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Seattle Now & Then: The Prince Rupert Hotel

[No video this week as Jean is off visiting Juneau. He will, however, return with visual treasures for a future blog post!]

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Built quickly in the winter of 1906-07, the Prince Rupert Hotel faced Boren Avenue from the third lot north of Pike Street. About fifty-five years later it was razed for the I-5 Freeway. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
THEN: Built quickly in the winter of 1906-07, the Prince Rupert Hotel faced Boren Avenue from the third lot north of Pike Street. About fifty-five years later it was razed for the I-5 Freeway. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
NOW: With no hotel-apartment to block his view, Jean Sherrard shows us some of the new construction in the neighborhood that was first called North Seattle when the growing city reached it in the 1870s
NOW: With no hotel-apartment to block his view, Jean Sherrard shows us some of the new construction in the neighborhood that was first called North Seattle when the growing city reached it in the 1870s

Most likely the name for this classical structure, the Prince Rupert Hotel, was chosen as an allusion either to then proposed British Columbia port city, about six-hundred miles north of Seattle, or to that city’s namesake Prince Rupert of the Rhine (1619-1682), the first Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. A contest, for a prize of $250, was held to name the town.  The naming match was held by

Seattle Times clip from February 25, 1906.
Seattle Times clip from February 25, 1906.
Seattle Times clip, June 3, 1906
Seattle Times clip, June 3, 1906
Seattle Times clip from June 6, 1906.
Seattle Times clip from June 6, 1906.
Seattle Times clip, October 3, 1906
Seattle Times clip, October 3, 1906

the Grand Trunk Pacific, the Canadian railway that built its West Coast terminus at Prince Rupert, and, constructed the Grand Trunk Pacific Wharf on Elliott Bay as a link to Seattle’s booming commerce.  When completed in 1910 on our waterfront between Madison and Marion Streets, it was the largest wooden pier on the Pacific Coast.  Prince Rupert was increasingly in the news.

The Grand Trunk Pacific pier ca. 1909 looking north from the Marion Street pedestrian overpass to Colman Dock.
The Grand Trunk Pacific pier ca. 1909 looking north from the Marion Street pedestrian overpass to Colman Dock.
A "now" for the above "then" taken about ten years ago.
A “now” for the above “then,” also from the Marion overpass,  taken about ten years ago.
The 1914 fate of the Grand Trunk pier to burn down to its pilings. Note the Smith Tower on the right, which was dedication this year. Colman Dock on the right was saved by the fire boats that were stationed at Fire Station No. 5, directly north (to the left) of the Grand Trunk pier, which had lower insurance rates because of them.
The 1914 fate of the Grand Trunk pier to burn to its pilings. Note the Smith Tower on the left, which was dedication this year. Colman Dock on the right was saved by the fire boats that were normally stationed at Fire Station No. 5, directly north (to the left) of the Grand Trunk pier.  The Canadian railroad got lower insurance rates because of them.

When the hotel was first noticed in this newspaper it was named the Hotel Prince Rupert.  Sometimes it took new hotel builders or managers time to decide between introducing their newest gift to local hostelries with the generic ‘hotel’ at the front or the rear of their chosen name.  The Prince Rupert was built during the winter of

A Prince Rupert Seattle Times classified from May 16, 1907.
An early  Prince Rupert Seattle Times classified from May 16, 1907.
Meanwhile, or about that time . . . A Seattle Times clip from April, 11, 1907.
Meanwhile, or about that time . . . A Seattle Times clip from April, 11, 1907.

1906-07 and opened at 1515 Boren Avenue in May of 1907.  Listed in classifieds, the attractions of this five-story fireproof hotel with 115 rooms included “strictly modern, outside windows in every room, short walking distance of business center, within a half-block of four car lines, first-class dining room in connection.”  In an August 4, 1907, short report on the hotel, the Seattle Times noted that it “at once became extremely popular, and although it was opened less than three months ago, it is impossible to accommodate all who apply.” 

