Following the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909, community leaders kept the fun rolling with occasional Potlatches.
AFTER SEATTLE’S SUMMERLONG Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909, many of the city’s VIP citizens, those who could “make things happen,” longed for even more multifarious fun. For new excitement, they got the “joyous week of July 17 through 22,” the Golden Potlatch of 1911. It was the first of several Potlatches produced sporadically by community impresarios up until World War II, when public demonstrations became limited to farewells and welcome-home celebrations for veterans.
Most likely, our “Then” photo shows a scene from the Potlatch’s Industrial Parade. Judging from the printed banner attached to the roof of the float at the scene’s center, this well-knit wagon carried a loom backed on both sides by women costumed with its knitted dry goods. The rug stretched for a roof and the rug on the floor are examples of this “industry on parade.”
Surely it was very colorful — at least, more colorful than the costumes worn by those watching as the southbound horse-powered parade takes a turn off Fourth Avenue onto Olive Way. The seemingly idle electric trolley on the left with “express” written on its signboard probably was parked for the duration. It was here on Stewart Street that streetcars that used Fourth Avenue turned around by moving forward-backward-forward through a T-shaped terminus.
You would be correct to discern a vacant city block behind the rug float. It is shaped like a flatiron or triangle. The grade is a new creation of the then-in-progress Denny Regrade, before which this was the steep southeast corner of this eponymous hill. In 1906, the intersection of Fourth and Stewart was still several stories higher. That year, Westlake Avenue was cut through from Fourth and Pike to Denny Way, making the intersections along Westlake considerably more imaginative.
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Here in 1911, Westlake barely touched the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Olive Way. In 1890, well before the regrade, St. Mark’s Episcopal built its first sanctuary on the hillside triangle. When it relocated to a larger First Hill sanctuary in 1897, the abandoned church was first converted into a livery stable and then the “We Print Everything” Cooperative Printing Company. In 1916, the long-vacant flatiron block was filled with the well-loved and still-standing Times Square Building, the terra-cotta confection in our “Now” photo.
Finally, we turn right to the four-story apartment house on the south side of Olive Way, the Waverly.