West Seattle history 574 results

LOVE HISTORY? Another chance to see ‘Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred’ authors

Love history? You have a chance this week to celebrate it as Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard return to West Seattle with an illustrated talk about their recently published book Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred.” West Seattle historian and writer Clay Eals, who edited the book, will be part of the presentation, 6 pm Thursday (January 24th) at Aegis Living (4700 SW Admiral Way). Everyone’s welcome to what will be, Eals notes, “the 25th event on behalf of the book since its launch on Paul’s 80th birthday last October 28.” Find out about the previous presentations – including videos – on the book’s website. Better yet, just go! It’s free, and Aegis will treat you to appetizers and beverages.

Southwest Seattle Historical Society announces leadership changes

January 8, 2019 6:27 pm
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 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news

(File photo: Log House Museum, SWSHS HQ)

The new year brings new leadership to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Here’s the announcement:

The SWSHS Board of Trustees announces the departure of Jeff McCord from the position of Executive Director. Jeff’s leadership role with the society began in July 2017, and during this time, he oversaw successful exhibits in the Log House Museum and the many programs sponsored by the historical society.

Jeff is looking forward to focusing on his family, serving on non-profit boards and additional volunteerism in the community, as well as exploring other creative business pursuits in game design, videography, and drone photography. A search for a new Executive Director begins this month.

A new Board of Directors takes office in January to lead the organization in its mission to promote local heritage through education, preservation and advocacy. Officers include Kathy Blackwell, President; Nancy Sorensen, Vice-President; Lissa Kramer, Interim Treasurer; Sandie Wilkinson, Secretary; John Sweetland, Membership Secretary.

The society is pleased to have two new trustees: Carol Vincent, one of the founders of the Log House Museum, and Lissa Kramer, former Museum Curator. Dora-Faye Hendricks, Kerry Korsgaard, Burke Dykes, Marcy Johnsen, and Ken Workman continue as Trustees.

The SWSHS board is grateful to three departing board members: Karen Sisson, who served as President for 2 years; Ron Arant, Treasurer and technology guru for many years; and Jenni Bodnar, Trustee for 3 years.

SWSHS looks forward to the New Year that will include fresh emphasis on embracing the entire Duwamish Peninsula, highlighting its rich heritage and fascinating stories.

The next SWSHS event is this Thursday (January 10th), when the Words, Writers, West Seattle author series features our state’s Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, 6 pm at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW).

BEFORE/AFTER: Mosquito Fleet mural renovation complete!

Thanks to Lora Radford, executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association, for the photos! Renovation work is done at the Mosquito Fleet mural on the east side of the city-landmark Campbell Building in The Junction. Here’s what it looked like before muralist Bob Henry started work:

This was Henry’s second mural-restoration project in West Seattle, after the Morgan Street Market mural. (Here’s the backstory on the mural-restoration campaign and how to be part of it.)

Reader report: ‘Hidden history’ sighting in West Seattle

Thanks to Darryl for sending the photo! He explains:

A hidden history is revealed at 16th and Trenton. We’ve heard stories from long time residents that this house on the corner used to be a neighborhood grocery store, but have never seen pictures from that period. Today, as the house is undergoing another transformation, I caught this cool image that confirms the story. Kind of neat!

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who’s added to this story via the comments – don’t skip them!

West Seattle scenes: Southwest Seattle Historical Society toasts the present and past at 2018 Champagne Gala Brunch

November 3, 2018 10:30 pm
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 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news

(UPDATED MONDAY with fundraising total)

(Photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand unless otherwise credited)

History isn’t just about the past. That was highlighted during today’s Champagne Gala Brunch raising money for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). We stopped by in the early going for some photos; the highlight notes were contributed tonight by SWSHS executive director Jeff McCord:

Special guests Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard were a delight as they were being interviewed by Connie Thompson from KOMO4. Longtime Seattle Times columnist Dorpat — famous for his wit and improvisational style — further entertained the crowd by interrupting his own interview (that Connie was conducting) and creating an impromptu “auction” of his Gala program that’d he’d gotten everyone at his VIP table to sign the cover of, plus his receipt from Trader Joe’s.

