Fire! at the Armory

When a fire badly burned the Washington State National Guard Armory in 1962, the city was under pressure to act. The could either rebuild it, or turn the land over to developers who were chomping at the bit to build high rises and office buildings.

Victor Steinbrueck Park

Victor Steinbrueck, an architect and faculty member at the University of Washington, felt strongly that the armory should be rebuilt. “Buildings like this (and there are very few) offer an irreplaceable tie with the past as well as adding variety and interest to new surroundings,” he wrote at the time. “Restoration is not at all impossible or difficult for sympathetic designers.”

The city tore it down anyway. But they didn’t turn it over to developers either – they turned it into a park. And then, in 1985, after Steinbrueck’s death, they named the park after him. The guy who wanted it to be an armory.

EPACC will meet at Victor Steinbrueck Park on Friday, February 15th at 8:00 AM. Here’s a map.

Bocce & Boy Scouts

Woodland Park might have killed a President.

Warren G. Harding spoke to a group of Boy Scouts in Woodland Park on July 27, 1923 (back when Republicans visited Washington State). He was nearing the end of a 40-day tour of the Western United States, and onlookers noted that he seemed ill and exhausted. This speech was his second-to-last public speech ever – he died of a heart attack six days later.

Woodland Park is also the home to the Woodland Park Lawn Bowling Club, which erected a clubhouse in 1955. That seems quite old, but is it old in relation to other lawn bowling clubs? I’ll be honest, I don’t have the energy to research that, and even if I did, it probably can’t beat presidential assassination in terms of historical interest. So I will leave it to our imaginations.

EPACC will meet on Friday, February 1st at 8:00 AM in Woodland Park, at Picnic Sheter #6. Here’s a map.

Hoot Field Notes

Photo credit: Andrew Squirrel

A Coffee Hoot

Terry Pettus was a Seattle journalist and activist. Radicalized after the Great Depression, he became active with the Communist Party and the Washington Commonwealth Federation. For the latter, he organized “hoots” – impromptu events described by reporter Eric Scigliano as “fundraising, consciousness-raising, and hellraising parties”. It is from these events that the term “hootenanny” is derived.

Terry Pettus Park Coffee Hoot

In 1953, he was arrested by the FBI for conspiracy to advocate the violent overthrow of government. He refused to name names after conviction, and was sentenced to eight years in prison. He only served 60 days and his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court.

After conviction, he became an advocate for houseboats, helping form the Lake Union Houseboat Owners Association and working to stop Seattle from dumping sewage in Lake Union. A year after his death, the city honored him with Terry Pettus Park in Eastlake near a houseboat community he helped create.

EPACC will meet on Friday, January 25th at 8:00 AM in Terry Pettus Park for coffee and hellraising. Here’s a map.

EPACC is E-BACK

There are new sheriffs in town! After 4 great years of organizing, Andrew has handed the reins over to us – Will and Cayla Key. As a tribute to all the amazing work he did, I put together a map of all the locations EPACC met from 2014-17. Thanks so much for all the work you did, Andrew.

And so…

A Salish Welcome

EPACC will meet on Friday, January 18th at 8:00 AM at A Salish Welcome in Ballard. From Atlas Obscura:

Created by sculptor Marvin Oliver in 2010 to mark the preservation of Salmon Bay and the surrounding areas as natural habitats, the aluminum, glass and bronze statue welcomes visitors to a time when the bay was an essential part of local survival. The 16-foot statue takes the form of a brass figure wearing a Salish (a Native American tribe indigenous to the area) ceremonial robe holding a large disc skyward.

Cayla and I have biked by this on the Burke Gilman Trail a bunch of times and never noticed it. So we are excited to check it out. Hope you will join us!  Here’s a map.

It’s a drag

At the suggestion of Marley, EPACC is going to try something new and meet up midday downtown. You can bring your coffee stuff and your lunch.

The Russell Investments Center was originally built to be the Washington Mutual building. It was complete shortly before WaMu crumbled during the 2008 financial crisis. EPACC will convene at noon on Wednesday 6th December 2017 on the 17th floor patio of the Russell Investments Center. Leave your bike at street level. Here’s a map.

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Imperiled morals

Cascade School, from which the neighborhood takes its name, was built in 1894 for the children of the many workers who lived in the area. Beginning with 200 students, it grew rapidly and by 1904 had over 900 students.

In 1938, the local business community petitioned the Seattle School Board to relocate Cascade School as the current site was “rapidly becoming a commercial and industrial district” and was “detrimental to the health and morals of the pupils.” Although the board denied the request and the crowded school population persisted for several more years, by 1947-48 the enrollment had significantly dwindled and the local residential population shifted. The school was permanently closed as a result of severe damage caused by the April 1949 earthquake. The old school building was used as a school district warehouse for a five years; it was then torn down for the construction of a modern warehouse constructed in 1955-56. The former school playfield became a public park.1

EPACC will convene for coffee in the former school playfield at 8am on Friday 15th September 2017. Here’s a map.

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Seoul is about 50 minutes away by high speed train


Let’s meet on Friday 25th August 2017 at 9am for coffee at Daejeon Park, overlooking I-90 near the Pac Med building. The park is named after Daejeon, which is South Korea’s fifth-largest city. Daejeon hosted the International Mathematical Olympiads in 2000. Daejeon is one of Seattle’s sister citiesHere’s a map.

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Salwt is pronounced like salat

The Seventh Elect Church in Israel was located at 7028 9th Ave NW in Ballard. The church required that members embrace a celibate and vegetarian lifestyle, and men were forbidden to cut their beards and hair¹. It is unclear whether they were permitted to drink coffee or ride bicycles. Let’s make coffee and toast in their honor at 9am on Friday 18th August 2017 at their former address. Here’s a map.

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You awake…

You awake from a deep and dreamless sleep. Everything seems very… hazy. You can’t even remember the last time you attended a meeting of the En Plein Air Coffee Club. It’s as if you stopped getting the emails, but no, that can’t be. It must be all in your head.

EPACC will convene at 9am on Friday 4th August 2017 at a tiny parklet in lower Wallingford. Here’s a map.

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