How Capitol Hill’s tile and terra cotta mystery ruins ended up at Harvard and Roy

The projects are commonplace now. One currently underway is creating a route of accessible curb ramps, raised crosswalks, pavement repairs, and a new Rapid Flashing Beacon on the streets between Lowell Elementary and Meany Middle School across Capitol Hill. But an early effort in the mid ’90s to make a Capitol Hill corner safer also created a mystery at Harvard and Roy.

How did ancient downtown Seattle ruins of terra cotta and tile end up at a corner in the middle of Capitol Hill?

A CHS story way back in 2009 dug up the answers. You can thank a City of Seattle safety program called Making Streets that Work, a $64,000 grant, the Cirque Apartments for maintaining the area over the years, and the work of some community members to change the neighborhood.

CHS commenter Glenn explained the project:

At the time I was a student at the U.W. Urban Planning school and lived just down from the corner (still do). The corners were broadly cut at the time, with huge curb radiuses, mirroring the Cirque. (If you want an idea how wide, they bordered the sidewalk that goes by the building). As a result, for pedestrians crossing Harvard while walking east on Roy meant this meant walking across a lot of road with cars making fast right turns on to Harvard. So I thought it would be a good idea to bring the curb out to closer to a 90 degree angle, create some public space and make things safer for pedestrians.

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Capitol Hill’s Rainier Chapter House plans a Revolution-ary celebration of its new historic status

By Tim Kukes for CHS

The Rainier Chapter House in the Harvard-Belmont District of Capitol Hill, the meeting hall for the Rainier Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was built in 1925.  This spring, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

That’s not just something that just happens. Someone must care, and someone must do the work.

“We’ve been talking about it for a few years.  Our current regent – regent is kind of the top person of the chapter, runs the meetings and whatnot – she just kind of put it into full throttle last July,” said Diana Prigger, 1st Vice Regent of the Rainier Chapter.

The process is time consuming and involves a lot of documentation.  At one time the nomination form was 41 pages, according to Cindy Johnson-Sakuma, Regent of the Rainier Chapter. They managed to cut it down to 31 pages.

”When you first look at it you think, ‘oh, well, this is no problem,’ and it kind of like just grows,” Johnson-Sakuma said. Continue reading

With planned closure of Roy Street Coffee, Starbucks experiment on Capitol Hill will end — UPDATE

(Image: CHS)

A Starbucks experiment that began ten years ago on Capitol Hill is set to come to an end. Roy Street Coffee and Tea will close this spring.

The global coffee giant hasn’t yet responded to CHS’s inquiry about the planned closure but customers of the Roy at Broadway cafe have been told the location will close at the end of April. UPDATE 2/19/19: Starbucks says they are leaving the location completely at the end of April:

As part of Starbucks standard course of business, we continually evaluate our business to ensure a healthy store portfolio. After careful consideration, we’ve made the difficult decision to close the store on Roy Street. Our last day at this location will be April 28, 2019. All Starbucks partners (employees) working at that store will have the opportunity to transfer to one of our locations in Seattle.

An effort is already underway to “save” the indie-style Starbucks cafe: Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Mexican consulate holds repatriation ceremony for recovered artifacts

(Images: SPD)

What happens when Seattle Police finds out about historical Mexican artifacts being sold at an estate sale? Tuesday afternoon, officials at Capitol Hill’s Consulate of Mexico in Seattle held a repatriation ceremony for hollow clay Nayarit figures recovered from a sale last year in Seattle.

The figures were recovered a year ago and examinations by anthropology experts and Mexican officials determined that the items were genuine, SPD says.

SPD says the the restitution of the pieces is being done under the Treaty of Cooperation between Mexico and the United States of America providing for the Recovery and Return of Stolen Archaeological, Historical, and Cultural Properties, as well as in the provisions of articles 5, 27, 28, 50, 51 and 53 of the Federal Law on Archaeological, Artistic and Historic Monuments and Areas. Continue reading

‘Saved’ from microhousing plan, Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Apartments to be considered as Seattle landmark

A coalition led by Historic Seattle and residents of Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Apartments has put the Bellevue Ave E building up for consideration for Seattle landmarks protections.

