In 30 days, the first passengers will descend from Broadway and John to the Capitol Hill Station platform for a ride on light rail. We’re pretty sure nobody could imagine that exact scenario 63 years ago when this picture from the Seattle Municipal Archives was taken in spring of 1953.
The Congo Room was resident on the corner filled with piano music and drinkers until the restaurant and bar combo became Lion O’Reilly’s and B.J. Monkeyshines sometime in the ’70s:
Oh yes the monkey on the roof: it’s left from the days when the restaurant was the Congo Room. Kingen wanted to keep the neon monkey climbing the palm tree to escape the lion below. Presto, both the lion and the monkey were incorporated into the restaurant’s name. (7/22/1977 Seattle Times)
Despite the decades, you’ll probably find something familiar in this lament for change and the passing of Sylvia Beck’s Congo Room. From Gay Seattle:
Beck eventually sold the business and the building. Along came Monkeyshines and, eventually, a retail era including Twice Sold Tales. The man who bought the property from Beck was Sy Iffert. Back in 2003, he was “the bad guy” for wanting to upzone and develop the block. “Fifteen thousand people already live within five blocks of Broadway,” the Stranger countered at the time. The property was eventually purchased and demolished by Sound Transit. On part of it new apartment development will eventually reach 85 feet.
And, in 30 days, you’ll be able to take a train under Capitol Hill from downtown to Broadway to the University of Washington.