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FOLLOWUP: Vandalized mural’s future in question

(WSB photo, taken this morning; remaining top half of vandal’s marking has been blurred – bottom half was painted over)

12 days after we first reported on this vandalized mural in The Junction, its future remains unsettled. Paint has been used to cover the lower half of the big black-paint markings with which it was defaced – the part that was not on the mural itself. But while West Seattle Junction Association director Susan Melrose was hopeful at first that a graffiti-paintout firm would be able to handle the rest, that turned out not to be the case. We asked her about it at today’s Junction Historical Survey event; she tells WSB she has called in a muralist to evaluate it. After taking a first look this past weekend, she says, the muralist concurred that it’s major damage without an easy solution – the mural already was too faded, and the vandal’s paint just soaked right in. They’re still talking to see what can be done, but in case you’re wondering why the tag is still partly visible – that’s why.

BACKSTORY: The mural is The First Duwamish Bridge” by Robert Dafford, and is on the north side of 4740 44th SW, facing The Junction’s southernmost 3-free-hours parking lot. It dates back a quarter-century now, along with nine others noted here.

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VIDEO: ‘What makes The Junction special?’ West Seattle Junction Historical Survey unveiled

(Heart of The Junction, 1926. Photo courtesy SWSHS)

9:02 AM: We’re at Husky Deli in The Junction, where the first-ever West Seattle Junction Historical Survey is being formally announced, with a gathering of local advocates, businesspeople, electeds, and more.

We’re recording video and will be publishing toplines live. (added 3:24 pm – here’s the video – the heart of the briefing starts 1:30 in):

For starters – the report and highlights are here. It’s in three parts: A survey of 58 Junction buildings that are 40+ years old; summaries of interviews with nine Junction building owners; summary of a public survey done last summer. As Clay Eals, executive director of the SW Seattle Historical Society, has just pointed out, it’s been almost exactly a year since this effort was announced. More to come!

9:07 AM: Community advocate Chas Redmond is opening the event with backstory – he was on the Southwest District Council when the idea first came up 3+ years ago. Current SWDC member Deb Barker (who also happens to be on the city Landmark Preservation Board) mentions that King County’s 4Culture helped fund this, and that the building survey was done by architectural historian Mimi Sheridan.

The buildings surveyed are between Genesee and Edmunds, mostly along California SW, some on 44th and 42nd. The survey categorizes buildings, primarily by whether they might be eligible for landmark status. Two wound up in that category (A) – the Campbell and Hamm Buildings in the heart of The Junction (NW and NE corners of California/Alaska – see them in the historical photo atop this story), built in 1918 and 1926 respectively. Six buildings are Category B – potentially eligible to be designated as landmarks, pending further evaluation – Hotwire/dental, Courtesy Accounting, JF Henry, ex-JC Penney, Curious Kidstuff, Technical Analysis. The rest of the 40+-year-old buildings were not considered eligible for potential landmark status.

9:15 AM: Susan Melrose from the WS Junction Association is introducing the building owner interviews – and she says the transcriptions are worth diving into; they often were the first time these owners had ever been asked about the buildings, how they came to own them, and more.

She’s followed by Eals, summarizing the public interviews done during events in the area last summer, on paper, with 260+ respondents who “were eager to share their observations and opinions – and every syllable of what they wrote is in the report.” The question included “favorite buildings” and Eals says they were named by their main tenants, Easy Street Records and Cupcake Royale, – the Campbell and Hamm Buildings mentioned above – were the leading answers. What’s worth preserving? History and small-town feel, he said – and 43 of the respondents had a one-word answer to that question: “Everything.” Eals says the logical question to all this is, what’s next? The Historical Society will answer that question in its own event at 11 am Saturday in The Junction, outside Key Bank if it’s not raining, at Husky Deli if it is. The interim time is in order for the survey to “be absorbed” and appreciated, he says.

9:20 AM: Now, the electeds (and an ex-elected). King County Executive Dow Constantine kicks it off, recounting The Junction’s century-plus history. (We’re recording video and will have it up within a few hours.)

