Fourth of July on Queen Anne: then and now
Happy Fourth of July! As we celebrate the 4th on Queen Anne with block parties, BBQs, and fireworks-watching, it’s interesting to pause and look back in history at a past Independence Day celebration on Queen Anne.
Per the Queen Anne Historical Society archives, 1907 was notable because the local Japanese community hosted a celebration complete with fireworks provided by a Japanese sea captain. From the QAHS archives:
“For one summer day in 1907, Queen Anne Hill was the center of attention not just of Seattle, but of two continents. With a spectacle the likes of which has not been seen before or since, Seattle’s Japanese community hosted the city’s Independence Day festivities at just west of what is now Kerry Park on West Highland Drive.
The Seattle P-I reported that “ten thousand citizens of Seattle” packed the hill’s sidewalks, porches and rooftops to watch the exotic Oriental fireworks brought by a visiting Japanese sea captain. A military band from Fort Lawton blew march music, then colorful bombs in outlandish shapes burst against Seattle’s skyline, from the newly erected spires of St. James Cathedral to the half-moon shoreline of Elliott Bay. Straw hats, parasols and fancy dresses filled the streets. Children scrambled to capture prize-laden balloons as they landed. Prominent Seattle preachers, judges, politicians and a future U.S. secretary of the interior — stood side-by-side on a podium with sailors from the Shinano Maru, in port down at Smith Cove, and local Japanese American leaders. Waving overhead were the Stars and Stripes and Rising Sun.”
You can read more about this historic event on the QAHS web site here. And, get ready to watch tonight’s fireworks from vantage points across East Queen Anne. The show is set to start at 10pm.
As we look back at history, here’s the Wilke House today, one of the oldest homes on Queen Anne. Built in 1898, it still stands today, as it did back in 1907. During the celebration of 1907, this home wasn’t even a decade old yet:
Happy Fourth of July!
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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!
Queen Anne Historical Society kicks off free events this Thursday at the Queen Anne P-Patch
Every year, the Queen Anne Historical Society (QAHS) hosts a series of free events centered on a single theme. Recently, the organization has covered apartment buildings and churches – and now they look to food for inspiration.
This year’s series looks at alternative food sources on Queen Anne, and it begins with the history of the P-Patch program on Thursday, September 24th. The event begins at the Queen Anne P-Patch at 7pm, which has an entrance at 2nd Ave N and Lynn St. (there is also an entrance at 3rd Ave N and Boston, but with limited parking)
Susan Casey, founder of the Interbay Patch, one of the earliest P-Patches in Seattle, will share information on how P-Patch gardens work, as well as the history of the P-Patch program. Then, everyone will head a few blocks over to Queen Anne Manor (100 Crockett St) for a panel discussion on different ways Queen Anne residents have fed their family over the years.
Upcoming events in the series will cover Prohibition, the Great Depression, grocery stores, restaurants, and home kitchens on Queen Anne.
All events in the series are free and all are welcome to attend. The P-Patches hit their summer glory about a month ago, but you can still see amazing dahlias, sunflowers, and the seasonal change as we move into fall.
Tour Queen Anne Park with the Queen Anne Historical Society this Saturday
As I’ve noted in the blog before, I cover Queen Anne by foot (with dog in tow). It’s a lot of ground to cover, so I divvy it up into sections to make it more manageable. If you don’t live in Queen Anne Park, you may not know about it unless you’ve traversed the hill to check out the northwest corner of our neighborhood…
Queen Anne Park has wide streets that make looping curves instead of a grid, with large lots, and homes that date to the 1920s. While Queen Anne Park homes are from the same decade, there’s variation – Tudors, Spanish-style homes, and Colonial homes sit along winding streets (no grid!).
Quite a few Queen Anne Park residents take advantage of the larger lots, with lush landscaping and gardens. If you’re a gardener or fan of gardens, take note: this walking tour includes a few gardens as well.
This Saturday, you can discover Queen Anne Park and learn more about its history from the Queen Anne Historical Society. QAHS will tour the neighborhood, as well as the aforementioned select gardens, before concluding with refreshments. Plus, the tour leader is Queen Anne Park resident, Florence Helliesen, so you can get the insider scoop.
According to Helliesen:
“There is a rich history in Queen Anne Park that I’m excited to share with our community. It’s a beautiful and unique part of the hill that often goes unnoticed. Our walking tour will tell an exciting story of real estate development as the roaring ‘20s drew to a close before the Great Depression.”
The curving street structure I noted above is not coincidence – the winding roads are designed to fit into the topography of the northwest slope, and many homes have views of the mountains – either the Cascades or the Olympics (some with both), Elliott Bay, and/or the Ship Canal.
The tour will cover three streets in Queen Anne Park – W. Etruria St., 10th Ave W, and Conkling St:
Tickets for the tour are $15 for QAHS members, $25 for non-QAHS members. You can purchase tickets online via Brown Paper Tickets. The tour begins at 10am on Saturday, August 29th, starting at the dead-end of W Etruria St (where 7th Ave W would be, it’s a SPU parking lot). If you drive to the tour, park at SPU’s Ashton Hall, entering at 5th Ave W and W Dravus St. Look for a gate that leads to W Etruria St and the tour starting point.
Learn more about some of Queen Anne’s hidden – or maybe not so hidden – treasures via the Queen Anne Historical Society, and join Saturday’s walking tour!
Free Queen Anne Historical Society tour of Mt Pleasant Cemetery is tomorrow
Every summer the Queen Anne Historical Society hosts a free tour of Mt Pleasant Cemetery. Today, we got late notice that the tour is tomorrow, Saturday, August 22nd, at 10am. Guided by long-time QAHS member Kim Turner, this year’s tour focuses on gravesites of people affiliated with the former Queen Anne High School – faculty, students, and people involved in the inception and creation of the building, which now houses condos.
You can check out the cemetery map, courtesy of the QAHS, below:
The tour is free and will begin at 10am. It’s estimated to run until noon.
Mt Pleasant cemetery is privately owned and operated – signs posted at the entrance state that dogs are not allowed. The QAHS tour is free and open to all (except dogs, per Mt Pleasant rules).