The K Block at Seattle Center

Queen Anne folks have surely forgotten the history of the K block which after nearly 35 years of temporary uses is being transformed into a permanent beacon of Uptown’s future. Most people know the block as the home of Teatro Zinzanni which has rented the eastern edge along 3rd Ave. N. for nearly 15 years and which will be closing its doors in the early spring of 2017.  The 43,000 square foot block now consists of five different parcels all of which were originally given to the city in 1982-1983 by Charles Osborn, the trustee of the Kreielsheimer Foundation which lent the block the ‘K’ in its familiar name. After several trades in ownership, the three northern parcels were finally given to the Seattle Opera in 2000. Now, sometime this year developer Maria Barrientos will begin the construction of a transformative high-rise apartment building on the Roy Street or northern part of the block.

Ah! You won't see the Space Needle from here any more whatever the tower's height.
Ah! You won’t see the Space Needle from here any more whatever the tower’s height.

 

It hasn’t been decided yet if the tower will loom 85 or160 feet over Roy Street, but either way this is the first of many high buildings encouraged by the soon to be adopted Urban Design Framework prepared by the City of Seattle for Uptown’s redevelopment. The new building — hopefully Barrientos  acknowledges the site’s rich local history and calls the new building the K Block — will occupy a little more than half of the large site leaving the small strip like park along Mercer Street in front of the actual Teatro Zinzanni and the full southwest quarter of the block for development by the city as low income housing. …Continue reading “The K Block at Seattle Center”

Remembering Queen Anne’s Neighborhood Grocery Stores:
Augustine & Kyer

Augustine & Kyer
1507 Queen Anne Avenue

1908 – 1938:  30 years at Queen Anne location

Augustine & Kyer was a grand, upscale grocery store with origins in Seattle’s early years.  It was Seattle’s “Pure Food Purveyor”, selling food and merchandise of the highest quality.  It also provided superior order and delivery service to its customers.  Its stores flourished from 1907 until the 1930’s when, unfortunately, it succumbed to the Great Depression.

The history of Augustine & Kyer begins with an English grocer named Charles Louch.  In 1885, Louch opened a wood frame grocery store on Front Street (later renamed First Avenue) in what was eventually to become downtown Seattle.  The sign above the entry read, “Cigars Tobacco Groceries & Provisions”[i].  The 1885-86 Polk’s City Directory listed Louch as one of only 22 Seattle grocers.

M.B. Augustine circa 1888. Photo courtesy of MOHAI.
M.B. Augustine circa 1888. Photo courtesy of MOHAI.

In 1892, Louch formed a partnership with Manual Brock Augustine.  Before settling in Seattle, M. B. Augustine lived in Silver City, Nevada, where he owned a general merchandise and mining supply store, and in Oakland, California, where he was a salesman for J.A. Folger, the coffee company.

In 1893, Louch, Augustine & Company moved its store to the new Colman Building at the corner of First Avenue and Marion Street.  The store prospered in the late 1890’s during the Klondike gold rush, aided by Augustine’s experience as a mining supplier.  The years 1907 – 1908 brought major changes. Louch and M.B. Augustine sold the company to Henry Kyer, Augustine’s son Julius was promoted to Vice President, and Kyer changed the company’s name to Augustine & Kyer.  Kyer had been married to Alice Augustine, M.B. Augustine’s daughter, but they divorced in 1908, two days before Kyer purchased the company.[ii] …Continue reading “Remembering Queen Anne’s Neighborhood Grocery Stores:
Augustine & Kyer”

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”