West Seattle, Washington
That’s West Seattle’s legendary, short-lived and long-gone Luna Park, circa 1910, from the Seattle Municipal Archives. If you have any Luna Park memorabilia/photos, Michael Falcone is hoping you’ll help:
I’m working on a documentary on Luna Park (amusement park 1907-1913) and would like to put out a call for any photographs/materials relating to the park and/or early West Seattle. I will be at the High Point Library Sunday, July 16th from 1-3 pm in the High Point Meeting Room for people to come by with any materials they would like to see included in the documentary.
I will have a laptop, scanner and camera present in case people allow me to copy images at that time. I am working with SW Historical Society in part on this project and seeking a Seattle CityArtists grant with the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
If you have questions, you can reach Falcone through his website.
Two weeks from Tuesday, it’s your second chance to enjoy a one-of-a-kind evening of entertainment and help raise money to restore the 75-year-old murals at The Admiral. Here’s the announcement from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:
Restoration of the art-deco underwater murals of West Seattle’s Historic Admiral Theater will get another boost this summer with a one-night presentation by a West Seattle native whose orchestral scores for classic movies of the pre-sound era have earned him the title of the “Silent Film Music Guru.”
The event is called “Timothy Brock Returns to West Seattle with Music of the Silent Giants.”
It will take place at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at the Historic Admiral Theater, 2343 California Ave. SW, sponsored by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
This exciting evening – to last more than three hours, with an intermission – will start with Timothy Brock being interviewed by his childhood friend, West Seattle’s Dave Beck, a host at KING-FM and longtime former KUOW-FM host. Brock will reminisce with Beck about their West Seattle upbringing and discuss the fascinating process of scoring silent classics. (Brock earned the label of “Silent-Film Music Guru” from Vogue magazine in May 2016.)
Interspersed will be stills and clips from silent films that Brock has scored. Following an intermission, Brock will introduce the screening of the Charlie Chaplin feature “Modern Times,” for which Brock has restored and re-recorded the original 1936 Chaplin score.
Tickets are $20, and proceeds will go to the Historic Admiral Theater mural restoration led by the historical society. A VIP opportunity, to attend the presentation and visit one-on-one with Brock and Beck beforehand, will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the theater. VIP tickets are $100.
You can purchase tickets online here, or at the door. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged, as the event may sell out.
Timothy Brock, who has long lived in Bologna, Italy, is internationally renowned for his orchestral scores for the movies of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and many other silent film classics. Over 30 years, he has composed 27 original scores for silent films, and he has served as the film restorer for the Chaplin estate since 1998. Brock also conducts symphonies in live performances of his scores to accompany presentations of silent films all over the world.
This month Brock is making a rare return to his boyhood community, where, as a 10-year-old in the early 1970s, he watched organ-accompanied silent films at West Seattle’s beloved Granada Theater south of The Junction and drew the initial inspiration for his career, which he labels a “lifelong dream.” (The Granada was razed in 1977.)
To see Brock discuss this West Seattle-based inspiration, go here (or view below – time code 1:20-1:50):
Brock’s mother is Berlena Brock, former board member of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
This unique presentation on July 25 will be the second event this summer to benefit the historical society’s fund to restore the auditorium murals of the Historic Admiral Theater. The first event, a screening of the local documentary “Legends of the Road,” drew 200 people to the theater and raised more than $5,000 for the fund.
The murals date to 1942, when the Portola Theater was converted and expanded to the Admiral Theater. They were covered by curtains when the theater was twinned in 1973 and uncovered as part of the theater’s recent renovation to four screens.
The Historic Admiral Theater became an official Seattle landmark in 1989, following a campaign led by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
More information about Brock is available at his website, timothybrock.com.
