What you’ll find in the ‘animal history’ of Capitol Hill

Broadway Livery and Sale Stables, at Union and 10th, in 1910 from A century of use for Capitol Hill’s Gilda’s Club building (UW Special Collections LEE124)

Frederick L. Brown, author of The City is More Than Human, says your Capitol Hill houses and apartment buildings were once favorite grazing spots of dairy cows roaming the pasture in the late 19th century.

“It’s really important to think about the kinds of relationships people have had with animals where you live. History helps people recognize our choices create change,” Brown tells CHS, “I think that allows people to think more clearly about the kind of choices they make today about how to live with animals.”

Brown will appear Friday night “to speak on the animal history” in a discussion with the Capitol Hill Historical Society’s Tom Heuser at Elliott Bay Book Company starting at 7 PM.

According to Brown, understanding the history of animals in Capitol Hill provides insight to understanding how industrialization has historically impacted livestock farming in the greater Puget Sound region. Brown paints a picture of Capitol Hill’s transition from rural to urban, comparing of records of old animal ownership laws, institutions such as riding academies and stables, and cow herding laws with Capitol Hill and the rest of Seattle’s contemporary pet and leash laws. Continue reading

Pikes/Pines | Stop giggling and consider the urban beaver on the shores of Lake Washington

Beavers have a way of getting under our skin. Some people despise them, others think they are panacea, and cute as a button to boot. Beliefs and feelings often intermingle inextricably with facts, which is why I believe beavers are amazing creatures, and a landowner with a flooded yard might have different thoughts. And yet, we’re all talking about the same creature.

Now you’re reading this, thinking to yourself: “There aren’t any beavers on Capitol Hill.” On top of it, certainly you are right. However, a quick trip down to the water nearby yields obvious signs of their presence, regardless of our actually seeing a beaver. Continue reading

Watch out Capitol Hill rabbits, coyote spotted at Bellevue and Pike

This urban coyote caused a stir around Capitol Hill in 2012

The logical conclusion to the great Capitol Hill eastern cottontail mystery of twenty eighteen could be playing out this spring with reports of at least one urban coyote on the prowl in some of the neighborhood’s busiest areas — including a spotting Tuesday night at, of all places, Bellevue and Pike.

“I saw it last night same area, definitely a coyote. I made my Uber driver stop because I thought it was a dog but it was not. So sad,” one commenter on a neighborhood message board wrote.

Maybe not so sad. Urban coyotes keep a relatively low profile but have appeared in increasing numbers around Seattle. They aren’t necessarily ill or starving. They live here. On Capitol Hill, they are most typically spotted traveling between the Arboretum and areas around Interlaken, Volunteer Park, or the St. Mark’s Greenbelt. You’ll usually see them around dawn or dusk but there are occasional daytime reports, too. Continue reading

Before fall rains set in, Seattle Public Utilities rescues the Stevens Elementary goldfish

A scene from the rescue (Image: SPU)

Amid worries that coming rains could wash them away to dangerous sewer pipes or sad lives as an invasive species in Lake Washington, the Stevens Elementary goldfish have been rescued by Seattle Public Utilities.

Friday, the department thanked CHS and the many readers who brought attention to the curious little wonder of the “secret” underground pond in the school’s catch basin:

SPU first learned of the goldfish from the Capitol Hill Seattle blog, which reported that the fish had become a “curious kind of campus mascot,” and several community members who reached out to inquire about the possibility of a rescue operation. While SPU was glad to see the fish faring well in the catch basin, it was necessary to relocate them as soon as possible.

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Pikes/Pines | The secret goldfish pond below Stevens Elementary

It’s a peaceful, mostly quiet existence. And friends seem to drop enough granola bar bits from above to augment whatever goldfish chow exists naturally in the storm drain of a Capitol Hill elementary school.

It’s not exactly clear when or how they arrived, but two fish continue to make the Stevens Elementary campus near 19th and Galer their home. Continue reading

Pikes/Pines | The great Capitol Hill eastern cottontail mystery of twenty eighteen

Has anyone else noticed the sudden appearance of rabbits on the Hill? Growing up in Seattle, I can’t recall many rabbits sightings. There were a few at Discovery Park, and there was the infamous colony in a rocky warren in Lower Woodland. Other sizable green spaces have rabbits as well, but it always seemed likely that the Hill and the rest of central Seattle wasn’t suitable. Turns out I was wrong.

Feral, domesticated rabbits are not unusual in cities overall. Often people assume they are easy pets, and disown them upon discovering otherwise. They hop about for awhile and I assume, are dispatched by cars or coyotes. But the bunnies we’re seeing aren’t domesticated, they’re eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus), and they’re suddenly everywhere. The real question is why? Continue reading

CHS Pics | All dogs are good dogs at fourth annual First Hill Fidos

Now in its fourth year, First Hill Fidos filled the park with furry friends and their fans Thursday night. As the doggos marked their territory in our hearts, neighbors met each other for the first time, and some new friends were made in the process.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Alex Hudson and the First Hill Improvement Association, First Hill Fidos brings a little activity to an otherwise mostly quiet First Hill Park. “It’s like that classic Seattle joke, people say hi to the dog but they won’t say hi to a person,“ Hudson tells CHS, “This is a way to break that a little bit. There’s such a community of dog people, and providing them an opportunity to get together and meet each other. Plus, it’s cute as hell.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | New friendships forged at Cal Anderson with Pets in the Park

While a life and death situation played out below Broadway Wednesday, above Broadway in Cal Anderson Park was a much more chill atmosphere. Anybody stressed out by the 13-hour standoff could find some comfort in a fuzzy buddy or three as the Seattle Humane Society came to Capitol Hill’s central park with adoptable pals.

Sponsored by the soon to open development at Broadway and Madison The Danforth, Pets in the Park matched the Seattle Humane MaxMobile Adoption Van with Capitol Hill residents looking for a feline companion. Continue reading

First look: Inside Capitol Hill’s first cat cafe

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

On the corner of Pine and Belmont, huddles of friends walk down the street and crouch  to peer into a storefront window. There are giggles and smiles. Dogs peer through the window — from the sidewalk side of things — with curiosity and plenty to say.

The window belongs to Capitol Hill’s new Neko Cafe — pronounced neck-oh, and Japanese for cat. The cats inside are all ages and FeLV positive and from the Regional Animal Services of King County animal shelter. FeLV is feline leukemia.

“We wanted the cats that needed the most help,” said Neko’s creator Caitlin Unsell. “We wanted to give them a chance to show their best.”

The new and highly anticipated addition to Capitol Hill’s cafe scene opened softly over the weekend in preparation for an official opening on Tuesday, November 7th.
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