Category Archives: Seattle Now and Then

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

(click to enlarge photos)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Anything to add, lads?

Seattle Now & Then: The Battery Street Tunnel

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Chalk art perspective

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

Anything to add, spelunkers?

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

Seattle Now & Then: Opening Ceremonies

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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











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






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



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


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

Related N&T features.

THEN: Sometime between early December 1906 and mid-February 1907 an unnamed photographer with her or his back about two lots north of Pike Street recorded landmarks on the east side of Third Avenue including, in part, the Washington Bar stables, on the right; the Union Stables at the center, a church converted for theatre at Pine Street, and north of Pine up a snow-dusted Denny Hill, the Washington Hotel. (Used courtesy of Ron Edge)

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

THEN: We are not told but perhaps it is Dora and Otto Ranke and their four children posing with their home at 5th and Pike for the pioneer photographer Theo. E. Peiser ca. 1884. In the haze behind them looms Denny Hill. (Courtesy Ron Edge)

THEN: In this April morning record of the 1975 “Rain or Shine Public Market Paint-in,” above the artists, restoration work has begun with the gutting of the Corner Market Building. (Photo by Frank Shaw)

THEN: Charles Louch’s grocery on First Avenue, north of Union Street, opened in the mid-1880s and soon prospered. It is possible – perhaps probable – that one of the six characters posing here is Louch – more likely one of the two suited ones on the right than the aproned workers on the left. (Courtesy RON EDGE)

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

THEN: Where last week the old Washington Hotel looked down from the top of Denny Hill to the 3rd Ave. and Pine St. intersection, on the left, here the New Washington Hotel, left of center and one block west of the razed hotel, towers over the still new Denny Regrade neighborhood in 1917. (Historical photo courtesy of Ron Edge)

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

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

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

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


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

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

THEN: With the stone federal post office at its shoulder – to the left – and the mostly brick Cobb Building behind, the tiled Pantages Theatre at Third Ave. and University Street gave a glow to the block.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

Great railroad signs, theatre signs and ranks of neon were still the greatest contributors to night light at 4th and Westlake in 1949. (Photo by Robert Bradley compliment of Lawton and Jean Gowey)


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

THEN:  Seattle Architect Paul Henderson Ryan designed the Liberty Theatre around the first of many subsequent Wurlitzer organs used for accompanying silent films in theatres “across the land”.  The Spanish-clad actor-dancers posed on the stage apron are most likely involved in a promotion for a film – perhaps Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925) or Douglas Fairbanks’ The Gaucho (1929) that also played at the Liberty.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

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

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

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

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


Seattle Now & Then: Railroad Avenue, 1920

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

THEN:In late 1855 the citizens of Seattle with help from the crew of the Navy sloop-of-war Decatur built a blockhouse on the knoll that was then still at the waterfront foot of Cherry Street. The sloop’s physician John Y. Taylor drew this earliest rendering of the log construction.  (Courtesy, Yale University, Beinecke Library)

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

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

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


Seattle Now & Then: The Pink House on Alki, ca 1938

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THEN: The Pink House at 2130 Alki Avenue is the tiny West Seattle landmark deemed to be the oldest surviving beach house on Alki Avenue S.W. that has not been radically modified.
NOW: Set about halfway between Duwamish Head and Alki Point the “small is beautiful” Pink House is most adventurously found by Seattle’s neighborhood explorers by approaching the west end of Massachusetts Street and dropping from there down Duwamish Head on the steep and narrow Bonair Place S.W. to the Alki waterfront. Take a right turn on to Alki Avenue S.W.. The Pink House is the fifth structure beyond the turn. It can be identified by its color.

Here is the “Pink House” beach landmark for which Alki Beach locals – especially those near the sand – feel protective.  In our “then” photo the Pink House is only nearly pink.   Our “then” is another “tax  photo” from the Depression-era’s WPA (Works Progress Administration) photographic inventory of every taxable structure in King County.  Many properties were exposed as tax-dodgers by the preliminary 1936 aerial survey of King County.