This holiday celebrating our nation’s history is always a day of celebration for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Today, the SWSHS’s annual Independence Day picnic looked ahead and looked back. The former was courtesy of newly hired executive director Jeff McCord, announced last weekend as successor to Clay Eals. He talked about the transition as well as his intent to continue building on Eals’s work:
SWSHS also looked back by paying tribute to Merrilee Hagen (right), who inspired the acquisition of what became its headquarters, the Log House Museum, 20 years ago. She died last spring at 73. McCord read a speech that Hagen had given a few years before the acquisition, in which she had talked about witnessing the “bulldozing” of so many heritage structures she recalled from growing up in the area, and suggesting something needed to be saved before they all were gone.
Also at today’s picnic, music courtesy of the West Seattle Community Orchestras‘ Brass Sextet:
SWSHS continues to present a busy slate of events year-round – next up, 5-7 pm Friday (July 7th) at Barnes and Noble/Westwood Village, see and hear this month’s Words, Writers, West Seattle authors Jeff and Sonja Anderson, with “Mount Rainier’s Historic Inns and Lodges.”
Just announced by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, its next leader:
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society board has selected as its next executive director Jeff McCord, a 24-year resident of West Seattle who has helped save more than 100 historic homes in the Seattle area, served on several community boards and led the revival of a struggling nonprofit.
McCord will succeed the historical society’s first executive director, Clay Eals, who resigned in April and has worked four-and-a-half years in the position.
The selection comes after an extensive search and interviewing process by our board’s Personnel Committee, chaired by vice-president Peder Nelson, as well as by the full board.
“We are delighted to bring Jeff aboard,” says Karen Sisson, board president, “and we are excited about the varied skills, long experience and deep passion that he will bring us.”
The start date for McCord, 54, is today (July 1). The SWSHS board plans to retain Eals for the month of July to provide an overlap during which Eals can orient McCord and introduce him to the historical society’s key supporters and partners.
The public will have its first chance to welcome McCord to the executive director’s position at the historical society’s Annual Picnic, slated from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 4, in the courtyard of its “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum.
(The picnic also will feature an opportunity for remembrances of the late Merrilee Hagen, former board president who sparked acquisition of our museum building in the mid-1990s, plus live music courtesy of the West Seattle Community Orchestras’ Brass Sextet. For the picnic, the public is invited. Our board provides basic foods, and others are invited to provide extras.)
McCord will begin work as executive director for our historical society while he transitions away from the executive director’s post at the TV cable-access nonprofit Puget Sound Access/Carco Theatre in Renton.
That organization hired McCord two and a half years ago in an effort to restore internal infrastructure and stability.
On the Duwamish peninsula, McCord is perhaps best known as “home rescuer” for Nickel Bros, a company that preserves homes from razing through creative redevelopment or by finding new owners and moving the homes to new locations.
One house that he preserved in place was the home overlooking Lincoln Park in which the REI firm was founded. More recently, he facilitated preservation of the 1908 log home at California Avenue and Findlay Street that is to be moved to the Admiral area this summer.
A resident of Gatewood Hill, McCord also has served as chair of the Southwest Design Review Board and has been involved with the West Seattle Anti-Crime Council and what is now called the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council. In addition, he has worked as a graphic design teacher, as a consultant in Kickstarter fundraising and graphic design and as a producer of video games.
A graduate of the Evergreen State College, with a bachelor of arts degree in media arts, McCord is a current student of the University of Washington Evans School of Governance & Public Policy, from which he expects to receive a master’s degree in public administration in 2018.
McCord says it is his “dream opportunity” to become executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
“Historic preservation has been a very important part of my adult life, having grown up among tall trees and beautiful old buildings in Lexington, Kentucky, only two blocks from Ashland, home of the great American statesman Henry Clay,” he says. “This job perfectly blends my love of historic architecture, cultural histories and locally focused volunteer causes. I’ve watched as the historical society has continued to grow in its offerings, becoming a strong and vibrant voice within — and on behalf of — the Duwamish Peninsula. I am both proud and humbled to be given the chance to build on the organization’s many successes.”
