Also tomorrow: Explore Hiawatha’s Olmsted Parks history

June 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | Comments Off

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).

Landmarks Board votes to formally consider Charlestown Court for landmark status

June 18, 2014 at 5:19 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

Quick update from the city Municipal Tower downtown: The city Landmarks Preservation Board has just voted to approve the nomination of Charlestown Court, the brick fourplex at 3811 California SW, as a potential city landmark. A consultant hired by its owners – who want to demolish it and replace it with eight townhouses - said they don’t think it merits landmark status, a decision reached by the board six years ago when another demolition/redevelopment proposal was pending. (Since more than five years have passed, city reps explained, a new review was warranted.) Today’s vote sets the stage for a final vote on August 6th.

West Seattle Bridge’s 30th anniversary! Celebration starts rolling at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse during Thursday’s WS Art Walk

June 11, 2014 at 9:05 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

(Photos courtesy Southwest Seattle Historical Society)
Every West Seattle Art Walk has a multitude of reasons for you to visit local venues and see what – but tomorrow night, there’s an extra reason: The start of a summer-long celebration of the West Seattle Bridge’s 30th anniversary – a reason to talk about the bridge WITHOUT a discussion of traffic trouble! The photos accompanying this preview – and others – went up tonight at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), which will be showing them off as part of the June Art Walk (and beyond).

Hotwire and other local businesses are collaborating with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society for the multi-site, multi-date celebration. Stop by Hotwire Thursday night not only to see the photo exhibit but also to see the new “Bridging the Gap” T-shirt in honor of the anniversary and meet its artist (more info on the SWSHS website) and to check out the “Bridge Blend” coffee beans that Hotwire is launching. Part of the proceeds from T-shirt and coffee sales will benefit SWSHS.

(Added: As Mike points out in comments, today is the 36th anniversary of the ship-vs.-bridge collision that led to construction of the new bridge!)

Read on for other highlighted events celebrating the anniversary over the next month and a half or so:

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Bridge’s 30th anniversary! Celebration starts rolling at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse during Thursday’s WS Art Walk…

More Log House Museum totem-pole celebration photos: The people who were there to write a new chapter in its history

June 6, 2014 at 10:30 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(Our first report on this morning’s ceremony is here)

(Photo by David Hutchinson)
This morning’s celebration of the former Admiral Way totem pole’s new home at the Log House Museum wasn’t really about the pole – it was about the people. Not just the dignitaries:

(This and subsequent photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand unless otherwise credited)

It was especially about the kids – most of whom arrived with the dignitaries – County Executive Dow Constantine walking from his alma mater, Schmitz Park Elementary, through the park:

Mayor Ed Murray, who attended Alki Elementary, walked with its students, and talked with kids even once he was in place:

At Murray’s left is Marcy Johnsen from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, a childhood playmate of his, from her time living in what’s now the museum. The young attendees made the event especially memorable:

Some helped keep their fellow students safe, as they guarded intersections on the walk to the museum – following a quick run to get ahead:

Also there with safety in mind – SPD:

(Photo by Liesbet T.)
Considering the Schmitz Park, Alki, and Lafayette students on hand helped the crowd total pass 900, it was amazingly calm. Finally, the big moment came, and student representatives joined dignitaries in pulling streamers to unveil the totem pole:

Here’s video of what happened from there:

(More of the ceremony is in the archived Livestream video in our first report.) A Native American blessing was bestowed by Blake Shelafoe:

The energetic voice that guided everyone through today’s event, that of Historical Society executive director Clay Eals, who emceed:

Some of the people who were there today represented both past and present – the Schmitz family, for example, represented by family members including Dietrich Schmitz and Vicki Schmitz Block:

The pole was carved in 1966 from a log that came from a tree in the Schmitz Park forest.

(Photo by Liesbet T.)
And now you can make your own memories – visit the pole on 61st south of Stevens any time, and learn about West Seattle history inside the Log House Museum during its regular hours Thursdays-Sundays, noon-4 pm. (You might even want to become a volunteer – the next orientation is tomorrow morning, 11 am Saturday!)

