West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle history http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:25:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Can the man who saved the Shoremont save the Alki Homestead? http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/can-the-man-who-saved-the-shoremont-save-the-alki-homestead/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/can-the-man-who-saved-the-shoremont-save-the-alki-homestead/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 01:28:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299400

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.

Well, almost history – he has not yet finalized the deal to buy the Homestead; some things remain to be explored, and this Friday morning’s meeting downtown (40th floor of the Municipal Tower, 8:30 am) is among them.

We’ll hear more details at that meeting, but what Schilling summarized for us is a somewhat simpler plan than some of the alternatives that architects working for current owner Tom Lin had taken to the city in 2010-2011 (July 2011 was the last meeting, and at some point after that, the project was shelved).

Some of the log work, as has been previously pointed out, is damaged by rot that had nothing to do with the 2009 fire. If you’ve walked past the Homestead recently and noticed blue tape on some of the logs, Schilling marked some of the spots in need of repair.

That’s a corner where he would hope to take out the old damaged logs and put in new ones – peeled, native, notched fir logs, as were the originals.

So in the bigger picture, what would Schilling do with the Homestead if he decides to go ahead with the purchase and renovations?

The historic building itself, he said, would probably have to be a restaurant. (He does recall eating there once, likely in the 1990s, likely having had its famous chicken.) Because of the site’s split zoning, he is proposing building half a dozen apartments in the parking lot east of the building; its parking would be underground, and parking for the Homestead itself would be off the alley to the west.

But first, he needs to know what the city Landmarks Board – of which the ARC is a subset – would allow him to do, since, fire damage and all, the Homestead remains under the jurisdiction of landmark regulations. He says he’s been working with city staffers already, discussing hypotheticals and possibilities – as well as noting conflicts between city rules requiring bringing the building up to new codes, and the rules governing what can be done to protected historic features.

He’s also been talking with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, whose Log House Museum a half-block south was the carriage house of the building that is known now as the Homestead but started as the Fir Lodge. SWSHS, you’ll likely recall, has been a strong advocate for saving the Homestead/Fir Lodge, making the point publicly with a group photo on July 4th, 2010:

Even though not yet fully committed to the project, Schilling has already become concerned about some of the Homestead’s features – for example, the old neon sign on its roof, which he noticed was “flopping around” in the wind. He had asked if perhaps it could be taken down and stored safely until renovations began, and says the city told him no. So it’s now steadied with more wires. “I love old neon, I really do,” Schilling smiles, looking up at the sign. As for the entirety of the building: “I’d like to save as much of it as I can,” he says, adding later, “I’ve owned worse,” noting that he’s already handled more than one post-fire-restoration project. Last year, after fire ravaged a marina he owns in the San Juans, he got it repaired and back in operation within just a few months.

The historic Homestead, Schilling points out, “is not condemned; it’s damaged,” and he sees it as fixable, with an improvement or two if the city allows, perhaps a better patio out back – with some extension, he says, some water view might be possible. “If I could break even on it and save it, that would be pretty cool.” First, though, he has to get through a city process that he describes as somewhat “painful” – next stop, Friday’s meeting. He expects to decide within a month and a half or so whether the purchase will be a go.

7 years of WSB’s Alki Homestead coverage is archived here, newest-to-oldest.

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VIDEO: Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s rock ‘n’ roll & ‘rebirth’ Champagne Gala Brunch scores sizable support http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/video-southwest-seattle-historical-societys-rock-n-roll-rebirth-gala-scores-sizable-support/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/video-southwest-seattle-historical-societys-rock-n-roll-rebirth-gala-scores-sizable-support/#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 18:49:52 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=291480 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:

(SWSHS-provided video)
Eals enthused that the hundreds of Alki, Lafayette, and Schmitz Park Elementary students among the 1,300 people at the event (which we streamed live – coverage here and here) will be able to “walk by for years, and say, ‘I was there’.”

(6/6/2014 photo by David Hutchinson)
The event was “a rebirth for the totem pole and a rebirth for our organization,” he declared.

The organization’s founder got an early nod, too, when SWSHS board president Marcy Johnsen, even before introducing Eals as the emcee, pointed out one of the many distinguished attendees, Erma Couden, widow of SWSHS founder Elliott Couden, two months away from her 100th birthday. At the same table was Earl Cruzen, the community advocate best known for the West Seattle Murals project (including Walking on Logs).

