Pacific Northwest | June 29, 2003Pacific Northwest MagazineJune 29, 2003seattletimes.com home
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CONTENTS
COVER STORY
PLANT LIFE
TASTE
ON FITNESS
NORTHWEST LIVING
NOW & THEN
PREVIOUS ISSUES OF PACIFIC NW


WRITTEN BY PAUL DORPAT

The Big Buildup

Photo
COURTESY OF PAUL DORPAT
The startling differences between this week's now and then are the results of 110 years of development. The older photograph looks northeast from a Fourth Avenue prospect on Denny Hill. The contemporary scene was recorded in line with the old but from the top of the four-story garage on the east side of Third Avenue.

 
 Photo
PAUL DORPAT
When detailed panoramas like this rare look from Denny Hill to Capitol Hill are printed small we are left for the most part with describing impressions and larger features like the fresh grade of Denny Way, upper right, where it begins to climb Capitol Hill.

The original print shares the photographer's name, A.J. McDonald, on the border. McDonald is listed only in the 1892-93 Corbett Seattle Directory. Perhaps the economic panic of 1893 drove him back to California. The California State Library preserves a large collection of his San Francisco subjects, but only a few Seattle scenes survive in local collections. Probably most of his Seattle subjects were taken during the photographer's brief stay here.

The street on the right is Stewart, and its most evident part is the then-still-steep block between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. The large, box-shaped building at the northwest corner of Ninth and Stewart is home for Hendrick Bresee's Grocery. In 1910 the intersection was lowered 14 feet. One block west at Eighth Avenue, Stewart was raised with fill, thereby creating the contemporary gentle grade appropriate for the Greyhound Bus Depot built there on the south side of the street in 1927.

In 1892-93, Westlake Avenue between Pike Street and Denny Way is still 15 years in the future, and Virginia Street, one block north of Stewart, has not yet been developed. But the scene is dappled with many residences. All of them are relatively new, creations of Seattle's explosive growth in the early 1890s, including the Gothic steeple of the Norwegian Danish Baptist Church that appears at the border on the left.

Paul Dorpat's two-hour videotape on Seattle's early history, "Seattle Chronicle," is $29.95 from Tartu Publications, P.O. Box 85208, Seattle, WA 98145.

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