CHS Retro Photo: A Wild Rose, By Any Other Name…

Lorraine Court, in 1938 and 2011

“Thoroughly modern and up-to-date apartment house in suites of 3 rooms with bath, completely furnished; reservations can be made after Monday. References required.” – so ran the For Rent ad in the Seattle Times of 1907 for the newly-completed Lorraine Court apartment building – today known as the Winston Building (also known as the Mandalay and the Elysium at various times in the interim).


The original owner of the building was an Alfred M Birkel, who immigrated from Germany to Kansas at the age of 16 to take up farming. He and his wife arrived in Seattle (via Chicago) just in time for the Great Fire of 1889, and became involved in the hotel and residential property business. The architects for this building appear to be Carl Breitung & Theobald Buchinger, from Munich and Vienna respectively, who are also responsible for Holy Names Academy, also on the hill, and Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.

The corner of this building was originally home to a grocery store, and changed tenants over the years; 1985 it was home to the Sundance Tavern, when a group of five women, who were scouting locations for a new lesbian bar, fell in love with the location, and the rest is history. 26 years later, the Wildrose is still going strong. (Not the oldest still-running gay bar on the hill, however – that distinction appears to goes to The Crescent on Olive.)

Brendan is a volunteer guide for the Seattle Architecture Foundation and an occasional repeat photographer, and hopes to match up several other buildings on the hill with their historic photos over the Summer. He’s giving SAF’s Pike/Pine walking tour this weekend, all about Pike/Pine’s history as Seattle’s original auto dealership row. SAF also have a Gay Pioneer  Square walking tour this weekend, about gay life in Seattle before it moved to the hill.

6 thoughts on “CHS Retro Photo: A Wild Rose, By Any Other Name…

  1. The walking tours are a really great way to learn about our city. I took the Pioneer Square tour years ago (when it was operated by MOHI and was called the “Queen City Tour”) and have also done the Harvard/Belmont Historic district tour. Pike/Pine is on my agenda this summer. Strongly encourage people to check these great local tours!

  2. Nice to see this. 1015 E. Pike, the westernmost three-steps-down storefront of the building, was the first home of my frame shop in 1979, before I moved 5 blocks north in 1987 to E. Denny, and then in 2008 to West Seattle, where I am framing still. There was no electricity but what came through an extension cord strung through a hole in the plasterboard, and the sole heat source was created by hot water pipes in the ceiling. The shop quickly became a drop-in center where neighbors would come by, get a cup of coffee, leaf through art magazines, and chat for a while before leaving. Not a lot of business, but lots of good cheer and good will, and some of the friendships made then endure today. The Sundance Tavern in those days was a biker bar and often on weekends there would often be a dozen or more motorcycles closely parallel parked and on display on the sidewalk out front, making their presence known. (In case you somehow missing hearing them.) The wine was rotgut, but a draft beer was pretty cheap and the nachos and the company were excellent. That corner was a rougher place then, but LaMarr H. from Tatoo You next door was my defacto bodyguard, and consequently no harm ever came. Those few blocks housed The Comet, The Pearl Vietnamese restaurant, Empty Space Theatre, Salvation Army, and the Mexican restaurant on the corner of 10th & E. Pike we called Raphael’s (after its owner, not its real name). REI was right there, too, and a second hand Army supply joint that sold (we always assumed) ‘appropriated’ rather than handed-down goods. These were the stations of the cross in a Seattle microcosm from what seems not so long ago.

  3. Thanks for the info. As Seattle bar history is something of a hobby of mine, I’d appreciate hearing any other info people have on what previous bars were there in what years. The first bar I have found listed at this address is Frank’s Tavern in 1948, which remains listed into the 60s. The Time Out Tavern was listed at the address in 1970 and 1980, though it sounds like the Sundance may have been there by 1979? (Old city guides and telephone directories sometimes continue to list establishments for several years after they are gone.)

  4. Strike that — Frank’s and the Time Out were listed at Pike, not E. Pike, so I think these were actually in a building no longer around but near Tango at Boren and Pike. Sorry for the misinformation. But again, if anybody knows how long the Sundance was there, or any other bars, I’d love to hear about it.

  5. Okay, now that I have my 1021 Pikes clear from my 1021 E. Pikes, the bars I am aware of at this location are the LaChateau Café in 1948 and the Chamber Tavern from at least 1960 to 1970 (and the Sundance).

    Cheers,
    Pete