Before long, it was time for the music panel/podcast. As announced by SWSHS, the theme was “Why West Seattle?” Riemer and Brothers tackled the question first:

He said he came here to work at KJR Radio, which had a “great big tower” here, and bought his first house, in Admiral, for $83,000. She mentioned living in various areas of Seattle before landing in Highland Park: “It’s wonderful – I love my neighborhood.”

They introduced guests Chris Ballew (aka Caspar Babypants and front man of the >Presidents Of The United States of America), Tim Bierman of Pearl Jam‘s Ten Club, legendary label Sub Pop Records executive vice president Megan Jasper, longtime music-industry manager Susan Silver, and Easy Street Records proprietor Matt Vaughan.

Their answers to “Why West Seattle?” included Silver’s explanation that she had grown up here so she just “chose not to leave” and Ballew’s love of this area’s forested/greenbelt areas:

He said, “I can feel my blood pressure drop when I walk in the woods.”

Vaughan (at left below, with Jasper) said he “just fell in love with The Junction”:

He told his famous tale of being in his original location, with “a bed in the back” and the ability to holler lunch orders down the block to Husky Deli‘s Jack Miller (who was announced earlier as a brunch attendee). Bierman said his West Seattle move was because “Eddie made me do it.” (As in Vedder, Pearl Jam’s leader, who’s a West Seattleite too.)

When Riemer pressed the question, “but what is it about West Seattle and music?” he got an unexpected reply shouted out from the audience – the 1969 rock-concert “riot” on Alki, “when police teargassed the crowd!” (Yes, that really happened; explains.)

Less-dramatic answers included “having neighbors you can go to a show with and hang out with.” Just go watch the discussion above, or here, or watch for it on Riemer’s website (where you’ll find his show every Friday morning at 9:30, plus past editions).

Post-panel, the gala’s music theme played on, with autographed posters among the live-auctioned items:

That’s a limited-edition, 18-by-36-inch poster – framed by Wallflower Custom Framing (WSB sponsor) in The Junction – for a Pearl Jam show in Santiago, Chile. (Check the event program to see what else was auctioned.)

Gala-goers had other opportunities to support the SWSHS – the Challenge Fund, Fund-a-Dream, sales of the recently published Apron Strings” cookbook and special coffee/wine – and Eals told WSB last night that it all totaled ~$56,000, about 50 percent above the “apples-to-apples” figure from last year.

But the memories and evoked emotions were priceless. Particularly in what “the three Schmitzes,” as Vicki Schmitz-Block and her children Dietrich Schmitz and Julie Schmitz Broker, shared in the form of what Vicki called “a bit of our West Seattle story”:

Vicki answered the question “who were the original Schmitzes?” with the story of Ferdinand Schmitz, born a century and a half ago, who, she said, left Germany as a teenager to seek his path elsewhere, knowing that since he was not the family’s eldest son, he wouldn’t be its heir. After his eventual arrival in Seattle, he “sent for his childhood sweetheart Emma,” who arrived just before the 1889 fire downtown (where Ferdinand eventually acquired “a lot” of property).

You likely know Emma Schmitz as the namesake of the beautiful Beach Drive viewpoint, which is part of the family legacy Vicki described, also including Schmitz Park Preserve – donated “on condition it never be logged” – Schmitz Park Elementary, and Dr. Henry Schmitz Hall at the University of Washington.

The latter’s namesake, who served as UW president, was one of the “four children of Ferdinand and Emma (who) were no less public-minded,” she explained, with the others’ achievements including Dietrich Schmitz’s recordsetting 31 years on the Seattle Public Schools board of directors and Emma Schmitz Hartman’s service as national president of the (then-)Camp Fire Girls.

Vicki explained that she married into the Schmitz family in 1968 and had also come from a civic-minded background, “daughter of a police chief, always helping people, in a small town,” finding herself drawn to a role as “a catalyst,” and “see(ing) much of the Schmitz legacy” in her children, standing there beside her at the Salty’s event-room podium.

Julie, who now lives in Texas, explained her passion for philanthropy. Dietrich spoke of public service including his role as a community chaplain for SPD: “I do it because it needs to be done … it gives me the idea I have a role in this world, to make it a better place.” As a mortgage-industry professional, he added, he could see how someone might view 50-plus-acre Schmitz Park Preserve as profitably developable land, but it’s “unique and irreplaceable … you can go into that park and breathe.”

