Community remembers Polish Home neighbor lost in deadly fire

Capitol Hill’s Polish Home is planning to honor its neighbor

The King County Medical Examiner has identified the man who died in last week’s house fire as Michael Gross.

Friends and neighbors who knew Gross or were familiar with the 18th Ave resident and his dog and cat Vince and Max are making plans to remember his remarkable life.

The 70-year-old died last Wednesday in the fire which has been ruled an accident. Investigators say the deadly blaze was started by “a portable space heater placed too close to combustible materials.” The dog and cat were reported to have safely escaped.

Gross’s house neighbors the street’s Polish Home. The community group is planning to honor gross with a gathering: Continue reading

One dead in 18th Ave house fire — UPDATE

Thanks to @tygraham for the picture from the scene

One person was found dead as firefighters battled an early evening fire in a house near 18th and Madison Wednesday.

Seattle Fire confirmed a person was found dead inside the two-story house as crews continued to battle the blaze first reported in the 1600 block of 18th Ave just before 5:30 PM.

Neighbors reported a non-ambulatory elderly male lived at the residence with pets. Continue reading

Coming to the Central District, Alexandra’s Macarons and Cafe

(Image: Alexandra’s)

Born in a hot pink Volkswagen van turned cookie truck and a familiar part of area farmers markets and coffee shops, Alexandra’s Macarons and Cafe is joining the community at 18th and Union.

“I feel really honored to be stepping into that place,” Alexandra Greenwald tells CHS, “Especially in these times of COVID and the social justice movements.”

Greenwald’s new cafe will be filling the space left empty by the closure of Tougo Coffee and giving the coffee shop owner Brian Wells a successful exit as he sells the business to Greenwald and focuses on his other ventures including his Yesler cafe. Continue reading

18th Ave’s Tougo Coffee one of the first confirmed Capitol Hill and Central District business casualties of the COVID-19 crisis

(Image: Tougo Coffee)

When it comes to the life of Capitol Hill and Central District businesses, we might not know with certainty about any sad passings until the COVID-19 crisis subsides.

Two neighborhood cafes are closing this week — one is clearly saying goodbye while the other’s fate is obscured by the fog of the crisis.

The Central District’s Tougo Coffee will become one of the area’s first confirmed business casualties of the COVID-19 crisis. Owner Brian Wells announced his decision Wednesday: Continue reading

Pierogi and community at Dom Polski: 100 years of the Polish Home on Capitol Hill

1937 (Image courtesy the Polish Home Association)

In 1918, the same year the modern state of Poland was formed, a group of Poles came together on Capitol Hill. The neighborhood barely existed at the time, and the group purchased what had been a country club, remaking it into the Polish Home.

100 years later, the Polish Home still stands on 18th Ave.

As America was forming, Poland was falling apart. In the last decades of the 1700s, the country we now know as Poland had dissolved and was divvied up by Prussia, Russia and Austria. Once that happened, Poles starting emigrating in waves, explained Pawel Krupa, president of the Polish Home Association.

By 1918, after World War I and the Russian Revolution, the countries that had once controlled Poland were shadows of themselves, if they still existed. Poles took the opportunity and modern Poland was formed.

But more than a century of upheaval had caused many Poles to look for a better life in other parts of the world, including America. While most who came here stayed on the East Coast, Krupa explains that some, inevitably, made their way westward. A lot, he said, were miners, drawn to the coal mines in eastern King County like those at Black Diamond.

Once here, they sought each other out. Like many immigrant groups, they wanted a sense of community: people who speak the same language, have a taste for the same food, and know the same dances. They also sought a place to commiserate about the difficulties of assimilating into a culture that was, as it can still be, both overtly and covertly hostile to new immigrants. The Polish Home was born. Continue reading