Author-editor Hal Will photographed this parade scene looking south on Third Avenue from Union Street sometime between the spring of 1947 and mid-1949.

Share story

In February 1947, only a few months after Hal Will returned from his World War II duty as a 20-year-old Army tugboat captain in the Philippines, he enrolled in the charter classes of the Northwest Institute of Photography. The new school’s labs and classrooms were in the University Building, seen here in the “then” at the northwest corner of Third Avenue and University Street, left of center.

Will took this photograph of American Legion members parading on Third Avenue sometime after enrolling and before he was constrained in 1949 at the age of 23 with a case of polio.

Will’s photograph is spread across two pages of the Magnolia Historical Society’s most recent production, “Magnolia, Making More Memories.” Will is one of about 40 authors who were involved in creating this nearly-400-page book.

His essay, “Early Railroad Days: Interbay,” shines with both his wit and his own photographs. And his second contribution, “Bad Judgment in Cebu,” is a droll recounting of his Army life in the Philippines.

In the maritime and heritage communities hereabouts, Hal Will is famous as the founder and editor of the Sea Chest, a well-wrought periodical associated with the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society. (The society was founded in 1948, or about the time Will recorded this view with his 4×5-inch view camera.) In the week before this past Christmas, the erudite 81-year-old died after a short illness. Many others and I will miss his good humor and frequent contributions to community history.

Fortunately, his fine writing can still be repeatedly enjoyed. And so can our memory of him.

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