Category Archives: Seattle Now and Then

A Now & Then Challenge!

Yes, YOU can help us solve a mystery, and be featured in Paul’s column as a Now & Then Maven!

The photo below was taken, Paul guesses, of a Capitol Hill street probably to the east and south of Volunteer Park. He suggests any search begin on 16th & 17th Avenues.

capitol-hill-st-romans-mr If you think you know the spot, drop Jean a line and he’ll come out and snap the repeat with you in the picture.

Visit our SEATTLE NOW & THEN Archive

Paul Dorpat, Historian Without Portfolio

Since 1982, Paul has written his popular column for the Seattle Times Sunday magazine.

We will be archiving them here, starting with a handful of more recent contributions and continuing to add more as time and effort permit.  Several elements ensure this will be an intriguing feature of our blog.

First, clicking on the photos will provide viewers with a much larger size than the Times can accommodate.  Delight can be found in the details. Second, we will post our ‘Now’ photos in living color.  Lastly, it allows us to swing the camera around and show wider and alternative shots from different perspectives.

So click onward and enjoy!

Another rare treat from 1916

Here’s a contribution from reader Nancy Johnson: a gorgeous photo of the 1916 Big Skate at Greenlake.

Nancy writes:

This [photo] was taken  on Jan 16th 1916 at Greenlake by my great grandfather Theodore Ramm; they lived on Greenwood Ave near 60th.  I think it was taken near the area that is now the rowing center.

Fascinating shot, filled with action and relationships. Note the threesome at lower left, also, the exuberant skaters lower center and right, narrowly avoiding the parents and child on a sled. A small mystery…just what elevated structure was the photo taken from? Nancy’s guess: a lifeguard tower. The elongated shadows suggest the photo was snapped late in the afternoon. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing this marvel with us!

(please click on photo to enlarge)

Photo by Theodore Ramm, Green Lake 1916


[This updated and expanded history was written by Paul Dorpat & edited by Sally Anderson]

Can We Really Believe What We Read About Snowfall?

1880 Big Snow, looking east on Cherry Street from Front Street (First Ave.
1880 Big Snow, looking east on Cherry Street from Front Street (First Ave.)

Some of us do not trust snow reporting.  Many of us do not trust snow.  When even a merciful snow is dropped upon us, persons and performances we looked forward to meeting or attending are missed.  But a snowfall that stays put brings opportunities.  For instance, while missing events, especially those we were not particularly keen for or even dreaded, we can clean our room or attend to other neglected projects, like relationships at home. Most often we feel fortunate to live beside our comfortable Puget Sound.  But the unexpected — a brimming snow like this Big Snow of 2008 — may enliven us.

Here at DorpatSherrardLomont we are are pepped up to write a history of all our big snows.  Frankly, there have not been that many.  So we will also add some other oddities that have appeared out of the sky or merely rolled in and then out again since that “night of shock” when Seattle founder Arthur Denny discovered that the barrel of pork he purchased and stored high on the waterfront disappeared into the freezing dark of the settlers’ first really “big weather” – the winter of 1852-53….

(For more of this fascinating story, click here)

SEATTLE NOW & THEN – Gliding on Green Lake

Each week we will post images from the current Times’ ‘Seattle Now and Then’ article.

Just mouseclick on the photos below to see them in larger format with greater detail.

The Freeze of 1916
Taken on a sloppy Christmas day in 2008, just before melting began in earnest

Below, here are a few more from that same snow taken on the other side of the lake. And while it didn’t freeze over this time round, it certainly provided an unusual playground.

(repeat click on photos to see full size)

green-lake-snow-2 green-lake-snow-3 green-lake-snow-4 green-lake-snow-5 green-lake-snow-7 green-lake-snow-6