ON THE MORNING of Sunday, June 30, 1963, Frank Shaw loaded his Hasselblad camera with color film and climbed a narrow driveway off Seventh Avenue, between Pike and Pine streets, approaching the center of Block 66 of the Denny Addition. Although surrounded by hotels — including the Waldorf behind him, and above him the towering Art Deco landmark the Roosevelt (seen in the “then” photo across Seventh Avenue) — Shaw focused instead on the faded gray pioneer, which for more than 70 years was the clapboard home of the Anthony family. It was built circa 1887 on a 60-by-100-foot lot that the German immigrant Ferdinand Anthony purchased from Seattle’s “father-founder,” Arthur Denny.
Anthony began his pioneer bookbinding business in the Frye Opera House in the early 1880s. Eventually the family business was moved into a shed built for it behind their home. (Here the bindery is out-of-frame to the right, but it is included in two of the five transparencies of the homesite that Shaw exposed on this particular Sunday.) Shaw, a Boeing quality-control inspector and Mountaineers member, liked to walk around the city taking pictures of what he characterized as the “what is.” Typically, he found that something old embodied more than something new.
Shaw consistently dated and named his negatives and transparencies. He did not, however, keep a photographer’s diary, and so we don’t know what he knew about the Anthony family. After their father Ferdinand’s death in 1919, Robert, age 33, and his younger sister, Julia, continued to run the binding business, although Julia also spent 42 years teaching in Seattle schools. Through their years on Seventh Avenue, Robert Anthony denied a parade of agents with cash offers for the property, explaining that it suited him as-is.
Robert died less than half a year after Shaw’s visit. The Anthony “compound” was razed in 1964. Julia died in 1970.
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