New Towne courtyard features a Queen Anne map of mosaics and more

Posted on May 7th, 2014 by Laura Fonda

The new Queen Anne Towne mixed-use complex is nearing completion, and the front courtyard art maps out the neighborhood and familiar Queen Anne sites. Plus, there’s a puppy sculpture designed by Georgia Gerber, the Northwest artist who also created Rachel, the Pike Place Market pig.

Towne sign and puppy

Local Queen Anne artist Lydia Aldredge designed the courtyard as a map – the meandering brickwork represents roads, the green sections mark parks, ravines, and the Boulevard. Stainless steel stair image mark stairways and there’s also a stainless steel “you are here” marker. A stainless steel star is a “you are here” marker and the seven mosaics mark historic and notable Queen Anne sites.

The sites chosen for the 7 mosaics were a mix of Aldredge’s input, suggestions from Queen Anne Historical Society, and requests from the building owners.

If you’d like to figure out the mosaic sites on your own, read no further. If you want a cheat-sheet, see the list and descriptions below from Lydia Aldredge:

1. Queen Anne High School: This building is an architectural and cultural landmark. It’s full block size, stone facade, intricate detail, and adaptive reuse as a condominium make it a significant visual neighborhood anchor. This is a view of the west facade of the school so as to include one of the adjacent radio towers.

2. Queen Anne Library: This lovely library, designed in the Richardson Romanesque style is another architectural landmark and cultural center. Generations of Queen Anne families have appreciated its interior resources and exterior beauty.

3. Bethel Presbyterian Church: Another historic landmark and architecturally significant structure.  This building has been a center of community life for generations and is an oasis of green along the rapidly developing avenue.  It’s steeple and rose windows are striking.

4. Wilkes Farmhouse: A historic landmark and one of the oldest remaining farmhouses on the hill.  The star patterned fascia boards are unusual as are the elaborately patterned porch balustrades. [The Wilkes farmhouse is just a few blocks away from the new Towne, at 2nd Ave N and Newton St.]

5. Ravine Bridge on McGraw Street: This is a lovely arched bridge with elegant historic light posts. It’s hard to see the structure in summer as the dense forest canopy recalls the original forest landscape of the hill.

6.  Queen Anne Farmers Market:  A great recent neighborhood event is the Thursday Queen Anne Farmer’s Market.  This is an image of a fall Farmer’s market table with baskets overflowing with squash, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, and swiss chard.

7.  The Lost Cedar Tree:  An ancient cedar tree grew at 912 2nd Ave. West.  It was so large that clipper ships used this tree to navigate their entrance into Elliott Bay and Seattle.  It was sacred to the local tribes and was known as the Treaty Tree or Powwow Tree.  A settler homesteaded this land and insisted on cutting down this 2,500 year old tree to create a level building site.  That house is now a historic landmark.  Small, remnant cedar seedling trees can be seen along the property line.

Aldredge also designed the Towne sign – it’s based on the image of a picket fence with climbing roses.  According to Aldredge, one of the founders of the Queen Anne neighborhood, Louisa Denny, brought sweetbriar rose cuttings to Queen Anne from Virginia.  Rumor has it that descendants of these original cuttings still can be found in the wild around the hill.

Towne sign

Check out the new artwork and map of our neighborhood at the Queen Anne Towne courtyard, on Queen Anne Ave N between Crockett St and Howe St.

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