The view on Seattle's Westlake Ave, ca. 1902
On Jan. 17, 1902, the street department's crew of 17 men and eight teams began scraping an "average of 150 loads" of mud a day off Westlake's planks.
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The Seattle Times Historical Archive is a searchable database of Seattle Times newspapers from 1900 through 1984. The archive reveals pages as they were originally published, with stories, photos and advertising.
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THIS LOOK south on Westlake Avenue through its intersection with Thomas Street first appeared in The Seattle Times on April 9, 1934. It was used by the paper for its popular feature based on historical photographs and titled "Way Back."
Except for the location and the date (1902), the photo was apparently not "explained" by Roy Chambers, the reader who loaned it to The Times. So the newspaper's caption writer gave it some text, which we pass along. ". . . no motorcars, please note that fine span o' grays hitched to a load of lumber in front of the drugstore. Across the street was the W.D. Graves grocery store."
I knew Nellie and William Graves' daughter, Katherine Graves Carlson and wrote about her family's grocery in this magazine in 1988. Her parents opened the store in 1902 and lived conveniently in the apartment above their groceries. The frame storefront was then nearly new, built late in 1901 by F. Haydlauff, who lived on Thomas in a home behind the grocery.
In the 1902 photograph, there is so much of Westlake's planked pavement showing that we may wonder if it was not the street itself that motivated the unnamed photographer. On Jan. 17, 1902, the street department's crew of 17 men and eight teams began scraping an "average of 150 loads" of mud a day off Westlake's planks. This, I think, is newer mud. Later that fall the Seattle City Council committed to replanking Westlake as far north as Lake Union. We learn from a Times report of Sept. 3, 1902, that "new planking would only last about two years."
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