West Seattle, Washington
Until 2 pm, you can be “Walking in Eva’s Shoes” and finding Save The Stone Cottage volunteers at any or all of five historic spots on Alki. We stopped by Luna/Anchor Park and found local historians Clay Eals (above left) and Ken Workman (above right) – a descendant of Chief Seattle – there to share stories including the site’s fame as home to a waterfront amusement park more than a century ago. This is all to commemorate how the Stone Cottage (1123 Harbor SW) got its unique look – with wagonloads of beach stones hauled by Eva Falk and her family from Alki Point to the bungalow’s site across from Don Armeni Boat Ramp. The Stone Cottage itself is another of the stops along today’s self-guided walk, as are the Alki Point Lighthouse, the “Birthplace of Seattle” monument at 63rd/Alki, and the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s Log House Museum at 61st/Stevens. More info here; this is all part of a series of events sponsored by the local advocates working to preserve the Stone Cottage, crowdfunding to move it to an interim site before a redevelopment project starts where it is now.
P.S. Today’s walk also featured optional participation in a search for the third “Story Stone” – just as we finished writing this, we got word there’s been a winner – Beata S.:
Save The Stone Cottage’s Jeff McCord says, “Beata S. impressed us all by not only completing the “Walking in Eva’s Shoes” walking event at 11:33 am this morning, but answering all five puzzle questions correctly! Congratulations, Beata!!” Here’s her story.
Thanks to Mark Jaroslaw for the photo. Structure-moving specialists Nickel Bros were back at the Stone Cottage (1123 Harbor SW) to continue preparing to move the rock-covered bungalow off its site before the property’s new owners start their redevelopment project. The preservation advocates who formed Save The Stone Cottage continue crowdfunding to pay for the move, and are also continuing a series of community events to keep it top of mind. Next one is this weekend – here’s the announcement:
Saturday, January 23, 2021: “Walking in Eva’s Shoes” event on Alki, starting at the Lighthouse, 10 am to 2 pm.
Looking for fun family-friendly activities to do outside with the whole crew? Experience “Walking in Eva’s Shoes,” the third event hosted by the “Save the Stone Cottage” committee in the “Finding the Lost Stones” contest series.
Does it seem like ages that you’ve been ‘bubbled up at home’ with little ones, with not much to do? Here’s an opportunity for some fun family time on a familiar shoreline path but instead you get to ‘see’ Alki of the 1930s through the eyes of a Seattle family as they collected stones to cover their home.
That little house on Harbor Ave SW known as Eva’s Stone Cottage is now the focus of the “Save the Stone Cottage” committee’s fundraising drive. We plan to move the house out of the way of pending demolition and give it a new life.To raise awareness of these efforts, we’re hosting a series of educational, entertaining, and inspiring events called “Finding the Story Stones.” These four “Story Stones” unlock elements of the unusual stories surrounding the Stone Cottage, Eva Falk, and the early history of Seattle & Alki.
Now is the chance for you and your family to relive history by “Walking in Eva’s Shoes” from the Alki Lighthouse to the Stone Cottage, symbolically recreating the 1930’s journey that Eva Falk and her family took. Along the way, there are five interpretive stops where a history volunteer will tell the fascinating stories behind some remarkable locations we have right here in our own backyard on Alki, the Birthplace of Seattle.
● The Alki Lighthouse (3201 Alki Avenue SW – start your journey here)
● The Birthplace of Seattle Monument
● The Log House Museum
● Anchor Park (former location of Luna Park amusement park)
● and the Stone Cottage itself.
This event will take place from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, January 23, 2021. It is open to anyone, and meant to be accessible. Participants are encouraged to walk the beautiful route, although those who may be less mobile can bike, scooter, skate or drive if they wish to. At each of the interpretive stops along the way the historical interpretive volunteers will tell a short story on each of the historical landmarks. For example:
*Anchor Park at Duwamish Head is the former 12-acre amusement park known as Luna Park. Opening in 1907, the rides operated until 1913, and the pool closed after a 1931 fire. Built on pilings over the water, Luna Park extended over Elliott Bay and was called the ‘greatest Amusement Park on the West Coast.” Today, during very low tides, one can spot remnants of the park pilings that offer a glimpse into an exciting past.