This dappled construction site could not escape attention in 1938, the date inscribed on the tax photo.  (The scribble, center-left, reads like May 6 “1936”, however, from other evidences, it is certainly 1938.)  The cottage is getting its conversion from a beachside Cash and Carry store into a wind-shakened residence.  In 1927 it was called “The People’s Grocery.” Somewhat mysteriously “GRO,” the first three letters of “grocery,” have been cut in half and separated for the home’s new six window exposure to the northwest on Alki Beach.  The sign’s shipboard remnants have been, it seems, salvaged by the carpenters for the new façade.  Clay Eals, West Seattle neighborhood activist wonders if the shuffled letters survive under the home’s namesake pink paint?  (Its pop name was vox populi – inevitable.)

King County tax card dated May 6, 1938.  CLICK to ENLARGE
PINK (perhaps) HOUSE in tax photo from Oct. 15, 1944.

Who painted it pink? Most likely Susan B. Griffin, a lead gardener at the University of Washington arboretum who lived in The Pink House at 2130 Alki Avenue for nearly 40 years.  Her niece Katy Griffin remembers that the master gardener “kept a beautifully maintained home and garden. It has been painted pink ever since I can remember. . . It was decorated with carefully chosen antiques, with beautiful glassware on the window sills that trembled every time the metro bus would go by. My aunt delighted in entertaining, and hosted many gatherings.” Griffen was also an exceptional landlord for her other properties in the Alki area and “treated her tenants like family…She kept a vegetable garden for all of her neighbors to plant and harvest.”  It was an inspiration for the community’s P-Patch Program.

Grace McAdams, far right, with two friends on Alki Beach in the Teens, running southwest from Luna Park, which was built in 1907 below Duwamish Head.

Luna Park below Duwamish Head by early 20th Century postcard photogerapher Otto Frasch.
Luna Park from Duwamish Heaad. The two summits of Queen Anne Hill hold the horizon..
LUNA PARK looking northwest towards Bainbridge Island.
Another Frasch postcard of Luna Park.
Luna Park and Duwamish Head from Elliott Bay.

The Pink House’s tax card (far above) dates its construction in 1909. According to West Seattle’s committed community of historians this waterfront bungalow was built for Granville and Henrietta Haller’s family, pioneers who in 1883 completed Seattle’s first and largest mansion, Castlemount, on First Hill’s summit near James Street and Broadway.  In ironic hindsight, the footprints for both Castlemount and what became the Pink house were chosen in part for their proximity to the sporting life (fishing and hunting) of Seattle’s pioneer “Indian-fighter” Granville and Henrietta Haller’s family.

Castlemount, the Haller Family home at James Street and Summit Avenue on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

Thanks to West Seattle researchers Greg Lange, Clay Eals and Matt Vaughn for their help in following the history of the Pink House.  Vaughn the long-time proprietor of West Seattle’s Easy Street Records was also the Pink House owner for a dozen years until 2010.


Anything to add, fellas?  For you and your’s we shall try.


THEN: The Craftsman bungalow at 1910 47th Ave. S.W., shown in the 1920s with an unknown adult on the porch and two tykes below, is now 100 years old. The house beyond it at the southeast corner with Holgate Street was for many years clubhouse to the West Seattle Community Club, and so a favorite venue for discussing neighborhood politics and playing bridge. (COURTESY OF SOUTHWEST SEATTLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY)


THEN: The Gatewood Craftsman Lodge was built on a road, in a neighborhood, and near a public school all named for the developer Carlisle Gatewood, who also lived in the neighborhood. The three women posing in the third floor’s open windows are the Clark sisters, Jean, Dorothy and Peggy, members of the family that moved into the home in the late 1930s.