Vicki read, moved and movingly, from the 1908 resolution relating to the original Schmitz Park donation (we haven’t found it online, just the City Council’s acceptance). The gift was described as “a blessing” in the resolution, declaring it something “of which their children and children’s children will be more proud … than by the inheritance of wealth.”

Shortly afterward, she brought up the “27 extended members of the Schmitz family” who were in attendance, and urged attendees to think about their own families, the examples shown and lessons taught, and to look for “common threads of gratitude.” Just as we finished this report Sunday morning, we received from SWSHS the document with the Schmitzes’ scripted remarks, which you can read here or below:

P.S. One more rebirth was spotlighted during the brunch: The backstory of the concrete-and-rebar sculptures outside Salty’s. Here’s the video that was shown, in which Salty’s proprietor Gerry Kingen tells the story and then gives a tour:

(SWSHS-provided video)
He told the story of salvaging tons of pieces of what had been a bridge along Spokane Street and having them brought to Salty’s property, where neighbors first viewed them with concern and skepticism, and then, he said, “the neighborhood went from ‘what the hell are you doing?’ to ‘this is pretty cool’.”

Those last four words summed up much of what was said, done, and shown on Saturday.

P. P.S. While awaiting next year’s gala (for which WSB was a media sponsor), you can get involved with the SWS Historical Society in many ways. For one – go check out the Log House Museum and its displays, 12-4 pm Thursdays-Sundays at 61st/Stevens in Alki. Beyond that, SWSHS has events every month, from the volunteer orientation on first Saturdays (next one, December 6th) to the Words, Writers, & West Seattle author spotlights at Barnes & Noble in Westwood Village on first Fridays (next one, December 5th). Also, as announced at the gala, you can join SWSHS on its Totem Pole Cruise (not just for Saturday’s Golden Ticket drawing winner!) next year – watch the SWSHS website for info on how to book it as well as upcoming events at which you can find out more about it.

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‘No ordinary cookbook’: 114 recipes from 49 locals in ‘Apron Strings’ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/no-ordinary-cookbook-114-recipes-from-49-locals-in-apron-strings/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/no-ordinary-cookbook-114-recipes-from-49-locals-in-apron-strings/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 17:20:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287731

(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.”

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Golden Ticket time! Buy yours at Log House Museum http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/golden-ticket-time-buy-yours-at-log-house-museum/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/golden-ticket-time-buy-yours-at-log-house-museum/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 20:44:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287586 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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Followup: Tickets now available for Southwest Seattle Historical Society gala. New info, too: Wine, coffee, cruise! http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/followup-tickets-now-available-for-southwest-seattle-historical-society-gala-new-info-too-wine-coffee-cruise/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/followup-tickets-now-available-for-southwest-seattle-historical-society-gala-new-info-too-wine-coffee-cruise/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 02:41:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285723 Earlier this summer, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society went public with some details of this year’s Champagne Gala Brunch on November 8th. Now, not only are more details available, tickets are too – go here to get yours at the “early bird” rate (available until October 8th). Here are the newest details from SWSHS:

With a program featuring West Seattle deejay Marty Riemer, a half-dozen West Seattle-based music luminaries and the mother-son-daughter combination of Vicki Schmitz-Block, Dietrich Schmitz and Julie Schmitz Broker, this year’s Gala promises to be rousing and memorable.

It certainly will be as inspiring as its theme, “Rebirth: Celebrating the Restoration of the Admiral Totem Pole,” reflecting the passion of the historical society’s biggest event of the year (and any year), the June 6, 2014, unveiling of the restored pole at the organization’s “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum.

The Champagne Gala Brunch, the biggest fundraiser of the historical society’s year, runs from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, at Salty’s on Alki, 1936 Harbor Ave. SW. Tickets are on sale now and are $75 if ordered by the early-bird deadline of Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. Thereafter, tickets will be $85.

Tickets can be reserved by calling 206-938-5293 or visiting the historical society’s online ticket-purchase page at www.loghousemuseum.info. The brunch features table service rather than a buffet line, so purchasers will choose either a salmon or vegetarian entree (both are gluten-free).

The totem theme will be reflected in special Totem Red and Totem White wines and Totem Breakfast Blend coffee that will be on sale at the event and can be pre-ordered.

The theme also is carried out in a brand-new feature, a Golden Ticket Drawing in which the prize is a one-week Totem Cruise for two on the luxurious ms Westerdam of the Holland America line. (Golden Tickets go on sale in late September.)

Rounding out the program will be several unique Live Auction items, as well as a scrumptious Dessert Dash.

The historical society is grateful to have the assistance of sponsors (Salty’s on Alki, DCG ONE, Luna Park Cafe, IT Headquarters and Nucor Steel), crucial supporters (The Pacific Institute, Spud Fish & Chips, Hotwire Online Coffeehouse and 4Culture) and media sponsors (West Seattle Blog and West Seattle Herald).

The Gala Committee of the historical society includes Val Wilds, chair, and Liz Day, Sandy Donnen, Bethany Green, Inez Lindsey, and Diane Venti. Here are details on the many facets of the event:


Why do so many national music luminaries live in West Seattle?

West Seattleite Marty Riemer — arguably the best-known Seattle broadcaster for more than three decades (KZOK, KJR, KXRX, The Mountain, and presently his basement podcast) — wants to know.

And soon he will find out so we all can know, when he hosts a panel of West Seattle-based pillars of the music scene that very question.

The occasion is the 2014 Champagne Gala Brunch. Riemer’s co-host for the panel will be broadcaster Jodi Brothers (The Jet, KMTT), and their panelists will be Chris Ballew (aka Casper Babypants), founder of The Presidents of the United States of America; Tim Bierman, general manager of the Pearl Jam Ten Club; broadcaster Gary Crow (KZOK, KXRX); Megan Jasper, Sub Pop Records’ executive vice president; Easy Street Records owner Matt Vaughan and Pearl Jam publicist Nicole Vandenberg.


Have you ever wondered what brought about the beautiful old-growth Schmitz Park in West Seattle? Or Emma Schmitz Viewpoint Park? Or Me Kwa Mooks Park? Or Schmitz Park Elementary School?

It is a family legacy stretching more than a century and forging a path of civic duty and gratitude, including the leadership of important local institutions, and organizations such as Washington Mutual Savings Bank, the University of Washington and the Seattle School Board.

Speakers from the Schmitz family will address its impact on West Seattle and Seattle as a whole — and how it continues to this day. They are West Seattleites Vicki Schmitz-Block and her son, Dietrich Schmitz, and Vicki’s daughter, Julie Schmitz Broker of Houston. They will take the Gala audience on a verbal and visual tour of the indelible influence of one of Seattle’s premier families.


Bottles of Totem Red and Totem White wine and Totem Blend coffee can be reserved by visiting the historical society’s ticket-purchase page. Here are the details:

* Totem Red wine, at $20, is 2012 vintage, with 75% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon & 3% Petit Verdot, Columbia Valley.

* Totem White wine, at $17, is 2012 vintage, with 93% Chardonnay & 7% Viognier, Columbia Valley.

* Totem Blend coffee, at $15, comes to us from Hotwire Online Coffeehouse in the West Seattle Junction. This blend is rich in history and flavor, a dark, bold roast with hints of nutmeg, chocolate, and deep cherry. Each 12-ounch bag is available in whole bean or drip grind.

Reserved Totem-brand wines and coffee can be picked up at the 2014 Champagne Gala Brunch or afterward at the Log House Museum through the end of November.


For the first time, the historical society’s Champagne Gala Brunch is featuring a Golden Ticket Drawing.

The prize is a stunner: a Totem 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., and returning on Sept. 26, 2015.

Featured on this excursion will be programming related to Pacific Northwest totem poles, which have their origins in Alaska and northern British Columbia.

Golden Tickets can be purchased in person only, starting in late September 2014 at our Log House Museum and from Gala Committee members and board members. Sales will continue through the Champagne Gala Brunch.

The cost per ticket is just $100. Individuals can buy as many tickets as they like, but a maximum of only 100 tickets will be sold, first-come, first-served.

The prize does not include government or port taxes, shore excursions, or airfare. The winner will be selected in a drawing at the Champagne Gala Brunch. The winner need not be present to win.

The historical society will announce in late September the launch of Golden Ticket sales.

