How do you restore a log house? Southwest Seattle Historical Society hosting expert David Rogers

July 30, 2015 at 11:00 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | No Comments

(Photo courtesy SWSHS)
Been to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s Log House Museum? You might not realize the work that went into restoring it to extend its life – but you have two chances coming up to find out, according to this SWSHS announcement:

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is thrilled to welcome back to West Seattle the log-home preservationist who was the contractor for restoration of its “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum 18 years ago.

David Rogers will be the special guest of the historical society for two events on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. His appearances are supported by 4Culture.

* The first event, free and open to the public, will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the museum’s Circle Courtyard, 3003 61st Ave. SW, where Rogers will conduct an interactive demonstration of log-restoration techniques and describe in detail the hands-on work he did on the museum.

* The second event, a fundraiser for the historical society, is a no-host dinner at West 5 Lounge, 4539 California Ave. SW in the West Seattle Junction, at which Rogers will speak about the importance of preserving and restoring log structures. Admission is a $10 donation, payable at the door or online. (Any food or drink ordered is in addition to the donation.)

Reservations are being taken for both events (here).

Rogers, who has operated his Logs & Timbers business from Rhododendron, Oregon, since 1983, has successfully helped scores of private organizations and public agencies to achieve their preservation goals.

He inspired countless thousands with his hands-on helming of the Log House Museum’s back (south) wall in 1996-1997. His craftsmanship on behalf of the museum is highlighted in a 6-minute video that is viewable (here).

West Seattle 4th of July scene: ‘This Place Still Matters’

July 4, 2015 at 6:03 pm | In Alki Homestead, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off

With the first phase of the Alki Homestead‘s restoration under way, the years of uncertainty about its future are receding further into memory. But today, there was a tribute to one moment along the way: Five years ago on the 4th of July, a big group photo outside the landmark log building proclaimed “This Place Matters” and to underscore their belief that its future eventually would brighten. Today, during the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s annual picnic at the Log House Museum – the Homestead’s old carriage house – there was a break to take an anniversary photo, with participants of all ages affirming that “This Place Still Matters.”

Today’s group was not big in size but was certainly big in heart. The top photo is our take from the sidewalk; an official photo from across the street was taken by Jean Sherrard, who was also the photographer five years ago, as well as four weeks ago when a thousand students came to the Homestead for the photo dubbed a “group hug” (WSB coverage here). A copy of that was part of today’s photo too:

The Homestead also was feted today in the choice of main dishes for the SWSHS picnic – fried chicken!

P.S. Another step in its path to restoration will come next Friday, when the Architectural Review Committee of the city Landmarks Board will look at the newest plans during its 8:30 am meeting on the 40th floor of the city Municipal Tower downtown.

Sneak peek inside today’s ‘If These Walls Could Talk’ tour home

June 28, 2015 at 2:20 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(WSB photos)
3-5 pm today, as noted in our West Seattle Sunday preview, the doors swing open at a West Seattle home with history – the North Admiral house built by J.E. “Daddy” Standley, founder of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the downtown waterfront. It’s this year’s “If These Walls Could Talk” tour presented by and benefiting the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. We took a quick peek inside during the noontime VIP presentation – getting a sense of the home’s “then and now”:

The “then and now” aspects are also underscored by this group – 90-year-old Joe James, grandson of “Daddy” Standley, and Katy Walum, whose family has owned the house for a decade – kids Olivia and Henry are growing up there:

As befitting a mellow Sunday afternoon, we found music, courtesy of The Ukes:

No advance reservations/tickets required – just get over to 1750 Palm SW between 3 and 5 pm; tour admission is $10 SWSHS members, $15 nonmembers. And if you’re not sure why the house was such a traffic-stopper in its day – read about it here!

Alki parking: New plan for lot next to the Homestead

June 27, 2015 at 4:18 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(SWSHS photo: Matt Schilling, son of Alki Homestead owner Dennis Schilling, finishing the sign)
Walking toward Alki Beach along 61st SW this afternoon, past the early-stage-renovation-under-way Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge, we noticed that sign, and maybe you did too. Clay Eals of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society shared the photo and this explanation/announcement:

Now that restoration work has begun on the city-landmark Fir Lodge​​/Alki Homestead, a procedure has been established for parking during construction work that will transpire over the next year or two.

