‘How do I get to ‘yes’?’ prospective Alki Homestead purchaser asks Landmarks Board committee at first reviewJanuary 30, 2015 at 8:19 pm | In Alki Homestead, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 5 Comments
(2012 WSB photo of Alki Homestead, with part of parking lot visible at left)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
If you own a city landmark, what you do with it is subject to a set of rules that can delve into details as minute as window trim.
And you usually have to go before the city Landmarks Preservation Board to get approval before renovations/changes. If they’re significant enough, before you ever get to the full board, you’ll need to deal first with a subset of the board, its Architectural Review Committee.
This morning on the 40th floor of the city Municipal Tower downtown, that committee met with someone who isn’t even a landmark owner yet: Prospective Alki Homestead (Fir Lodge) purchaser Dennis Schilling, who, as reported here earlier this week, has to decide soon whether to go ahead with a deal to buy the 111-year-old log structure, vacant since an electrical fire six years ago. He made it clear he is seeking reassurance that he won’t be buying himself a long-drawn-out process; toward the end of the discussion, he asked flat out, “How do I get to ‘yes’?”
He didn’t get a specific answer on that, but he did get positive feedback on the part of the proposal that had to be evaluated first:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“It’s fixable, in my opinion.”
So says Dennis Schilling of the historic West Seattle landmark he’s considering buying and repairing, the Alki Homestead (originally Fir Lodge), vacant since the fire that charred its interior six years ago this month.
This Friday, Schilling takes a new repair/restoration/renovation plan to the city Landmarks Preservation Board‘s Architectural Review Committee. The meeting agenda is the first public document pointing to his involvement with the Homestead; after finding the damaged landmark on the ARC agenda for the first time in 3 1/2 years, we looked up the Department of Planning and Development files for the site and found Schilling involved.
If you can’t place his name, Schilling is the Mercer Island man who saved the Shoremont Apartments, blocks east of the Homestead, as first reported here in 2011. That classic brick building was at one point proposed for demolition and replacement with an ultramodern-style building. He bought it instead, fixed it up, and says everything’s “been great” since then.
One day while visiting Alki to go to the Shoremont, Schilling told us in an interview outside the Homestead today, he noticed the big “for sale” sign that’s been up for months. (He explains that every time he goes somewhere, he tries to “not drive home the same way twice.”) The rest was history.
VIDEO: Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s rock ‘n’ roll & ‘rebirth’ Champagne Gala Brunch scores sizable supportNovember 9, 2014 at 10:49 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 1 Comment
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
West Seattle rocks.
You already knew that.
The hundreds who gathered at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) Saturday for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s annual Champagne Gala Brunch were served many reminders of why it’s true, and gave big in response.
For the gala’s centerpiece, they were the live audience for an on-location half-hour-long Marty Riemer podcast, co-hosted by his once-and-future radio partner Jodi Brothers, about West Seattle’s role in Seattle’s rock scene, with guests including a rock star, a record-label exec, and the owner of the city’s most-famous record store. Here’s the video (toplines later in this story, if you don’t have time to watch/listen):
Wait – you might think – didn’t you say “Historical Society”? Doesn’t that conjure an image of great-grandmas, tea, cookies, and lectures about the distant, misty past, more than rock ‘n’ roll?
Certainly, a few great-grandmas and great-grandpas were in the audience somewhere. And the family in the spotlight brought a multi-generational group – all 27 of whom gathered in front of the trademark Salty’s view windows; that would be the Schmitz Family, right after three members spoke movingly about the living legacy that traces back to one Schmitz’s emigration from Germany and eventual arrival in Seattle.
