Betty Bowen, Cultural Activist

Betty Bowen with Seattle Art Museum founder Dr. Richard Fuller

Queen Anne resident Betty Bowen (1918-1977) played a major role in Seattle cultural life — as assistant director of the Seattle Art Museum, as a civic activist on behalf of the arts and historic preservation, and a promoter of Seattle artists.

Born Betty Cornelius in Kent, Washington to a family tracing its roots to Western Washington’s early settlers, she earned an English degree from the University of Washington.  She worked briefly as a reporter for The Seattle Times, then as women’s editor for the Seattle Star. She married John Bowen, captain of ships that laid undersea cables.

During the 1950s, Bowen divided her time between volunteering and public relations work. Dr. Richard Fuller, founder of the Seattle Art Museum, hired her as publicist, then promoted her to assistant director – and she continued in that role until Fuller retired in 1973.  She came to know many of the city’s artists.

Betty Bowen played an active part in civic affairs, helping organize support for the arts and for historic preservation.  An original member of the Seattle Arts Commission (established 1971), a founding member of the Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Center, and a founding member and chair of the Allied Arts Historic Preservation Committee, she helped organize one of the successful efforts to preserve the Pike Place Market as a designated historic district, and served on the board of Friends of the Market. …Continue reading “Betty Bowen, Cultural Activist”

Emily Inez Denny — Seattle Pioneer

Emily Inez Denny was born in Seattle in 1853. She was the first white child born in Seattle and the oldest child of pioneers David and Louisa Boren Denny.

Louisa, Madge, David, and Emily Denny ca. 1861

Inez and her sister Madge took classes at the Territorial University when it opened in 1860. Inez later recounted that each pupil had a small slate on which lessons were written, as paper was expensive and in short supply on the frontier. The girls cleaned their slates with a sponge attached to the slate by a string and water kept in a little bottle in their pockets. The boys, on the other hand, often didn’t bother with the sponge and water, but would spit on the slate or lick it off and dry it with a sleeve. …Continue reading “Emily Inez Denny — Seattle Pioneer”

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