~posted by Diane
In July of 2004, the Beacon Hill Branch Library moved into a brand new 10,000 sq. ft. building, a sea change from the 3,000 sq. ft. storefront that had been our home since 1962. Now 10 years old, we will celebrate with a neighborhood birthday party on July 12th from 12:30-5:30 p.m. The new building is an architectural gem that truly lives up to its moniker—a beacon to all. The neighborhood of Beacon Hill is a very special place, home to many immigrant waves throughout Seattle history. The building itself reflects the multi-ethnic roots of many residents: the stone tiles from Africa and South America, the Pennsylvania blue flagstone for the entry way, and all around and above, the gleaming wood from the Pacific Northwest. The day will consist of a panel that will bring together the team that did the heavy lifting: the architect from Don Carlson Architects, Seattle Public Library’s architect, the branch manager, and the neighborhood liaison. They will discuss the intricate interplay of vision, design, and construction. An Open Mic program for Beacon Hill authors young and old will showcase local creativity. Members from the highly acclaimed hip-hop group with roots on Beacon Hill, the Massive Monkeys, will teach breakdancing to the youth and round out the day.
One very special guest speaker slated for 2:30 p.m. will be author, Ken Mochizuki, who grew up on Beacon Hill. His novel, Beacon Hill Boys, is set in 1972 with Vietnam and the Black Power movement as the constant static in the background. The story of a Japanese American young man, growing up in confusing times, in the midst of multicultural southeast Seattle, with parents that don’t understand him, rings true. As someone who himself lived through the upheavals in the ‘hood, Mochizuki imbues his characters with real situations and dialogues of angst. Ken Mochizuki’s other published stories of interest to children include: Heroes, Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story, Baseball Saved Us, and Be Water, My Friend: The Early Years of Bruce Lee.
Other authors, who write lovingly of Beacon Hill, include Lenore Look with her children’s series about Ruby Lu, who attends Kimball Elementary School (just like the author): Ruby Lu, Brave and True; Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything; Ruby Lu, Star of the Show. For adults interested in the history of this part of Seattle, you can’t get any better than the concise overview written by Frederica Merrell and Mira Latozsek called Seattle’s Beacon Hill. A charming photo history by Saya Moriyasu called Street Peeks: A North Beacon Hill Walking Tour, chronicles views both quirky and breathtaking.
Like I said before, it’s a real special place this Beacon Hill. Come visit.