West Seattle, Washington
You’ve probably heard about City Councilmember Kshama Sawant‘s campaign to get the city to build affordable housing with the money it might otherwise spend on a new nine-digit police precinct in North Seattle. Today, she is one of six councilmembers – along with West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold – proposing a new plan:
Six Councilmembers introduced a new proposal today intended to create up to 500 new units of affordable housing for Seattle residents. The housing production would be funded by newly utilizing the City’s existing bonding capacity and paid off over a 30-year term. Councilmembers Bagshaw, González, Herbold, Johnson, O’Brien, and Sawant have signed on to the proposal, which will allow it to be reviewed and discussed at this Wednesday’s 9:30 a.m. Budget Committee meeting.
Councilmembers Bagshaw, González, Herbold, Johnson, and O’Brien said, “In this time of crisis, we thank the advocates in encouraging us to join together in support of a new use of the City’s bonding authority, namely, affordable housing production. There are several details yet to work through, but, with this proposal, we are signaling our common desire to create solutions in this year’s budget deliberations. This proposal does not pit Seattle’s housing needs against other citywide priorities, such as public safety needs.”
The proposal is a measured approach that adds bond funding for housing which, if leveraged with other resources, could result in development support for up to an additional 500 units of affordable housing in 2017. The $29 million is in addition to the Housing Levy’s anticipated 2017 $54 million allocation.
The following memo is illustrative of the opportunities this funding could support. The details and direction of the proposal will be further refined through the Council’s budget deliberations.
Those deliberations are approaching their final stages, with budget adoption due before Thanksgiving.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Honoring our area’s history is “the stuff of identity, legacy, and hope,” Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals told the 230 guests gathered for the organization’s annual Champagne Gala Brunch today.
Though Eals emceed most of the 3 1/2-hour event, he presented that message via a video preceding the gala’s major fundraising round – and it clearly resonated, in this time of seemingly light-speed change; that round and other components of the brunch brought SWSHS $107,759, 36 percent more than last year.
This is a rock-n-roll Historical Society, with those in attendance at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) spanning a wide range of ages and affiliations. Though “Loving Our Landmarks” was the official theme, the history celebrated was from the relatively recent past, too. Among the live-auction items was a Pearl Jam poster with band autographs (including those of West Seattleites Eddie Vedder and Jeff Ament).
It went for $1,200. And during the bidding – ring-led by auctioneer Ron Hippe – Vedder’s wearing of an Easy Street Records cap during World Series Game 7 was mentioned – ESR’s Rod Moody, given the microphone for a moment, told brunchers that ever since, “we’ve sold SO MANY hats.” The Chicago Cubs’ historic win also got a nod from Eals, briefly donning a Cubs hat toward the start of the brunch – he was interviewed on NPR last weekend as biographer of music legend and mega-Cubs fan Steve Goodman.
Easy Street also ties to this year’s theme because it is the anchor of the Hamm Building, one of the two buildings in the heart of The Junction for which SWSHS is seeking city-landmark designation, along with the Campbell Building across the street. The West Seattle Junction Historical Survey that paved the way for the landmarking proposal was lauded as one of this year’s SWSHS highlights.
Some of the local buildings that already are landmarked played a prominent role in the gala, too, particularly the Admiral Theater, now in the midst of a long-awaited renovation that will transform it into a four-auditorium venue. SWSHS led the fight to save it more than a quarter-century ago. Photos from the ongoing work were displayed – the first signs of the upcoming stadium seating:
And glimpses of long-hidden murals that will likely be the subject of another restoration campaign, potentially with crowdfunding:
The Admiral also figured into the auction items, including the chance to “christen” it when the work is done sometime next year. (As we have reported, the moviehouse is staying open during the work, showing one movie at a time right now, but the completion will merit a “grand reopening” anyway.) It also inspired the choice of Hollywood as a sub-theme of the gala; other auction items were donated by actors with area ties, Dyan Cannon (who grew up in West Seattle) and Karolyn Grimes (who lives right across the Sound in Manchester and is known best for playing Zuzu in “It’s a Wonderful Life“). Yet another item offered a tour of local stars’ former homes, guided by Eals and SWSHS vice president Peder Nelson.
