Saint Edward State Park, Kenmore, WA

Saint Edward State Park is an enormous park located in Kenmore, WA, but also kind of Kirkland as well. With this being a state park, visitors must pay a $10/day parking fee to even visit the grounds, so I recommend taking advantage of one of the free park days throughout the year, or use the Discover Pass that you purchased with your annual fishing license. 😉

This informational sign placed near the front entrance of the building does a nice job of summarizing the history of the place, so just zoom in on the photo and I won’t need to rehash it all for you:

The most impressive part of this park is the old Seminary, built in 1930.  The building is rich with detail and personality, and it is really a shame that the interior it is not currently open to the public.  The building has many great examples of Romanesque architecture, such as the semicircular arches over the doorways and windows and the bell tower. The window pairs with the pilar in between was also a common feature.Look at this detail work on the second story of the dining hall. (You’ll need to zoom in on the photo to appreciate it.)  In the center of each window pair, on top of each capitol (the fancy part at the top of the pillar) there appears to be…is that the pope? Founder Bishop Edward John O’Dea perhaps?  I’m always amazed at second-story-and-above details like this. So few people will ever even notice them, but they were worth the price to someone.

Saint Edward’s Seminary Main Entry

Another feature of Romanesque architecture was the elaborate portals, or main entries to a building, and this building is a great example!  Above the main entrance door for Saint Edwards, the inscription reads, “spes messis in semine,” which I believe is the motto for the papacy  It roughly translates to, “the hope of the harvest is in the seed.”  I have kept the resolution relatively high on this image so readers can zoom in on the details. The artistry in the architecture here is amazing! Over the other door, the inscription reads “omnibus omnia facts sum”, which is a Latin quote from I Corinthians 9. This one roughly translates to mean “I become all things.”

View of the back of the Seminary from the playground area.

Now for the playground. Located very near the seminary, this playground (the largest in the state, according to the Seattle Times) was built in 2003, and it is still awesome today. It is completely fenced in , which is a blessing for many parents, but the interesting part here is that the fence rails have donors inscribed on them.  Here are a few of them (please forgive any transcription errors as my eyes are beginning to age):
Logan Heine
Jon Heine
Julie Heine
The Heines
The Sise Family
Myerchin Family
Pinczower Family
The Kayes Family
Peter Griffis
Rubin Maidan
The plaque at the entrance to the playground says that it was designed by the children of the community and built by “over 2,000 community volunteers.”  It also lists several key donors, such as:
Bald Eagle Tower donated in memory of Bill H Newman
Spiral Tube Slide donated by Marcie & Mike Rodgers
Climbing Wall donated by Haley Ashland & Art Turock
Perimeter Benches donated by the McAlister Families.

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.

Queen Anne House – Snohomish, WA

After writing a post about the Southernmost House in the United States, I began to pay a little bit more attention to the architectural styles of the homes I was seeing on my travels.

Front of home, with tower and ornamented gable.
Front of home, with tower and ornamented gable.

I have always found the “Queen Anne House” in Snohomish to be beautiful, but it has no signage (it is a private residence, after all), and if there’s no Wikipedia page on it, I’m clueless! That is, until now. I did some research on Queen Anne Style victorian buildings in the United States, and I ran across the book Beautiful America’s Northwest Victorians, which mentions this home. It says it was built in 1887 (which fits for the neighborhood), and “has a shingle-clad, centrally-placed tower, faux quoins, and an explosion of cut-out ornament in the front gable.” I would say that is a fairly accurate description of this home!

For those of you wondering what a “quoin” is, I googled it, and says: Some quoins are decorative features, providing variety and pattern to the corner where two exterior walls meet. Others have an important structural job, strengthening buildings by reinforcing the corners. Quoin was originally an alternative way to spell coin, and was used to mean “cornerstone” or “wedge.”

It is also pictured on the front of the visitors brochure for Snohomish, but the woman at the Visitor’s Bureau knew nothing about it when my dad asked her. P.S. The Visitor’s Bureau is only several blocks from this home.

Rear of home.
Rear of home.

