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CHS Re:Take | Hidden stories of love at Broadway and John

1934 intersects with 2011 on Capitol Hill (Image: Rob Ketcherside)

That black and white house — behind the gas station, standing in Sound Transit’s subway pit — was 915 East John. It wasn’t the first house on the block, but it outlasted its older neighbor, taken down for this Associated Gasoline service station in 1922. What stories are locked away in the shadows of those long-gone attics?

She was barely 16, he was almost 24…
Corinne Yochim was just 12 when she moved to Seattle with her brother and German-immigrant mother in 1906. Her mother Lena made ends meet first giving manicures and massages at her shop down at the base of ever-shrinking Denny Hill, and later sewing dresses at home, subletting part of the house at 915 East John, and overseeing rental of the shack out back. By 1910, Corinne’s circle of friends were older and more well-to-do, including Ethel Weaver, daughter of City Councilman William H. Weaver; William A. Dearborn, grandson of developer Henry Dearborn (whose house remains nearby); and Grace Pearsall, daughter of First Hill grocer Merton Pearsall.

Into her life strode Maurice Karp — described as dark eyed, short, with medium build. What he lacked in physical stats Maurice made up for in musical talent. He was a graduate of Julliard, and in just a few years he had assembled a stellar resume as violinist. Maurice rented the extra room at 915 E John for some time, and they were wed in June of 1910.

It’s not clear how they met. I suspect he visited Seattle in April, 1908 with the touring New York Philharmonic. Did he fall in love with her then, returning when she turned 16 and a judge would approve their wedding? Or did he fall in love with Seattle, return to work the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, and simply respond to the “room to let” ad in the Seattle Times?

Maurice played around town and conducted a string sextet at the Clemmer Theater. They had a daughter, Maurine, moved to Portland for a short time and then headed to Miami in 1917 where Professor Karp led the Miami Symphony.

Their story splits there in divorce. But this family was caught up in passion and love, not misery. Here’s a quote from daughter Maurine in 1993:

Now, the retired telephone company worker from Burien is looking most for “an escort when I want one. He could be more serious, I don’t know.” She already dates around, she says. “I have two or three going.” Where does she meet them? “At bingo, or church, or the grocery store.” The grocery store? “I bump into them.” Does she make the move? “If they don’t.”

In my memory she was sailing with me
The Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, of course, was dedicated to honoring trade with Asia and moreso the gold rushes in the Klondike (Yukon) in 1897 and Nome in 1900. Here’s another love story which takes us back to that time.

Ruhanna (Rue) Glasgow came to Seattle in early 1896. Her brother Joseph Glasgow was a successful lawyer and former municipal judge in Seattle. After arriving in 1888 he made the fortunate acquaintance of William Wood who recommended Joseph to the real estate office of Day & Ferry. He watched, learned, and amassed his own empire. This is all to say that he was very rich by the time he convinced his parents and siblings to move from the family farm in Iowa in 1896. The family purchased the corner house on John and Broadway from the original owner — it’s the gas station in our 1934 photo.

Meanwhile, Samuel Archer arrived in Seattle in about 1890. He worked as a printer for the Seattle PI and then Seattle Times. Like Joseph Glasgow, Samuel’s wealth drew his brother and father to Seattle over the years, creating a family Linotype business. Samuel and Joseph also shared an address: 132 North Broadway, on the corner of John, in April of 1900. Rue and Sam were married, living with Joseph and their parents, and with Grace Glasgow, who in June would graduate as the University of Washington’s first female senior class president.

Where’s the love? It’s in a few leaves of unpublished remembrances, hidden in the archives of the Alaska State Library, wherein Samuel Archer tells of his trip to the Klondike in 1897 and to Nome in 1900.

On the trail to the Klondike, stampeders had to cross Lake Bennett by paying for crossing or, as Archer’s party chose to do, building a boat. “The boat was named ‘Rue-Lillian,’… Rue after a certain young lady whom I had met in Seattle and taken on a yachting trip on Puget Sound the year before [in 1896] — and in my memory she was then sailing over the lakes and down the Yukon River to the goldfields with me…”

In his second memoir, he says of Nome: “When news of [gold] reached the outside world at the close of navigation by the icepacks in the Bering Sea in the autumn of 1899 great preparations went forward during the winter for the grand rush at the opening of navigation in June, 1900… ” He only mentions Rue briefly, but thankfully his sister Minnie Archer Fultz adds: “Rue Glasgow was a delicate girl. Becoming engaged her family were aghast at the idea of her getting married and joining her husband in the wild stampede to Nome. They presented so many excellent and incontrovertible reasons against it that the young couple got married at once!… the bride followed later, by which time the company store building was erected with living
rooms above.”

Your stories
ST’s great public art program had a tour back in June which was dubbed “Love, Loss, and the Moveable City”, which started right there at the sign. That’s a fitting frame for my first repeat photography installment on Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.

Of course most of you know this corner as the former home of Twice Sold Tales, along with a copy place that had a clock. Some of you remember Lion O’Reilly’s and B. J. Monkeyshines Old Fashioned Bar and Grill. I wonder if anyone remembers the Congo Room, whose sign LOBJM took its name from?:

Oh yes the monkey on the roof: it’s left from the days when the restaurant was the Congo Room. Kingen wanted to keep the neon monkey climbing the palm tree to escape the lion below. Presto, both the lion and the monkey were incorporated into the restaurant’s name. (7/22/1977 Seattle Times)

Do you have fond memories or something stressing you out? Do you know someone who lived here or something that went down on this corner? Drop a comment.

Local history expert Rob Ketcherside shares his vision of the past and present with his Re:Take series of works on CHS and other Seattle sites. We’ll feature more of his Capitol Hill (and nearby) Re:Take looks at the past in the future. Whoa, right?

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8 thoughts on “CHS Re:Take | Hidden stories of love at Broadway and John

  1. The Alaska State Library for scanning the memoirs of Samuel Archer; and the Seattle Public Library for providing access to the online Sanborn map collection, historical Seattle Times archive, and America’s GenealogyBank which has digitized Oregonian and Miami Record Herald. for Baist maps and inspiration. Also, the census lookup tool is amazing (though missing Broadway in 1910).

    I think I’ve linked the rest of my sources, I hope you enjoy them as well!

  2. Because of some arcane liquor law, the bar couldn’t be accessible to the restaurant on the interior, so one had to go outside from Monkeyshines to the street and enter through a separate front door to go to the Congo Room. Quaint. And those were the days when bars could not have windows on the street. Those bars were DARK, honey.

  3. My grandparents were married on August l, 1910. Frank Denny of Seattle and Eugenie Evans of Derby, now Woodinville. In 1920 they bought 10 acres on N.E. 124th in Redmond, built a home and raised my two uncles and my mother there. In May of 2007, almost 9 months to the day after my last uncle died, the home and property were raped and pillaged by the scum of the earth and we lost all of our family history and possessions. They were very thorough, even took all the glass knobs off every door in the house except the door facing the road. A sheriff commented “that’s what happens when you live on the edge of the district”, like it was our choice where their district lines are and what they choose to ignore. I always loved the area history, now it’s just a heartache that won’t go away.