The most charming view into West Seattle’s movie-related history, though, came during West Seattleite and longtime KOMO-TV reporter Connie Thompson‘s interview with Jim Bonholzer, who was a teenager working at The Admiral on its opening night in 1942. Here’s our video:
Bonholzer’s family surprised him earlier this year by throwing him a 90th-birthday bash at the Admiral. Asked about his hopes for the landmarked moviehouse’s future, Bonholzer said he hopes that in 75 years, his descendants would stand on the corner of California and Admiral and point out that their great-great-great-great (etc.) grandfather worked there 150 years ago.
Another milestone birthday prominently mentioned at the gala – that of Husky Deli proprietor Jack Miller, who got a “Happy Birthday” serenade when the crowd was told he recently turned 60.
Miller also was part of the panel that played what has become a SWSHS Champagne Gala Brunch tradition, a version of the popular radio trivia game “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” You probably won’t be surprised to hear he won, racking up more correct answers than the other panelists, former City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, West Seattle Junction Association director Lora Swift, local radio star John Maynard, and your editor here. Brian Calvert from KOMO was the lively host:
No prize, but Miller has bragging rights! (He also donated auction items including a 4-hour sunset tour on his boat and the rights to have a Husky Deli ice-cream flavor created by and named in honor of the winning bidder.)
Yet another gala tradition: The Golden Ticket drawing. Up to 100 tickets are sold at $100 each, and the winner gets a Holland-America cruise. This year’s winner, Jennifer Farria – a Fauntleroy resident who moved to West Seattle less than a year ago – had just left the event minutes before the drawing but rushed back on hearing the news:
The gala also looked toward SWSHS’s future. Toward the start of the gala, SWSHS supporters learned that board president Marcy Johnsen is stepping down. She has had a unique tie to the organization – having grown up in the building that is its headquarters, the Log House Museum (open noon-4 pm Thursdays-Sundays at 61st/Stevens on Alki), originally the carriage house to the nearby Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge, whose restoration, Eals said, is “on track.”
Also looking ahead, Eals mentioned a plan to create a bicycle ride between the Log House Museum and the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse, further solidifying ties with our area’s First People. Duwamish Tribe member Ken Workman is on the SWSHS Advisory Council and greeted the brunchgoers in Lushootseed. He also has been a speaker in SouthWest Stories, one of the two monthly speaker series that SWSHS presents (the other is Words, Writers, West Seattle).
Along with those in attendance, the gala was made possible by an army of volunteers and a long list of sponsors (featured in the official program); WSB was a media sponsor. After some hours to reflect, Eals offered these final words on the gala’s success: “We are deeply gratified by the generosity of those who ‘love our landmarks’ and appreciate the important role history plays in connecting, engaging, and inspiring all of us, including the succeeding generations we will never know.”
P.S. Want to know where all of West Seattle’s official landmarks are? Here’s the city map.
Want to get involved with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society? Its annual membership meeting is at 10:30 am next Saturday (November 12th) at Providence Mount St. Vincent (4831 35th SW).
Wednesday is your last chance for discounted early-bird tickets to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s Champagne Gala Brunch – which will feature an auction item donated by a star with West Seattle roots:
Dyan Cannon was Diane Friesen in her West Seattle days. Meantime, the discount deadline on Wednesday (October 5th) will be exactly one month before the November 5th “Loving Our Landmarks” gala (for which WSB is a media sponsor). Her donation will be part of a live-auction item the SWSHS is calling the “Hollywood Star Tour of West Seattle.” Be there November 5th at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor)! Get your ticket here before the price goes up.
Eight days after we published that photo from Stephanie, the “history mystery” is solved – items found in her attic are in the hands of relatives of the man in the photos, George Lee Hoke. She was getting leads via a Facebook group, commenters here, and people outside West Seattle after a TV station picked up the story. Earlier this week, we pointed her to this comment on the story, from Sandi … and today, Stephanie just sent word that the connection’s been made:
The two cigar boxes found in my attic have been given to George Lee Hoke’s son. Rollie is thrilled to get the photos! They are a treasure to him and his family. They are some of the sweetest, friendliest, most down to earth people I have ever met. The woman in the picture that I posted is the woman who lived in my house for over 50 years. She is Rollie’s mom, Detta, who passed away years ago.