P.P.S. Apparently, there is a photo of the house on Wikipedia, I just never saw it until now. Opps! It’s on the page for Snohomish, Washington, a page which lists 19 ‘notable people’ to come out of Snohomish. Only one of those 19 is a woman. Hmmm…

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.

Olympia Motors Building

On a recent trip to Olympia, WA, I had my first taste of Nitro Coffee at Olympia Coffee Roasting Company. Yum! On my approach to the building, I saw this gem across the street:Rambling JacksI was in awe of the detail all over the building. It is currently home to Ramblin Jack’s Restaurant, but it’s obvious that this was not the original tenant of the building. This ornate facade is an unusual sight in Washington.

Olimpia Motors building sideIt took a bit of searching online, but I was able to find out that it was originally built as the Olympia Motors Building, an automotive dealership, in 1923. Here is the description from the Olympia Historical Society website:

The Olympia Motors Building is a flamboyant celebration of America’s love affair with the automobile. Built in 1923 and designed by local architect Joseph Wohleb, the ornate Gothic terra cotta reliefs at the roofline create a sort of cathedral to the automotive industry. The building was originally a Ford dealership acquired by Leon Titus (see Titus House); later on it was a Chevrolet dealership, and now houses a popular restaurant at the edge of downtown Olympia. The dealership was located on the 4th Avenue corridor, at the time part of Route 99 that was the main north-south thoroughfare for Washington State and the west coast.

They also had this photograph of the building from 1942:

Olimpia Motors Building circa 1942

Even in black & white you can tell how glorious 520 4th Ave E must have been.

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.

Kirkland Arts Center

The Kirkland Arts Center is an absolutely beautiful restoration of an historical building that was almost demolished at one point in its history. Take a look at these photos of the art gallery inside & you can see that the original brick has all remained exposed, the original ceiling beams are visible, and every effort has been made to keep as much of this building’s original character as possible. You can really feel the history in the walls here!

KAC gallery

KAC historical marker

KAC interior looking to rear wall

Interior of KAC entryway
Interior of KAC entryway
Interior of KAC gallery
Interior of KAC gallery

KAC Side Entrance

Chandelier hanging in Kirkland Arts Center gallery
Chandelier hanging in Kirkland Arts Center gallery

Outside of the building, the Kirkland Historical Society has erected this plaque to let passers-by learn a little more about the history of this place:

KAC Dedication Plaque
KAC Dedication Plaque


The Peter Kirk Building – Founded Upon A Dream

The Peter Kirk building was conceived as the keystone of English entrepreneur Kirk’s steel empire and as a major spoke in the hub of activity on the corners of Market & Piccadilly (now Seventh Avenue).Ground was broken in 1889 for the two-story brick building, which was raised upon a foundation of dizzying optimism in a period of economic expansion. Kirk and his Seattle business partners, Seattle Post-Intelligencer owner Leigh S.J. Hunt, A. A. Denny, George Heilbron and with fellow Englishman Walter W. Williams as Secretary, envisioned the Moss Bay Iron and Steel Works of America as the “Pittsburg of the West.” Together they forged the Kirkland Land and Improvement Company, incorporated in 1888, as the administrative aegis for the iron works.

Bricks for the building were produced from locally dug clay and fired at Kirk’s brick works, which which was located in what is now Peter Kirk Park. The building, a quintessentially Victorian construction, was designed in the Romanesque Revival style, which borrowed elements from European architecture of the eleventh and twelfth centuries such as semi-circular arches, turrets, recessed doors and windows, and heavy materials like rusticated stone and brick. Initially, the first floor housed the Guptil and Evans Dry Goods Store and Elder Drug. Kirk’s offices occupied the second floor.

Kirk’s dream for an industrial magnet on the shores of Lake Washington were thwarted by economic realities and crashed with the financial upheaval of 1893. Although the steel mill never opened, Kirk remained an active town booster. He eventually retired to the San Juan Islands where he died in 1916 at the age of 76.

Fortunately, the beautiful Peter Kirk building did not vanish with Kirk’s faded dreams. The structure changed ownership and usages, but remained a central component of the Kirkland landscape. The second floor was later converted to apartments. Over the years, the first floor housed a butcher shop, a grocery store, and a furniture store, including the Eastside Furniture Store, owned by Kirkland’s youngest mayor, Al Leland, in the 1940’s.