One of his direct connections to our historical society is that his wife, Rosemary Woods, designed the logo for our organization’s museum 20 years ago. Her drawing of the building is still used in our organization’s logo today.
McCord looks forward to orienting himself to our historical society’s wide slate of events and activities and to building relationships with our donors, sponsors and volunteers and the public.
Primary responsibilities of the position are fundraising, outreach, volunteer recruitment, staff supervision and overall management. In addition to the position of executive director, our historical society has two paid part-time staff positions of curator and museum operations coordinator.
McCord’s hours at the Log House Museum will be variable. He can be reached by phone at 206-234-4357 (cell), and his e-mail address will be firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Pier 4” at The Admiral was almost full by showtime.
(Videos courtesy Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Above, pre-film introductions)
In pre-film remarks, executive director Clay Eals of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society – which is leading the restoration effort – observed that the crowd included former mayor Greg Nickels in a Kansas City Monarchs hat. (The Monarchs were the team honored by the high-school baseball players featured in the movie as they “barnstormed” on a 5,100-mile baseball trip in 2000, organized by students from Chief Sealth HS to pay tribute to the Negro Leagues players’ legendary travels.)
Also at the screening – Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick, who’s part of the film, and “Legends of the Road” producer/director Gary Thomsen, the former Chief Sealth teacher whose students carried out the ambitious-to-say-the-least project. They answered questions after the screening, joined by one of the former Sealth students who produced the barnstorming trip (with all the filming done by students too). Before the screening, Kendrick had a story about Seattle barnstorming history, with the Monarchs playing games here against a team called the House of David, which he described as “an all-white religious sect based out of Michigan. … Seattle has long been an important part of this story.”
Every cent raised Tuesday night goes to restoration of the 75-year-old murals, which, as Eals noted (you can see part of one in the video), were hidden under curtains when the theater was twinned in 1973, and uncovered during last year’s renovation work that turned The Admiral into an all-first-run fourplex. With paid admission approaching 200, and a post-film auction of two donated 1942 Monarchs replica jerseys for $600 each, that totals at least $5,000.
Another fundraising effort is in the works, Eals tells us. The formal announcement is expected within a week or so, but you can save the date – July 25th – for a full evening “consisting of an in-person presentation by the world-renowned, France-based ‘silent film guru’ Tim Brock, who scores films for the Chaplin Foundation and countless other films, and who grew up in West Seattle and got the inspiration for his film-scoring career when, as a 10-year-old in the early 1970s, he watched organ-accompanied silents at West Seattle’s Granada Theater, which was razed in 1977. Tim will be interviewed on stage by his childhood friend, West Seattle’s Dave Beck (current KING-FM host and longtime former KUOW-FM host), show stills and clips from films he has scored and, after an intermission, introduce the full-length ‘Modern Times’ by Chaplin.”
As for what’s next for “Legends of the Road,” it’s on the film-festival circuit, having premiered in Kansas City, and heading to Minneapolis. That was part of Tuesday night’s post-film Q&A:
Thomsen hopes to screen it eventually in the cities that were part of the barnstorming-tribute tour. As for here at home, he says its next local screening isn’t scheduled yet but he’s working on another event that might include it. Whenever it happens, you’ll want to take anybody who needs a little inspiration … as Paul, one of the former students, told the audience last night, the project gave him a lot of confidence. Bob Kendrick declared that “every educator should see this film,” to get a view into an “amazing experiential learning project.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“It has drama, it has charm, it has youthful exuberance.”
So enthuses Bob Kendrick about “Legends of the Road,” the locally produced documentary that will be screened at the historic Admiral Theater tomorrow night to raise money to restore its murals.
Most of all, it has history – history that Bob knows well. He is president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, visiting West Seattle to be part of the screening, which is the story of a Chief Sealth (pre-International) High School teacher and his students who made a groundbreaking 5,100-mile bicycle trip at the turn of the millennium to recreate the leagues’ “barnstorming” trips.
