A few years ago, I asked Paul Dorpat, Seattle Now & Then founder and noted raconteur, if he knew any ghost stories. He offered up the outlines of a haunted tale told by his dad, the Rev. Theodore Dorpat, about a man trapped inside a terrifying box threatened by another box. I adapted it, filling in a few blanks.
Here it is, for those in Xmas doldrums or just exhausted by the exertions of the day! Click on the photo to begin…
Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard have published a selection of the best of their “Now and Then” columns from The Seattle Times written over several decades. These columns reveal, explore and share Seattle local history by paralleling vintage photographs from previous years with photographs and commentary on these same spaces and places today. In so doing, Dorpat and Sherrard are able to focus on recurring issues and complex ideas that have shaped our city. Their creation of a People’s History of the region has made our past and how we look at the present and design the future much more accessible to scholars, historians and people interested in Seattle “Now and Then.”
Marcellus Turner, Seattle city librarian
The best thing about writing Seattle: A Pictorial Historywith my dad back in 1982 was meeting Paul Dorpat. He and Murray were kindred spirits, delighting in the oddities and ironies of the city’s past and present and, in their overlapping ways, telling its story. Paul is a treasure, and this book is a fitting sampling and tribute to his work.
Lane Morgan, Seattle author, Greetings from Washington,
co-author, Seattle: A Pictorial History,
editor, The Northwest Experience anthologies
Eager to place your order? It’s easy. Just visit our “How to order” page. You can even specify how you want Paul and Jean to personalize your copy. Orders will be mailed starting next Monday and will reach mailboxes about a week later, well in time for holiday gift giving.
Richard Berner died around 2:30 pm last Saturday Nov. 3, 2018. At the time Jean and I were in West Seattle helping the West Seattle Historical Society with it’s annual “gala auction.” That benevolent huckstering went so well that the gala ran both bountiful and long, and our plan to visit Rich following the auction was prevented by the small worries of slipping time. Two days later we learned that it was also snipped by the singular one of Rich’s death. Born at the very end of 1920, Richard did not make it to 100. As the founder of the University of Washington Library’s Archive he was a mentor to many of us, and friend too. Rich was a fine blend of ready compassion and good humor.
(click to enlarge photos)
We are pleased now to introduce Seattle 1900-1920: From Boomtown, Urban Turbulence to Restoration, the first of Richard C. Berner’s three books named together Seattle in the 20th Century.When the details, stories, and insights are explored with a close reading, Berner’s accomplishment is by far our widest opening into Seattle’s twentieth century, the first half of it, from the 1900 to 1950. Those fifty years were also the second half of Seattle’s first hundred years, if we begin our counting with the footsteps of mid-western farmers settling here in the early 1850s.
Volume one was first published in 1991 by Charles Press, and the publisher – “Rich” Berner himself – made a modest list of its contents on the back cover. We will repeat it. “Politics of Seattle’s urbanization: dynamics of reform, public ownership movement, turbulent industrial relations, effects of wartime hysteria upon newfound civil liberties – all responding to the huge influx of aspiring recruits to the middle class & organized labor as they confronted the established elite. Includes outlines of the economy, cultural scene, public education, population characteristics & ethnic history.”
For this “printing” we have added many captioned illustrations, some of them copied from news reports of the events Berner examines, and we have almost always succeeded in placing each next to the text it illustrates. On-line illustrated editions of Volume 2: Seattle 1921-1940, From Boom to Bust and Volume 3: Seattle Transformed, World War 2 to Cold War will follow – but not at the moment. The collecting of illustrations and putting them in revealing order with the narratives for Volume 2 and 3 is still a work in progress. Readers who want to “skip ahead” of our illustrated presentations of Berner’s three books here on dorpatsherrardlomont can find the complete set of his history as originally published in local libraries or through interlibrary loans.
How Rich Berner managed it is a charmed story. He undertook what developed into his magnus opus after retiring in 1984 from his position as founder and head of the University of Washington Archives and Manuscripts Division. Between the division’s origin in 1958 and his retirement Rich not only built the collection but also studied it. Berner worked closely with Bob Burke, the U.W. History professor most associated with the study of regional history who first recommended Berner, a University of California, Berkeley graduate in history and library science, for the U.W. position.Together, the resourceful professor and the nurturing archivist shepherded scores of students in their use of the archive. Rich Berner is the first to acknowledge that he also learned from the students as they explored and measured the collection for dissertations and other publications. By now their collected publications can be imagined as its own “shelf” of Northwest History.