With him, as you can see in our photo, are King County Council chair Joe McDermott, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, and former City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. Constantine says The Junction is always “where the community came together.” And, he notes, the survey is meant to help this area “move forward by honoring the past” and to “learn more about what makes this place so special to the community.” (He is a native West Seattleite, if you didn’t already know that.) He says 4Culture’s support of this involved a $10,000 grant. He says he’s “excited about the proactive approach taken by (those who did and oversaw) this survey.”

Councilmember McDermott, introduced by Constantine as another “old-timey West Seattleite,” calls West Seattle “truly a unique community.” But he stresses that for historical preservation, something has to have “meaning,” and the new report documents “what’s going on here, not just what used to go on here” – although he subsequently recounts memories including an early job here at Husky Deli. He says the report will assist with “an informed and solid conversation about meaningful use and historical preservation.”

Councilmember Herbold brings this into the context of a current issue, affordability (housing and otherwise), saying that “not just about saving these buildings because of why we love them, but because of what we want to retain moving forward – the affordability of this community, the use of local businesses … a place that is an economic engine for our local businesses.” She chairs the community that oversees economic development and believes it will be “useful to bring these findings to the council” including as assistance to other communities in Seattle struggling with these same issues. “For me, what this survey represents is hope” – for West Seattle and elsewhere.

Now, Rasmussen, who left the council a few months ago after deciding not to run for re-election. “We’re not just here to talk about saving buildings … but also we want to save what’s unique about this neighborhood, including the small locally owned businesses.” He talks about working with other areas, including Pike-Pine on Capitol Hill, which is “now one of the most successful neighborhoods on the West Coast. … When you save what is unique about (a) neighborhood, then you also save the local businesses … when you bulldoze a neighborhood or block, it is very difficult for local businesses (to move back in).” He points across the street to two new apartment buildings in this block, which now primarily have chains occupying or moving into its spaces. Just arrived, it’s announced, deputy mayor Hyeok Kim.

9:33 AM: Next up, business owners – Lora Swift of Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor) and Ann Walker of Curious Kidstuff.

Swift says she is grateful and honored to have been part of this business community for 15+ years. “As I look around the room, I find that I’ve served coffee to most of you. … I hope to see everyone of you for the next 15 years.” Walker says the neighborhood “looked very different” when she opened her shop 18 years ago. She says she never realized when she started the store that it would go on so long, and she would have customers whose children are now customers with their own children. “It’s a lot of work, and it’s hard, but it’s so valuable,” she says, regarding running a small business.

9:37 AM: Next – two of the nine business owners who were interviewed, Menashe and Sons Jewelers (WSB sponsor)’s Jack Menashe, and Husky Deli’s Jack Miller.

Menashe says he grew up in Seward Park but was brought to West Seattle as a child every Sunday to have Spud Fish and Chips, and the family would drive to The Junction. He went into business here when he was 25, he says, fulfilling a wish voiced by his parents. He thanks those who supported him over the years and hails West Seattle as a “very, very loyal community” – saying the thanks for that goes to everyone in the community. “With all the changes in business, from forms of advertising with the Internet and all the different things and everything that’s happened to our city … many people outside West Seattle have come into this area for the unique area it is and the unique shops … and they love this area, the uniqueness, the older buildings … we can go everywhere (they say) but ‘please keep this area a unique, loyal area’ and that has stayed with me all these years.”

Miller says it’s not just the businesses – “Lincoln Park is not just a park, Alki is not just a beach … The Junction is not just a place to shop … we’re lucky to be here … I’m lucky to have been born into a family that has been here for 84 years. … We’re not just selling sandwiches and ice cream, there’s community here. It’s dear to us, and I’m hoping .. we have some kind of vision to preserve the feel, and loyal people here.” He recounts the story of how loyalty led to a Ben and Jerry’s franchise (where Cupcake Royale is now) not lasting long.

9:46 AM: The briefing is wrapping up; we’re the only news media here, and we ask whether the owners of the two buildings identified as potential landmarks, without even further evaluation, think about the concept. Eals says the Campbell Building (Cupcake Royale & more)’s ownership indicated potential support for preservation, but they so far have not been able to reach the Hamm Building (Easy Street & more)’s owners. All building owners, adds Barker, have been notified of the survey’s results. And as mentioned above, Eals reiterates to us, the Historical Society will have more to say on Saturday.

We’ll be adding more photos, as well as the video, of this event, after we get back to HQ.

SouthWest Stories: New history series on 6 future Sundays

Historian Rob Ketcherside recently shared that 1937 photo from tax-assessor files via the WSB Flickr group. It might look familiar even if you weren’t around in the ’30s – it’s the subject of the mural behind the commercial building on the southwest corner of California and Fauntleroy in Morgan Junction. It shows the Morgan Street Drive-In Market; Ketcherside will be speaking about the market (on the site where West Seattle Thriftway [WSB sponsor] is now) at the kickoff event for the SouthWest Stories series just announced by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. If you want a sneak peek, read his story about the city’s drive-in markets, including this one, and see his photo roundup.

Ketcherside’s presentation is four weeks away – 2 pm Sunday, March 20th, at High Point Library; it’ll be followed by five more presentations on the third Sunday of each month, scheduled out through August, rotating among WS and South Park branches of the Seattle Public Library (which is co-sponsoring SouthWest Stories) – see the list on the official flyer. All free!

West Seattle Crime Watch: Mural vandalized; backpack stolen

Two West Seattle Crime Watch reports this afternoon:

(WSB photo – we’ve blurred the tag but you can still see how large it is)

MURAL VANDALIZED: One of West Seattle’s award-winning murals has been vandalized. While in The Junction at lunchtime, we noticed the tagging, in black paint, on the “First Duwamish Bridge” mural that covers the north side of the building south of the parking lot behind Northwest Art and Frame. While tagging/graffiti vandalism is rampant here and elsewhere, this is the first time we can recall seeing it actually done to one of the quarter-century-old murals around The Junction. We called Susan Melrose at the West Seattle Junction Association; she said that other murals have been tagged and the WSJA picks up the cost of paintovers – she’s contacting their preferred firm Goodbye Graffiti right now.

STOLEN BACKPACK SOUGHT: Ethan‘s car was hit by thieves overnight:

Ethan lives near Juneau/Fauntleroy and says, “The only thing that was taken was my school backpack. It’s a white and blue Dakine. My school work was only valuable to me and I’m hoping the folks that stole it may have thrown it out their window. Hoping West Seattle can help me track it down.”

West Seattle scene: Demolition reveals another ‘ghost sign’


On Wednesday, we wrote about the demolition work at 3219-3221, clearing an old commercial building for residential development.

Today, WSB’s Christopher Boffoli sends the photo above, showing faded signage on a newly revealed brick wall alongside 3225 California (which is not part of the current project – the building is currently home to West Seattle Healing Tree). These are what are now known as “ghost signs” – you’ve probably seen a few in West Seattle, and other parts of the city.

Christopher points out that the words “WHOLE FAMILY” and “We do boot repairing here” are visible. Online archives show the Jurians’ Family Shoe Store was in operation there for a dozen years until selling the business in 1931. (The King County Assessor’s Office website, however, traces the building only to 1922.)

Ghost signs are usually painted onto buildings – old brick buildings like this one – but sometimes there are other signage surprises, like the one we showed in 2013 after demolition at 4730 California SW.

KEEP CLAM! And set a reminder for Paul Dorpat’s ‘Fish Tales’ about Ivar, 2 weeks away

In case you haven’t already seen it in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – we’re now exactly two weeks from your chance to hear and see photo historian Paul Dorpat tell “Fish Tales” about West Seattle character and entrepreneur Ivar Haglund, linked to the exhibit at the Log House Museum, but happening at a local Seattle Public Library branch. Here are all the details, from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

Is there anyone better than Paul Dorpat at “keeping clam” about Seattle legend and West Seattle native Ivar Haglund?

Dorpat — the city’s pre-eminent photo historian, who has entered his 34th year of weekly “Now and Then” columns in the Seattle Times — for more than a decade also has been researching and writing a massive biography of Haglund, the iconic restaurateur, folk musician, Port of Seattle commissioner, and goofy promotional wizard.

