Mount Zion’s Rev. McKinney remembered for civil rights legacy

McKinney in 2015

Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney spent his life serving the community including some six decades of service at 19th and Madison. The pastor emeritus of Mount Zion Baptist Church died Saturday at the age of 91.

McKinney left the pulpit in 1998 after 40 years leading Mount Zion and remained a steady presence for the congregation and the city’s Black community. But at January’s annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. at Mount Zion, McKinney was unable to attend and appeared to the assembly via a recorded address on the church’s video screen. Continue reading

Capitol Hill memorial planned for video game giant Joe Waters 


Waters had a penchant, apparently, for flipping photographers the bird (Image via Clever Dunne’s)

A Capitol Hill fixture and longtime phenom of Seattle’s gaming industry passed away suddenly last week. Joe Waters, a developer who most recently worked as a lead with Xbox’s advanced technology group, died December 23rd. He was 43 years old. CHS was unable to confirm the details of the Melrose Ave resident’s death.

Waters worked on several top selling titles, including Tomb-Raider, Halo, and Half-Life. Friends and coworkers mourned Waters on social media as news of his passing spread last week. Clever Dunne’s will be holding a private memorial for Waters on January 6th.

Renee Gittins, a writer for the video game site Broken Joysticks, had this to say about her friend and mentor:

Joe himself had clawed his way to where he was in the game industry. He decided he wanted to make video games and forced his way into the industry by making his own video game from scratch, some 17 years ago, an extremely rare accomplishment for those times. He made every lick of it himself, from the art to graphics rendering. He would often recalled with a chuckle how, in his first interview, they asked him what parts of the game he had worked on and he responded “I don’t understand the question” because he made them all himself.

In those years since, he has become a core member of the game industry. His intelligent, programming talent and understanding of graphics rendering gave him immense value, but he was always treated everyone else as peers, no matter their background or profession. In these recent years, he has lead Seattle monthly industry nights that helped connect countless developers, from AAA to indie, from programmers to artists. He had a wonderful talent for helping people connect and has brought countless people together. Like his own friendship, the connections he helped established were deeper and more open than they ever would have been without him.

Writer Dotty DeCoster remembered

Dotty and her family (Images courtesy David Collett)

A nearly 50-year resident of Capitol Hill and First Hill died last week — CHS was lucky to call her a friend. Dotty DeCoster, who spent her last six years on First Hill after four decades on Capitol Hill, was a writer, researcher, and historian who often worked for little more than her love for some of her favorite subjects — the people, places — and sometimes birds — of Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Central Seattle.

She was an activist:

A political radical, DeCoster was involved with “old guard” leftist groups like the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), and experienced the sexism within them.  “It is almost impossible to imagine what it was like in the mid-to late 60s if you were a woman.  If you went to a radical meeting you weren’t allowed to talk.”   Like other women at the time, DeCoster began to see the need for a separate space for women to exchange ideas.  Through the Free University, DeCoster encountered discussion around “the woman question”, became part of the anarchist Women’s Majority Union, and worked on the feminist journal Lilith. Quickly, radical women’s groups surfaced which were addressing the problems that mattered to them, driving the changes which would grant women further autonomy.

DeCoster’s family tells CHS she died during the week of complications from colorectal cancer. She would have turned 71 on February 1st. She is survived by daughter Tara, son Tristan and granddaughter Esme.

Despite her move to a First Hill apartment on Spring, DeCoster still identified as “Capitol Hill” and her knowledge of our history stretched back over the decades.

“In the late ’60s, the housing here was in pretty bad shape even on Capitol Hill, not just in the Central Area,” DeCoster said in a 2000 interview. “After the Boeing Crash, housing prices were so cheap that a lot of young couples bought houses here, and still live here because they can’t afford to move, but there were a lot of children here in the ’60s and ’70s. That’s not true now. You see a lot of weekend children.”

Over the years, we were lucky to share some of DeCoster’s work. You learned where the steam at Pike and Harvard comes from. You learned about Broadway’s stairway to nowhere. You learned about the vanished nighthawks of First Hill:

They also have an odd habit while perching.  Rather than sitting on tree limbs or wires or rooftops facing you (with the perch on the horizontal) they sit sideways, aligned along the perch.  Called “goatsuckers” some places, they used to be a delightful addition to the August falling star show viewed from the Capitol Hill ridge crest.

Thanks for your work and your sharing, Dotty. We learned a lot.