Rich Berner showed himself also a good explicator of his profession.His influential book, Archival Theory and Practice in the United States: A Historical Analysis was published by the University of Washington Press in 1983 and was awarded the Waldo Gifford Leland Prize by the Society of American Archivists. Composing this historical study on top of establishing and nourishing the University’s Archive and Manuscripts Division may be fairly considered a life’s achievement, but, with his 1984 retirement Berner continue to work in the archive at writing his three-volume history. He published Volume Three in 1999, and so, continuing the charm of this entire production, he completed Seattle in the 20th Century before the century (and millennium) was over.
(Lest we imagine this scholar chained to his archive we know that with his wife Thelma, a professor of Physiology and Biophysics in the U.W. Medical School and the first woman appointed Associate Dean of the UW graduate school, this famously zestful couple managed to often take to the hills and mountains.)
Rich was born in Seattle in 1920 – the last year explored in this his first volume. His father worked on the docks as a machinist, and for a time was “blacklisted” by employers because of his union advocacy.During the depression, while Rich was attending classes at Garfield High School, his mother ran a waterfront café on the Grand Trunk Pacific’s pier at the foot of Madison Street.
During the war Rich served with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. Following it with help from the GI Bill he matriculated at Cal-Berkeley with degrees in both history and library science. It was also in Berkeley that he first met Robert Burke, then Director of the Manuscript Collection of the Bancroft Library. Rich worked part time there.
For Seattle, as for any city of size, there is a “canon” of publications that are necessary reading for anyone wanting to get a grip on local history. The first half of the Seattle Canon may be said to begin with Pioneer Arthur Denny’s Pioneer Reminiscences of 1888. The pioneer canon receives its own magnus opus with the combined works – multi-volume histories of Seattle and King County – of Clarence Bagley, himself a pioneer. That Berner was already attending Seattle’s T.T. Minor grade school in 1926 when Bagley was still three years away from publishing his History of King County is evidence of the “Boomtown” included in the title of this Berner’s first of three books on Seattle history.
With rare exceptions the books included in this first part of the Seattle Canon were published by their subjects, like Denny’s still revealing Reminiscences, or under the direction and/or support of their subjects, like Bagley’s still helpful volumes. They are generally “picturesque histories” written to make their subjects seem more appealing than they often were. The stock of motives for “doing heritage” are there generally supportive or positive, showing concern for the community, admiration for its builders, the chance to tell good stories, and often also the desire to learn about one’s forebears although primarily those truths that are not upsetting.Not surprisingly, and again with rare exceptions, these booster-historians and their heritage consumers were members of a minority of citizens defined by their wealth, race and even religion. It would be a surprise to find any poor socialists, animists or even affluent Catholics among them.
Part Two of the Seattle Canon may be said to have popularly begun with Skid Road, historian-journalist Murray Morgan’s charming and yet still raking history of Seattle. Published in 1951, the year of Seattle’s centennial, it is still in print, and has never been out of it. Richard Berner has dedicated Seattle 1900-1920: From Boomtown, Urban Turbulence to Restoration to Morgan. The post-war canon is often corrective of the sins of the pioneers. The works of Morgan and many others, certainly including Berner, are not generally clothed in the pious harmonies of their predecessors, the ordinarily stress-free narratives expected of those who were writing under the “pioneer code.”
In our opinion Rich Berner’s three-volume Seattle in the 20th Centuryis the greatest single achievement of our Seattle Canon – “part two.”It has the scope and details required. It is profoundly instructive and filled with the characters and turns of fate that any storyteller might admire and wisely exploit. Within Berner’s three books are the wonders of what they did, the touchstones of their devotions and deceptions, their courage and hypocrisy, meanness and compassion.Certainly, it has been our pleasure to help illustrate this the first volume and to also continue on now with volumes two and three.
Construction for the new campus of ‘The Cornish School for Drama, Music, Dance’ began on the first day of 1921. The work was rushed forward so that the school could open early in September, on time for the still young institution’s eighth season. Perhaps predictably, in late summer agents with homes to sell or apartments to rent in the neighborhood enhanced with this new landmark, began running classifieds for their properties with the message “near Cornish School” in both The Times and The Post-Intelligencer. That enticing landmark is under construction in this week’s “then,” although its bricks are not yet adorned with the ornamental tiles and stucco skin that still define its Spanish Colonial lines.