P.S. If you missed our earlier reports including more about the pole’s history – see this page on the museum website.

ADDED 4:17 PM: Time-lapse of the event by SWSHS volunteer Brad Chrisman, starting with preparations, then the gathering of the immense crowd, and beyond:

Happening now: Went to West Seattle High School, any year(s)? This reunion’s for you

June 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off

It’s All-School Reunion night at West Seattle High School – this year’s spotlighted 50th-anniversary class is the Class of 1964, gathering in the Commons, while other years gather in rooms around the school. Also there, Marcy Johnsen from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, just hours after their big totem-pole ceremony, showing off the SWSHS tote bags ($20):

And Janet Jones with the Steps at Stevens project, which has another design meeting coming up June 23rd. If you have some ties to WSHS, drop by in the hours ahead!

8:14 PM: Also seen during our brief stop – Gail Stevens Anderson, WSHS ’63, with the West Seattle Garden Tour book for this year:

The tour’s coming up July 20th; WSB is again among the co-sponsors. And from the class of ’63 and ’64 respectively, Mike Munson and Marsha Munson:

Along with socializing and reminiscing, the All-School Reunion also includes scholarship presentations.

Seen from West Seattle: P-51s’ D-Day anniversary flyover

June 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm | In Seen around town, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

Thanks to Gary Jones for sharing photos from the P-51 Mustang flyover previewed here last night – scheduled to wrap up right about now at the Snohomish County home of the Historic Flight Foundation, which coordinated it in honor of the 70th anniversary of D-Day today. The warplanes flew over downtown around noontime:

Click the top photo to open a similar view at twice the size. (And thanks again to Bob, who gave us the heads-up about this!)

ADDED 5:48 PM: A view from Jim Clark:

1st report: Log House Museum hosts hundreds to celebrate Admiral Way totem pole’s new home and public display

June 6, 2014 at 10:25 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle live, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

(Added – our photo from immediately after the unveiling)
10:25 AM: We’re testing live streaming today with the Log House Museum totem-pole unveiling – here’s the link to the page on where you’ll see live video/audio, if it’s working.

11:10 AM: Awesome event! Lots of coverage to come.

(Including County Executive Dow Constantine and Dietrich Schmitz leading Schmitz Park Elementary students on a walk down to the museum – where they joined Alki and Lafayette students as well as other attendees.)

(Crowd & media, with Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen at center, in hat)
11:25 AM: Adding a photo or two here pending full coverage later. And here’s the archive of the second half of our live stream, which includes the unveiling – our second report later will have our main clip, but check this out for starters:

Thanks to those who checked out the live stream – it was done via handheld iPhone, and there are steadier ways to do it, but you have to start somewhere. P.S. The Log House Museum is open until 4 pm today (noon-4 Thursdays-Sundays), and the totem-pole exhibit we mentioned yesterday is now open to visitors too.

4:49 PM: It’ll be mid-evening before our mega-roundup is done – we’re off to cover a few early-evening stories. Two photos we wanted to add here in the meantime – both from Alki photographer David Hutchinson. First, Mayor Murray walking from Alki Elementary:

And a splendid view of the totem pole:

Log House Museum totem-pole dedication tomorrow: Sign, exhibit work today

June 5, 2014 at 6:41 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off

At 10:30 tomorrow morning, the intersection of 61st and Stevens outside the Log House Museum – home of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society – will be closed to vehicles and full of people: Hundreds of students from Alki and Schmitz Park Elementaries, dozens of VIPs including County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Ed Murray, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, and former Mayor Greg Nickels, and as many other spectators as care to show up. The occasion: A ceremony unveiling the former Admiral Way totem pole, fixed up and shined up and placed (as we showed you Tuesday) in its new home outside the museum. Inside the museum, a new “mini-exhibit” will open in honor of the occasion, and it’s being worked on right now. We stopped by earlier this afternoon to check in with museum manager/exhibit curator Sarah Baylinson (below) and SWSHS executive director Clay Eals.

