“Queen Anne is the most clearly defined of all Seattle’s hills, a miniature mountain rising abruptly from Elliott Bay, the ship canal, Lake Union and the Seattle Center. –“Queen Anne Hill Seattle’s Miniature Mountain,” Seattle Times (Duncan 1979)
A young girl holding a bouquet of roses leads an automobile festooned with American flags across the McGraw Street Bridge to kick off the celebration of its opening on September 16, 1936. Seattle City Engineer Clark Eldridge occupied the car making the inaugural crossing of the WPA-funded, $90,000 span. Eldridge designed several WPA-funded bridges during his tenure, including the adjacent North Queen Anne Drive Bridge, which also opened in 1936. The McGraw Street Bridge, which is located on McGraw between Second Avenue North and Nob Hill Avenue, replaced a rickety timber trestle and provided residents of the northeast side of the hill access to the Aurora Avenue Bridge, which opened in 1932.
Image courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives, #10912
This 1903 south-facing image was taken from what is now West Bertona Street, which bisects the Seattle Pacific University campus between 3rd and 9th Avenues West on the north side of Queen Anne. Prior to the 1916 completion of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, this area was called Ross, named for John Ross who settled a claim here in the 1850s. The creek that was Lake Union’s natural outlet to Salmon Bay, now the location of the ship canal’s Fremont cut, was known as Ross Creek.
In the foreground a cow grazes in the fenced yard of a home that stood on land now occupied by University buildings. At right-center is the four-story, 1893 Seattle Seminary building. Seattle Seminary was founded by the Oregon and Washington Free Methodist Church Conference to educate missionaries, teachers and elementary school students. The seminary building, now called Alexander Hall, was the lone school building until 1905. The building was designed by architect John Parkinson, who left Seattle for Los Angeles after the panic of 1893 and established himself as a leader of the profession and left a mark on the city-scape that includes such landmark buildings as the Los Angeles City Hall and the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Originally built on a 5-acre parcel, the school and its curriculum steadily expanded; and in 1915 it was renamed Seattle Pacific College. With the addition of graduate-level courses in 1977, it was renamed Seattle Pacific University, and now occupies 45 acres.
Taking today’s image from the same vantage point would be impossible without scaling the roof of the building that stands where the photographer did 117 years ago. But the view would be no less obscured by mature vegetation than it is from the vantage point of my iPhone, about 20 yards south of the original. Of the several homes and outbuildings surrounding the Seminary building in the historic image, only one remains (although it is not visible in today’s image). To the upper-left, in the midst of a stand of towering evergreen trees, the central gable of the Hazzard/Griggs House peeks out above the roof-line of the long-gone houses in the foreground. The house, at 67 West Etruria Street, was built in 1894 and is one of very few homes remaining on Queen Anne that were constructed before the turn of the century. It is a beautifully maintained historic home in nearly-original condition, other than a sympathetic addition on its south side.
Sazón D’La Baja is now open in the space formerly occupied by Five Hooks Fish Grill on the southeast corner of McGraw Street. Their tenure is temporary. The building has been sold and is slated to become 16 apartments in a five-story building with a basement and a street-level restaurant. Construction is set to begin in late 2021. As the project is less than 15,000 square feet, it falls under Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection’s Streamlined Design Review.
It is beginning to look like we are set to lose all the houses on the east side of Queen Anne Avenue between Boston and McGraw. The surprise is that the houses, all of which have been converted to business uses, have survived this long.
Thanks to Paige Pauli for sharing these 1952 and 1937 archival photos of the house before and after its asbestos siding, boxed-in front porch and relocated front door!