A Seattle Times clip from August 4, 1907.
A Seattle Times clip from August 4, 1907.
This Feb. 25, 1906 clip is pulled from a special Seattle Times section illustrating the splendors of Seattle in 1906. It was a remarkable boom town. The "typical" part of this page's title is a bit self-assured. Yet, it is remarkable that all of this and much more had been constructed after the city's Great Fire of 1889. These are the Prince Rupert's downtown competitors, most of them with many more rooms.
This Feb. 25, 1906 clip is pulled from a special Seattle Times section illustrating the splendors of Seattle in 1906. And it was then still a remarkable boom town, although the “typical” part of this page’s title is a bit self-assured. Yet, it is remarkable that all of this and much more had been constructed after the city’s Great Fire of 1889. These are the Prince Rupert’s downtown competitors, most of them with many more rooms.  You might wish to count the survivors among them. [Click to Enlarge]

While exploring the former location of the Prince Rupert Hotel’s front door and its four classical columns that faced Boren Street, one will be careful not to fall into the I-5 ditch that took with its cutting this hotel and many others along the western slope of the First Hill/Capitol Hill ridge in the early 1960s.  The ever-alert Jean

Climbing First Hill in 1914 for a visit with Rod Edge with Rich Berner at Skyline, I snapped this from the passenger's side while crossing above the I-5 ditch. This is near (or at) the Prince Rupert's front door. Note the landscaped roof of the Convention Center just above the railing. The tree on the far left is part of the landscape of Plymouth Park at the northwest corner of Pike and Boren.
Climbing First Hill in 1914  with Rod Edge for a visit with Rich Berner at Skyline, I snapped this from the passenger’s side while crossing above the I-5 ditch. This is near (or at) the Prince Rupert’s front door. Note the landscaped roof of the Convention Center just above the railing. The tree on the far left is part of the landscape of Plymouth Pillars Park at the northwest corner of Pike and Boren.

Sherrard has widened the frame for this week’s ‘repeat,’ second from the top, to include the most western corner of Plymouth Pillars Park. There, although still off-frame to the left, the rescued columns of Plymouth Congregational Church, which formerly faced Sixth Avenue between Seneca and University Streets, are nicely blended within a copse of deciduous trees in their own triangular park at the northwest corner of Pike Street and Boren Avenue. 

Two years earlier, again riding with Ron on one of our lunchtime visits with Rich Berner, I snapped this autumnal record of Plymouth PIllars Park on Oct. 29, 2012.
Two years earlier, again riding with Ron on one of our lunchtime visits with Rich Berner, I snapped this autumnal record of Plymouth PIllars Park from the window on Oct. 29, 2012.
An early full-face frontal of the Plymouth Sanctuary at the southwest corner of 6th Avenue and University Street.
An early full-face frontal of the Plymouth Sanctuary at the southwest corner of 6th Avenue and University Street.
First appeared in Pacific . . .
First appeared in Pacific November 2, 1997. 
Photographed by Lawton Gowey on March 21, 1966.
Photographed by Lawton Gowey on March 21, 1966.

Plymouth-pillars-Boren-and-Pike-moreWEB

It is a satisfying coincidence that both the four surviving Plymouth Pillars and those that supported the top floor portico of the Prince Rupert were of the Ionic order, although in their 1966 removal from the demolished church, the Plymouth pillars lost their scrolled capitals.  Still we permit ourselves to fashion an Ionic irony that the church’s pillars were saved and moved to Boren Street to replace those of the razed hotel.

By Lawton Gowey
By Lawton Gowey
Borrowed from wikipedia or somewhere near it in the cloud.
Borrowed from wikipedia or somewhere near it in the cloud.
Our week's feature superimposed on a detail from the 1912 Baist real estate map.
Our week’s feature superimposed on a detail from the 1912 Baist real estate map.  The lower-left corner of the photo-insert nearly touches the intersection of Pike and Boren.   You will find the footprint for the Prince Rupert above  the intersection on the west side (right) of Boren. Avenue, which runs here towards the upper-left corner of the map.
A detail of Prince Rupert, British Columbia today, used courtesy of Google Earth.
A detail of Prince Rupert, British Columbia today, used courtesy of Google Earth.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?  Not at this moment.  It is early Saturday morning.  Soon Jean and Karen will be flying to Juneau for two days with friends there, their first Alaska visit.   Also sometime later today Ron will put up about fifteen links to this week’s feature about a  hotel and-or apartment, and a swath of its neighborhood lost to the I-5.  Late today, in the evening and on into Sunday, I’ll add a few things more that are relevant either to the subject or the neighborhood.  For the lead-off video we thought or had hoped to interview Dianna James, author of “Shared Walls,”  and local apartment house historian whom we have often featured here.   We  could not squeeze it in, but will the next time we feature some shared walls, and that’s inevitable.  Bon Voyage to Jean and Karen.

