CHS Re:Take | The Julia’s building, past to present

Julia’s has become one of the most venerable nightlife spaces in Seattle. The drag-bar-restaurant has been open for 15 years now, and I think you qualify as a Capitol Hill old-timer if you remember further back than that.

The building’s time as Ileen’s and Ernie Steele’s is worth going over again for the newcomers. And hey, it seems the first few decades of the building need to be covered for the first time.

300 Broadway East in 1937 with Julia's sign

300 Broadway East, seen in 1937, carries the modern Julia’s neon sign. Billboards for Parent Teachers Associations, Mobilgas (Mobil Oil), and the film San Francisco starring Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald.

In the beginning

The Seattle Public Library’s online 1907 real estate map shows that things were quite different for Julia’s lot. There were just a couple of tiny buildings here along Broadway that didn’t even deserve addresses. There was a house on Thomas Street. Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | In a message home to E Union, Seattle and Japan’s war with Russia

Geisha going out, 1906

To H. S. Gullixson, Esq in Seattle from “R. F.” in Yokohama, Japan. 1906.

It’s just a simple postcard.

708 E Union today is part of the parking lot next to the Knights of Columbus on Union at Boylston. The card was postmarked 1906 in Seattle and Yokohama, Japan.

There are just enough traces to glimpse the world that created it. Let’s follow them back.

Home and Harry
The house is gone. It was a large, seven-room house built in about 1901. It shared its parcel with two other rentals, probably all copies of each other. The house was only newsworthy in later years when its residents were arrested for drunk driving or were killed by cars when crossing the street. Continue reading — Capitol Hill Historical Society forming

capitol-hill-historical-society-preview-image-finalCan you believe Capitol Hill doesn’t have an historical society? No? Well, CHS history writers Tom Heuser, Rob Ketcherside and local archivist Devon Olsen are talking about starting one. Their goal is to form “a long-lived group that will gather, preserve, and share stories of the area’s people and enterprises” and they want to you get involved!

Share your own stories and records of the neighborhood and its residents or help shape the society and its mission from within. Visit and leave them a message if you would like to participate or learn more.

CHS Re:Take | Born on Capitol Hill, the architect who became a pilot and a painter

1102 Harvard Ave N, 1937 and 1957

The home Fransioli grew up in, 1102 Harvard Ave N. Pictured in 1937 (top) and 1957 (Washington State Archives)

Fransioli yearbook photo

Thomas Fransioli, 1923 (Broadway High School yearbook)

Let’s have a little talk about Thomas Fransioli, Jr. When a pilot is on patrol and his plane takes pictures but he parks to ply as a painter of the places he previously planned, he is called a pylon penning, pillbox pecking, painting pushing poster boy.

From here to there
Thomas Fransioli, Jr. was grandson of early streetcar executive M. H. Young (check out this vintage CHS Re:Take!). He grew up in Harvard-Belmont, went to Lowell and graduated Broadway High in 1923. He was the senior class treasurer, and active in the glee club and drama.

A 1949 Seattle Times article said he attended the UW for two years, but the timing isn’t clear. Maybe he took classes while in high school? After graduating Broadway in ’23 he went to the University of Pennsylvania, got a degree in architecture, and became an architect on the east coast. A couple of his design works are mentioned online: a house in Virginia, and work for John Russell Pope on the National Gallery. Continue reading

‘Alotta Sh*t Has Happened’ — Gay City brings voices of ‘LGBTQ Elders’ to the stage

Capitol Hill’s Gay City is bringing the voices of LGBTQ artists over 40 to the stage to share their experiences in a performance called Alotta Sh*t Has Happened: LGBTQ Elders Speak.

It’s a free show that has grabbed many people’s attention. Friday and Saturday are already packed. Sunday’s matinee and evening show still have seats. Snag your ticket quickly, young one, and settle in to hear some stories.

“I know friends of mine in their 40s, 50s and 60s are really thirsty for other LGBTQ people to talk to,” Tara Hardy, Gay City arts director said.

But it’s not just that demographic that is interested. Hardy said she knows people in their teens, 20s and 30s who are interested in hearing what the older generations have to say.  When she first became arts director about a year ago, Hardy, who has a background in the arts and social justice, asked herself, “Who are the populations who have not been historically served at Gay City?” Hardy, 52, said she had no idea there would be such huge response to a show about the topic. Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | The 10 on Pine and other forgotten buses of Capitol Hill

Blend of 1970 and 2016 at 15th and Pine

10 or 11 on 15th and Pine, 1970 and 2016

It’s been five months since Link’s Capitol Hill Station opened. Can you feel the difference? Everyone is walking towards the station. Bus stops around it seem emptier in the morning. Train cars keep getting more full.

We’re so caught up learning to dodge bicycle tires and stay upright on swaying trains, perhaps some of us already forgot that the 10 used to run to Pine Street on 15th. The 10’s reroute is linked to the return of rail service to Broadway for the rest of time.

This view below from 1970 strains to look back to the end of Capitol Hill’s original rail service. The coach pictured here was Seattle Transit #615. That bus was purchased in 1940, the year after Seattle Municipal Railway was rechristened Seattle Transit and embarked on the destruction of the streetcar system. Seattle Transit purchased 100 coaches from local company Pacific Car and Foundry (now PACCAR) and 135 from Twin Coach.

#615 Route 10 Capitol Hill outbound 15th & Pine Jul 19 1970

Coach #615 on Route 10 Capitol Hill headed to Volunteer Park, 15th & Pine. Jul 19, 1970

Continue reading

Vintage Washington at the Stimson-Green Mansion

VW Header Left

Vintage Washington is truly a one-of-a-kind event hosted in one of Seattle’s most significant residential buildings, the historic Stimson-Green Mansion. All proceeds from the event go directly to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington’s only statewide historic preservation nonprofit with a mission dedicated to promoting and preserving the places that make Washington so unique.

Back by popular demand from last year’s event is Copperworks Distilling Company, offering tastings of premium vodka, gin, and their new American Single Malt whiskey. New this year, Heritage Distilling from Gig Harbor will offer tastings of their award winning whiskeys and spirits.

In addition to fabulous spirits, the party will feature a catered hors d’oeuvres menu crafted by Kaspars Special Events & Catering. Guests will enjoy live music and great company in the unrivaled splendor of the Mansion. The glamour and charm of the Mansion are never more evident than during a party. You will not want to miss this opportunity to celebrate preservation in one of Seattle’s most stunning event venues. Washington beer and wine will also be served.

Tickets are available on Brown Paper Tickets.

Capitol Retrospective | 1827 Broadway Part Two: A story of iron and blood

1937 WA State Archives - 1827-1829 Broadway

1827-29 Broadway. Circa 1937 Just a couple years after the Cordes Family moved out. Image: WA State Archives.

Otto Von Bismarck. Circa 1862. Image:

In September 1862, Prussia’s newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Otto Von Bismarck, made his most famous speech to the Prussian assembly.  Seeking approval for military reform, he said “not through speeches and majority decisions will the great questions of the day be decided… but by iron and blood.” Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | When cars ruled Broadway

McKale's, 1937 and 2016

McKale’s Super Service station at Broadway and Roy. The Seven Hundred Broadway Building today houses apartments over Roy Street Coffee and other businesses (1937: Washington State Archives; 2016: Rob Ketcherside)

Winning the War on Cars
There just aren’t as many gas stations as there used to be. The economics have changed. People drive less, cars use less fuel. I looked through the 1931 city directory. There were at least 33 gas stations on Capitol Hill back then. There were so many more no matter which way you drove: on Eastlake, on First Hill, in Madison Park, at Portage Bay, on Westlake. Today Capitol Hill, Broadway, Pike/Pine, heck you can go way out Madison and there are still only seven stations.

In 1990, the Seattle Times ran an article about a new law requiring gas stations to carry insurance against environmental damage. Before that law took effect, they reported there were already only half as many stations as in 1974. Even more closed afterwards.

And they keep disappearing. Recently I was going through my old photographs and found this look down at Pine and Broadway in 2000. I’ll be honest, I have no memory of this Chevron. I remember it as a lot surrounded by chain link and then at last the Walgreens and Capitol Hill Housing building we have now. (If you have better memory of the station, leave a comment!) I’m pretty sure the station at Pike and Broadway is living on borrowed time. The land is too valuable as a people-oriented use.

Broadway and Pine, 2000

Chevron gas station at Broadway and Pine, 2000. Full view here. (Photo: Rob Ketcherside)

Continue reading

This week in CHS history | HALA unveiled, Pike/Pine shooting, Twilight Exit vs. Chase Bank

IMG_1227-600x400Here are the top stories from this week in CHS history: