Pacific Northwest | September 7, 2003Pacific Northwest MagazineSeptember 7, 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

Auto Row Beginnings
Photo
COURTESY OF FIRST COVENANT CHURCH
Both First Covenant Church, one block west at Bellevue Street and the commercial brick building on the far right at the northeast corner of Summit Street, have survived the 80-plus years between this "then" and "now" on Pike Street.

 
 Photo
PAUL DORPAT
LOOKING WEST on Pike Street through its intersection with Summit Avenue, we get a glimpse of what this street became once the motorcar began to reshape just about every part of our culture. On the far right is a small sign attached to a corner brick column that reads "The Ford Corner," and across the street is a Union brand service station. The red-tile roof of this fanciful Spanish-style gas station is a sign of the prestige connected with owning a car in 1919 — the likely date of this photograph — although automobiles were then quickly becoming commonplace, especially the Model T Ford. (Note the black sedan on the right.)

In 1915, automobile licenses were issued to 6,979 people in Seattle. Five years later the number had multiplied more than six times to 44,046. By then, the greatest variety of servers and sellers that supported the auto trade chose to park themselves on Seattle's "Auto Row" along Pike Street and the connecting Broadway Avenue.

This photograph, however, was most likely recorded not to advertise Fords but to show off the Romanesque stone mass of First Covenant Church that was dedicated in 1911 at the northeast corner of Pike and Bellevue.

The ornate home between the church and the gas station was the residence of William and Iona Maud and their daughters, Ann and Vales. The English-born Maud moved to Seattle in 1885 and did well here in real estate. For instance, he built the surviving Maud Building at 311 First Ave. S. in 1889 over the ashes of the city's "Great Fire" of that year.

Not long after this photograph was recorded, the Mauds moved to Los Angeles. After William's death there in 1931, his body was shipped back to Seattle for burial in 1931. By then his distinguished Victorian home at 416 E. Pike St. had been replaced by Mill Motors, the used-car lot that grabbed attention with a fanciful windmill tower facing Pike Street.

Paul Dorpat specializes in historical photography and has published several books on early Seattle.

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