As the year draws to a close, it is time renew your membership in the Queen Anne Historical Society. If you are not already a member, it really is time to join us. The work of your all-volunteer organization continues with (virtual) tours, educational programs, research, articles, archival conservation, and historic preservation advocacy. While we miss the sense of community that in-person events foster, we are pleased by the significant increase in participation that online programming allows.
Click here or mail your check to QAHS, POB 19432, Seattle WA 98109. Remember Seniors pay only $8.00 per person or whatever they can afford. Other membership starts at $20.00!
Individual – $20; Family -- $25; Senior (over 65) – $8; Patron – $100; Benefactor – $200
Keep us strong by joining the society or renewing your membership now! The number of members really matters. We build community as we preserve its history.
President’s letter by Michael Herschensohn
A Re-Open Award in the amount of $5,250 from 4Culture though its CARES account program has made possible all the video work we’ve done this year. Kim Turner’s tour of the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Larry Kreisman’s talk about the Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest and the Annual Awards Ceremony are the programs we’ve presented today.
Risk of landslides as shown here probably delayed development of Queen Anne Park
Soon you’ll be able to take a tour of s Queen Anne Park with Florence Helliesen a society volunteer who has made the history of that unique corner of the neighborhood her passion. Later another virtual tour will feature Modern Queen Anne homes guided by the architects who designed them. In the spring, Robin Dearing, a City of Seattle Tree Ambassador, will take you on a tour of the historic trees and plants of Seattle Center. You do know, I am sure, that the state conducts its exam certifying landscape architects on the grounds. I am amazed by the variety of programs and by the huge numbers of participants these virtual events draw. When things return to normal, your society will be more vibrant than ever with both in-person and virtual programs running side by side.
The on-going work of our Archives Committee merits special mention. For the last two years, the entire collection of the society has been digitized. That in itself was no mean feat. Now the committee is wrapping up the effort by refiling every entry, and there are thousands and thousands of them with standard, easily retrieved names. That's just how we found the pictures in this message Congratulations to our hardworking committee!
Thanks are also due to Maureen Elenga and Georgi Krom for their important and interesting additions to our website. Maureen’s Queen Anne Yesterday and Today pieces constitute another dynamic response to the pandemic.
Kim Turner has retreated to his Olympic Peninsula get away, so we thought we might just revisit one of his old Musings. Little and Big Howe are more important in these times as apartment dwelling increases and open spaces play a very necessary part of our daily lives. Kim wrote this Musing in 2013.
Northwest Corner of Little Howe, the upper level, in April 2020
LITTLE HOWE BIG HOWE
Queen Anne has the luck of maintaining two parks tied together by a similar name and locations abutting the same street – Howe Street. Little Howe, also known as East Queen Anne Playground, was established in 1910 when the city of Seattle purchased the land from John and Ida Watrons. This one and two-fifths acre park was identified by the community as “Little Howe’ from the beginning, the city not having placed a name marker on the property. Due to the topography, which is higher on the west half than the east, the property was graded into two levels. The western half contained two tennis courts, a basketball (playing) court and entry paths; the lower (eastern) portion contained a comfort station and tool shed, a round wading pool flanked with sets of swings, rings and slides. Both areas were nicely landscaped along the paths and the perimeter of the park. In the late 1920’s there was considerable pressure from the community to allow a greater ball playing area (primarily for baseball). Then, too, the unsatisfactory clay surfaces of the tennis courts caused the parks system to rethink the usage areas. A small “scrub” ball field was graded at the southwest corner for children.
In 1928, Big Howe was opened as a baseball field for the “high schoolers” and that new park would remain the grounds for the baseball teams from Queen Anne High School through the rest of that school’s existence. It was there that Queen Anne played some of its finest games, taking the city title in 1934, 1949 and 1969, although the actual title games were played at Sick’s Seattle Stadium until 1965, thereafter being held at Graves Field at the University of Washington. Big Howe is a six-acre park immediately south of McClure Middle School, at 150 West Blaine Street, or 1901 First Avenue West. Across from it on the east side is the Queen Anne Community Center (formerly the fieldhouse) with its adjacent community swimming pool. The playing field at Big Howe consists of two fields with dirt infields, or one all-grass field. Baseball, softball, and soccer are all played here. There is a children’s play area outside of the playing fields, which includes swings, slides, a merry-go-round (carousel) and a “Jungle Gym.” There are bleachers at the playing field, so a good crowd can often be found there.
Little Howe was redone in the early 1950’s. The old comfort station was no longer such. Considered “a hazard to public health and safety,” it was torn down. The new comfort station was placed on the western (upper) level. By the 1970’s, the Forward Thrust Project gave money to replace much of what was there; the new comfort station was remodeled and the children’s wading pool was moved to the upper section in front of the station. The address of the park is given as 1912 Warren Avenue North. The two parks remain a vital part of the Queen Anne community.