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Cover Story Plant Life On Fitness Taste Northwest Living Now & Then

Now & Then
Upheaval in Progress
Both views look north from the overpass where Terrace Street joins Yesler Way above Fourth Avenue. In the "now" view, the King County Courthouse is on the left and the familiar waffle-iron windows of the county's administrative building can be glimpsed behind the tree on the right.

spacer Photo PAUL DORPAT
Under the headline "Many Evidences of Progress," The Sunday Times of Nov. 22, 1908, reported that the completion of the Fourth Avenue regrade "comes doubtless something of a surprise to many who did not realize the progress that has been made." Looking at the evidence of this photograph that looks north on Fourth from the Terrace Street overpass two days earlier, we may also be surprised.

But we shouldn't be. While the new street is not yet completed, the lowering of it to a new grade has been. Within a year, all of the structures — save for the middle one of five on the right — would be destroyed, including the historic Turner Hall on the left.

Also in that Times, real-estate agent Henry Broderick shared his philosophy of progress in this upheaval. "Someone has said that, in an American sense, a dead town is one in which the streets are not all torn up."

November 1908 was also a month of spiritual upheaval between two Presbyterian ministers: the Rev. C.H. Killen and the Rev. Mark Matthews. Speaking at Matthews' invitation before the Ministerial Federation of Seattle, Killen warned his fellow preachers that if they did not reinstitute early Christian practices like "feet-washing ceremonies, love feasts and holy kissing bees" that they with their flocks would "tumble head foremost into perdition."

Embarrassed at having been "buncoed by a religious crank," Matthews soon put it straight on who is really going below. "There is no place where the ruin of young lives can be carried on so easily as in Seattle. The pernicious dance hall, the wine room and the quack doctor are inseparably involved in the steps of progress toward destruction. After that, ring down the curtain, for the next act is in hell."

Paul Dorpat has published several books on early Seattle.

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