Burgers on Broadway

A lot of places serving hamburgers have come and gone over the years, but you could always get a good burger on Broadway. The oldest two places now are The Deluxe Bar and Grill and Dick’s Drive-In. Come on a tasty trip along Broadway to have a couple classic burgers.

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The Founder of Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Capitol Hill has a founder? How did this neighborhood get here anyway?

Join me on a an urban adventure to the home of the founder of Capitol Hill, James A. Moore. He did more than build a theater downtown.

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Anhalt Ten O Five Drawing

I’ve finished my drawing of the Anhlat Ten O Five Apartment building. I did it in two pieces; the first one a pen and ink drawing, the second an acrylic painting on transparent velum. Each of these pieces was photographed and then combined in Photoshop. The result is a beautifully colored pen drawing that can be reproduced on archive quality print paper at 9×12 inches, ready for framing.

Anhalt Ten O Five Apartments

Anhalt Ten O Five Apartments, acrylic painting and pen and ink.

Anhalt Ten O Five Apartments

Anhalt Ten O Five Apartments, combined into the final artwork.

Fred Anhalt built these apartments in 1930 at 1005 East Roy Street on Capitol Hill in Seattle. It contains, among other things, the very first underground parking garage in Seattle. He considered this the finest apartment building ever built in the city.

He went bankrupt in 1934 during the Great Depression, but eventually started a nursery in 1942. Some of the plants in this garden were purchased at his nursery years later by the new owner of the building.

You can now buy 9x12in. fine art prints of this here.

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North End of Broadway, Seattle – A Video Tour

The north end of Broadway is my favorite part of Capitol Hill. Here is a brief walk-through showing some of the great buildings in this neighborhood. I really love this part of  Capitol Hill and find it the most comfortable place in all of Seattle to be. I hope you enjoy the video.

I love making these videos, and I love hearing from you. If there is something on Capitol Hill you’d like to see, leave a comment or contact me through the site and I will make a video about it. And as always, if you like this, please share it.

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Broadway TV Commercial

The Broadway Business Improvement Area (Broadway BIA) has just come out with a new TV ad. Makes Capitol Hill look like lots of fun. Check it out!

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Introducing the SkyPencil YouTube channel.

Introducing the SkyPencil YouTube Channel! Stay tuned for some great stuff all about Capitol Hill in Seattle.

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Ada’s Technical Books and Café

Adas Books and Cafe

North Capitol Hill has been a place of smart visionary women from it’s earlierst years as part of Seattle. So it’s really no surprise that Danielle Hulton founded Ada’s Technical Books in the Loveless Building at the north end of Broadway. That immediate neighborhood is also home to Cornish College of the Arts founded by Nellie Cornish, the Woman’s Century Club, a very powerful women’s organization in the early years of the 20th century, who’s building is now the Harvard Exit Theater, and the Daughters of the American Revolution Building, or the DAR for short, which is a replica of George Washington’s Mt. Vernon residence. That is also the neighborhood where Dorothy Bullitt, the radio and television pioneer, called home. She started the radio station KING FM, the first television station in Seattle, KING 5 TV, and built the King Broadcasting Company, a television and radio broadcasting empire consisting of many TV and radio stations.

It is into this heritage that Ada’s Technical Books was born at the north end of Broadway E. in 2010. It’s named after Ada Lovelace, a mathematician in the 1800s, and considered the very first computer programmer. At an early age Ada became friends with Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first computer. Ada was fascinated and wrote several logarithms, or “programs,” for Babbage’s Analytical Machine. Unfortunately, a variety of financial, physical, and political factors prevented the Analytical Machine from being completed, and for Ada’s programs to be tried, in either of their lifetimes. Her logarithms were later proven to work perfectly once his machine was eventually built in 2002.

Danielle Hulton

Danielle is a computer programmer herself, and a former computer engineer. She is proudly a geek, and has built a bookstore for other geeks. In the last four years a community has grown around the bookstore and it eventually outgrew the Loveless Building space. It found a new home up on 15th Ave. E. in the old Horizon Books building. Danielle and her husband David, also a computer programmer, renovated the old house and Ada’s moved in last automn. During renovation the house was famously yarn-bombed by local artist Luke Haynes.

