CHS Re:Take | Walking off into the sunset, Capitol Hill landmark by landmark

I dug a bit in Archive.org’s Wayback Machine and was surprised to find that CHS started in January 2006 as a Blogspot. That first recording captured a microcosm of Justin’s neighborhood writing: a hair salon review, a couple of restaurant reviews, a warning of an upcoming moth spray, and a lamentation on the loss of an old, dependable haunt. As you know, this was a formula that he looped through a few hundred thousand times over the next 11 years.

While Justin was developing CHS from a hobby blog into a life-sucking addiction, geologist David B. Williams was basking in the afterglow of the publication of his first book about Seattle: 2005’s The Street-Smart Naturalist.

Street Naturism

One reader of the book let it all hang out in a brief Seattle Public Library review of Street-Smart Naturalist: “Everyone in Seattle should read this engaging and insightful book about how nature and the wild still exist within city limits, and that we are part of it.”

I second the recommendation, but I’ll strip away the book jacket and show you the salient bits. Capitol Hill made two appearances in Street-Smart Naturalist. First was a short piece about the several hundred year-old Garry oak tree at Oak Manor on Belmont Ave and Belmont Place. Then in the chapter The Hills Williams rightly questioned whether it’s appropriate to call the long form of Capitol Hill a hill at all. Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | The 1892 problems at Harvard and Thomas

When you are at the intersection of Harvard and Thomas and look around, it’s impossible to not be awed and a bit baffled by the utter lack of planning and engineering.

You probably have an intersection that confuses you or an intersection you hate. Leave a comment and we’ll see if we can console you with some sort of reasoning. Meanwhile, here’s one odd truth.

What’s wrong?

Harvard and Thomas… it’s one of a kind. As it heads south Harvard changes from a normal, comfortably cozy Capitol Hill residential street into a confusing mass of concrete with no clear use or direction. Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | Pike’s place on Capitol Hill

Pike and Minor, 1902 and 2017

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

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.

John Pike
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

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

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

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

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

CHS Re:Take | Onward for the Ward House

Ward House 1892ish-2016 (Christine Johnson via Marianne Roulet via Paul Dorpat)

Ward House 1890s-2016 (The bottom photo was taken by Christine Johnson whose descendant Marianne Roulet gave a copy to Paul Dorpat who used it in a 1999 article much like this one and gave the okay for it to appear here.)

This is the Ward House, seen in two of the three locations it’s been over the last 120 or 130 years. The bottom half is at Pike and Boren on the southwest corner, seen in the early 1890s. The top half is earlier this week, at Denny and Belmont on the northwest corner. Between the two it was nearby its origin, turned and moved a bit up Boren to make way for the Gallatin Hotel in 1905, and stayed there until it shuffled uphill in 1986.

Ward House - George Corley - WS Parks - 3-16-72

Its second home, on Boren but pushed uphill 100 feet or so to make way for the brick apartment building on the right, known as the Crest Hotel when this photo was taken in 1972. More on that in a bit. (Photo by George Corley for the Washington State Parks Commission – March 16, 1972)

There are many ways to tell the stories of the secret lives of buildings. The way I like to do it, I start with a crisp date of construction and tell a bit about Seattle and the neighborhood at that time. Then I share how the humans responsible for it lived their lives and whether they were notable, or just notably normal. The Ward House’s early story is more difficult to piece together than I expected. Especially since it’s one of Seattle’s earliest official city landmarks, and because has been known as Seattle’s oldest surviving home. Luckily I had some help, but there is plenty of fertile ground for the next historian to hop to it.

In search of the primary source
The Ward House was built in 1882… or perhaps it wasn’t built until 1889? Check back in a week (I’ll update here and post to Twitter) and I may have a final answer, but for now I have sources that point to two answers. Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | Ice cream, beer, and the Montlake Drive-In Public Market

Montlake Drive-in market 1937 and 2016

Montlake Drive-in Market 1937 and 2016. Old one is a 1937 state assessor’s photo, from the Washington State Archives. Filed under 2200 24th Ave East. The new one I took on a recent cold morning after hiking down through Interlaken Park.

I did it! My 4-month streetcar history vigil forced SDOT to start operating the streetcar. Now that that’s over, let’s talk about some car-oriented architecture at 2200 24th Ave East at Boston Street, where the Boston 2200 building is underway. We’re going to need to talk about pickles and ice cream to get there, and about beer afterwards.

Horluck’s a-changing

Dear HistoryLink: Please pay someone to write a biography of George Horluck.

There’s not a lot of information about George Horluck out there, but this whole article revolves around him so we’re going to have to take what we can get. Google suggests that we read the History of Horluck Brewing Co and Sick’s [sic] Century Brewery. I did it for you, no need to click. 6/10. Unhealthy obsession with beer. Sprinkling of pre-beer facts with no context. Good effort.

As the page says, George was born in Nebraska to parents newly immigrated to the United States, but they came from Denmark. The family moved to Seattle by 1910.

With a bit more digging in newspaper and genealogy records, George Horluck’s life comes into focus. By 1910 his father Hans was in a partnership with Anton Hagen, selling pickles at the Pike Place Market and Westlake Public Market. Hans transitioned through two other partnerships in the next two years, selling pickles, bacon and pickled herring. (Any future biographer is probably going to stop at this point to scream the same words that sprang from my social network accounts: “Arg, no! Why am I researching the lineage of this pickle stall??”)

From about 1915 to 1916 George sold papers at 1st and Pike, and then delivered a Seattle Times route on Denny Hill. After high school he joined his father’s odd pairing of businesses in Port Orchard: growing and selling feed for farm animals, and operating mosquito fleet steamers. After a decade of hard work, in 1926 George traveled to his parents’ home of Copenhagen and spent a year exploring Europe. (June 30, 1929 Seattle Times page 68.) Continue reading