Capitol Hill Historical Society | American Sutra book launch at Elliott Bay and remembering the Koba family of Capitol Hill

Normally the story of the period of illegal incarceration of Japanese Americans is told as if they were homogeneous and of one voice. In fact, beyond obvious differences like living in the country or the city, or being American citizens or not, there were other discreet groups within the population of ethnic Japanese in America. An event this week at Elliott Bay Book Co. is a reminder of this diversity and one Capitol Hill family and its apartment building’s place in this history.

On Thursday, February 14 Elliott Bay is hosting a book launch event for Duncan Ryūken Williams’s book American Sutra. It’s the history of Japanese American Buddhists during World War Two.

Williams tells us that the largest group — and the least understood by other Americans — was the Buddhists. The racial discrimination we’re familiar with was not the whole story. It was exacerbated by religious discrimination as well. Buddhists were the focus of early FBI raids, their leaders were subject to separate imprisonment, and their religious activity was often suppressed. Continue reading

The Lounge by AT&T will have a local guide in its Capitol Hill retail experiment — Ada’s Discovery Cafe

(Image: Ada’s Discover Cafe via Instagram)

For most of us, getting an email out of the blue from AT&T probably means that our bill is due. For Danielle Hulton of Capitol Hill’s Ada’s Technical Books, an email from the telecommunications giant this spring was an invitation to talk about a life and business changing opportunity.

“They’re evolving and want to be considered more of a tech company,” Hulton said of the conversations that started with that email. “In order to reach customers in places like Capitol Hill, a traditional retail store isn’t going to work.”

So, in the rare case of a corporate giant making a mutually beneficial pact with a locally focused neighborhood merchant, Hulton, her husband and business partner David Hulton, and the growing crew at Ada’s joined up with AT&T and a champion barista for a coffee-focused adventure in small business that pretty much only could play out here on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Congratulations on your Spirit of the Hill award, Tracy Taylor — now tell us about about Elliott Bay Book Company’s coming Sea-Tac store

Mayor Durkan congratulates 2018 Spirit of the Hill winner Tracy Taylor

Last week, “work” came up a lot as the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce recognized Elliott Bay Book Company’s general manger Tracy Taylor with its 2018 Spirit of the Hill award. Taylor will soon have even more work to do as she helps the Pioneer Square-born, 10th Ave resident bookstore expand with a new presence at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

“This is an award that recognizes not only hard work and dedication but love and passion,” Jeffrey Pelletier, principal at 15th Ave architecture and design firm Board and Vellum and chair of the chamber’s board said at the organization’s State of the Hill event held last Wednesday night at Queer/Bar. Pelletier said the State of the Hill winner is usually “someone who works hard and cares and oftentimes does it without thanks.” He called Taylor a “tireless advocate” and “a voice for small business.”

“I look around this room and I see how much work everyone in this neighborhood does to make sure that our neighborhood is a wonderful place to live, to work, to run a business,” Taylor said upon receiving the award in the seventh year it has been handed out.

Taylor tells CHS that the new Elliott Bay venture at Sea-Tac is a partnership with the Hudson Book Group to operate an EBBC satellite for travelers at the busy airport. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Horizon Books evolves into a community space

A week before Horizon Books was slated to vacate its old location on 15th Ave E, when things were looking most grim for the continued survival of this longstanding neighborhood institution, Brandon Letsinger jumped onboard to usher the shop into its new era.

Letsinger has deep roots in local bookselling — his first job out of high school was working at Horizon and his father, Dave Brown, is the proprietor of Recollection Books, which has shared space with Horizon for decades. Letsinger swiftly moved to cut a deal for a new location and began loading boxes into the underground “book bunker” at 1423 10th Ave, down the block from Neumo’s and beneath Super Genius Tattoo. He now runs the day-to-day operations, although owner Don Glover still drops in regularly bearing bags of more books.

“His one rule is he gets to keep bringing in books,” Letsinger says, “He’s probably one of the most prolific book scouts — with one of the best collections — in the western United States.” Continue reading

A good time to visit Capitol Hill’s ‘most strange & unique book bunker’ Horizon Books

What if we told you Horizon Books was still alive? We reported the 15th Ave E bookshop’s closure in 2009. Eventually, another book shop would take its place. But Horizon never really went away as it retreated below ground, squirreled away on 10th Ave in the middle of Pike/Pine. Over the summer, it looked like Horizon was about to say goodbye again before it sprang back once more in September.

Thursday night might be a good time to get reacquainted as the underground bookstore hosts a January Art Walk open house:

Horizon Books will be showcasing the large, mostly figurative oil paintings of Seattle artist Rani Laik. We will also be featuring spoken word artists: *Jesse Bernstein whose poetry revolves around themes of life, death, race, relationships, love, family, social issues, and politics. *Gui Chevalier will be reading select poems from his 2016 book entitled “Radical Human” *Darwin Manning, among others. Live acoustic music provided by Jose Simonet. The event runs from 5-9pm with drinks and snacks provided.

Horizon’s ownership says it is now trying to build one of “the most strange & unique book bunkers in all of Seattle.” Stop by!