Retired Central District businessman behind Richlen’s Kickin’ Chicken, 23rd and union market remembered

Richlen (Image: Madeline Crowley from The People of the Central Area)

Richlen (Image: Madeline Crowley from The People of the Central Area)

Jack Richlen, an important part of the Central District community and famous for Richlen’s Kickin’ Chicken restaurant, died this week.

He celebrated his 94th birthday in December.

The longtime resident of the Central District owned several business over the years.

He talked here about the restaurant and his memories of the old days in the CD with the fantastic site The People of the Central Area:

That was the normal thing when somebody from out of town moved in. Friends would come first to have a party, to open up a bottle of wine and they would say a welcome. I don’t remember the details, but before they ate they always had a, “L’Chaim,” they’d light the candles and so forth. That’s how we got started in Seattle.

Thanks to Ian Eisenberg for letting us know about Richlen’s passing.

Neighborhood poet to be remembered with 15th Ave procession

Kimes was featured in this 2013 Hill Style post on CHS

Kimes was featured in this 2013 Hill Style post on CHS

A 15th Ave character will be remembered late next month as friends and loved ones gather to remember poet Marion Kimes and march together along a path she knew well:

We will converge in front of Coastal Kitchen and proceed along 15th Avenue, stopping along the way at Marion’s various haunts/places she lived, petting cats, picking up trash, etc.

Kimes died this spring at 84 while traveling:

She showed by example how a poet should engage in the world and I’ll never forget her kind, sharp guidance for me and her commitment to Red Sky week after week for years. She died on March 31, 2014, in Dhaka, India. Rest well, Marion. You’ll be missed.

CHS featured Kimes in a peculiar but appropriate enough way in this May 2013 Hill Style street fashion post.

More details on her July 27th memorial are below. Continue reading

Longtime St. Mark’s choirmaster Peter Hallock dies

(Image: Compline Choir)

Hallock (Image: Compline Choir)

Next Sunday night the men of the Compline Choir will gather at St. Mark’s Cathedral, as they do every Sunday, for the recital of the monastic Compline service. But the songs, which stir contemplation of death and mortality, will resonate with with special poignancy from the western precipice of Capitol Hill.

Dr. Peter Hallock, the longtime St. Mark’s choirmaster, director of music, and founder of the church’s famed Compline program passed away Sunday. He was 89-years-old.

Hallock, an immensely prolific composer and Seattle-area native, was an institution among Episcopal church choirs and musicians. In addition to bringing the Compline service to St. Marks in the 1950s, Hallock was also responsible for acquiring the church’s renowned Flentrop organ. Continue reading

Ace, Rudy’s founder Calderwood passes away

Calderwood (white shirt) clowning with a wedding party in Palm Springs (Image: Ace Hotel)

Calderwood (white shirt) clowning with a wedding party in Palm Springs (Image: Ace Hotel)

A pioneer in the export of Capitol Hill cool to the rest of the world, Ace Hotel and Rudy’s founder Alex Calderwood died Thursday at the age of 45, according to the fashionable hotel chain’s blog. UPDATE: Calerwood was 47, the New York Times reports. The Seattle-born, accidental entrepreneur was one of three partners who opened the first Rudy’s Barbershop on E Pine in 1992.

The hotel did not provide a cause of the Seattle-born Calderwood’s death.

In 2012, Seattle Met provided this account of the business savvy behind Rudy’s:

Armed with no business education and $16,000, they and a third partner, David Petersen, started Rudy’s Barbershop on Capitol Hill as a lark. The cheap haircuts by tattooed stylists were almost an afterthought; the real goal was another hangout, one where conversations carry down the line of vinyl chairs. Today the chain is 16 shops deep in four cities.

And the big break in Belltown that led to the creation of the six-location Ace Hotel chain:

In 1996, the crew happened upon an empty flophouse in Belltown, a neighborhood then more overrun by homeless than hipsters. Some small rooms shared bathrooms—still do—but Calderwood embraced the rough edges. “What if we could make a hotel like someone’s Capitol Hill apartment?” mused Calderwood, who at 45 would still fit in on Pike/Pine, what with his wild black curls and jeans-and-blazer look.

UPDATE Sunday, November 17, 8:23 AM: The Seattle Times obituary includes more info on Calderwood’s influence on Capitol Hill:

In 1998, he teamed up with another Rudy’s partner, Jared Harler, to start the Capitol Hill dance club The club quickly became one of the most popular in Seattle.

Mr. Calderwood’s next project was even more ambitious.

He again joined with Weigel, who by then had worked to start the Baltic Room, with Derschang, and Bimbo’s on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Calderwood and Weigel turned to Belltown, converting a rooming house at First and Wall into what Mr. Calderwood called a “whole new hotel idea.”