In the exhibit, you will see a collection of items from three mini-totem poles on loan from Ye Olde Curiosity Shop (with Baylinson, above) to totem-themed memorabilia:

The Shoppe’s original owner JE “Daddy” Standley brought the totem pole’s predecessor to West Seattle in 1939, 38 years after it was carved by First Nations members in coastal British Columbia. That pole is featured in the 1952 Hi-Yu program cover, shared with us by the museum:

That’s Diane Qualls, Miss West Seattle Hi-Yu 1952. The pole that will be unveiled tomorrow morning was carved in 1966 and stood for 40 years at the northeast-facing viewpoint on Admiral Way, until a newer pole replaced it, at which time it was given to SWSHS with the expectation it would be renovated and displayed. It was taken away in 2012 for work at Artech in Renton, and brought back Tuesday.

(WSB photo from Tuesday)
This afternoon, Eals and volunteers put its interpretive sign into place as one of the finishing touches before tomorrow morning:

The pole’s history, and that of its predecessor, are shown in this slide deck put together by SWSHS. Again, all are welcome at tomorrow morning’s ceremony, which is to include a group photo – but don’t show up at the last minute, because the intersection will be closed and hundreds will be on hand!

D-Day’s 70th anniversary: Flyover plan; veteran’s perspective

June 5, 2014 at 12:15 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

(1944 photo of four P-51 Mustangs in flight – not the same ones you might see tomorrow, but similar)
Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the beginning of the end of World War II. Two local notes: First, thanks to Bob for noticing and pointing out a special airborne tribute that you might see in the sky over West Seattle (and/or elsewhere) tomorrow. From the Historic Flight Foundation, which is based at Paine Field in Snohomish County:

To mark this important day, HFF has organized a very rare formation of P-51 Mustangs to visit cities and towns throughout Western Washington on June 6th, the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Led by HFF’s D-Day veteran (four sorties over the beaches of Normandy), P-51B “Impatient Virgin,” the formation will launch from HFF at 9 a.m. and conclude operations at approximately 3 p.m. with a noon-hour tour of downtown Seattle. Special visits include Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Gray Army Airfield. Operations will extend as far north as Bellingham, as far south as Olympia.

Our friends at Lynnwood Today have schedule details.

For more on D-Day – a West Seattle veteran tells some of the context, perspective, and backstory in a video published on the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s website.

ADDED 9:19 PM: From the HFF website, as pointed out in comments, the expected viewing times/places tomorrow – the afternoon route is the one closest to us, in spots:

Paine Field 11:50
Lake Forest Park 11:56
Seattle Waterfront 12:00
Seattle 12:05
Boeing Field 12:15
Newcastle 12:20
Bellevue 12:23
Woodinville 12:30
Issaquah 12:40
McChord 12:50
Gray AAF 13:00
DuPont 13:05
Lacey 13:10
Olympia 13:15
Tumwater 13:18
Tacoma Narrows 13:22
Tacoma 13:25
Gig Harbor 13:32
Vashon Island 13:37
Belfair 13:40
Bainbridge Island 13:44
Poulsbo 13:50
Kingston 13:55
Paine Field 14:10

Also in the comment section, there was word of a possible sighting today. The Times, in fact, has photos from a practice, including the one in this tweet:


Charlestown Court to be reviewed again for possible landmark status, with demolition/development proposal pending

June 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 12 Comments



(Historic photo from King County Assessor; 2008 photo by WSB’s Christopher Boffoli)
In 2007, facing demolition for site redevelopment, the Charlestown Court apartments at 3811 California SW were nominated for possible city-landmark status. In a process extensively covered here, the Landmarks Preservation Board ruled in 2008 that it didn’t qualify. A new development proposal preserving the building’s facade subsequently emerged – but the recession hit, and it was never built.

Five months ago, we discovered a new demolition-and-redevelopment proposal in the early stage of public review – this time, to tear down Charlestown Court and build eight townhouses. And now, another twist: Visiting the city Landmarks Preservation Board website for research on an unrelated story, we discovered that Charlestown Court, a Tudor-style brick fourplex built in the 1920s, first will be reviewed again for landmark status, and a hearing is coming up this month.

In a conversation with WSB this morning – before the official notice of the nomination came out – Erin Doherty from the Landmarks Board explained that the documentation was submitted pre-emptively by the owners/developers, as it was likely that as part of the review of their demolition/development proposal, they would have been required to do this anyway – the process is explained in this city document. A new review is required because the last one was more than five years ago.

The first hearing before the Landmarks Board is set for its meeting on Wednesday, June 18th, at 3:30 pm, on the 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown – here’s the official notice. The full nomination document can be seen here (though it’s dated April, Doherty tells us it had been under review for the past few weeks and actually just went online yesterday). The meeting notice has information on how to comment before the hearing.

Log House Museum totem-pole celebration countdown: The arrival

June 4, 2014 at 3:10 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

If you pass the east side of the Log House Museum on 61st SW at Stevens any time between now and midmorning Friday, that’s what you’ll see – the former Admiral Way totem pole, restored by experts, awaiting its grand unveiling during a big street-closing event Friday morning. Its proud new perch is just yards from where it spent years in repose behind the museum – where we photographed it in December 2011:

Four months later, the pole was trucked off to Artech in April 2012. Tuesday, after an extensive renovation project, they brought it back and installed it outside the museum in an intensive and much-photographed operation:

West Seattle resident Roger Waterhouse and Cody Thomaselli of Artech were the hands-on installers. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society had to get city permits and Landmarks Board approval for what otherwise might have seemed like a simple project – how hard could it be to put up a stand and place the pole on it, right?

Actually, once the pole was hoisted upright, it was somewhat painstaking – move it a bit this way, then a bit that way – until it was just right. We rolled video on the last few minutes:

In the Artech wrapping – later removed once the pole was covered up in the material you see in the top photo – the features were somewhat visible:

If you can, come see the unveiling Friday morning at 10:30, with students from Alki and Schmitz Park Elementaries coming to fill the street (which will close for the occasion) along with West Seattle-rooted dignitaries led by King County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Ed Murray (who grew up nearby), and former Mayor Greg Nickels. The pole gets a new interpretive plaque, too, shown off Tuesday morning by SWSHS executive director Clay Eals:

If you just can’t get away at midmorning Friday, make plans for a museum visit sometime soon – a special exhibit will open inside. The museum’s hours are noon-4 pm Thursdays-Sundays.

P.S. With this event and much more in the works this summer, including the West Seattle Bridge 30th anniversary commemorations, volunteer power is more vital than ever to the nonprofit museum’s success – and you can be part of it. This Saturday, the day after the totem-pole celebration, 11 am-1 pm, come to the museum for its next volunteer orientation.

Update: Log House Museum readies for totem-pole celebration Friday

June 3, 2014 at 2:01 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(UPDATED early Tuesday afternoon with totem pole’s arrival)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 2:01 AM: Later today, the former Admiral Way totem pole will arrive at its new home outside the Log House Museum, where we photographed site preparations on Monday. It will arrive under cover and will stay that way, so you won’t see it until Friday, when the renovated pole will be unveiled in a celebration with so many guests, the street will be closed to make room for them! The dignitaries’ list alone is long enough for a street closure; see it on the Log House Museum’s website. One of them is Diane Morgan, whose husband Michael Morgan was one of the pole’s carvers almost half a century ago. Looking ahead to the event, she shared some memories:

Now, after renovation work at Artech – which also restored the Rotary Viewpoint Park totem pole four years ago – the pole is ready for its new home. You’re invited to be part of the event launching the pole into its future, including a group photo, at 10:30 am Friday (June 6th), 61st and Stevens.

12:35 PM TUESDAY: The totem pole has arrived and has been installed – still covered up! – on its base on the east side of the Log House Museum’s lot. Here’s a quick video clip as the painstaking job of raising it concluded (go here if you don’t see it below):

Shortly, it’ll get a different, temporary cover so the protective blankets from the move can be removed. After that, we’ll have a full update on the installation and more on the plans for Friday. (Trivia point: The pole was carved from a tree that grew in nearby Schmitz Park.)