Horizon Books is located at 1423 10th Ave. You can learn more at facebook.com/seattlehorizonbooks/.

Lit Crawl Seattle’s 5th edition: fiction, memoir, poetry, graphic novels… and podcasts, across Capitol Hill

(Image: Lit Crawl Seattle)

Powered by grants, volunteers, and the written word, Lit Crawl Seattle will again fill Capitol Hill and nearby venues with authors, poets, bloggers, and, yes, even a journalist or two Thursday night.

October 19, 2017: You’re booked.

35+ events. 15+ venues. 1 awesome night.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for updates.

Lit Crawl Seattle is a series of uncommon literary events — readings, performances, panel discussions, and beyond — that  take place in pubs, museums, cafes, libraries, and a host of other spaces throughout the Capitol Hill and First Hill neighborhoods in Seattle.

The best part: most of the events are FREE.

See the full schedule HERE!

2017 maps will be distributed to participating venues soon.

In the meantime, check out all the confirmed readings on our Facebook page and be sure to Like us for updates.

From the first crawl in 2012, the annual event continues to be marked by an eclectic mix of participants and venues from bars to co-working spaces to technical bookstores to a new eyeglasses store on E Pike. The Seattle Public Library also joins the party — this year, check out Booktoberfest: Library After Dark: Scary Stories in the Stacks at the Capitol Hill branch.

Lit Crawl receives funding from Shunpike and is a grant recipient of King County 4Culture and the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.

With more than 15 venues, it’s a busy night. The Seattle Review of Books is helping out with a few suggested itineraries. Looking for the big crowd? Stop by Neumos sibling The Runaway for a session with Stranger reporters as they record a live edition of their podcast, Trust Issues:

Trust Issues is a podcast about facts gone wrong, hosted by Sydney Brownstone and Heidi Groover. Each week, we go down an online rabbit hole to discover a fake story, conspiracy theory, or alternate history of the galaxy and try to understand why so many people believe it’s true.

For the latest updates and details on the night’s venues, best to check out facebook.com/seattlelitcrawl/

We have also posted the planned schedule for the night on the CHS Calendar:

Lit Crawl Seattle 2017

Half price books: Hugo House offered space in new development below market value

(Image: Weinstein A+U)

(Image: Weinstein A+U)

Hoping to continue their long relationship with the literary-focused nonprofit, property owners of the under-construction, mixed-use development on 11th Ave and E Olive have offered to sell the nonprofit Hugo House a 10,000 square-foot ground floor space for about half of its estimated market value.

Hugo House, which is temporarily located at 1021 Columbia, made its home in the 1902-built former mortuary at 11th Ave and E Olive until its demolition last June.

The nonprofit has intended to move into the new development since plans were announced in 2014, but the below market price offer to sell the space to Hugo House is an unexpected opportunity. Continue reading

Final…ly APRIL will be held in April as Capitol Hill-born small press festival closes book on seven years

By Tim Kukes for CHS

The APRIL Festival and Book Expo is breaking with tradition.  For the first time — and the last time — the uniquely Capitol Hill literary festival will be confining its celebration to one day only — April 1st.

The Authors, Publishers, and Readers of Independent Literature festival, traditionally held in the later part of March to honor National Small Press Month, is coming to the end of its tale after a six-year journey of bringing eclectic reading events and diverse small press publishers to the people of Capitol Hill and Seattle.

APRIL Festival & Book Expo

“We feel like this is a good time to end the festival,” Frances Chiem, acting director, said. “We’ve done a lot with it and the small press community is a lot more vibrant than when we first started.  We feel there are other community voices that will step in and fill the void.”

The story of the festival starts with Pilot Books, once located on Broadway, and Willie Fitzgerald and Tara Atkinson.  The small press bookstore had a reputation as a vibrant community space and hosted a Small Press Festival in 2011 — essentially the first APRIL event and renamed after Pilot Books closed in the summer of 2011. Continue reading

The tale of a new home for Postal Plus, an expansion for Ruckus pot shop, and the exit of a Capitol Hill antiquarian book seller

Postal Plus will, indeed, be moving on from its longtime home on Republican at 15th. Because this is Capitol Hill, Seattle in the year 2017, the move involves both a pot shop expansion and changes for an antiquarian book seller.

Let’s start with the mail. Postmaster Ed Zhang has found a new address to help serve as a contractor for the United States Post Office.

“I feel very much relieved,” Zhang said about finding a new location.

Zhang said the new location, which formerly housed Louis Collins Rare Books, is not only more affordable, but it also has space for parking. Zhang said the lease he signed is for 10 years with the option to renew for another 10. After taking the weekend to move and set up, the shop will reopen at 1211 E Denny Way on April 3. Continue reading

Big act of goodness: New Miller Park little library pops up ‘overnight’

IMG_1541Thanks to Andrew Taylor for this picture of a little good news in the Miller Park neighborhood.

After a February arson destroyed its predecessor, there is a new Little Free Library on 20th Ave near the Miller Community Center. Taylor tells us the new library appeared “overnight.”

Thanks to the unknown little free librarian who created it and restored a community asset. Let us know how we can thank you!