Sponsored by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and ​T​he Seattle Public Library, the genial Dorpat will present “Fish Tales,” a talk accompanied by scores of rare photos of Haglund, at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, February 7th, in the basement meeting room of the West Seattle ​B​ranch of ​The ​Seattle Public Library, 2306 42nd Ave. SW in The Admiral District.

The FREE presentation will end about 3 p.m., after which those attending can stop in down the hill at the historical society’s “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum to see its latest exhibit, on loan from the Nordic Heritage Museum, called “Keep Clam and Carry On: The Ivar Haglund Story.”

Dorpat’s talk will emphasize the deep West Seattle roots of Haglund (1905-1985), the grandson of Hans Hanson, who for many years posted a lantern at Alki Point that predated the 1913 construction of the Alki Lighthouse. Haglund’s maternal grandparents purchased the Alki Point land in 1869 from Seattle pioneer David “Doc” Maynard.

All of this and much more will be covered by Dorpat, who also will be available at the museum exhibit after his talk. The exhibit features display panels, vintage TV footage and radio recordings, along with a “clam gun” ​and one of the clam outfits used to promote Ivar’s restaurants in Seattle parades and commercials. To see the exhibit, stop in during regular open hours, noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.​

Ivar died in

11 WSB stories comprise the ‘top 10’ for most comments in 2015

Since WSB is more about “what’s happening now” and “what’s happening next” than “what happened,” we don’t do much looking back at the end of each year – except for what’s become a tradition: The top 10 “most-commented” stories. As we always note, the number of comments isn’t an indicator of how many people care about a story, how many people read a story, etc. – in some cases, there’s just nothing to say – but it’s a point of curiosity, so here we go with this year’s edition. It’s actually a top 11, since we had a tie at #8:

#10: ZATZ A BETTER BAGEL CLOSING, June 12th, 102 comments

#9: PORT TRUCK BACKUPS, September 15th, 106 comments


#8 (tie): SDOT TO REDUCE SPEED LIMITS, February 13th, 108 comments



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3 West Seattle landmarks get $ boost from Building for Culture

(WSB photo from February)
Three landmark buildings in West Seattle are getting a boost from a county cultural-grant program.

(SW Seattle Historical Society photo from May: Dennis Schilling, Alki Homestead owner, with logs for restoration)
Here’s the announcement from West Seattle’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott, one day before county and cultural leaders gather to celebrate the list of grants that includes these three:

Renovation of the Admiral Theater and restoration of the Alki Homestead highlight a list of the projects in West Seattle and throughout King County that will receive funding to help maintain their buildings and preserve the arts and heritage programs that are held inside.

“As a lifelong West Seattle resident, I grew up going to the Admiral Theatre and Alki Homestead,” said Council Vice Chair Joe McDermott. “I am proud to promote the rich cultural history in West Seattle through the Building for Culture grant program.”

The Admiral Theater received $95,000 towards a renovation that will see the number of screens double from 2 to 4. The 111 year old Alki Homestead was awarded $83,000 towards its complete restoration, after a fire destroyed it in 2009.

The funding for maintenance, repairs, and preservation were allocated from the Building for Culture Program and unanimously approved by the County Council. Building for Culture is a partnership between King County and 4Culture, King County’s cultural services agency, using bonds backed by the hotel-motel tax to build, maintain, expand, preserve, and improve new and existing cultural facilities.

After the Council approved the creation of the Building for Culture Program, 4Culture put out a request for proposals to nonprofit arts, heritage and cultural organizations and eligible public agencies, as well as owners of national-, state-, or local-designated or eligible landmark properties. 4Culture then convened independent peer panels composed of arts, heritage, and preservation professionals, and other community representatives to review applications and make the final selections.

Facilities receiving funding in West Seattle are:

Admiral Cinema LLC – Admiral Theater Renovation – $95,000
Delridge Neighborhood Development Association – Elevate Youngstown – $100,000
Dennis Schilling – Restoring the Alki Homestead – $83,000 $45,190 (correction from CM McDermott’s office on 11/24/2015)

The bonds supporting these projects are made possible by early retirement of the Kingdome debt. State law requires that hotel-motel tax revenues King County collects this year after repayment of the Kingdome debt be directed to arts and cultural programs.