(DID SOMEONE SAY PUZZLES??) For those who also wish to compete for the third Story Stone, a gift certificate at a local West Seattle restaurant (for takeout or outdoor seating), and bragging rights, you can solve the five puzzles along your route and be the first to correctly answer all five puzzle answers once you arrive at the last stop at Stone Cottage. Although there is only one who will achieve the honor of unlocking the Story Stone, all who participate will be “winners” because of the fun and educational experience they’ll have during this event.
So far two of the four “Story Stones” have been claimed.
Tomorrow night, you are invited to set sail into another chapter of local history. Here’s the announcement:
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is delighted to host Michaela Kraft for a live Zoom presentation on Thursday, January 21 at 6:00 PM. Kraft will deliver a presentation and cooking demonstration titled, “Fish For Thought: Fishing Derbies Strengthen Community on Alki and Beyond.” Registration is required.
During the 1940s, fishing competitions had proliferated so quickly that nearly every town along the Sound, as well as numerous businesses and organizations, sponsored one. Though they were widespread, Seattle became the hub for these derbies. We’ll explore a brief history of fishing and these fishing derbies in the Pacific Northwest, and then zoom in on the Alki Fishing Derby and how this tradition brought people together and built a rock-solid sense of community on Alki.
Following the presentation, Kraft will be offering a cooking demonstration of a popular Alki dish that reflects recipes that were likely used around the time of the Derbies.
Michaela Kraft is from Wisconsin, and is a Museology graduate student at the University of Washington. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Drama and Arts Management from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point, and has been fortunate to work at a number of historical societies and historic sites throughout the Midwest. She is passionate about interpretation, and has used her background in the theater to bring the past to life.
For more details and to register, please visit our website at loghousemuseum.org, or contact Maggie Kase, the Programs & Interpretation Coordinator at email@example.com.
As mentioned in our morning preview, the second contest presented by Save The Stone Cottage happened today – a “find the story stone” contest via clues on Twitter. Above, the winner! The photo and update are from STSC’s Jeff McCord:
West Seattleite Keefe Leung found the second lost Story Stone hidden in the bow of the Sasha Eli boat situated “frozen in time” in Whale Tail Park (north of Alki Elementary) in West Seattle.
Here’s a short video of Keefe telling his story of finding the coveted “Story Stone.”
Keefe can now prize his carved soapstone reward (donated in part by Northwest Art and Frame), as well as a gift certificate to a local restaurant and, of course, bragging rights.
Over the weekend, the organizers of the “Search for the Lost Stone” event will reveal some of the hints riddles hidden within the six “Story Stone” clues. Those answers will be tweeted out to “Save the Stone Cottage” Twitter followers here.
There are still two more “Story Stones” to be found. To learn more about the remaining two stones, and the events surrounding them, at the contest page of the “Save the Stone Cottage” website here.
For those who wish to support the rescue efforts, the donation link and social media connections can be found on the home page of the same website, or directly at the donation page for the “Save the Stone Cottage” GoFundMe Charity page.
If you’ve missed previous coverage – the Stone Cottage is the iconic nearly-a-century-old beach bungalow covered in stones, facing demolition to make way for development unless advocates can move it off its site at 1123 Harbor SW.
The campaign is well past the halfway point in fundraising efforts to “Save the Stone Cottage,” but the need is still great to reach the project’s $110,000 goal by the end of January.
Ever wonder how many stones cover the historic bungalow at 1123 Harbor SW? Now we know, as the first of four “Finding the Story Stones” events ends, and the others get new start dates. Here’s the announcement from Save The Stone Cottage, the volunteers working to save and relocate the little house:
Congratulations to Tanya Johnson from the Lake Stevens area, the winner of our first event ‘Count the Stones.’ Tanya’s guess was just 274 stones shy of the actual number of stones on the front facade of the Stone Cottage, which is 3,774. Tanya says, “I think it’s magical that you are working to save this cottage.” By completing the “Count The Stones” challenge, Tanya has unlocked the “Story of Eva,” the free spirit who built the Stone Cottage.
‘Count the Stones’ is the first of four events the “Save the Stone Cottage” committee is hosting, a series of educational, entertaining and inspiring events called “Finding the Story Stones,” to raise awareness about the GoFundMe Charities fundraising drive. A total of four fun activities will be held this month, in which individuals, virtual teams of friends, and families with children all can participate. Finding the four “Story Stones” will unlock elements of the unusual stories surrounding the Stone Cottage, Eva Falk, and the early history of Seattle and Alki.
Finding Story Stone #2: ‘Search for the Lost Stone’ launches January 16, 2021. This second contest is a clue-based Twitter search in which clues to the whereabouts of the second Story Stone will be tweeted out over six hours. Finding this Story Stone will unlock stories and secrets about the Stone Cottage itself.
We previewed all the contests a week and a half ago; the third one, “Walking in Eva’s Shoes,” now starts January 23rd, and the “Stone Cottage Karaoke Rock Concert” is set for January 30th. More details are on the this page of the Save The Stone Cottage website, where the newly unlocked “Story of Eva” will be posted this week, along with a photo of the “story stone.” Meantime, the crowdfunding campaign continues here, with $52,440 of the $110,000 needed for the move, as of this morning.
(Seattle Municipal Archives photo of what’s described as the Highland Park-Burien line’s Hillside Station – possibly in Riverview – 1915)
Even as our transportation future remains in flux, there are lessons to be learned from our past. Historic Seattle offers you a chance to learn about West Seattle’s streetcar history a century ago, in a free online event two weeks from today (11 am Saturday, January 23rd). Here’s the announcement:
Join us for an exploration of West Seattle’s streetcar history from 1916 to 1940 with Mike Bergman. This virtual lecture will cover the construction of the streetcar system and the many ways in which it influenced West Seattle’s development and growth in the first half of the 20th century.
From an early age, Mike Bergman was interested in Seattle’s transportation history – especially the city’s bridges, railroads, and public transit systems. Mike joined a transit consulting firm shortly after graduating from UW, followed by tenures at, both, King County Metro and Sound Transit. Following his retirement in 2016, Mike has maintained a strong interest in local transit and transportation history. He is a volunteer at the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive (PNRA) and has organized PNRA’s large collection of material on the Seattle Municipal Railway. He is the president of the Tacoma Chapter- National Railway Historical Society, and regularly contributes articles of local historical interest to The Trainsheet, the chapter’s monthly newsletter.
Although the event is free, registration is required. More information, including the registration link, is here.
Bergman gave a similar presentation back in August for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is pleased to announce that it is now accepting submissions for its first history essay contest in partnership with Paper Boat Booksellers. Submissions will be accepted in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
The theme of our competition is WOMEN HISTORY MAKERS OF THE DUWAMISH PENINSULA. We encourage students to write an essay that explores the contributions of a specific woman from the Duwamish Peninsula who has made an historical impact on the community, past or present, famous or not-yet-famous. Tell us how the woman you choose to write about inspires you.
This contest is open to all students. Winners will be selected in each grade category outlined below:
Grades 3-5 – 250 words maximum
Grades 6-8 – 500 words maximum
Grades 9–12 – 750 words maximum
Essays will be judged by a panel of SWSHS staff, volunteers, and community partners based on the following criteria:
-Demonstrated understanding of the woman as a person and the role she has played or is playing in the history of the Duwamish Peninsula
-Effective use of descriptive language.
-Correct punctuation, spelling, and grammar
-For grades 6 and up, appropriate citations in any reference style
To submit an essay for consideration, please visit loghousemuseum.org/blog/essaysubmissions . Submissions should include a cover letter indicating: the title of the essay, the student’s name, grade level, and contact information where the student can be notified of the contest results.
We encourage students to make use of the Historical Society’s archives and historians. Email Maggie, the museum Programs and Interpretation Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions will close on Monday, February 15, 2021 at 5 pm. Winners will receive a special certificate and gift from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and Paper Boat Booksellers. Winning essays will also be published on the Historical Society’s blog and West Seattle Blog. Best of all, winners will be honored at a special event hosted by the Historical Society and have the opportunity to read their essay at the event!
What a year! With hours to go until 2021 arrives, it’s time for our annual lookback, with the 10 most-commented WSB stories of the year. As you can probably guess, the pandemic and the West Seattle Bridge closure loom large on the list; those two ongoing emergencies also made this a record year for WSB readership, averaging almost 2 million pageviews a month. Thanks for reading, commenting, sending tips, and huge thanks to the local businesses and organizations whose sponsorships cover our costs (which increase along with traffic, as we work to increase reliability and our server’s ability to handle big breaking news). Now, on to the countdown!
#10 – GOVERNOR EXTENDS STAY-HOME ORDER
May 1, 2020 – 190 comments
Gov. Inslee announced the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order would be extended another month, and also outlined his plan for reopening in phases.
#9 – CITY COUNCIL GETS BRIDGE BRIEFING
April 20, 2020 – 195 comments
Four weeks after the West Seattle Bridge was closed, five days after SDOT announced the closure would last until at least 2022, the City Council got a briefing.
#8 – SEATTLE EVENING MARCH COMES TO ALKI AND ADMIRAL
July 30, 2020 – 196 comments
Their demonstrations weren’t the biggest seen in West Seattle, but the Seattle Evening March protesters’ visits here were among the most memorable, as they marched along many residential streets on their way to visit officials including City Councilmembers and, on this night, King County Executive Dow Constantine.
#7 – ‘STAY HEALTHY STREETS’ ADD ALKI POINT
May 7, 2020 – 215 comments
As part of the city’s pandemic response, some streets were closed to through traffic to give people more space to walk, run, and roll. When Beach Drive’s northern end, alongside Constellation Park, was added, many were thrilled, many others were not.
#6 – ALKI POINT ‘STAY HEALTHY STREET’ EXPANDS
May 10, 2020 – 230 comments
Shortly after the aforementioned stretch of Beach Drive was closed to through traffic, it was suggested that adding Alki Avenue west of 63rd would make sense too – and that happened quickly.
As reported here last weekend, Save The Stone Cottage is almost halfway to raising the funding needed to move the iconic beach bungalow off its to-be-redeveloped site, putting it on the path to preservation. Next step: Four events for you! Here’s the announcement:
In a race to beat the wrecking ball, throughout January 2021 the “Save The Stone Cottage” committee is putting on a series of educational, entertaining and inspiring events called “Finding the Story Stones,” to raise awareness about the GoFundMe Charities fundraising drive. Four fun activities will be held over the course of the next 30-day period in which individuals, virtual teams of friends, and families with children all can participate. Finding the four “Story Stones” will unlock elements of the unusual stories surrounding the Stone Cottage, Eva Falk and the early history of Seattle and Alki.
The first of four family-friendly events launches this weekend!
Finding Story Stone #1: ‘Count the Stones’ Begins January 1, 2021
The first contest begins with the onset of the New Year. From January 1st to January 6th you and/or your team can be one of the first to “Count the Stones” on the front façade of the Stone Cottage at 1123 Harbor Ave SW. Participants who correctly guess the number of stones (within a 50-stone range) will earn bragging rights and help unlock the “Story of Eva,” the free spirit who built the Stone Cottage. Submit your team’s name, contact information, and single best guess at: savethestonecottage.org/storystones
Finding Story Stone #2: ‘Search for the Lost Stone’ launches January 9, 2021
This second contest is a clue-based Twitter search in which clues to the whereabouts of the second Story Stone will be tweeted out over six hours. Finding this Story Stone will unlock stories and secrets about the Stone Cottage itself.
Finding Story Stone #3: ‘Walking in Eva’s Shoes’ January 16, 2021
This third contest highlights the story of Eva Falk when, during the early 1930s, she enlisted the help of her children to tow wagon loads of beach stones from the Alki Lighthouse to where the house was being built on Harbor Avenue more than two miles away. Participants will be encouraged to complete the trip from the Alki Lighthouse to the Stone Cottage and symbolically re-enacting the journey of Eva and her children. Finding this third Story Stone will unlock the story of “Building the Stone Cottage.”
Finding Story Stone #4: ‘Stone Cottage Karaoke Rock Concert’ January 23, 2021
We will hold a live “Stone Cottage Karaoke Rock Concert” in which participants can choose from a list of songs to perform. Songs can be performed as an individual or a team. The winning Karaoke performer will receive the final Story Stone and unlock the “Story of the Duwamish.”
Two weeks after launching a crowdfunding campaign, Save The Stone Cottage is almost halfway to its fundraising goal. The group of local preservation advocates and volunteers is aiming to raise $110,000 to move the stone-studded beach bungalow off its site at 1123 Harbor SW before a redevelopment project starts construction. As of today, the campaign has passed $47,000. Save The Stone Cottage is working with building-moving experts Nickel Bros to move the century-old structure to a temporary site next month – likely storage at a Port of Seattle site nearby – until a new permanent site is found. More backstory is in our previous coverage here and here; donations are welcome here.
