GSGH #6 winner limerick

I’m grateful to Issy, who won the sixth installment of our Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt, because I’ve learned so much about a building whose reticence was buggin’ me sore. Issy identified these “gargoyles” as being the lions on the building on Second and Spring’s northeast corner, and she even specified that these were the two that glower over the entrance to the alley on Spring between Second and Third. Which is true.

The dangling "pom poms" looked familiar, she said.

This is a building that I’ve wondered about, since it has neither a visible address nor any name on it. But I raided Paul Dorpat’s Baist Map repository and discovered that it’s the J. A. Baillargeon Building, whence the Bs in the shields on the (non-corner) pier caps. From there I dug a little and found out that after having been built by Mr. Baillargeon in 1908 — and at only four stories — to house his retail store, it has spent most of its life in banking. It was renovated for finance work in 1918 (including a remodeled façade) and given a fifth floor in 1941, and it has been structurally integrated with the bank building next to it since that newcomer was built in 1958.

Here’s a photo of the building in its infancy.

A fashionably dressed lady of the oughts jaywalks on over to J.A.B.'s to see what's new in dry goods. Image copyright University of Washington Libraries.

Here’s a more recent shot by Joe Mabel.

Note the remodeled front entry and the additional floor, among many other changes. Issy's lions are on the sunlit corner. Image by Joe Mabel licensed through Creative Commons.

As a first-time winner, Issy gets a limerick fashioned in her honor. Here it is. Thanks for playing, Issy!

It’s Issy who answered our question
thanks — oddly — to traffic congestion.
While dodging its hassles
She’d noticed the tassels
That stand for the lions’ digestion.”

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4 Responses to “GSGH #6 winner limerick”


  1. 1 issy November 14, 2011 at 16:27

    Well done. Thanks much!

  2. 3 Matt November 18, 2011 at 11:19

    I emailed Paul Dorpat to ask if he knew more about this building, and told him that I’d consulted his maps had that they’d helped me find the name of it. His response, wry as ever:

    “Were the giving help always so inadvertent and fruitful. I hardly
    worked at it.
    Baillargeon opened his Lace House on Front Street in 1888, before the
    fire destroyed his store and all others in the showstrip along the
    west side of Front (First) between Columbia and Mill (Yesler).
    [Seattle Now and Then. Vol. 2 pp 74-75]”


  1. 1 GSGH #6 | The Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt Trackback on January 20, 2012 at 21:57

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