(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand unless otherwise credited)
But when SWSHS executive director Clay Eals (above right, with Vicki Schmitz-Block and Dietrich Schmitz) spoke of “rebirth,” he made it clear the organization is looking ahead even as it celebrates the past. Especially what he said about this year’s biggest SWSHS event, the unveiling of the restored Admiral Way Viewpoint totem pole on June 6th, at its new home on the east side of SWSHS’s Log House Museum. He showed this five-minute video capturing the essence of the unveiling ceremony:
(WSB photo: Cookbook editors Joan & Joey arranging stacks at LHM on Friday)
Get ‘em while they’re hot! Copies of “Apron Strings,” a brand-new local cookbook, are officially on sale. This weekend, you can buy it during regular hours at the Log House Museum (noon-4 pm Saturdays, Sundays, and Thursdays and Fridays) – or maybe you’ll be at the LHM for the volunteer orientation today (11 am-1 pm) and get yours then – or, look for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market tomorrow. And get busy making recipes like this one:
Here’s the SWSHS announcement about “Apron Strings”:
Just in time for Thanksgiving meal planning and the search for a unique holiday gift, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society is releasing a new, home-grown cookbook.
“Apron Strings: Recipes and Recollections from the Duwamish Peninsula” is a 180-page paperback with 114 recipes from 49 local residents. Stories accompany many of the recipes, and the book is laced with 16 photos from the historical society’s archive.
Editors of the cookbook are three longtime members of the historical society: Dayle Banks, Joey Richesson (former board secretary) and Joan Stover (former board treasurer). The cover features a colorful, quilted vintage apron from Merrilee Hagen, past president of the historical society.
“Apron Strings,” priced at $25, is on sale at the historical society’s “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum. It also will have its public debut from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, at a table at the West Seattle Farmers Market in The Junction.
Net proceeds will go to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
Three years in the making, “Apron Strings” is “no ordinary cookbook,” the editors write in the book’s preface. “It is a collection of recipes that reflect the history and culture of Duwamish Peninsula families and friends. … Entwined with the details for sifting, stirring, baking and frying are the stories of the people and circumstances surrounding the dishes, the family traditions of meals and snacks, and the community history of food that is uniquely West Seattle, White Center and beyond.”
As part of its fall fundraising, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society is now selling Golden Tickets in its drawing for an Alaskan cruise. One hundred tickets are on sale, at $100 each, for that grand prize – described as:
… a cruise for two with an ocean-view cabin aboard the ms Westerdam of the Holland America Line, sailing from Seattle on Sept. 19, 2015, to Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, Alaska, and Victoria, B.C., returning on Sept. 26, 2015. Programs on Pacific Northwest totem poles will be featured. (The prize does not include government or port taxes, shore excursions or airfare.)
The drawing will happen during the SWSHS Champagne Gala Brunch, 11 am Saturday, November 8th at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). You don’t have to be at the brunch to win – but you do have to buy your Golden Ticket in person at the Log House Museum (or AT the brunch), which is open Thursdays-Sundays, noon-4 pm, 61st/Stevens. Questions about the Golden Ticket drawing? If you have questions about the Golden Ticket drawing, please call the museum at 206-938-5293 or contact SWSHS executive director Clay Eals at 206-484-8008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. The discounted Early Bird ticket rate for the brunch has less than a week to go – more on that here.
P.P.S. The next edition of the SWSHS-presented “Words, Writers, West Seattle” series is tomorrow, 5-7 pm at Barnes and Noble/Westwood Village, featuring Susan Rich.
Followup: Tickets now available for Southwest Seattle Historical Society gala. New info, too: Wine, coffee, cruise!September 14, 2014 at 7:41 pm | In How to help, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off
Earlier this summer, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society went public with some details of this year’s Champagne Gala Brunch on November 8th. Now, not only are more details available, tickets are too – go here to get yours at the “early bird” rate (available until October 8th). Here are the newest details from SWSHS:
With a program featuring West Seattle deejay Marty Riemer, a half-dozen West Seattle-based music luminaries and the mother-son-daughter combination of Vicki Schmitz-Block, Dietrich Schmitz and Julie Schmitz Broker, this year’s Gala promises to be rousing and memorable.
Update from the Fauntleroy Community Service Agency: The crowdlending campaign to raise money for remaining work at the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse has just passed its $500,000 goal! This is for the second phase of repair work, involving roof, painting, gutter/downspouts, and earthquake-resistance retrofitting. As reported here last month, the campaign launched in connection with Semble hit the halfway mark within its first week; by the start of this week, it was three-quarters of the way to goal; and today, it passed the half-million mark. FCSA hopes to get the work done before fall rainy season arrives.
