dozen apartments (two floors each), including units in the pair of turrets at the inner corners. This element creates the notion of “home” even today, when social gatherings are discouraged but an uplifting vision can provide at least the sense of belonging.

Frederick Anhalt, circa 1929. The self-taught builder, who lived to age 101, died in 1996. (Courtesy Larry Kreisman)

“I thought that people should have a nice view to look out to and the feeling that they were living in a house of their own, different from their neighbor’s,” the developer reflected in the 1982 book “Built by Anhalt” by Steve Lambert. “It didn’t seem to make sense … to spend a lot of extra money on a building site just because it had a pretty view in one direction. Somebody else could always put another building between you and your view.”

Small wonder that a for-rent ad in the Nov. 6, 1927, Seattle Times labeled La Quinta “the prettiest and best-arranged individual apartment building in Seattle.”

Today, tenants echo the sentiment. “I know all my neighbors, I talk to them all, I trust them,” says Chelsea Bolan, a resident since 2003. “You interact, you share, you see each other all the time.”

“There just aren’t places like this anymore,” says Lawrence Norman, who grew up there when his dad owned it in 1964-74. “It brings community together. That’s a special thing, and I think that should be preserved.”

Historic Seattle agrees and is nominating it for city landmark status. The first hearing is Feb. 3.

Heartily endorsing the effort is longtime architectural historian Larry Kreisman, who wrote the 1978 book “Apartments by Anhalt” and salutes the developer’s boomtime vision: “For an expanding middle class, Anhalt made dense city-living palatable.”

WEB EXTRAS

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

Below are five additional photos, a brochure, a landmark nomination, a support letter and, in chronological order, 10 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Special thanks to Eugenia Woo, Larry Kreisman and the residents of La Quinta for their assistance with this column!

The 1937 King County assessor’s tax photo for La Quinta. (Puget Sound Regional Archives)
Panorama of the La Quinta apartments taken Dec. 28, 2020. (Clay Eals)
Detail of La Quinta exterior art, Dec. 28, 2020. (Clay Eals)
La Quinta entry gate, Dec. 28, 2020. (Clay Eals)
La Quinta entry sign promoting landmark campaign, Dec. 28, 2020. (Clay Eals)
1929 Anhalt brochure cover. Click it to see full 16-page brochure. (Courtesy Larry Kreisman)
La Quinta landmark nomination cover, December 2020. Click it to see the full nomination.
Click to see pdf of two-page landmark support letter by Larry Kreisman.
Nov. 6, 1927, Seattle Times, page 54.
Oct. 31, 1931, Seattle Times, page 9.
April 17, 1932, Seattle Times, page 36.
April 24, 1932, Seattle Times, page 34.
Aug. 28, 1932, Seattle Times, page 15.
July 16, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 45.
July 30, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 41.
Nov. 18, 1939, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Nov. 8, 1976, Seattle Times, page 7.

Seattle Now & Then: “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration”

(click to enlarge photos)

The cover of “We Hereby Refuse”

(Published in the Seattle Times online on Aug. 5, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Aug. 8, 2021)

In wartime fear, ‘empathy is the only thing that can bind us’
By Jean Sherrard

This week we interview Frank Abe, author of the graphic novel ‘”We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration” (Chin Music Press and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, 2021), illustrated by Ross Ishikawa and Matt Sasaki, and co-authored by Tamiko Nimura.

This powerful account of courage and confrontation offers compelling lessons for us today.

THEN1: In Ishikawa’s illustration of departure from King Street Station, detained immigrant husbands and fathers clutch paper sacks they were given to replace their confiscated suitcases. At right are the outstretched arms of wives and children screaming their goodbyes in Japanese and English.
NOW1: Seattle writer Frank Abe (left), also a documentarian and ex-KIRO reporter, stands beside illustrator Ross Ishikawa, cartoonist and animator, on the King Street Station platform. (Jean Sherrard)

Jean: When and where does this story begin?

