Historical Society Doings For The 2nd Half of 2019 and Plans For 2020


On Saturday February 29th, 20 members and friends of the Capitol Hill Historical Society both new and old gathered in the conference room at the Broadway Performance Hall for our Annual Members meeting. The agenda for the meeting: a look back at our spectacular accomplishments of the past year and a look forward at our exciting plans for 2020. For those who missed it, we already covered the first half of 2019 in detail here on our blog.

2019 by the numbers (including 1st half of 2019)

Meetings & Events held: 12

  • public member meetings

  • book talks (City is More Than Human w/ Fred Brown, Seattle Prohibition w/ Brad Holden)

  • tours (Millionaire's Row)

  • parties (Hill With A Future Book Launch and 3rd Annual Holiday Party)

Total participation: 338 (estimated)

Projects: 3

  • Capitol Hill, 1937 A Historical 3D Map

  • Map of Plats

  • Republishing Hill With A Future

Fundraising Campaigns: 1

  • GiveBIG

Preservation Efforts: 4

  • Conover House

  • 627 13th Ave E (Japonesque House)

  • Millionaire's Row

  • Booth Building

Meetings Attended: 5

  • Design Reviews

  • PPUNC Meetings

  • Other meetings

Between book and ticket sales, donations, and grants we earned over $10,000 in 2019.

A Closer Look at some of our projects

1. Republishing The Hill With A Future, by Jackie Williams

  • We received a $3000 grant from 4Culture to cover the majority of printing costs for 1000 books.

  • We sold or donated 242 copies with net sales of $2653.

  • 71 of these copies were sold or donated during our December 8 launch party.

  • Many thanks to the following:

  • Jackie Williams for passing all the proceeds from book sales to the historical society.

  • The CHHS board (especially our former treasurer Grace Harvey) for working so hard to complete this project on time.

  • All our donors and funders--especially 4Culture.

2. Capitol Hill, 1937: A Historical 3D Map

  • Our GIS mapping specialist Lorn Fant completed the digital modeling of 17 historic buildings located on Broadway from E Denny to E John. Each building is clickable with a pop-up providing historical images and data about the building. The map is now publicly accessible on our website at capitolhillpast.org/map.

3. Map of Capitol Hill Plats

  • An interactive map that takes all the original plat, block, and lot boundaries and lays them above a modern-day map of the neighborhood. Not only that, but depending upon which layer is activated, each plat, block, and lot is clickable with a pop-up that can be loaded with data about that object and links to related material such as photos and scans of the original plat maps or any other pertinent information.

  • The map is still in its early stages with significant updates coming in a month or so.

  • Not all data presented in pop-up menus is accurate yet and some boundaries lines still need adjusting.

  • Input/feedback to improve accuracy and functionality is most welcome at this point.

  • You can view the map here: https://arcg.is/1nCKjb

A closer look at some of our events and activities from the 2nd half of 2019

1. Flemington Apartments talk and tour - September 29

CHHS President Tom Heuser hosted a presentation and tour of the building in which he resides. The building was designed by arcitect Howard Riley and built by Andrew F Mowat for pioneer grocer Joseph Fleming in the beaux arts/neoclassical style. It has a long and colorful history as one of Broadway's most iconic buildings. Attendees had a rare opportunity explore the building inside and out and even had the opportunity to see rare photos of original interiors. All told, 19 people attended. All event photos were taken by Marissa Hiller.

*Many thanks to Kellie Kalvig for providing images of the original interiors and Erin Riley Borden for providing photos of the architect.

2. History and Horror Presentation - October 8

CHHS President Tom Heuser was a guest speaker at a meeting and luncheon for the Rainier Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. He presented a series of some of the more harrowing tales he's come across over the years involving death, betrayal, deception, and recalcitrance in addition to accounts of his own strange experiences in the pursuit of history and preservation. About 45 people attended the talk. All event photos were taken by Marissa Hiller. *Many thanks to Clare Livingston and the rest of the Rainier Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution for making this event possible.

3. Seattle Now Then & Now Photoshoot at 1421 E Valley St - November 3

To commemorate and promote the republishing of Jackie Williams' The Hill With A Future, we teamed up with Clay Eals and Gene Sherrard to do a "now" version of a "then" photo featured in the book, particularly a photo of 1421 E Valley Street, the Allan Home, from 1902 plus a story to go along with it that was later published in the Seattle Times on December 8. The current owners, Jennifer and Andrew Ting, were very enthusiastic about the idea serving us coffee and being in the photo the day of the shoot. You can read the full store on Paul Dorpat's website.