Adas Books and CafeThe new space is much larger, and now they have included a wonderful cafe too. The renovation is impresssive – truly a geek paradise, and there are nerdy delights everywhere you look. The café tables each have little collections of scientific treasures displayed under glass; one of the tables has a butterfly collection, another is filled with maps and ledgers, while another has a sea of compasses. It’s awesome to watch all of the little compasses react when you turn on your laptop or move your phone around. There is a wondrous mobile slowly gliding overhead that is made from pages of various old electronic books interspersed with pages from Ada’s renovation plans. It’s a very light and bright space, filled with objects that will awaken your inner scientist or inventor, a true inspiration to the nerd in all of us. There are books floor to celling, lots of quirky merchandise, and even the pastries have clever sci-fi names like Pacallon Scone and Return of the Chedi, a cheddar and scallion scone.

Adas Books and CafeIn the age of Amazon and e-books Ada’s still manages not only to grow, but also to thrive. “We have employees at Ada’s that really know what they’re talking about. You can walk into Ada’s with a general idea of a book that you want and we can help you find the perfect one,” Danielle says. “On Amazon and with e-books, you really need to know specifically what you want. We even sell e-books too!”

Beyond the books and the cafe, and all the wonderful gadgets and nerdy toys, Ada’s Technical Books is about creating a place where the scientifically and technically inclined can find a home among kindred spirits. Ada’s hosts many events where members of their growing community can gather, share ideas, learn new things, and make new friends.

Amazing things happen when smart visionary people get together and exchange ideas, and these concepts have been deeply embedded in the culture of Capitol Hill from the very beginning. Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe continues this tradition and brings it forward. Danielle has created a beautiful and inspiring space for the technical community to gather and grow. Don’t be too surprised if some of the ideas that shape our world in the future have their genesis at Ada’s.

Adas Books and Cafe

Website: http://seattletechnicalbooks.com

Ada’s Technical Books
425 15th Ave East
Seattle, WA 98112

Phone: (206)322-1058

Store Hours
8am-10pm

 

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Victrola Coffee – Revisited

Victrola Coffee

It was a nice sunny spring afternoon and I parked my beautiful Vespa right in front of the door. I walked in and the place was packed. I ordered a scone and a cappuccino and looked around for a place to sit, but every table was full, and so were the wonderful old metal chairs and tables out front on the sidewalk. Wow, Victrola was hopping! I found a little padded bench in the corner and made myself comfortable.

Victrola VespaI used to live just around the corner 10 years ago. I had just bought my first scooter and one of the owners, Jen Strongin, asked me if I would occasionally park it in front of Victrola, because as she put it, “it would add a touch of class to the place.” Today as I parked my Vespa out front I realized it’s been a while since I’ve been to Victrola.

I remember the first time I heard of Victrola Coffee I was living down on Harvard Ave. My upstairs neighbor Vanessa came in one day dressed like a 20’s flapper and said she had just come from a fabulous new coffee shop up on 15th and that I had to check it out. She said it was jazzy. I did check it out and thought it was wonderful. I loved their old-time aesthetic – a good place for a modern flapper. As it turned out it wasn’t a year or two later I bought a condo just around the corner and Victrola Coffee became my daily third place. I got to know the owners Jen and Chris and became friends with some of the staff. Then a few years later I sold my condo and moved out of the neighborhood.

Years later now and I am back on Capitol Hill, but not around Victrola. In that time they’ve changed ownership and opened their second location at Pike and Bellevue. They used to do all their coffee roasting in the back room on 15th, but now all their roasting is done at their Pike location, just a few feet from where Starbucks is planning to set up a huge rosteria themselves. They have also opened another new shop on Beacon Hill, which to me feels like a distant outpost, but it still manages to capture their essence.

Victrola Coffee

The Pike Street location is wonderful and is beloved by its neighbors on that part of the Hill, but 15th is where they began and where their heart and soul is. In the small row of shops along 15th Victrola Coffee is the center of gravity. There are a couple other coffee shops nearby, Caffe Ladro and Starbucks. Ada’s Technical Books just moved in down the street and has a cafe too, but Victrola is really the “living room of the neighborhood.” This is where the energy of this part of Capitol Hill really comes together.

