Pacific Northwest readers old enough to remember the post-World War II years may find sufficient clues in the accompanying...










Pacific Northwest readers old enough to remember the post-World War II years may find sufficient clues in the accompanying photograph to figure out what is being constructed. With the flamboyant font typical of circus broadsides, the purveyor, Earl Douglas, has written his namesake company’s tag, “Douglas Greater Shows,” on the sides of the big trucks that carry all the gear needed to assemble a weekend carnival.

Here in the rear parking lot of Wallingford’s Interlake School — since 1985, Wallingford Center — Douglas will soon accept dimes from kids for admittance to his several thrill rides and some cotton candy.

The historical photo came from Stan Stapp, longtime editor of the North Central Outlook, a weekly tabloid that served Wallingford and adjacent neighborhoods for several decades. This old friend, recently deceased, was known for his vivid memory and could, no doubt, have told me when these pictures appeared in his paper. I made an admittedly too-rapid search of Outlook issues from 1949 through 1952 and failed to find this construction scene or any of the other carnival shots that Stan shared with me years ago.

But I don’t need the exact year of Douglas’ visit to Wallingford to make the point that tastes have changed in the ensuing half-century, at least those tastes involving the innovative use of school parking lots. The cotton candy has been replaced with a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables and confections. They are barely restrained beneath the tents pitched every Wednesday during the warm months beside the center.

The Wallingford Center farmers market is the latest creation of the nonprofit Seattle Farmers Market Association. It is now my favorite Wednesday-afternoon destination.

“Washington Then and Now,” the new book by Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard ($45), can be purchased through www.washingtonthenandnow.com or Tartu Publications, P.O. Box 85208, Seattle, WA 98145.