This Week In Queen Anne History

On September 14, 1985, Queen Anne High School alumni from the 1920s through its last graduating class of 1981 gathered for The Last Hurrah ’85.  The event was billed as an official final farewell to their alma mater before its conversion into a 139-unit apartment building.

Queen Anne High School, ca. 1909

About 75 former Grizzlies toured the 1909 building, which was then in a state of disrepair with peeling paint and boarded-up windows.  They then wandered across the street to drink beer and watch the Huskies play football on a large television screen under a tent located on the Otto L. Luther Athletic Field, now the location of John Hay Elementary.

The athletic field was named for the school’s first principal, who served from 1908 to 1951.  It was added to the school property in 1958 and built on the former site of the Grizzly Inn.  The restaurant was a beloved after-school gathering spot for students from the late 1920s until its closure in 1954.  Alumni from the period recalled fond memories of regular hangouts for “burgers with gravy” at the Grizzly Inn.  The eatery was so popular with the students of Queen Anne High School that it inspired the adoption of the grizzly bear as the school mascot in 1930 and the renaming of the school yearbook from the Kuay (phonetic spelling of QA) to The Grizzly in 1932.

Grizzly Inn ad found on the back pages of the Queen Anne High School yearbook for many years

The Seattle School District closed Queen Anne High School in June of 1981 due to declining enrollment.  The Neoclassical building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and leased for residential use in 1984.  The City of Seattle designated it a landmark on May 6, 1985.  The building’s conversion into apartments was completed in 1986.  The property was redeveloped into condominiums in 2006.

Learn more about the history of Queen Anne High School here.

Horiuchi Mural Restoration

Written by Leanne Olson

The restoration of the Horiuchi Mural at the Seattle Center was completed during the summer of 2011, thanks to grants from 4Culture and Puget Sound Partners in Preservation/National Trust for Historic Preservation, combined with funding from Seattle Center and the City’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

The Horiuchi Mural, 1962 by Paul Horiuchi. Photo courtesy of Seattle Center

The mural, located just west of the Space Needle, is a city-owned designated Landmark that is best known as the backdrop for the Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre.  The Horiuchi Mural, originally named Seattle Mural, was commissioned for the 1962 World’s Fair; at that time, a reflecting pond stood where the stage is now located, as well as a dahlia garden.  The concrete backside of the mural was designed by Paul Thiry, who was the supervising architect for the Fair.  Paul Horiuchi spent approximately nine months in Italy working on the design for the mural, which was constructed of Murano glass.  The 17-by-60-foot mural was shipped to Seattle in 54 square panels and pieced together onsite.  The disassembled mural arrived only 10 days prior to the opening of the Fair.   According to reports, the installation was complete just moments before the gates opened.

Over the years, the mortar substrate holding the glass in place remained in good condition.   However, much of the glass was badly deteriorated, essentially disintegrating from within.  Some of the colors were more susceptible to this deterioration than others.  In 2006, a pilot treatment study was undertaken on a small section of the mural during which some missing and deteriorated pieces were replaced.  Because glass was no longer being manufactured in Italy using the original technique, the replacement glass was sourced locally.  The difference cannot be noted from a distance.

The goal of the project was to preserve as much of the original mural as possible, while replacing only the missing and badly deteriorated pieces.  The timeline for the restoration was very tight.  The majority of the work had to be completed over just two weeks in July to avoid conflicting with the busy summer event schedule at the Center.  Restorers made a full map of the panels in 22 sections, each of which was mapped in detail to precisely document the restored elements.  Patricia Leavengood of Art Conservation Services oversaw the restoration.

Reference September 2021, The Seattle Times Pacific NW:  “In celebration out of darkness, Paul Horiuchi’s Seattle Center mural inspires a reunion
September 2021, Clay Eals/Paul Dorpat Now & Then:  ” Horiuchi Mural, 1965

This Week in Queen Anne History

ACT: A Contemporary Theatre staged its inaugural play, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad on June 29, 1965.  The performance took place in the  quickly-renovated Queen Anne Hall building at 100 W Roy Street, built as Redding Hall in 1912.  The critically-acclaimed performance ran through July 10th and marked the birth of an enduring Seattle artistic institution.

ACT Theatre, 1st Ave W and W Roy St, pictured in 1980

ACT was the brainchild of University of Washington School of Drama Director Gregory Falls (1922-1997) and his wife, Jean Burch Falls (1926-2020).  Falls felt that Seattle needed a theater to stage plays that “reflect our times,” eschewing the classics performed at traditional theaters.  The Falls acquired the  building and oversaw its conversion into an intimate 420-seat theater in just four months.

ACT moved to its current location, Kreielsheimer Place, in 1996 , following a $30.4 million renovation of the former Eagles Auditorium at 700 Union Street.  The curtain didn’t stay closed in the old Queen Anne Hall for long; in 1998, On the Boards moved in to the building, now known as the Behnke Center for Contemporary Performance.

Reference:  City  of Seattle historical site summary