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Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

Trueblood House 8-16-16 1

Tomorrow, August 17th, 2016, at 11 A.M., the 1889 Trueblood House in Kirkland, Washington is going to move a block or so. The power lines in front will come down and it will be carefully rolled forward to 7th Avenue between two poles, one of which already has a pronounced lean.

The owner offered to give the house to anyone who can move it. He plans to build a larger home on the site. There seem to be a few potential buyers talking to the moving company, but for now, the house is being moved around the corner to a temporary location very close to where it was built.

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Want a cool old house? Make an offer.

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Tonight the unmistakable crunch of backhoe on wood and metal led to taking these last intact photos of the house on the northeast corner of 10th and Market in Kirkland.

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This dated home, 4 10th Avenue, was built in 1955 according to King County records. Next door to some swanky newer buildings, it’s sat empty for a while and seemed to be an unkempt rental house before that. I’d often thought about how cute it would be with a little care. Every year blackberries explode near the curb and hang over the sidewalk.

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Once upon a time, a World War II veteran and his industrious wife raised three children here or so I would like to believe. You could imagine the laughter within the walls and the stories the previous occupants could tell. Now it looks like three days after an EMP attack when neighbor begins to turn on neighbor in a quest to survive.

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The backhoe stopped for a moment to allow a direct glimpse into the carnage. While the condition of the property has long been out of character in what’s become an expensive, attractive neighborhood, it’s still depressing to see it go. Most of the older homes around here are being torn down and even some historic homes nearby are in danger of being lost forever.

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The older homes like this that are being lost are often replaced with much larger multistory boxlike structures that don’t have the character of the originals. This demolition is also a reminder of the loss of affordable housing in the region.

To many leaders, affordable housing is packing human beings like sardines into apartment buildings with little noise protection or privacy. Not terribly long ago, affordable housing was actually being able to buy a quaint little house with a yard for your kids and large dog to play in. Now the middle class struggles to even achieve that as they are tapped to subsidize others’ housing.

Average rent in Seattle for a one bedroom unit is over $1600 now. The median home price is over $550,000. That’s more than half a million. It’ll burst at some point, and then we’ll be asking why we built monstrosities with 2000 more square feet than we actually needed. On treeless lots, unnecessarily destroying wildlife habitat, while we claim to be so environmentally sensitive.

And quirky little ’50s homes with trees and bushes and a little garden in the back will start looking mighty appealing again. If there are any left.

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There is something permanent, and something extremely profound, in owning a home. -Kenny Guinn

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

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Kenmore Mural 5-12-16 1

Today I chanced upon a mural going up on the west side of the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Kenmore, Washington. According to the Arts of Kenmore site:

The Kenmore Mural Project at St. Vincent de Paul is a community collaboration involving artists A Gaul Culley, Staci Adman, the City of Kenmore, St. Vincent de Paul, The Kenmore Heritage Society, as well as many local community partners.

The St. Vincent de Paul wall is 188 feet long by 12 feet tall and located near the intersection of 73rd Ave NE and Bothell Way.  This heavily traveled arterial gives the mural clear visibility from both vehicles and pedestrians.

The City of Kenmore and St. Vincent de Paul launched this project idea in the spring of 2015 and began working with the artists in the summer of the same year.

The Kenmore Mural project at St. Vincent de Paul celebrates and tells the story of the cultural history of Kenmore.  Our hope is that the mural will deepen the community’s sense of place.  We also hope it will contribute to Kenmore’s 20-year vision of “a community that is inclusive and family friendly, with a small town feeling that fosters a sense of belonging and pride and supports local arts, culture and history.”

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For those who don’t know, Kenmore has a seaplane port, Kenmore Air, borders one of the coolest state parks ever, St. Edward, and a history tied to local hydroplane racing.

Hopefully this wall will somehow be graffiti-proofed. As a longtime public employee I can attest to how often various assets are vandalized. They can be expensive to clean. The funny part is, no one cares about a self-important tag; its meaning is lost on the general public.

But the meaning of this mural is not. It seems to be part of a larger movement to fully develop Kenmore’s identity. What a fantastic idea!

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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“That’s not a water tower,” you say. You’re right. On the north side of Highlands Park in Kirkland, Washington are five curious monuments on top of a hill. They are the footings of an old metal water tower that had been removed by the mid-1980s.

X marks the spot where the legs used to stand. There are four such blocks, each of which has weathered differently. You can see where large metal bolts were sheared off on either side of the X.

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Block two…

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Block three…

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Block four.

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The center block lacks the distinctive markings but has a different shape.

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This is what the tower used to look like, courtesy of the Seattle Times, who was recently asked to find this photo by a local resident. Thank you to Kari Page at the City of Kirkland for sharing it.

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Further north, on the lush green hillside of Holmes Point, resides an old wooden tank on the south side of the northern leg of Holmes Point Drive. Confused? That’s okay. I’ve hesitated to mention this for years because of the damage people could do to it. Nature has already taken a heavy toll.

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Last I knew, King County owns this property because someone stopped paying taxes on it and it didn’t sell at auction because… you can’t build on it. It was the headquarters of the Inglewood Park Water District.

The Inglewood Park Water District served 40 homes in the Holmes Point area for a while and was operational in 1972 according to a local resident I spoke with who bought her home nearby. She was the secretary-treasurer for the association and still has many of its records.

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This wonderful lady said the water came down the hill from the St. Edward Seminary to that lot—the seminary is the centerpiece of the St. Edward State Park. The shed is a pump house and the taller structure was the water tank.

The Inglewood Park Water District paid a neighbor’s two teenage sons to put chlorine in the tank every month and called it “blessed water” because it came from the seminary.