SW Historical Society updates: Lou Whittaker recalls ‘a heck of a ride’; West Seattle Bridge 30th-anniversary party ahead

May 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

(Video by Mark Jaroslaw)
Thanks to Clay Eals from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society for sharing video excerpts from Lou Whittaker‘s West Seattle High School appearance sharing memories from “A Life in the Mountains” (and screening the biographical documentary of the same name). As you’ll hear him observe at one point (or maybe you were there to hear him in person), “It has been a heck of a ride.” And it’s not over yet – he is going strong at 85. More than 100 people came to see and hear him. Read more about it on the SWSHS website.

NEXT UP FOR SWSHS – BRIDGE ANNIVERSARY AND MORE: So much is going on in June, it might take us until then to mention it all here. So instead – check out the right side of the organization’s home page for the latest on the totem-pole unveiling, the next “Words, Writers, West Seattle” author, and … a multi-modal celebration of the 30th anniversary of the high-rise West Seattle Bridge (dedicated July 14, 1984).

(Seattle Municipal Archives photo of The Bridge while it was being built)
According to the SWSHS website, it all starts a month in advance with a special exhibit at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor). Read all about the bridge-i-versary plans here.

Busy spring for Southwest Seattle Historical Society: 2 big events

May 11, 2014 at 3:39 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Eight days until the Southwest Seattle Historical Society presents Lou Whittaker at his alma mater, West Seattle High School, for a screening of the documentary about his half-century-plus mountaineering achievements, “A Life in the Mountains.” The event is at 6:30 pm Monday, May 19th, at WSHS, and you can buy tickets in advance online through the Log House Museum PayPal account – $10 if you’re a SWSHS member, $15 if you’re not – or get your ticket at the door that night. Less than 3 weeks later, at 10:30 am June 6th, the museum celebrates the permanent display of the totem pole that spent decades at the viewpoint on the northeast end of Admiral Way (details here). The LHM/SWSHS website includes frequent newsy updates on its events, including volunteers canvassing the museum’s neighborhood today with heads-up about the totem-pole event (since it’ll include a street closure) and the LHM’s participation in West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day yesterday.

West Seattle’s Walker Rock Garden to be open tomorrow for Mother’s Day visitors

May 10, 2014 at 4:43 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

(Photo by Fred Ueckert of FJU Photography)
What used to be a West Seattle Mother’s Day tradition is coming back tomorrow after skipping a few years. Brad Cooper, the real-estate broker who has long represented the Walker Rock Garden property in West Seattle, says it will be open for Mother’s Day tomorrow, noon-3 pm. The rock creations comprising the “garden” were a labor of love by the home’s longtime residents, the late Milton and Florence Walker, as explained in this “West Seattle 101” chapter republished on WSB.

(2011 photo by Ellen Cedergreen)
Three years ago, it was put up for sale, but records indicated no deal was made, and it went off the market until late last year; the listing is still “active,” meaning no buyer so far. It used to be open to visitors on Mother’s Day, as well as other scattered times of the year, but hasn’t had announced opens on Mother’s Day or another day recently. But Cooper just e-mailed to ask us to let you know that it will be open tomorrow. It’s at 5407 37th SW (map).

Help welcome historic West Seattle totem pole to its new home: Log House Museum sets the date

May 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(First 2 images courtesy Log House Museum/Southwest Seattle Historical Society)
The date is finally set for a gala ceremony welcoming the former top-of-Admiral Way totem pole to its new home on the east side of the Log House Museum: Friday, June 6th.

Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals announced the plan today, centering on a “public unveiling ceremony featuring public officials, the Duwamish Tribe, and the student bodies of both Alki and Schmitz Park elementary schools.” Part of 61st SW by the museum (61st/Stevens) will be closed for the event, so that overhead photos/video can be recorded. You’re welcome to be there and be part of it. The pole’s history:

Carved by Boeing engineers Michael Morgan and Bob Fleischman from a log harvested from Schmitz Park, the totem pole stood at Belvedere View Point Park from 1966 to 2006. It is a nearly exact replica of a totem pole carved by the Bella Bella tribe of British Columbia and brought to Belvedere View Point Park 75 years ago, in 1939, by West Seattleite and Ye Olde Curiosity Shop owner J.E. “Daddy” Standley.