Some of my favorite memories of this place are from the events they used to do, like having election night parties, holiday parties, and movie nights. They turned the place into a big living room for the neighborhood and everyone gathered. I remember talking with the previous owner Jen right after Robyn Hitchcock surprised everyone and played some music for the Victrola crowd one night. She was ecstatic and her eyes were sparkling with delight. She turned to me and said, “This is why I own this place, for nights like this!”

She and her husband sold Victrola a few years ago to a Whidbey Island entrepreneur. But sitting here amid the old familiar feeling of this neighborhood, the ambiance that made Victrola Coffee so wonderful back then is still alive today. It is, after all, the people of the neighborhood that make it great. Victrola is their “community room.” I will be back more often, and will park my Vespa in front. This place still makes me feel at home.

Victrola Coffee

Website: http://www.victrolacoffee.com

Locations

Capitol Hill on 15th:
411 15th Avenue E
Seattle, WA
206.325.6520

Capitol Hill on Pike:
310 E Pike Street
Seattle, WA
206.624.1725

Beacon Hill:
3215 Beacon Ave. S.
Seattle, WA
206.860.7767

 

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Espresso Vivace on Capitol Hill

Espresso Vivace

Of course the most famous coffee shop on Broadway is Espresso Vivace, and for good reason. Its coffee is some of the best in the world. One of the the founders, David Schomer, has written books on the subjects of fine coffee roasting in the Northern Italian style, techniques for baristas, and latte art. Espresso Vivace is recognized around the world as a pioneer of fine coffees. It was started in 1988 and has been a vital part of the Capitol Hill community ever since.

A few years ago, as with so many things on the Hill, it was forced to move from its original location to make way for the new Capitol Hill. In this case, its picturesque and much loved Denny Way and Broadway location was torn down for the construction of the new light rail station at John and Broadway. Espresso Vivace found a new home in the new Brix building at Broadway East and Mercer Streets. The old space was so beautiful that a lot of people were skeptical the new home would be able to capture the spirit and love of the old location.

In the old days, sitting down with a wonderful espresso drink at one of the counter seats and peering out of the paned windows overlooking the old water reservoir was a wonderful experience. Now, not only is the building gone, but the reservoir has been capped and the park has been redesigned.

Espresso Vivace windowsPeople loved the old location. It was in an old building with dark wood paned windows and tiled floors. The new space is in a brand new building with cement floors. The wall along the west side is a roll-up door that opens to the sidewalk and adds a great open-air atsmosphere to the place in warm weather. The new place may never capture the love of the old place, but it is still one of Capitol Hill’s best places to be. The old tables and chairs are there, along with a lot of the aesthetic of the dark wood and golden colors. It has been in its new space for a few years now and there has been a lot of good energy put into it, and its starting to get that “lived in” feeling, making the atmosphere very inviting.

Espresso Vivace SnackesRecognizing that a lot of its customers are there to work and study, there is plenty of seating, free WiFi, and wonderful pastries and snacks, both sweet and savory. They have even built a special quiet room for those who need a place to focus without the normal cafe chatter. It’s also quite nice to sit outside at one of the sidewalk tables and enjoy the wonderful pedestrian neighborhood.

There is always terrific art on the walls, including their own grand “An Italian in Algiers,” a commissioned work by Kurt Wenner. This magnificent oil painting depicts a scene from the opera “An Italian in Algiers” when coffee was introduced into Italy from Turkey. Some find it controversial for its depiction of slaves, but it was intended as a “sanctuary for the senses,” harkening to a time of history that is long gone from the modern world.

Espresso Vivace is about great coffee, which it roasts itself, and they have built a wonderful environment to sit and enjoy their fine-crafted flavors. But if you are in a rush, they have a permanent walk-up espresso stand on Broadway East between Harrison and Thomas streets. This has been there for years and years and is a fixture of Broadway, and of Capitol Hill. Even on the rainiest and coldest days, there is always a small line, which is a testament to how fabulous their coffee really is. They also have another location down the hill in the South Lake Union neighborhood across the street from REI’s flagship store.