(Jean Sherrard and Paul Dorpat, photographed by Gail Ann Photography)

Hilarity ensued when he started the “auction” at 10¢, and then Connie encouraged Paul to throw in the nice chocolate bar he’d bought at Trader Joe’s (which he ‘reluctantly’ acquiesced to). Once the auction grew to ‘tens’ of dollars, Connie herself took over the auction.

(Connie Thompson, a longtime West Seattleite)

Then, seeing the action and seizing the moment official auctioneer Ron Hippe, took it over and took the previously unplanned auction to over $50, at which point we whispered to Ron that we were throwing in a donated, signed copy of Paul & Jean’s new book, “Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred,” and the “auction” went skyward to over $200.

Earlier during the live auction segment, 4th great-grandson of Chief Seattle, Ken Workman, had donated a beautiful grouping of cedar jigsaw artwork depicting Chief Seattle that his brother Kurt Workman had handcrafted, and he talked about the connection of his own ancestors’ DNA that was captured in the very wood of trees around us in our area, since they’d traditionally been buried among the trees.

(Ken Workman)

Every springtime the rains wash down and the groundwater is drawn up into the trees, meaning that his own relatives continue to live all around us, and in the ancient beams of many of the buildings built here in West Seattle.

(Husky Deli proprietor Jack Miller and Easy Street Records proprietor Matt Vaughan)

In another instance during the auction, when Husky Deli owner Jack Miller realized that his popular “Create your own Husky Deli ice cream flavor” auction-item had nearly sold in a deadlock between two close bidders, he ended up “doubling” the auction offering on the spot, meaning that both the first bidder and runner-up bidder Adah Cruzen — another honored guest—won the opportunity to create a flavor with Jack that *might* even find its way onto the permanent menu sometime in 2019 in Husky Deli finds it to be popular. The auction package(s) include a launch party for the flavor for up to 25 guests… Yeah, Adah (and other guest)!!

(Jeff McCord and Adah Cruzen)

In addition to these sweet moments, guests reported that they enjoyed this year’s Gala a lot, saying it was fun, low key and relaxed, and being excited about the great auction items and the flow of the event.

(Auction item: Michael Birawer print provided by Diane Venti)

There were lots of smiles & laughter, nice conversations, and thankfulness for the generosity of the donors who came forth to support the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

More photos!

(Laura Vanderpool with Paul Dorpat)

(SWSHS board president Karen Sisson)

(Jeff McCord with John Bennett, longtime SWSHS supporter whose Luna Park Café was the brunch’s presenting sponsor)

We’re expecting an update from SWSHS on Sunday with the brunch’s fundraising totals and we’ll add it here.

MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Here’s that info from SWSHS’s Jeff McCord:

We are happy to report that we were able to raise over $72,000 in revenue for this year’s 2018 Champagne Gala Brunch, aptly themed, “History is Happening Now!” There was an additional $4,000 in in-kind contributions to add to that, plus so much more … We are thankful for all of the generous donors, attendees, auction-item donors, corporate sponsors, challenge-funders, and volunteers who came together in a monumental effort to make this year’s Gala a success!

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is devoted to continue bringing great programming, community events, activities, museum exhibits, and educational opportunities to the community we all love so much.

YOU’RE INVITED! Southwest Seattle Historical Society Champagne Gala Brunch on Saturday

October 31, 2018 2:14 pm
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 |   How to help | West Seattle history | West Seattle news

Got plans Saturday? 11 am-2 pm, you can help celebrate local history and support the organization that’s dedicated to it, just by going to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s Champagne Gala Brunch! The reminder and preview:

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is looking forward to seeing our supporters and community members this coming Saturday, November 3, at 11 am at Salty’s on Alki (1936 Harbor SW). Our special guests this year are Paul Dorpat & Jean Sherrard of the Seattle Times “Pacific NW Magazine” column, “Seattle Now & Then,” which, each week, features a historical photo of a building or place in Seattle matched with the modern photo taken by Jean Sherrard from the same vantage point, and coupled with the poetic language and wit that Paul Dorpat has been famous for for over 37 years.