Read more about the grant program here.

West Seattle history: Denny Party anniversary today; SWSHS annual meeting tomorrow

Two West Seattle history notes:

DENNY PARTY LANDING ANNIVERSARY TODAY: On November 13th, 1851, as the marker at 63rd SW and Alki Ave SW (top photo) points out, the Denny Party landed here, the end of a journey that had started in Illinois. HistoryLink has the thumbnail version of the story. On the 150th anniversary of the arrival, The Seattle Times checked in with some of their descendants.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY’S ANNUAL MEETING TOMORROW: This gives us a reason to remind you that the annual meeting of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society is tomorrow (Saturday), six days after the organization’s record-setting gala (WSB coverage here). All are welcome at tomorrow’s meeting, 1:30 pm-3 pm at the High Point Library (35th SW & SW Raymond), which will feature County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who, as a former Underground Tour guide, is a lively storyteller. More info here.

P.S. Because of the meeting, the Log House Museum will NOT be open tomorrow. Otherwise, you can visit noon-4 pm Sunday (and subsequent weeks, the usual Thursdays-Sundays).

VIDEO: Southwest Seattle Historical Society brunch crowd goes ‘Home to the Homestead’ and gives big

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“In this room, at this moment, this is West Seattle,” declared Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals, toward the start of Saturday’s sold-out Champagne Gala Brunch fundraiser.

And West Seattle showed its generosity as well as its spirit – Eals tells WSB that the revenue from the event, which filled the Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) event rooms from windowed wall to windowed wall, totals “$77,180, up 26.4 percent from last year.”

Early on during the brunch, Eals had other numbers of note: SWSHS’s 31st anniversary, and the 100th birthday of Erma Couden, widow of its founder Elliott Couden.

While the brunch’s theme was “Coming Home to the Homestead,” he cited a long list of highlights for the year even before the historic Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge‘s sale was announced and restoration commenced, including:

Art Wolfe speaking
Admiral Theater upgrading (the SWSHS saved the Admiral a quarter-century ago)
West Seattle Junction Historical Survey launched
-Museum Manager transition, Sarah Baylinson succeeded by Lissa Kramer
Count the Lincoln Logs” contest
-Supporting the Duwamish Tribe‘s fight for federal recognition
“If These Walls Could Talk” tour of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop founder Daddy Standley‘s house
-Coat of paint and other touchups for the museum
-Interior work, new shelving at museum
Riverside walking tour
-Third year of the Words, Writers, & West Seattle literary series
Totem Pole Cruise to Alaska
Richard Hugo tribute concert and film screening in White Center
School Daze pop-up museum at The Kenney (WSB sponsor)
First-ever Family Halloween on the Porch

The society won two big awards this year: Last year’s Totem Pole unveiling was at the heart of 2 awards, one from Association of King County Historical Organizations, “best single-impact-event award,” and SWSHS was crowned Nonprofit of the Year by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

But the biggest news of all this year was new ownership of the landmark Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge, purchased in March by Dennis Schilling, who quickly embarked on its restoration, six years after the landmark was charred by fire. For so long, its fate remained unknown, Eals reminded the brunch audience, showing the 2010 “This Place Matters” gathering, echoed by a photo op this past summer – “This Place Still Matters” – that was more of a celebration.

The Homestead rebirth by itself has inspired myriad events, including the log-structure-restoration lecture/demonstration by David Rogers in August. Also, Homestead memories are being shared on the “virtual chicken dinner” page on the SWSHS website. And the 1,000-plus-student photo op on June 5th dubbed “Group Hug for the Homestead” was a morning to remember, as we showed you here.

(WSB photo, June 5th, as students were still arriving)
Eals enthused about the memories that event generated for a new generation:

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First-ever Family Halloween on the Porch @ Log House Museum

October 31, 2015 2:11 pm
|    Comments Off on First-ever Family Halloween on the Porch @ Log House Museum
 |   Fun stuff to do | West Seattle history | West Seattle news

2:11 PM: Can’t wait until nightfall to trick or treat? One of the Halloween afternoon events happening right now is at the Log House Museum on Alki, where the Southwest Seattle Historical Society is hosting its first-ever “Family Halloween on the Porch.” We just stopped by the museum’s big covered porch, and if you can, you should too – for a little trick-or-treating, a few treats (cider and cookies), some storytelling, and what can be spookier than history? Go inside the museum and see what happened in West Seattle long ago. The museum’s at 61st and Stevens, and the party’s on until 3 pm.