THEN: In 1852 many of Seattle’s first pioneers removed from Alki Point by dugout canoe for the deeper and safer harbor along the east shore of Elliott Bay (our central waterfront). About a half-century later any hope or expectation that the few survivors among these pioneers could readily visit Alki Beach and Point by land were fulfilled with the timber quays and bridges along Spokane Street. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: The Seattle Times in its lengthy coverage of the then new Seattle Steel in the paper’s Magazine Section for Sept. 10, 1905 – the year this photograph was recorded – noted that “the plant itself is a series of strong, substantial, cavernous sheds, built for use, not for beauty.” (Courtesy, MOHAI, the Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Looking southeast from above Alki Avenue, the Schmitz Park horizon is serrated by the oldest trees in the city. The five duplexes clustered on the right were built 1919-1921 by Ernest and Alberta Conklin. Ernest died in 1924, but Alberta continued to live there until well past 1932, the year this photograph was recorded. (Seattle Municipal Archives.)


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

THEN: The new sub H-3 takes her inaugural baptism at the Seattle Construction and Dry Dock Company’s ways on Independence Day, 1913. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: Part of the pond that here in 1946 filled much of the long block between Massachusetts and Holgate Streets and 8th Avenue S. and Airport Way. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: Sometime before her first move from this brewery courtyard in 1912, Lady Rainier was moved by a freeze to these sensational effects. She did not turn her fountain off. (Courtesy of Frank & Margaret Fickeisen)

THEN: The work of filling the tidelands south of King Street began in 1853 with the chips from Yesler’s sawmill. Here in the neighborhood of 9th Ave. S. (Airport Way) and Holgate Street, the tideland reclaiming and street regrading continue 70 years later in 1923. (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)

THEN: Built in 1893, West Seattle School kept teaching until ruined by the region’s 1949 earthquake. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)















Seattle Now & Then: Two English Elms in Wallingford

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THEN:Two English elms stand at the corner of 42nd Street and Eastern Avenue in good health on Aug. 15, 2007.
NOW: Dutch elm disease and subsequent chain saws brought down these natural Wallingford landmarks two years ago.

Carrying a camera during the summer of 2006,  I started my daily Wallingford Walks, two to three hour circle treks thru the neighborhood from our front door on Eastern Avenue.  I carried with me both tested intentions and temptations to lose some weight while walking within intimate odiferous range of Dick’s Drive-In on NE 45th Street. After four years of walking in the increasingly familiar circle I’d chosen I lost only a few pounds but gained hundreds of thousands of digital snapshots. With studied care I repeated –over and over – about 300 of my subjects, animating them through four years, 2006 to 2010, of their four seasons.

This is the map we used to chart the Wallingford Stop taken during my afternoon walks. The map was made for the MUSEUM of HISTORY & INDUSTRY’S show “Repeat Photography” work at he Museum’s last exhibit before its move to the naval armory at the south end of Lake Union. (Jean will know the date and may add it here.)

Here from several prospects near Eastern Avenue and 42nd Street, we share one of our Wallingford Walks subjects: two landmark English Elms recently lost to the voracious Dutch Elm disease that first reached North America aboard a timber-hauling steamer in the 1920s.   (They are named “Dutch” for the nationality of the scientist who first described them.). Here in King County the elm bark beetles which spread the disease apparently first arrived in Seattle by wing from the east shore of Lake Washington– they can fly over 15 miles between rests. The root-hungry cousins that consumed Seattle’s elms came it is figured from Clyde Hill .

Seattle’s first public sponsored aerial swept back-and-forth across the city resulting a record of the city’s taxable objects as well as its landscaping. In this Wallingford detail 42nd streets makes it surviving curve at the bottom of the photo  between Eastern Ave. n. on the left and First Ave. n.e. on the right, about one-third of the way above the photo’s right border.. The Elms at the northeast corner of 42nd Street and Eastern Avenue are not be be found on the parking strip bordering 42nd Street.  The were plant sometime around 1950,  The three houses facing the sidewalk at this south end of the block all survive. The rarely considered or visited Museum of Forsaken Art (MOFA) is on the east side of First Ave. N.E., about a third of the way up the right side of the print.  They all appear in the featured NOW photo included here near the top,.  The home of Wallingford’s Honorary Mayor his honor Douglas Wilson is the second structure on the east side First Av.e N.E.. It rests above the end of the block at 42nd Avenue.  

