from “West Seattle 101” by Lori Hinton
Poke around The Junction and take a peek at the backsides of buildings in West Seattle and you just might learn something.
West Seattle’s historical murals are some of the best in the Northwest, earning the National Neighborhood of the Year Project in 1992. Commissioned in 1989, the murals depict the neighborhood’s intriguing past. And this community project called for experts continent-wide.
“We insisted on getting the best painters we could find nationwide,” reflects mural coordinator Earl Cruzen. “We brought in muralists from as far as Louisiana and Newfoundland.”
And before the painters arrived, over a year of scouting and research had to be done.
So get out in the fresh air and take a mural tour.
1. WEST SEATTLE FERRIES
Located at California and Alaska, this mural depicts the first two ferries on Puget Sound that ran eight-minute runs between downtown Seattle and West Seattle’s Duwamish Head between 1888 and 1921:
2. MIDNIGHT CALL
Painted by local artist Don Barrie, this mural was created from an old photograph of a horse-drawn rig leaving the Junction Station from its mural location at 44th and Alaska.
3. MOSQUITO BOAT LANDING
Located at California and Alaska, this mural depicts a 1910 Sunday landing of the S.S. Clan McDonald at Alki. The paddle-wheeled vessel provided the major form of turn-of-the-century transportation around Puget Sound.
4. THE FIRST DUWAMISH BRIDGE
Painted from a vantage at Pigeon Point, this mural located at 44th and SW Edmunds (south side of the parking lot behind Northwest Art and Frame) depicts the sweeping view of the first bridge to West Seattle built around 1910. The vast tide lines shown here were drained and filled to create Harbor Island:
5. MORGAN STREET MARKET
This mural is located at Morgan Street and Fauntleroy Way (behind Starbucks) and depicts the shopping center which opened in 1924 and was served by the Gatewood and Fauntleroy streetcars.
6. ALKI IN THE TWENTIES
The name says it all. Located at Fauntleroy and Edmunds (east side of the former Huling/Gee dealership building, facing Fauntleroy), this mural depicts a vintage Chevy and a panoramic view of Alki and a painting of pioneer realtor W.T. Campbell’s home.
7. TUESDAY’S BANK DAY
Anyone who can recollect school days of the ’20s knows all about “bank day.” This mural is located at California and Oregon (on the north side of the WaMu building) and depicts a 1923 classroom as students line up to make “deposits.”
8. THE HI-YU PARADE
Depicting one of Western Washington’s oldest community celebrations, this mural is located on the Post Office wall between Oregon and Genesee on California and features a 1973 Hi-Yu float. (WSB note: This mural was renovated in 2007; here’s our “after” photo.)
9. THE OLD MUD HOLE
Located at 44th and Alaska, this mural depicts the swimming pool in Lincoln Park installed by local philanthropist Laurence Colman. A tidegate filled the pool with saltwater from Puget Sound.
10. PRESS DAY
This mural depicts the web-fed Duplex press at West Seattle Herald pre-WWII. It is located on 44th between Alaska and Edmunds.
You may have seen them in passing, but making the rounds to see all the murals will open your eyes to West Seattle’s past.
What: Historical Murals (more on their history here)
Where: West Seattle (see street names above)
Find more “West Seattle 101” stories on WSB by going here.