Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019. Kirkland, Washington. As traffic screams by on Kirkland Way south of NE 85th Street I pull into a gravel parking lot to get a better view of an old white house on the east side. When I’d passed it the previous weekend I wondered why I hadn’t investigated it before. I don’t go down that particular road much.

The house was clearly old with some odd newer accessories like the rickety deck. King County Assessor’s records say it was built in 1918. A quick look through online documents revealed that this was associated with, and possibly built by, an old Kirkland family, the Wolds. Thanks to Kirkland historian Matt McCauley for recognizing the surname.

This grand old house, which would have been large for its time, sits on a little bluff looking west at Lake Washington. McCauley said a local organization has a photo from the 1920s taken from this house showing ships in the lake. It must have had quite a view.

This upper window with its cheery blue trim almost looks like silhouettes of cartoon characters… with a strange purple tie and some sort of texting and driving warning.

What a place this must have been in its prime. You can just imagine Norman Rockwell-like turkey dinners in the family-filled dining room with a 1942 Willys Americar parked outside.

This is the north side of the lot, soon to become more soulless boxes. Our region is obsessed with human hamster hutches, building trendy boxes on tiny lots. I dread and already loathe what will likely come next as 101 years of this home’s history is scraped away and the trees are all torn down. Its wild residents will be evicted and have to scurry to already occupied neighboring land.

“Who knows if this will be here tomorrow?” I thought. I decided to take a quick walk up the driveway to document this piece of Kirkland history for posterity’s sake.

At least two types of Christmas lights still hang off this funny deck.

The front of the house. How quaint, how rare. This is a dying breed. There are only about 73,000 Americans who are as old as this house or older. That’s about the population of downtown Denver. Very few of them are likely to remember 1918. But this house does.

Looking west towards Kirkland Way and Lake Washington. Across the street is a dated commercial building that seems to be the hub for a moving company. Look at the stately old evergreen draped over the right part of the photo. This might be the last time you ever see it.

Evidently there have been problems here. Squatters, perhaps. Maybe it was a party house. It’s deemed unsafe.

This beautiful little tree and its elder siblings will likely soon be gone.

Some sort of overgrown creek runs across the south border of the property. I also noticed water running down the driveway. Looking at a map, this house straddles two addresses, 131 and 135. But its original address was 205 Cedar Street. It sits between busy Kirkland Way and idyllic Cedar Street.

For some strange reason I was glad to be there that particular day. I had to be there. It was like it was calling to me.

This foray into the past prompted me to think about another house almost as old. Behind the Zip Market on the west side of Market Street is an early 1920s house that seems to be in reasonable shape. It has an upstairs and downstairs with a huge backyard. The backyard has some sort of massive shelter in it that looks like you could store a ship underneath. Right next door is the sickly green wall of the Zip Market and assorted Himalayan blackberries.

To contrast this 1920s home with a neighbor, this is the palatial spread across the street. Kirkland is seeing these old cute homes torn down and giant, modern structures put in their place. It’s a wonder the smaller house is still there.

Kirkland doesn’t have a lot of old homes left as developers are inhaling our history and building boxes. Some of our oldest homes don’t have any historic protections. They can be torn down before anyone notices or has a chance to save them. This jewel, whose name escapes me at the moment, was built the year Washington became a state, 1889. Bless the people who care for this landmark.

Fast forward to the afternoon of Friday, March 22nd, 2019, today. I just happened to mention “the old white house above Kirkland Way” at work. I was told, “they’ve torn half of that down.”

What??!!! I ran over there after work and this gruesome scene was seared into my corneas. No wonder I had such an urge to photograph this place just 10 days ago.

No……… once again a piece of Kirkland’s history fades silently into the past without many noticing and even fewer caring.

The Seattle area had temperatures in the high 70s this week which is exceedingly odd. It was warm enough today and sunny until about 30 minutes before I got off work. Immediately upon exiting my car to take these photos it began to rain.

No one was on site. The mechanical executioner assigned to this home’s destruction was silent. Yet the house had been disemboweled, a gigantic gash leaving its once private insides exposed to the elements.

Besides the wise trees that seemed to be trying to guard it from prying eyes, the first thing I noticed was the cool old door just hanging into space. Why aren’t such elements salvaged before the house is torn down? I feel so strongly about this that I made a call to find out who the demolition company is and left them a message asking what I have to do to rescue any old architectural features, like doors and doorknobs, even if I have to dig them out of the rubble.

It’s like it’s missing half its face, a wounded sentinel staring westward, knowing another volley will come yet still standing proudly.

Besides the revolting swastika, which was originally called in Sanskrit “conducive to well being” before the Nazis got a hold of it, this is a fascinating cross section showing how the house was built. Look at that old wood. It would have been so much better if someone would have salvaged and repurposed some of it.

This also reminded me of what houses could look like in a strong enough earthquake. We have five active volcanoes in Washington, two of which are highly dangerous, Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. Earthquakes could trigger them and vice versa.

Some of us remember the May 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens well. That was a beautiful Sunday morning. When we woke up the next day it was like we’d landed on the moon because everything was covered in ash.

I took a few pictures trying to read the title of the book and to see what else is in there. Is it a Tom Clancy book? A light, a stuffed animal, a laundry basket…

It just now occurred to me which book that is. That’s Till Armageddon: A Perspective on Suffering by Billy Graham! That is profound. If you’ve never read or listened to Billy Graham, you’re missing out.

No one is exempt from the touch of tragedy: neither the Christian nor the non-Christian; neither the rich nor the poor; neither the leader nor the commoner. Crossing all racial, social, political, and economic barriers, suffering reaches out to unite mankind.

Billy Graham, Till Armageddon

Billy Graham wrote that in 1981. The premise of the book is that no one is exempt from suffering, but God can use suffering and provide comfort and solutions. He also discusses how our present sufferings ultimately won’t compare with the coming glory.

Ironically, Billy Graham was born in 1918, the same year this house was built. He graduated to glory just over a year ago.

Probably every one of those nails was driven by hand.

Is that a stuffed dog? A fake pineapple? Who gave who the card that came in the yellow envelope? I noticed two photos ago that the white paper begins “Lord.” I can’t make out the green paper. There is another book buried in there. Who were you? Why were you suffering? What are you seeking?

Note the dangling mouse.

101 years it stood. Had it not been neglected it might still be here. Tonight part of it is. Tomorrow there might be no trace.

This link says this property was sold for $800,000 in July of 2015.

Rare development opportunity in the City of Kirkland! RM 3.6 zoning allows for detached, attached or stacked dwelling units for maximum density. Close to the interstate. All utilities on site. Easy access to property from Kirkland Way and surrounded by multi-family units.

And that’s exactly what keeps happening: maximum density. Our tax burden is so heavy and property values so through the roof that we keep building on tiny lots reaching towards the sky. Alarmingly, our overtaxed infrastructure hasn’t hardly grown with the development boom. The same crowded roads are expected to handle tens of thousands more people and their many vehicles. They call this progress.

There was one bright spot during this sorrowful goodbye. Do you see it?

Bursting from the western slope, a clump of daffodils laughs like it’s still 1955 and the family’s coming to grandma’s for meatloaf and apple pie. I wanted to rescue them, to transplant them to a safer place. But now I realize that they are laughing in the face of Armageddon.

As the old trees groan in anticipation of tractors and chainsaw blades and the ground realizes it will soon be bearing a much heavier burden, these daffodils are a reminder of happier times. They are a final burst of defiance and a reminder that one day nature will reclaim this land.

101 years this house lasted, a century and a year. In 1918 German U-Boats were sinking ships, the Spanish flu pandemic began, and curiously, the Ottomans and Germans found themselves surrounded by Allenby’s British and French forces at the Battle of Megiddo. Tel Megiddo in Greek is Ἁρμαγεδών, most commonly known in its corrupted version as Armageddon. Besides being a place and the prophesied location of a hellish future battle, it can be defined as an event of great destruction.

205 Cedar Street is quietly enduring its Armageddon as its neighbors race by and barely notice.

******************************************************************************

The reality is that old houses that were built a hundred years ago were built by actual craftsmen, people who were the best in the world at what they did. The little nuances in the woodwork, the framing of the doors, the built-in nooks, the windows—all had been done by smart, talented people, and I quickly found that uncovering those details and all of that character made the house more inviting and more attractive and more alive.

Joanna Gaines

******************************************************************************

©2019 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.

Read Full Post »


There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.

-attributed to George Carlin

Sunday, January 20th, 2019 was a super moon (close to the earth), blood moon (lunar eclipse), and wolf moon, the first full moon of January. Here in the greater Seattle area we weren’t sure if we’d be able to see this phenomenon or not thanks to wide rafts of clouds that teased us all day.

When 7:30 rolled around, to our delight and amazement we could actually see a shadow beginning to crawl across the lower left quarter of the moon. This prompted numerous brave souls to bundle up like mountaineers and race to hilltops, docks, and fields to bask in the angry red glow that devoured our faithful satellite.

It was cold out and trying to figure out a new tripod in the dark on a platform rattled by others’ footsteps meant far more misses than hits. I changed locations late in the eclipse, braced against a cedar in near darkness, hoping for just that one photo that would make sitting in the 40-degree weather for two hours (and tripping over a large rock) worth it.

Upon closer examination, I didn’t take a bunch of great photos, but instead discovered curious faces and creatures among the attempts.

In this first photo, you can see a dollop of vanilla on top of the creeping orange sherbet, like a fiery Pac-Man closing his mouth in slow motion as he screams across the galaxy.

One of the first decent closeups as the moon disappears from the sky.

Another view of the great vanishing moon act.

I tried to get more of the orange back into the photo… I do think it’s smiling in that first photo (cheese!). Besides the happy clown face, you might also see a bearded man with sunglasses.

And then it blew up. Not sure how this happened…

I seem to have the beginnings of an awesome retro album cover in this case.

Finally… luna as she is meant to be seen on this night.