Recognizing the deteriorated condition of the 1966 totem pole, Seattle Parks and Recreation removed it in 2006 and replaced it with a differently designed and unpainted story pole carved by a descendant of Chief Seattle.

SWSHS’s restoration and display plan has been in the works since then; the pole was taken to restoration experts Artech two years ago, as reported here. Its return will coincide with a new mini-exhibit called “Reaching the Sky: Totem Tales of West Seattle.” You’ll find lots more information about the June 6th event and the pole’s history in the full announcement on the LHM/SWSHS website – see it here. Also, Eals will speak about it at this Thursday’s monthly lunch meeting of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

Holy Rosary School celebrates its first century, and looks ahead

May 4, 2014 at 9:13 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle religion, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
For the second time in five years, a centennial celebration for Holy Rosary. In 2009, the church marked its 100th anniversary; today, the school. Students were part of today’s Centennial Mass, with a special guest, Seattle’s Archbishop J. Peter Sartain:

Honoring the past and looking to the future, the Mass was followed by a reception and events involving time capsules old and new:

That one was from a quarter-century ago, 1989; here’s some of what was inside:

Archbishop Sartain and Holy Rosary’s pastor Father John Madigan also presided as a new time capsule was placed:

This one is meant to be opened a half-century from now:

What’s in it? That’s supposed to be a surprise for the people who open it in 2064. Earlier centennial events included a group photo last November, featuring more than 400 students (see it in WSB coverage).

West Seattle development from a different perspective: Walk on Saturday

May 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm | In Development, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

This Saturday, a Feet First-presented “Jane’s Walk” presents a look at development in and around The Junction and The Triangle – on foot, with veteran walking ambassadors and WS residents Timothy Lowry and Bryan Fiedorczyk. FF explains the Jane’s Walk concept here: “The walks get people to explore their cities, connect with neighbors, and learn new information about their communities.” Over the course of up to 3 miles – heading out from the Charlestown water tower (map) at 10 am – you’ll hear and talk about the past, present and future. RSVP here!

Log House Museum close to welcoming ex-Admiral totem pole home

April 18, 2014 at 5:33 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(WSB photo from April 2012)
Two years after it was bundled onto a flatbed and taken away for some expert TLC with the restoration experts at Artech, the Log House Museum‘s totem pole – which stood for 40 years at the Admiral Way Viewpoint – is finally close to its homecoming. The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has announced an event on May 8th featuring Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals detailing the plan to install it soon in its new home on the east side of the Alki-area museum; the plan’s already gone through city review, including the Landmarks Board, since the museum is an official landmark. See photos of the pole’s history, and a sketch of its future site, on the SWSHS/Log House museum website, here.

Gatewood Elementary Class of 1956? Or, know someone who was?

April 1, 2014 at 9:04 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

(Photos provided by The WROC-ers; above, Ms. Ostle’s class)
Reunions aren’t just for high-school classes! This morning, we have a special announcement – with photos – for a reunion of Gatewood Elementary alums who went there more than half a century ago:

*If you attended Gatewood Elementary with the Class of ’56, reunite with your classmates on Friday, August 22nd. We will tour the remodeled Gatewood, then adjourn to Lincoln Park for a catered picnic. *

*In our day, Gatewood sixth graders went to either West Seattle or Sealth. Our 50th high-school reunions inspired us to reconnect with childhood friends from the neighborhood. The WROC-ers (‘Woodies Reunion Organizing Committee) found addresses for 70 of the former ’56ers. The first mailings are out, and the first RSVPs are in. *

(Mr. Acedo’s class)
*If you can help locate missing classmates (see the list below) or if you, a ’56er, haven’t received a flyer, please contact Bruce Thomason,*

(Ms. Covey’s class)
*Mark August 22nd on your calendar in ink! We’d love to see you.*

*The WROC-ers: Margaret Cullor Brown, Beth Eldred Davis, Lyn Kraatz, Carol Shipley Stoner, Bruce Thomason*

They also sent a list of people they’re looking for: “We have not found these friends from Gatewood.” – if you’re reading this from the WSB home page, click ahead to see the list:

Click to read the rest of Gatewood Elementary Class of 1956? Or, know someone who was?…

West Seattle scene: Beach art rocks!

