Tour of Modern Sacred Spaces in Wedgwood

On Saturday, September 10th, there will be a tour of two modern architectural churches in Wedgwood:  Our Lady of the Lake and University Unitarian.

The organization which documents and highlights modern architecture, DoCoMoMo-WEWA, will host a tour of two churches in Wedgwood on Saturday, September 10th.  Tour cost is $10 inclusive of both sites, and is payable at the first site, 1 PM at Our Lady of the Lake at 8900 35th Ave NE.  After a one-hour tour there, the tour group will go to University Unitarian on 35th Ave NE at the corner of NE 68th Street (diagonally across the intersection from the Northeast Branch Library.)

The present Our Lady of the Lake church is the second building to be built on the same site.

The present Our Lady of the Lake church is the second building to be built on the same site.

Modern Sacred Spaces is Docomomo WEWA’s event series showcasing religious structures built by different faith communities in the mid-20th century. The buildings represent innovative efforts by postwar architects and engineers to create spiritual places of light and form using new materials and construction techniques.  The tour guide is Dr. Tyler S. Sprague, Assistant Professor of Architecture and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the UW.

Meet at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, 8900 35th Ave NE.  Completed in 1961 and designed by the firm of Gotteland and Koczarski, Our Lady of the Lake‘s origins were in 1929 but as of 1940 the congregation moved to its present site.  Its former site at about NE 81st Street became part of developer Albert Balch’s original Wedgwood plat.  

Docomomo WEWA Board member Dr.Tyler Sprague will discuss the church’s unique architectural and structural engineering features. Members of the congregation will be present to speak about the experience of celebrating inside their sacred space.

The University Unitarian Church building is an example of award-winning modernist architecture.

The University Unitarian Church building is an example of award-winning modernist architecture.

Next up is a visit to University Unitarian Church at 6556 35th Ave NE, just over one mile south of Our Lady of the Lake. Completed in 1959, UUC represents one of Paul Hayden Kirk’s early large-scale works for which he and his associates, Donald Wallace and David McKinley, won the AIA (Seattle) award. The church will be open for us from 2:15 – 3:45 pm. A program will take place at 2:30 pm followed by a casual tour. We’ll learn about the church’s proposed master plan from a congregation member.

Parking is available on-street or in the surface lots of both churches. Please do not leave your vehicle at Our Lady of the Lake’s parking lot if you plan to visit UUC after because Our Lady of the Lake will be in use again again after the tour group departs.

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Making the Cut: Centennial of Seattle’s Ship Canal

A continual passage of boats of all sizes traveled through the Ballard Locks on SeaFair weekend 2016.

A continual passage of boats of all sizes traveled through the Ballard Locks on SeaFair weekend 2016.

Seattle’s Ship Canal crosses the city like a waistline, joining the freshwater Lake Washington to the waters of Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean beyond.  The building of the Ship Canal was one of the biggest events in the history and development of Seattle, creating economic opportunities and advantages for maritime and for industries of all kinds.

This 2016-2017 centennial year of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks) is being celebrated with a wonderful series of events and historic research projects.  A special website, Making the Cut, features all the historic info and event announcements commemorating the Ship Canal a century after it was completed.

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Looking, Listening, Birding

Northeast Seattle has wonderful natural areas where you may see birds and other wildlife, including Magnuson Park on Lake Washington, Meadowbrook Pond at NE 107th Street on the east side of 35th Ave NE, and the Union Bay Natural Area.  While the trails in the UBNA are currently closed for construction, another good option for birdwatching is on the adjacent Yesler Swamp Trail which also looks out over Union Bay.

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Wedgwood’s Business District in 1958

Business WordCloudAll of the Wedgwood neighborhood came into the Seattle City Limits in 1954, and then all of Wedgwood’s businesses were listed in the Seattle City Directories.  The business listings are a fascinating look at the economics and lifestyle of the 1950s.

By way of contrast, a listing of the present-day businesses along 35th Ave NE shows the changes in economic conditions in Wedgwood over the decades and changes in the types of goods and services which are wanted.  The business listings are different now, but the buildings themselves are much the same, dating from the 1940s and 1950s during Wedgwood’s period of growth and development.

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Wedgwood: A Leafy Neighborhood

Wedgwoodians love their neighborhood trees.  In addition to nurturing the trees that we already have, Wedgwoodians are enthusiastic about planting even more trees.

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Wedgwood’s Wildlife

Throughout northeast Seattle there are many ravines, big and small, with creeks running eastward down to their outlets at Lake Washington.  As can be seen throughout the city, there are possums, raccoon and coyotes living in Wedgwood’s ravines.   It has been rumored that deer live in the wooded ravines, as well.

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Original Resources, Real History

Have you heard of Frederich Drumpf, a German immigrant who operated a restaurant in Seattle in the 1890s?

Real historians use original documents and verify their sources, and in this essay by Seattle historian Rob Ketcherside, we see that getting at the truth about Mr. Drumpf required painstaking research.

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