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Jean and Karen have arrived in Juneau and right-off visited the Mendenhall Glacier, which is practically in town.   He sends this picture, which I have joined to a Google Earth detail of downtown Juneau (lower-right) and  the Mendenhall (upper-middle).  Jean explains his position as “South of the glacier  and north of the visitor’s center.  Taken on my cell phone.  Sent from my iPhone.”  Jean and Karen are both well-equipped and clothed for the elements.   [Click to Enlarge]

Jean's-Mendenhall-w-Google-WEB2

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THEN: Beginning with the Reynolds, three hotels have taken tenancy in this ornate three-story brick block at the northeast corner of Boren Avenue and Pike Street. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: The city’s north end skyline in 1923 looking northwest from the roof of the then new Cambridge Apartments at 9th Avenue and Union Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: A.J. McDonald’s panorama of Lake Union and its surrounds dates from the early 1890s. It was taken from First Hill, looking north from near the intersection of Terry Avenue and Union Street. (Courtesy, Museum of History and Industry)

THEN: Looking north-northeast from a low knoll at the southwest corner of Seneca Street and Seventh Avenue, circa 1916. By 1925, a commercial automobile garage filled the vacant lot in the foreground. [Courtesy, Ron Edge]

tsutakawa-1967-then

THEN: Constructed in 1890 as the Seattle Fire Department’s first headquarters, these substantial four floors (counting the daylight basement) survived until replaced by Interstate Five in the 1960s. (photo by Frank Shaw)

BOREN-&-University-Denny-&-Ainsworth-Homes-THEN-mr

THEN: The city's regrading forces reached Sixth Avenue and Marion Street in 1914. A municipal photographer recorded this view on June 24. Soon after, the two structures left high here were lowered to the street. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

THEN: With great clouds overhead and a landscape 45 years shorter than now, one vehicle – a pickup heading east – gets this part of State Route 520 to itself on a weekday afternoon. (courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: The home at bottom right looks across Madison Street (out of frame) to Central School. The cleared intersection of Spring Street and Seventh Avenue shows on the right.

THEN: A circa 1923 view looks south on Eighth Avenue over Pike Street, at bottom left.

THEN: In the 32 years between Frank Shaw's dedication picture and Jean Sherrard's dance scene, Freeway Park has gained in verdure what it has lost in human use.

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UP THE HILL on BOREN, TWO MORE NEIGHBORS

The Ward tower, Dec. 30, 1977.
Above: The Ward tower, Dec. 30, 1977.

WARD-HOUSE-boren-and-PikeTHEN-WEB copy

Ward-Home-WEB

The move, the last part of it, up Denny Way.
The move, the last part of it, up Denny Way.
The Ward home now - photographed, again, on one of Ron and my lunch excursions to visit Rich Berner.
The Ward home now – photographed, again, on one of Ron and my lunch excursions to visit Rich Berner.

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Backus-Home-Boren-Univ-WEB

First appeared in Pacific, August 10, 2003.
First appeared in Pacific, August 10, 2003.

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The injured history of Grace Torlicher, once a resident of the Prince Rubert, can be followed, in part, with the few Seattle Times' clips that track her between 1917 and 1935.
Like the rest of us, covered by the Second Amendment, the injured history of Grace Torlicher, once a resident of the Prince Rupert, can be followed, in part, with the few Seattle Times’ clips that track her between 1917 and 1935.  May we assume that Grace and her John continued to practice till death did them part for the “regulated Militia” and the security of our somewhat free state?
A Times clip from Sept. 16, 1917.
A Times clip from Sept. 16, 1917.
A Times clip from Sept. 21, 1917.
A Times clip from Sept. 21, 1917.
A Seattle Times clip from July 8, 1921.
A Seattle Times clip from July 8, 1921.
Clip from the Seattle Times for May 28, 1935.
Clip from the Seattle Times for May 28, 1935.
Continued Times clip form May 28, 1935.
Continued Times clip form May 28, 1935.

