Category Archives: History

Crown Hill Natural Area gets TLC

It was a wonderful convergence of a beautiful day and a hearty group of volunteers at the Crown Hill Natural Area on December 4.  Fourteen members of the UW National Honor Society came out to refurbish the ADA walkway, clear the trails of debris, cutwork party volunteers from UW back overgrown shrubs, and pick up litter in the natural area at the end of 19th Avenue NW at NW 89th Street.  Joyce Ford and Nancy Gruber have been the stalwart neighbors leading periodic work parties to take care of this little haven for birds, wildlife, and people enjoying a moment with nature.

Joyce Ford
Joyce Ford, one of the primary leaders in caring for this area.

The Crown Hill Natural Area was acquired by Seattle Parks in 1998. For a bit of history of this former Victory Garden, read this article from the Ballard News-Tribune of March 18, 1998.

Home Research 201: Delve Deeper into Your Home’s History

Interested in what tales your home holds of its past owners?  The Ballard Historical Society is holding a lecture on how to use the Puget Sound Regional Archives to find out more.

A free lecture
sponsored by the Ballard Historical Society
Thursday, October 21, 2010
7:00 p.m.- 8:15 p.m.
Speaker: Greg Lange, Puget Sound Regional Archives
Sunset Hill Community Center,
3003 NW 66th Street
(206) 992-7010 for more information

Join us Thursday, October 21, 2010 for “Home Research 201: Delve Deeper Into Your Home’s History,” when Greg Lange, professional researcher at Puget Sound Regional Archives, will use his research of a 1902 house in Fremont to show how archives information can shed light on your own home’s history.

Mr. Lange researched the Fremont 1902 Fitch-Nutt house at the request of the City of Seattle when the community rallied against demolition of the property. He’ll bring interesting maps, tax records, and directories that you would explore on a visit to the Puget Sound Regional Archives.

The lecture is preceded by a brief annual meeting. BHS members, please come to vote on certain board positions and to volunteer or comment on the direction of the organization. Join us — it’s free!

We showed you how to find old pictures of your house in this article, but there is much more which can be discovered.

Looking for Old Pictures of Your House?

Old Picture of My House
Oldest Picture of My House (click to enlarge)

Most of us are not the original owners of the house we live in. It is only natural to wonder what our abode might have looked like in past years before the addition, how long that tree in the front yard has been there, when the garage was added, what was the original siding like, etc. Often, prior owners have moved on, or passed away without leaving us valuable clues to the history of the house.

It turns out that there are some public resources available to satiate our curiosity. This article points to one of those resources:  King County Records. In a later article, I will detail information available from Puget Sound Regional Archives.

Continue reading Looking for Old Pictures of Your House?

Gifts from the Builder: The Eddie McAbee Park Entrance

By Heidi Madden and Chris Jacobsen

Have you ever driven past the Eddie McAbee entrance to Carkeek Park off of NW 100th Place and wondered who Eddie McAbee is?  Perhaps the name sounded familiar:  Didn’t a guy named McAbee build a bunch of stuff around here?

Eddie McAbee Entrance
Eddie McAbee Entrance to Carkeek Park

Eddie McAbee was in fact the son of F.R. “Dick” McAbee, the prolific builder who, in the mid-1950s, developed and built much of what we see now on lower Crown Hill between Holman Road and NW 100th Place, including what used to be Art’s Plaza, now QFC.  The Eddie McAbee park entrance land was originally part of the 105 acres on the east slope of Crown Hill purchased by Dick McAbee in 1945.  The duplexes you see at the park entrance are McAbee built.

Dick McAbee was a self-made man.  He was $10,000 in debt at the start of the Depression because of an employer who skipped town.  It took him ten years, but he paid back every cent.  He went on to build a real estate empire and a sterling reputation in the local business community.

Continue reading Gifts from the Builder: The Eddie McAbee Park Entrance

How a Grocery Store Shaped a Neighborhood: The Story of Art’s Food Center

By Heidi Madden & Chris Jacobsen

The Original Art's Globe (photograph used with permission from Herb and Sue McAbee)

August 22, 1956 was the day the housewives of Crown Hill had been waiting for: The Plaza Shopping Center (a.k.a. Art’s Plaza) on 6th Ave. N.W. and Holman Road was having its grand opening. High on its tower, the iconic Art’s globe was spinning and there were gifts for everyone: fold-up plastic rain bonnets for the ladies, keychain screwdrivers for the men, and balloons for the kiddies.

The new 40,000-square-foot shopping center featured an Art’s Food Center, a Marketime Drugs, the Fiesta Buffet, Noonan’s Apparel, and a post office all under one roof. The massive shopping center was the brainchild of F.R. “Dick” McAbee, the prolific contractor whose scores of construction projects completed in the mid-1900s still have an impact on Crown Hill’s character, identity, and appearance.

The centerpiece of the development was the locally owned Art’s Food Center. Designed to appeal to the modern shopper, it featured a computerized meat scale, moving belts at the checkout stand, wide aisles, and 140 feet of frozen food cases housing the largest frozen food selection in the city.

The new Crown Hill location was the fourth grocery store for owner Art Case. Case may have been drawn to modern innovations, but he never lost sight of the value of his employees. He offered them respect and an attractive profit sharing plan, and most stayed with him for years.

Continue reading How a Grocery Store Shaped a Neighborhood: The Story of Art’s Food Center