How is Queen Anne still a hill? Find out at this Thursday’s free QAHS event

The Queen Anne Historical Society is tackling the topic of topography with David B. Williams, author of “Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography” via a free presentation that’s open to all.

In 1928, the city of Seattle embarked on the Denny Regrade project, removing hills and changing the urban landscape. Remarkably, it was completed just a few years later in 1931. The cost? $1,885,240. What changed? Take a look at the before and after photos below (click the photo for a huge image to zoom in and around) – somehow, Queen Anne remained unscathed:


This Thursday, May 26th, you can learn more about the changes that took place around Queen Anne, not only the Denny Regrade, but also changes to Interbay and the Ship Canal.

Join the free Queen Anne Historical Society meeting, hear from Williams, and learn more about our neighborhood’s history. The meeting is open to all and begins at 7pm at the Queen Anne Community Center (1901 1st Ave W), Room 3.

Seattle Architecture Foundation hosts a walking tour of Queen Anne this Saturday

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 8.05.56 PMSeattle Architecture Foundation is kicking off its summer series of Queen Anne walking tours this Saturday, May 21st. The walk runs (or walks, rather) from 10am to noon, and features a look at the architecture of Queen Anne.

From residential homes to historic apartments, with some repurposed buildings thrown in for variety, the tour should satisfy architecture buffs, visitors, and Queen Anne residents alike.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 8.09.34 PM[Side note: if you like architecture, our Instagram feed is full of images like the ones in this post, plus gardens and hidden Queen Anne gems…]

The tour is $15 per person, with tickets available online. It starts at the old West Queen Anne Elementary School (now condos) at the corner of W Galer St & 6th Ave W.

Here’s the info you need from SAF:

Tours are approximately 2 hours and run rain or shine, dress accordingly! Advance registration is strongly encouraged; walk-ups are limited to space available for a cost of $25 (cash only/exact change required). For more information on SAF tours, visit our FAQ page or call 206-667-9184. Interested in discounted tickets? Members get discounts on all SAF events and receive a free tour  just for signing-up ($40-level and above). Learn more about our membership program here. Join us. Shape Seattle!

If you can’t make this weekend’s tour, the same tour will be repeated on June 18th, July 16th, August 20th, September 17th, and October 15th. Tickets are available online for upcoming tours, so you can plan ahead for summer guests!

Avoid 99 and spend Saturday walking an Uptown Jane’s Walk

This Saturday, May 7th is the annual Jane’s Walk event, taking place in neighborhoods across Seattle. Named after Jane Jacobs (1916-2006), these walks celebrate urban communities. Jane was an urbanist and activist who championed a community-based approach to city building – and what better way to explore the community than by foot?

Jane’s Walks are free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. The goal of the free walks is to not only explore a neighborhood, but to also share stories about the community, the city, and meet neighbors.

This weekend’s Jane’s Walk features Uptown (aka Lower Queen Anne to some). Local residents Katherine Idziorek, co-President of the Uptown Alliance and Debi Frausto, former Chair of Friends of Lower Kinnear Park and current Uptown Arts and Culture District focal point, will lead the walk.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 5.55.13 PM

Walk Route

A) Lower Kinnear Park: Meet at the entrance to Lower Kinnear Park (at the end of W Roy Street) – learn about recent park renovations and improvements

B) Counterbalance Park: Uptown’s urban stage

C) The Labyrinth: Walk the labyrinth at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

D) UpGarden P-Patch:Visit a community P-Patch garden on the roof of the Mercer Parking garage!

E) EXPO Apartments: Learn how the community worked together with developers to shape the EXPO Apartment building.

F) KEXP: Visit 90.3 KEXP’s new home at Seattle Center!

G) Queen Anne & Mercer apartments: Learn how the community worked with developers to help a new project fit into the neighborhood.

H) Uptown Parklet: Visit Uptown’s tiniest park, a park”let” at SIFF Cinema Uptown

I) South Korean Consulate: See the future site of the South Korean Consulate

J) Nielsen’s Pastries: Pop in for a coffee or authentic Danish kringle at Nielsen’s Pastries

K) Selig Office Building: See the construction of a new half-block office project

L) Thomas Street Pedestrian Bridge: Walk from Uptown over busy Elliott Avenue to enjoy beautiful Sound views and a connection to Seattle’s waterfront parks

Stop by the W Roy Street entrance to Lower Kinnear Park to join the walk at noon on Saturday. Katie will be wearing her red KEXP t-shirt, and the walk will take about an hour. Happy walking!

