The eighth turn of the Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt did not lie long unwon. James, who we suspect is the consort of our two-time winner and two-limerick demander Issy, correctly commented that the fish in question adorns the facade of the Cristalla Building at Second Avenue and Lenora, which is simultaneously the facade of the Crystal Pool, which is no longer there.
How is this possible? Elementary. It is one of those situations where part of the facade of an old building was retained as the base of the new, which is a cheesy deal that cities swing with developers when the city wants to eat their cake but the citizens want to have it. I’m over it, because as I’ve said before it’s the best deal that I can hope for as a person who doesn’t a) sit on the city council or b) own any historic buildings. At least there’s a piece of history at my walking level that will now be there for another long time.
The Crystal Pool was built in 1915, the design of B. Marcus Priteca, who also created the subject of our Number Five hunt, the Colisevm Theater, as well as other Pantages movie houses all over the country. The building served as a boxing venue for a while and even hosted (at least one meeting of) the Ku Klux Klan before becoming the Bethel Temple during World War II.
Squirrel shooter and Belltown resident Igor Keller has treated the Crystal Pool and its unusual history admirably on his blog Hideous Belltown, where he writes:
Apparently, its water was pumped directly from Elliott Bay, filtered, heated and chlorinated. Well, chlorinated saltwater sounds a little rough on the hair, but hey, it was a different time. People valued their hair in a different way back then, I guess.”
So I’m on the hook for a limerick using James’ name. (Don’t miss James’ explanation of how he discovered the answer; it’s in the comments of GSGH 8.) But first, here is a photo showing more of the facade’s ornate details. These are curious — not quite gryphons, which have lions’ bodies with eagles’ heads and wings — but as wingéd monsters they are actually more classically gargoyly than the fish, although the fish perhaps have more gargle.
James, thanks for playing and congratulations! Without further ado, here is your prize.
James vowed to reel in our winner
without recourse to bait or spinner.
He caught it in Belltown
but near had a meltdown
while trying to fry stone fish for dinner.