Cornish was founded in 1914 on Capitol Hill in the Booth Building at the SE corner of E. Pine and Broadway, less than a mile south of its new campus. (see below) After a year, in the summer of 1915, it featured two studios, five teachers and eighty pupils. The growth was impressive. Five years later when the enlarged and relocated academy was being planned and the cash to build it first pursued, the school held twenty-seven studios serving 1,154 pupils, led by twenty-six teachers. These halls of ivy then sometimes surely resonated with the reflecting sounds of rehearsing students. (I remember well that joyful, on the whole, noise in the early 1970s when I taught filmmaking to Cornish students, most of whom, like myself, could not afford to make films.)
This school of “allied arts” was founded by its namesake, the confident pedagogue-pianist Nellie Cornish. As late as the 1970s the often-convivial tone of her directions were still remembered by some as sometimes comedic. For instance, at one of the Sunset Club’s Masquerades Nellie proved her sense of humor when she won the “funniest costume” award. Cornish also frequently gave lectures, many of them before the city’s applauded Ladies Musical Club. (Would that there then had been smart phones with digital recorders.)
For the featured photographs at the top both photographers aimed northwest from the fortunately irregular Capitol Hill intersection of E. Roy Street and Harvard Avenue. Following the Cornish example, this part of the Capitol Hill neighborhood became sophisticatedly snug when joined by the Woman’s Century Club and the Rainier Chapter of the D.A.R. (both built in 1925), and architect Arthur Loveless’s charming Studio Building. Historylink’s principal founder, Walter Crowley, describes the last in his National Trust Guide to Seattle (1998), as a “delightful mimic” of England’s Cotswold villages. Crowley notes that to the north and west of this prospect are the admired homes that make this Seattle’s only residential preserve, the Harvard-Belmont Landmark District.
Anything to add, boys? For sure Jean, and Ron will start again with some recent* features and I’ll follow with some scans from older clippings. (*Since we started the blog about ten years ago. Jean will know, but he sleeps.)
My first record was offered for Christmas , it was a Johnny Hallyday’s 45 rpm with the famous song “Teenage idol” (“l’idole des jeunes “). In the sixties, he brought in the french musical landscape a sacred wind of youth, Rock and Roll and America .
For 60 years of career , his songs have been always in the mood of the time, he became a monumental and popular singer.
We have been all singing so loud on our moped “Que je t’aime ” “Nous avons tous quelque chose du Tennessee”…
Mon premier disque était celui de Johnny, c’était la célèbre chanson l’idole des jeunes. Dans les années 60 , il apporta dans le paysage musical français un sacré vent de jeunesse, de Rock and Roll et d’Amérique.
Nous avons tous chanté a tue-tête “Que je t’aime” ” Nous avons tous quelque chose du Tennessee”
Johnny I photographed in 1987 during a rehearsal
Johnny, que j’ai photographié en 1987 pendant une répétition
Greetings. We discovered that this weekend’s contribution to The Times PacificNW mag has been dropped, or rather postponed, for this January One, 2017 the annual “Pictures of the Year” (last year) takes every page, except, of course, those with the ads. In its place we will assemble a miscellany: a pile of oddities.
The INTERLAKEN BIKE TRAIL – Perhaps An Early Pause to Tweet
WORLD WAR ONE SURGERY BASE HOSPITAL NO. 50 ( IN FRANCE) SUPPLIED WITH DOCTORS AND NURSES FROM WASHINGTON STATE
CAPITOL HILL BUS STOP at the Southwest Corner of BROADWAY and REPUBLICAN –
In 1976-77 during my residency above Peters on Broadway I snapped two thousand or more photographs – both bw and color – of those waiting for a bus and/or boarding it. It was part of an art in public places program, which, I think or bet, Anne Folke at the And/Or Gallery (and performance space, also on Capitol Hill) was behind. Some of the photographs wound up on the busses – beside the interior ads. (Or they might have had busses that were dedicated to the public arts project sans commerce.)
POLITICALLY CORRECT GRAFFITI – CA. 1975 on Eastlake
MERIDIAN PLAYFIELD – From WALLINGFORD WALKS, 2006-2010 [click to enlarge]
REST IN PEACE
PROVERBS FROM 1889 AND A PROHIBITION-SYMPATHETIC CARTOON FROM A SEATTLE TIMES CLIP FOR MARCH 18, 1913. [CLICK TWICE to Read]
[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)
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
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.
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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 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?
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.