*Many thanks to Clay Eals, Gene Sherrard, the Tings, Jackie Williams, Paul Dorpat, and Seattle Times for making this possible.

4. Seattle Now Then & Now Photoshoot at Holy Names Academy and visit to the HNA museum - November 4

To continue honoring and drawing attention to Jackie Williams' The Hill With A Future, we did a second photoshoot with Clay Eals and Gene Sherrard. This time a "now" version of a "then" photo featured in the book, particularly of a group of HNA students just prior to an automobile ride in 1908 and again a story to go along with it that was later published in the Seattle Times on January 19. Like the owners of the Allan Home, the staff and students were equally enthusiastic about the idea. You can read the full story on Paul Dorpat's website. Otherwise, prior to the photoshoot, we got a chance to tour the HNA museum organized by HNA archivist Christie Spielman.

*Many Thanks to Clay Eals, Gene Sherrard, Christie Spielman, the staff and students of HNA, Paul Dorpat, and the Seattle Times for making this possible.

5. . Millionaire's Row Walking Tour - December 1

Between 1900 and 1902, real estate executive James Moore purchased and platted some of the land to the south and east of Volunteer Park and called it Capitol Hill. The source of our neighborhood's namesake. Within this development he set aside a small strip of land on 14th Avenue from East Prospect to just south East Roy as an exclusive private community for himself, his friends, and his business associates all of whom played a significant role in shaping Seattle.

Since then, some of the row's current residents banded together acknowledge this history by nominating their exclusive stretch of 14th Avenue East for the National Register of Historic Places. To honor and celebrate this noble effort and to further celebrate the republication of Jackie Williams' The Hill With A Future, we organized a walking tour down this prestigious residence block. The tour included background from Williams' book, new research from row-resident DJ Kurlander, and the rare opportunity to see inside some of the row's historic homes.

The tour was so popular that it sold out and required us to lead two groups of 25 in the same day. We started at the Volunteer park water tower and worked our way south ending the tour with a social hour at Canterbury Ale House at 15th and Mercer. All event photos were taken by Marissa Hiller.

*Many thanks to Historic Seattle for promoting this tour, Bryce & Chris Siedl and Ana Lena Melka & Mark Mayhle for opening their doors to us, DJ Kurlander for helping with the tour, Adam Alsobrook for leading the second tour and to Grace Harvey & Mae Mirkin for handling all the post-tour arrangements and book sales.

6. Hill With A Future Launch Party - Dec 8

Our main celebration of the re-release of Jackie Williams' The Hill With a Future: Seattle's Capitol Hill 1900-1946. At this event people had the opportunity to meet Jackie herself, pick up a copy of the book and get it signed, and to enjoy drinks and desserts with their neighbors. We also announced our plan to conduct an oral history project that covers the half-century following the scope of Jackie's book. We sold over 70 books and saw approximately 75 attendees. All event photos were taken by Marissa Hiller.

*Many thanks to Vermillion for offering us the space and to Grace Harvey for organizing the event, coordinating book sales, and for providing the amazing spread of desserts enjoyed that evening!

7. Third Annual Holiday Party

Our final celebration of the year at which CHHS members and friends gathered to socialize over food and drink and to take in a special presentation put together by CHHS board members Tom Heuser and Rob Ketcherside. The presentation titled "Wind of Change: A photo at the edge and beginning of Capitol Hill", took a deeper dive into the 1902 photo of the Allan Home featured in Hill With A Future and Seattle Times' Then & Now column. This presentation gave additional historical background of the land surrounding the house including the rare sight of cows grazing in the foreground and a windmill in the distance. All event photos were taken by Marissa Hiller.

*Many thanks to Grace Harvey and Mae Mirkin for generously hosting this event in lieu of the usual location which did not have an operable elevator this year. And the same to Rob Ketcherside and Tom Heuser for their highly detailed research.

Preservation Advocacy in 2019

Despite great efforts, 2019 was a rough year for preservation overall.