The elms were long prized far and wide for their service as street trees.  Tall and tough, if given care in resisting the beetles, elms can endure.  We used several aerial photo-surveys in figuring the approximate age of these two at their demise two years ago.   The earliest Seattle aerial from 1929 shows no trees on this parking strip.  Six years later they appear but then by surprise disappear sometime between the 1946 and 1952 aerials.  Not knowing the age of these two when first planted, we accept the early 1950s.

Neighbor Philip Wells counted that the hard-to-calculate exposed rings in the felled trunk reach into the seventies.  Wells notes that we do not know how long their first years were cared for in a nursery.  For comparison, it is estimated by expert arborists that of the 15,000 elms still standing in England’s Brighton, and Hove and East Sussex several are over 400 years old.

Looking north on Eastern Avenue from 42nd Street.

A memorial was made with a slab cut from the trunk of the most easterly of the two elms.  It rests on the parking strip with a print attached of the tree streaked by the blizzard of January 4, 2009.

This picture was taken by me at night during the brief blizzard of January 4, 2009, ten winters ago.


The crown of the elm closest to the corner reaches above the Japanese Maple om  Eastern Avenue.
Leaves of the corner Elms, far-right,  touch the corner’s full rainbow of August 9, 2008.
Autumnal colors embrace the elm, above, and an apple tree below.


Just for fun, I’m including a few snowy shots of Green Lake from this evening. Enjoy the snow!



Anything to add, tree lovers?  I feel I can promote Ron’s love of healthy trees.  He was a student of landscaping at the U.W.  I am a liberal tree hugger who once but briefly lived in a carefully joined treehouse where doughnuts were regularly enjoyed with  green tea.


RON EDGE and I bring forward again more evidence of the Wallingford Walks I took most days from 2006 into 2010 when my lower knees – I call them my shins – were getting increasingly sore as my rich diet meanwhile advanced arthrightous in my knees.  (I am thankful for my knees.  It is something we seniors talk over with sympathy and tea..  One of the goals of all my walking was animation.  I carried no tripod but still managed to repeatedly record certain favored subjects – about 200 of them – during my years of nearly daily walks.  A few years back for the MOHAI’S LAST SHOW at their Union Bay location, Ron Edge helped me with making the first animations of about 25 of them.  Twenty-two are featured directly below.  And they include two sequences that concentrated on the neighborhood’s elms that then still stood at the southeast corner of Eastern Avenue and 42nd Street.  (If you want to skip to the elms they begin on numbers 25:09 and 28:00.  It is a not so long animation of about 40 mins so they appear beyond the half-way mark.) Trust me the jiggle in these animations can be improved later with the application of new aps meant to stabilize chosen subjects without correcting the animator’s spelling.

Example: Seven of several undred pans taken of the Meritian play field, which I referred to a Hyde Park, I studying London History at the time..
Nine examples of using photoshop to play with subjects found on my Wallingford Walks.
lt was this front lawn wonderfully filled with dandylions that persuaded me walk for five years repeating digitally several hundred neighborhood subjects.

Last Walk on the Viaduct

(click to enlarge photos)

Yesterday was a day of mourning and celebration, often both at the same time. Thanks to Clay Eals and Buddy Foley – who strolled along with me as the light just got better and better….

Amid the media covering the opening ceremony, Jean steadies his camera atop his 21-foot pole, allowing him to capture an overhead view that no one else did. (Photo by Clay Eals)


For terrific coverage of this spectacular day, click these images to see two KING-TV stories, the latter featuring Jean Sherrard:

KING-TV story: “Thousands walk Alaskan Way Viaduct to say goodbye”
KING-TV’s story: “Hundreds celebrate Seattle tunnel opening with weekend festivities”

Seattle Now & Then: 2nd and Bell

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Looking north on Second Avenue, ca. 1940
The same view in 2019
THEN #2: Looking south through the same intersection, ca 1902 – this photograph first appeared in ‘Seattle Now & Then’ in 1984, and is now featured in our just-published book

For this week’s “repeat” Jean and I are including for somewhat sentimental reasons a third visit to the same Belltown (or North Seattle) intersection of Second Avenue and Bell Street.  The oldest of these three looks south thru the intersection when the neighborhood was shaped by Denny Hill.

