Here are the top stories from this week in CHS history:
The NW Museum of Legends and Lore will never completely leave Capitol Hill, it seems. Fresh off rejection by the City of Seattle for its permit for the annual Broadway Pride street festival, the museum’s directors are leading the charge targeting, of all things, the United Confederate Veterans Memorial in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery.
Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson say they will be there Monday when a group including a former president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will call on the Seattle City Council to have the 92-year-old memorial removed from the 15th Ave E cemetery.
“The NW Museum of Legends and Lore has been requesting the monuments removal for the last two years,” the announcement reads. “We feel this will be a positive step forward for the generations who fought for unity, the current generation and future generations.” Continue reading
It is easier to find 80-year-old photos of auto row-era dealerships on Capitol Hill than images from the 1980s of queer-owned businesses on Broadway. Undaunted, Seattle documentary and video producer David Albright and writer, photographer, and video maker Matt Baume set out to tell the LGBTQ+ story of the neighborhood and to sort out its place as Seattle’s gay center in a new documentary for KCTS.
Seattle’s Shifting Queer Geographies is a short documentary tracing Capitol Hill’s queer-story from the ’70s when bars first started moving here, through the ’80s-90s heyday, and then through the changes in the neighborhood that started around the early 2000s and continue today.
“We initially wanted to answer a couple of questions; Is Capitol Hill still the heart of gay Seattle? And is a gayborhood still necessary in 2017?,” Albright writes. “And I think we found that the answer to both of those questions is yes.”
CHS asked Albright and Baume what they learned and about the challenges of trying to dredge up near history.
The history of Capitol Hill in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s is more of a mystery than the auto row days. Why is that? Where did you find sources that documented it the best?
Albright: Yes absolutely – I almost think we need to steal a phrase from housing policy and say that we have a “missing middle” problem when it comes to Capitol Hill’s history. It’s not even particularly difficult to find photos of Capitol Hill in the auto row days but there’s a big gap from around the 60s-90s where it’s really hard to find anything. Continue reading
With less than a week to go, backers of a community effort to raise funds to plan restoring Seattle’s historic Benson Trolleys for use on the city’s modern streetcar system are about halfway to their $28,000 goal. Though you’re unlikely to see Seattle’s two remaining 100-year-old trolleys on Capitol Hill’s tracks, the project has its roots in the neighborhood’s history.
“George and Evelyn Benson owned and operated Capitol Hill’s Mission Pharmacy at 19th and Aloha for 40 years,” Don Blakeney of Friends of the Benson Trolleys tells CHS. “Also, apparently they used to drive around the Hill delivering prescriptions to families in a van painted to look like a transit bus.” Continue reading
The stairs on East Republican Street between Melrose and Bellevue may be both the most overlooked stairway and the most forlorn landmark in Seattle.
The stairs were landmarked in 1979, just after Seattle’s preservation ordinance went into effect. The landmark designation report issued at the time didn’t pinpoint its date of construction, vaguely stating that it was “…one of the finest… produced by the City Engineering Design Staff during the first two decades of the twentieth century.” Continue reading