Admiral Area - neighborhood map 44 47 10 42 41 6 8 28
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My family came out in 1913. My dad used to say when the tide was high and the little stream that came down from Schmitz Park came together, that playfield was like a big flood down there, in front of Alki School. They finally filled it in so that the water wouldn’t come in there anymore. You would walk in off of Alki Avenue and you could buy cotton candy and ice cream and all kinds of things down there. There used to be a big bandstand that was built out over the promenade and they had band concerts, and they had a theater at one time. When my dad was a little kid, they had pony rides and he worked in the pony rides concession…It was busy in the summer like it is now. People would have little cottages along Alki Avenue. They might have a home on Queen Anne Hill, but they would come over to Alki and spend the summer. Betty Hanninge

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The sand dunes, the natural sandstone seawall, ponds, so many freshwater springs, wild roses, small wild blackberries, hazelnuts and salal. The berries of the salal are edible, milder than blueberries. Must have been lots of mushrooms. I have gathered and eaten fourteen varieties found here on Alki. Dorthea Schutt

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The tip end of West Seattle was entirely taken away and used to make Alki Avenue all the way from Duwamish Head to the Bonair Station. The tip of that changed the shape of the roadway there. Because of that, there was a pond or a little lake right up on the top of the hill of Duwamish Head. You could look over the top, down to Luna Park. George Shepard

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Lafayette School

Lafayette School after the 1949 earthquake (SWSHS 2000.42.1)

Well the big one was the earthquake in 1949; we were on spring vacation, I was at Lafayette Grade School and the four-story brick building collapsed. It would have been disastrous for all of us, they said probably 80% of us would have been killed and after that we were bussed. That was a real tragedy and drama I think for everyone involved, children and their parents. I don’t think you ever get over something like that. Murl Barke

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And how did you get to school in the morning? We’d ride the streetcar. …One day I was in a streetcar going down Spokane Street to Alaska Way and I went to get off at home and the conductor opened the gate and I ran out and a laundry truck hit me. I was underneath that darn laundry truck and I heard somebody say, ‘We’ve gotta get him to a hospital’. I crawled out on the other side and ran home. I just had a big cut on the back of my head. The wheel didn’t go over me. It just knocked me down…So you just ran home and no one chased after you? Well they came after me…The owners of the laundry got my mother to sign off on it so they didn’t pay her any money. Stan Christensen

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Alki’s streetcar number was Number 1. We got on First Avenue and we rode those streetcars. We’d come down on 1st Avenue, over the Spokane Street bridge, then it’d go way up on big wooden trestle and would cross over to the Alki side. The windows were open, and you’d get sawdust in your eyes cause there was the mill down on the river there, and the sawdust would come blowing up. Many a time we rode that. Janet Backman

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1933 woman Scuba diving

Bernice Petty, scuba diving 1933, Alki Beach (SWSHS 2008.9.10)

When I met my husband, he was from West Seattle, and when he was courting me, he would tell me stories about growing up at Alki and he came to West Seattle in 1926, and he used to tell me about the adventures he had. He and two other fellows loved boats, and they built many boats themselves, and they designed them themselves, and if one got a boat that was faster than the others, then they would redesign their boats so they could beat each other, so they all became builders as professions in their later lives. Off of the Alki Point they had a raft, with a tower on it so they could practice high dives, and besides the tower, there was a wood stove because, West Seattle is not so warm, and the water is not so warm, and so they would build a fire on the raft, in the wood stove and then they would dive until they got good. Penny Earnest

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He and his sister used to row out and there would be a lot of driftwood logs that escaped. Logging was a big industry, and logs would escape from the rafts, and the young people would row out and get the strays and bring them into shore; then they had a power saw set up and everybody along the beach would bring in logs and then they would work together and cut them up and then they would share the wood because almost everybody heated their homes with wood. And I thought that was such a great community project. Apparently they didn’t argue, oh I brought more logs then you did, they just split, divided the logs that they had and each took a share. Penny Earnst