Two special spotlights previewed for Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s 2014 Gala Champagne BrunchAugust 28, 2014 at 11:24 am | In How to help, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off
Fall is approaching, and that means fundraising-gala season. So again this year, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society gathered board members and longtime backers at The Pacific Institute across from Seacrest Park for a preview of this year’s Gala Champagne Brunch. At last night’s gathering, SWSHS executive director Clay Eals announced that the gala, 11:30 am November 8th at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor), will feature two special spotlights.
The totem pole was carved from a log cut in Schmitz Park, one of the West Seattle treasures donated by the Schmitz family, whose Vicki and Dietrich Schmitz will discuss the family’s unique historical legacy.
Also in the spotlight at the SWSHS gala brunch: A panel spotlighting West Seattleites’ roles in the world-renowned Northwest music scene – “Why West Seattle?” Marty Riemer and Jodi Brothers will host panelists including Chris Ballew, Tim Bierman, Gary Crow, Megan Jasper, Nicole Vandenberg, and Matt Vaughan. Here’s Marty’s video invitation:
Postal-mail invitations are going out soon, but even if you don’t get one, you’re very much welcome at the event (sponsors, by the way, include WSB). Reservations will be available via the SWSHS website in about a week. If you reserve your seat by October 8th, you’ll get a $10 discount – we’ll publish an update as soon as we get word the page is live.
(County archives photo of the building now known as Charlestown Court)
We’re at the Municipal Tower downtown, where the city Landmarks Preservation Board voted this afternoon to reject landmark status for Charlestown Court. The building is proposed for demolition to make way for an 8-unit townhouse project.
This was the second time the Tudor-style 1920s-era brick fourplex at 3811 California SW had been nominated; the last time, in a process that played out 2007-2008, the board said “no,” but development proposals then stalled until the current one, and the city said too much time had elapsed for them simply to refer to that previous vote, so the process needed to start again.
Before today’s presentation about the building, Paul Cesmat said he has owned it since 2007 and declared it has structural issues – “the brick’s not structurally sound, the chimney has issues, this has been pointed out to us … and we have insurability issues … I feel that this building does not meet historical criteria … and it’s not structurally worth saving.” It is wood-framed without concrete backing the brick, he explained in response to a question later.
The presentation focused on changes made to the building, including its windows, contending the changes made over the years affected the fourplex’s “physical integrity.” The photo you see at the top of the story was shown, with the comment “It’s a shame that’s not there any more.” (The nomination document from the June meeting, including photos and history, can be seen as a PDF here.)
In pre-vote discussion, board members said basically that while you could consider it “handsome” or “charming,” it just didn’t “rise” to landmark status.
Saturday with SW Seattle Historical Society: Volunteer orientation in the a.m., WS Outdoor Movies in the p.m.August 1, 2014 at 10:10 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle Outdoor Movies | Comments Off
Make it a historic Saturday:
VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION: 11 am-1 pm tomorrow (Saturday, August 2nd) at the Log House Museum, it’s the next orientation for prospective Southwest Seattle Historical Society volunteers. No, you don’t have to know all about WS history to help – learn some along the way, and put a variety of skills into action. Read about it here, then show up at the LHM, 61st/Stevens.
WEST SEATTLE OUTDOOR MOVIES: SWSHS is sponsoring tomorrow night’s West Seattle Outdoor Movies presentation of “Sleepless in Seattle,” which you probably know includes a famous – and contextually infamous – West Seattle scene. It’s also a wrapup event for this summer’s celebration of the West Seattle Bridge’s 30th anniversary; Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), adjacent to the WSOM screen/courtyard, still has anniversary T-shirts and commemorative coffee on sale. Gate opens 6:30 pm, movie at dusk (9-ish), free but bring $ for benefit raffle tickets/concessions.
Next Saturday night, “Sleepless in Seattle” (the movie that inspired the cry, “You can’t get to Alki like THAT!”) will be onscreen as part of West Seattle Outdoor Movies, sponsored by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society as a wrapup of the summerlong celebration of the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the “high bridge.” As you know if you’ve been to a WSOM screening before, the screen is on a big wall in the courtyard outside Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), which has been partnering with SWSHS in the summerlong celebration.
