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A curvaceous 13th Avenue North was one of the attractions in the first Capitol Hill Addition. The circa 1901 view looks north across 13th toward Volunteer Park. A century later the curves of 13th thankfully survive.  

Moore's Capitol Curves

The Moore Theater in the Denny Regrade is about the only thing that reminds us directly now of James A. Moore. Judged by his run through Seattle's biggest boom years, no developer was quite his equal. Between 1890 and 1910 he opened entire neighborhoods, such as Brooklyn in 1891 (which grew into the University District) and Capitol Hill 10 years later.

In 1900 Moore purchased 160 acres south of Volunteer Park for his first Capitol Hill Addition. In newspaper ads he trumpeted his site as "absolutely unexcelled in America." In less than a year he prepared the roughly four blocks and 115 lots with "asphalt streets, cement sidewalks, water mains and sewers all in and PAID FOR."

This scene looks north along 13th Avenue for two blocks to Volunteer Park. Part of the pump house attached to the park reservoir can be seen near the center, by the utility pole. Most of the homes to the left of the pole along the west side of 12th Avenue North survive, although the big home on the far right does not; a modern church has taken its double lot. Like a satisfied serpent, 13th Avenue lounges near the eastern border of the addition, Moore's first of six.

Many homes were already on the long ridge northeast of downtown when Moore took interest in it. But he was the one who gave it a name. For details of how he chose "Capitol Hill," I encourage you to read longtime hill resident-historian Jacqueline Block Williams' "The Hill With A Future: Seattle's Capitol Hill." It will be published later this year. Readers with 11th-hour leads or illustrations can call her at 206-322-4197.

A Capitol Hill thumbnail also is up at the nonprofit Web page, which is adding neighborhood profiles to its encyclopedia of Seattle-King County history.

Paul Dorpat specializes in historical photography and has published several books on early Seattle.

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