March 28, 2014 at 3:57 pm | In Seen around town, West Seattle history | 6 Comments

Thanks to Judy Bentley for sharing photos of the rock art near the north end of Constellation Park, south of Alki Point. Earlier in the week, Patricia O’Connor‘s photo of the sun/star formation was shared on the WSB Facebook page; today, Judy’s photo showed patterns beyond the sun/star:

As Judy put it – “artist unknown.”

(P.S. Judy didn’t mention this when writing to us but we happen to know she too is an artist – with words – and one week from today, on Friday 4/4, she’s the next featured author in the Words, Writers, West Seattle series – details here.)

Followup: Farewell to former Fraker’s Grocery at 4808 SW Alaska

March 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

That backhoe, recorded on video by neighbor Sara, brought the final chapter today to what once was Fraker’s Grocery at 4808 SW Alaska, vacant and slumping for years, but the source of many warm memories, as discussed in comments on past stories:


We first reported last December that it was slated for demolition so a single-family home could be built.

The lot was split off from the house next door a few years back. Former proprietor Dean Fraker died in 2009 at the age of 87.

Know a ‘Rosie’? Or were you a ‘Rosie’? Local group meets Saturday

March 24, 2014 at 12:34 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

Rosies, unite! West Seattle’s Georgie Bright Kunkel is continuing to rally any and all Rosies she can find. Here’s news of the next get-together:

The next gathering of the newly organized Rosie the Riveter group will meet on Saturday, March 29th at 2:00 pm at the home of Georgie Bright Kunkel. Please call 206-935-8663 if you have not already RSVP’ed for this event.

Any woman who worked during the WWII years at any job that released a man to go to the service is a Rosie. You didn’t have to be a riveter.

Duwamish Tribe tries again to get its cultural artifacts back

February 27, 2014 at 10:24 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, WS culture/arts | 37 Comments

(Empty artifact case post-removal; 2013 photo courtesy Duwamish Longhouse)
The Duwamish Tribe says it’s still trying to get its artifacts back. Last August, news emerged that the Port of Seattle was deciding the fate of artifacts found on historic tribal land that it now controls. Today, according to this news release sent by the tribe tonight, they received official confirmation their artifacts will be given to a tribe that unlike the Duwamish has federal recognition (something the Duwamish have long fought for). The news release is followed by the text of the letter to which it refers.

The Duwamish Tribe would like its cultural artifacts back. Last July, the Burke Museum was paid by the Port of Seattle to confiscate $800 worth of Duwamish cultural artifacts on display at the Duwamish Longhouse & Center. The artifacts were from the Duwamish #1 Archeological Site, an old Duwamish camp and village site across the street from the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center.

The tribe received a call from the Burke Museum today that the artifacts will be given to the Muckleshoot Tribe in Auburn.

Unknown to the Duwamish Tribe, 2 years ago the Port of Seattle declared that it wanted to surplus its archeological artifacts including those from the Duwamish Archeological Site #1 bordered by the Duwamish River and W Marginal Way SW.

How did the Port come to own the archeological artifacts? In the early 60’s, the Port declared eminent domain, and bought out the interests of area residents to make way for the building of Terminal 107. Because of environmental issues, the terminal was never built. The area was also the site of the last original shoreline of the Duwamish River. As the land was being cleared, the Duwamish #1 Archeological Site was discovered and dug in the 1970’s. The archeological site is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been set aside as a public park. The Port retains ownership of the site.

The Duwamish Tribe has sent a letter to the Port proposing to buy back its culture artifacts for display at the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center.

“It would seem that best public good & cultural value would be to continue to display the artifacts from this site at the Seattle location where they were found.“

Ahead, the text of the letter mentioned above, included in tonight’s e-mail to us from the tribe, carrying today’s date:

Click to read the rest of Duwamish Tribe tries again to get its cultural artifacts back…

Last chance to visit Log House Museum for a while! Temporary closure after this weekend, for new exhibit

February 21, 2014 at 2:50 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(Photo courtesy Log House Museum)
Making weekend plans? It’s your last chance to visit the home of West Seattle history, the Log House Museum, during its regular hours 12-4 pm Saturday and Sunday – after Sunday, it’s closing for a few weeks to get a new exhibit in place. Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals shares the announcement:

Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 15, 2014, for the opening of a new exhibit at the Log House Museum of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

The new exhibit is the second phase of a three-phase exhibit whose overall title is “Telling Our Westside Stories.” The theme of the second phase is “Work.”

