This Re:Take is held in place for us by Pike/Pine historian and CHS contributor Brendan McKeon. He’s printed out a copy of the slide which I found in a box in an antique store’s bargain bins. Disturbingly, I recognized the intersection immediately, even with just the dim skylight as illumination. This is 12th Ave
E and E Union, right where E Madison cuts through diagonally.
Lee Moran Co.
The car at the stop sign on 12th is screaming late-40s, but dealership owner Lee Moran has painted “HERE NOW – THE BIG M TURNPIKE CRUISER” on his storefront window. The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was only sold in 1957 and 1958, so there’s a date for the photo.
Written on the border of the slide is the caption “Lee’s Place, Seattle, Wash.” in a very familiar fashion. Perhaps it was taken by a friend?
Sensing a story, I grabbed a couple of other slides from the same box. One labeled “Front Moran House” I discovered was taken at 1140 Parkside Drive East in Broadmoor. The other labeled “Callista – Lee – Mrs Schill” turned out be Callista Schill Moran, Lee Moran, and Margaret Schill. That’s Lee, his wife and his mother-in-law.
Death of a Salesman
Lee Moran was vice president in charge of exhibits for Century 21, but died tragically just weeks before opening day of the world’s fair. By 1962 he expanded his car dealership to Fiats (the “poor man’s Ferrari” of their day) which he sold down in the Utrecht building by Melrose Market at Pike and Melrose and Minor. Lee was the Fiat distributor for all of the Pacific Northwest, and in March of 1962 he attended a Fiat conference in New York. His flight back to the vacation home in Palm Springs was ill-fated, however. American Airlines Flight 1 crashed into Jamaica Bay, killing 100% of the 95 people on board (even the 1%).
How did Lee’s photos suddenly end up in an antique store in 2011? I ran across the answer in this obituary:
Callista Schill Moran Ostrander, March 22, 1908 ~ July 7, 2010
… Her greatest love, however, was to travel the world and experience the richness of different cultures. She developed a great interest in photography… During the last few years of her life, she spent her time creating detailed albums documenting her many trips. She wanted her legacy to be a visual history captured with her camera…
Callista, thank you for holding on to this photo of 12th and Union all this time. We’re sorry you didn’t make it to a 103rd year and catalog the few decades that you spent with Lee.
Here’s a photo of Callista touring the Hudson River in New York in 1968. She looks fabulous in her fur-trimmed red jacket. You can just make out the Empire State Building on the far left. There are a few more photos of New York, and a ton from an uncatalogued trip to Australia, over at Hunter’s Antiques in Uptown. Look for the boxes marked “Mrs. Moran” or “T. Ostrander”. Let me know if you find a photograph of Capitol Hill and we can piece together its history.
In case you missed them, here are the last few Re:Takes on CHS:
- Berlin Bakery Beatdown at 9th and James, 1905 and 2011
- Seward’s Foliage in Volunteer Park, 1912 and 2011
- Martian Pipeline Posse on Broadway, 1899 and 2011
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.