By the early 1960’s, the Peter Kirk Building was deteriorating due to years of neglect. The owner was barely able to make ends meet. Without intervention, the structure was likely to be demolished. But hope was just around the corner. Or, rather, on the second floor.

In 1973, the Peter Kirk Building was listed in the National Historic Register. In 1977 the first major renovations were undertaken, supported by local and state funding.

William Radcliffe – Building Community Together

William Radcliffe was a visionary and a pragmatist. He was also a teacher for the Lake Washington School District from 1949-1967. In 1958, he rented the Cupola Room (Kirk’s former office) on the second floor of the Peter Kirk Building, which he used as an art studio. It was one of the few spaces that did not leak in an otherwise dilapidated structure. But Radcliffe saw beyond broken windows and saggy plaster and visualized a community arts center.

It was no wonder he emerged as the instigator and inspiration of the Creative Arts League. As the founder of the Cellar Gallery, Radcliffe was a driving force in the realization of an active Eastside arts community. He and his cohorts called the Peter Kirk Syndicate, a group of attorneys, architects, educators and physicians, rescued the crumbling building from certain demise and were instrumental in establishing a truly community-oriented arts center. In 1961, the Peter Kirk Syndicate organized to purchase the building and, in 1962, to form the Creative Arts League, convened to provide local opportunities in the arts and to address preservation of a Kirkland historic landmark. The enthusiastic support of local businesses, media, artists and other citizens helped realize Radcliffe’s vision.

The Creative Arts League, dedicated volunteer artists and art lovers, as well as members of the Peter Kirk Syndicate, cleaned the building and initiated critically needed repairs. In the meantime, the League offered classes in frame making, ceramics, painting, poetry, drama, dance, puppetry and life drawing as well as operating a small theatre.

Radcliffe’s philosophy, that democracy entails giving people the opportunity to make positive changes in their communities, still fuels the Kirkland Arts Center (KAC) today. A supportive Board of Directors, talented instructors, hardworking staff and dedicated volunteers all contribute to maintaining the Kirkland Arts Center as a vibrant and vital creative hub of the community. KAC continues to offer a range of visual arts classes to students of all ages, as well as the opportunity to learn about new and challenging visions of the world in the Peter Kirk gallery.

KAC Board 2000.

The Kirkland Arts Center nurtures the Eastside arts community, in its home, the historic Peter Kirk Building, where, through classes, workshops,  special events and gallery shows, artists and art lovers of all ages can come together, build creative skills, and broaden their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the visual arts.

Paul Hughes, President; Susan Glass, Vice President; Tracy Thorleifson, Secretary; Ken Sparks, Treasurer; Merrily Dicks, Historian; Kelli Adam; Marijune Haggard; Judy Harris; Julie Johnson; Susan Street; Jac Wyman; Elizabeth Umbanhowar, Executive Director.

Peter Kirk Syndicate 1961

Shirl & Pat Restemayer; Desmond & Betty Lou Charouhas; Donald & Tatiana Davidson; Jane Gosselin; Robert & Gladys Hayes; Paul & Helen Kirk; Carl & Evelyn Lercher; Maurice & Annette Powell; William & Mary Ann Radcliffe; Raymond & Iris Sievers; J. Earl Taylor.

This interpretive marker was installed in April 2002 to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Kirkland Arts Center. Funding for this project was made possible by Kelli, Daniel and Nicholas Adam.

Photo Caption: Contrast between the old Leland Hotel (right) and Creative Arts League Building across the street was caught in the above photograph. Both were build in the same era by the founding fathers of Kirkland, who came here to establish a steel mill. The steel mill didn’t survive but Kirkland did. Citizens expressed consternation this week that the Leland Hotel was to be razed to make way for a service station. Restoration of the Creative Arts League building by a group of civic-minded citizens shows what can be done to preserve landmarks. (Journal Photo)

“The artist’s role in the community is to lead, the artist’s role is to get people to think things or see things differently, to help get people beyond where they are… to joy, enthusiasm and some sorrow as well.” -William Radcliffe

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.