Espresso Vivace Quiet RoomThe Broadway location is their primary location. I go there quite often and have been surprised how comfortable the new place has become and could easily spend the whole afternoon there. The staff is awesome and has great taste in music. Spend enough time there and you will see there are quite a few regulars who are there every day. You may notice a lot of writers and journalists too who find this an inspiring place to work. It’s also a great place to get to know a new friend or to fall in love. It’s truly a sanctuary for the senses and a terrific place to take a moment away from a busy urban life.

Something you won’t want to miss is the artwork around the lower part of their counter. It is a sort of illustrated history of Espresso Vivace, and is painted entirely with coffee. It’s quite spectacular!

Whether going there to work, read, or to meet friends, Espresso Vivace is a warm cozy place to be. Capitol Hill’s culture is very vibrant and inclusive of all the subcultures that find a home there. Espresso Vivace has been right in the center of Capitol Hill’s culture for the last 26 years. When you are there you are seeing the Capitol Hill coffee culture at its finest.

Espresso Vivace Counter

Website: http://EspressoVivace.com

 

Locations:

Broadway:
532 Broadway Ave East
Seattle WA 98102

Broadway Sidewalk Bar:
321 Broadway Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98102

South Lake Union:
227 Yale Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

 

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Saint Marks Episcopal Cathedral

Watch the video about Saint Mark’s:

 

Text from the video:

High atop Capitol Hill, and overlooking Lake Union, is St. Marks Episcopal Cathedral. Situated in one of the wealthiest, and most liberal neighborhoods in the country, St. Marks has been known for years as very progressive church.

Today it is doing well, but it hasn’t always been that way.  A lot of it’s history has been troubled and uncertain. Even the structure you see today is just a shadow of the grand cathedral is was meant to be.

Trinity Episcopal in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, is the birthplace of St. Marks. In the early days, Seattle was growing rapidly, and St. Marks was founded in 1889 to accommodate the increasing numbers of worshipers, and as a less formal place of worship than Trinity.

It was originally located in a small church at 5th and Stewart in 1890.  But it quickly outgrew this and a new, grander building was built at Broadway and Seneca just 6 years later.

After World War I there was interest in building a magnificent  “Victory Cathedral” and in 1923 the land of its current location was purchased.  Construction began in 1928, but when the stock market crashed a year later, funding for it was suddenly in jeopardy, and the project was scaled back to the structure we see today, which was dedicated on April 25, 1931.

But it didn’t take long for the new St. Marks to run into more financial trouble, and the bank foreclosed on its mortgage in 1941, and it’s doors were closed. A big “For Sale” sign on the front lawn made national news.

In 1943 the US Army took over the empty building and used it for anti-aircraft training.  Evidence of the Army’s presence can still be seen on the walls of a storage room deep in the basement.

Members wanted their church back and negotiated with bankers. Funds were raised and St. Marks was reopened for worshipers in 1944.  Over the next few years the parish did a lot of fundraising, and in 1947 the mortgage was paid off.

Today the cathedral’s future is bright and certain, and it is a vital part of the neighborhood. It is known for its progressive views, and for being a welcoming place for everyone in the community whether religious or not.

One of the more notable traditions at St. Marks began in 1955 and continues to this day. Every Sunday evening at 9:30 the Compline  Men’s Choir chant and sing a meditative service to anyone wishing to attend.  Upwards of 500 people gather each week to quietly enjoy the peace and beauty, and let the sound of the choir in that enormous space, soothe their souls.

Capitol Hill is known for its embrace of alternative lifestyles and communities, and has long been the heart of the counterculture in the Northwest.  Openness and tolerance are hallmarks of this neighborhood, and those values continue within the walls of St. Marks Cathedral.  For those who seek a peaceful, contemplative place to be with others, or to be just with their thoughts, St. Marks is a beautiful place where your spirit and soul can be calm.

St. Marks is located at 1245 Tenth Avenue East, Seattle.

Webiste: http://www.saintmarks.org

Compline Choir: http://complinechoir.org

 

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