Winter break is almost here. Young writers might consider planning/writing an entry for a new contest that the Southwest Seattle Historical Society is launching. We’re happy to play a small part in it, too. Read on for details in SWSHS’s announcement:
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is pleased to announce its first history essay contest for students in partnership with Paper Boat Booksellers. The theme of our competition is: WOMEN HISTORY MAKERS OF THE DUWAMISH PENINSULA. We encourage students to write an essay that explores the contributions of a specific woman from the Duwamish Peninsula who has made a historical impact on the community, past or present, famous or not-yet-famous. Tell us how the woman you choose to write about inspires you.
This contest is open to all students. Winners will be selected in each grade category outlined below:
● Grades: 3 – 5 250 words maximum
● Grades: 6 — 8 500 words maximum
● Grades: 9 – 12 750 words maximum
Essays will be judged by a panel of SWSHS staff, volunteers, and community partners based on the following criteria:
● Demonstrated understanding of the woman as a person and the role she has played or is playing in the history of the Duwamish Peninsula
● Effective use of descriptive language.
● Correct punctuation, spelling, and grammar
● For grades 6 and up, appropriate citations in any reference style.
Students should include a cover sheet that outlines: the title of the essay, student’s name, grade level, and an email address or telephone number where the student can be notified of the contest results.
Submissions will open 9:00 am on Monday, January 4, 2021 on our website at www.loghousemuseum.org. We encourage students to make use of the Historical Society’s archives and historians. Email Maggie, the museum Programs and Interpretation Coordinator at email@example.com.
Winners will receive a special certificate and gift from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and Paper Boat Booksellers. Winning essays will also be published on the Historical Society’s blog and West Seattle Blog. Winners also will be honored at a special event hosted by the Historical Society and have the opportunity to read their essay at the event!
We’ve been reporting for almost two years on advocates’ hopes of saving “Eva’s Stone Cottage,” the little rock-covered house across from Don Armeni Boat Ramp, on a site set for redevelopment. Today, they have launched a community campaign – here’s the announcement:
The stone-studded cottage at 1123 Harbor Ave SW has been a beloved and legendary landmark in West Seattle for 90 years. The wrecking ball is looming and we need help to save this piece of Seattle history.
Eva Falk built the cottage in the 1930’s and her children came up with its unique façade of more than 15,000 beach stones. The stones were carried from the beach near the Alki Lighthouse, and each stone was thoughtfully placed by hand on the exterior of the building. Eva told her daughter Carmecita Munoz that “This house is for giving shelter to anybody and anything.” For good reason, one stone placed prominently near the cottage’s front door bears the shape of a heart, welcoming all who entered. Eva passed away in 1997 at age 92.
The Stone Cottage is now surrounded by condos and townhouses and is slated for demolition in January. For more than two years, a group of West Seattle neighbors, Save The Stone Cottage LLC, has joined forces with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and Historic Seattle, to develop a plan to save the 90-year-old beach home. These community volunteers, working in conjunction with the new property owner, Chainqui Development, have developed a three-phase, adaptive-reuse plan, and have until mid-January 2021 to move the house off the site before the wrecking ball arrives.
The plan involves securing and transporting the structure into temporary storage, siting and selecting its final location, and eventual site placement and structure restoration. Our vision is to preserve the cottage and keep it in the immediate Alki neighborhood, as a place for the community to gather. “Old buildings matter because they tell the story of the city. Once they’re gone, that’s it. You can’t build an old building,” says John Bennett, owner of Bennett Properties and historic-building consultant.
Save The Stone Cottage LLC seeks to raise $110,000 in donations to execute the plan to rescue, relocate, and restore the Stone Cottage. Donations are being accepted through the website www.savethestonecottage.org and a GoFundMe charity account. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, is serving as the fiscal sponsor of the Save the Stone Cottage Project, and has no operational role in this project.
Save The Stone Cottage plans Friday media briefings at which volunteers will talk more about the plan. (That’s also when they expect to launch the crowdfunding page.)
Quick reminder of two major West Seattle events happening online tonight:
SOUTHWEST SEATTLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY GALA/AUCTION: 7 pm tonight is the official virtual champagne gala and auction, but you can bid even sooner – go here to register. You can go here for a look at the auction items – which include an autographed Pearl Jam poster, a chance to create your own Husky Deli ice-cream flavor, even a chance to have Desmond Hansen paint a signal box for you! (Added: If you’re not bidding, you can watch here.)
OLG’S VIRTUAL ‘LIGHT UP THE NIGHT’: The first Friday of December is always the night Our Lady of Guadalupe lights West Seattle’s highest-elevation Christmas tree, in front of the church at 35th/Myrtle, and tonight it’s still happening – music and all – but don’t go in person; this time, it’s livestreamed! 7 pm is when to watch, here.
If all goes well, the well-known “Rock House” (“Stone House’ to some) across from Don Armeni Boat Ramp will be moved to a temporary new home within the next month or two. To get ready for the move, advocates and other volunteers have been working to clean it up and prepare it. We stopped by this weekend while several were working at the site.
As we first reported almost two years ago, the nearly-a-century-old cottage studded with scavenged beach stones is on a site that’s destined for redevelopment. But the new owners were willing to give preservation advocates the house, as long as it could be moved. And first, there’s a lot to be removed.
Hopes of moving it to a Seattle Parks site aren’t advancing at this point, we’re told, but advocates with the Alki Beach Rock House Association are working on other options in the area.
First task, though, is moving it to a holding site. The renowned house-moving firm Nickel Bros is set to do that in December or January.
The house is not a historical landmark, but the group wants to save the structure as a reminder of Alki’s beach-cottage history, as what’s left of that history continues to make way for redevelopment.
We talk so much about transportation, you might be getting bored of bridges, tired of tunnels, weary of water taxis … So on Thursday, travel a different road by watching the live presentation “Washington on Wheels: Odd and Innovative Transportation Ideas from the Pacific Northwest” – and participating! Here’s the announcement from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:
‘Words, Writers, & SouthWest Stories,’ a historically based speaker series, is excited to announce that it is hosting Harriet Baskas for a live Zoom presentation on Thursday, November 12 at 6:00 PM. Baskas will deliver a presentation titled “Washington on Wheels: Odd and Innovative Transportation Ideas from the Pacific Northwest.”
Though Boeing is the best-known innovator in travel to have emerged from Washington State, there are many others. From canoe journeys to flying cars (that actually worked!), explore the history and culture of travel in Washington State. Author and broadcaster Harriet Baskas will take the audience on a tour of notable highlights of state transportation history, examining not just how we get around, but why we travel and where we might be going next.
The audience will be invited to share family stories of migration, memories of first flights and unforgettable car trips, and consider a future of autonomous cars and vacations in space.
Harriet Baskas has a MA in communications from the University of Washington, has served as the general manager for three Pacific Northwest radio stations, and has created award-winning radio for NPR. Her books include Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can’t or Won’t Show You. She currently writes about airports, air travel, and museums for outlets that include NBC News, CNBC, and USA Today. Baskas lives in Seattle.
Registration is required; registered participants will be emailed a link to the presentation on the date of the event. You can register here.
In pre-pandemic years, early November is when the Southwest Seattle Historical Society would host its annual Champagne Brunch, celebrating community and raising money for programs including its Log House Museum. This year, a new plan: An online evening event and multi-day auction in early December. Here’s the announcement:
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is pleased to announce that this year the most important fundraising event of our calendar will be held digitally on Friday, December 4 at 7:00 PM. While we will miss seeing you at our traditional brunch at Salty’s on Alki this year, we hope you will join us online for the perfect opportunity to join together as a community to celebrate the successes of 2020 and support the Historical Society as we work together to build a foundation for a successful future.
This year’s theme is “History Proves We Are Stronger Together.” We are delighted to announce that Lora Radford, Executive Director of the West Seattle Junction Association, will be delivering keynote remarks that highlight the ways in which individual members of our community have come together to rise to meet the challenges of this unprecedented year. Kathy Blackwell, President of the Board of Trustees, Michael King, Executive Director, and others will offer additional remarks and key updates.
Our online auction will open on Tuesday, December 1, and close on Friday, December 4, ahead of our free celebratory program. As usual, the auction will uniquely reflect West Seattle through a range of exciting experiences, items, and gifts on which to bid. Remember, every bid you make helps to support the Historical Society!
Starting tomorrow, you can join in the online “Raise the Paddle” donation drive to kick it all off. Find the info here.
In pre-pandemic times, you might have seen Sean Petrie writing poetry on his century-old typewriter at the Farmers’ Market. In 2018, he was in residence at West Seattle Summer Fest, typing in the Southwest Seattle Historical Society/Log House Museum‘s booth, and now that round of live poetry has become a book! In collaboration with SWSHS, Petrie has published “Listen to the Trees: A Poetic Snapshot of West Seattle, Then and Now,” via Documentary Media.
It features some Junction businesses, too, including Husky Deli, Easy Street Records, and Elliott Bay Brewing. You can see and hear him online in a SWSHS presentation at 6 pm next Tuesday (October 13th). There will also be a limited-capacity in-person launch at Paper Boat Booksellers (6040 California SW), noon Saturday, October 17th. The publisher says the book will thereafter be available at both of West Seattle’s independent bookstores, Paper Boat and Pegasus Book Exchange (4553 California SW).
At the corner of California/Oregon in The Junction, muralist Bob Henry has started work on the next West Seattle mural restoration. This time it’s “Bank Day,” on the north-facing side of the Chase building (which, by the way, has been a bank since its 1952 dedication as a Washington Mutual branch). Henry tells WSB he’ll be working on this one for “four or five” days, and it’s weather-dependent, so that might stretch out a while. The mural was painted by Alan Wylie, one of 11 murals created ~30 years ago. Of the nine remaining at their original locations, this is the sixth to be extensively renovated. While the mural-restoration project kicked into high gear with philanthropy seed money two years ago, donations will get it to the finish line – you can assist by going here.
On a day when you might be looking for diversion … how about some history? Local preservationist/entrepreneur John Bennett texted us that photo, saying he just bought this at an estate sale. So far, we’ve found a bit of information about Helen’s Hol’N One Donuts – while this says 4454 California SW, the city lists the building as 4452 California SW – most recently a real-estate office. The building dates to 1956; this site says the donut shop was there 1957-1960, with proprietor Helen Allen then operating Helen’s Fine Foods with husband Earl.
Interested in what’s planned for the play-area move at Hiawatha Playfield/Community Center? You can see a briefing during tomorrow morning’s meeting of the city Landmarks Preservation Board‘s Architectural Review Committee. The project is in the board’s jurisdiction because Hiawatha is a landmark, one of the city’s historic Olmsted parks. You can preview the briefing packet here; the meeting, which starts with a public-comment period, is at 8:30 am Friday (August 28th), online – here’s the link. If you plan to comment, register here, or email your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com. You can also listen to the meeting by calling 206-207-1700 and entering meeting access code 146 522 0524. (Thanks to Deb Barker, who recently completed two terms on the Landmarks Board, for the tip!)
Among other things, streetcars are why The Junction is The Junction. Though they’ve been gone for many decades, streetcars play a big role in West Seattle history, and you can learn more about it Thursday. Here’s the preview:
Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s monthly speaker series will host local transportation enthusiast Mike Bergman in his presentation of “To West Seattle by Streetcars: 1916 to 1940” at ‘Words, Writers & SouthWest Seattle’s’ next digital event, which will be hosted via Zoom at 6 PM on August 13th.
Bergman’s talk will explore the history of West Seattle’s streetcar system in the first half of the twentieth century, including its construction and the influence the streetcar system had on the area’s development and growth. Showcasing numerous historic photos, Bergman will address the evolution of three segments of the West Seattle corridor: Youngstown (Spokane & Avalon to the bridge), the West Waterway bridge itself, and the elevated streetcar trestle between the bridge and downtown.
Advanced registration is required at www.loghousemuseum.org. Registered participants will be emailed a Zoom link to the presentation on the date of the event.
Born and raised in Seattle, Bergman has been interested in Seattle Transportation history from an early age, especially the city’s bridges, railroads and public transit systems. He has a degree in Geography from the University of Washington, and was employed as a transit consulting firm, then moved to King County Metro in 1980. At Metro, he worked as a transit service planner, project manager and communications specialist. He took a new position at Sound Transit in 2000, where he produced the agency’s annual service plan and developed schedules for ST Express buses, Sounder commuter rail and Link light rail.
Following his retirement in 2016, Mike maintained a strong interest in local transit and transportation history. He is a volunteer at the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive (PNRA), a non-profit educational organization developing a repository of Northwest rail history, including city streetcar systems. Mike has organized PNRA’s large collection of material on the Seattle Municipal Railway and has developed and shown powerpoint presentations on Seattle streetcar history to various community groups. He is the president of the Tacoma Chapter- National Railway Historical Society, and regularly contributes articles of local historical interest to The Trainsheet, the chapter’s monthly newsletter.
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society has been sponsoring this free speaker series regularly for the past seven years. Future presentations for following months are planned to be shown live via Zoom to continue observation of safe, social distancing. Corporate sponsorship is being sought for this series and donations are welcomed.
Next month’s event will be by former presenter Eric Wagner, and is titled, “After the Blast: The Ecological Recovery of Mount St. Helens”. For videos on these and other speakers’ presentations, check out “Events” at www.loghousemuseum.org. This series is open to hosting any author or speaker addressing historical issues relating to the Puget Sound/Duwamish Peninsula and/or the general public.
Two weeks from today, the oldest house in West Seattle – and the entire city – opens up, virtually, for you to see. Here’s the announcement:
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s annual “If These Walls Could Talk” historic-home tour has gone digital! Join us online to support SWSHS and explore the history of the oldest house still standing in Seattle –the Maynard House on Alki. Lovingly restored in 2018, you will get to experience the updated interior of the home and learn how the house has changed in its 100+ year history.
This tour will be a YouTube 360 experience, so you can explore the interior of the home while learning about the lives of Doc and Catherine Maynard. A recent donation of personal letters from the Maynards will illuminate new insights into one of Seattle’s most interesting figures. After registering, you will receive a link to the video to explore at your leisure. This will be sent to you on the morning of August 15th. The video will be about 15 minutes of recorded content about the Maynards with the ability to pause and move around the 360 space. The experience is available for a suggested donation of $10-20.
For a deeper experience, register for our live VIP session where local historians will discuss the Maynards in greater depth. You will get a chance to hear some letters read, including never-before-seen firsthand accounts of the Battle of Seattle! This VIP panel session will be held on August 15th at 11 am PST. The price for access to this exclusive conversation is $50. Our panelists include:
Ken Workman, the Great-Great-Great-Great Grandson of Chief Seattle. He is a retired Systems and Data Analyst from Boeing’s Flight Operations Engineering Department, a former Duwamish Tribal Council member as well as a former Duwamish Tribal Services 501(c)(3) President. Ken is a member of the Duwamish Tribe, the first people of Seattle. Today Ken enjoys retired life on a river, in the mountains, east of Seattle and he serves as a member of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s Board of Trustees.
Phil Hoffman, a graduate of Georgia State (Atlanta) and Wayne State (Detroit) Universities holding a Masters of Urban Planning degree. He resides in Seattle’s Alki neighborhood. Mr. Hoffman is the retired director of the University of Washington Office of Institutional Studies. Upon his retirement, he established the Alki History Project. The Project’s mission is to document, explore, and interpret the history of Seattle’s founding neighborhood. Current research includes investigation of proposed and failed transportation improvements which would have forever changed Alki’s landscape and land use and an effort to identify ‘Watson,’ the suspected 1893 Herring House arsonist.
Greg Lange, a life-long Seattle resident and King County Archivist. He became interested in local history while selling northwest history books at used, antiquarian, and new bookstores. Greg is one of the original staff members of Historylink.org. He is a former member of the Pioneer Square Preservation Board and the Washington State Board of Geographic Names. He conducted a survey of houses built prior to 1905 for the city of Seattle and he has given many presentations on how to complete a history of a house. Greg has extensive experience researching early EuroAmerican settlement of Seattle and King County.
Registration is due by August 14th at this link.
P.S. Here’s our coverage of the gift the SWSHS received from the Maynards’ descendants half a year ag.
It’s almost as if Bob Henry has an audience! As we reported Monday, the muralist is at work this week on the north side of 4727 44th SW in The Junction, re-hanging the restored panels that comprise the “Press Day” mural. Today, we got a look at part of the restoration:
It’s been more than two years since the restoration project began.
This is one of nine surviving murals of the original 11 created in the late ’80s/early ’90s – one, “Midnight Call,” was removed four years ago; another was re-created at a new location near the demolished building that originally held it. Crowdfunding is supplementing the philanthropy and grants to pay for the restoration.