Tag Archives: History

Russ Kurtz

Long-time Crown Hill Resident Russ Kurtz passed away on Friday, April 1st, 2011. Russ founded the Crown Hill Vet Clinic on Holman Rd NW at 14th Ave NW. He practiced there until 1986. Russ also served on the Carkeek Park Advisory Council.

The obituary in the Seattle Times can be found here.  Russ’ memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 26th at University Unitarian Church at 2 PM.

Fire Station #35 Dedication in September

Station 35 Sign
New Fire Station #35 Sign

On Saturday, September 25, the new fire station will be dedicated. Come on out for this community celebration at 1:30 pm. The neon-lighted artwork will provide a recognizable night-time landmark for Crown Hill. [UPDATE: Mayor McGinn will be there for the dedication ceremony, and there will be a mini-town hall meeting at the fire station beginning at 2 PM. This is your chance to meet the Mayor and let him know your concerns].

Did you know?
Did you know that Fire Station 35 was once home to a horse-drawn fire rig, and that rig was the last horse drawn rig in service in the city of Seattle? And that Fire Station 35 was also home to an amphibious rescue craft at one time? Check out some really interesting pictures and historical facts about the history of fire fighting in Seattle at the Last Resort Fire Department. (Hint: do a text search for “Engine 35″ on that page to find the picture of the last run of the horse drawn rig, and “Apparatus 302″ to find the amphibious craft).

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.

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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.

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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.

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History Articles About Crown Hill Cemetery

This article links to a two-part series on the history of the Crown Hill Cemetery. The articles are posted in “Beyond The Ghosts … A Cemetery Blog” by GE Anderson. The mystery of Lily the Tabby Cat interred there is almost as intriguing as the Cipher in Room 214 burial.

These articles are also included in a project the author developed “Stones & Bones … Discovering Secrets in Old King County Cemeteries” which is available at her web site as well.

Cemeteries can tell many tales of the past. Know any tales of  folk interred at Crown Hill Cemetery? If you are interested in sharing, please contact me: dennis@crownhillneighbors.org. Similarly, if you are interested in Crown Hill history in general or have any tips, please contact me.

From Legends to Lights: The Story of Olympic Golf Club

By Heidi Madden

On the crisp, clear afternoon of December 7, 1924, ships passing through Puget Sound on their way to Elliott Bay were treated to a surprise:  On a ridge high above the Sound, just north of Seattle, a new 600-square-foot American flag had been hoisted.  The impressive symbol, meant to be the “first sight of Seattle” for ships bound for Elliott Bay, marked the official opening of the new Olympic Golf and County Club.

Olympic Golf Course 1925
Golfers at Olympic Golf Course circa 1925 (click to enlarge) -- PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection, MOHAI

Golf Club Manager Douglas McLeod McMillin and Club President William M. Bolcom had the honor of hoisting the flag for the first time to the top of its 118-foot pole next to the new club house located at about 20th Ave. NW and NW 89th Street.  The flag’s inauguration took place in front of about a hundred spectators, many of whom were visiting the new golf course for the first time.

Work on the new course began in May of 1924 on the picturesque site.  Architect Francis James actively oversaw the work, and while Bolcom was publicly dedicated to opening the course to golfers in late fall, James was less convinced that the deadline could be met.  But in late October of 1924, the new course was unofficially opened to the public – ahead of schedule.

The 18-hole course, at the time just north of the Seattle city limits, was an L-shaped property that stretched east to west from 15th Ave. NW to 24th Ave. NW.  Its longest north-to-south line was on its west side, where it stretched from NW 95th Street to NW 85th Street.

Olympic Golf Course circa 1936
Olympic Golf Course circa 1936 (click to enlarge)

Bing’s Favorite Swing

The course was designed to challenge seasoned golfers, and it attracted many legends and pioneers of the sport:  Tommy Armour, aka “The Silver Scot,” winner of the 1927 U.S. Open and the 1931 British Open; Macdonald “Mac” Smith, whose full-swing technique Bing Crosby admired; Johnny Farrell, winner of the 1928 U.S. Open; and Horton Smith, who in 1934 was the first winner of the new Augusta National Invitation Tournament, later named The Masters Tournament.

Perhaps the club’s most notable visitor was the charismatic and impeccably dressed Walter “The Haig” Hagen, five-time PGA Championship winner who, in 1922, was the first native-born American to win the British open.  But more important to some local fans, in 1929 Hagen broke the Olympic Golf Club mark by scoring a 68 while paired with Horton Smith in an exhibition match against the club professional and an ace amateur.

Guns and Roses

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Tree Survey Question (still looking for responses)

In August 2009 we published a tree survey questionnaire here. We got quite a few responses, but we’re looking for more. Our grant proposal is currently being reviewed has been approved for funding by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. If approved, We will contract with an arborist to survey the neighborhood for trees, but Crown Hill is a large area to survey, and we can ensure the trees we think are significant are looked at by the arborist by identifying as many as possible ahead of time. We’ll be sponsoring a neighborhood walk in September 2010, and publishing a push-pin type map (similar to the one below) showing the trees.  Please take a look around and submit trees you think are significant whether they are in your yard, a neighbors yard, a public space. UPDATE (May 2010): Our grant proposal was approved for funding by the DON. The questionnaire is still open, so take a look at the updated map below and submit more trees. Thanks


View Crown Hill Tree Map in a larger map

To see the map larger and with a descriptive legend, click here.

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A Charmed Land: Dairy Farming on Crown Hill

By Chris Jacobsen & Heidi Madden

If you were to stand facing north at the intersection of 8th Ave. NW and NW 105th today, you would see rows of ramblers built in the early 1950s during the post-war building boom.  You would hear traffic from Holman Road and Greenwood Ave. N.  But years ago, my parents, Art and Betty Jacobsen, lived in a quiet farmhouse on a dairy farm at this very location.

In the early 1940s, Art and his older brother, Chris, owned and operated the Pedersen Dairy, formerly called Puritan Dairy Farm.  Its southeast boundary was roughly NW 105th and 8th Ave. NW.  It stretched for about 20 acres – up the hill to the west, and north to the current border of Carkeek Park.

Aerial photo of the area from 1936.  Red dot indicates the location of the farmhouse.  The farm outbuildings, including the barn, can be also be seen to the north in this photo.
Aerial photo of the area from 1936. Red dot indicates the location of the farmhouse. The farm outbuildings, including the barn, can be also be seen to the north in this photo.

Art had moved to the Seattle area from Minnesota in 1934 at the age of 19.  He joined Chris, who had already been in the area for two years.

Art with his milk delivery truck (children unknown), early 1940s
Art with his milk delivery truck (children unknown), early 1940s

In the late 1930s, the two brothers worked for their uncle, Harold Vikelyst, who owned the Puritan Dairy Farm.  They met every morning at their uncle’s house, which was located at 10028 12th Ave. NW.  The house, which was built in 1928, still stands today.

The Life of a Dairy Farmer

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Aerial Photographs from 1936

Ever wonder what your neck of the woods looked like a long time ago? A while ago, I stumbled across a set of aerial photographs from 1936 at the King County Records site. Looking at many areas of Crown Hill using the online IMAP Geographic Information System, I visualized the area before it was converted to the present day densely packed grid of mostly single family houses. The whole area bore a distinctly rural character, with scattered rectangular arrays of orchard trees, agricultural plots and out buildings. Holman Road existed, though it appears unpaved and deeply rutted. The red dot on the photo below is at the intersection of present day 12th Ave NW and NW 95th.

12th and 95th aerial view (1936)
12th and 95th aerial view (1936) Click on the photo to view full size

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Piper Orchard’s 4th Annual Fall Festival of Fruit and Tour

Saturday, Sept 18th, 2010
10 AM – 2 PM

Tour the 119 year old orchard, see displays to learn more about growing your own trees, bring apples from your trees to determine their variety, live music, food booths, learn about orchard history, grapes in the orchard, pest management, permaculture, kids crafts and more.

http://pipersorchard.wordpress.com/category/festival-of-fruit/, 206-684-0877, or carkeek.park@seattle.gov