That since-retired teacher, Gary Thomsen, was part of our conversation today with Bob and with Clay Eals of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which is presenting Tuesday night’s event.
Even if you’re not a baseball fan – or history buff – there are reasons to go see it. Read More
Thanks to John for the tip: This Alki house that just went on the market – so new a listing, it didn’t even have a shingle up when we went by tonight – isn’t a landmark, but it has history. 3045 64th SW is listed in King County files as having been built in 1900 but multiple accounts say it dates to the late 1800s – like this one with a historic photo. In 1993, Seattle Times columnist Erik Lacitis declared it Seattle’s “oldest surviving house.” His story says it’s believed to have been built for “Doc” Maynard (yes, the West Seattle Water Taxi vessel’s namesake) on another Alki site, from which it was moved to its current location – and that it was later owned by another legendary West Seattleite, Ivar Haglund. It’s listed at $630,000 and on almost 5,000 square feet of land with single-family zoning.
The next big event at West Seattle’s Admiral Theater has two big reasons to be on your calendar – the film that you’ll see, “Legends of the Road,” and the cause that you’ll be supporting. From the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:
Restoration of the art-deco underwater murals of West Seattle’s Historic Admiral Theater will get a boost this summer with a one-night screening of a documentary that showcases a project by local students to salute the black baseball barnstorming phenomenon of the early 20th century.
(“Legends of the Road” trailer)
“Legends of the Road,” a feature-length, student-produced film, will be screened at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, at the Historic Admiral Theater, 2343 California Ave. S.W., sponsored by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
The film, which won the highest audience rating at the 2017 Kansas City Film Festival, will be introduced by Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, and former teacher Gary Thomsen of West Seattle, who led the “Legends” project at Chief Sealth High School. After the film, Kendrick, Thomsen, and several of Thomsen’s former students will be available to answer questions.
Admission will be by $20 donation, which will go to the Historic Admiral Theater mural restoration led by SWSHS. A VIP opportunity, to see the film and visit one-on-one with the featured speakers beforehand, will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the theater. This opportunity is available by reservation at a $100 donation.
Both levels of tickets can be purchased online via Far Away Entertainment and at the door.
The Admiral’s murals were revealed during its recently completed renovation process. SWSHS says the mural-restoration campaign will include more special events, as well as details on how proposals for restoration will be sought.
(Photo by Jean Sherrard)
Usually the biggest excitement at the annual West Seattle High School All-School Reunion is indoors.
Not this time.
With WSHS celebrating the 100th anniversary of the building’s opening, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and WSHS Alumni Association collaborated to organize a “Group Hug” photo outside the school’s historic north entrance. SWSHS executive director Clay Eals said the Pacific Rim Equipment-provided lift had the highest-ever potential altitude (43′) for one of their trademark photos:
(2 am update) Photographer Jean Sherrard‘s view from up there is atop this story. (Back to original report) He’s at center in the photo below, with SWSHS’s Brad Chrisman at left and Eals at right:
The hundreds who gathered for the photo enjoyed music by the West Seattle Big Band – founded as a WSHS alumni group, now directed by Jim Edwards:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) June 4, 2017
The crowd also heard from one of their most famous fellow alums, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Class of 1980:
Some alums streamed back inside after the photo, through the doors beneath the balloon arch:
One display remained – every year the reunion gives a special spotlight to whichever class is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its graduation, and this year, it was the Class of 1967:
After the memories, music, and photography, alums were invited to continue the celebration an afterparty at Whisky West in Morgan Junction.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: A downloadable version of the photo is now available from SWSHS, with video from the lift and the ground to be added within a few days.
Before we get back to reports on what happened today – a couple quick reminders about tomorrow, starting with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society-presented tour of Sea View Hall in South Alki. Here’s a video invitation:
The 1905-built log house at 4004 59th SW is the site of this year’s SWSHS “If These Walls Could Talk” tour, a drop-in, self-guided event, 3-5 pm Sunday – full details are on the SWSHS website.