ADDED 2:48 PM: It really *is* a family event – with enough room to pull up a corner of the porch and read:

Teen volunteers from the National Honor Society at West Seattle High School are helping too, including at the craft table:

Next up for SWSHS – the Champagne Gala Brunch one week from today – updates here.

Looking into the future with Southwest Seattle Historical Society: Champagne Gala Brunch updates; Family Halloween on the Porch

October 29, 2015 5:06 pm
|    Comments Off on Looking into the future with Southwest Seattle Historical Society: Champagne Gala Brunch updates; Family Halloween on the Porch
 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news

(WSB photo taken during recent Admiral District business mixer @ Brookdale Admiral last week)
What Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals is holding in our photo is one of the “Slice of the Homestead” log sections that’ll serve as table centerpieces during the SWSHS’s Champagne Gala Brunch, now just nine days away (11 am Saturday, November 7th, at Salty’s on Alki [WSB sponsor]). The sections of original logs from the century-old landmark will also be auctioned off during the Homestead-themed gala (see the program here), which Eals reports is “at capacity,” earlier than ever, but you can get on the waitlist – go here. Everybody who’s there will enjoy the “Wait, Wait, West Seattle … Don’t Tell Me!” panel – whose celebrity participants were announced this week. And even if you are not going to the brunch, you can buy one of the 100 “Golden Tickets” on sale for a drawing that’ll happen during the gala: $100 gets you one of 100 chances to win a cruise, your choice of four destinations via Holland America Line. Here’s how to get yours, whether at the gala or at the Log House Museum starting one week from today.

Speaking of the museum (61st SW & SW Stevens, half a block from the Homestead), you’re invited to stop by for its first Family Halloween on the Porch, 1-3 pm Saturday – free treats, cider, cookies, arts and crafts, story time … find out more here.

Got West Seattle school memories? Bring them to ‘School Daze’ pop-up museum Friday

October 14, 2015 9:25 pm
|    Comments Off on Got West Seattle school memories? Bring them to ‘School Daze’ pop-up museum Friday
 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

This Friday afternoon (October 16th), the Southwest Seattle Historical Society is teaming up with The Kenney (WSB sponsor) on a “pop-up museum” themed “School Daze.” You bring the items and stories to share – in this case, as SWSHS executive director Clay Eals explains it, “photos and other memorabilia from youthful times in school.” Bring it to The Kenney’s lobby (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW) 2-5 pm on Friday and see what happens from there – enjoy light refreshments, too. Everyone’s welcome – including community members who just want to hear and see what’s in the pop-up museum and don’t have stories or items to share (yet) – more info here.

West Seattle 9/11 commemorations: Log House Museum; Seattle Lutheran HS…

On this 14th anniversary of 9/11, flags are flying in The Junction, and we’ve heard of two local commemorations:

AT THE LOG HOUSE MUSEUM UNTIL 4 PM: Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals shares the photo and info – the display’s there until 4 pm:

Early this afternoon, on the 14th anniversary of 9/11, Newcastle residents Amy Zimmer (left) and Michele McKee, a former Admiral resident, look through a 180-page, large-format, laminated book documenting the wide variety of memorabilia and messages left at the base of the Statue of Liberty replica on Alki Beach in the days after the terrorist attack. The book is on display this afternoon through 4 p.m. on the porch of the “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, 3003 61st Ave. SW, where the welcoming flag on the porch flies at half-mast. The book, assembled by then-museum manager Pat Filer, is called “First Response: A Community’s Grief, Horror, Hype and Prayer.”

AT SEATTLE LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL: Thanks to SLHS for the photo and report from earlier today:

A moment of silence was brought by Seattle Lutheran High School Faculty, Staff and Students this morning to remember all the people who lost their lives and were affected by 9/11.

