Pacific Northwest | October 12, 2003Pacific Northwest MagazineOctober 12, 2003seattletimes.com home
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CONTENTS
COVER STORY
TASTE
NOW & THEN
PREVIOUS ISSUES OF PACIFIC NW


WRITTEN BY PAUL DORPAT Fall Home Design

The Last to Go
Photo
COURTESY OF RUSS LANGSTAFF
Until about 1916 when it was burned, Salmon Bay Charlie's home was a landmark fixture on the Magnolia side of what later was named Shilshole Bay. Like the contemporary front yard of the Phelps home, this sturdy shack of the last of the Shilshole band of the Duwamish Tribe sat on a knoll near the foot of what was later developed as Sheridan Street in the Bay Terrace Addition.

 
 Photo
PAUL DORPAT
After I finished writing this, I attended a recent benefit for the Magnolia Historical Society as members prepare to produce a second volume of "Magnolia: Memories & Milestones." We met at the home of Betty and Tink Phelps and within whispering distance of where the historical photographer took this week's "then" photo of three black suits visiting Charlie (or Hwehlchtid), the last of the Duwamish Indians to live on Shilshole Bay. At the benefit, I photographed the contemporary scene printed here as a "repeat" of the historical one.

Magnolian Russ Langstaff found this newest addition to the small store of Salmon (or Shilshole) Bay "Charlie photographs" while thumbing through images taken by both his father and uncle early in the 20th century. However, it took two-time society President Monica Wooton, while searching for photographs to illustrate the historical society's first book, to identify this scene as one of Charlie, his dog and his home.

While the men in suits are not identified, it has occurred to more than one "reader" of the photograph that perhaps these are the agents from the Office of Indian Affairs who removed Charlie from his home to the reservation soon after his wife, Madelline, died. That was at the time the Ballard (Hiram M. Chittenden) Locks were under construction. One source says 1915 and another 1916 for Charlie's removal.

Of all the historical maps of Shilshole Bay that have been found, however, none marks the site of Charlie and Madelline's home. (City maps were generally made to sell property — not to identify, and so perhaps help preserve, native homes like Charlie's.) The several surviving photographs of this historical home lead us confidently to the Phelps back yard, or at least very near it.

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

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