Frank: It begins with the FBI arresting 150 immigrant leaders in Seattle in the hysteria following the start of World War II. The men were marched in the pre-dawn hours from the U.S. Immigration Detention Building to King Street Station, where The Seattle Times captured a photo of them on the platform boarding a train for the Department of Justice alien internment camp at Fort Missoula, Montana. When I first saw this photo, I knew it would be central to the story of Jim Akutsu, one of our three main characters.

THEN2: The Seattle Times photo of March 19, 1942, that inspired Abe and Ishikawa.

Jean: Why a graphic novel?

Frank: It matches the epic sweep of a movie at a fraction of the production cost. I asked Ross to draw Jim’s mother as clawing through the bars and screaming to her husband after reading the description in the Times of “tear-stained eyes” and the din of “staccato chatter” in the morning air.

Jean: Your book takes an uncompromising view of systemic exclusion and racism.

Frank: Many fathers were separated from their families, who were themselves incarcerated at camps like Minidoka, Idaho. Jim and his brother Gene refused to be drafted until the government restored their citizenship rights, starting with their freedom. We emphasize that the government was responsible for targeting these families based solely on their race.

A full page from ‘We Hereby Refuse’

Jean: The storytelling has a documentary feel to it but also feels intensely personal.

Frank: Everything is drawn from the historical record. Readers can immerse themselves in the personal stories of our characters in a way that generates empathy. Empathy is the only thing that can bind us when the same elements of wartime fear and ignorance of the “other” survive to this day.

Jean: So the empathy signals a warning bell along with possible remedy?

Frank: Our book opens with the FBI knocking on the door to arrest Jim’s father. It ends with ICE breaking down the door to deport unwanted immigrants. In 1941, America feared a second attack from the Pacific. Just one year ago, we had a pandemic-era president dog-whistle “China virus” and “Kung flu,” received by some as permission to kick and punch Asian Americans on the street. Some things haven’t changed.

WEB EXTRAS

This week features a special 360 degree video of Jean’s 12-minute interview with Frank Abe at King Street Station. Includes select illustrations from “We Hereby Refuse” plus Frank’s reading from the John Okada’s classic “No-No Boy.” Not to be missed. (And if you’d prefer to hear just the audio of Frank’s chat with Jean, click right here!)

Illustrator Ross Ishikawa and writer Frank Abe pose in the courtyard of King Street Station.

 

Seattle Now & Then: Playland track, 1941

(Click and click again to enlarge photos)

THEN1: On Sept. 21, 1941, in this view looking northwest, a crowd estimated at 4,000 watches as drivers of so-called “midget” race cars are escorted around Playland Stadium at approximately North 132nd Street and Aurora Avenue North, before a 100-lap Northwest championship contest. The pace car is a 1940 or 1941 Graham Hollywood, a rarity as only 1,597 were built in those two model years, says vehicle historian Mike Bergman, who also notes that the Hollywood used the body tooling of the 1936-1937 Cord 812. The track was bought in 1957 and converted to commercial buildings. (Paul Dorpat collection)
NOW: The only auto racing today on the former Playland oval is done by drivers who maneuver through the parking lot of this former strip-mall, recently anchored by a Gov-Mart store. (Clay Eals)

Published in the Seattle Times online on July 29, 2021
and in PacificNW Magazine of the printed Times on Aug. 1, 2021

Half-size race cars sported big appeal, but not everyone applauded
By Clay Eals

Sports bear an ongoing tension with safety, as violence often shadows physicality. Since childhood, I have alleged this about football, and don’t get me started on boxing or our city’s beloved hydroplanes.

So what are we to think of auto racing? Within Seattle, it’s gone, unless you count a recent trend of midnight hooligans commandeering residential streets to screech tires. Still ringing in many ears, however, are the 1960s radio ads for dragsters and “funny cars” on “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!” at Seattle International Raceway (now Pacific Raceways) near Kent.

Nationally, amid the Depression, a popular competitive subset emerged, employing a since-disparaged label: “midget” auto racing. The adjective addressed the cars.