1. Conover House

We advocated for the historic Conover House with hours of additional research that we believe clearly demonstrated the significance of Charles Conover and his former home and yet the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board still overall saw it fit to deny it landmark status. However, we believe this was most likely due to low board member attendance. A common issue at landmarks board meetings.

*Many thanks to Joan Zegree, the CHHS board, Marvin Anderson, and Historic Seattle for their noble efforts.

2. 627 13th Avenue East - Japonesque Bungalow

Another historically significant home also lost its chances at being preserved, though be it through destructive means. While we were deliberating with the city and Historic Seattle over how to prevent this home from being demolished and redeveloped, the owner quietly hired a team of workers to carve away the home's most distinctive features: its upturned corner eves. You can learn more about this unique home here.

*Many thanks to Historic Seattle and Marvin Anderson for their advocacy and research efforts.

3. Booth Building

CHHS and Historic Seattle met with YouthCare, Capitol Hill Housing, and Weinstein A+U to consult on plans to incorporate the Booth Building into a new education and employment focused Opportunity Center for homeless and unstably housed young people as well as affordable housing. The project team expressed enthusiasm at the idea of keeping a significant portion of the building and incorporating its history as the first location of Cornish School into the new Opportunity Center. The building is now under consideration for landmark status.

4. 15th Avenue E Hilltop Service Station Redevelopment

CHHS President Tom Heuser attended an East Design Review Board meeting to express support for Hunters Capital's new project on 15th Avenue East.

Plans for 2020

Board Election:

  • CHHS member Karen Allman moved that we renew the terms of the existing board members Tom Heuser, Rob Ketcherside, Harriet Wasserman, and Tamara Bunnell.

  • Tom Heuser moved to approve Annie Becker as the development officer

  • Both motions were seconded and passed.

Also, a hearty welcome to our new Development Officer, Annie Becker! Annie is grant writer and non profit consultant currently enrolled in the Master of Non-Profit Leadership program with a certificate in Non-Profit Fundraising Leadership. at Seattle University. She is a native of the Seattle area and a long-time resident of Capitol Hill. We are all very excited to see what she can accomplish for us this year!

Additional Positions that we hope to fill in the coming months:

  • Treasurer

  • Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

  • Social Media Coordinator,

  • E-commerce manager,

  • Freelance Writers for our blog

  • Legal advisor and another general advisor for our board

  • Oral history interviewer.

We are currently drafting job descriptions for each of these positions and hope to start recruiting before the end of March. However, if you are interested in any one of these positions, do not hesitate to reach out to us ahead of time at info@capitolhillpast.org.

Scheduled Events:

Sunday, June 7th @3pm - The Hill with a Future Q&A Panel at Elliott Bay Book Company featuring:

  • Jackie Williams, author of The Hill With A Future

  • Nan Little, Capitol Hill resident and author of If I Can Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Why Can't I Brush My Teeth?

  • Rob Ketcherside, author of Lost Seattle, Vice-President of Capitol Hill Historical Society

  • Tom Heuser, Capitol Hill resident, Historian, President of Capitol Hill Historical Society

Sunday, July 12th @3pm - Olmsted in Seattle book talk with author Jennifer Ott at Elliott Bay Book Company

  • At this event Jennifer Ott will talk specifically about the history of Olmsted parks on Capitol Hill

Events being explored:

  • Walking tour of secret and fraternal societies in Capitol Hill

  • Historical pub crawl

  • Presentation on Capitol Hill History at Horizon House

  • Repeat of last year's History and Horror presentation

Ongoing projects:

  • Landmarks recognition plaques

  • Continued work on the 3D map and map of plats

  • In particular, people are needed to graphically create signs and billboards

Projects being explored:

  • Survey of mid-century residences on Capitol Hill, for which Lana Blinderman and Tom Heuser are applying for a grant

  • Oral History anthology to cover the time following the Hill with a Future. Interviewees, interviewers and stories are needed

  • Possible collaborations with other organizations include working with the Pacific Northwest Museum of Motorcycling

  • Tamara Bunnell described an opportunity to collaborate on a project she is working on that explores the impact of Japanese American internment on the Broadway area

Special update regarding Coronavirus:

Due to the adverse impacts of the recent Coronavirus pandemic on our daily lives, any of the above described plans for 2020 may be delayed or cancelled in the coming weeks.

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