One more reminder as the weekend begins – this year’s West Seattle High School All-School Reunion is bigger than ever because of the centennial celebration – WSHS opened 100 years ago. In honor of that, alums, students, staff, and all others interested are invited to gather for a “Group Hug” photo on the north side of the school, coordinated with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Here’s Jim Biava of the WSHS Alumni Association with the invitation:
The All-School Reunion starts at 4 pm; gather for the photo at 6 pm. What happens inbetween – and afterward – is listed in our most-recent preview.
Our photo of West Seattle High School‘s north side is from last Saturday evening, around the same time that the big All-School Reunion and Centennial Celebration will be wrapping up THIS Saturday (June 3rd). Reunion planners have just sent full details of how the event will unfold – including the “Group Hug” photo in which all community members (not just alums, students, and staffers) are invited to participate:
West Seattle High School Alumni Association, along with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the opening of our school building at the 2017 All School Reunion on June 3rd.
This year’s event will have a special community photo to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the landmark West Seattle High School building, during which the West Seattle Big Band will be performing.
2017 Schedule of Events
4:00 – 4:30 pm
Pick up programs, name tag, and roam the halls
4:30 – 5:15 pm
Individual Class Reunions in assigned rooms
4:30 – 5:15 pm
“92 Years of Westside Pride” video in the Theater
5:15 – 6:15 pm
Presentations in the Theater: Hall of Fame induction, Scholarships Awarded, Recognition of the 50th Reunion of the Class of 1967
6:15 – 6:30 pm
Assemble outside the North Entrance for the Group Hug Photo
Photo shoot – please be prompt
All are invited to join us for the event. For more information, or to volunteer to help, contact Jim Biava, All School Reunion chair, email@example.com, or Clay Eals, executive director, Southwest Seattle Historical Society, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WSHS All-School Reunion After-Party
And finally, join us at one of West Seattle’s newest and coolest pubs (21 and over), Whisky West (6451 California SW), after the West Seattle High School All-School Reunion. Whisky West is sponsoring the event, with funds raised going to the WSHS Alumni Association.
Grab a bite from the tantalizing menu, catch up with friends and dance the night away with the Nitemates, a well-loved band made up entirely of fellow alumni members who have together been delivering classic rock since 1962. They too are contributing to our alumni association – come check out special music-related auction items to lucky bid-winners! And special appearances by the Brian and Janie Show.
Custom-designed drinks to honor our school, with awesome music and classmates, a beautiful venue in The ‘Hood – what’s not to love?
There will be a silent auction at the ASR with a lineup of exciting purchases to bid on, and a live auction of two music-related items at the after-party.
(2015 photo by Long Bach Nguyen)
We’ve arrived at the time of year when you don’t have to be in the sky or on the water for a good look at the historic Alki Point Lighthouse. Summer tour season starts this weekend! From Debra Alderman on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary:
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will again be leading free tours for the public at the Alki Point Lighthouse most Saturday and Sunday afternoons Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.
This weekend the group plans to offer tours on Saturday, Sunday, and Memorial Day Monday as well.
Hours: 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. (last group enters site at 3:40 p.m.)
All ages welcome, but only those 6 and up may go to the very top of the lighthouse tower.
The Lighthouse is at 3201 Alki Ave. SW. Questions? email@example.com
Thanks to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society for sharing the “group hug” photo by Jean Sherrard from today’s centennial celebration at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse! The building housed Fauntleroy Elementary School until 1981 and is now home to Fauntleroy Children’s Center on the north end, The Hall at Fauntleroy on the south end, and other community organizations and small businesses inbetween. Watch for video from today’s celebration on the SWSHS website soon.
P.S. Next chance to be in a photo like this is another centennial – West Seattle High School is also celebrating its 100th anniversary, and this year’s All-School Reunion will include a “group hug” photo – 6:30 pm (gather at 6) Saturday, June 3rd – more info here.