Detta, Stephanie explains, was married to George Hoke, but after they divorced, she remarried, and both she and Rollie (Roland) took a different last name: “Roland knew very little of his father and was raised by his step-father. He eventually changed his last name back to Hoke because he knew that was his father’s name.” George Hoke had returned to his home state, Missouri, remarrying and starting another family. They were reached first in this quest but told Stephanie that she should find Roland, whose son, it turns out, lives “5 minutes” from her home in White Center. She adds:
The most touching part of the story was that these two cigar boxes were very well hidden in the attic. Roland said multiple times that he thought he cleaned the attic out really well after his mom had to move out because of her health. My husband had been up there a lot too, and only when we were ripping out ducting, did the boxes appear. Rollie and I both believe that those boxes were hidden up there by his mother for him to find later. When she was older, she must have forgotten about them. Rollie said he had so many questions that he wished he would have asked Detta, but just never did. The boxes are the closest connection he has with his dad. I am so thankful for all of the interest and help that I got with this endeavor.
The annual brunch benefit for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society is a month and a half away, and you have a week and a half to get tickets at the early-bird price. Here’s the SWSHS announcement:
“Loving Our Landmarks” is the theme of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s 2016 Champagne Gala Brunch, and for good reason.
The Admiral Theater, the Alki Homestead, the “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum — all are city landmarks that exist because of community support of the historical society. Plus, with further community help, the two jewels of the West Seattle Junction, the Campbell Building (Cupcake Royale), and the Hamm Building (Easy Street Records), are in the pipeline to become city landmarks.
The historical society will celebrate these landmarks and help keep the good work going at its 2016 Champagne Gala Brunch, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, November 5, at Salty’s on Alki, 1936 Harbor Ave. SW.
Tickets are on sale now. Click here to purchase them online. Or mail a check to the organization’s “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum at 3003 61st Ave. SW. Or stop by the museum at that address to buy tickets in person.
The early-bird deadline to purchase tickets at $95 is less than two weeks away, Wednesday, Oct. 5. Tickets are $110 thereafter.
The Gala program promises to be the best ever, says Clay Eals, executive director.
For the Gala crowd, West Seattle’s Connie Thompson, 42-year veteran of KOMO-TV, will interview Jim Bonholzer, who worked the opening night of the Admiral Theater in 1942.
Also, the popular quiz panel, “Wait, Wait, West Seattle … Don’t Tell Me,” a take-off on the popular NPR show with a similar name, will return, with longtime KOMO radio and TV newsman Brian Calvert, a West Seattle resident, as host.
The five people who will make up Brian’s quiz panel are:
— John Maynard, longtime radio personality (“Robin & Maynard”) and former West Seattle resident
— Jack Miller, owner of Husky Deli in the West Seattle Junction
— Tom Rasmussen, West Seattle resident and former three-term Seattle City Council member
— Tracy Record, editor of West Seattle Blog
— Lora Swift, director of the West Seattle Junction Association and former owner of Hotwire Online Coffeehouse
The 2016 slate of Live Auction items all will relate to the “Loving Our Landmarks” theme and are items that cannot be obtained anywhere else. The historical society will roll out details and videos about these items – including a few surprises – on its website and public announcements in the coming weeks before the event.
Also, the popular “Choose Your Cruise” Golden Ticket drawing is returning. For just $100, you can purchase a chance to win a seven-day Holland America Lines cruise for two to one of four destinations – your choice of Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico or Canada/New England. A maximum of 100 tickets will be sold.
“Choose Your Cruise” Golden Tickets can be purchased before the Gala, in person only, at the historical society museum.
Updates will be posted continuously on this page of the SWSHS website.
Again this year, WSB is a media sponsor of the gala.
