The Great Backyard Bird Count 2016

Don't forget to count me for GBBC!

Don’t forget to count me for GBBC!

Are you in love with birds?  February 12 to 15, 2016, including Valentines Day, is a weekend for those in love — with birds, that is. You can share your love of birds by spending just fifteen minutes per day (or more) counting them as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count citizen science initiative.  Not only is it fun, but results are used to help study and ultimately protect birds.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is easy — no need to go out in the cold and rain, just count the birds in your backyard!  Or on your lunch hour at work, you can take fifteen minutes to look out the window and count the birds you see.  On the website of the Great Backyard Bird Count 2016 you can register to participate, explore data, learn about birds and get tips on identification of species.

Great Egret photographed by Larry Hubbell at Portage Bay in northeast Seattle.

Great Egret photographed by Larry Hubbell at Portage Bay in northeast Seattle.

Information gathered by citizen scientists and reported online will help scientists track changes in bird distribution, some of which may be traced to El Niño storms and unusual weather patterns in 2015-2016.

A Great Egret seen by photographer Larry Hubbell of Union Bay Watch is a tall bird that looks like a heron, but it is white.  The Great Egret usually winters in the southern USA and we don’t know why it is hanging around Seattle this winter!

It is normal for bald eagles to hang around Seattle during the winter but you need to keep a sharp eye out to see them.  Seattle bicycle blogger Tony wrote about his eaglepalooza along the Burke-Gilman and Sammamish River Trails at Lake Washington.

 

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Seattle’s Pioneers of Fremont: John Ross

Ross Park is the former site of the Ross School which was established in 1883.

Ross Park is the former site of the Ross School which was established in 1883.

Fremont, a neighborhood in north Seattle, was named by a property investor from Fremont, Nebraska.  Prior to the development’s receiving its official name in 1888, there were other nearby neighborhood reference points.  One of these was the community of Ross.  Today Ross is commemorated by a park at NW 43rd Street and 3rd Ave NW, about one mile west of the business center and bridge on Fremont Avenue.

On this blog, Wedgwood in Seattle History, I mainly write about northeast Seattle neighborhoods, but because I also enjoy Fremont history I am telling some of its stories here.  One of the earliest Fremont-area land claimants was John Ross, a name which is now little-known.  In this blog post we will puzzle over John Ross’s pioneer story.

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Seattle’s Pioneers of Fremont: B.F. Day – Part Two

The Panic of 1893, a nationwide economic crash, had a chilling effect upon Seattle.  Historian Thomas Prosch wrote that Seattle businesses, banks manufacturers and even churches closed down and went out of business due to lack of money to operate. Rents went down so low that property owners could not make enough profit to pay their mortgages, and so they lost their holdings.  Ten years later, in a court case in 1903, B. F. Day of the Fremont neighborhood in Seattle testified that in 1893 he had been in “financial embarrassment” and he had been left with nothing but his own house.  At that time he had put title to some of the land he owned into the names of other people so that it would not be taken from him by creditors.

The Fremont neighborhood is on the north side of the Ship Canal.

The Fremont neighborhood is on the north side of the ship canal. Here we are standing on the Fremont side, looking east toward the Fremont Bridge and we see a little of Queen Anne hill on the south side.

B.F. Day had come to Seattle in 1880 at age 45 and he quickly became involved in the life of his newly-adopted city.  He worked in real estate and served one term on Seattle City Council before moving out of the city limits.  By or before 1889 B.F. Day and his wife Frances built a big house where they had land holdings in Fremont, a suburb of Seattle.

The history of the Fremont neighborhood closely parallels the ups and downs of Seattle itself.  Although this blog, Wedgwood in Seattle History, is mainly about the Wedgwood neighborhood in the northeast part of the city, I have also enjoyed learning about Fremont and so I am sharing Fremont history here with my readers.  In Part Two of the story of B.F. Day we will read how his life was impacted by the economic crash of 1893.

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Seattle’s Pioneers of Fremont: B.F. Day – Part One

Fremont is easily reached from downtown Seattle by traveling along the west shore of Lake Union.

Fremont is easily reached from downtown Seattle by traveling along the west shore of Lake Union.

The Fremont neighborhood was one of Seattle’s first suburbs, with people moving to the site beginning in the 1870s.   Even before Fremont had an official name, its strategic location at the northwest corner of Lake Union was known to Seattle pioneers who recognized that a waterway there would make it easier to transport heavy products such as timber and coal.

Much of the story of Fremont parallels the growth of Seattle itself, and studying the history of Fremont has given me a better understanding and framework for the history of our city.  In 2009 I participated as a volunteer with the Fremont Historical Society in a survey of Fremont’s residential housing, and today I am still benefiting from that free education in history, architecture and research resources.

The Fremont Project results are posted on Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods Historic Resources Site where you can read the context statement (a mini-history written by Caroline Tobin) and see the lists of significant houses identified in the survey, with descriptions written by architectural historian Katheryn Krafft.

Fremont in Seattle has a vibrant commercial district with many small, locally owned shops.

Fremont in Seattle has a vibrant commercial district with many small, locally owned shops.

B.F. Day and his wife Frances arrived in Seattle in 1880 and then became residents of Fremont in its early development years.  The Days lived through a series of major events: the Chinese Expulsion of 1886, Seattle’s Great Fire of 1889, the economic crash called the Panic of 1893, and the Yukon Gold Rush of 1897.  In this two-part blog post I will tell about the social, political and economic impacts of Seattle’s tumultuous years of the 1880s and 1890s.  Some themes we will see are the early Seattleites’ eagerness to acquire land and develop it, the desire to reshape the landscape by digging a canal for transportation of products via a waterway, and the pioneers’ struggle to overcome catastrophic events such as political upheaval, fire, and economic depression.

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Seattle’s Immigrant Photographer: Werner Lenggenhager

Werner Lenggenhager (1899-1988) was a Swiss immigrant who lived in Australia and California before coming to Seattle in 1939 at age 40.  A trip home to Switzerland in 1949 made Lenggenhager realize that historic buildings are not always valued until it is too late.  Working at Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle was Lenggenhager’s “day job” and in his free time Lenggenhager launched a one-man effort to record as much of Seattle’s historic architecture as he could.

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Wedgwood’s Immigrants: the Akahoshi Family

Census records of 1920 show that there were quite a few immigrants living in the northeast Seattle neighborhood of Wedgwood that year.  Germans who built their own houses and settled in Wedgwood included John Herkenrath, Gustav Morris, and William Voss, who all worked as carpenters.  The large extended-family of Joseph Lobberegt had migrated from Holland (a province of the Netherlands) and group members settled along 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood, especially around NE 75th to 80th Streets.  Occupations of Dutch immigrants as listed on the census of 1920 included glass work, sign-painting, tailoring and operation of mom-and-pop grocery stores.

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A Gift from the Past

When I was growing up in the 1950s in Seattle I was fascinated by the stories my elderly relatives told of “the olden days.”  It doesn’t seem possible that I could have known people who were born in the 1880s, but I did, because my grandparents’ generation was of that time period.  They were born in the eastern USA and as young people they journeyed Out West to find new opportunities in the State of Washington.  They told of living through world wars and economic depressions, yet always with faith in God’s guidance and provision for them.

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