THEN2: This detail from an Oct. 2, 1938, full-page Camel cigarette endorsement ad depicts “midget” race cars. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archive)

Also known as doodlebugs and “bucking bronchos on wheels” according to a 1938 full-page Camel cigarette ad in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the vehicles were half the length and height of a typical sedan but capable of speeds to embody “the World’s Fastest Sport.” The pastime even merited a glorifying 1939 Hollywood film, “Burn ’Em Up O’Connor.”

Several regional venues hosted these races, including one, shown in our “Then” photo, at Playland, the long-cherished amusement park that operated from 1930 to 1961 in unincorporated Broadview, between Aurora Avenue North and Bitter Lake. Playland Stadium, which presented greyhound racing in 1933 until the state shuttered it for betting, opened its track for undersized-car contests in mid-1941.

There each week, up to 6,000 adults (60 cents to $1 admission) and children (30 to 50 cents) witnessed up to three-dozen helmeted drivers seeking fame by propelling tiny racers in hundreds of laps around the quarter-mile dirt oval.

From the start, however, the noise, dust and traffic stirred neighbors’ ire (and lawsuits). Moreover, drivers’ rivalries often crossed the line to serious injury. Twice, in 1941 and 1946, Playland crashes produced fatalities.

Royal Brougham, P-I sports editor, cast an acerbic eye. The enterprise, he wrote, was rigged vaudeville “in which the drivers pull their punches with one eye on the gate receipts.” But he also soberly observed that a driver’s death was a “heavy cost to pay for a two-hour thrill.”

World War II, with rubber and gas rationing, forced a three-year hiatus in the races. In 1954, reflecting post-war growth, Seattle annexed Broadview, and in 1957 a real-estate firm bought the Playland track, converting it to commercial buildings.

Racing under the “midget” name surfaced into the 1980s within Seattle, inside the old Coliseum and Kingdome. Today it endures worldwide, sometimes with a newer descriptor: “open wheel.”

While closing this fossil-fueled saga, dare I note that climate change ensures us all a different kind of race to a safe finish?

WEB EXTRAS

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

Below are a full racing annual and, in chronological order, 96 historical clippings from The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer online archives (available via Seattle Public Library) and other online newspaper sources that were helpful in the preparation of this column.

Plus, we have a song! Click on the record label below:

This is a 78 rpm label for “Midget Auto Blues” written by Bonnie Tutmarc, aka Bonnie Guitar, and performed by Seattle’s Paul Tutmarc and the Wranglers in 1978. Click the label to hear the song! (Courtesy Peter Blecha)
1946 Playland Midget Auto Racing Annual. Click to see full pdf.
Oct. 10, 1922, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 83.
June 15, 1933, Seattle Times, page 14.
June 25, 1933, Seattle Times, page 23.
July 13, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 9.
July 14, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 23.
July 14, 1933, Seattle Times, page 14.
July 16, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 29.
July 21, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 10.
July 26, 1933, Seattle Times, page 16.
July 27, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Aug. 21, 1933, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 1.
Aug. 30, 1933, Seattle Times, page 16.
May 12, 1934, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
May 19, 1934, Seattle Times, page 1.
May 19, 1935, Seattle Times, page 1.
April 24, 1938, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 39, Royal Brougham column.
May 4, 1938, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 4.
June 14, 1938, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 11.
June 17, 1938, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 3.
April 23, 1938, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 12, Royal Brougham column.
June 20, 1939, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 6, editorial.
Oct. 2, 1938, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 74, Camel cigarette ad.
March 4, 1939, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 15.
April 19, 1939, Seattle Times, page 4.
April 25, 1939, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 4.
April 26, 1939, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 15.
May 2, 1939, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 4.
May 10, 1939, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 13, Royal Brougham column.
June 6, 1941, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 21.
June 15, 1941, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 25.
July 6, 1941, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 21.
July 12, 1941, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 13.
July 12, 1941, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 13.
July 24, 1941, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 17.
July 28, 1941, Seattle Times, page 17.
July 29, 1941, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 13, Royal Brougham column.
July 29, 1941, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 15.
July 31, 1941, Seattle Times, page 26.
Aug. 1, 1941, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 23.
Aug. 1, 1941, Seattle Times, page 24.
Aug. 2, 1941, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page 12.