Back on July 14th, 30 years to the day after the bridge’s dedication, the courtyard was the site of a panel discussion of the bridge’s history – not just how it got built, but also, the bizarre spinoff story that became a murder mystery. In case you missed that event, here’s our video:
Back to next Saturday’s WS Outdoor Movies presentation: According to the full preview on the SWSHS website, preshow entertainment includes live music and more of those historic bridge-related video clips previewed here earlier this month. And as with all WSOM shows, it’s free! But you can bring $ for not only nonprofit-benefiting concessions and raffles, but also to buy an anniversary T-shirt and commemorative coffee. Make a night of it – August 2nd, 4410 California SW.
That photo was taken on the grounds of the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, shortly after its 1917 opening. Though it’s not in service as a public school any more, it’s part of the heart of the Fauntleroy community, and that’s why planning is already accelerating for the schoolhouse’s centennial celebration. Fauntleroy communicator/community advocate Judy Pickens shares this information on how to help, starting now:
The Fauntleroy Schoolhouse will turn 100 in 2017, and a planning committee is laying the groundwork for several events to honor “A Century of Serving the Community.” Here’s how you might help:
§ Photos and memorabilia from your time at the school, either donated or loaned.
§ To build a database, your full name, contact information, and year(s) you were a student or staff member at the school.
§ Centennial event planning. If you would like to help, meet at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 31, at the Original Bakery.
If you can help with any of the above, please email email@example.com.
The first centennial event will be an open house next May. Grander celebrations will follow in 2017.
The schoolhouse (file photo above) has been community-owned since the purchase from Seattle Public Schools was completed four years ago.
Three days until West Seattle Summer Fest – our area’s biggest party of the year, in the heart of The Junction, Friday-Sunday, July 11th-13th. We’re continuing to roll out previews of what you can see and do, and today we have an update from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which will have a booth at the fair to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the “high bridge,” partnering with Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor). SWSHS’s Clay Eals sends word that in honor of another anniversary – the state’s 125th birthday – you can “meet” Seymour History at the booth. That’s Seymour at left; he is a 10-inch-high doll replica of an Olympic Marmot, the state’s official land mammal, available for photo ops at the booth, where you can also enter a contest to win him or other prizes including two “History Is Not for Wimps” T-shirts, the book “Washington Curiosities,” and four guest passes to the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. If you stop by the booth 11 am-3 pm on Summer Fest day 1 this Friday, you’ll also meet staffers from the Washington State Historical Society; other hours, SWSHS volunteers will do double duty as Seymour’s handlers, while also leading the bridge-a-versary activities including an interactive art opportunity and more chances to buy commemorative T-shirts and coffee beans. Get ready for everything Summer Fest has to offer by browsing the official site here.
West Seattle 4th of July: Picnic, bridge-anniversary celebration, volunteer awards at Log House MuseumJuly 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off
How many bridges have connected West Seattle to the mainland? What year did the first one open? What year did the bridge get hit by a freighter, paving the way (so to speak) for the current high bridge? Those are three of the trivia questions* that Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals has asked so far in a quiz during the Log House Museum‘s traditional 4th of July picnic.
The trivia quiz is part of the SWSHS-led celebration of the 30th anniversary of the high bridge’s completion, with more events to come, as listed here – including a special booth during West Seattle Summer Fest July 11th-13th and an event at the Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor) courtyard on the 30th anniversary of the bridge’s completion, July 14th. Meantime, today’s picnic is on until 3 pm, and you’re welcome to come by – 61st/Stevens, one block inland from the beach, home of the renovated Admiral totem pole, and if you’re not already a SWSHS member, consider signing up during your visit (info here). The museum also celebrates its volunteers on this day; President’s Volunteer Service Awards were received by two people – (L to R) volunteer coordinator Bethany Green presented the awards to Kerry Korsgaard, and Dave Hrachovina:
*(Trivia answers: 13, 1890, 1978. The T-shirt Clay Eals is wearing was today’s quiz prize – the special commemorative shirt you can still buy at the LH Museum & Hotwire.)
