Careful photo analysis more accurately pinpoints the location of the shed where Chief Seattle’s daughter lived.
ALONG WITH PHOTOGRAPHER Jean Sherrard and, especially, Ron Edge, our collector-cartographer with a devotion to details, I hope to convince you we have discovered the correct location for the footprint of Princess Angeline’s home.
Angeline was the daughter of our city’s namesake, Chief Seattle, and was born around 1820. When Euro-American settlers/interlopers arrived here to stay in the early 1850s, Angeline got on well with the city’s founders, and one of them, Catherine Maynard, gave her the royal name. Maynard, a nurse and wife of the village physician, Doc Maynard, explained that Angeline’s new name better suited her elevated status. (Although surely the princess’ native name, Kikisoblu, was as euphonious as Angeline.)
Angeline supported herself washing clothes and weaving baskets, which she sold. She also appeared in photos, both candid street shots and prepared portraits. The portraits, like the one by Edwin J. Bailey (shown here), were snapped in studios, where the princess was sometimes posed with props and backdrops that promoted her authenticity. Through Seattle’s first half-century, the princess was easily the most popular subject hereabout, and when she could, she charged a fee for posing.
The princess also accepted help, and might have expected it. She enjoyed a free grocery tab at Louch’s Market on First Avenue, which was not far from her home, whose true footprint we now will reveal with the help of photographs.
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In 1890, Northern Pacific Railroad photographer F. Jay Haynes took what might be the earliest surviving photo of Angeline’s home. I first used — and misused — that photo for this feature on May 13, 1984.
While Haynes did not peg his portrait of the princess sitting near the front door of her seemingly windowless shed, I embraced the commonplace belief that her home was somewhere near the waterfront, between Pine and Pike streets, probably closer to the latter. My mistake was in interpreting it as a beach shack, largely on the basis of the patch of horizon that shows to the left of Angeline’s shed. That is not the beach, and Haynes was not looking west, but instead nearly northwest through the neighborhood of small warehouses and squatters’ sheds that climbed the western slope of the now-long-gone Denny Hill.
We must thank Edge for this correction and also for introducing photographer Frank La Roche’s setting of the princess and her dog on the front porch of her new home, built for her in 1891 by local lumberman Amos Brown.
Printed to its full width, the La Roche photograph reveals a wide swath of Belltown landmarks that leads us, with the help of Edge’s triangulations, to within a few feet of Angeline’s last home.
Although the princess died in 1896, her Brown-built home survived at least until the printing of its footprint in the 1905 Sanborn Insurance Map.
To follow Edge’s revealing lines, and to explore more photographic evidence of Angeline’s home and the neighborhood, please visit our website, below.