9:49 AM: Almost seven months after announcing that it would seek landmark status for two “iconic” buildings in the heart of the West Seattle Junction (WSB coverage here), the Southwest Seattle Historical Society has taken the next step in the process. Here’s the announcement just sent:
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society this week submitted its landmark nominations to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board for the two West Seattle Junction buildings that have been the focus of its “We Love The Junction” campaign since last March.
The nominations were submitted for two buildings at the intersection of California Avenue Southwest and Southwest Alaska Street:
— The Campbell Building (primary tenant Cupcake Royale), at the northeast corner.
— The Crescent-Hamm Building (primary tenant Easy Street Records), at the northwest corner. (The building is known as the Hamm Building but is identified in the nomination as the Crescent-Hamm Building.)
In the West Seattle Junction Historical Survey released last March, the two buildings were identified at the top of the list of potentially eligible Seattle landmarks in the Junction.
The complete nominations can be seen on the historical society’s website.
The nominations were prepared by consultants Flo Lentz and Sarah Martin, whose work was funded by a grant from 4Culture.
The Campbell Building nomination, at 59 pages, and the Crescent-Hamm Building nomination, at 54 pages, provide a detailed history of the two structures, including information that has not surfaced since they were constructed.
For instance, the Campbell Building, thought to have been built in 1918 based on previous research, actually was built in two parts in 1911 and 1920. (The Crescent-Hamm Building was built in 1926.)
Setting Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board hearings for the nominations may take a month or two, said Clay Eals, executive director. Whether the hearings take place in one meeting or two is yet to be determined by the city, he said.
The nominations were submitted on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. On the same day, the historical society notified representatives of the owners of the Campbell Building and the Crescent-Hamm Building that the nominations were submitted and provided the web link to the nominations.
For the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board to designate a building a city landmark, it must meet at least one of six criteria related to its association with a historical person or event, architectural style, designer or cultural heritage or status as an “easily identifiable visual feature” of its community.
In coming weeks, the “We Love The Junction” Task Force of the historical society will plan its approach to the nomination hearings. Anyone wishing to join the task force and assist in the campaign can contact Peder Nelson, task-force co-chair at email@example.com.
Agendas and other documentation related to Landmarks Board meetings can be found here, though, as mentioed in the SWSHS announcement above, nothing related to this is scheduled yet.
P.S. Wondering which West Seattle buildings are already official city landmarks? They’re all on this map.
ADDED 10:48 AM: Some are asking in comments, what about other Junction buildings? As mentioned briefly in the SWSHS announcement above, this was preceded by the release of the results of a historical survey of Junction buildings, including these, which were considered the most likely to qualify (here’s our March report on the survey). Curious about your favorite Junction building(s)? Here’s the section of the survey document that addressed each of dozens of buildings.
On Tuesday, we showed you the first photo mural to go up on the north side of Aura on 35th SW south of Avalon. The management told us another one would be up today, so we just went over to look, and it is:
As noted in yesterday’s story and in a comment today by the SODO firm that treated the historic photos for installation, Grand Image, these 4-story-high installations are based on historic photos – the ferry West Seattle from 1907, and the trolley from 1930 – obtained via the Log House Museum.
If you’re thinking about going to the West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) / Southwest Seattle Historical Society “HiSTORY HerSTORY OurSTORY YourSTORY” event one week from tomorrow, your RSVP is needed ASAP. Here’s the video invite from the Y’s Josh Sutton:
It’s happening 5:30-7:30 pm Thursday, September 22, at Fauntleroy Church/YMCA (9140 California SW). The details from SWSHS:
It will be a fun evening to share and hear stories about the YMCA from every era of the organization’s 94-year history in West Seattle.
The evening begins with memorabilia and story sharing and culminates when Clay Eals, executive director of SWSHS, interviews West Seattle locals Larry Pierce, Ann Adkins, Bruce Davis, and Ruthie Waid.
If you have Y memorabilia, bring it along. Light refreshments will be provided. The event is appropriate for children ages 6 and older. Free child care is available for ages 4 weeks to 12 years, with reservations required.