(Seattle Municipal Archives photo of what’s described as the Highland Park-Burien line’s Hillside Station – possibly in Riverview – 1915)
13 years before light rail’s scheduled return to West Seattle, you’re invited to learn about one of the streetcar lines that rolled through our area decades ago. At 2 pm tomorrow (Sunday, May 21st), streetcar historian Mike Bergman is the featured speaker in the Southwest Seattle Historical Society/Seattle Public Library-presented series SouthWest Stories, telling you about the “History of the Highland Park & Lake Burien Railroad.” Here’s his video invitation, courtesy of SWSHS:
SW Stories rotates between library branches, and this time you’ll find it at the Delridge Library (5423 Delridge Way SW).
The former Avalon Substation building at 3243 SW Genesee has been proposed for landmark status and will go before the city Landmark Preservation Board in July. Here’s the official public notice of the hearing; here’s the official nomination document submitted to the city, including photos of its interior and exterior. In this case, it’s not necessarily that the 1954-built building is believed to merit that status, but meets criteria requiring considerations while the ex-substation is reviewed for proposed demolition. (We first told you back in October about City Light’s plan to tear it down and clean up mercury contamination.) In case you’re wondering, the landmark nomination does not include the building next door that houses Pecos Pit (WSB sponsor), which is using the ex-substation’s parking lot. Public comments are welcomed at and before the hearing, which is set for 3:30 pm Wednesday, July 5th, at City Hall downtown.
JUNE 13TH CORRECTION: Story has been amended above after City Light pointed out that it owns the land that holds the Pecos Pit restaurant but not the building.
In a week and a half, on Sunday, May 21st, the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse celebrates its centennial. Part of the celebration will be a “group hug” photo like the ones organized in each of the past three years for the Log House Museum totem pole (2014), the Alki Homestead rescue (2015), and the Admiral Theater renovations (2016). Unlike those three, this one will not have hundreds of elementary schoolchildren in attendance – and while alums of the former Fauntleroy Elementary (1917-1981) have been invited, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society says everyone is invited to be in the photo. Here’s a video invitation:
The photo – to be taken by Jean Sherrard of “Now and Then” fame from a 26-foot-high Pacific Rim Equipment Rental scissor lift – is set for 11:30 am on May 21st, right after a flag-raising ceremony and a few brief speeches, and then the centennial celebration will continue until 3 pm, with a variety of activities – find out more here, and set your calendar to be there and celebrate an important part of West Seattle history!
10:12 AM: We’re at Westside School (WSB sponsor) at 10404 34th SW in Arbor Heights, where the city’s second “open house” centered on the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability rezoning proposals has just begun. (Use this clickable/zoomable citywide map to see how your neighborhood would be affected.) Unlike the December open house in The Junction, there’s lots of room for lots of people at this one – it’s in the upstairs multipurpose room at the school – the staircase is right inside the main entrance from 34th.
In addition to HALA – with general information as well as a table for each of this area’s five Urban Villages (The Junction, Morgan Junction, Admiral, Westwood-Highland Park, South Park) …
… you’ll also find tables for SDOT, Metro, the upcoming May 25th Highland Park Find It/Fix It Walk, and Democracy Vouchers…
… among other things. And the HALA HoloLens “what it would look like under the rezoning” view is indeed being offered.
We’re off to explore some more.
10:35 AM UPDATE: Along with the HoloLens, here’s some of what else is new at this event, if you’ve already been to meetings and discussions about HALA rezoning. For one, we haven’t seen these boards, attempting to put faces and names to the affordable-housing shortage:
Also, a new timeline – the next big touchstone in the process, the draft Environmental Impact Statement, was due out this month. This board says it’s not expected until June, which means a comment period ending in mid-July:
And on the individual Urban Villages’ tables, we’re seeing sheets pointing out projects involved in the city’s previous program for below-market-rate housing in some projects – that’s the Multi-Family Tax Exemption project, in which property tax isn’t charged on the residential portion of projects for 15 years if they agree to rent a certain percentage of units to people making a certain level of income:
That project is unrelated to HALA and has been in place for many years – most of the newer, larger developments in West Seattle are participants. Meantime, back at the “so what would things look like if the rezoning happens?” area in the corner, along with the HoloLens 3D view, there’s also a monitor running a slideshow showing the difference between, for example, development zoned to 40′ currently, and what it would become if HALA adds a floor, to 55′.
