Share story

THROUGH THE 1890s Pike Street was developed as the first sensible grade up the ridge east of Lake Union before real estate developer James Moore named the ridge Capitol Hill. As a sign of this public-works commitment, Pike Street was favored with a brick pavement in the mid-1890s. As can be seen here, Fourth Avenue was not so blessed. The mud on Fourth borders Pike at the bottom of this anonymous look north through the intersection and continues again north of Pike beyond the pedestrians, who in this scene are keeping to the bricks and sidewalks.

At the intersection’s far northeast corner dark doors swing beside the Double Stamp Bar’s sign, which pushes Bohemian Beer at 5 cents a mug. The first storefront to the right of the bar and its striped awning is the Frisco Café, Oyster and Chop House, whose clam chowder can be had for a dime and “oysters in many styles” for a quarter. Far right on the sidewalk at 404 Pike, a general store sells both new and used, and advertises a willingness to barter.Hanging buckets and baskets, as well as a pile of pillows, are seen through the windows. These storefronts and two more are sheltered in five contiguous sheds, modest quarters that share a false facade above the windows.

The bookends here are the Ranke Building, far right, and the Carpenter’s Union Hall, far left. When Otto and Dora Ranke built their eponymous big brick building, it featured a hall and stage for productions of all sorts, including musicals.

In 1906, beginning at this intersection, an extension of Westlake Avenue was cut through the city to Denny Way, where it joined the “old” Westlake that is now main street for the South Lake Union neighborhood. Carpenter’s Hall was razed, and a landmark, the Plaza Hotel, took its place in the new block shaped by Fourth Avenue, Pine Street and the new Westlake Avenue. The carpenters union moved one block north on Fourth.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at