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society holds an easement for use of the Homestead parking lot. Thus, visitors to the organization’s “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum can park free in the Homestead lot during the museum’s open hours of noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Access is via the alley behind the Homestead lot.

Immediately upon parking in the lot during the open hours, a museum visitor must obtain a parking pass at the museum and return to his or her car and place the pass on the dashboard.

Staff and volunteers of the organization also can park in the Homestead lot during open hours and at other times by displaying a permanent parking pass.

The lot also is available to the general public seeking to park for non-museum purposes. Those seeking parking in the Alki area can park in the Homestead lot for a fee of $10/day.

The funds, which will go to Homestead owner Dennis Schilling, are collected in a locked honor box at the parking lot. Signs posted at the lot explain the procedure and fee.

Spaces will be designated for museum parking (and moved, as needed, to accommodate construction vehicles) so that no matter how many spaces are filled by those who pay for parking, there will be spaces available for museum parking during open hours.

The Homestead parking lot sits one-half block north of the museum. Access to the lot is via the alley behind 61st Avenue SW, between Alki Avenue SW and SW Stevens Street. (The alley entrance from Alki Avenue is between Starbucks and Top Pot Doughnuts.)

More Homestead restoration info, including the new parking policy, is on the SWSHS website.

TOMORROW: Chowder, dessert, history, Totem Pole Cruise info

June 10, 2015 at 6:34 pm | In Fun stuff to do, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(Ketchikan totems; photo courtesy SWSHS)

Something fun to start off your evening tomorrow – from Clay Eals at the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

​What do our area’s beloved totem poles, Duke’s chowder, New Orleans-style dessert “snoballs” and the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition have in common?

Come to the “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum for a FREE reception at 6 tomorrow (Thursday, June 11) to find out!

Want a hint? Check out this six-minute segment from the Monday’s “New Day Northwest” show on KING-TV.

​The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is offering a FREE reception at its museum from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 11, to provide information about — and a taste of — what participants on its seven-day benefit Alaska Totem Cruise will experience this September.

Featured will be an illustrated talk by Dan Kerlee, Seattle expert on the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and the 1911-1914 Golden Potlatch (forerunner of Seafair), both of which presented Northwest Coastal Indian art and culture.

Kerlee will present programs aboard the Alaska Totem Cruise, set for Sept. 19-26, sailing from Seattle and visiting ​Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria.

Also aboard and providing cooking demonstrations will be Duke Moscrip and Chef “Wild Bill” Raniger of Duke’s Chowder Houses, sponsor of the cruise.

At the Thursday evening reception, Duke’s chowder will be served as well as a New Orleans-style dessert, “Seattle Snoballs.”

Of course, at the reception people can sign up for the cruise with just a $10 deposit. From each booking, $25 will go to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

VIDEO: Alki, Schmitz Park Elementaries help Southwest Seattle Historical Society celebrate start of Alki Homestead restoration

June 5, 2015 at 11:13 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 5 Comments

(Substituted Friday night: Jean Sherrard‘s panorama, courtesy SWSHS – see WSB view at story’s end)
ORIGINAL 11:13 AM REPORT: We’re on the lawn at the Alki Homestead / Fir Lodge, where a short ceremony and photo op has just wrapped up, to mark the start of the Homestead’s restoration.


(WSB Instagram clip as students arrived at the Homestead; more visuals on IG)
Students from Alki and Schmitz Park Elementaries walked over here to be part of a “group hug for the Homestead” photo coordinated by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

Joining them were two West Seattleites serving in county and city government, County Executive Dow Constantine and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

The Homestead’s new owner, Dennis Schilling, was here too, and SWSHS executive director Clay Eals (with Rasmussen and Constantine in the photo added above) emceed.

From the two schools’ leadership: SPES assistant principal Liora Minkin and Alki principal Shannon Stanton:

P.S. This was also an anniversary of sorts – one year ago tomorrow, these same two schools gathered a half-block away outside the Log House Museum – home to SWSHS and the Homestead/Fir Lodge’s former carriage house – to celebrate the unveiling of the restored Admiral Way totem pole that now stands on the east side of the LHM’s grounds.

ADDED 1:30 PM: Adding photos, and our video of the quick speeches will follow (about 15 minutes total – added 7:21 pm, below).

(Added Saturday – the SWSHS version, shot from above)

Councilmember Rasmussen led the crowd in a chant about bringing back the Homestead’s famous fried chicken (new owner Schilling has said he’s not sure yet what kind of business the restored lodge will be home to); Executive Constantine told the kids to be sure to smile, since the photo will be part of history, and noted that while he’s a Schmitz Park alum, he’s not sure where his daughter Sabrina will be going in four years, since his house is on the Alki/Lafayette line.

West Seattle High School’s annual All-School Reunion next Saturday

June 1, 2015 at 5:53 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | Comments Off

As summer approaches, so do reunions – including some that span multiple years, like the annual West Seattle High School All-School Reunion, set for next Saturday. From the WSB inbox:

Calling all WSHS students and faculty, current and former, to join us at the first Saturday in June (6/6/15) annual All-School Reunion. 2-3 pm sign-in, 3-5:30 individual class reunions and program including honoring Hall of Fame inductees, Scholarship recipients and more. Renew your membership and receive a beautiful alumni license plate frame (while supplies last)! Sign up in advance for a group photo of family/friends/classmates by student photographers in their studio, just drop an email to wshsaa.98116@gmail.com for scheduling. AND HELP US SPREAD THE WORD BY SHARING THIS EVENT WITH ALL YOUR ALUMNI CONTACTS!

You can see a photo of the license-plate frame on the All-School Reunion’s Facebook event page.

Logs arrive for early restoration work at Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge

May 28, 2015 at 5:26 pm | In Alki Homestead, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

(Dennis Schilling, Alki Homestead owner, shows the logs he has just transported to its parking lot)
Two and a half months after Dennis Schilling bought the Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge, there are visible signs of its upcoming restoration. Thanks to Clay Eals, Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director, for the photo and update:

Fifteen fir logs arrived in the Alki Homestead parking lot this afternoon, awaiting use in replacing damaged logs in the southeast corner of the building.

The logs are stored in a trailer that owner Dennis Schilling drove from Mountain Log Homes in Kalama, north of Portland. Each log is about 16 1/2 feet long.

Schilling said work will begin soon on shoring up the interior of the southeast corner of the Homestead to allow eventual replacement of damaged logs that have been marked for several months with blue tape.

In preparation for this work, Schilling’s crew installed anchor fence to surround the front entrance of the Homestead as a protective measure.

There is no set schedule for the log replacement, but some of the work may begin by the time of a group photo to be taken of 900 students from Alki and Schmitz Park elementary schools the morning of Friday, June 5, 2015. As part of the brief event, speakers will include King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen.

Schilling has been consulting with a structural engineer, and his crew has installed temporary power and begun cleaning out non-landmarked, fire-damaged materials from the kitchen. Soon his crew will measure roof angles in preparation for repair, along with eventual restoration of the iconic Alki Homestead sign.

More backstory on this page of the SWSHS website – and going even further back, in our archive of WSB Alki Homestead coverage, including the January 2009 fire that has left it vacant for more than six years.

‘If These Walls Could Talk’: Southwest Seattle Historical Society invites you to tour home built by Ye Olde Curiosity Shop’s founder

May 27, 2015 at 9:22 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Once again this summer, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society offers you a chance to look inside a local home with history. This time, you’re invited to a June 28th tour of the North Admiral home built by the founder of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, the legendary shop that reopens on the downtown waterfront a few days later after the latest round of seawall work. From SWSHS:

A century ago, the home at 1750 Palm Avenue SW probably was the most gawked-at, talked-about residence in West Seattle.

“Everybody wanted to see it,” says 90-year-old Joe James (in the short invitation clip below), whose grandfather – Ye Olde Curiosity Shop founder Joseph Edward “Daddy” Standley – built the house in 1906.

“Sightseeing buses used to stop there on their tours and let people out to look at the yard. He had everything in there you could think of, from whale jawbones to whale vertebrae to totem poles to shell mounds.”

Often, visitors were allowed to venture inside.

“He had a lot of curios in the house, things that he had collected,” James says. “He had a miniature collection and an ivory collection and all of that. People would come up to the fence, and he’d invite them into the house and show them what else he had. My mother never knew who was going to come into the house. He was very friendly to these people and very proud to show them his collection.”

On Sunday, June 28, 2015, the home will be the site of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s third annual “If These Walls Could Talk” home tour, to run from 3 to 5 p.m. Tickets, available at the door, are $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

Attendees will have an opportunity to tour the residence (now owned by Katy and Erik Walum), view historical photographs of the house and property and learn about the remarkable life of Standley.

In addition, they will see a selection of curios and family keepsakes on loan from the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, including a variety of Indian baskets, a 3-foot totem that greeted shop visitors in the early 1900s, and an antique cradle that has rocked five generations of Standley children.

They also will be able to meet Joe James, his son Andy and other members of the Standley clan, who for 116 years have welcomed curiosity-seekers at their iconic Seattle waterfront store.

Those who would like an invitation-only VIP experience earlier in the day, including presentations by Joe James and King County Archives’ Greg Lange, plus hors d’oeuvres and wine, please call 206-938-5293 or e-mail clay.eals@loghousemuseum.info.

Find out even more at loghousemuseum.info.

Also starting today: Tour season at Alki Point Lighthouse

May 23, 2015 at 12:01 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 3 Comments


(Photo by Long Bach Nguyen – click image to see larger version)
The summertime tour season at Alki Point Lighthouse (lower left in the photo above) is starting early. Debra Alderman from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary says they had to make sure they’d have enough volunteers for this weekend – they do, and so it’s on:

FREE lighthouse tours this weekend! The Alki Point Lighthouse begins its tour season this weekend! We will be open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. First tour is at 1 p.m.; last tour enters at 3:40 p.m. We will be open most Saturdays and Sundays between now and Labor Day. Three days this summer that we will NOT be open: June 13, August 1, and August 2. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers provide tours free of charge. Location: 3201 Alki Avenue SW. Visit our website for tour information and updates: cgauxseattle.org

Find out more about the lighthouse in this WSB story from its centennial year (2013).

Two more for today/tonight: Meeples Games turns 1; Fauntleroy Schoolhouse looks ahead to turning 100

May 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

In addition to the highlights lineup published early today, we have two additions, both related to anniversaries:

MEEPLES GAMES’ FIRST ANNIVERSARY: What a year it’s been for Meeples Games, on the second floor of Charlestown Center (California/Charlestown), including being honored as the best Emerging Business in the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s Westside Awards (WSB coverage here). If you were to pick the perfect time to stop by and help celebrate, Meeples’ proprietor Laura Schneider says they’re cutting the anniversary cake at 3 pm.

(1940 Fauntleroy School photo from Seattle Public Schools‘ thumbnail history)
FAUNTLEROY SCHOOLHOUSE’S CENTENNIAL ART OPEN HOUSE: 4-7 pm today, at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse:

We will be hosting a Centennial Art Open House to raise monies for (the schoolhouse’s) 100th Birthday in May 2017. We have art pieces from local West Seattle artist such as, Art Wolfe, Sue Madill, Warren Pope, Greg Bartol, Jimmy Gersen, Patty McPhee,Chris Bath, Linda McClamrock, Nancy Gilbert, Holly Margell,Kathy Johnson, Gail Ann Wodzin and jewelry by Abi Haggerty! Lite hors d’oeuvres by Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering and Events. Come share your story, pictures and memorabilia with other alumni. See you there!

Of course, you don’t have to have been a schoolhouse alum to attend. It’s all happening at 9131 California SW.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday alerts & ‘Throwback’ view

May 14, 2015 at 7:20 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 27 Comments

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Nothing out of the ordinary in/from West Seattle so far this morning. Alerts/reminders:

BRIDGE WORK: Today is the last announced day of off-peak work on the outer lanes of the bridge.

THIS WEEKEND: Anti-drilling demonstrations on sea and land Saturday are expected to bring crowds to Seacrest, Don Armeni, and Jack Block Park … On Sunday, Alki Avenue will be closed until about 11 am for the West Seattle 5K. More on both later today.

Now, our weekly look back:

TRAFFIC THROWBACK THURSDAY: This week’s featured image is NOT from the Seattle Municipal Archives, much as we love them. It’s courtesy of the Sheppard Family, who granted us permission to use the view of Admiral/California, from the southeast corner looking north:


(Click for a larger view)
While asking WSB contributor Megan Sheppard if we could use the photo, we forgot to ask the year. Guesses?

Take a walk, to shape a tour! Join SW Seattle Historical Society on Alki Beach on three upcoming Saturdays

May 7, 2015 at 12:50 am | In West Seattle beaches, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(Wednesday low-tide photo by Lynn Hall)
In case you haven’t already seen it in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – the Southwest Seattle Historical Society is launching a new series of beach walks, starting this Saturday, but with a twist – the walks are not tours in themselves, but rather, your chance to help shape a tour. This announcement from SWSHS explains:

The history of Alki Beach awaits a rich, multi-layered walking tour to be developed this spring by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, and you can help make it happen.

The historical society plans three “scouting expeditions” on foot from 10:30 a.m. to noon on three Saturdays this month. The walks will start and end at the historical society’s “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum, 3003 61st Ave. SW.

People can sign up for one, two or all three sessions. They will cover these sections of the beach:

* The promenade, Saturday, May 9

* The sandy beach, Saturday, May 16

* The rocky beach north to the former Luna Park (often called Anchor Park), Saturday, May 30

Leading the sessions is Dave Hrachovina, who grew up in West Seattle and is the museum’s regular docent/greeter on Fridays and Saturdays. He is looking forward to putting together the beach walks.

“You never get tired of Alki,” he says. “It is like an inexhaustible spring of pleasure for young and old. It is Seattle’s headwater, and it is contagious. The more you learn, the more it grows on you.”

The purpose of the sessions is to identify points of interest to be included on a beach walk, everything from the Duwamish tribal story and the Landing Party saga to the times of shacks, tents and the “Coney Island of the West.” Icons present and past will be part of the mix, including the “Birthplace of Seattle” monument, the Statue of Liberty replica, the Alki Bathhouse, the Alki Natatorium, and Luna Park.

If you are interested in taking part in these “scouting expeditions,” please call 206-938-5293 or e-mail clay.eals@loghousemuseum.info to reserve your spot.

Congratulations! Southwest Seattle Historical Society totem-pole unveiling honored with ‘Single-Impact Event Award’

April 29, 2015 at 11:37 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(Photo courtesy SWSHS)
Big spring for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Along with being honored by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce as its Not-For-Profit Of The Year, SWSHS accepted an award last night from the Association of King County Historical Organizations, for its big event last June unveiling the refurbished Admiral Way totem pole in its new home outside the Log House Museum (WSB coverage of that event is here). Everybody in the photo above is ID’d in this item on the SWSHS website, which also includes video from last night’s AKCHO ceremony at which SWSHS accepted the Single-Impact Event Award.

P.S. As SWSHS executive director Clay Eals told the Alki Community Council earlier this month, the 1st anniversary of the unveiling will be commemorated on June 5th with students from Schmitz Park and Alki Elementaries walking toward the museum as they did for last year’s event (added: final destination, the nearby Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge for a photo op). Meantime, you can see the totem pole outside the LHM at 61st/Stevens any time, and you can visit the museum to learn more about it and so much else of this area’s history during its regular hours noon-4 pm Thursdays-Sundays.

Alki Community Council: From new signs at Don Armeni, to new info about the Homestead renovation

April 17, 2015 at 4:54 pm | In Neighborhoods, West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 23 Comments

(Photo courtesy Paul)
New parking signs are up at Don Armeni Boat Ramp – not new rules, but new signs (though a related rule change is under consideration). Thanks to a tip, we were already working on a story about the new signs before police explained them at last night’s Alki Community Council meeting. The signs, and other ACC toplines, including the SPD plan for Alki this summer, and Homestead/Fir Lodge updates from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, ahead …

Click to read the rest of Alki Community Council: From new signs at Don Armeni, to new info about the Homestead renovation…

Neighborhood Conservation Districts? Many questions, few answers

April 8, 2015 at 3:54 pm | In Neighborhoods, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

Will the city make Neighborhood Conservation Districts available as a tool for interested neighborhoods to use if they choose to preserve their “character”?

City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen has been exploring the idea for a while, presenting a briefing on a study last September, and convened a discussion at the High Point Community Center last night, the second of three around the city (the third and final one is on Phinney Ridge tonight).

One challenge: The legislation to be brought up for a council vote hasn’t been written yet. So while those in attendance had many questions, few answers were available. Here’s the slide deck that was shown:

The first round of meetings is being held primarily to gauge community interest. One point made clear: These districts couldn’t be created to stop development projects already on the drawing board. Questions focused on what would or would not be allowed in a district, and how that might affect property owners’ rights, given that in theory, one could be implemented without unanimous approval of affected owners. Would it come down to something simple like, what kind of fence you could put up? Answer: If there are guidelines for that, yes. Wouldn’t that make this something like a homeowners’ association? another attendee asked. And what about people moving into the district long after it was created?

Other questions: What disclosure will there be for property owners regarding the costs of these districts? What’s the final cost to the city, considering that if an area can be as small as a block, hundreds could spring up. (Rasmussen’s legislative assistant Evan Clifthorne said he expected this to start slowly.) Which city department would run the program? Probably the Department of Neighborhoods - but nothing’s finalized yet.

Again, lots of questions – the answers will depend on what’s in the official proposal. We asked Councilmember Rasmussen afterward about the likelihood of this making it to the finish line before, or after, he leaves office; his view is that if the council sees enough interest from citizens, they’ll carry it through, and public meetings like this one are one way to do that. (Our informal count last night was around 20.)

If you’re interested in the topic and can get to north Seattle, tonight’s meeting is at 6 pm at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Avenue N.

SIDE NOTE: Speaking of centers, we noted that several people were confused about last night’s location (including our crew!). So many meetings are held at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way, not a city-run facility) that any mention of a “center” in High Point seems to send people there. The site of last night’s meeting is officially called High Point Community Center, a Seattle Parks-operated facility at 6920 34th SW.

Neighborhood Conservation Districts to honor history? Next step includes 3 meetings, one in West Seattle

March 19, 2015 at 4:32 pm | In Development, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(From the Seattle Municipal Archives, 1900 photo of store in 1600 block 44th SW)
Last fall, we reported on Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s study of whether Neighborhood Conservation Districts might help some areas work to keep some of their character, even in a time of growth and change. Now, he’s taking the next step – public meetings to find out if neighborhoods are interested in the idea. One of those meetings will be in West Seattle next month. Here’s the announcement:

Does your neighborhood have strong character that should be preserved, but isn’t eligible or appropriate for historic district status?

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is holding a series of Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) public meetings to gather resident input about establishing a program in Seattle. NCDs can be best described as a hybrid between Seattle’s Landmark Review Districts and our Design Review Program where unique neighborhoods can help dictate architectural style, square footage requirements, or other design elements.

Learn more & share your perspective:

· West Seattle, April 7, 6:00 p.m., High Point Center, 6920 34th Ave SW

Wondering how this relates to yesterday’s announcement about a “historical character survey” of The Junction? That *could* be a preface to a special district, although, as Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals replied when we asked a related question during yesterday’s briefing, creating a district would mean going through a “political” process – while the survey, for starters, has no strings attached.

VIDEO: West Seattle Junction ‘historical character’ survey finally launched; 45 property owners invited to participate

March 18, 2015 at 9:06 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

(UPDATED 4:27 PM with video)

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand. Above, Susan Melrose ceremonially presents Jack Menashe with first letter inviting survey participation)
9:06 AM: As West Seattle grows and changes, there’s been talk for more than a year of doing a survey to capture the historic character of at least part of our area. We first wrote about it in January 2014; updates have ensued as the Southwest District Council met; and this morning, it’s finally “a go,” as announced at a news conference that’s under way right now at Husky Deli in The Junction.

For the first time, the historical character of the West Seattle Junction will be documented in a professional survey.

Funded by 4Culture, the West Seattle Junction Historical Survey, launched on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, will interview property owners in the two-block Junction core to elicit data and anecdotal information and contract with an architectural historian to identify elements that define The Junction’s character, give it uniqueness and allow it to thrive as the business hub of the West Seattle peninsula.

The project teams the Southwest Seattle Historical Society (the survey’s fiscal agent) with the Southwest District Council, West Seattle Junction Association, Junction Neighborhood Organization and ArtsWest.

The 4Culture grant totals $10,000, most of which will pay for the evaluation services of a professional architectural historian. The grant states that while The Junction “has undergone dramatic changes,” elements such as “the low-story look, the traditional narrow and deep interiors and the compression of multiple businesses into small spaces” have allowed the district to retain a distinctly “small-town feel.”

It also states that because there is only “outdated and insufficient knowledge about the worthiness of any of the structures” in The Junction, the survey will have great value.

One aim of the survey is to determine if buildings in The Junction would qualify for nomination as Seattle landmarks, which is part of why property owners are “key stakeholders” in the survey.

Over the next six months, all 45 property owners in the survey area will be invited to be interviewed about the history of their buildings, including enhancements and uses, along with how the district’s milieu has contributed to the success of the businesses operating in their buildings. The interview findings will be merged with architectural data, and results of the survey will be made available to the public.

“We trust that the resulting information and insights will be useful to property owners, businesses and the community at large in shaping the future of this treasure of a business district,” says the survey’s letter to property owners.

The district got its name immediately prior to West Seattle’s annexation to Seattle, in 1907, when the West Seattle and Fauntleroy streetcar lines converged at a transfer point at California Avenue and Alaska Street, forming “The Junction.” Among the oldest buildings in The Junction are the Campbell Building (1918), housing Cupcake Royale, and the Hamm Building (1926), home of Easy Street Records.

We’re at the news conference with numerous community leaders and will add photos/video later.

10:16 AM: Adding our photos for starters (we were the only news organization at the event). Photo above shows those who spoke at this morning’s event and/or are integrally involved with making this happen – from left, Clay Eals of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society; Jack Miller of Husky Deli; Susan Melrose of the West Seattle Junction Association; René Commons of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, Jack Menashe of Menashe & Sons Jewelers (WSB sponsor), Deb Barker and Chas Redmond on behalf of the Southwest District Council.

Photo immediately above this line shows many of the community leaders who were there to be part of it. Video and a few event notes still in the works.

ADDED 4:27 PM: Three video clips; the first and third are by WSB’s Patrick Sand, from this morning’s event; in the middle, the video clip shown at the event, profiling Jack Miller and Husky Deli, is courtesy of the Junction Neighborhood Organization:

Though all that’s set in motion right now is a report – in Q/A after the announcement, SWSHS’s Eals expressed confidence that it will be a spark to preservation and celebration, not just a reference document. We’ll check in from time to time to see how it’s going.

Alki Homestead sold. What’s next? Southwest Seattle Historical Society plans ‘major announcement’ tomorrow morning

March 13, 2015 at 7:20 pm | In Alki Homestead, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

The city-landmark Alki Homestead officially has a new owner, according to documents filed with the county, dated today: Fir Lodge LLC has purchased it for $1,250,000. Fir Lodge, of course, is the historic name of the log building at 2717 61st SW. And the LLC is in the name of Dennis Schilling, with whom we talked back in January about his prospective purchase of the Homestead, closed since a fire damaged its interior six years ago.

Schilling is a Mercer Island-based investor who already has a success story in Alki, having purchased and fixed up the once-threatened-with-demolition Shoremont Apartments, just blocks east of the Homestead. His interest in the historic lodge came more than three years after former owner Tom Lin‘s proposed renovation plan went idle following multiple reviews with members of the city’s Landmarks Board, which has jurisdiction over changes to buildings and sites that are under city landmark protection, as this one has been since 1996. Schilling has been talking with the Landmarks Board and other city reps about his hopes of renovating the building and possibly building a few apartments on part of its current parking lot; we were there as he talked with the board’s Architectural Review Committee in late January.

New ownership is only a first step into the Homestead’s future, but we expect to find out much more about what’s next for it tomorrow morning, as the Southwest Seattle Historical Society – which has been working for years to save the Homestead – has announced a media briefing with “a major announcement” at 9 am, and we’ll be there. SWSHS has many ties to the Homestead/Fir Lodge, not the least of which is the fact that its headquarters building, the Log House Museum a half block away, was its carriage house decades ago.

ADDED SATURDAY MORNING: The official news release is on the Log House Museum site; we’re at the LHM news conference where the sale and restoration plan are being officially announced.

Log House Museum leadership change: You’re invited to farewell reception Thursday for manager Sarah Baylinson

February 28, 2015 at 6:21 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off

After two and a half years as manager of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s Log House Museum, Sarah Baylinson is heading south; you’re invited to a farewell reception next Thursday (March 5th). SWSHS executive director Clay Eals has announced that Baylinson is departing to become collections manager at the Bowman Museum in the Central Oregon town of Prineville. She joined SWSHS as a volunteer in 2010 and became museum manager in fall 2012. Her farewell reception is set for 3-4 pm Thursday, March 5th, at the museum (61st/Stevens). If you attend, you’ll also get a chance to meet new interim LHM manager Lissa Kramer, a Morgan Junction resident who started volunteering for SWSHS last year and has 15 years of experience in museums and public programs. Baylinson’s last day is Sunday, March 8th; recruitment of a new permanent manager is expected to start shortly thereafter. The full announcement with more information is on the Log House Museum website. (Photo of Sarah Baylinson, left, and Lissa Kramer, courtesy SWSHS)

West Seattle schools: Denny teacher shares Black History Month lesson

February 14, 2015 at 4:27 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(Photo courtesy Alan Blackman, who’s at right with guests James and Michael Dixon)
February is Black History Month. Denny International Middle School‘s 7th grade US History teacher Alan Blackman brought guests to his 4th-period class on Thursday, and wanted to share the story with you:

Here at Denny, we strive to prepare scholars to become responsible, informed citizens by utilizing multiple perspectives in their educational journey. In my American History class, we have dissected such events as the Columbian exchange and the American Revolution by examining the varying experiences of all groups involved.

(On Thursday), we were extremely fortunate to be joined by Michael Dixon, a former Black Panther, and his son James, who volunteered at Denny during the 2013-14 school year with the City Year program. Mr. Dixon was not only a member of the Seattle Panthers – his brother Aaron founded the city’s chapter in 1968. Mr. Dixon spoke to students about the events of the 1960s and the aims of the Black Panther Party. Students were very eager to ask Mr. Dixon about the origins of the Black Panthers, and his thoughts in hindsight of that time. It was a great opportunity for students to interact with and learn from an individual who experienced and participated in such a tumultuous, powerful, and significant period of American history.

Mr. Dixon emphasized the role of community service in his words to scholars, recalling the community programs that the Seattle Panthers organized, such as the free breakfast program in Madrona. He encouraged students to recognize the impact each of them could have on their community, using his own activism as an example. Students definitely left class feeling encouraged and empowered.

The UW’s website has an extensive archive about this chapter in the city’s history; it starts here. More-recent background on Aaron Dixon, who ran for US Senate in 2006 and authored a memoir in 2012, is here.

Gone but not forgotten: Parts of historic ferry Kalakala are now forever ashore at Salty’s on Alki

February 12, 2015 at 4:10 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

The art outside and near Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) includes something new that’s also something old: Pieces of the recently scrapped, once-gleaming art-deco ferry Kalakala. Alki photographer David Hutchinson shared the photos and this link to SeattlePI.com, which reports that Salty’s proprietor Gerry Kingen bought “the wheelhouse, massive rudder and crank, a piston and rod, and a hatch” to display outside his West Seattle restaurant, where the grounds already sport sections of a demolished local bridge.

In addition to that unique view of the city, the new feature also provides a portrait view of Salty’s itself.

SeattlePI.com quotes Kingen as saying this is just the start of the display, which will also include interpretive features.

If you hadn’t been following the saga, the Kalakala, half a century out of service, finally met its end recently at a scrap yard in Tacoma. Meantime, in addition to the Kalakala pieces and bridge sections – explained by Kingen in this video featured at the Southwest Seattle Historical Society brunch gala last year (WSB coverage here). P.S. If you stroll the area, you can also see the Luna Girls on Alki steel sculpture by Lezlie Jane; it’s on city-owned land just west of Salty’s.

‘How do I get to ‘yes’?’ prospective Alki Homestead purchaser asks Landmarks Board committee at first review

January 30, 2015 at 8:19 pm | In Alki Homestead, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 6 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:

Click to read the rest of ‘How do I get to ‘yes’?’ prospective Alki Homestead purchaser asks Landmarks Board committee at first review…

Can the man who saved the Shoremont save the Alki Homestead?

January 27, 2015 at 5:28 pm | In Alki Homestead, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 25 Comments

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.

Click to read the rest of Can the man who saved the Shoremont save the Alki Homestead?…

VIDEO: Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s rock ‘n’ roll & ‘rebirth’ Champagne Gala Brunch scores sizable support

November 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):

The Marty Reimer Show at Salty’s on Alki from Avenue Collection on Vimeo.

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:

Click to read the rest of VIDEO: Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s rock ‘n’ roll & ‘rebirth’ Champagne Gala Brunch scores sizable support…

‘No ordinary cookbook’: 114 recipes from 49 locals in ‘Apron Strings’

October 4, 2014 at 10:20 am | In West Seattle books, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(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.”

Golden Ticket time! Buy yours at Log House Museum

October 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm | In How to help, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off

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 clay.eals@loghousemuseum.info.

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.

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