So if you come to this (or are here already), don’t miss that in the corner on the right side of the stage.
11:02 AM: Half over already. Here’s the current crowd – still lots of room:
We have to move on, so that’s our last look at this event. If you couldn’t be here and haven’t commented on HALA MHA yet, you can still do that via firstname.lastname@example.org.
He’s the man who literally wrote the book on West Seattle history, and for the past 4+ years, he has been the main cheerleader for appreciating, stewarding, celebrating, exploring, and recording it. Today,Clay Eals has announced he’ll be making way for someone else – not yet hired – to lead the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Here’s the news release:
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society soon will seek a new executive director to succeed heritage advocate Clay Eals, who has resigned after four-and-a-quarter years in the position.
In a letter to the organization’s board, Eals wrote that his decision to step down stems from “a desire to spend more time focusing on other aspects of my life.”
His departure will be effective in mid-July. The board plans to begin advertising for the full-time position later this month and hopes to fill the position in time for the successor to overlap with Eals, who has been involved with the historical society since its founding in 1984.
Eals became the historical society’s first executive director in January 2013. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity, adding that he is confident that the organization’s mission, track record and board leadership will result in continued organizational success.
The author, historian and ex-journalist wrote in his resignation letter that the timing of the transition would be “as good as it gets” for the organization.
“We just finished a huge phase of our Junction landmark campaign, and between now and mid-July several manageable events (including the Sea View Hall home tour) can be pulled off while attention is devoted to a hiring process,” he wrote. “Most important is that there is enough time to get a new executive director on board to become immersed in the planning and execution of our 2017 Champagne Gala Brunch.”
As executive director, Eals has seen himself as a pied piper, bringing together members, volunteers, donors, sponsors and community leaders to achieve and monitor landmark status for iconic buildings, assemble Group Hug photo events featuring school children and others at key sites, champion programs and collections of the organization’s “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum, deepen relations with the Duwamish Tribe, create and sustain two monthly speaker series, revive the historical society’s annual “If These Walls Could Talk” home tours, broaden the organization’s visibility, and deepen its financial viability.
Primary responsibilities of the position are fundraising, outreach, volunteer recruitment, staff supervision and overall management. In addition to the full-time position of executive director, the historical society has two paid part-time staff positions of curator and museum operations coordinator.
“We will so miss Clay in his departure from our organization,” says Karen Sisson, who became board president of the historical society in January.
“We have appreciated the guidance Clay has shown us,” she says. “Clay has left us in such a better place than when he came to the organization, so now we are able to take what he has given us, build on that solid ground and reach for the stars! We wish him well with his ventures and will welcome his involvement with us in the future as a seasoned volunteer.”
For more information on the search for a new executive director, please contact Karen Sisson at 206-579-0126 or email@example.com.
(Photo credit: Joanne Murray)
“A sign might not seem like a big deal, but a sign is everything.” That’s how Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals kicked off a media briefing this morning next to the sign you see above – one of four now in place on the low and high West Seattle Bridges, marking the waterway they span, which carries the name of our area’s First People.
