The Garfield Exchange: Landmark Sold

Posted Nov.  8, 2016: The Garfield Exchange which was designated a city landmark earlier this is year has been sold by the Seattle Public Library for over $3,000,000. Located in a residential neighborhood opposite the Queen Anne Public Library, the building has phenomenal potential.

Property Reuse & Disposition Overview


Posted March 13, 2016: In these times when nearly everyone has constant wireless connection to the world by a smartphone, it is a wonder that some of us recall picking up a phone that had no dial or dial tone and hearing a ‘smiling’ voice on the other end ask, “What number, please?”

From 1883 and Seattle’s first telephones until the 1950s every phone call whether local, national or international began with talking to an operator and asking for a connection. In those days, every phone line was hard-wired to an exchange building where young women facing a long board connected incoming and outgoing phone calls manually.

PT&T switchboard 1902 (WSHS)
PT&T switchboard, 1902 (WSHS)

The earliest of Seattle’s local telephone companies included the Seattle Automatic Telephone Exchange, the Independent Telephone Company, and the Sunset Telephone-Telegraph Company (“Sunset”). Sunset was incorporated in Seattle in March 1883 providing phone service to 71 businesses and 19 residential customers with an installation charge of $25 and monthly service at $7 for businesses and $2.50 for residences. …Continue reading “The Garfield Exchange: Landmark Sold”

Why Isn’t It the Queen Anne Bridge?

New hat on bridgetender booth. Feb 9, 1960
New top, Feb 9, 1960

For Queen Anne, the Fremont Bridge is one of the most important consequences of the construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. We’ll celebrate the centennial of its opening next year on June 15. The Chicago bascule bridge replaced a wooden trestle on which street cars ran from downtown north on pilings and tracks along the shore of Lake Union where Westlake has now been filled in.

These images from the Seattle Municipal Archives are intriguing and fun to explore. They raise a curious chauvinistic question about why this important connection from Queen Anne was called the Fremont Bridge. If the former town was much smaller than Queen Anne and had only been annexed to Seattle in 1891, why is its name and not ours on the bridge and the Fremont Cut as well? The names of the two other bridges that opened in time for the inauguration of the Ship Canal on July 4, 1917 could be a clue. Like our bridge, both the Ballard and the University bridges lead from the well populated parts of the city to the smaller and maybe less important ones on the north side of the bridge.  The Montlake Bridge, the last of the bridges to be completed (1925) may undermine that theory. On the other hand, its permanent piers and abutments were finished in 1914 in time for the canal. Only further research will show if the bridge connected the two sides of Montlake or if the name migrated from one side to the other after that bridge opened.

…Continue reading “Why Isn’t It the Queen Anne Bridge?”

Stroll 2: 100 Years from Ross to Fishermen’s Terminal

August 3, 1916: Hiram Chittenden Locks fully opens

The 100th anniversary of the Lake Washington Ship Canal is coming fast, so I’d better finish my stroll along the ship canal trail today. My friend Bill, a fan of safe streets for bicycling and walking, joins me. He hunkered for decades for the completion of the trail under the Ballard Bridge and across the railroad tracks to Fishermen’s Terminal, where we’ll end up.

As we walk toward Ballard, we bear in mind Thursday, August 3, 1916, the date of the unceremonious opening of the smaller lock at the Hiram Chittenden Locks. After that day, everything on the canal was a go. Like the places I walked by last month, I’ll have more research to do everywhere along the way. …Continue reading “Stroll 2: 100 Years from Ross to Fishermen’s Terminal”