Here we are in the fantasy world of December, with hearts of Hanukkah and Christmas in the mix. Joy should abound, and many such feeling can be felt in the air on top of Queen Anne Hill, which reminds this muser of the great sense of Ebenezer Shorrock, banker from England whose foresight allowed the construction of Queen Anne High School on TOP of Queen Anne Hill, rather than near the old Denny School, about where the old Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Grosvenor House stood.
The P-I Building is now City University, and is solidly built, just as is the former Queen Anne High School. It is sometimes hard to realize that the former school is almost 110 years old. Its alumni organization keeps alive the memories of the school, faculty and many of the thousands of students whose feet once trod the Raecolith flooring. Shorrocks sons were among those who graduated from the great building complex. Through its windows one could view the changing seasons without fear of the rain, sleet, snow, winds, or intense sunlight, as one chose. I remember being able to see from the fourth floor library windows the view of Mounts Rainier, Adams and St. Helens on a clear day in May of 1961.
This was at a time when I was about to embark on a job working in the History, Government and Biography Department at the Downtown headquarters of the Seattle Public Library System. It never occurred to me at the time that I would remain there for another 55 years. Or be able to view Queen Anne Hill from Fifth Avenue (N.) and Denny Way. That view remains with me to this day. You see the entire south portion of the hill, and the band of aspen (poplars?) which stand firmly on the west flank of the hill on West Prospect Street. These are among the strategic items which stand so proudly along the upper flanks. The Treat House and Polson homes are among these.
Queen Anne Hill deserves a “historic district” including the many and great houses which adorn the hill. As a former resident of Ward Street (21 years) I was thrilled when the Parks Department turned the Water basin and Union Springs into the charming park which you may walk through today at Fourth Avenue North and Ward Street. I have photos of the lot before the changes, as I lived at 359 and later 355 Ward Street from 1959-1980. Snowy scenes, dry late summer scenes, and the spring always flowing from a different channel no matter how the Parks Department tried to tame it. Happy Holidays to all of you!
Kim R. Turner (on the 152nd anniversary of my Grandad’s birth).