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Followup: Fauntleroy Schoolhouse crowdlending goal reached! http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/followup-fauntleroy-schoolhouse-crowdlending-goal-reached/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/followup-fauntleroy-schoolhouse-crowdlending-goal-reached/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 21:54:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283910 Update from the Fauntleroy Community Service Agency: The crowdlending campaign to raise money for remaining work at the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse has just passed its $500,000 goal! This is for the second phase of repair work, involving roof, painting, gutter/downspouts, and earthquake-resistance retrofitting. As reported here last month, the campaign launched in connection with Semble hit the halfway mark within its first week; by the start of this week, it was three-quarters of the way to goal; and today, it passed the half-million mark. FCSA hopes to get the work done before fall rainy season arrives.

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Two special spotlights previewed for Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s 2014 Gala Champagne Brunch http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/two-special-spotlights-previewed-for-southwest-seattle-historical-societys-2014-gala-champagne-brunch/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/two-special-spotlights-previewed-for-southwest-seattle-historical-societys-2014-gala-champagne-brunch/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:24:13 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283897

Fall is approaching, and that means fundraising-gala season. So again this year, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society gathered board members and longtime backers at The Pacific Institute across from Seacrest Park for a preview of this year’s Gala Champagne Brunch. At last night’s gathering, SWSHS executive director Clay Eals announced that the gala, 11:30 am November 8th at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor), will feature two special spotlights.

As Eals mentions in our brief clip, one relates to the gala’s theme, celebrating the renovated Admiral Way totem pole unveiled in June at SWSHS’s Log House Museum:

The totem pole was carved from a log cut in Schmitz Park, one of the West Seattle treasures donated by the Schmitz family, whose Vicki and Dietrich Schmitz will discuss the family’s unique historical legacy.

Also in the spotlight at the SWSHS gala brunch: A panel spotlighting West Seattleites’ roles in the world-renowned Northwest music scene – “Why West Seattle?” Marty Riemer and Jodi Brothers will host panelists including Chris Ballew, Tim Bierman, Gary Crow, Megan Jasper, Nicole Vandenberg, and Matt Vaughan. Here’s Marty’s video invitation:

Postal-mail invitations are going out soon, but even if you don’t get one, you’re very much welcome at the event (sponsors, by the way, include WSB). Reservations will be available via the SWSHS website in about a week. If you reserve your seat by October 8th, you’ll get a $10 discount – we’ll publish an update as soon as we get word the page is live.

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Charlestown Court not worthy of landmark status, says Landmarks Preservation Board, again http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/charlestown-court-not-worthy-of-landmark-status-says-landmarks-preservation-board-again/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/charlestown-court-not-worthy-of-landmark-status-says-landmarks-preservation-board-again/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 00:53:52 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281785

(County archives photo of the building now known as Charlestown Court)
We’re at the Municipal Tower downtown, where the city Landmarks Preservation Board voted this afternoon to reject landmark status for Charlestown Court. The building is proposed for demolition to make way for an 8-unit townhouse project.

This was the second time the Tudor-style 1920s-era brick fourplex at 3811 California SW had been nominated; the last time, in a process that played out 2007-2008, the board said “no,” but development proposals then stalled until the current one, and the city said too much time had elapsed for them simply to refer to that previous vote, so the process needed to start again.

Before today’s presentation about the building, Paul Cesmat said he has owned it since 2007 and declared it has structural issues – “the brick’s not structurally sound, the chimney has issues, this has been pointed out to us … and we have insurability issues … I feel that this building does not meet historical criteria … and it’s not structurally worth saving.” It is wood-framed without concrete backing the brick, he explained in response to a question later.

The presentation focused on changes made to the building, including its windows, contending the changes made over the years affected the fourplex’s “physical integrity.” The photo you see at the top of the story was shown, with the comment “It’s a shame that’s not there any more.” (The nomination document from the June meeting, including photos and history, can be seen as a PDF here.)

In pre-vote discussion, board members said basically that while you could consider it “handsome” or “charming,” it just didn’t “rise” to landmark status.

One “yes” voter was a West Seattleite on the board, Deb Barker, who said “the footprint of this building is so distinctive … not a typical one for West Seattle … and that amazing strong roof line has not changed … a strongly identifiable visual feature from California Avenue SW.” She mentioned a nearby subdivision of “small Tudor buildings” to which this seems to have a relationship. “In my 29 years of driving past this building, it’s always been well-maintained” and eye-catching, Barker added.

Another “yes” voter said that “while it’s not necessarily the most impressive example of the architect’s work, it’s not the most humble or basic, either … I think it holds its own among its peers in the city.” And yet another one said basically that while it might not stand out in a big way now, we’ll miss it if it goes, because this type of building is disappearing around the city.