Our Gala marks one of the very first public appearances by the pair with their newly-released book, “Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred.” Connie Thompson of KOMO 4 will provide an insightful interview of the pair, and at the end of the event, Paul & Jean will sell and sign copies of their book.

Our own board member and 4th great-grandson of Chief Sealth, Ken Workman (who happens to be featured in the book as well – see above), will honor us at the beginning of the program by speaking about his ancestral connection to the land and to the trees within our area. We will then have an amazing set of auction items, including art, getaway experiences, and great restaurants and local services in a great segment we call “Fun in the Junction.”

We will also have a fabulous “Golden Ticket” drawing that features a “Choose Your Cruise” opportunity to win a trip to one of four destinations offered by Holland America Line.

We invite our community members to join us at our 2018 Champagne Gala Brunch, hoping to see you there! Tickets are available at galatickets.org — we recommend that you purchase your tickets online or contact Jeff McCord at 206-234-4357 to arrange another form of payment.

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Junction ‘Mosquito Fleet’ mural restoration progress

While in The Junction covering the installation of parking-donation boxes on Saturday afternoon, we noticed Bob Henry back at work restoring the “Mosquito Fleet” mural on the east side of the landmark Campbell Building.

He told us he is hoping to finish this project – his second in West Seattle after the Morgan Street Market mural restoration – next week. (Here’s the backstory on the mural-restoration campaign and how to be part of it.)

VIDEO: First Lutheran Church of West Seattle’s centennial celebration

A procession from the original site of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle around the corner to its current site, with bagpiper Tyrone Heade, preceded this morning’s service marking the church’s 100th anniversary.

The church moved to its current building, around the corner from its original 1918 site, in 1950. A display inside honors its history, including its past leaders, starting with founding pastor Rev. Erick Slettedahl:

The celebration continued tonight with a special dinner at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor).

Speakers for the dinner include Seattle Times Now and The columnist, historian Paul Dorpat, below center with (left) local journalist/historian Clay Eals – who edited Dorpat’s forthcoming book “Seattle Now and Then: The Historic Hundred” – and Then and Now collaborator, photographer Jean Sherrard:

Also speaking, Husky Deli proprietor Jack Miller, below with FLCWS pastor Rev. Ron Marshall:

You can read about the church’s history here, including the note that its current building was designed by Rolland Denny Lamping, a great-grandchild of Arthur A. Denny.

VIDEO: As Alki Homestead’s neon sign returns, Il Nido restaurant plans take shape

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The Alki Homestead‘s neon sign is back atop the landmark log building by the beach.

Among those there to watch as Western Neon returned it this morning were Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive directors present and past, Jeff McCord and Clay Eals:

And the couple who just announced they will open the restaurant Il Nido at the Homestead, Chef Mike Easton and Victoria Easton:

The return of the sign – which Western Neon says it will illuminate tonight – is the latest milestone in the restoration of the former Fir Lodge since Dennis Schilling bought it in 2015. The sign came down in July 2016. SWSHS helped Schilling obtain a grant to partly fund the restoration.

Work to restore the building, which was operated as a restaurant until a fire did major damage almost 10 years ago, continues. After news that the Eastons would open a restaurant – sibling to their popular Il Corvo in Pioneer Square – we talked with him to get more details.

To be sure you’re clear, Schilling will continue to own the building – Il Nido will be its major tenant. Easton explains that he and his family have lived in West Seattle for three years, near Lincoln Park: “We are so happy to live there.” Ever since moving here, the Eastons have been looking for a WS location to open a restaurant. “There’s not a whole lot of commercial real estate [suitable for a restaurant] and whatever does come up is always sort of a handshake – none of the good spots never really hit the market. I had the good fortune of someone mentioning the Homestead was getting restored and would eventually be looking for a restaurant.”

