Looking southward along SR99 along the waterfront in Seattle. The Wheel, a few piers and CenturyLink Field in the background. Just behind CenturyLink Field is Mt. Rainier.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a spot on the east side Duwamish River that I didn’t know existed. Much of what I have posted, regarding the Duwamish River over the years, has been taken from the west side at various locations. The Port of Seattle owns this access point, adjacent to the new Federal Building above ( something else I had no idea existed as it is set quite a ways back from East Marginal Way).
This area, like many along the Duwamish River, used to be inhabited by indigenous peoples. Rich in history that is almost totally overlooked by Seattleites today. I know the signs are not readable in the photos, but if you can zoom in and maybe find a few keywords to Google, you might be able to dive deeper into the history of this area. The Duwamish River used to snake its way down to Elliott Bay, but in the past ( probably for reasons of commerce) the river’s curvy path was straightened out to what it is today.
The Duwamish River, which I find fascinating, is the first EPA Superfund Site in the US and is still a work in progress 47 years on. This says something about the scope of cleaning a river estuary. Although the area is much cleaner and less polluted today, it still has a way to go. Many of the heavy polluting businesses that were located along the river have since moved or closed down. I think dredging the river bottom is not a possibility as it would stir up much of the heavy metals, etc. Similarly, in Brooklyn, NYC, I have been following the efforts to clean up the Gowanus Canal, which was declared a superfund site a few years ago. This past Fall, a Portland, Oregon company was awarded the first contract to do a superficial dredging to remove debris that was sitting on the bottom of one small section of the canal, without disturbing the sediment. I was there the week this was being done. It was just a pilot project, but was fascinating to watch. A rep from the Portland company was on site to both watch over the pilot dredging, but to be available to answer questions from the public ( such as me, who pestered her for about 30 minutes, till it started to rain). The Portland company actually contracted with the company that dredged the Love Canal decades ago, as they had the expertise and equipment to perform this sensitive work. With the new administration coming in last January, all work on the Gowanus Canal is up in the air, even though monies were allocated to get the project going.
If interested, there is a lot of info online. If you dig back in my posts to around last November ( 11th and 13th) I think I posted a few photos of the initial dredging of the small section of the Gowanus Canal. I also did a couple of Facebook check-in type postings showing the barge and crane at work.
Will be posting more from this site on the Duwamish River over the next couple of weeks. My apologies for getting a bit sidetracked. There are similarities between the two sites that I find fascinating.
I’ve posted, in the past five years, images of this house that has been abandoned for years in the South Park area of Seattle. I made a trip down there a couple of weeks ago and took these images. Since I last visited the house it has suffered through two arson/meth related fires.
While I was taking these images a small, wiry guy came up behind me and said ‘Hi’. Through our conversation, I learned he was the night watchman for the owner of the Marina and storage facilities along the Duwamish River. We talked for about 20 minutes. He was quite a character. He has lived in the area for years. He gave me a history of the house or as much as he knew. He witnessed both fires, one set by a person cooking up some meth on the second story wooden floor. The house is actually for sale, as a tear down of course. I tried walking in the house a few years back and the debris was waist high and probably a mine field of syringes; I stopped after a few feet and bailed out of the window I came in from, which I think was the kitchen in the back. Besides, I really didn’t know if there was someone living upstairs-addicts or homeless people.
So, for a little history that was shared with me:
After WWII the house was used as ‘transitional’ housing for Japanese Americans that were interned during the war. They transitioned from the camps to this house in an effort to reintegrate; most of the property they owned prior to internment was lost, sold or confiscated.
Sometime after that a couple bought the house and stayed in it for years. The couple were a bit eccentric, but one of their hobbies was coin collecting. Apparently they hid this collection ( valued in excess of $100,000 back in the 60’s-70’s) in a box somewhere in the house. The man died first, leaving his widow to deal with the house, which soon became too much for her as she aged. So, she moved out, but could not find the box of coins. As time passed, for reasons unknown to me, the house fell into disrepair and ultimately declined into a mess. The lady would return from time to time, looking for the box of coins, to no avail.
After the second fire, the people living in the area( like the night watchman-old timers) went in looking through the debris to see if the box of coins had burned, surfaced or whatever. They did find the box, but it was empty. It was assumed that one of the homeless people who had wandered in, had found the box, after the fire, and walked away with a pocketful of dreams.
A rich and tragic history for what was once one of the better homes, with quite a view, in South Park.
West Seattle actually had a working flour mill, Stone Ground Mills. The mill produced Stone Buhr Flour, which we have used for years. The mill* is located at 26th and Yancy St., adjacent to what is now Nucor Steel. This area is technically known as Youngstown ( or North Delridge Area). The Steel mill was originally named Bethlehem Steel, one of the many owned by this large corporation years and years ago. Nucor Steel produces mostly rebar these days.
Here is a link to a thread which has additional photos of Stone Ground Mill. Stone Buhr Flour is still a viable product, I think. I haven’t been by the site since I took these photos, but according to the link above, it was there in 2010, which is about when I was tramping around the site (probably before the year on the watermark). The building was in bad shape 7 years ago, so I would suspect it is either gone now or …….?
*The mill is now located in Kent, Washington, approximately 10 miles south of Seattle.
Over the past 10 years I have been photographing two Seattle neighborhoods, South Park and Georgetown. Both neighborhoods have been going through a lot of changes, but more so in the case of Georgetown. This wall is now gone.
The above brick wall was part of the massive. brick structure of the old Seattle Brewery. Today, this wall is gone. At the time I shot these images the walls were propped up or stabilized, on the back side, with large, steel rods or beams ( it wouldn’t take much of an earthquake to being them down). Arched windows, signage and other brick details are really cool and add so much character. Details, that today, would never even be a consideration in constructing a building, brick or otherwise.
My next posting will be of another old structure, Seattle Flour Company in West Seattle.