Please RSVP by September 15 to Maria Groen at 206-935-6000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Going up? Many of those attending Saturday’s big party at Camp Long were: The all-day celebration marked the park’s 75th anniversary as well as its annual Mountain Fest. Photojournalist Leda Costa was there for WSB. Of course, there was an anniversary cake:
While there’s no official observance planned at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza today, we stopped by at midmorning and found tributes already in place, on this 15th anniversary of 9/11. In the hours and days after the attacks, the statue became a focal point for Seattleites’ mourning and memorials, and that continues, to varying degrees each year.
Five years ago, on the 10th anniversary, hundreds gathered for a vigil. So far today, the tributes are quieter – even this small one we spotted:
As mentioned in our morning calendar highlights, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s Log House Museum – less than a block inland from Statue of Liberty Plaza, at 61st SW/SW Stevens – has brought out a 9/11-related display, today only. The museum is open until 4 pm.
P.S. If you are new, a bit more history — the statue itself was recast and returned to the beach in 2007, unveiled on September 11th of that year. One year later, the plaza – the result of a community-led project – was dedicated.
Tomorrow morning, take a walk and learn about West Seattle’s historic Riverside neighborhood! Your guide for the tour presented by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society will be Frank Zuvela, at right in the SWSHS-provided photo above with grandson Nick Santa (who recently accumulated 100+ community-service hours cleaning up the Riverside Memorial, where the tour begins). Full details are here; tour admission is by donation ($5 suggested) – meet at W. Marginal Way SW/SW Marginal Place [map] in time for the 10 am start of Saturday’s two-hour tour.
Remember the work at Talarico’s Pizza that briefly uncovered a decades-old Schuck’s sign back in May? Here’s a little more history from that block in The Junction:
Mariann Petersen shared the photo of her father, Alfred “Andy” Anderson, via e-mail: “I am sending a photo taken sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s. It is a photo of my father standing in front of his barber shop at the Junction. He was there before Schuck’s Auto Parts. He moved farther south on California Ave to make way for Schuck’s. You can see a reflection of a very old car in the window.”
Mr. Anderson retired in 1982 – figuring, according to a Seattle Times clip that his daughter shared, that he was the oldest active barber in the city. That was 14 years before he died in 1996 at age 90.
9:20 PM: If you didn’t know Peder Nelson already, you might have met him at West Seattle Summer Fest last weekend – he’s vice president of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society board, and he was taking the 360-degree We Love The Junction photos (among other things, including conducting walking tours). In the SWSHS video clip above, he invites you to SWSHS’s next SouthWest Stories presentation – in honor of The Boeing Company‘s centennial (today!), you can find out about Boeing’s West Seattle roots. Be at the South Park Library (8604 8th Ave. S.) for his presentation at 2 pm Sunday (July 17th).
ADDED 12:30 AM: Unlike the aforementioned event, most of the official Boeing Centennial celebration is private. But here’s an iconic image captured along the way by West Seattle pilot/photographer Long Bach Nguyen:
Those nine jets spanned Boeing models from the 707 to 787.
Another West Seattle Summer Fest preview, with hours to go until the streets close at 6 pm – the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s festival plans center on its “We Love The Junction” campaign – get your button, take a walking tour, be part of a group photo, share your thoughts …
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s “We Love The Junction” Task Force plans a variety of activities during West Seattle Summer Fest that will invite attendees to support the preservation of key buildings in The West Seattle Junction.
The headquarters for these activities will be the Southwest Seattle Historical Society booth, next to the Easy Street Records booth, just north of the main Junction intersection of California Avenue SW and SW Alaska Street.
The activities are part of the yearlong campaign of the “We Love The Junction” Task Force to support the historical society’s effort to secure city landmark status for the Campbell Building (main tenant Cupcake Royale) and the Hamm Building (main tenant Easy Street Records).
On Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10, the task force will stage 360-degree group photos at noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm and 5 pm at the California/Alaska intersection just north of the festival’s main information booth.
The photos will feature a “We Love The Junction” banner in the foreground and include the Campbell Building and Hamm Building. Everyone is encouraged to come and pose in one or more of these unique photos, which will be posted immediately on social media.
