Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Whirlwind Tour of Seattle (Fremont District, Pike Place Market, Seattle Space Needle)

Momboisse Family Adventures took their Thanksgiving on the road this year to Seattle.  The following day we  played tourist and as usual tried to pack as much as possible into seven hours. Not dismayed by rain in the forecast, we set our sights on our first stop the Fremont District.

Though this area was a busy railroad stop in the 1880s, the Aurora Bridge which opened in 1932 caused Fremont to fall from favor.  Eventually it became a 'hippie' hang out in the 60s and then artists, who were attracted by low rents moved in during the 70s.  It was at this time that some say Fremont got its funk.  We stopped by to see what the funk was all about.

We parked at  600 North 34th Street and walked a few blocks to Burnt Sugar and the home of the Fremont Rocket (North 36th Street and Evanston Ave North). 

In 1991, while a live morning newscast was reporting the dismantling of a cold war rocket fuselage in Belltown, the Fremont Business Association decided they wanted the rocket and so they went and procured it.  The 53 foot rocket took a team of engineers and specialist to finally get it to stand erect in 1993.  

Fremont has 8 of these "Hysterical Makers" - we found two of them.  At these markers you will find the Fremont Walking Guide Map.

Across the street, Fremont District developer Brian Regan received permission to place a fiberglass Saturn on top of his commercial building.  The planet extends slightly over the sidewalk and was fabricated by the Tacoma firm B & B Aircraft for $25,000. Solar panels in the rings collect energy from the sun -- when it is shinning. At night the planet glows.  

For some reason our next destination, the Center of the Universe, alluded us.  After returning home and looking at the map again, I see that this should have been right in front of us, literally.  We found the Peace Love & Happiness Club but missed the Center of the Universe a few feet away.  

The Center of the Universe is located at the intersection of N 35th St, Fremont Place N, and Fremont Avenue N. This is exactly where the Peace Love & Happiness Club is located.  I took this picture above but didn't bother to look in the median of the street where I would have found the sign. Obviously the gravitational pull which is supposed to bring everyone to the Center of the Universe wasn't working the day we visited.  

Our walk continued one block down Fremont Place to the intersection of N 36th Street and the Statue of Lenin

This bronze statue by Emile Venkov was originally commissioned by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and installed in the city of Poprad (former Czechosovakia) in 1988, just one year before the Communists were overthrown.  The statue, which is over 7 tons and 16 feet tall, took Venkov over 10 years to complete. 

In 1993, an Issaquah native, Lewis Carpenter found the statue in a Poprad scrap yard.  For some reason, he felt compelled to mortgage his house to pay for the transport of this statue to Washington State.  His intent was to open a Slovakian restaurant in his hometown and install the statue, but residents objected.  

Lewis died in 1994 and Peter Bevis, Founder of the Fremont Fine Arts Foundry decided to find Lenin a home.  Bevis was quoted in The Times (regarding this statue) as saying, "The way it was done, it was  a picture of an intellectual standing into the future." 

The statue was unveiled in its first location in Fremont on June 3, 1995.  But the ground proved too weak to hold 7 tons of Lenin so the statue was moved to the current location in 1996. 

From here we walk toward the freeway on N 36th Street to The Fremont Troll.  In 1990, The Fremont Arts Council held a competition to rehabilitate an area under the Aurora Bridge that had become a haven for homeless people, drug dealers, and the haphazard dumping of trash.  

The Troll won the competition (because everyone knows trolls live under bridges) and was sculped by four local artist: Steve Badanes (it was his design - his inspiration the tale of Billy Goat's Gruff), two of his University of Washington architecture students, Will Martin, and Ross Whitehead, as well as Whitehead's then girlfriend Donna Walter.   

The Troll, which made its debut in 1990, is 18 feet tall and weights 13,000 pounds. His eye is a VW hubcap.  Other than the hubcap, he is made of steel rebar, wire, and a lot of concrete. The rest of the VW is being crushed by his left hand.  How did Mr. Troll procure this car?  From the highway above, so beware.

Walk three blocks under the freeway down Troll Avenue and turn right on N 34th Street which turns into J. P. Patches Place.  We are in search of Late for the Interurban a bronze statue by sculptor Kevin Pettelle.  

This statue is of J. P. and Gertrude.  J. P. Patches was the star of a local children's show produced from 1958 to 1981. 

Gertrude, who I must admit appears to be a bit masculine was J.P.'s girlfriend.  Ahead of the times I suppose.  Anyway, the statue was unveiled in 2008, on the 50th anniversary of the show. 

Less than a block away look for Waiting for the Interurban.  The Fremont Arts Council selected sculptor Richard Beyer in 1975 to create this cast aluminum statue.  The cost at the time was $18,210 and was financed mostly through private donations and the city fund.  Erected in 1978, it was formally accepted by the Seattle City Council in 1980.  

The statue consist of six people and a dog who are waiting for pubic transportation, specifically the Seattle Everett Interurban which ran from 1910 to 1930.  

From Waiting for the Interurban cross Fremont Avenue.  Look left to the Fremont Bridge and the neon Rapunzel  sign. 

This bridge opened in 1917.  It cost $410,000 to build and is a double-leaf bascule bridge.  This means that there is a counterweight in the bridge that balances the spans or "leafs" in the elevated position when the bridge rises to make clearance for boat traffic.  

With a clearance of only 30 feet, this bridge opens on average 35 times a day, making it one of the most frequently opened drawbridge in the US.  Look closely at the right bridge tender tower and you will see a yellow rectangle hanging down.  That is the hair of the neon sign of Rapunzel.  From here we continued walking on N 34th back to the parking garage.  

Next stop a parking garage near Pike Place Market which is about 4 miles away.  To get there we got a closer look at Rapunzel as we crossed the Fremont Bridge and took 99 to the Westlake Center and the Pacific Place Parking Garage.  

As we got closer to Westlake Center we came to a complete stop and discovered we were right behind the Seattle Macy's Thanksgiving Parade .  Momboisse Family Adventures changes on the fly, heading down the next side street to park at the Via6 Apartment building on Lenora Street and 6th.  

From here we walk down Lenora Street and made  aleft on Western.  At this intersection we find one of Seattle's many pieces of street art, Angie's Umbrella

This piece was created by Jim Pridgeon and Benson Shaw and installed here in 2003.  Basically, it is an inside out metal umbrella that rotates as the wind blows. 

Continuing down Western we come to Victor Steinbrueck Park.  Originally the site of an old armory, the city purchased the land in 1982 and demolished the armory. The land was transferred to the Seattle Parks Department in 1970 and Market Park was created.

During the 1970s, architect Victor Steinbrueck designed the plans used for the much needed renovation of Pike Place Market.  He also designed the cedar totem poles in the park, they were carved by James Bender. After Steinbrueck's death in 1985, the park was renamed, Victor Steinbrueck Park. 

From the park, take Pike Place just to the left of the Pike Place Market sign to the location of the first Starbucks.  

Established in 1971, this Starbucks has kept its original appearance and is now of historic significance. Which basically means the storefront will never be able to change its appearance even if it wanted to. 

We had hoped to get coffee here, but the line was a block long.  This would take too much time out of our day. 

Continue down Pike Place to the Public Market neon sign at the corner of Pike Street. 

Here we filed in behind the crowds to watch a huge King Salmon fly through the air gracefully.  It was skillfully caught by a man clothed in fisherman's overalls and packed in dry ice for a journey to the purchasers home.  

We met the market mascot,
Rachel the Pig before
heading down to Lower Post Alley

and visiting the quite disgusting Gum Wall.  Located on the wall outside the box office of the Market Theater, this crazy tradition began around 1993.  

Theater workers cleaned the wall, but patrons continued to leave gobs of gooey gum -- the fad stuck.   

No line for coffee at Ghost Alley Espresso. 

At the turn of the century Seattle's population was growing and so was the demand for fresh produce.  Farmers who brought their goods from long distances to market on Western Avenue found that they were only able to break even.  The farmers raised their prices, but then the customers rebelled. 

Undated picture Pike Place Market 

In 1907, Seattle City Councilman Thomas Revelle proposed that the city create a public market where farmers and customers could competitively, and fairly buy and sell - with no complaints.  On the first day of the public market August 17, 1907 farmers sold out of their produce in minutes (apparently customers were happy with prices) and within a week more were gathering daily to sell in the newly named Pike Place. 

Pa Cha Farm Pike Place Market farmer since 1992

World War II, which sadly brought internment of Japanese Americans in the United States, also led to the closing of their stalls in Pike Market.  

Joe Desimone purchased the Pike Market main arcade in 1941 and ran it for many years.  In 1963 there was a proposal to demolish the market and replace it with a plaza which would also include a hotel, apartments, and office building.   

Pure Food Fish since 1911

This is when architect Victor Steinbrueck stepped in and rallied to save the market.  

Pike Place Fish 

In 1971, his design and a 17 acre historic district received voter approval.  The city of Seattle then established the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority to rehabilitate the area. 

We had a great lunch at Lowell's Restaurant & Bar , poaching a window seat for six on the third floor with a spectacular view of Elliott Bay, the Port of Seattle, and the Seattle Great Wheel.  Our party enjoyed the tuna melt, Alaskan cod fish and chips, and clam chowder in a bread bowl before heading off on an afternoon of adventure.  

plan after lunch was to walk the waterfront past the Edgewater Hotel, take in the Olympic Sculpture Park and end up at the Seattle Space Needle.  

 We attempted to get to Alaska Way via the Desimone Bridge and the Lenora Street Walk.  For some reason neither allowed us to pass over or under the freeway to Alaska Way.  
So we zig-zagged our way 1 mile to the Space Needle from Victor Steinbrueck Park via Western.  A right turn on Bell, then left on 1st Avenue to 2320 - 2326 1st Avenue and this beautiful Richardsonian Romanesque style building shown in the photo above.

I researched these buildings when I got home. The Belltown Pub occupies the Barnes Building.  It was designed in 1889 and constructed in the late 1890s by Seattle Lodge No. 7 of the International Order of Odd Fellows.  It is the work of Seattle architects William E. Boone and George Meeker. 

Starbucks occupies the Bell Building.  This was named for Austin Americus Bell, son of one of Seattle's pioneer families. It is a mix of Richardsonian and Gothic style and was designed by architect Elmer Fisher.  Fisher is known for rebuilding much of Seattle after the fire of 1889.  I had hoped to have had time to visit Pioneer Square where more of Fisher's work can be found.  No time this trip, however I did plan it out in the last part of My Google Map.  

At the intersection of Battery and 1st take a look over the highway and off to Elliott Bay and the big red E on top of the Edgewater Hotel. Make a right on Battery and left on 4th.  

 We continue on 4th to the Space Needle. 

Everything I read regarding the Space Needle advised purchasing tickets ahead of time.  BUT, the time window for using those tickets was only 15 minutes.  If you arrived outside of that time window new tickets at $37.50 each would have to be purchased. 
Even with Momboisse Family Adventures ability to keep things on a tight schedule, I felt 15 minutes wasn't flexible enough and chose to live on the edge and buy tickets when we arrived. 

We arrived at 1 o'clock and purchased without any problems or wait.  A party behind us had missed their 15 minutes window and had to purchase four new tickets! Ouch! 

We are prepared for THE WOW!

 The Space Needle was built for the Century 21 Exposition held  April 21, 1962 to October 21, 1962.  Also known as the Seattle World’s Fair, the theme was “The Age of Space.”  I actually visited the Space Needle in 1963.

After the fair closed, the Space Needle and monorail remained.  Over the years the site, now called the Seattle Center, expanded adding the Pacific Science Center and Museum of Pop Culture.  Both of these require separate tickets to enter. 

The Space Needle is 605 feet tall and topped with a 520 foot saucer shape.  On a good day (no cloud cover) views from the top span 360 degrees to Mount Rainier, the Cascades and Olympic mountain range. 

Our weather did not quite cooperate, but the views were still spectacular of downtown Seattle and Puget Sound. 

The original cost of this marvel of space design was $4.5 million and ticket prices were $1.  In 2018 after a $100 million renovation, tickets cost a bit more. 

At the top outdoor observation deck, fencing has been replaced by a seemingly endless window of tilting glass.  Each pane weighs a ton and measures 11 feet high.  Stand right up against the window if you dare.  

On this level there is also a very reasonable counter service restaurant, Atmos CafĂ©, and a wine bar. 
Take the stairs down to the Loupe and face your fear of heights by stepping  on to the rotating glass floor. 

Standing over the Museum of Pop Culture. 

Back on the ground there was a little time to get our wiggles out on the playground at Seattle Center before catching the Seattle Center Monorail to Westlake Station.  From here we walked three blocks down 4th to Lenora and the parking garage.  

Until next time.  Happy Adventures! 

All pictures by L. A. Momboisse unless listed below: 
Black and white picture of Pike Place Market from web site

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