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MarQueen Hotel – 600 Queen Anne Ave N – Lower Queen Anne – Seattle, WA

Over the next few weeks I am going to put an emphasis on my images from the Lower Queen Anne area. I have several motivations in doing this. First, I have a pressing need to address a question I am regularly asked by local stakeholders and people: where can the entire collection can be seen online? Secondly, having them published will allow me to work with local historical societies and museums in a far more efficient manner. Lastly, I want to put some pressure on myself to bring this phase of the project to a sense of completion.

I don’t quite yet understand how I should approach my commentary about these images. I am leaning towards a more personal point of view about my relationship with these places instead of quick factual commentary as that is more inline with my nature and the somewhat less than pure documental quality of the images.

If there is a center of something approaching elegance in the neighborhood it does occur at the MarQueen and it begins early in the day. When I am up early and out, say before 7 AM, I often see a staff member or two, dressed in their crisp black and white uniforms, out sweeping up the previous day’s debris from the sidewalks and gutters that abut the hotel on two sides. Soon after the rhythm of the hotel becomes apparent with a flurry of activity at entrance in the morning with guests departing, later ebbing into a steady coming and going of people, cars, and cabs throughout the day, and finally, once again the pace increases as the day moves into evening. After dark, the quiet consistency of this place, the light from the lobby chandeliers catching on the cut glass of the front doors, dominate the sidewalk in front of it.

Dating from 1918 this building, covering about a half of a city block, began as the Seattle Engineering School that originally trained blacksmiths to work at a Ford plant about a mile or so away on Lake Union. Over the next 50 years it operated continuously as a school and garage. My sensibilities see it as an anchor that cemented in place the blue collar roots of the neighborhood, still echoed in everything surrounding it.

Copyright 2012 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved.