Friends of the Market Newsletter
Spring will be here soon (we hope!). Popping up as fast as daffodils on the Market rooftops, the new MarketFront building is rushing towards its June 29th grand opening celebration. But, gratifying as new construction is, exciting transformations are happening through renovation, too! Such is the case with the historic-landmarked Butterworth building on First Avenue.
Butterworth Building Renovation
This venerable old building has quite a history. It sported the first elevator on the West Coast. It also housed the first mortuary in Seattle. The First Avenue archway, leading into the Chapel, was large enough to accomodate horse-drawn carriages carrying coffins (black for men and white for women).
The chapel, opening on First Avenue, is actually on the third level of the building itself. The ground floor of the building enters from Post Alley. There, horses were stabled in what is now the Kells Restaurant space, with a hay loft positioned on the floor above. The minister's quarters were on the fifth floor.
In days to come, there will be a new restaurant on the Chapel level, with the charming qualities of the old building intact. The choir and organ lofts will remain open to view, and the hexagonal tile spelling out "Chapel" will be retained and restored. A new ADA compliant elevator will be installed, to give access to the office space on the upper floors.
It will be good to see this beautiful old building open and functioning again!
Market Art New...
The MarketFront will exhibit the newest pieces of art at Pike Place Market. Clare Dohna, who once sold on the Market Daytables, has crafted tile mosaics in three panels featuring flowers, produce, and fish. These will grace walls on three levels of the Plaza.
Artist John Fleming has designed a piece comprised of strips of metal, painted last year by Market volunteers. These strips will be cut and arranged in a kind of collage curtain. Suspended along the plain grey cement wall located on Western Avenue below the slabs, this installation will bring color and interest to those looking east from the MarketFront.
But do you know what the oldest piece of Market art is? Have you ever noticed the mural located above the garbage chute located between Chicken Valley and Pike's Pit Bar-B-Que? (I've worked at the Market for 27 years without realizing it is there!) This mural is the first piece of art ever approved by the Market Historical Committee (MHC), 'way back (1979), when our own Friends of the Market Boardmember, John Turnbull, was the MHC City Coordinator. It was designed by Paul Conrad, who has been in the Market for thirty years and still has a studio here.
What treasures might be exhibited next by the residents who will live in the studio/apartments soon to open in the MarketFront housing?! These seven artists will have the opportunity to sell their wares right outside their front doors, adding activity and interest to the new Plaza.
Old and new blend so harmoniously at the Market! We can only hope that endeavors elsewhere will be as harmonious.
It is worrisome that there is not a member of the historic preservation community appointed to the interview panel for the Community Assets Division Director position. The Friends of the Market Board fears that this omission represents a bias on the part of some in City government that historic preservation poses a potential barrier to development and/or an impediment to innovation. Preservation and development can co-exist, but it takes conscious effort and dedication for them to do so. Vigilance on the part of we who love our historic places is a must!
First Avenue Trolley
The next briefing on plans for the First Avenue Connector--otherwise known as the First Avenue Trolley-- is scheduled for the April 12th Market Historical Commission meeting. At the last briefing, the MHC expressed grave concern about the plan as it was presented because it removed parking and delivery access on First Avenue, especially between Pike and Pine, and limited traffic to one lane in each direction. The meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 4:30 p.m. on the upper floor above the Market Atrium.
Enjoy the onset of Spring, especially on March 20th, when 10,000 daffodils will be given away throughout downtown by Market staff and volunteers, spreading cheer (and a reminder to come celebrate the season in the Market!)
As always, questions, comments and suggestions are welcome at my email address below.
Written by Christine Vaughan, christinevaughan@ speakeasy.net