THESE AMELIA APARTMENTS — 16 of them — were, it seems, first noted in a Seattle Times classified ad on Sept. 4, 1910. The agent, John Davis and Co., was one of the super real-estate dealers of the time with 61 apartment buildings. Davis advised, “Simply step into our office and tell us what kind of a place you want. We will endeavor to meet your every requirement.” Seven days later, the agent admitted his first renters here into 104 17th Ave.
The Amelia was conveniently built beside the Yesler Way Cable Line, with its clanking cars reaching the corner every 3 minutes during busy hours. The Amelia offered “3- and 4-bedroom apartments; large, light rooms; modern conveniences; linoleum bathroom and kitchen floors, gas ranges, large closets, cupboards and coolers.” In 1912, depending on size, the rent ran between $20 and $27 a month.
By 1914 the Amelia’s Apt No. 4 was used by a practitioner offering “woman-to-woman” consultations about a “dependable remedy for every married woman” that the personal “women’s ad” left unexplained. (Was it proven techniques on how to be rid of one’s husband?)
Until their internment during World War II, this was a neighborhood where Japanese Americans integrated with Seattle’s Jewish community and a miscellany of many others. Here on the corner is Beckerman’s Delicatessen, also a Jewish center where, for instance, in the spring of 1926 one could pick up tickets for the famous singing cantors Mordechai Hershman and Zavil Zwartin appearing at the Masonic Temple. Across Yesler Way, and out of frame to the far right, was the synagogue for the Bikur Cholum Congregation, now home of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.
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Although I think the subject seems earlier, perhaps this scene dates from 1926, the year the Jewish labor organization named the Workmen’s Circle gathered with workers from throughout the city for a Labor Day afternoon of music, speeches and games in Renton’s Pioneer Park. Most of this is promoted on the banner that stretches here over Yesler Way.
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