The first-phase exhibit, with the theme of “Land,” has been up since fall 2012 and will close on Sunday, Feb. 23. (Regular open hours are noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. The museum is located at 3003 61st Ave. S.W., one block from Alki Beach.)

To take down the first-phase exhibit and install the second-phase exhibit, staff will close the museum from Thursday, Feb. 27, through Friday, March 14.

The new exhibit will open to the public at noon Saturday, March 15. It will examine various types of work done over the years by residents of the Duwamish peninsula and their attitudes toward it.

Besides artifacts, photos and printed interview excerpts, the exhibit will focus on brief videos that tell stories visually in the museum’s main gallery.

The bulk of the material generated for the “Telling Our Westside Stories” exhibits comes from interviews of community elders conducted by students at Madison Middle School and supervised by volunteers of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

Volunteers have transcribed the interviews, culled related images and combined interview excerpts and images into brief videos.

“Eliciting and preserving the stories of our residents is an important part of what we do,” says Clay Eals, executive director. “It is straight down the middle of our mission to promote local heritage through education, preservation and advocacy.”

The exhibit, curated by Sarah Baylinson, museum manager, is funded in part by 4Culture and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

The Log House Museum is at 61st/Stevens, a block inland from the heart of Alki.

History lesson: Gatewood students visit the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

February 19, 2014 at 9:05 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

Seventy-two years ago today, on February 19th, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of more than 110,000 people in Western states, including ours, because they were from Japan or of Japanese ancestry. Before mid-winter break, students from Gatewood Elementary traveled to the historic site on Bainbridge Island formally known as the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial to learn about this. Teacher Darren Radu shared their report and photos:

We are students of Team Mt. Si at Gatewood Elementary. Over the past three months, we have been studying Japanese Internment during World War II. Did you know that as a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, many people were suspicious of perfectly innocent Japanese and Japanese Americans, who were then forced to move to internment camps? The camps were terrible places (many cabins were horse and cow stables!) for people to live and the Japanese did not have a choice about moving. Internment affected many residents and families from the Seattle area.

We took a field trip with our teachers Ms. Moran, Ms. Ott, and Mr. Radu to Bainbridge Island to visit the Japanese Internment Memorial. We visited the actual beach where many local Japanese and Japanese Americans boarded ferries that took them to camps. The Memorial helped us to experience what it was like to be in their shoes.

We also met our friend and amazing local artist, Steve Gardner, who showed us some of the ceramic sculptures he created for the memorial.

His work illustrates the lives of Bainbridge Japanese people before, during, and after internment.

We also worked with our teacher Colleen Moran to take a stand on the events of World War II by writing persuasive essays. It was important for us to learn about Japanese Internment because it helped us to learn from the past and to avoid making the same mistakes. We hope that other people will take the time to visit the Internment Memorial and continue to fight for justice, too!

Here’s a link to information about the Memorial:


The Students of Team Mt. Si
Gatewood Elementary

This page shows how what was termed an “evacuation” unfolded in Seattle starting two months after President Roosevelt’s order.

Happening now: Duwamish Longhouse’s 5th-anniversary celebration

January 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, WS culture/arts | 7 Comments

It’s been five years since the Duwamish Tribe celebrated the opening of its longhouse at 4705 W. Marginal Way SW – and you still have three hours to join the anniversary celebration. An open house continues until 5 pm; we stopped by for the noontime reception:

Those on hand included Cecile Hansen, who has served as the tribe’s elected chair since 1975:

The story of the longhouse – the first one for the Duwamish people since their last one was burned down before the end of the 19th century – is told in this report. The story of the tribe can be explored both via its website and at the Longhouse/Cultural Center, which has regular hours as well as being open for special events like the one today.

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