Seattle’s Presidential Visits of the Past

-posted by Jade D.

In honor of Presidents’ Day, we took a look through our digital collections to find mentions of some of Seattle’s earliest presidential visits. We’ve highlighted the first five below – take a look!

October 11, 1880 marked the date of the first president to visit Seattle with the arrival of Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes was not only the first president to visit Seattle but also the first to make it to the western territories during his tenure. He arrived at Yesler wharf on the George E. Starr steamer and made brief trips via train to Newcastle and Renton before returning to Seattle for an evening of celebrations. Continue reading “Seattle’s Presidential Visits of the Past”

Billy Bloch and the Germania Café

~posted by Jade D.

Did you know October is Archives month? In a belated nod to German-American Day (October 6) and the various Oktoberfests (and Booktoberfests) happening this month, we decided to highlight some recent German-flavored additions to our digital collection.

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Now a part of our Seattle Historic Photograph Collection, these photographs depict the life of William Bloch, a German immigrant who came to Seattle in 1889 (arriving just before the Great Fire which destroyed a large portion of downtown). After the dust settled, Bloch opened the Germania Café, a restaurant, bar and social club located at the corner of Second and Seneca which specialized in German delicacies and imported beer. With the advent of the Klondike Gold Rush and Seattle’s booming prosperity, the Germania became a popular spot for both visitors and locals. Bloch himself became a well-known figure on the Seattle scene. Often referred to as “Billy” by friends and customers, he was known for his gregarious nature, jovial hospitality, twinkling eyes and rotund build. In 1908, Bloch used his newfound wealth from the Germania to construct a large family home at 1436 E. Prospect near Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill where he lived with his wife, Minna, and two sons, William Jr. and Frank. Continue reading “Billy Bloch and the Germania Café”

October Takeover: DIY Ghost Tours: Guidebooks for your Local Ghosts

~posted by Blythe S.

Have you ever wondered who is haunting your neighborhood? Ghost have purportedly taken up residence in a number of bars, theaters, restaurants, stores, parks and other places in Seattle–enough to create entire guidebooks on the subject.

Find Spooked in Seattle in the SPL CatalogFind Ghosts of Seattle in the SPL CatalogFind Ghosts Hunter's Guide to Seattle in the SPL CatalogFind Pacific Northwest Haunts in the SPL CatalogFind Washington's Haunted Hotspots in the SPL Catalog

During October a number of worthy ghost tours are offered to guide you through dark, damp streets. You will pop into establishments, and peek through windows, hoping to spot something unusual while listening to a guide give you the lowdown on the undead.  But if you want to avoid the skittish screamers and loud disbelievers, or simply explore an area without a tour, you can design your own. Continue reading “October Takeover: DIY Ghost Tours: Guidebooks for your Local Ghosts”

If Walls Could Talk: The Bussell Family – Part 2

By Jade D

If you missed my first post about the history of the Bussell family and their home, take a look at Part 1 to catch up!

Charles B. Bussell - Image from The Cartoon, A Reference Book of Seattle's Successful Men
Charles B. Bussell – Image from The Cartoon, A Reference Book of Seattle’s Successful Men

So here’s what really happened, as best as I can tell. Charles Bussell and his first wife, Elizabeth, bought their Madrona home in 1900. Despite the stately new accommodations, their marriage was not a happy one. Elizabeth tried to divorce Charles in 1902 and it quickly turned ugly. She accused him of infidelity on multiple occasions, particularly with a Miss Violet Ball who Charles apparently lavished with gifts. The couple hired detectives to follow each other and got into a physical altercation when Elizabeth confronted Charles and Violet at the Seattle Hotel. Continue reading “If Walls Could Talk: The Bussell Family – Part 2”

If Walls Could Talk: The Bussell Family – Part 1

~posted by Jade

Bussell Home, ca. 1910, Image from the Seattle Historical Photograph Collection
Bussell Home, ca. 1910, Image from the Seattle Historical Photograph Collection

It all began with a picture of a house.
I was researching a recent addition to our Seattle Historical Photograph Collection and all I had to go on was the name “Bussell” on the back of the photograph. Quick searches in HistoryLink and the Seattle Times historical newspaper database revealed it to be the Madrona home of Charles Baner Bussell, a prominent figure in Seattle history. Continue reading “If Walls Could Talk: The Bussell Family – Part 1”