This week in CHS history | Olive Way Improvement Company building rejected at landmark, deadly 18th Ave house fire, perpetually broken Broadway escalator becomes… stairs

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Not a landmark: The Olive Way Improvement Company building once home to Holy Smoke, Coffee Messiah, and In the Bowl

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Red Cedar Elementary — The long path to rename a Capitol Hill school has families and staff closer to achieving their goal


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Gen. Isaac I. Stevens died at the age of 44 leading Union troops at the Battle of Chantilly

For decades, families and staff at Stevens Elementary School have talked about hopes of detaching the North Capitol Hill school from a figure with a fading place in the state’s history and to give respect back to Duwamish and Indigenous Peoples.

Now, some 167 years after Isaac Ingalls Stevens finished his term as the Governor of the newly formed Washington Territory, organizers at the school feel 2024 is the year to finally make change.

“When people finally realize that their school and the name ‘Stevens’ is actually Isaac Stevens, and as kids learn in history about Isaac Stevens, they would question why they are named after this person,” Michelle Martine, a first grade teacher at the school, tells CHS. “There has always been a push to change the name, but it has never felt as right as it does right now.”

Martine said renaming has been a conversation with children and families who come through the school. A petition was launched earlier this month and currently has a total just under 100 signatures in favor of a proposed name change to Red Cedar Elementary.

The organizers spent much time, effort and thoughtfulness researching, listening to and learning from Indigenous Peoples to uncover the perfect name. Continue reading

A century ago, Capitol Hill’s cobblestone streets eased transportation woes — Now, their purpose is preservation

Sometimes green and a little Pacific Northwest mossy, sometimes just bumpy, there are still stretches of cobblestone streets around Capitol Hill in 2024.

Seattle is home to about 100 blocks of cobblestone streets, including east of 23rd Ave and on Mercer, Roy, Valley and Ward streets. Similarly to other cities across the country in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the cobblestones replaced dirt or plank roads — the original roads of Seattle — but as the city turned to asphalt and became more concretely paved, some historically stoned streets have survived.

“Many people who live near or travel on these streets appreciate their aesthetic quality and historic significance, and the city has generally attempted to preserve these cobblestone streets to the extent possible,” a Seattle Department of Transportation representative told CHS.

Formerly known as the Seattle Engineering Department, SDOT and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods signed an agreement that set out guidelines for the preservation and maintenance of cobblestone streets in 1996. Continue reading

This week in CHS history | Jonathan Caradonna murder, 2020 COVID ‘stay home’ restrictions, the Canterbury’s end

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‘DO NOT BLOCK BIKE LANE’ — Latest Seattle guerilla street safety project finds signs alone no match for drivers looking for a place to park on Capitol Hill

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CHS Classic | There is a stairway to nowhere at Broadway and Harvard

(Image: University of Washington: Special Collections)

There’s a triangle where Broadway and Harvard meet just north of Madison that has been fenced for years. The last time we wrote about it in 2010, the lot was fenced and full of weeds. Fourteen years later, the lot is still fenced and still full of weeds.

Behind the fence is a concrete stairway with a railing — but whatever building it led to is no longer there. It’s a stairway to nowhere.

How could a patch of land along a street like Broadway remain so unused?

We know what happened tot he building.

This was the old Scottish Rite Cathedral, which opened in 1911 and remained in use by the Scottish Rite until the late 1950s. The building was actually built in the old Spring right-of-way which was vacated by the city in March of 1891, long before the Masonic Temple Association bought the land in August of 1910.

Flash forward 114 years and find a fenced empty lot full of surprisingly hearty weeds and an ambitious clutch of trees. The Polyclinic, the owner of this strange patch of Capitol Hill, has been ambitious with the rest of its properties. But this lot is a conundrum. Continue reading

This week in CHS history | Amazon Go arrives on Capitol Hill, King County’s first ‘presumptive positive’ COVID-19 case, St. Joe’s ‘community fridge’

(Images: CHS)

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Capitol Hill church adds front lawn ‘community fridge’ to provide fresh food for those in need

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