Locks Centennial Boat Parade is Sunday

The Ballard (aka Hiram M. Chittenden) Locks turned 100 years old on July 4th. To celebrate a century of making our waterways more accessible to boat traffic, what better than a boat parade?

Tomorrow, Sunday, July 9th, find a spot along the Ship Canal to watch the parade of boats. The parade starts at 10am and runs until 2pm. Here’s the route for the parade:

And, so you’re in the know, here are some Locks facts, from the Ballard Locks website:

– 100 years ago, The Locks and Ship Canal were built by Seattle and the Corps of Engineers as a commercial navigation route to develop the City of Seattle.  

– Today the Ballard Locks are the Nation’s busiest with over 40,000 vessels/yr.

– Boats ‘lock thru’  24 hours/day, except during maintenance.

– A significant salmon migration passes through the Locks that can total over 100,000 salmon.

– The Locks are a Seattle Icon, National Historic Site and a top tourist site attracting over 1.3 million visitors/yr.

– The Grounds are open from 7:00am to 9:00pm, 365 days a year.

Happy Birthday & Happy 100 Years to the Ballard Locks!

Learn about the Ship Canal and Locks courtesy of the Queen Anne Historical Society

This Thursday, May 25th, the Queen Anne Historical Society is hosting its annual meeting. Free and open to all, this year’s meeting focuses on the Ship Canal and Ballard Locks – both turning 100 this year.

The meeting features a talk by Jennifer Ott, co-author of the upcoming book,  Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal. Jennifer will tell the history of the Lake Washington Ship Canal – what compelled civic leaders to build it and the role it played in Seattle development over the past century. Industry, transportation, and the character of the region changed and morphed in response to the changes brought by the canal and locks.

The annual meeting begins at 7pm at Aegis Living, 223 W Galer St. In addition to Jennifer Ott’s talk, new board members will be elected, and it’s a great chance to join the Queen Anne Historical Society. All are welcome!

Seattle Architecture Foundation kicks off tours of Queen Anne this weekend

Do you have out-of-town guests or would you like to learn more about the architecture that makes up our neighborhood? The Seattle Architecture Foundation’s series of Queen Anne tours fits the bill for both (or either). The monthly tours begin this Saturday, May 6th and run through October 14th.

The tours wind through the neighborhood, highlighting houses, apartments, and repurposed buildings. Plus, views, hidden gems, and more in a two-hour walking tour.

You can buy tickets for the tours online, each one runs approximately 2 hours, from 10am to noon, and takes place rain or shine. Advance registration is strongly encouraged as these tours are popular and fill up fast!


Republishing as the original post, along with 9 other posts, was deleted during the server migration – worth reposting due to historical significance.


As demolition crews tore down the old Mercer Arts Arena at 375 Mercer St, the past was revealed – and a tiny bit of it was saved. The 1928 building didn’t show its age, as it was “substantially altered in 1961-62 in preparation for its use as an entertainment venue for the Seattle World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition” – but the original 1928 facade and decorative features were hidden behind the exterior walls:


Photo credit: Feliks Bane

According to KIRO Radio historian Feliks Bane, the original facade was “in perfect condition… I mean the glass was gone, but these arches were there, big medallions over the doorway and then, as they got farther and father down toward the street, I could see the wings and head of a gargoyle.”

That’s right, a gargoyle. Two of them, and they were destroyed. But, Banel examined the original blueprint and discovered that there were two more gargoyles behind the 1960s makeover. He contacted Seattle Opera and the two were saved. Their fate? Likely donated to the City.

Photo credit: Feliks Bane

Learn about the grocery stores of Queen Anne’s past at a free event this Thursday

The Queen Anne Historical Society dug deep into its archives to pull together a series of articles entitled “Remembering Queen Anne’s Neighborhood Grocery Stores” – in addition to finding them online at the Queen Anne Historical Society website, you can hear directly from the authors this Thursday, January 26th, at a free presentation that’s open to all.

The research done by the Queen Anne Historical Society covers a wide swath of grocery store history. From the turn of the 20th century with Augustine & Kyer (1908-1938) to the roaring 20s with Aasten’s Grocery (which had its own garden for super-fresh produce) to the more recent S&M Market which operated until 1989 (some residents may recall this grocery, it sat where Homegrown is today) – and even a Dick’s Drive-In predecessor, the Motor-In Market – the history of shopping on Queen Anne paints a rich picture of the past.

You can learn more about these lost pieces of history at Thursday’s meeting. The series authors, Jan Hadley and Alicia Arter, will provide a brief history of Queen Anne grocery shopping.

Here are the details:

When: 7pm, Thursday January 26th
Where: Aegis, 223 West Galer
Price: Free and open to the public

Mark your calendars for this Thursday for this free event that dives into the history or our neighborhood!

City opens up RFP for Key Arena renovation

As we reported back in July, the City of Seattle is seeking options for a renovation of Key Arena. At the time, the City stated it would open up a Request for Proposals (RFP) process in January. Fast forward to today, and RFPs are now being accepted.

Per the City:

“The City of Seattle is seeking proposals from parties interested in redeveloping and operating KeyArena at Seattle Center as a world-class civic arena presenting music, entertainment, and sports events, including the potential for NBA and NHL events. Responses are due to the Office of Economic Development by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, 2017.”

A full FAQ on the process is available online. It covers the whys, the hows, the expected impacts, and timeframe. It also answers questions about potential NHL and NBA teams and the proposed SODO arena.

As for funding, the RFP ask proposers be responsible for 100% of the funding to complete the redevelopment, construction, and operation of Key Arena.

Over 15 miles and 102 Queen Anne stairways in one day!

I’ve climbed all of Queen Anne’s stairways, as have others in the neighborhood – but, a visitor from Los Angeles took it a step (or steps) further and created a 15.6 mile route with 102 Queen Anne stairways that he traversed in ONE DAY.

That’s right, Dan Gutierrez, mapped out a route and tackled Queen Anne in one day. And, as an avid stair climber, the route was “a perfect distance for a day walk for me with a lunch break; enough distance to get a good workout, but not so long that I would be too sore to fly back to LAX the next morning.”

You can read all about his planning and the walk, along with his photos of Queen Anne stairways on the SoCal Stair Climbers blog – highly recommended!

Here’s the route map from his site, it’ll inspire (or intimidate) you:

It’s great to see Queen Anne so well covered – both by foot and by prose – in his blog post. What a way to see a new city or neighborhood!

Preserving Uptown at this Thursday’s Queen Anne Historical Society

You’ve likely seen our coverage on changes to Uptown, with the potential for some areas to see new developments soaring to 16 stories. The Uptown rezone brings up the issue of preservation – how can Uptown continue to grow while preserving its historic character?

Uptown EIS Rezone

That issue is at the center of this week’s Queen Anne Historical Society public meeting, this Thursday, October 27th. All are welcome to join QAHS members and four special guests to discuss what Preserving Uptown means.

The meeting starts at 7pm at Aegis Living at 2900 3rd Ave W, and it’s open to anyone with an interest in the proposed rezone and the character of Uptown/Lower Queen Anne.

Join the conversation with these guest speakers:

  • Jim Holmes, Seattle City Planner and Uptown planning lead
  • Debi Frausto, Uptown Alliance’s chair of the Uptown Urban Design Framework
  • Katherine Idzoriek, architect and President of the Uptown Alliance
  • Jill Crary, Seattle Center Redevelopment

Parking is available on 3rd Ave W in front of the building and in the garage, entrance off W. Florentia. For garage access, use the intercom, and please sign in upon arrival.

Tour Mt Pleasant Cemetery with the Queen Anne Historical Society on Saturday

Mt Pleasant Cemetery entranceIt’s time for the annual Mt Pleasant Cemetery tour, so get your walking shoes ready for a free guided tour by the Queen Anne Historical Society.

The tour starts Saturday, August 20th, at 10am at the main entrance to the cemetery, located on Raye St between 6th Ave W and 7th Ave W. The tour will feature roughly 15-20 grave sites, all of which help tell the story of Queen Anne history.

Photo by Priscilla Long, courtesy of HistoryLink.org

Photo by Priscilla Long, courtesy of HistoryLink.org

Mt Pleasant Cemetery dates back to 1879 with many notable Seattle names gracing the markers in the 40 acre site. If you know our Queen Anne streets, the gravestone marker to the left carries a familiar name. With over 60,000 graves at Mt Pleasant, the Queen Anne Historical Society tour will help guide you to the historically significant sites.

The tour will not cover all 40 acres, but comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Plus, with temperatures now reaching their summer peak of mid-upper 80s, plan to bring a bottle of water with you.

Per Mt Pleasant Cemetery rules, dogs are not allowed on cemetery grounds, so please leave your pooches at home for this walking tour.

Modern architecture on Queen Anne takes center stage with Queen Anne Historical Society tour

When many people think of Queen Anne and historic homes, the images that come to mind are the classic American Foursquares, Craftsmans, Bungalows, and Tudors that make up much of the neighborhood. But, if you’re a fan of the clean lines of modern architecture, the Queen Anne Historical Society has a tour for you.

Courtesy of Robert Reichert Collection, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections

Courtesy of Robert Reichert Collection, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections

The third annual Modern Queen Anne Tour features four notable examples of modern architecture on Queen Anne. Three residential homes are featured along with KEXP’s new home at the Seattle Center.

The architects responsible for each of the sites – Jeff Murdock, Marvin Anderson Architects, Olson Kundig, and SkB Architects – will be on hand to describe the projects, provide insider knowledge, and answer questions.

Photo courtesy of Marvin Anderson

Photo courtesy of Marvin Anderson

The tour takes place on Saturday, August 13th, starting at 2pm. Tickets are $10 each, and you’ll need to provide your own transportation to get from site to site. (A car is advised due to the distance between the tour locations.)

Post-tour, members of the Queen Anne Historical Society can attend a members-only reception. If you’re not a member, you can become one via Brown Paper Tickets by adding it to your tour purchase. Or, you can visit the Queen Anne Historical Society website to become a member and learn more the organization’s efforts to educate residents and preserve Queen Anne history.

This tour has limited availability and sells out, so if you want to join it, buy your tickets today at Brown Paper Tickets.