Working Class Queen Anne

It is hard to imagine Queen Anne as a working class neighborhood. The views from the ridges on the south, east and west sides have attracted large elegant houses built by many of the movers and shakers in city history. Once you leave the ring of elegant aeries though, one-story commercial buildings, a huge quantity of apartment houses and numerous industrial sites on the neighborhood fringe suggest a working class history we don’t want to forget. …Continue reading “Working Class Queen Anne”

Hiram M. Chittenden: A critical look at the man who built the Ballard Locks

Montlake Cut Opening Day, July 4, 1917 (courtesy of MOHAI)

July 4, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Ballard Locks.

Feliks Banel, an intrepid marketeer of local history, produced a program that aired today June 28 on KIRO radio about Hiram M. Chittenden, the engineer who designed the entire system from Renton to Salmon Bay and re-plumbed King County waterways. Banel raises interesting points about local history and how we go about interpreting it, especially when we discover unsavory aspects.

 

 

The Fremont Bridge in 1936. It turns 100 on July 4.

Here’s the link to the broadcast:

Centennial reveals complicated legacy of Ballard locks’ namesake

Remembering Queen Anne’s Neighborhood Grocery Stores:
Aasten’s Grocery

Aasten’s Grocery
302 Queen Anne Avenue

Photo courtesy of Molly Aasten
Photo courtesy of Molly Aasten

Aasten’s Grocery, which opened in 1925, stood at the corner of Queen Anne Avenue and Thomas Street for twenty-seven years.  Like many other small neighborhood grocery stores of that era, it was a family business owned and operated by immigrants to the United States.

John Gunnufsen Aasten was hardworking and ambitious. He was born in Hovind, Norway on March 8, 1887.  Aasten and his wife Karen came to the United States from Norway in 1906.  He was nineteen.  On his arrival, he listed his occupation as laborer.  In 1917, on his Draft Registration card, he declared himself a miner employed by the Seattle Engineering Department.  By 1924, however, he had found his calling.  On the Declaration of Intention he filed that year to become a United States citizen, he registered his occupation as grocer. …Continue reading “Remembering Queen Anne’s Neighborhood Grocery Stores:
Aasten’s Grocery”

Allbin vs. City of Seattle

The internet is a great tool for access to many older items previously unavailable.  One local example is the picture archive for the City of Seattle.  Now any of us can peruse hundreds of pictures that were previously available only on old glass plates.  And that’s where I first saw him.  According to the date on the image, it was May, 1914. There he was–standing on a small ledge of a very large house in Queen Anne, looking out at the view.

Allbin Boarding House, May 18, 1914
Allbin Boarding House, May 18, 1914

It was hard to understand just what he was doing, but also the bigger question existed–why did someone from the City of Seattle think they needed to record the scene?  “Allbin vs. City” the description on the photo read.  And where was this grand old house today?  Was it still there? …Continue reading “Allbin vs. City of Seattle”