Seattle’s newest Heritage Tree is on Queen Anne

An amazing tree in Queen Anne Park is now a Heritage Tree. If you haven’t walked or driven by 3218 Conkling Place W, you’re missing out not only on a nice walk around Queen Anne Park, but also on the sight of the gigantic Northern Catalpa – you can’t miss it. Here’s a photo from the owner of the tree, it’s just starting to leaf out for the season:

3218 Catalpa 2

Per the owner, the tree was planted in the late 1930s and today it measures 54 inches in diameter. Not only is it now in the City of Seattle’s Heritage Tree program, Arthur Lee Jacobson also featured it in his book “Trees of Seattle”.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 6.11.51 PMPlantAmnesty kicked off the Heritage Tree Program in 1996, with the City of Seattle joining in as a co-sponsor a few years later. Today, the Heritage Trees are mapped and searchable online (they are orange on the map), and surprisingly, the Queen Anne Park Northern Catalpa is only the eighth Heritage Tree on Queen Anne.

With so many amazing trees on Queen Anne, how can we get more Heritage Trees on the list? Here is the info you need from the Heritage Tree site:

Heritage Trees may be on either City or private property. Each candidate tree is assessed by a certified arborist and evaluated by a review committee. Heritage Trees must meet criteria for health, in addition to being selected according to one of the following categories:

  • Specimen – A tree of exceptional size, form, or rarity.
  • Historic – A tree recognized by virtue of its age, its association with or contribution to a historic structure or district, or its association with a noted person or historic event.
  • Landmark – Trees that are landmarks of a community.
  • Collection – Trees in a notable grove, avenue, or other planting.

To nominate a Heritage Tree, go to this site and then click on the form to nominate a tree. You’ll be contacted and if your tree is considered, a team of arborists will visit to see the tree in person. They then notify you via mail to let you know if the tree has been accepted or not. If accepted, you get a certificate and the option to get a plaque for your tree too.

According to the owner, the process took several months. She also had an independent arborist assess the tree and conduct diagnostics to ensure its health. This particular step is not required, but it will help make your case and provide a clean bill of health for the tree. Here’s the Northern Catalpa fully leafed out:

3218 Catalpa

Weather-wise, this week is a great week to take a walk – plan ahead and swing by 3218 Conkling Place W to see the tree in person, it’s pretty spectacular!

SPL building nominated for Landmark Status in advance of sale

SPL Telephone todayThe 1920s brick building directly across the street from the Queen Anne library branch has been nominated for Landmark Status. The Seattle Public Library owns the former Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Building and it’s planning to sell the building. As part of the sale preparation, it has submitted a landmark nomination to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board.

Built in 1921 and 1929 (two phases), the building at 1529 4th Ave W sits on a 12,000 square foot lot. After a third story was added in the 1930s, bringing the total square footage to just over 23, 000 square feet. SPL acquired the building in the 1970s, converting it to a warehouse.

Per the nomination:

“If a property is designated as a city landmark, it comes under the jurisdiction of the LPB [Landmark Preservation Board] for design reviews and approval of proposed changes to specific historic features. Typical designated features include a building’s exterior and site, and significant public interior spaces. However, a property owner may still develop the property.”

The nomination includes a detailed history of the building, courtesy of the Queen Anne Historical Society. It’s an interesting write-up that is required reading for any history buffs – it covers the history of the building and the early days of telephone and telegraph industry on Queen Anne. Plus, it has several historic photos of the building, including this one from 1936:

SPL Telephone bldg 1936

If you have comments for the nomination, you can attend a public meeting:

Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board meeting
Wednesday, March 16 at 3:30pm
Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 40th Floor (Room 4060)

If you can’t make the meeting, you can submit written comments. Comments must be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board at the following address by March 15 at 3:00pm:

Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649

There’s no indication yet of what type of development could happen at the site, but if the building is approved for Landmark Status, the exterior would likely remain intact – or at least have a chance at remaining as-is (with some earthquake retrofitting), as any design reviews would include approval from the Landmark Preservation Board.

Do you know this house?

The Queen Anne Historical Society is looking for a house, and not just any house. This particular house is documented in a scrapbook with the sweet title “Our Home on Queen Anne Hill” and was sent to QAHS by The Skowhegan History House Museum in Maine. Here’s the cover (note: you can click on any of the images for the high-res version):

Queen Anne Home scrapbook from Maine

The scrapbook is handmade and features an exterior shot of the house on the cover and interior shots of the the dining room, living room, and reception hall (aka entryway) inside the book’s pages.

Queen Anne Home scrapbook from Maine reception room_edited

Since these photos are very old, the quality isn’t what we expect of photos today, but perhaps some features will stand out if you own this home or live nearby.

Queen Anne Home scrapbook from Maine dining room edited

And, keep in mind that some exterior details may have changed, like the tree outside may either no longer be there or it may be enormous by now.

Queen Anne Home scrapbook from Maine living room edited

Of course, there is always the chance that this house is no more. If you know where it originally stood, that’d be great info for QAHS too, as they document our neighborhood’s history.

Take a look and let us know if you recognize this mystery house on Queen Anne!

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