No one spoke during the public-comment period. Before today’s vote, West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen had sent the board a letter supporting designation as a landmark – read it here (PDF) – we received a copy just as the hearing began. It was not mentioned at the hearing, though.

The board did hear from a representative of Gamut 360, the prospective townhouse developer, who read from the minutes of the April 2008 board meeting at which the building was previously rejected for landmark status.

The townhouse project still has to go through the city permit process, including approval of a demolition permit, before construction can begin.

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Saturday with SW Seattle Historical Society: Volunteer orientation in the a.m., WS Outdoor Movies in the p.m. http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/saturday-with-sw-seattle-historical-society-volunteer-orientation-in-the-a-m-ws-outdoor-movies-in-the-p-m/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/saturday-with-sw-seattle-historical-society-volunteer-orientation-in-the-a-m-ws-outdoor-movies-in-the-p-m/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 05:10:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281326 Make it a historic Saturday:

VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION: 11 am-1 pm tomorrow (Saturday, August 2nd) at the Log House Museum, it’s the next orientation for prospective Southwest Seattle Historical Society volunteers. No, you don’t have to know all about WS history to help – learn some along the way, and put a variety of skills into action. Read about it here, then show up at the LHM, 61st/Stevens.

WEST SEATTLE OUTDOOR MOVIES: SWSHS is sponsoring tomorrow night’s West Seattle Outdoor Movies presentation of “Sleepless in Seattle,” which you probably know includes a famous – and contextually infamous – West Seattle scene. It’s also a wrapup event for this summer’s celebration of the West Seattle Bridge’s 30th anniversary; Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), adjacent to the WSOM screen/courtyard, still has anniversary T-shirts and commemorative coffee on sale. Gate opens 6:30 pm, movie at dusk (9-ish), free but bring $ for benefit raffle tickets/concessions.

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West Seattle Bridge anniversary: One more big event ahead http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-bridge-anniversary-one-more-big-event-ahead/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-bridge-anniversary-one-more-big-event-ahead/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 22:19:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280672

Next Saturday night, “Sleepless in Seattle” (the movie that inspired the cry, “You can’t get to Alki like THAT!”) will be onscreen as part of West Seattle Outdoor Movies, sponsored by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society as a wrapup of the summerlong celebration of the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the “high bridge.” As you know if you’ve been to a WSOM screening before, the screen is on a big wall in the courtyard outside Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), which has been partnering with SWSHS in the summerlong celebration.

Back on July 14th, 30 years to the day after the bridge’s dedication, the courtyard was the site of a panel discussion of the bridge’s history – not just how it got built, but also, the bizarre spinoff story that became a murder mystery. In case you missed that event, here’s our video:

Back to next Saturday’s WS Outdoor Movies presentation: According to the full preview on the SWSHS website, preshow entertainment includes live music and more of those historic bridge-related video clips previewed here earlier this month. And as with all WSOM shows, it’s free! But you can bring $ for not only nonprofit-benefiting concessions and raffles, but also to buy an anniversary T-shirt and commemorative coffee. Make a night of it – August 2nd, 4410 California SW.

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Fauntleroy Schoolhouse centennial celebration: You can help! http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/fauntleroy-schoolhouse-centennial-celebration-you-can-help/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/fauntleroy-schoolhouse-centennial-celebration-you-can-help/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:34:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278736

That photo was taken on the grounds of the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, shortly after its 1917 opening. Though it’s not in service as a public school any more, it’s part of the heart of the Fauntleroy community, and that’s why planning is already accelerating for the schoolhouse’s centennial celebration. Fauntleroy communicator/community advocate Judy Pickens shares this information on how to help, starting now:

The Fauntleroy Schoolhouse will turn 100 in 2017, and a planning committee is laying the groundwork for several events to honor “A Century of Serving the Community.” Here’s how you might help:

§ Photos and memorabilia from your time at the school, either donated or loaned.

§ To build a database, your full name, contact information, and year(s) you were a student or staff member at the school.

§ Centennial event planning. If you would like to help, meet at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 31, at the Original Bakery.

If you can help with any of the above, please email faunt.schoolhouse100years@gmail.com.

The first centennial event will be an open house next May. Grander celebrations will follow in 2017.

The schoolhouse (file photo above) has been community-owned since the purchase from Seattle Public Schools was completed four years ago.

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West Seattle Summer Fest countdown: Meet ‘Seymour History’ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-summer-fest-countdown-meet-seymour-history/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-summer-fest-countdown-meet-seymour-history/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 23:07:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278674 Three days until West Seattle Summer Fest – our area’s biggest party of the year, in the heart of The Junction, Friday-Sunday, July 11th-13th. We’re continuing to roll out previews of what you can see and do, and today we have an update from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which will have a booth at the fair to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the “high bridge,” partnering with Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor). SWSHS’s Clay Eals sends word that in honor of another anniversary – the state’s 125th birthday – you can “meet” Seymour History at the booth. That’s Seymour at left; he is a 10-inch-high doll replica of an Olympic Marmot, the state’s official land mammal, available for photo ops at the booth, where you can also enter a contest to win him or other prizes including two “History Is Not for Wimps” T-shirts, the book “Washington Curiosities,” and four guest passes to the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. If you stop by the booth 11 am-3 pm on Summer Fest day 1 this Friday, you’ll also meet staffers from the Washington State Historical Society; other hours, SWSHS volunteers will do double duty as Seymour’s handlers, while also leading the bridge-a-versary activities including an interactive art opportunity and more chances to buy commemorative T-shirts and coffee beans. Get ready for everything Summer Fest has to offer by browsing the official site here.

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West Seattle 4th of July: Picnic, bridge-anniversary celebration, volunteer awards at Log House Museum http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/happening-now-4th-of-july-picnic-and-bridge-anniversary-celebration-at-log-house-museum/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/happening-now-4th-of-july-picnic-and-bridge-anniversary-celebration-at-log-house-museum/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 20:23:20 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278270

How many bridges have connected West Seattle to the mainland? What year did the first one open? What year did the bridge get hit by a freighter, paving the way (so to speak) for the current high bridge? Those are three of the trivia questions* that Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals has asked so far in a quiz during the Log House Museum‘s traditional 4th of July picnic.

The trivia quiz is part of the SWSHS-led celebration of the 30th anniversary of the high bridge’s completion, with more events to come, as listed here – including a special booth during West Seattle Summer Fest July 11th-13th and an event at the Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor) courtyard on the 30th anniversary of the bridge’s completion, July 14th. Meantime, today’s picnic is on until 3 pm, and you’re welcome to come by – 61st/Stevens, one block inland from the beach, home of the renovated Admiral totem pole, and if you’re not already a SWSHS member, consider signing up during your visit (info here). The museum also celebrates its volunteers on this day; President’s Volunteer Service Awards were received by two people – (L to R) volunteer coordinator Bethany Green presented the awards to Kerry Korsgaard, and Dave Hrachovina:

*(Trivia answers: 13, 1890, 1978. The T-shirt Clay Eals is wearing was today’s quiz prize – the special commemorative shirt you can still buy at the LH Museum & Hotwire.)

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Also tomorrow: Explore Hiawatha’s Olmsted Parks history http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/also-tomorrow-explore-hiawathas-olmsted-parks-history/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/also-tomorrow-explore-hiawathas-olmsted-parks-history/#comments Sat, 21 Jun 2014 00:17:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277060 Just got word of this, and it’s a rare opportunity: Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks is offering a free public walking tour tomorrow (10 am Saturday) of Hiawatha Playfield, designed by John Charles Olmsted more than a century ago. Meet by the park entrance at Walnut/Forest. Prepare with this history lesson (and find out about the other Olmsted parks in West Seattle via this clickable map).

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Landmarks Board votes to formally consider Charlestown Court for landmark status http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/landmarks-board-votes-to-formally-consider-charlestown-court-for-landmark-status/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/landmarks-board-votes-to-formally-consider-charlestown-court-for-landmark-status/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 00:19:26 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276844 Quick update from the city Municipal Tower downtown: The city Landmarks Preservation Board has just voted to approve the nomination of Charlestown Court, the brick fourplex at 3811 California SW, as a potential city landmark. A consultant hired by its owners – who want to demolish it and replace it with eight townhouses - said they don’t think it merits landmark status, a decision reached by the board six years ago when another demolition/redevelopment proposal was pending. (Since more than five years have passed, city reps explained, a new review was warranted.) Today’s vote sets the stage for a final vote on August 6th.

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