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
Lake View still has room (Images: CHS)
Last week, CHS reported on Recompose, the Capitol Hill-birthed startup dedicated to rethinking what happens to our bodies after we die. As if Lake View Cemetery needed something else to worry about, the 147-year-old burial grounds are also in need of some costly repair.
The City of Seattle is reviewing a $1.5 million plan to replace the Capitol Hill cemetery’s dilapidated western retaining wall according to permit documents filed by the nonprofit association that runs the private grounds just north of Volunteer Park. Continue reading
While we’re celebrating a group dedicated to Capitol Hill history and preservation, here’s an update on one of the neighborhood’s most recent official landmarks — that won’t be protected as a landmark.
Last March, CHS reported on the ownership trust behind 15th Ave’s Sullivan House taking the city to court over the 120-year-old Capitol Hill mansion’s approval as a Seattle historic landmark and the decision’s scuttling of a planned multimillion sale.
That case has now been resolved with an agreement forged via the Seattle Hearing Examiner for the city to agree to not require controls that would have prevented demolition and development of the dilapidated but historic property. Continue reading
Are more Capitol Hill buildings headed towards landmark status in 2019? If you ask Capitol Hill Historical Society, the answer is a resounding yes.
Now, with new funding, that might just become a little easier for the local conservation non-profit. 4Culture, the cultural funding agency for King County, recently awarded CHHS two-year funding support of $2,000 total for its preservation advocacy and historic neighborhood education. Other groups receiving 2019-2020 Preservation Sustained Support funding include Historic Wallingford, Kent Downtown, the Alliance for Pioneer Square and the Seattle Chinatown-ID Preservation and Development Authority, among others.
It is the first time Capitol Hill Historical Society, since its early 2017 founding, received public funding. Until now, the nonprofit has relied on individual donations and goodwill from unpaid volunteer board members and other volunteers.
“It gives me the sense that things are moving forward and that we’re getting recognition. We must be doing something right,” said Tom Heuser, board president of the nonprofit and a CHS contributor on Capitol Hill history. Continue reading
YMCA Baseball Field, ca 1902 (MOHAI 2002_3_1644)
Below is a present day view of Championship Field, the soccer field for Seattle University. We’re looking northwest from near the corner of 14th and Jefferson.
Seattle University Championship field, looking northwest from the southeast corner. Former location of YMCA Park (Rob Ketcherside)
In September 1895, a new athletic field opened here in the two big blocks bound by Cherry, Jefferson, 12th and 14th. At the time Capitol Hill didn’t exist; James Moore platted Capitol Hill in 1901. But there were plenty of people living near the Broadway streetcar operated by Union Trunk Line (UTL). Starting in 1890 they could transfer at Madison Street to the cable car and head out to a new baseball ground on Lake Washington.
This new field in 1895 meant no transfer, though. The Broadway streetcar started at UTL’s James Street Powerhouse on Broadway, making the trip to sports entertainment for Broadway residents just as close as people living downtown. The powerhouse pulled a cablecar from downtown and fed electricity to streetcars to Madrona, Mount Baker, and Beacon Hill. The ballpark was known as YMCA Park and later Athletic Park, and its entrance was at 13th and Jefferson. Continue reading