A plan for to convert the building to microhousing was stopped by a campaign led by building tenants, neighbors, and preservation advocates earlier this year.

A second report on the 94-year-old “eclectic Tudor Revival” structure was prepared at the request of property owner Alliance Multifamily Investments, according to the document (PDF) posted to the Department of Neighborhoods landmarks site. That report from July is now labeled as a “Historic Resource Report.”

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Mental health arrest after man reported with bow and arrow on Capitol Hill

A man who caused a bit of a stir Tuesday night as he roamed Capitol Hill with a bow and arrow was taken into custody for evaluation of a possible mental crisis, SPD tells CHS.

911 calls began coming in around 9 PM Tuesday reporting a male carrying a bow and arrow and behaving oddly near north Broadway. Police searched the area but could not locate the man.

Ten minutes later, a caller reported a man shooting an arrow near Boylston and Republican. Police responded to the area and learned the man had entered a nearby building.

Responding officers located the resident inside and took him into custody for mental health evaluation.

Police tell us nobody reported being directly threatened or harmed by the man.

Consulate of Mexico in Seattle and its Mexican Cultural Institute celebrate nation’s arts — plus, Mexican wine and mezcal

Capitol Hill’s Harvard Exit didn’t just become the new home Consulate of Mexico in Seattle when the diplomatic facility moved in this summer.

The Mexican Cultural Institute also now calls the building home.

You can join the effort to embrace and growth Mexican culture and arts in the Northwest this month with El Festival MEX AM Northwest events across the neighborhood including a reception on Thursday along with the monthly Capitol Hill Art Walk showcasing the work of sculptor Adrian Gomez in the institute’s gallery inside the consulate:

NosotrUS: Adrían Gómez

Meanwhile, you can enjoy some more of the nation’s creations with a Mexican wine tasting event at Capitol Hill’s Aluel Cellars and a night of mexcal at Mezcaleria Oaxaca on E Pine.

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The flag of Mexico now flies above Capitol Hill

Recent weeks of hot, still Seattle weather haven’t made for great flag flying. But the red, white, and green of Mexico has risen above Capitol Hill.

CHS stopped by the newly opened Consulate of Mexico in Seattle in the overhauled Harvard Exit building to check out the national colors and the official diplomatic seal. We got a ripple here and there when a slight breeze would rise but as far flapping flag action, it was quiet at Harvard and Roy. Meanwhile, groups of people waiting before or after their business at the consulate have made the corner a busy place and put the old benches across the street on the southwest corner to good use. Continue reading

You can cowork with Capitol Hill’s new Consulate of Mexico at the Harvard Exit

Monday, the Consulate of Mexico in Seattle opened for its first day of official diplomatic business in the overhauled Harvard Exit.

You can make the old theater your office, too:

The Harvard Exit building (807 E. Roy St) has Class A office space in the heart of Capitol Hill. Offices and dedicated workstations come fully furnished with desk, chair, three drawer cabinet, and desk lamp. The coworking space contains a conference room, kitchenette, bathrooms, shower, shared copier/printer/scanner, and WiFi. You’ll just need to bring your laptop and files.  You’ll have access to your office/workstation 24/7. Dedicated workstations are $600 p/month. Private offices range from $1,300 – $2,100 p/month. Move in on August 1.

If you’re interested, email


Street Critic | Kerry Hall, a palace on the Hill

Kerry Hall East Elevation (Image: John Feit)

One of my favorite Capitol Hill buildings is Kerry Hall, home of Cornish College for the Arts’s Dance and Music departments, on the corner of Harvard Ave E and E Roy. The sole extant building of Cornish’s original Capitol Hill campus, Kerry Hall was built in 1921 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style and was designed by Seattle architect A. H. Albertson. Its Mediterranean-inspired design reminds me of the work one of my favorite American architects, Irving Gill, as well as one of my favorite buildings, the Doge’s Palace on the Venetian Lagoon, in Venice, Italy. Kerry Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Continue reading