Just got word of this, and it’s a rare opportunity: Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks is offering a free public walking tour tomorrow (10 am Saturday) of Hiawatha Playfield, designed by John Charles Olmsted more than a century ago. Meet by the park entrance at Walnut/Forest. Prepare with this history lesson (and find out about the other Olmsted parks in West Seattle via this clickable map).
Quick update from the city Municipal Tower downtown: The city Landmarks Preservation Board has just voted to approve the nomination of Charlestown Court, the brick fourplex at 3811 California SW, as a potential city landmark. A consultant hired by its owners – who want to demolish it and replace it with eight townhouses - said they don’t think it merits landmark status, a decision reached by the board six years ago when another demolition/redevelopment proposal was pending. (Since more than five years have passed, city reps explained, a new review was warranted.) Today’s vote sets the stage for a final vote on August 6th.
West Seattle Bridge’s 30th anniversary! Celebration starts rolling at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse during Thursday’s WS Art WalkJune 11, 2014 at 9:05 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 11 Comments
(Photos courtesy Southwest Seattle Historical Society)
Every West Seattle Art Walk has a multitude of reasons for you to visit local venues and see what – but tomorrow night, there’s an extra reason: The start of a summer-long celebration of the West Seattle Bridge’s 30th anniversary – a reason to talk about the bridge WITHOUT a discussion of traffic trouble! The photos accompanying this preview – and others – went up tonight at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), which will be showing them off as part of the June Art Walk (and beyond).
Hotwire and other local businesses are collaborating with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society for the multi-site, multi-date celebration. Stop by Hotwire Thursday night not only to see the photo exhibit but also to see the new “Bridging the Gap” T-shirt in honor of the anniversary and meet its artist (more info on the SWSHS website) and to check out the “Bridge Blend” coffee beans that Hotwire is launching. Part of the proceeds from T-shirt and coffee sales will benefit SWSHS.
(Added: As Mike points out in comments, today is the 36th anniversary of the ship-vs.-bridge collision that led to construction of the new bridge!)
Read on for other highlighted events celebrating the anniversary over the next month and a half or so:
More Log House Museum totem-pole celebration photos: The people who were there to write a new chapter in its historyJune 6, 2014 at 10:30 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 2 Comments
(Our first report on this morning’s ceremony is here)
(Photo by David Hutchinson)
This morning’s celebration of the former Admiral Way totem pole’s new home at the Log House Museum wasn’t really about the pole – it was about the people. Not just the dignitaries:
(This and subsequent photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand unless otherwise credited)
It was especially about the kids – most of whom arrived with the dignitaries – County Executive Dow Constantine walking from his alma mater, Schmitz Park Elementary, through the park:
Mayor Ed Murray, who attended Alki Elementary, walked with its students, and talked with kids even once he was in place:
At Murray’s left is Marcy Johnsen from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, a childhood playmate of his, from her time living in what’s now the museum. The young attendees made the event especially memorable:
Some helped keep their fellow students safe, as they guarded intersections on the walk to the museum – following a quick run to get ahead:
Also there with safety in mind – SPD:
(Photo by Liesbet T.)
Considering the Schmitz Park, Alki, and Lafayette students on hand helped the crowd total pass 900, it was amazingly calm. Finally, the big moment came, and student representatives joined dignitaries in pulling streamers to unveil the totem pole:
Here’s video of what happened from there:
(More of the ceremony is in the archived Livestream video in our first report.) A Native American blessing was bestowed by Blake Shelafoe:
The energetic voice that guided everyone through today’s event, that of Historical Society executive director Clay Eals, who emceed:
Some of the people who were there today represented both past and present – the Schmitz family, for example, represented by family members including Dietrich Schmitz and Vicki Schmitz Block:
The pole was carved in 1966 from a log that came from a tree in the Schmitz Park forest.
(Photo by Liesbet T.)
And now you can make your own memories – visit the pole on 61st south of Stevens any time, and learn about West Seattle history inside the Log House Museum during its regular hours Thursdays-Sundays, noon-4 pm. (You might even want to become a volunteer – the next orientation is tomorrow morning, 11 am Saturday!)
P.S. If you missed our earlier reports including more about the pole’s history – see this page on the museum website.