So he found Schilling and introduced himself about a year ago, and the rest is history. It wasn’t an immediate click, though. “It initially seemed to be such a big project, just how much restoration needed to happen – I wrote it off as more than I wanted to do. But the building sort of has a haunting effect on you. Ever since the first time I looked at it, I was unable to stop thinking about doing a restaurant there.”

After meeting Schilling, Easton walked through the Homestead. “As striking as the outside was, the inside was what really struck me – the look and feel.” He’s seen some of the old photos “and the burned remnants.” As noted in the first coverage of his plan, the famous stone fireplace will be restored.

On to the restaurant itself. Since Il Corvo downtown – which has been open for seven years – is lunch only, and Il Nido will be dinner and brunch, he will be involved with both. But Il Corvo “needs less and less of my attention,” he says. “We have an incredibly good team,” led by Chef David Crutcher, and, says Easton, he primarily just checks in.

He’s looking forward to being able to do more and different things at Il Nido, since Il Corvo is so focused on chuning out “well over 300 bowls (of pasta) a day in four hours – we make almost 100 pounds of pasta every morning.” There are “handmade shapes” that he looks forward to making for dinner at Il Nido without having to hit the scale of Il Corvo; “we’ll be able to invest more” at the new restaurant, with a price point higher than Il Corvo’s “selling a bowl of pasta for just under 10 dollars … we can’t have an army of people making tortellini” at that rate.

Another difference: While Il Corvo has something different daily, Il Nido’s menu will change a little less often. As previously mentioned, seasonal produce will heavily factor into it.

In case you were wondering about parking – the lot adjacent to the Homestead will be available for the restaurant, Easton confirms; the SWSHS Log House Museum will continue to use it too, and since its hours are noon-4 pm Thursdays-Sundays, that’s mostly a non-overlapping time, but “we’ll negotiate how to share on the weekend” when Il Nido is open for brunch.

Now, it’s on with restoration and preparation, in hopes of a spring opening. We ask what’s left to do inside. “Everything!” laughs Easton. “It’s still quite a bit of a construction site. Dennis and his son Matt are doing an outstanding job on the restoration,” which includes bringing it up to all current codes – sprinklers are included.

“My wife and I are just very excited to take this on – she is a very big part of our business. I’m not the solo talent.” She handles “everything that isn’t cooking,” he adds.

As for him – this will be the next exciting development in a restaurant-industry career that goes back to his very first job at age 16. So Chef Easton brings a long history to a new venue in a building with history.

The transformation will be chronicled on Instagram at @ilnidoseattle.


West Seattle Labor Day weekend scene: ‘Work It’ bicycle ride explores local workers’ history

September 3, 2018 8:43 pm
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 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news

One more Labor Day weekend event to recap: The “Work It, West Seattle” bike ride. The photo and report are from Don Brubeck of West Seattle Bike Connections:

The highlight of our Labor Day weekend ride (Saturday) was meeting Jack Block and Vicki Schmitz-Block at Jack Block Park. Jack told us about the sawmills, shipyards, and creosote plant and the docks. Great to hear his stories of skipping afternoon classes at WSHS to go down to the dock to unload bananas with other kids, starting his longshoreman career at age 15, and eventually becoming a Port Commissioner and working to clean up the pollution and create the park named after him.

We had great presentations by historian Judy Bentley about the Delridge working-class neighborhoods and the steelworkers union; Phil Hoffman about the sawmills at Alki and logging; Dora-Faye Hendricks at the Nucor Steel plant; and 10-year old Asher, resident at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, about Cooper School and the artists who live and work there now.

This was a Cascade Bicycle Club ride hosted by West Seattle Bike Connections and Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Jeff McCord and Valerie Kendall from SWSHS lined up the speakers.

Your next chance to get involved with WSBC is its monthly meeting, 6:30 pm tomorrow (Tuesday, September 4th) at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW) – here’s the agenda preview.