(BELOW:  As this feature first appeared as the 52nd Chapter of Seattle Now and Then, Volume One, first published in 1984.)

This is WAS the northwest “corner” of the hill since razed: Denny Hill. The difference in the elevations recorded here sometime in 1902 or 1903 and now was a mere one foot.  This part of the Denny Hill regrade along Second Avenue began in 1903.  It is a rare look into the neighborhood when it was still a hill.

A detail of the “North Seattle Neighborhood pulled from Seattle’s 1891 birdseye evocation.  The red arrow we inserted to-right points at the Wayne Row Apartments, southeast corner of Second Avenue and Bell Street.

John Hannawalt of Old Seattle Paperworks (still in the Pike Place Market) first showed it to me in the late 1970s. I was quickened. While I knew nothing about it I wanted it to be at least part of Denny Hill, the Seattle hill had been episodically removed between 1876 and 1931.  And it was. These two-plus blocks between Bell and Lenora streets were razed to their present elevations between 1903 and 1908.  With the photo in hand, finding the intersection came

The southeast corner of Second Ave. and Bell Street ca 1980.

quickly, largely because I liked the bowls of beans, rice and cheese served at Mama’s Mexican Kitchen, still here at the southeast corner of this intersection.  Of course Mama was not in the Webster and Stevens Studio photo ca. 1902, but it was on my diet in 1978.

The southeast corner of the intersection copped to help one find the street sign nailed to the power pole.

With the help of a jeweler’s hand-held magnifying glass I soon found the street name “Bell” on the telephone pole at the corner.  Standing above the corner, both in the photo and on my visits to Mama’s, were the three gables of the Wayne Apartments, a row built in 1890 and wonderfully still standing. I first published my “findings” in the Seattle Sun and it was on the evidence of that discovery that this newspaper first engaged me to write this feature in 1982.

A typical tax-card from the late 1930s, this one concentrating on the row-house that is still standing at the southeast corner of Bell and Second..   CLICK TO ENLARGE

The “then” in this week’s “repeat” pair probably dates from the late 1930s or even 1940, the year that, city-wide, many of the street cars were replaced with buses or trackless trollies.


Anything to add, boys?  Some visits with a few friends from the neighborhood – extended.

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

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

THEN: An early-20th-century scene during the Second Avenue Regrade looks east into its intersection with Virginia Avenue. A home is being moved from harm's way, but the hotel on the hill behind it would not survive the regrade's spoiling. Courtesy of Ron Edge.


THEN: The Dog House at 714 Denny Way was strategically placed at the southern terminus for the Aurora Speedway when it was new in the mid-1930s. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Archive, Bellevue Community College Branch.)


THEN: Thanks to Pacific reader John Thomas for sharing this photograph recorded by his father in 1927. It looks north across Times Square to the almost completed Orpheum Theatre. Fifth Avenue is on the left, and Westlake on the right.


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

THEN: Built in the mid-1880s at 1522 7th Avenue, the Anthony family home was part of a building boom developing this north end neighborhood then into a community of clapboards. Here 70 years later it is the lone survivor. (Photo by Robert O. Shaw)

THEN: Looking southeast over the open acres of the Western Washington Fair Grounds following the matinee performance of Cheyenne Bill’s Wild West Show during the summer of 1909. (Courtesy, Old Seattle Paperworks)

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

THEN: An Emergency Relief Administration wood pile took temporary quarters on the southeast corner of S. Alaska Street and 32nd Ave. S. in 1934. (Courtesy, Northwest Collection, University of Washington Libraries.)

THEN: When it was built in 1902, this box home, with classic Ionic pillars at the porch, was set above the northwest corner of the freshly graded Brooklyn Avenue and 47th Street in the University District.  (Courtesy, John Cooper)

THEN: Like violence in a classic Greek play, the carnage suggested by this 1934 crash scene on the then new Aurora speedway was kept off stage, either behind the city’s official photographer, or in the county morgue.   (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive.)

