Oh! The Places You’ll Go Part II

Welcome back for another look through an ARCO street map from 1967! If you missed part one, you can find it here.

1. Sick’s Stadium

Baseball fans across the US have surely heard of the Seattle Mariners. Local fans, of course, know that they play home games at Safeco Field. Long-time Mariner fans will likely remember when the M’s played at the long-gone Kingdome. But long before the Mariners debuted, Seattle had a minor league baseball team called The Seattle Rainiers.

They played at Sick’s Stadium.

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Located in Rainier Valley at the intersection of McClelland Street and Rainier Avenue
(now Martin Luther King Jr. Way), Sick’s Stadium was built in 1938 for $350,000. The stadium was named in honor of Emil Sick, owner of both The Seattle Rainiers and the Rainier Brewing Company. In 1955, Fred Hutchinson (namesake of the Seattle cancer research center) became manager of the team, which had been the country’s most popular minor league baseball team based on game attendance. He left in 1956 to manage the St. Louis Cardinals, but returned three years later.

Televised baseball games caused attendance to drop, and Sick sold his team to the Boston Red Sox in 1961. He preserved ownership of the stadium. In November 1964, Sick and Hutchinson died within one day of each other. Ownership of the park transferred to Sick’s family, who chose to rename it Sicks’ Stadium, rather than the original Sick’s Stadium. The Red Sox sold the team to the California Angels, and the Rainiers were christened the Seattle Angels.

In 1967, Seattle was awarded a major league team… But only if they promised to build a bigger venue within three years. In 1969, voters passed a campaign for the Kingdome, but Sicks’ was expanded to serve as a temporary home until the Kingdome could be completed. The Seattle Pilots took debuted in the largely inadequate field.

Sick’s Stadium hosted not only baseball in the 1970s, but rock concerts and a wrestling match. It quickly fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1979, two years after the completion of the Kingdome.

Now, a Lowe’s Home Improvement store sits where Sick’s once was. The store has erected a commemorative plaque at the site of First Base.

2. Luther Burbank School for Boys

Located on Mercer Island, the Luther Burbank School for Boys actually closed in 1966, a year before the map is dated. The land originally belonged to Charles C. Calkins, who founded the community of East Seattle on the upper part of Mercer Island. He built an extravagant home for his family and an equally extravagant hotel, which guests accessed by a ride on Calkins’ steamboat.

The 1893 depression, the death of two of his children, and a house fire drove the Calkins Family from their homestead. Charles mortgaged off all he had and left the community.

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In 1890, Seattle Mayor Cicero Newell and his wife opened a parental school for boys and girls at the intersection of East Union and 35th Street. Not long after the departure of the Calkins Family, Newell leased their hotel and moved the school. Neighbors were not particularly fond of the hotel’s new use, and Newell felt that the Calkins’ property would be better suited for his school.

In 1903, local school districts were authorized by the state to create truant schools, and the following year the Seattle School District bought the Calkins homestead property. While school buildings and dorms were going up,  Newell moved 40 students (30 boys and 10 girls) to a tent on the new property. Newell served as superintendent of the new school until the completion of its first buildings.

William Baker ran the school for a short time before being replaced by teacher and house parent Willis Rand. Rand oversaw the school’s development  for more than 35 years. A hospital, barn, and laundry facility were built on the site, as was a self-sufficient farm that students tended.

The Mercer Island Parental School began taking in “morally delinquent” youths, who were required to stay at the school until they were paroled. The average stay was nine months. As many of its students came from broken homes or alcoholic parents, the school provided its students with education, emotional development, and medical care.

The school’s horticultural department was excellent. After half a day in class, students would work on the farm, tending to orchards, livestock, and their own gardens. In 1928, all female students were moved to Martha Washington School. The school changed its name in 1931, both to eliminate the stigma of parental schools as homes to delinquents and to honor the famous botanist Luther Burbank.

Rand retired in 1942, and although the school and farm continued to operate, they slowly fell into disrepair. By the 1950s, the school was overcrowded, and the buildings inadequate. A 1957 state law change mandated that the state run all Parental schools. The Seattle School District leased the land to the state but continued to oversee operations at the school.

The state had to decide to rebuild the entire campus or build a new school on state-owned land and relocate. Mercer Island had become increasingly suburban, and many residents felt that a school for delinquents was not a fit for their community. The debate continued until 1963 when a new school was recommended to be built in Preston, Washington. Echo Glen School opened four years later to 83 students from Luther Burbank and Martha Washington Schools.

Even with the school gone, debate continued on what to do with the land. In 1968, the Forward Thrust bond designated it a park. The wooden buildings on the property were burned down in 1976, but the 1928 dormitory was restored and stands to this day.

3. Snippets of Seafair

Seafair has been an integral part of summers in Seattle since 1950, and it is so popular that a few of its landmarks were showcased on this map.

Perched on the southern tip of Green Lake, the Aqua Theatre was launched the same year as Seafair. Originally the home to the Aqua Follies,  a group of performers who put on “swim-musicals”, the theatre also hosted musicals and concerts before it was mostly demolished in 1979.

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Aqua Theatre in 2010

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The second piece of Seafair commemorated on this map is one that hasn’t changed: the Unlimited Hydroplane race course!

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4. Sand Point

Now home to Seattle’s second-largest park, Sand Point Naval Air Station was an important military fixture from 1920 to 1970.

When the U.S. was entering World War I, the Navy asked Captain Luther E. Gregory to scope out a location for an aircraft base in the Puget Sound Reason. Gregory recommended Sand Point in Seattle, but the war ended before the Navy made their final decision. However, a group of veterans began lobbying the county to build an airport at Sand Point and the county began buying small farms on the site Gregory had recommended.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held June 19, 1920, and from there the development of Sand Point began.

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An air strip was built and an Army hangar was brought in from California, but the station lacked funding and could not be officially accepted by the Navy without action from Congress. On the last day of January 1921, Congress approved Sand Point as the best location for the type of station the Navy desired. More than a year later, the Navy officially secured control of the land and funding from congress. The first permanent hangar was completed in 1923 and development continued through the 20s.

With the onslaught of the Depression brought a lack of funds. Despite this, the Sand Point runway was finally paved, and the New Deal groups like the Civilian Conservation Corps helped erect more structures.

After the outbreak of World War II, Congress allotted $4 million to the improvement of Sand Point (Naval Air Station Seattle). Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Sand Point became an important hub for air traffic, plane repairs, and supplies. More than 8,000 people worked at Sand Point during the war, but by late 1945, employment dropped to 3,000.

The Navy announced that it would close Sand Point in 1950, but three months before its closure, the Korean War broke out and the station was needed once more. As it had in the years after the World War II, Sand Point was responsible for the repair and overhaul of aircraft. After the Korean Conflict ended, Sand Point resumed its regular purpose as a training base. As the naval base on Whidbey Island continued to develop, the need for Sand Point lessened. It closed in 1970.

Sand Point is now home to Magnuson Park, which features many of the station’s buildings from its early years of development.

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Introducing…

As I’ve been packing up my thing these past few weeks and moving them, I’ve been thinking about how I want my furniture arranged in my new residence and what I want to put on each shelf and each drawer. As I’ve been packing and moving and unpacking, I’ve been thinking about the future of this blog, as well. As I carefully stowed my blog materials into a box labeled “Archive”, I thought about each thing that was in there and what kind of post it might eventually turn into. I was thinking about what was working for the blog and what could make it better. I challenged myself to think about the blog’s vision and my vision for the blog and to rethink both of them again. And again. And again.

So today, I’m excited to unveil a new category for The Northwest Past.

For the past almost year-and-a-half, I’ve blogged from two big categories: image-based and item-based. Image-based are mostly the postcards that make up the bulk of this blog, and the items (or artifacts, as I like to call them) are the pins, records, spoons, and everything else that isn’t flat and does not go on my scanner.

And today I’m happy to announce that the new category of locations!

We are surrounded by locations–buildings, clocks, parks–that have just as many stories to tell as the souvenir from the 1962 World’s Fair or the postcard showing us that there did used to be a snow tunnel on I-90.

And maybe, if you’re in the area, you might find that you’d like to visit one of these historic locations yourself. Please do! What better way to explore history than visiting it?

As always, thanks for reading, and standby for the first location post… Coming very soon.