History on display as West Seattle VFW celebrates centennial

2:56 PM: As previewed here, the West Seattle VFW invites you to visit as its 100th-anniversary open house continues until 4 pm. Historic items and photos are on display; they’re also hosting the state commander, U.S. Air Force veteran Linda Fairbank. And veterans are invited to join, first year free, per West Seattle commander Steve Strand (a U.S. Army veteran). More photos to add later; the hall’s at 3601 SW Alaska in The Triangle.

7:42 PM: Added – above, state commander Fairbank, local commander Strand, and Kyle Geraghty. Below, one of the items on display, and a wider view inside the hall:

The state commander presented the post with a Century Award certificate from the national commander; the exact 100th anniversary is tomorrow.

West Seattle summer bucket list: Alki Point Lighthouse tour season ending soon

(Photo by Debra Alderman, USCG Auxiliary)

It’s one of those things you can only do around here in the summer – and you only have two more chances! So Debra Alderman of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is reminding you it’s not too late to tour historic Alki Point Lighthouse before summer’s end:

US Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers will be giving tours at the Alki Point Lighthouse just two more Sundays for this season: Sunday, August 26th, and Sunday, September 2nd. Tours begin at 1 p.m. and the last visitors enter the site at 3:45 p.m.

We’d love to have lots of West Seattleites come for a visit! Learn about local history and how people and technology have been teaming up to keep people safe on Puget Sound for over a century. Entrance to the site is at 3201 Alki Avenue SW.

Questions? alkilighthouse@cgauxseattle.org

FOLLOWUP: Restoration work begins on another West Seattle mural; bids sought for upcoming project

(WSB photo)

Six weeks after he finished restoring the Morgan Junction mural, artist Bob Henry has started work on the next West Seattle mural to be brought back to life, “Mosquito Fleet,” on the east side of the historic Campbell Building, across the alley from Junction Plaza Park.

Next in line is “West Seattle Ferries,” and then the “First Duwamish Bridge” mural at 4740 44th SW – the same one that got a band-aid courtesy of a mystery artist last year after it had been tagged by vandal(s) in a big way:

(WSB photo, August 2017)

Lora Swift of the West Seattle Junction Association plans to seek a city matching-fund grant for this project, so she is looking for muralists to bid on it, with a full scope of work proposal needed by September 4th:

We are requesting a proposal which will include a time frame, cost of materials, sub-contractors, labor, and portfolio with past work. The body of work would ideally be completed by mid-year 2019, but we could start as early as October, depending upon the weather.

(Contact her at info@wsjunction.org.) Other murals are awaiting their turn, and crowdfunding continues here. Another way to help the mural-restoration fund is by attending this Saturday’s West Seattle Outdoor Movies finale (“Black Panther,” August 26th at dusk by the West Seattle YMCA [3622 SW Snoqualmie; WSB sponsor]); it’ll be the beneficiary of this week’s raffle.

West Seattle VFW celebrating its centennial, and you’re invited!

The photo and announcement are from West Seattle VFW post commander Steve Strand:

The West Seattle VFW would like to invite everybody to help us celebrate our 100-year anniversary this Sunday, August 26th, 2018, at 2:00 PM.

Our Post was created when the original Seattle Post #24 COL Theodore Roosevelt joined with the Sgt Farwell post to create Post 2713 Farwell-Roosevelt. We are still housed in the old Morrison Hall at 3601 SW Alaska Street, where we have been since the 1960s. We are across the street from the American Legion who have the cannon out front.

We have been researching our history and will have old newspaper articles and photographs on display. We also have compiled a database of members from 1918 and will attempt to have a list if anybody wants to check it for family members. Our database is incomplete, but the original applications include veterans from the Spanish-American War.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US strives to give back to the community while allowing our members a friendly face and open place to gather and share their experiences. We are offering a one-year free membership to any qualifying veteran that lives or works in West Seattle. If you have a veteran in your life, please bring them by. Many of our members were encouraged to join by children, grandchildren, or others, only to find out the benefit it added to their life. We are all-inclusive – all ages, genders, races, religions, orientations.

This is a free event and our doors will be wide open. Anybody is welcome to come in and browse our building, check-out the displays, or talk with our veterans. We hope to see you there.

FOLLOWUP: What that custom Sub Pop guitar raised for Southwest Seattle Historical Society

(Photo courtesy Southwest Seattle Historical Society)

Before and during last weekend’s SPF30 festival on Alki, we featured the custom guitar auctioned off to raise money for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. SWSHS shares the photo of the winning bidder, Eastside musician John Stephens, who picked it up this past week. SWSHS executive director Jeff McCord notes that the guitar “was donated by Terry and Ryan Martin of Walla Walla Guitar Company,” and adds:

The sale of the guitar has generated a $2,225 donation value for the historical society, plus buyer John has even donated the $50 shipping fee which he was entitled to getting back since he picked it up locally. Pictured are Sub Pop Guitar buyer John Stephens (left) and historical society supporter Mike Shaughnessy (right), who donated his time selling the guitar on his music-themed eBay account.

Thanks especially go out to Walla Walla Guitar Company, Mike (for his time and care on the eBay auction) and to Sub Pop, Thunder Road Guitars, Easy Street Records, and all of the other friends and supporters who helped spread the word about this special musical instrument.

If you somehow missed it … SPF30 (WSB coverage here and here) was a free music festival on Saturday, August 11th, celebrating legendary Seattle label Sub Pop Records‘ 30th anniversary.

P.S. The SWSHS has a big event next Saturday – “Fired Up Family Day” 11 am-1 pm August 25th – in the Homestead parking lot at 2717 61st SW; here’s our calendar listing.

‘Sound Spots’: New music-history exhibit opens at Log House Museum

Long before SPF30 … remember the Seattle Music Fest at Alki? That poster is part of a new music-history exhibit that opened today at the Log House Museum, just before music fans swarm the beach for Saturday’s big event.

The display case above includes Nirvana memorabilia on loan from local entrepreneur John Bennett, including a smiley face drawn by Kurt Cobain. An interactive component of the exhibit will take you back decades further:

You’re looking at the house that was once home to Ivar Haglund – whose music you can choose to hear; Woody Guthrie, too. (Ivar’s bio explains the link.) Lots of other memorabilia to browse, too:

The museum (61st SW/SW Stevens) is open noon-4 pm Thursdays-Sundays, and yes, it’ll be open on Saturday during SPF30, too.

West Seattle’s historic murals: Here’s how you can help save the rest of them

(WSB photo, April 2018)

The Mosquito Fleet mural on the east side of the city-landmark Campbell Building is next up for restoration in the finally launched project to restore all of West Seattle’s historic murals; it’ll be restored by muralist Bob Henry, who recently brought the Morgan Junction mural back to life. While the campaign to save all the Murals of West Seattle has a good start to the necessary funding – thanks to Adah Rhodes Cruzen‘s gift and to the West Seattle Garden Tour, among others – community contributions are requested, too, and that fundraising campaign has officially launched. This video tells the story:

(Video by This Is It Video Production)
More backstory on the murals and the restoration campaign – plus your options for contributing – can be found here.

West Seattle weekend scene: Touring the house where REI started its climb

August 5, 2018 6:57 pm
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 |   Gatewood | West Seattle history | West Seattle news

(WSB photos)

Every year, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society offers a tour of a local house with a notable past. This afternoon, while many were watching hydroplane racing and/or Blue Angels aerobatics, this year’s “If These Walls Could Talk” tour invited visitors inside the Gatewood home where Lloyd and Mary Anderson began the business that became REI.

At center in the photo above is SWSHS executive director Jeff McCord, talking with visitors inside the basement where the Andersons launched their buying coop in 80 years ago. After Lloyd died in 2000, Mary – who died last year at age 107 – Mary sold the house.

It’s since been remodeled and expanded, with three more houses added on the site where it was built in 1932, as this Seattle Times Now and Then story explains, but part of the exterior, including the porch and overhang, remain the same.

The site is now known as Anderson Gardens in the couple’s honor. The REI website has more on how they founded the company, which remains a co-op.

P.S. At its own home, the Log House Museum, SWSHS will debut a new exhibit about local music history, noon-2 pm Thursday (August 9th), just in time for its spotlight during Sub Pop’s SPF30 anniversary celebration next Saturday.

Ticket sales start today for Southwest Seattle Historical Society tour @ Gatewood house where REI began

(King County Assessor photo)

That’s the Gatewood house where REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) was founded in Gatewood, 80 years ago. On the afternoon of Sunday, August 5, it will be the site of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s annual “If These Walls Could Talk” home tour. Ticket sales will begin at noon today, the SWSHS says. You’ll have two options – the basic tour, or tour plus a VIP reception and talk – as explained on this page, which is also where ticket sales will be activated at noon. As SWSHS summarizes what happened in the house:

It all started with a $15 ice axe — In 1935 Mountaineers Club member Lloyd Anderson purchased an ice axe from an importer in the United States. The axe was at the same time very expensive for that time-period, and also was poorly made. When the axe broke it set Lloyd on a mission that would lead to the formation of a co-op for the Mountaineers that would eventually become REI.

Guest speaker for the VIP event, noon-2 pm, is Bobby Whittaker, son of Jim Whittaker; the SWSHS says he “will be talking about growing up in a climbing family, and his early memories of hanging out at Capitol Hill store location at the time when his father Jim was involved in the operations of REI” as well as showing clips from “Return to Mount Kennedy,” which we reported on in May.

At Summer Fest: Southwest Seattle Historical Society celebrates $100,000 donation from Adah Cruzen

4:20 PM: The next beneficiary of Adah Cruzen‘s philanthropy: The Southwest Seattle Historical Society! We got the news from SWSHS while here at West Seattle Summer Fest and took the photo at the SWSHS booth minutes ago.

(Right now) at Summer Fest longtime West Seattle resident Adah Cruzen is (visiting to) tell some stories (to) be turned into impromptu poems by Typewriter Rodeo creator Sean Petrie. Adah recently donated $100,000 from the estate of her late husband, Earl Cruzen, the largest single gift that the historical society has received in its 34-year history.

Adah and Earl’s legacy gift helps the historical society in two major ways: Firstly, for capital repairs and ongoing care to the Log House Museum on Alki such-as porch deck and railing repairs, fence repairs, electrical upgrades, and other much-needed modifications and maintenance; and secondly “staff development and support,” an effort to help the society to expand its offerings to the public by increasing curatorial staff hours, professional development and training, etc. Presently the Log House Museum has two new exhibits on display that the Curatorial team has developed: “Fired Up: Neighborhood Fire Stations on the Duwamish Peninsula,” and “Navigating to Alki: Early Maps of the Duwamish Peninsula.”

The museum will also be launching a music-related exhibit, “Sound Spots: Music of the Duwamish Peninsula,” which opens on August 9, from 12 – 2 pm at the Log House Museum (in part to coincide with Sub Pop’s SPF30 music festival on Alki on Saturday, August 11, 2018).

“Adah and Earl’s gift will help — and has already been helping us — in major ways in our immediate future, and the ripple effects with the Cruzen gift will continue to help us for many years to come. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society owes Adah and Earl Cruzen a huge debt of gratitude for this major legacy gift.”


Comments from Jeff McCord, Executive Director of Southwest Seattle Historical Society

I recently met with Adah Cruzen at the Log House Museum to give her a tour. She and her assistant, Alfredo, stopped by and I took them through our galleries and showed them the exterior of the building. She was pleased to see what we had accomplished, both at the museum and within the community at large.

Adah said that she wanted to share some good news with us about funding that she wanted to provide. She was acting upon the wishes of her husband, who himself was very active in the community. Earl had been a key force behind the creation of 11 murals that originally appeared throughout the Alaska Junction, along with a key mural in the Morgan Junction behind Starbucks. Earl also spearheaded the effort to create the iconic “Walking on Logs” sculpture along the Fauntleroy Expressway and was on the Advisory Council of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

I shared with Adah our initiative of ‘Reaching New Audiences, Telling New Stories,’ and talked about the new curator staffmembers we’ve been bringing on to provide more resources for historic interpretation, all of which struck a chord with her. She expressed her support for our staff development, as well as seeing some of the needs we had about capital repairs and improvements to our ADA ramp, porch shoring, fence repairs, lighting and security updates.

Adah then gave us the amazing news about a $100,000 gift to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Thank you Adah and Earl!

ADDED 8:38 PM: Jeff shared images of two poems from this afternoon, as well as video of Sean reading one to Adah:

Morgan Junction mural restoration complete – with Easter eggs!

(WSB photos)

After 176 hours spread across 22 days, the Morgan Junction mural restoration is complete! (See a “before” image here.) We stopped by this afternoon as restoration artist Bob Henry met with project masterminds Dan Austin – who first hatched the idea more than 2 1/2 years ago – and Lora Swift.

We also got a tour of the “Easter eggs” you can look for in the finished work (west wall of the building on the southwest corner of Fauntleroy/California) – like a license plate honoring a key figure in the West Seattle murals’ creation and restoration, Earl Cruzen:

And another one in honor of this particular mural’s co-creator:

The restorer added a self-portrait too:

Next up in the quest to restore the murals – the Mosquito Fleet mural on the east side of the Campbell Building in The Junction.

West Seattle 4th of July 2018: Historical Society’s annual picnic

July 4, 2018 4:37 pm
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 |   Holidays | West Seattle history | West Seattle news

(WSB photos)

Another 4th of July tradition: The Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s annual picnic at its headquarters, the Log House Museum on Alki. We stopped by around noontime and caught guest speaker Clay Eals, local historian and past SWSHS executive director:

He was speaking about Erma Couden, who died recently at age 103. As noted in her obituary, Ms. Couden was an advocate of “civil rights and local heritage preservation, all grounded in the pursuit of caring human connections.” She also was the wife of SWSHS founder Elliott Couden. Eals’s successor as SWSHS executive director, Jeff McCord, spoke too:

One of the things he wanted to be sure everyone knows about: The SWSHS is celebrating summer with a new event, Open Draw. On three upcoming Thursday nights (July 26th, August 23rd, and September 27th), 5-7 pm, you can draw and drink wine in the Log House Museum’s Native Plant Courtyard. Free of charge except for the wine, which will be $5/glass. The LHM is at 3003 61st SW and is regularly open Thursdays-Sundays, noon-4 pm.

Hot new exhibit ‘Fired Up’ now open at Log House Museum

June 10, 2018 1:18 pm
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 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news

(WSB photos, except last image)

Every fire station has a story. The history of West Seattle’s five Seattle Fire Department stations, plus a few others present and past in the greater WS/South Park/White Center area, is the subject of the Log House Museum‘s new exhibit “Fired Up: Neighborhood Fire Stations on the Duwamish Peninsula.” We stopped by for its opening celebration on Saturday. You’ll also see the history of a few of West Seattle’s bigger fires, like this one a century ago:

We also noticed this souvenir of sorts from a big fire 21 years ago:

Even a memory from West Seattle’s short-lived history as a city all its own:

The exhibit’s guest curator Bob Carney was among those talking with visitors on Saturday:

Jeff McCord – executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which is headquartered at the museum – was there too, and shared with us this photo of Seattle Fire personnel who visited on Friday night during a sneak peek.

You can see “Fired Up” – and the rest of what’s on display at the museum – Thursdays through Sundays, noon-4 pm, at 61st and Stevens [see a map here]. Admission is free (suggested donation $3 adults, $1 kids; SWSHS is an independent nonprofit).