Norwegian immigrants Hans and Anna Hanson, and family members, purchased Alki Point from Doc Maynard in 1869.
DESPITE ITS soft focus, I delight in this week’s historical subject. It is rare: a nearly pioneer look into the heart of the Alki Point neighborhood early in its development. Photos of the Point’s early beach life are nearly commonplace, but not shots like this of its interior.
The print was copied from a cord-bound album of mostly scruffy photos originally gathered to promote and revive Rose Lodge in 1913. That was a dozen often-struggling years after Benjamin and Julia Baker opened the lodge and its pleasure grounds on the Puget Sound waterfront south of the Point. Among the dozen or so photographs included in the album, this one declines to promote the lodge’s advantages or pose its recreating tenants and 50 neatly-framed tents. Rather, the photographer turns her or his left shoulder away from the resort to look north-northeast on what was then, six years after West Seattle’s incorporation into Seattle and its conformity of street names, 63rd Avenue Southwest. Of course, some of the locals continued long after to call it by its original name, Hanson Avenue.
Norwegian immigrants Anna and Hans Hanson, with their brother-in-law Knud Olson, and their families, purchased Alki Point from Seattle pioneer Doc Maynard in 1869. The extended family farm, here off-camera to the left, kept producing into the 1930s, while rentals on the property helped its members through the Great Depression. This Hanson-Olson “Alki-Aristocracy” included future restaurateur Ivar Haglund, whose mother, Daisy, was the Hansons’ youngest child, the only one born on the Point.
Daisy’s uncle Knud Olson had his own namesake street that intersected Hanson Avenue, where Admiral Way now does the same with 63rd Avenue Southwest. That intersection is a few lots north of the large white box of a home that stands above the center of this streetscape. It was for many years the family home of Asa and Irene Schutt. Irene was an activist in the Alki Women’s Improvement Club, and club meetings were often held in her home at 3226 63rd Ave. S.W. The home, now painted green, survives. Across the street from the Schutts’ home were still-undeveloped acres that a pair of Los Angeles showmen proposed in 1927 to develop into a 12-acre amusement park. Its neighbors were mostly not amused, and the necessary rezone failed.
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This photo was first shared with me in 1997 by Walter Baker Williams at the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s recently opened Log House Museum. We met in the courtyard paved with bricks named for and contributed by donors, Williams included. In the 1960s, the Harvard-educated attorney was a member of the state senate. He was what was then called a “moderate Republican.” For a middle name, his parents handed him Baker, the name of his grandparents. Again, it was the Bakers who had opened Rose Lodge, and quite possibly Grandpa Benjamin Baker who took this week’s featured historical photograph.