That’s our video of the entire event, held along the bicycle/pedestrian path on the “low bridge” alongside its control tower. Eals explained that the signage was first suggested about a year ago at the launch of a photography book called “Once and Future River” and was shepherded by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. She did not attend this morning’s briefing, but Eals was joined on the bridge by two well-known members of the Duwamish Tribe. Ken Workman, member of the Duwamish Tribal Council, is great-great-great-great-grandson of Chief Seattle, and noted that the sign is over the stretch of the river where his family once had a longhouse:
James Rasmussen is coordinator of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition:
Both acknowledged and hailed the significance of the signage – a small yet mighty form of recognition, even as the tribe continues battling for federal recognition of its existence and treaty rights, which Workman said is a matter once again in Bureau of Indian Affairs review. Rasmussen also talked about the ongoing river cleanup, with which the DRCC is deeply involved, and voiced concern about how the new administration in Washington, D.C., will affect the cleanup. It’s half-done, he said, and that’s no time to stop. He is currently most concerned about the Pollutant Loading Assessment in the watershed, which is suddenly looking for help with “modeling” – “the project right now is basically stopped” without that help, he explained, and in need of more funding.
P.S. You can take personal action to help the Duwamish River, two weeks from tomorrow – it’s the spring edition of the Duwamish Alive! planting/cleanup events held concurrently at many spots along the river and in its watershed, 10 am-2 pm April 22nd – go here to find out how to help.
P.P.S. Though he didn’t take a turn at the podium, the “Once and Future River” photographer Tom Reese was at the briefing too:
Rasmussen also contributed an afterword to the book, which is available through UW Press.
(Supporters of landmark status pose in front of the Campbell Building during a “We Love The Junction” event in February)
By Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The Campbell Building on the northeast corner of California and Alaska in the heart of The Junction is now an official city landmark, after a unanimous vote during Wednesday’s Landmarks Preservation Board meeting at Seattle City Hall.
After the board voted in February to nominate the historic building – which currently houses Cupcake Royale and three other storefronts facing SW Alaska Street, along with residential and office space upstairs – for landmark status, this was the last step toward protection for the century-old building. Read More
A month and a half after the city Landmarks Board designated the Hamm Building on the northwest corner of California/Alaska as an official city landmark (WSB coverage here), it will decide this Wednesday (April 5th) whether to do the same for the Campbell Building on the northeast corner, built incrementally in 1911 and 1920, named for West Seattle real-estate entrepreneur and civic booster WT Campbell. The agenda is out for the meeting in the Boards and Commissions Room at City Hall downtown (601 5th Ave.) and the hearing on the Campbell Building is expected to start about an hour into it, around 4:30 pm. If you can’t be there but have a comment about it, you can still e-mail landmarks coordinator Erin Doherty (firstname.lastname@example.org); if you are interested in testifying in support of it, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society suggests contacting SWSHS board vice president and We Love The Junction campaign co-chair Peder Nelson (email@example.com).
BACKSTORY: It’s been 13 months since SWSHS announced its campaign to seek landmark designations for the Campbell and Hamm Buildings, and half a year since the nominations were submitted to the city. You can see the full Campbell Building nomination document – history, photos, and more – by going here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It was a night 28 years in the making.
From the time the Admiral Theater was shuttered in 1989 – then saved – its future as a moviehouse was never fully guaranteed, until now, with its transformation to a first-run fourplex, celebrated last night. The gala included a ribboncutting with a “ribbon” made of film (across the center of the photo), presided over by Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals (below left), whose involvement dates back to leading the campaign to save it:
Eals proclaimed that everyone there last night was “standing in history.” The ribboncutting was the kickoff to a night in which four movies, from The Admiral’s “Four Eras,” were screened – as detailed here, from silent movies celebrating the building’s early history as The Portola, through a brand-new (and very popular) film.
This happened six months after the restoration work at the circa-1942 moviehouse started in earnest, more than a quarter century after it was designated a city landmark as part of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society campaign to save it. The company that owned it in the late ’80s abruptly decided to close it in 1989, and said the following year that it might not ever be a moviehouse again.
That was proven wrong after local entrepreneur Marc Gartin bought it in 1992. (He owns it to this day.) He was thanked last night by Sol Baron from Faraway Entertainment, which runs the moviehouse business and collaborated on the renovation plan, which was officially announced two years ago:
(WSB photo, February 2015)