THEN: St. Vincent de Paul’s first storefront opened in 1926 in Belltown’s grand clapboard hostelry at the corner of First and Battery.  Originally the Bellevue Hotel, it’s reduced here to the “house keeping and transient rooms” of the Bay State Hotel.  (MOHAI)

THEN: From boxcars and rooftops to the planks of Railroad Avenue, excitement builds for the ceremonial re-enactment of the S.S.Portland’s 1897 landing with its “ton of gold” on the Seattle waterfront, the city’s first Golden Potlatch Celebration.  [Courtesy, Michael Maslan]


THEN: A carpenter’s jewel with Victorian ornaments recorded by a tax assessor’s photographer in 1936, nestles at 615 Eastlake beside the surviving Jensen Apartments, aka the O’Donnell Building, on the left. (Courtesy Stan Unger)

THEN: The ‘Seattle showplace’ Rhodes mansion on Capitol Hill, ca. 1916. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: James P. Lee, Seattle’s busy public works photographer of the early 20th century, recorded this 1922 look north from near the west end of Denny Way on the bluff above the then-forming Elliott Way. (Courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

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

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

THEN: Lawton Gowey looks north through the tail of the 1957 Independence Day Parade on Fourth Avenue as it proceeds south through the intersection with Pike Street. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)



Join us Thursday night in Burien for next event!

The events

Paul flings a baseball hat as the prize for a history question during his Jan. 24 event with Jean at Aegis Living of West Seattle. Click the photo to see video!

Already this month, we have had two book events (including one at Aegis Living of West Seattle, seen above), and five more are scheduled from now through May. The next one is 7 PM this Thursday evening, Jan. 31, at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Burien/White Center. Stay tuned on the events page of our website!

Books on display December 14, 2018, in Ballard. Photo by Gavin MacDougall

You can re-live an event or experience it anew! Videos of 21 of the book’s 25 events from November and December 2018 are posted on the events page of our website.

The media

Peggy Sturdivant and the photo she took to accompany her column. (From left) Ken Workman (great great great great grandson of Chief Seattle), Paul Dorpat, Jean Sherrard and Clay Eals. Click it to see the column.

This month, longtime Westside Seattle columnist Peggy Sturdivant provides a unique look at one of our recent events in Ballard. To see links to all the print and broadcast media coverage of the book so far, click here.

The blurbs

A total of 25 Seattle notables have weighed in on Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred. Here are two samples:


Anne Frantilla

Longtime readers of “Seattle Now and Then” will love perusing these 100 greatest hits for their favorites.

New readers will be entertained not only by the fascinating corners of Seattle’s history but also by Dorpat’s sense of humor and Sherrard’s sharp eye.

Anne Frantilla,
Seattle city archivist


Kji Kelly

Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred inspires Seattleites to utter the all-too-familiar statement, “I remember when…”

We can hope that this work inspires more of us to put down our phones, raise our heads, look at the ever-changing urban landscape and ask a more substantive, less sentimental question: ”What can we do to ensure that Seattle does not destroy its own soul?”

Kji Kelly,
executive director, Historic Seattle


For the rest of the blurbs, check out our blurbs page.

The blog

You already are subscribed to this blog (better known to all of us as, but have you considered signing up someone else or offering him or her the opportunity?

Now it’s easier than ever. Just go to the home page, and in the upper left corner enter an email address and click the green “Subscribe” button (as shown in the black box here). That’s all it takes.

As you know, each subscriber receives regular updates with links that lead to scores of photos that supplement each week’s “Now and Then” column in The Seattle Times!

How to order

Want to order a book online? It’s easy. Just visit our “How to order” page. You can even specify how you want Paul and Jean to personalize your copy. Books will reach your mailbox about a week after you order them.

As Jean looks on, Paul signs a book for Nancy Guppy of The Seattle Channel’s “Art Zone.”


Big thanks to everyone who has helped make this book a successful tribute to the public historian who has popularized Seattle history via more than 1,800 columns for nearly 37 years, Paul Dorpat!

— Clay Eals, editor, Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred