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Archive for February, 2011

The (2) Bit Saloon

When the Bit Saloon announced that it would be closing in November 2009, I wasn’t particularly worried about all those hardcore punk and metal shows I’d miss.  I was mildly concerned about the sign.  I’m sure the local punk community was relieved when a nice young couple from Burien took over the lease in January 2010 and reopened the place in May.  And I was pleased that the old nag survived the remodel intact, aside from the addition of the “2.”

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Vintage Space Needle

Space Needle 1961

I thought I was joking the other week when I asked what’s next a post about the Space Needle?  But then I happened upon the above picture.  This guy doesn’t look quite as comfortable as those blokes eating their lunch “atop a skyscraper.”  But then again I’m one to talk.  I don’t even like standing on the roof of my house, let alone the top of the Space Needle.  Vintage Seattle.org has a four part series about the making of the Space Needle, with a lot of great high resolution vintage photos, including the one above (shown here in glorious low res).  Here’s a link to Part 1, you’ll figure out the rest.

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"A pastoral landscape of blond maidens ..."

I wrote here a few weeks ago about the venerable Hattie’s Hat on Ballard Ave, mainly about the history of the place and its reflective exterior.  The interior is also worth seeing, and not just because that’s where the beer is.  The bar itself and the 40-foot-long Scandinavian-themed mural are also pretty cool.  The picture below shows the hand-carved bar, reportedly shipped around the Horn, and first installed in the Old Home Saloon, when it was located across the street in the early 1900s.  The mural, partially reflected in the mirror above the bar, is significantly younger, dating back to the 1950s.

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Extreme Makeover

In my review of the development news in Ballard in 2010, I wrote that the main or largest development stories of the year revolved around large, mostly featureless, multi-story, mixed-use blocks.  And that was certainly true.  Local development coverage in Ballard is partial at best, both in terms of the projects that get covered and the quality of that coverage, with a focus on the large and out-sized.  Big blocks were the news, but they weren’t the whole story.

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Rocket Apartments with logo

We first noticed this new sign in front of these old buildings in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood a month or so ago.  Built in the 1940s, this cluster of small, one-story apartment buildings has not aged well.  Located in the shadow of Fremont’s Rocket, adjacent to the Red Door Ale House, and not just close to the Center of the Universe, but the Epicenter (Development), The Rocket Apartments likely owe their continued existence to the current economic downturn.  In the meantime, the buildings appear to be experiencing a limited renaissance and a “rebranding” with the new sign, new name, and some colorful paint. 

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Illinois Grocery 1910

I first saw this photo in Julie D. Pheasant-Albright’s book Early Ballard (pg. 49), with a caption that reads: “the Illinois Grocery, pictured (above) in 1910, stood at the corner of Leary and Seventeenth NW.”  Note the word stood, the past tense of stand, as in no longer there.  And it’s true this building does not stand at Leary and 17th.  It does in fact stand one block south, at 17th and Ballard Ave and Ballard Way. 

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Fremont Drug Co -- Exposed

This tile sign is located in the entrance to what is now Jai Thai in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood and is usually partially covered by a door mat.  The Fremont Drug Co began life at 3401 Fremont Ave, as shown in this photograph from 1907, in the building that now houses the Red Door Ale House.

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