CHS Re:Take | Waiting for the First Hill Streetcar? Take a trip on Broadway, Pike/Pine lines past

Looking up Broadway in about 1913, back when streetcars were uncomplicated.

Looking up Broadway in about 1913, back when streetcars were uncomplicated.

In the off-season, the sports media went into a tizzy about Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and his pending contract. One local blogger, Kenneth Arthur, decided to mock them with daily posts until the contract was finally signed. His message: the process may be slow and painful, but it will get done.

I’m taking the watered-down Kenneth Arthur challenge. One streetcar-related Re:Take each month until the First Hill Streetcar finally opens.

Our first streetcar photo was taken on Broadway south of Pike, standing in the road in front of Harvard Market QFC. More than just the two visible streetcar lines ran through here were when it was taken in 1913. But let’s stick with them.

Streetcars

Streetcar lines in Pike-Pine, 1914. From map I bought and scanned and is now on Wikimeida.

Streetcar lines in Pike/Pine, 1914. From map I bought and scanned and is now on Wikimedia. It’s a web of streetcars!

One was headed east on Pike. Some of you remember when the 11 ran on Pike Street, before the buses were consolidated on Pine. When did that happen? 2003? Street car service on Pike started a hundred years prior, after the street was regraded in 1903. It was used for a new streetcar line that switched over to Union at 15th, and headed out to Madrona. (I wrote about that line over on my blog.)

The other was headed south on Broadway, with people getting on right in front of Broadway High. By this point, Capitol Hill’s original streetcar line (Re:Take from 3 years ago) was cut off from First Hill, and it followed the route of the 49 down Pine Street. Actually it was more like the old 7, turning south and heading to Pioneer Square.

Other Stuff

Besides the streetcars there were a bunch of neat things captured here. Of course, in the distance on the left was Broadway High School.

The building on the far right was built for Mack Truck in 1912. It was designed by Charles Haynes, the same guy as Broadway Market (Re:Take from last days of Winter) and lots of other neighborhood and city buildings. Today it houses Frame Central in the corner commercial space.

Across the street – where we have a Shell station, Mud Bay, and parking lot – was a set of homes numbered 1510 to 1526 Pike. The homes didn’t last long. By 1937 they were replaced by a commercial building (below). This in turn was replaced with our gas station in the mid 1960s.

This was the building that replaced the houses. Looks like late 1910s? From Brendan McKeon’s stash from the State Archives.

Music

The most interesting thing, though, must be the sign up on the right. Zoom in to read it, painted on the back of the Booth Building: “Washington College of Music – Douglas Dancing”.

The Booth Building was completed in 1906, but good luck finding anything written recently about its occupants prior to 1914. In 1914 Nellie Cornish rented a room to teach piano and music. She grew her school to take over the whole building by the time she moved out in 1921. That’s become the building’s parroted story.

Before Cornish there were two other music schools in the Booth Building. Its first tenant was the Columbia Music School, which had previously been on Broadway between Olive and Howell. In 1911 Columbia was renamed the Seattle Conservatory of Music and moved to the Odd Fellows Temple next door.

Here's the Booth Building in 1937 with Christiansen's Dancing School and Boy's Boxing. From McKeon's stash.

Here’s the Booth Building in 1937 with Christiansen’s School of Dance and Boy’s Boxing. Still typical fare for Pike/Pine. From McKeon’s stash.

Columbia was replaced by the Washington College of Music. Washington started up the street as well, located at Broadway and Denny until moving to the Arcade Building downtown in 1909. Washington was in the Booth from 1911 until 1913. It moved down to the spot we know as Starbucks (former Tully’s and funeral home) at Pike Street for a couple of more years. Then Washington’s director, David Sheetz Craig, left to start a regional magazine called Music and Musicians.

There were other tenants in the Booth, and perhaps more of them were music related.

Frankly I’m surprised that this history of music schools in the neighborhood isn’t discussed more to put context around Cornish. A recent HistoryLink article described the Booth Building’s surroundings in 1914 as “still a relatively underdeveloped neighborhood”. Our glance up Broadway doesn’t look so underdeveloped, and contemporary fire insurance maps show very few empty lots around the Booth Building.

There’s clearly more research to be done about Broadway’s music heritage.

Here’s the full 1913 image that I scanned at the State Archives. It’s from the Metro collection, which originated from Seattle Electric Company. Was it an underdeveloped neighborhood ?

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5 thoughts on “CHS Re:Take | Waiting for the First Hill Streetcar? Take a trip on Broadway, Pike/Pine lines past

  1. I am always excited to see these posts. Very interesting. If I am interpreting this correctly I think the “15th” in “It was used for a new streetcar line that switched over to Union at 15th, and headed out to Madrona.” should be 14th.

    • You’re right! I think there was an earlier time when the line looped on 14th, 15th and Columbia. But in our photo and on the map it moved over to Union on 14th. It explains some of the odd street shape by Skillet.

  2. Thank you Robert, for yet another entertaining post, and a reminder of how much change our nieghborhood has absorbed over the past century.