SURE, AND A PUZZLED JUDGE PONDERS THE CASE

TIMES Clip from Oct. 5, 1939.
TIMES Clip from Oct. 5, 1939.          

THE BARK MONTCALM ADDENDUM

Before this coming Sunday’s feature is published we want to insert an addition to last week’s feature about the Galbraith and Bacon Wall Street Wharf and the Bark Montcalm that was tied to her south side most likely in early November, 1910 and not “circa 1912” as we speculated last Sunday.   Here’s the feature photo, again.

Courtesy, Lawton Gowey
Courtesy, Lawton Gowey

We received three letters responding to our uncertainties about which Montcalm this was and, as noted, the date it visited Seattle.  Reader Kyle Stubbs was first to respond, and noted that “I am only aware of one Montcalm that was a barque-rigged sailing vessel.  That is the Montcalm of 1902, 2,415 tons built at Nantes, France, which was used in around Cape Horn service by La Societe des Voiliers Nantais.  The vessel was broken up in the Netherlands in 1924.”

The next letter came from Douglas Stewart, a seasoned cardiologist with the University Medical School and hospital, whom I first met last winter after I fell to the kitchen floor, tripped by my oxygen gasping heart’s tricks with consciousness, or loss of it.   The good doctor is also an enthusiast for most things maritime, and even rows to work from his home, which like the hospital sits beside Portage Bay.   He found that the original nitrate negative for this photograph is in the keep of the University Libraries Special Collections. In their terse cataloging of it a librarian concludes that this was the “decommissioned sailing ship Montcalm at dock, probably in Seattle ca. 1912.”   The date is almost certainly wrong, and the “decommissioned” attribute is unclear or uncertain.   Decommissioned when?   The library’s data also describes this Montcalm as an “armored sailing corvette . . . originally built for the French Navy in 1865.”  While a Google search for everything that is a Montcalm and floats will surface a French corvette with that heroic name dating from the 1860s, it is, again, almost certainly not this Montcalm.  The first French corvettes of the 17th century were much smaller than this bark or barque and were built to carry cannons.  They got bigger, surely, but not this big. and continued to be built for cannons not concrete and wheat like our Montcalm.

The Montcalm at the Wall Street Pier as illustrated in the Seattle Times for Nov. 2, 1910, and as mistakenly titled the Antwerp.  (Courtesy, Seattle Public Library and The Seattle Times)
The Montcalm at the Wall Street Pier as illustrated in the Seattle Times for Nov. 2, 1910, and as mistakenly titled the Antwerp.  The professional headline or title writer did not consult the reporter or caption writer, a common enough mistake in newspapers.  Almost certainly the feature photo on top was recorded by the same photographer.  (Courtesy, Seattle Public Library and The Seattle Times)

The third and last contributor to this quest for a proper caption is our old friend Stephen Lundgren, who for this sort of investigation into maritime history prefers the sobriquet Capt. Stefan Eddie.   I confess to having used the Captain at times as a capable “World Authority on Everything,” resembling the Professor played by Sid Caesar on his TV show in the 50’s – the best part of that decade.  Capt. Eddie also did what I should have done, which is consult the Seattle Public Libraries assess to the key-word search opening into The Seattle Times on-line archive between 1900 and 1984.  Stephen found, for instance, the clipping above, which was almost certainly photographed by the same camera or camera person as the featured photo on top.   From reading the Times reporting during the Montcalm’s few days stay in Seattle, the Captain concludes, “Took about an hour trolling the Times database and verifying the ship history facts.  That it is rigged as a bark, with a steel hull, narrows the search. It’s at the Galbraith Dock probably between discharging the cement cargo in West Seattle and before loading outbound wheat at Smith Cove.  The Galbraith Co. dealt in Cement.  Question is what buildings were constructed with this Belgium-shipped concrete?”  Capt. Stefan Eddie’s last question really goes too far.   How could anyone be expected to follow the concrete from ship to foundations?

An early record of the West Seattle elevator.
An early record of the West Seattle elevator.  Why we wonder did the Montcalm unload its concrete here, an elevator for grain,  when it was Galbraith and Bacon at Mill Street that was the dealer in concrete?