And then some galactic colossus snatches the celestial basketball from the heavens for a slam dunk. Do you see the hand?

Am I staring at Mercury or the moon?

Here a dragon curls itself around the moon as if to claim the dim orb as its own.

Next a bearded giant heaves the moon upon his right shoulder and starts to carry it off.

You can see his profile clearly. My first reaction was “moon dude!”

Clicking onward, I inadvertently discovered these Pictish beasts. You might also see several faces including the moon’s exactly as he appears in Victorian nursery rhymes. Or Richard III’s.

Planet Vulcan??!

Aha, finally. I found the wolf. Do you see him howling? This was, after all, a wolf moon. It was about time.

The contrast of colors as the shadow slithered off the moon was even sharper through the trees.


WATT is happening here? It looks like I stumbled upon a cross between Jabba the Hutt, a pre-reveal Mr. Voltner in Scooby Doo, and Mothra. Don’t see it? Check out the rotated version in the second photo.

Perhaps I caught the luminous wings of an angel.

God must have had so much fun making all of this.

We won’t see another lunar eclipse until at least 2021. In the meantime, embrace the imperfect images that might turn up on your camera. Sometimes you can see far deeper into those than the photos you expected to get.

The possibilities are endless.

******************************************************************************

©2019 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.

Read Full Post »

Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 1

“I smell smoke,” the day began, as someone told me of a strong smell outside. “It’s not wood-fired pizza.” We soon learned that a stretch of NE 85th Street was closed because of a fire that destroyed at least a handful of local businesses.

As the day went on the news became “Waldo’s is gone.” Waldo’s was a longtime bar/open mic/dance spot that sat on the southwest of of 128th Avenue NE and NE 85th Street in Kirkland. Waldo’s actually went away eight years ago, but locals still refer to this complex as “the old Waldo’s.”

Online a lot of memories are being shared of what one 2007 Yelp reviewer described as “Headbangers galore!  Waldo’s reminds me of a dirty Seattle bar circa 1992… Waldo’s isn’t the place for a date… more like a place to go to people watch or reminisce about where you were when you heard Kurt Cobain was found dead.”

Others talk of meeting their spouses there, celebrating major events, or in my case, my 1994-ish shock at seeing a middle-aged woman in Daisy Dukes with her gingham shirt tied up to show her midriff. Regardless of how good or bad the atmosphere or food was, a lot of local life happened there. Which is why so many are talking about Waldo’s today.

Evidently, about 3 this morning, Kirkland Fire was called out to this building for a two-alarm blaze. Fatima’s Alterations, which has been there for 20 years, is a mess. The dry cleaners is a loss. You can’t even tell a hot tub store was inside. The roof has collapsed, rickety skeletons of walls remain, twisted metal abounds. The smell is like someone put old tires, chimney soot, and sweaty sneakers into a double boiler with a dash of charbroiled laptop computer. I still smell like it.

Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 2Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 3

Responding fire units did an amazing job of knocking this down before anything worse happened. Many workers were onsite cleaning up. This is what teamwork looks like.

Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 4Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 5

You really can’t tell how bad this is until you walk around on the sidewalk and peer in.

Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 6Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 7

A woman who lived blocks down the road described waking up to a horrible stench about 4 this morning. This was why.

Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 8Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 9

The view from 85th. Many cars were slowing down or pulling onto 128th Avenue NE to gape. Strangers asked each other, “Where were you? What happened? Who lost their business? Was it arson?” A dump truck driver slowed down to say, “too bad about Waldo’s.”

Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 10Kirkland Fire 9-12-18 11

I don’t know how. I don’t know why. I do know it was an older building that probably didn’t have a more modern means of suppressing fires.

While we reminisce about where Waldo’s was, we should also keep in mind whose livelihoods were there until last night. This fire scene will evolve and those whose businesses survived will adapt. Whether the decimated businesses there can rise again is another question. So let’s coin a hashtag: #RoseHillResilient.

KOMO has photos and video as well.

*************************************************************************************

Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient. –Steve Maraboli

*************************************************************************************

©2018 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.

 

Read Full Post »

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.

Trueblood House 8-16-16 2

Want a cool old house? Make an offer.

Trueblood House 8-16-16 3

*************************************************************************************

©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.

Read Full Post »

DSCN3213

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.

DSCN3217

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.

DSCN3218

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.

DSCN3221

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.

DSCN3223

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.

*************************************************************************************

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

*************************************************************************************

©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.

 

Read Full Post »

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.”

Kenmore Mural 5-12-16 2

Kenmore Mural 5-12-16 3

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!

*************************************************************************************

©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.

Read Full Post »

DSCN2499

“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.

DSCN2502

Block two…

DSCN2503

Block three…

DSCN2504

Block four.

DSCN2505.JPG

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

DSCN2506.JPG

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.

Highlands Water Tower Seattle Times.jpg

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.

DSCN2507.JPG

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.

DSCN2511.JPG

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.

DSCN2512.JPG

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.

DSCN2515.JPG

*************************************************************************************

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

*************************************************************************************

©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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: