In honor of Gary Gaffner: Men in Little Boxes

[1472] Queen Anne Ave at Roy St, looking north, 1940-01-21.
One of these days, I may get over my unrelenting interest (ok, my obsession) with the Counterbalance.  It certainly seems weird treating the system as magical. After all, it was nothing more than a waist-high block of cement that ran through a three or four-foot tunnel on a tiny miniature railroad to boost streetcars up Queen Anne Avenue or to slow them down on the descent. It seems I am not alone in my obsession, for just about everyone living in our neighborhood loves learning about these mysterious streetcars and those men who lived their days in little boxes, one at the hill-top and one at the bottom. …Continue reading “In honor of Gary Gaffner: Men in Little Boxes”

Comparing Canals : Lake Washington Shipping Canal and the Canal du Midi

It will come as a surprise that Queen Anne Pioneer Thomas Mercer had something in common with the Roman Emperor Nero. It turns out, though, that he actually does. Mercer, who on July 4, 1854 gave Lake Washington and Lake Union their names, dreamed of a connection from Lake Washington through Lake Union to the sea. Nero, who lived in the first century C.E.  dreamed of a connection from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean across the south of France. Mercer’s idea waited over 50 years for its opening day; Nero’s had to wait almost 17 centuries.

Comparing the Lake Washington Ship Canal to the Canal du Midi is a stretch, but as I write this cruising down the Canal du Midi with a group of Seattle friends, I am pleased to consider the similarities.

Both projects seemed like outlandish ideas when they were proposed, both required revolutionary engineering, both were great commercial successes, both were gigantic projects that local government couldn’t undertake, both eventually lost their commercial value and both now serve successful and lucrative tourist purposes. …Continue reading “Comparing Canals : Lake Washington Shipping Canal and the Canal du Midi”

Seattle Now and Then: The Historic Hundred by Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard


Jean Sherrard and Nancy Guppy watch Paul Dorpat sign the new book.

Last Sunday (11/18/18), Paul and Jean did a marvelous job introducing a door buster crowd to their new book, Seattle Now and Then: The Historic Hundred, at the Fremont Public Library.  The Fremont and Queen Anne Historical Societies sponsored the gathering with Fremont doing all the heavy lifting. You can order a book here:  The entire meeting can be seen on YouTube: