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.

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