Pike Street west from the edge of Minor in 1902 post-regrade blended with yesterday, January 14, 2017. The 1902 image is fantastic and worth seeing on its own. (Washington State Archives; blend by Rob Ketcherside)
John Pike as an old man, from his 1903 obituary (Seattle Times)
John Henry Pike never lived in our midst. But the street named after him cuts the southern border of our neighborhood, and the improvement of Pike Street led directly to the creation of Capitol Hill. So let’s celebrate him and the street he begat.
He was born in Massachusetts, probably Springfield, more than two centuries ago: 1814. Like Seattle’s founding fathers he was part of the “Go West” era of American history. European immigrants and young descendants of early Americans alike all moved successively farther west.
After living in western New York for many years, Pike found himself in the early 1850s living with wife and son in the fateful farming town of Princeton, Illinois.
If you find it on a map today you’ll see a cluster of commercial buildings with a road leading out of town to a freeway and a Walmart. Zoom out beyond the residences and the map is swallowed by farmland. Eventually Chicago appears to the east and Peoria to the south. Continue reading
Last week before the holiday weekend, the neighborhood had one last chance to say goodbye to the old Capitol Hill Value Village before a landmarks-protected, preservation-friendly office and commercial redevelopment of the nearly 100-year-old building. A Punk Rock Flea Market was a fitting end to its era as a thrift store. Images from the final nights in the space show a few glimpses of the structure’s deeper past.
Dubbed the Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company building for its first tenant after construction in 1917 and built as an investment development for $70,000 in the midst of World War I, the “Chicago School style,” concrete frame building with red brick, parapets and window spandrels was home to an important player in the area’s burgeoning auto row economy: Continue reading
Co-organizers Devon Olsen, Tom Heuser (left) and Rob Ketcherside (right) (Image: Capitol Hill Historical Society)
Former Broadway Sanitary Market – 300 Broadway N – 600350-2080
The Flemington, 1937
A group of history buffs have decided to combine their hobby with their community as they follow suit of other neighborhoods to form the Capitol Hill Historical Society.
Tom Heuser and Rob Ketcherside joined forces to try and organize the community group with a focus on researching and recording the historical stories of the neighborhood.
“Every neighborhood in Seattle has a historical society, except Capitol Hill,” Ketcherside said. “With all the new change and people coming in, it’s beyond time to have one.” Continue reading
The future Broadway around Capitol Hill Station
Catherine Hillenbrand, community activist, in 2016 saw a decade of her work to help shape public priorities for the Capitol Hill Station development finally come to fruition
Demolition to make way for the Broadway Whole Foods
The future Hugo House
In 2016, the Excelsior was born
Tim Burgess and friends celebrate early Prop 1 housing levy returns in August
There it is. Just as 2016 staggers to a close, market analysts — with a heavy stake in the outcome — say, looky, Seattle rents may have finally reached a “turning point” after years of mostly unabated increase. Will 2017 be the year Capitol Hill rents finally break? If so, 2016 will be marked as the final thrust of the old way of Seattle boom development as the new HALA-throttled marketplace is finally whipped into shape. For the pessimists — or, perhaps, optimistic landlords — if rents haven’t really turned that climb upside down and Seattle’s affordability crisis continues, then, well, 2016 will represent more of the same even as our intentions grew. Here is a look at how the year in development played out on Capitol Hill.
+ CHS Year in Review 2016 | Capitol Hill’s most important stories
+ The year in Capitol Hill pictures
+ Plans to build our way out of it, the year in Capitol Hill development
+ Pizza, no palaces, and the real world — the year in food+drink
CHS YIR 2015 — Our first look at the new Capitol Hill
CHS YIR 2014 — More than supply and demand
CHS YIR 2013 — Capitol Hill development and the quest for affordability
CHS YIR 2012 — The re-development of Capitol Hill
Bellwether’s Cambridge building got a $10M upgrade
Years of concern about the cost of living in the densest neighborhood in one of the densest cities in the nation continued in 2016. Along the way, it seemed like those concerns were growing — not shrinking away. But there were real actions in 2016 to address Seattle’s — and Capitol Hill’s — “affordability crisis.” More projects were completed with at least a component of affordable units and nonprofits like Bellwether, which now operates six affordable buildings across Capitol Hill, further emerged to help lead.
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, 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
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
Can 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 capitolhillpast.org and leave them a message if you would like to participate or learn more.
The home Fransioli grew up in, 1102 Harvard Ave N. Pictured in 1937 (top) and 1957 (Washington State Archives)
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
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