Ankeny/Gowey House

Built in 1891 at 912 2nd Ave W in Seattle for its original owners Rollin Ankeny Jr. and Eleanor Ankeny, the Ankeny/Gowey house offers an example of the Shingle stye variant of the Queen Anne Style.
The Ankeny family subsequently resided at 101 Prospect St.
The Gowey family resided in the 912 2nd Ave W house beginning in 1933.
In 1980 they approached Historic Seattle, which purchased the house and  later sold it to a private party — with covenants included in the sale of the house (Historic Seattle holds a preservation easement on the exterior).

… & a reference to the property currently occupied by the Ankeny/Gowey House, from Queen Anne — Community on the Hill, prepared by a team led by Kay Reinartz and published by the Queen Anne Historical Society in 1993:

The Powwow Tree
    On the south slope of Queen Anne Hill a cedar tree began to grow about the time of Marco Polo’s first journey to China.  Throughout the Crusades, the Black Death, and the discovery of North America, the tree continued to grow.  Surviving the occasional forest fire that swept the region, the cedar became a true giant of the forest.  It took ten men, standing with arms outstretched, to encircle it.  Its noble head towered above all of its younger neighbors.
Native tribes recognized the significance of this ancient tree and revered it as sacred.  They established the tradition of holding inter-tribal chiefs’ councils beneath its graceful branches.  Here disputes between the nearby Shilshole community on Salmon Bay and others were deliberated and problems of mutual concern were resolved.  Native tribes called it the Powwow Tree.
Early explorers entering the Puget Sound named the tree, which could be seen for miles from the water, the Landmark Cedar and used it as a navigation point, as did all ships entering Elliott Bay for nearly two centuries.  It also became known to sailors as the Lookout Tree.
In 1891 the ancient landmark cedar was felled by Rudolf Ankeny to make way for a house being built for his daughter.  This action was not taken without the Duwamish vigorously protesting the cutting of the sacred tree.  Some members of the white community also supported the tribe’s point of view.  Before Ankeny destroyed the tree, the natives held a ceremony at the site and tribal tradition records that a curse was placed where the tree once stood.  Located at 912 Second Avenue West, the Ankeny House is an example of late Queen Anne style architecture and a registered Historic Landmark.”

The house received Seattle Landmark designation in 2008.
Reference:  Historic Seattle, Ankeny/Gowey House

Homer Harris (1916-2007)

Football Hero, Physician, Community Leader

Born and raised in Seattle, Homer Harris (1916-2007) grew up in his parents’ home near the Washington Park Arboretum.  In his early years he played football and other games in the park.

At Garfield High School, he became the first black captain of the football team, in 1933.  He attended the University of Iowa on a sports scholarship — choosing not to attend the University of Washington because of perceived racist attitudes toward black athletes.  He became the first African American player to captain a Big Ten team, and in 1937 earned the honor of Most Valuable Player.
At that time, the National Football League banned black players.  Harris got a job coaching football at A&T College (HBCU) in North Carolina.

Following his mother’s hope that he would become a physician, he attended Meharry Medical College (HBCU) in Tennessee.  After receiving his medical degree he interned in Kansas City, then trained in dermatology at the University of Illinois.

In 1955, Dr. Harris returned to Seattle.  He and his family resided at 7th Ave W & W Galer on Queen Anne in a house designed by renowned architect J. Lister Holmes.  It appears in the city’s survey of historic buildings.

He began his practice in downtown Seattle at the historic Medical Dental Building, and achieved considerable success.  In 1989 the Black Heritage Society of Washington State honored him as a Pioneer Black Doctor.

Washington State declared November 13, 2002 Dr. Homer Harris Day.
In November 2002, the Seattle Parks Foundation announced  that an anonymous donor had given $1.3 million to build a Central Area park, Homer Harris Park, which opened in May 2005.

Above: Karen Daubert, Homer Harris, Stimson Bullitt, & Ken Bounds attending May 2005 dedication of Homer Harris Park

Reference:  HistoryLink “Homer E. Harris Jr.  (1916-2007)

The Space Needle’s New Views

Post by Rosalie Daggett and Marga Rose Hancock

As a beacon of the 1962 Century 21 / World’s Fair and a marker for the Seattle Center, the Space Needle holds a prominent place in Seattle history and its identity.

Above:   Postcard Image of Space Needle with Helicopter, 1962

The John Graham Company (John Graham Jr. (1908-1991)) developed and designed the Space Needle, with architects John Ridley (1913-1997) and Victor Steinbrueck (1911-1985) and with structural engineering services provided by the Pasadena-based firm of John K. Minasian (1913-2007) and by Harvey H. Dodd & Associates, Seattle. Graham employee Lester Poole (1929-2018) recalled working with the team designing the Needle’s unique beams: “Howard Wright emphasized the critical schedule, asking ‘What have you got that can get this done quickly?’ We came up with the concept of three I-beams joining at flange corners. And people talked a lot about innovation in concrete.” Inspiration for the Needle came from a sculpture by David Lemon “The Feminine One.”

Above:   Courtesy of Peter Steinbrueck

Above:   Drawing courtesy of University of Washington Special Collections Division, ARC0107; photo composite by Dale Cotton

At the time of its 1962 construction, the Space Needle became Seattle’s tallest structure — exceeding the Smith Tower, which until then had ranked as the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

As part of the World’s Fair 50th anniversary observance in 2012, Knute Berger had a residency on the Needle’s top level, and wrote the book Space Needle: The Spirit of Seattle.

Among other documentation of the Needle: B.J. Bullert’s Space Needle: A Hidden History; and Space Needle About/History.

Above:   Space Needle under construction, 1961. Item 77335, Miscellaneous Prints (Record Series 9910-01),  Seattle Municipal Archives.

The 2017-19 renovation, known as the Century Project, designed by architect Alan Maskin with the Seattle architectural firm of Olson Kundig, added a revolving glass floor below the top viewing level, as documented in 2018 by KING 5 “Remaking an Icon.” This glass floor on the R-level, known as the “Loupe,” became the world’s first and only revolving glass floor in the air, at 500 feet. 

Above:   Courtesy of the Queen Anne Historical Society, 2019 

On a brisk winter day, two ladies walked down Queen Anne Hill together to take in the new views and they pondered: next time you visit the Space Needle’s R level, will you wear a skirt?

Note:  The Queen Anne Historical Society Landmarks Preservation Committee met with the Space Needle Corporation to review the early proposals for the Space Needle’s recent renovations, and monitored design development.  Society representatives spoke at Architectural Review Committee and Landmarks Preservation Board meetings leading to granting of the Certificate of Approval.