FLAGS IN THE JUNCTION: We took this photo in early afternoon:

ALKI STATUE OF LIBERTY PLAZA: Sometimes remembrances are left at the plaza because of the role it served right after the attacks – but today, it was off-limits to the public, with Parks Department crews doing maintenance work on the benches.

West Seattle schools: Introducing Louisa Boren STEM K-8

The West Seattle public school permanently located at 5950 Delridge Way SW will be starting the year with a new name: Louisa Boren STEM K-8. This reflects not only the grades being added to what originally was called K-5 STEM, but also, an acknowledgment of the woman for whom the school’s now-permanent home is named (first as Louisa Boren Junior High School, later as the Boren Building). The announcement:

Only four years ago, Seattle Public Schools’ option school K-5 STEM opened its doors offering Kindergarten through 5th grade. One of the only STEM dedicated (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) elementary schools in the Seattle Metro area, the school is adding a middle school, beginning with 6th grade this coming school year.

With the addition of a middle school and a permanent location in the Boren building in West Seattle’s Delridge neighborhood, the school is now being called Louisa Boren STEM K-8.

“We are very excited to start our 4th year as Louisa Boren STEM K-8. We remain true to the school’s original goals of providing a strong STEM program rooted in project based learning, while our expanding vision is geared towards 21st century readiness in a community that values equity, sustainability and the whole child.” said principal Ben Ostrom.

STEM K-8’s 6th grade students will start this fall. Each coming year will add another grade, serving Kindergarten through 8th grade in the 2017-18 school year. Although current students ‘roll-up’ into the new middle school automatically, there is limited space for new enrollment as the school expands.

Louisa Boren was one of the Washington Territory pioneers and a founder of the city of Seattle. It’s fitting that STEM K-8 is located in the Louisa Boren building because Louisa herself loved science, particularly chemistry, botany and astronomy. “Liza” had a love of learning and a natural curiosity about the world.

Louisa Boren’s legacy continues today. Not only in the city of Seattle and the brave pioneering spirit she engendered, but also in her hard work supporting the women’s suffrage movement and her advocacy for Chinese workers settling in the area.

Arbor Heights Elementary school currently shares the Boren site for the second year while their school is built and ready for students in Fall 2016.

You can read all about the school’s namesake via this page on the school’s website, and at HistoryLink.org.

West Seattle history: Updates on two city-landmark houses

Updates on two of the three West Seattle residences that also happen to be city landmarks:

(WSB photo)

SATTERLEE HOUSE: The “Painted Lady” at 4866 Beach Drive SW has been on and off the market for years but finally has found a new owner. According to county records, it was sold in late July for $1,025,000. Some exterior work is under way, as you can see in our photo, taken last weekend; it was also an agenda item for the Landmarks Board last month, with approval sought for exterior-paint colors. The house’s history includes a tussle over a proposal to build three houses on its “front lawn,” denied by the city and taken by its former owner all the way to the State Supreme Court, as covered here 2008-2010. The lawn remains platted as separate lots, but no development proposals are pending.

HAINSWORTH/GORDON HOUSE: On the market for just under $2 million is the Hainsworth/Gordon House at 2657 37th SW.

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)
County records show it has changed hands four times in the past ten years, most recently a foreclosure sale at the end of 2013. Read some of its history here.


Ticket time! Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s gala this year at Salty’s will celebrate ‘Coming Home to the Homestead’

Story and photos by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A “small organization with a big heart … the heart and soul of West Seattle.”

That’s how the Southwest Seattle Historical Society was described at a gathering to preview and celebrate an upcoming event that’s anything but small … its annual Champagne Gala Brunch fundraiser. As mentioned here a week ago, the date is set – Saturday, November 7th, 11 am, at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). The theme is an in-progress success story that was only a long-held dream at the time of last year’s gala – the restoration of the Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge.

More than 50 people, including SWSHS board members past and present, attended the gala preview Wednesday night at another historic West Seattle property, the Colman Estate on the Fauntleroy waterfront.

Its current owners were there for the preview too. Midway through the sips-and-bites event, SWSHS executive director Clay Eals took centerstage to formally announce the gala, themed “Coming Home to the Homestead.” The man who bought the fire-damaged landmark in March and has begun restoring it, Dennis Schilling, was also among the preview attendees.

