Remembering Queen Anne’s Neighborhood Grocery Stores:
Aasten’s Grocery

Aasten’s Grocery
302 Queen Anne Avenue

Photo courtesy of Molly Aasten
Photo courtesy of Molly Aasten

Aasten’s Grocery, which opened in 1925, stood at the corner of Queen Anne Avenue and Thomas Street for twenty-seven years.  Like many other small neighborhood grocery stores of that era, it was a family business owned and operated by immigrants to the United States.

John Gunnufsen Aasten was hardworking and ambitious. He was born in Hovind, Norway on March 8, 1887.  Aasten and his wife Karen came to the United States from Norway in 1906.  He was nineteen.  On his arrival, he listed his occupation as laborer.  In 1917, on his Draft Registration card, he declared himself a miner employed by the Seattle Engineering Department.  By 1924, however, he had found his calling.  On the Declaration of Intention he filed that year to become a United States citizen, he registered his occupation as grocer. …Continue reading “Remembering Queen Anne’s Neighborhood Grocery Stores:
Aasten’s Grocery”

Cobble, Cobble, Cobblestones

In memory of Roger Billings, a staunch defender of our cobblestone streets.

Queen Anne is blessed (bicyclists disagree about that) with many cobblestone streets. Every fan of Queen Anne history knows that the stones provided traction for horses struggling up the hill. Most history buffs can’t explain their conservation, although their prevalence on steep streets suggests they helped both horses and horseless carriages navigate the slopes for a long time. Even though the street surfaces are not official city landmarks, they are charming anachronisms someone at the Seattle Engineering Department, now SDOT, decided to protect.

Looking west down Blaine at 7th.
Looking west down Blaine at 7th.

The most notable Queen Anne cobblestone streets on the west side of the hill can be found at Blaine where it drops down off Queen Anne Boulevard at 7th Ave., and on Howe as it plunges from the steps below 7th to 10th. On the east side, there is a stretch of cobbles on Warren N. running south from Lee that the Fire Department favors. Queen Anne has the greatest share of Seattle’s 93 cobblestone streets with the east side of Capitol Hill a close second. …Continue reading “Cobble, Cobble, Cobblestones”

SPU Shooter Found Guilty

Trolley Barn at Ross, undated
Trolley Barn at Ross, undated, now Otto Miller Hall site of the shootings
Otto Miller Hall, SPU, 2016
Otto Miller Hall, SPU, 2016. Remodeled Trolley Barn, site of the shootings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On November 16, 2016, a jury found Aaron Ybarra guilty of first-degree murder in the June 2014 shootings at Seattle Pacific University that killed one student and injured two others. Ybarra had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury, acknowledging Ybarra’s history of mental illness, rejected the plea concluding that Ybarra was fully aware of what he was doing and that the crime was premeditated.

Student Paul Lee was killed by Ybarra on the sidewalk outside SPU’s Otto Miller Hall (formerly a municipal railway trolley barn). Thomas Fowler was hit by pellets from the shot that killed Lee. Ybarra attempted to shoot a second person outside Otto Miller Hall, but his gun misfired. Entering the building, Ybarra critically wounded student Sarah Williams and attempted to shoot a second student. Student monitor Jon Meis then tackled Ybarra ending the shootings. Ybarra faces 88 to 111 years in prison. His attorney plans to appeal. (Seattle Times, November 17, 2016, p. B1). For more information see this Seattle Times article  and this earlier posting on qahistory.org.