In honor of Gary Gaffner: Men in Little Boxes

[1472] Queen Anne Ave at Roy St, looking north, 1940-01-21.
One of these days, I may get over my unrelenting interest (ok, my obsession) with the Counterbalance.  It certainly seems weird treating the system as magical. After all, it was nothing more than a waist-high block of cement that ran through a three or four-foot tunnel on a tiny miniature railroad to boost streetcars up Queen Anne Avenue or to slow them down on the descent. It seems I am not alone in my obsession, for just about everyone living in our neighborhood loves learning about these mysterious streetcars and those men who lived their days in little boxes, one at the hill-top and one at the bottom. …Continue reading “In honor of Gary Gaffner: Men in Little Boxes”

Jean Louise Penrose Sundborg (1939-2018)

Born in Ontario, Oregon, the daughter of George Lewis Penrose (1915-87) and Elinore Sterrett Shields (1913-93), Jean Penrose (September 7, 1939 – June 22, 2018) grew up on their small farm in Tigard, Oregon.

After high-school graduation in 1957, Jean spent a memorable year with her family in Tehran, Iran.  She also lived on a kibbutz in Israel as part of the International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) Program.

With her 1962 Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from Oregon State University, she went to Colorado to teach high-school HomeEc.  Her sense of adventure took her to Juneau, Alaska in 1965 where she taught at Juneau-Douglas High School.

Uptown Alliance members at the 2008 dedication of Counterbalance Park: Jean Sundborg (from left), John Coney, John Gessner, Keith Biever and Kathy Biever. Photo courtesy of Jean Sundborg

She and longtime Alaskan Pierre Sundborg married in December 1966.  Pierre’s 30-year career with IBM brought the family to Seattle in 1968, then to New York, Texas, Leicester in England and St-Paul-de-Vence in France.  They adopted infants George Charles in 1969 and Lynn Marie in 1971.  Lynn died in 2007.

After the Sundborgs moved from Normandy Park to Seattle and settled on 5th Avenue West in 1992, Jean co-founded and led the Uptown Alliance.  She reminded all that “it’s not Lower Queen Anne.”  Jean played a key role in the creation of Uptown’s Counterbalance Park, dedicated in 2008.  In the 1990s she worked for Triangle Associates, specializing in waste reduction and recycling.

In retirement, she pursued passions of traveling and family genealogical research.

She died in Tallin, Estonia after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while on a Baltic cruise with husband Pierre aboard the Rotterdam.


Source: “Uptown Alliance, A Key Queen Anne Player” (Queen Anne News, July 2008)

Alice Rooney, Arts Advocate

Long-time Queen Anne resident Alice Rooney (1926-2019) made major contributions to Seattle-area arts and culture, as administrator of Allied Arts of Seattle and of Pilchuck Glass School.

A graduate of Ballard High School (1943) and the University of Washington, Alice began her career in New York City, where she spent three years working for Mutual Broadcasting as a writer of radio commercials and newsletters.  She returned to Seattle to take a job with Wallace V. MacKay Advertising Co., located in Seattle’s Globe Building, and in 1950 began part-time employment as Executive Secretary with the American Institute of Architects Seattle Chapter — a MacKay client.  At AIA, she worked with activist architects including Fred Bassetti, Ibsen Nelsen, and Victor Steinbrueck. …Continue reading “Alice Rooney, Arts Advocate”