Free “We Love The Junction” walking tours of The Junction also will be offered during Summer Fest. Here are the tour topics, times and leaders:
“The ABCs of the West Seattle Junction Historical Survey,” 12:15-1:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, leader Deb Barker, who served on the survey’s steering committee.
“If These Buildings Could Talk: Stores of the Past,” 2:15-3:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, leaders Peder Nelson, vice-president of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society board.
“The Art of History: The Murals of West Seattle,” 3:15-4:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, leader Clay Eals, executive director, Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
In addition, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society booth will feature a “We Love The Junction” chalkboard, on which visitors can write their reasons for their attachment to West Seattle’s shopping hub. The answers will be photographed and posted online.
“We Love The Junction” buttons will be for sale at the booth for a $1 donation. Brochures explaining the campaign will be available, and people will be invited to sign the campaign’s statement of support.
Also, the booth will feature the popular “Guess the Number of Lincoln Logs” contest, and $100 Golden Tickets for a chance at winning a Holland America “Choose Your Cruise” will be on sale.
This summer, the historical society plans to submit landmark nominations for the Campbell and Hamm buildings prepared by a consultant funded by a 4Culture grant.
Scroll through our other festival previews in this WSB archive.
After many previews, today was finally the day to party:
Colman Pool on the shore at Lincoln Park is now three-quarters of a century old. Opening day was July 4th, 1941. Among those who gathered to celebrate the milestone, members of the Sears family, with a third-generation pool operator now on board:
The story is told in detail by Judy Pickens in the newest Fauntleroy Community Association newsletter: Mark Sears is retiring from 43 years at Colman Pool, most of them in the operator/grounds caretaker role previously held by his dad Norm Sears. And his successor is daughter Maya Sears:
She has already been with Seattle Parks for a decade, including as the manager of its wading-pool system (which includes a pool just a short stroll uphill from Colman). This morning’s party celebrated the pool’s present and future, as well as its past, in many ways. More of its history was presented by speakers including Jean Carroll, one of the first two people to swim in Colman Pool, practicing on July 3rd, 1941, to be part of the celebration the next day:
Last weekend, we featured Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals‘s video of her memories.
Also today, a diving demonstration:
A demonstration of “fancy diving” also was part of the 1941 opening celebration, according to a clipping in this KUOW story; another 1941 participant listed in the clipping was Gary Gaffner, that year’s “King Neptune” (and a descendant of a member of the Denny Party), who spoke today as well:
Back in the water, members of the lifeguard staff demonstrated the rescue skills they all have but hope never to have to use:
A lifelong aquatics professional who knows those skills well, Coy Jones, was today’s emcee:
Two “mermaids,” Essie and Cyanea, took a turn performing:
At noon, the party made way for the first swim session of the day, after former lifeguards and current and former pool staffers shared their memories open-microphone style.
There’s so much more to the history of Colman Pool – you can read a bit in Lori Hinton‘s West Seattle 101 essay, and more in HistoryLink.org‘s page about Kenneth Colman, who presented the pool to the city in memory of his father Laurence Colman. Colman Pool is only open part of the year, for obvious reasons – its preseason weekends start before Memorial Day, and by late June it’s operating 7 days a week, until Labor Day, which will be followed by one post-season weekend this year, according to the official brochure. If you’ve never been … don’t miss it.
As we’ve been reporting, Colman Pool in Lincoln Park marks its 75th anniversary tomorrow, having opened on July 4th, 1941. On Saturday, we shared a video with the story of the first two people to swim in the pool. Tonight: Local author and documentarian Lee O’Connor e-mailed WSB to announce he’s just released a short film about an ugly side of Colman Pool’s earliest years, and how it moved “from segregation to integration.”
Among the sources he cites is Shelley Sang-Hee Lee‘s book “Claiming the Oriental Gateway: Prewar Seattle and Japanese America,” excerpted here (click on the second passage to read more). O’Connor, a Seattle resident, is author of “Take Cover, Spokane: A History of Backyard Bunkers, Basement Hideaways, and Public Fallout Shelters of the Cold War.” He is currently working on a documentary based on it, while writing another book he says is “about abandoned underground missile silos in the Columbia Basin.” As mentioned in his video, Seattle Parks now maintain a non-discrimination policy; it’s on page 4 of this year’s brochure. The city’s overall policy, and how to file a complaint if you experience a violation, is here.
That’s what the Lincoln Park “mud hole” swimming pool looked like in 1936, as shown in the Seattle Municipal Archive photo collection, just five years before it was replaced by sleek Colman Pool, which had its grand opening on July 4, 1941. That means Monday is the 75th anniversary of the city’s only saltwater pool, and it’s party time. Also time for memories. The video below is from Clay Eals, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, who talked with Jean Carroll, who was one of the first two people to swim in Colman Pool when it opened. She has a lot of stories to tell!
Even if you don’t feel like swimming, go to Colman Pool Monday morning to celebrate its history – here’s the official invitation. At 10:15 am, mural conservator Peter Malarkey will talk about the historic lobby mural he restored last fall (WSB coverage here); then the celebration, with light refreshments, happens on deck at 11. The party’s free; swimming has the usual fees, but the slide will be free all day.
P.S. This is just one of the West Seattle 4th of July events you’ll find in our guide.
We’ve already previewed some of tomorrow’s big events – and here’s another: The Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s annual benefit tour, “If These Walls Could Talk,” takes you behind the scenes at The Kenney. Its century-plus-old grounds include the city-landmarked Seaview Building (with the cupola you see in our photo taken earlier this week at sunset from nearby Solstice Park). The SWSHS site has full details on the 3-5 pm tour, including a video invitation from the great-great-great nephew and niece of The Kenney’s founders Samuel and Jessie Kenney. Admission by donation, $10 for SWSHS members, $15 non-members. (The Kenney is at 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW.)
(Fall 2012 photo of Lincoln Park & Colman Pool by Long Bach Nguyen; click image for larger view)
We’re putting together our annual West Seattle 4th of July page – what you need to know about the big day/night around here – and this is one of the events you’ll see: As announced by Seattle Parks, here are details of the 75th-anniversary party for Colman Pool on the shore at Lincoln Park:
Colman Pool, West Seattle’s outdoor pool and Seattle’s only heated saltwater pool, celebrates its 75th birthday this year, and Seattle Parks and Recreation is holding a celebration on July 4.
The celebration at the pool, 8603 Fauntleroy Way SW in Lincoln Park, will begin on the deck at 11 a.m. and include light refreshments and special entertainment. The celebration on the deck is free; regular fees apply for all swims, however the slide will be free all day. See swim schedule below.
The event will also include the unveiling of the restored entry mural, which was commissioned in 1941 when the pool was opened. The mural was restored with help from the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. A presentation by mural conservator Peter Malarkey will take place in the lobby at 10:15 a.m.
Swim schedule for July 4
Noon-1:30 p.m. — Lap and family swims
1:45-4:45 p.m. — Public swim (slide and diving board open)
5-7 p.m. — Lap and family swims
The mural restoration was done right after the end of last year’s Colman Pool season – here’s our feature about the project and the artist. Meantime, today is the second day of the 7-day-a-week season at the historic pool.
P.S. If your business or organization has a public event (or special hours, or closure, or …) on the 4th of July, please send info so we can include it on the upcoming WSB holiday page! email@example.com – thanks!
That’s Ron Tjerandsen, and tomorrow he’ll tell “An Immigrant Family’s Story” as the next installment in the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s “SouthWest Stories” series, 2 pm Sunday at West Seattle (Admiral) Library. Free, but get there early to ensure a seat!
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
At City Hall, the Landmarks Preservation Board has just unanimously approved the Admiral Theater‘s renovation plans – a key step toward getting the work done in the months ahead.
The board’s approval is necessary because much of the historic moviehouse is protected by the city ordinance designating it a landmark – including its site, exterior, lobby (but not its restrooms or carpet), and the east and west walls with historic mural art.
FarAway Entertainment (the theater operator, not building owner)’s Sol Baron presented the plan, after first describing the Admiral’s ship-evocative design. “What we’re proposing is limited exterior improvements, updating our bathrooms – right now they probably haven’t been updated in decades – make them handicapped-accessible … Main thing we’re doing from our business perspective is converting the 2-screen auditoriums to 4 screens. A corridor that’s actually a tunnel is how we’re going to access them … (they’ll have) stadium seating, it’s going to be a pretty classy place – around 220 seats in 2 auditoriums, the other two will be significantly smaller.”
Baron said the exterior work will be limited, but they’ll be “replacing water-damaged sections of the roof … replacing emergency exit doors … inside, the doors will be painted the same colors …. lobby doors will be painted the same color … we’re not making any chnages in the color or look.” Also some improvements are planned to deal with stormwater issues, including a downspout, and a steel canopy over two alley-side stairwells that “collect water.” Some exterior “patching and painting” is planned, too.
On to the interior: They want to change the bottleneck of how the entry works – requiring you to go through the ticket counter the moment you set foot into the building – so that people have some access to more of a “public space” in the lobby. For one, they’ll transfer condiments to a condiment counter, which will enable the addition of one more concession stand. They’ll reconfigure what’s in the lobby, and also change the look of the concession counters themselves.
(WSB file photo)
Overall, they want to pull as much signage as they can away from the Captain Vancouver mural (above) so that it’s showcased even more.
Enhancing the theme, Baron told the board they’re ordering a custom carpet “that will have nautical themes.” He said some of the mural art that will be uncovered inside the theater is believed to be in OK shape but will need restoration work, and they hope to partner with the community on that. New curtains are planned too.
The only member of the public to speak was Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals, who campaigned to save the theater almost three decades ago when it was in danger of closing forever. “This is a hugely exciting turning point, in fact, it will go down as a landmark year … the theater is a bellwether for the community.” He mentions the 1989-1992 closure, “and in those three years there were many empty storefronts” as a result. “This is what’s going to keep a landmarked business building alive. … The beauty of this is, these changes are being done without harming, and with in fact enhancing the historic features of this building … that caused this board to vote it to be landmarked 27 years ago.” He mentions that the centennial of the building itself (in its pre-Admiral incarnation) is just three years away. “Exposing the murals … will be a tremendously inspiring thing.” He called it “the next phase of a jewel … the only theater in the community … the only theater between the airport and downtown.”
Landmarks Board member Deb Barker (a West Seattleite) said that “cleaning up the mural in the lobby really makes a lot of sense …” Board member Rob Ketcherside said it will be good for the mural art to be seen by more people. Barker said, “What’s there now, you really have no idea that the side walls (hide the murals).”
Baron explained that all this is essential to make the theater a successful commercial venue, and that the building’s owner had looked at other possible uses, but continued operation of a moviehouse would be vital to truly honoring the reasons it was made a landmark.
With that, the board voted unanimously to give its approval. As noted in our coverage of the “Group Hug” event outside the theater earlier this month, Baron expects the work to get going by mid-August.
After 54 years, it’s down to three weeks before students and staff have their last classes at Schmitz Park Elementary, before moving to the new Genesee Hill Elementary, opening this fall.
Last night, hundreds of people gathered at the school to celebrate its half-century-plus history.
They included members of the extended Schmitz family, which not only donated the land on which the school was built, but has stayed involved with the school all these years:
At the event, we photographed Dietrich Schmitz, great-grandson of Ferdinand and Emma Schmitz, with wife Mary Howland Schmitz and mother Vicki Schmitz Block. Family photos and memorabilia were part of what was displayed around the school last night:
The “love (the Schmitz) family has for this community” was subsequently acknowledged by high-profile Schmitz Park alum, King County Executive Dow Constantine, speaking while holding toddler daughter Sabrina, acknowledging “fond memories of a place that did quite right by us.”
For eight years, Gerrit Kischner has led Schmitz Park as its principal:
He recalled arriving at the school in 2008, when its enrollment was 315 and it was something of a well-kept secret; it has more than doubled since then, to 650, the capacity of the new campus half a mile away.
New memories will be made from the moment that school opens on September 6th, but those from last night will linger as well. The event was organized by parent Fiona Preedy:
After speeches in the courtyard, last night’s celebration moved on to group photos – see some of them after the jump: Read More