ADDED 4:17 PM: Time-lapse of the event by SWSHS volunteer Brad Chrisman, starting with preparations, then the gathering of the immense crowd, and beyond:
It’s All-School Reunion night at West Seattle High School – this year’s spotlighted 50th-anniversary class is the Class of 1964, gathering in the Commons, while other years gather in rooms around the school. Also there, Marcy Johnsen from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, just hours after their big totem-pole ceremony, showing off the SWSHS tote bags ($20):
And Janet Jones with the Steps at Stevens project, which has another design meeting coming up June 23rd. If you have some ties to WSHS, drop by in the hours ahead!
8:14 PM: Also seen during our brief stop – Gail Stevens Anderson, WSHS ’63, with the West Seattle Garden Tour book for this year:
The tour’s coming up July 20th; WSB is again among the co-sponsors. And from the class of ’63 and ’64 respectively, Mike Munson and Marsha Munson:
Along with socializing and reminiscing, the All-School Reunion also includes scholarship presentations.
Thanks to Gary Jones for sharing photos from the P-51 Mustang flyover previewed here last night – scheduled to wrap up right about now at the Snohomish County home of the Historic Flight Foundation, which coordinated it in honor of the 70th anniversary of D-Day today. The warplanes flew over downtown around noontime:
Click the top photo to open a similar view at twice the size. (And thanks again to Bob, who gave us the heads-up about this!)
ADDED 5:48 PM: A view from Jim Clark:
1st report: Log House Museum hosts hundreds to celebrate Admiral Way totem pole’s new home and public displayJune 6, 2014 at 10:25 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle live, West Seattle news | 8 Comments
(Added – our photo from immediately after the unveiling)
10:25 AM: We’re testing live streaming today with the Log House Museum totem-pole unveiling – here’s the link to the page on Livestream.com where you’ll see live video/audio, if it’s working.
11:10 AM: Awesome event! Lots of coverage to come.
(Including County Executive Dow Constantine and Dietrich Schmitz leading Schmitz Park Elementary students on a walk down to the museum – where they joined Alki and Lafayette students as well as other attendees.)
(Crowd & media, with Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen at center, in hat)
11:25 AM: Adding a photo or two here pending full coverage later. And here’s the archive of the second half of our live stream, which includes the unveiling – our second report later will have our main clip, but check this out for starters:
Thanks to those who checked out the live stream – it was done via handheld iPhone, and there are steadier ways to do it, but you have to start somewhere. P.S. The Log House Museum is open until 4 pm today (noon-4 Thursdays-Sundays), and the totem-pole exhibit we mentioned yesterday is now open to visitors too.
4:49 PM: It’ll be mid-evening before our mega-roundup is done – we’re off to cover a few early-evening stories. Two photos we wanted to add here in the meantime – both from Alki photographer David Hutchinson. First, Mayor Murray walking from Alki Elementary:
And a splendid view of the totem pole:
At 10:30 tomorrow morning, the intersection of 61st and Stevens outside the Log House Museum – home of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society – will be closed to vehicles and full of people: Hundreds of students from Alki and Schmitz Park Elementaries, dozens of VIPs including County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Ed Murray, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, and former Mayor Greg Nickels, and as many other spectators as care to show up. The occasion: A ceremony unveiling the former Admiral Way totem pole, fixed up and shined up and placed (as we showed you Tuesday) in its new home outside the museum. Inside the museum, a new “mini-exhibit” will open in honor of the occasion, and it’s being worked on right now. We stopped by earlier this afternoon to check in with museum manager/exhibit curator Sarah Baylinson (below) and SWSHS executive director Clay Eals.
In the exhibit, you will see a collection of items from three mini-totem poles on loan from Ye Olde Curiosity Shop (with Baylinson, above) to totem-themed memorabilia:
The Shoppe’s original owner JE “Daddy” Standley brought the totem pole’s predecessor to West Seattle in 1939, 38 years after it was carved by First Nations members in coastal British Columbia. That pole is featured in the 1952 Hi-Yu program cover, shared with us by the museum:
That’s Diane Qualls, Miss West Seattle Hi-Yu 1952. The pole that will be unveiled tomorrow morning was carved in 1966 and stood for 40 years at the northeast-facing viewpoint on Admiral Way, until a newer pole replaced it, at which time it was given to SWSHS with the expectation it would be renovated and displayed. It was taken away in 2012 for work at Artech in Renton, and brought back Tuesday.