While last year’s gala was “supremely successful,” SWSHS circulated a survey afterward to seek ideas for improving it this year, and so they determined it will be more focused, shorter, and with a little more room to roam in the Salty’s special-event rooms. The menu, Eals promised, will be reminiscent of the old Homestead – minus, he joked, the Jello (in a room full of history fans, laughter rippled around the room, which also filled with applause multiple times during the event).

Fittingly, one special presentation will feature, as explained on the SWSHS preview page, “Catherine Gruye Alexander and Rob Gruye, daughter and son of 1950s Alki Homestead chef and manager Robert Gruye.” Also planned for the Champagne Gala program, returning from last year’s gala – West Seattle personality Marty Riemer, who recorded this short sneak preview to explain:

You really, really don’t want to miss “Wait, Wait,” do you? Then don’t wait – assure yourself a seat with an early ticket purchase – go right here, right now.

P.S. One more announcement during the preview – SWSHS will lead a cruise group again next fall, this time to view autumn foliage along the Northeast coast, New York to Quebec. And if you’d like to join the group for this year’s Alaska Totem Cruise, September 19th-26th, it’s not too late to book a spot – scroll down this page to see how.

VIDEO: More logs arrive at Alki Homestead as restoration continues

Another shipment of logs arrived today at the Alki Homestead, as owner Dennis Schilling continues the first part of its restoration. The video is courtesy of Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals, whose organization is headquartered just half a block away, at the Log House Museum, which was the Homestead’s carriage house in its early decades as the Fir Lodge. While the full restoration project will require city Landmarks Board approval, Schilling has administrative approval to proceed with work to replace logs at the building’s southeast corner.

P.S. This year’s SWSHS gala will celebrate the start of the Homestead’s restoration; reservations will be open soon, but in the meantime, SWSHS invites you to save the date, November 7th, and to read an early preview here.

VIDEO: What preservationist David Rogers showed, and told, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society

August 16, 2015 4:46 pm
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 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news

In a time of rapid growth and change – there is still room for, and ways to, preserve historic structures. That’s what David Rogers showed and told the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s two special gatherings this week – one at its Log House Museum, whose restoration he supervised, and one during a dinner gathering in The Junction. Missed them? SWSHS shares video of both – see the embedded highlights above, and also via its page about his visit. Rogers is proprietor of Logs & Timbers, LLC, in Rhododendron, Oregon, near Mount Hood. Some of his other projects include a historic cabin in the San Juans and a homestead cabin in a park near Ellensburg.

TOMORROW: SWSHS hosts log-house preservationist David Rogers

August 8, 2015 5:13 pm
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 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news

Planning the rest of your weekend? The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is circulating one more reminder of two special events tomorrow with one guest speaker – logger-turned-log-house-preservationist David Rogers, who was the contractor for the renovation of what’s now the SWSHS’s HQ, the Log House Museum. First event is 2-4 pm at the museum (61st/Stevens): “Rogers will conduct an interactive demonstration of log-restoration techniques and describe in detail the hands-on work he did on our museum building.” No charge, but the museum would love to have you RSVP if you’re expecting to go – do it here. Then at 6:30 at West 5 in The Junction, he’s speaking during a no-host dinner event as an SWSHS fundraiser – details here.

Stroll a side of West Seattle you may never have seen: Riverside

August 5, 2015 9:47 pm
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 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news

(WSB photo: Frank Zuvela at Riverside plaza dedication in 2012)
Know where Riverside is? OK, maybe you do, but – have you seen it up close and personal? One week from Saturday – on August 15th – you have the chance, courtesy of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

Frank Zuvela, our expert on Riverside, the tiny fishing neighborhood below the West Seattle Bridge, will return on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, to lead our annual Riverside Walking Tour. Admission is a donation of $5, and the tour leaves at 10 a.m. For more info, click here!

RSVP not required – the donation will be accepted at the start of the tour (follow the link for location info).

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

July 30, 2015 11:00 am
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 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news

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

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

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

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

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

Reservations are being taken for both events (here).

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

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

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