Finally, Captain Stephan Eddit added to his missive something more  of his charming familiarity with the Montcalm subject.   He explains, “Lars Myrlie Sr. tells me (in Norwegian) ‘I gots off that damm frenchie ship as soon as it gots to Seattle, it was a hell ship and I damm near gots my head stove in off the coast when the load shifted and knocked the other cargo loose cement in bulk, which meant our sure deaths if we gots a leak.  Sure it was a steel ship but them damm rivets popped when a hard one hit, like a bullet they was and then came the squirt.  My brother gots me off the Galbreath dock and over to Port Blakely and no more damn frenchies for me, Tusende Tak Gotts!”

It took the Montcalm 195 days to carry its 3,000 tons of concrete from Antwerp to Seattle.   The ship was registered at 1,744 tons, so the concrete gave it lots of steadying ballast for the storms.   However, there were no storms except the expected ones around Cape Stiff, the sailors’ name for Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America.   Otherwise her crossing of the Atlantic was one of constant calms and so not of great speed.

Two months before "our" Montcalm visits Elliott Bay another French Montcalm called on us and stayed and partied long enough to qualify as a floating embassy.
Two months before “our” Montcalm visits Elliott Bay another French Montcalm called on us and stayed and partied long enough to qualify as a floating embassy.

CINEMA PENITENTIARY NOW AT THE SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY – or through it.

About two hours ago our friend and expat in Lima, Bill White, was honored on a stage at the Seattle Public Library.   Or rather his e-book CINEMA PENITENTIARY was honored, he could not make it from Lima.  CINEMA PENITENTIARY is one of three books selected by the Seattle Public Library to be included this year in its lending collection.  We hope that some blog’s will remember that now a few years back we included an excerpt from CINEMA PENITENTIARY. Now, below, Ron Edge will return it to the front of this blog (before the week’s now and then comes forward this evening) that posting.  It will be linked to five reports that Bill made while on his long journey to his New World by ship in the fall of 2012.   We miss you still Bill and CONGRATULATION, of course.  As agreed we should try to resume the posting of Helix issues later this fall. (Once we figure out our Skype tangles.)  A WARNING:  Bill is fond of re-writing so the chapter from CINEMA PENITENTIARY that we printed here two years ago, may have been polished or something since then.  If so now you can compare them.   Contact the library.   It is a treat.

bill-white-5179-web

Click the festive photo from Bill to review all his post for his “Journey to a New World”

SETTINGS FOR A FALLEN LEAF

I’ve grown fond lately of returning to the snapshots I took of the neighborhood during my nearly daily Wallingford Walks between 2006 and 2010.  (I should probably still be at it.)   I’ll share (or push) some of these over the next few days or longer, and find a general name for them all later.    Here is No.1, which is really twenty settings I made for a fallen Wallingford leaf in 2008.   [click to enlarge]

20redLEAFsettingsGRAB-12_13_8-WEB

FREEMONT CAR BARN ADDENDUM, Aug. 7, 2014

THEN: One of a few photographs recording from different prospects the Fremont trolley car barn on Dec.11, 1936.  North 35th Street, on the right, was originally named Blewett for Edward and Carrie Blewett.  In 1888 the couple, fresh from Fremont, Nebraska, first named and promoted Fremont as a Seattle neighborhood. That year Fremont also got its lumber mill. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
THEN: One of a few photographs recording from different prospects the Fremont trolley car barn on Dec.11, 1936. North 35th Street, on the right, was originally named Blewett for Edward and Carrie Blewett. In 1888 the couple, fresh from Fremont, Nebraska, first named and promoted Fremont as a Seattle neighborhood. That year Fremont also got its lumber mill. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)

In response to our last blog feature, the one about the Fremont Car Barn and the rest, an old friend and officer in these trenches, archivist Ernie Dornfield, answered our question regarding what was the use of those ghost-colored solid forms in the otherwise vacant lot between the house on the left of the subject and the car barn beyond both?   Here’s Ernie’s letter plus a “grab” from this computer’s screen of a City Archive photograph that shows one of those “gray things” being installed.   If you follow his advice and access the city clerk’s information service you will find many more and even much more beyond gray concretions.

THE DORNFIELD LETTER – please CLICK TO ENLARGE

Ernie-Dornfield's-letter-about-gray-slabs-GRAB-WEB

THE ARCHIVES’ ON LINE EXAMPLE – please CLICK

City-Clerk-Online-Info-grab-Concrete-slabsWEB-