In time people started hooking up to “city” water (presumably the Northshore Utility District’s, which provides water in that area today), so their water district disbanded. Evidently there was $6000 in Inglewood Park’s account at that time and it went to someone’s mother’s estate.

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Now time is eating away at these delightful old structures as they are gradually absorbed into the surrounding environment. The most excitement they see nowadays is the daredevil skateboarders who cruise down Holmes Point Drive at breakneck speeds.

One went by as I was taking these photos and did some sort of disco/flag semaphore signal move as if to say, “look at me!” I expected him to veer off the road and take out a tree, but his curiously contrasting skinny body and oversized helmet whizzed off around the corner like a space alien rushing to get to their battlestation.

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For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it. -Marcus Samuelsson

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Totem Lake 14

Midday today I ran by the Totem Lake Mall in Kirkland, Washington to see what had been torn down. See my post below for more information on why this 1973, long-neglected piece of property is experiencing such radical change.

When I pulled in, a large number of cars were parked in the southwest corner of the lot. I couldn’t figure out why when big machines were actively pulling down parts of the building. I looked inside– and 24 Hour Fitness was still open! It was surreal to see people running on treadmills and lifting weights as part of the building they were in was being actively demolished. It was well-planned and perfectly safe, but somewhat apocalyptic.

Peeking in the main entrance of the lower mall hoping for a last glimpse of its innards, I was shocked to see the upper mall. The middle back section of the lower mall had already been removed. Get used to this view, folks, because the new mall is going to feature a central gathering place like this in the middle of the lower mall. Can’t wait for our first flash mob.

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Here’s the view around the back.

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As I was standing here I could see the original wood structure and the pungent smell of that wood hung in the air.

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Soon this corridor will be gone too, replaced by a large mixed residential-commercial complex. This is the upper mall. Trader Joe’s will get a brand new space, but unfortunately, Janell’s Gluten-Free Market will be moving to Woodinville.

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Also, check out this cool Facebook page local historian Matt McCauley shared, You know you are from Kirkland if…. This provides a clever way for those associated with the area to share their thoughts on the big changes in the community right now.

The changes at the Totem Lake Mall, even though they’re positive, have awoken a lot of nostalgic feelings. So I’m throwing in Twenty One Pilots’ Stressed Out as an ode to our childhoods. For the record, I know the best is yet to come even if sometimes we pine for the days of He-Man, Apollo Creed, and big personalized plastic combs in our back pockets.

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com

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Totem Lake 1

It’s time. The Totem Lake Mall in Kirkland, Washington is coming down. This curious combination of upper and lower mall divided by 120th Avenue Northeast originally opened in 1973. After years of legal wrangling, a developer is finally going forward with plans to demolish most of the lower mall and all of the upper.

If you’re passing by on I-405, just east of the freeway you can see three tall blue metal boxes at the entrance to the lower mall. The tall box, once a working clock, contains the poles that held the original Totem Lake sign created by local artist Kenton Pies. Thank you to sharp-eyed local blogger and fellow history buff Jana Robertson of Visiting Vintage for pointing this out.

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The front of the lower mall is looking mighty bare. Once upon a time, we bought our school clothes at Lamonts just inside those front doors to the right. Construction equipment is parked around the back and fences have started to go up.

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Locate marks are beginning to appear. Call 811 before you dig!

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This is what the Totem Lake Mall sign used to look like, courtesy of Jana Robertson. These are the poles you see above. A few years ago I asked around as to whether the winged sign had been preserved and it’s been lost. It sounds like it rotted. Kenton Pies, who painstakingly carved and sculpted this sign, said he would have saved it had he been given the chance. I’m hoping some vestige of this is left underneath the ’80s blue metal, like maybe the board with the dots on it.

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Here is Kenton with the sign. He created a number of Native American-themed carvings for the mall and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone, somewhere still has them– or that some will be uncovered before the buildings are taken down. Kenton now lives in Montana and Jana graciously connected me with him. His work is all over this area. You know the Kingsgate neighborhood signs? Yep, Kenton. Among scores of other examples.

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More great information collected by Jana. Note that the two-faced head is plastic.

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Another view of the sign. And yes, there really is a Totem Lake nearby. You can’t really see it from Totem Lake Boulevard or 120th, but a boardwalk meanders into it. The city will be redeveloping the park along with the mall. I hope the many birds and beavers stick around as it becomes more popular with humans.

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This is what the inside of the mall looked like in the ’70s. In the ’80s, those wonderful beams were covered up by a false ceiling and that side of the mall took on a creepy vibe. I hope the beams, if still present, can be repurposed.

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Another example of Kenton Pies’ art at the mall. What happened to all of this? If it still exists, we need to get it into the hands of the local historical organizations.

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While the mall’s extreme makeover will bring a boost and jobs to Kirkland’s economy– including a Whole Foods– the concept looks like it could be anywhere, sort of generic and Californian. I wish the same Northwest character that infused the original mall from ’73 could find its way into the plans of 2016. And that includes the wide-ranging talents of one Kenton Pies.

For more information on this project, see Totem Lake Mall Redevelopment.

Bonus feature: some more local references!

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History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are. -David McCullough

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Driving through Kenmore, Washington last Sunday– the day of the big Seahawks game versus the Panthers– I spotted these two feathered fans at a major intersection.

Kirkland has its cow and coyote statue that is duly decorated for such occasions, but I’d never seen these bike racks gussied up before. So I grabbed ye olde cell phone camera.

Herons are dear to Kenmore. There is a colony of Great Blue Herons at the Kenmore Park and Ride right on bustling Bothell Way. Who ever thought a park and ride would be a birding hot spot?

Seahawks Herons 1-17-16

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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