(WSB photo from Tuesday)
This afternoon, Eals and volunteers put its interpretive sign into place as one of the finishing touches before tomorrow morning:
The pole’s history, and that of its predecessor, are shown in this slide deck put together by SWSHS. Again, all are welcome at tomorrow morning’s ceremony, which is to include a group photo – but don’t show up at the last minute, because the intersection will be closed and hundreds will be on hand!
(1944 photo of four P-51 Mustangs in flight – not the same ones you might see tomorrow, but similar)
Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the beginning of the end of World War II. Two local notes: First, thanks to Bob for noticing and pointing out a special airborne tribute that you might see in the sky over West Seattle (and/or elsewhere) tomorrow. From the Historic Flight Foundation, which is based at Paine Field in Snohomish County:
To mark this important day, HFF has organized a very rare formation of P-51 Mustangs to visit cities and towns throughout Western Washington on June 6th, the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Led by HFF’s D-Day veteran (four sorties over the beaches of Normandy), P-51B “Impatient Virgin,” the formation will launch from HFF at 9 a.m. and conclude operations at approximately 3 p.m. with a noon-hour tour of downtown Seattle. Special visits include Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Gray Army Airfield. Operations will extend as far north as Bellingham, as far south as Olympia.
For more on D-Day – a West Seattle veteran tells some of the context, perspective, and backstory in a video published on the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s website.
ADDED 9:19 PM: From the HFF website, as pointed out in comments, the expected viewing times/places tomorrow – the afternoon route is the one closest to us, in spots:
Paine Field 11:50
Lake Forest Park 11:56
Seattle Waterfront 12:00
Boeing Field 12:15
Gray AAF 13:00
Tacoma Narrows 13:22
Gig Harbor 13:32
Vashon Island 13:37
Bainbridge Island 13:44
Paine Field 14:10
Also in the comment section, there was word of a possible sighting today. The Times, in fact, has photos from a practice, including the one in this tweet:
— Ken Lambert (@SeaTimesFotoKen) June 6, 2014
Charlestown Court to be reviewed again for possible landmark status, with demolition/development proposal pendingJune 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 12 Comments
(Historic photo from King County Assessor; 2008 photo by WSB’s Christopher Boffoli)
In 2007, facing demolition for site redevelopment, the Charlestown Court apartments at 3811 California SW were nominated for possible city-landmark status. In a process extensively covered here, the Landmarks Preservation Board ruled in 2008 that it didn’t qualify. A new development proposal preserving the building’s facade subsequently emerged – but the recession hit, and it was never built.
Five months ago, we discovered a new demolition-and-redevelopment proposal in the early stage of public review – this time, to tear down Charlestown Court and build eight townhouses. And now, another twist: Visiting the city Landmarks Preservation Board website for research on an unrelated story, we discovered that Charlestown Court, a Tudor-style brick fourplex built in the 1920s, first will be reviewed again for landmark status, and a hearing is coming up this month.
In a conversation with WSB this morning – before the official notice of the nomination came out – Erin Doherty from the Landmarks Board explained that the documentation was submitted pre-emptively by the owners/developers, as it was likely that as part of the review of their demolition/development proposal, they would have been required to do this anyway – the process is explained in this city document. A new review is required because the last one was more than five years ago.
The first hearing before the Landmarks Board is set for its meeting on Wednesday, June 18th, at 3:30 pm, on the 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown – here’s the official notice. The full nomination document can be seen here (though it’s dated April, Doherty tells us it had been under review for the past few weeks and actually just went online yesterday). The meeting notice has information on how to comment before the hearing.
If you pass the east side of the Log House Museum on 61st SW at Stevens any time between now and midmorning Friday, that’s what you’ll see – the former Admiral Way totem pole, restored by experts, awaiting its grand unveiling during a big street-closing event Friday morning. Its proud new perch is just yards from where it spent years in repose behind the museum – where we photographed it in December 2011:
Four months later, the pole was trucked off to Artech in April 2012. Tuesday, after an extensive renovation project, they brought it back and installed it outside the museum in an intensive and much-photographed operation:
West Seattle resident Roger Waterhouse and Cody Thomaselli of Artech were the hands-on installers. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society had to get city permits and Landmarks Board approval for what otherwise might have seemed like a simple project – how hard could it be to put up a stand and place the pole on it, right?
Actually, once the pole was hoisted upright, it was somewhat painstaking – move it a bit this way, then a bit that way – until it was just right. We rolled video on the last few minutes:
In the Artech wrapping – later removed once the pole was covered up in the material you see in the top photo – the features were somewhat visible:
If you can, come see the unveiling Friday morning at 10:30, with students from Alki and Schmitz Park Elementaries coming to fill the street (which will close for the occasion) along with West Seattle-rooted dignitaries led by King County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Ed Murray (who grew up nearby), and former Mayor Greg Nickels. The pole gets a new interpretive plaque, too, shown off Tuesday morning by SWSHS executive director Clay Eals:
If you just can’t get away at midmorning Friday, make plans for a museum visit sometime soon – a special exhibit will open inside. The museum’s hours are noon-4 pm Thursdays-Sundays.
P.S. With this event and much more in the works this summer, including the West Seattle Bridge 30th anniversary commemorations, volunteer power is more vital than ever to the nonprofit museum’s success – and you can be part of it. This Saturday, the day after the totem-pole celebration, 11 am-1 pm, come to the museum for its next volunteer orientation.
(UPDATED early Tuesday afternoon with totem pole’s arrival)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 2:01 AM: Later today, the former Admiral Way totem pole will arrive at its new home outside the Log House Museum, where we photographed site preparations on Monday. It will arrive under cover and will stay that way, so you won’t see it until Friday, when the renovated pole will be unveiled in a celebration with so many guests, the street will be closed to make room for them! The dignitaries’ list alone is long enough for a street closure; see it on the Log House Museum’s website. One of them is Diane Morgan, whose husband Michael Morgan was one of the pole’s carvers almost half a century ago. Looking ahead to the event, she shared some memories:
Now, after renovation work at Artech – which also restored the Rotary Viewpoint Park totem pole four years ago – the pole is ready for its new home. You’re invited to be part of the event launching the pole into its future, including a group photo, at 10:30 am Friday (June 6th), 61st and Stevens.
12:35 PM TUESDAY: The totem pole has arrived and has been installed – still covered up! – on its base on the east side of the Log House Museum’s lot. Here’s a quick video clip as the painstaking job of raising it concluded (go here if you don’t see it below):
Shortly, it’ll get a different, temporary cover so the protective blankets from the move can be removed. After that, we’ll have a full update on the installation and more on the plans for Friday. (Trivia point: The pole was carved from a tree that grew in nearby Schmitz Park.)
SW Historical Society updates: Lou Whittaker recalls ‘a heck of a ride’; West Seattle Bridge 30th-anniversary party aheadMay 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments
(Video by Mark Jaroslaw)
Thanks to Clay Eals from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society for sharing video excerpts from Lou Whittaker‘s West Seattle High School appearance sharing memories from “A Life in the Mountains” (and screening the biographical documentary of the same name). As you’ll hear him observe at one point (or maybe you were there to hear him in person), “It has been a heck of a ride.” And it’s not over yet – he is going strong at 85. More than 100 people came to see and hear him. Read more about it on the SWSHS website.
NEXT UP FOR SWSHS – BRIDGE ANNIVERSARY AND MORE: So much is going on in June, it might take us until then to mention it all here. So instead – check out the right side of the organization’s home page for the latest on the totem-pole unveiling, the next “Words, Writers, West Seattle” author, and … a multi-modal celebration of the 30th anniversary of the high-rise West Seattle Bridge (dedicated July 14, 1984).
(Seattle Municipal Archives photo of The Bridge while it was being built)
According to the SWSHS website, it all starts a month in advance with a special exhibit at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor). Read all about the bridge-i-versary plans here.
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Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
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