GSGH #8 winner limerick

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.

GSGH Number 8.

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 Cristalla's first-story facade is the old Crystal Pool's facade. From the sidewalk, the view at eye level has been pretty much the same since 1915. Human included for scale.

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.

Minus the dome, which disappeared I don't know when, the building looked like this right up until a few years ago. I remember walking by the Bethel Temple, which is what it was for most of its life. This photo from the early 20th century is all over the web, though I don't know whom to credit. If it's yours, let me know..

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.

More ornamental details, including these cuddly fellas, at eye-level on the Cristalla's facade. These are only about as big as your hand.

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.


6 Responses to “GSGH #8 winner limerick”

  1. 1 James January 5, 2012 at 12:23

    Uh oh, busted. There are only two more members of our family to make submissions, so by contest #10 at the latest we’ll have to start abiding by the spirit as well as the letter of the law. The personalized limericks are worth bending the rules, though. Well played.

    Incidentally, I interviewed Igor Keller for the bookstore blog a while ago:

    Speaking of which, I don’t know if you noticed our recent post recapping the year in blogging, but in it I mentioned that we want to include some other voices in the coming months. If you have something to say about our store or any other remotely bookish topic that you’d like to share, let me know.

    • 2 Matt January 5, 2012 at 13:25

      If you’re still coming up with the winning answers after you’ve run out of family members, we’ll bend the rules so that your kids’ pet anaconda or whatever can play, provided you come up with an engaging story — I’m a regular Shahryar that way. Nice job on the Keller interview…who knew he was a musical prodigy, too? (You did, obv.) I’d love to contribute to the Island Books bl…journal sometime. Was musing on two bookish themes on the way into work today. Cheers.

  2. 3 marni January 7, 2012 at 17:46

    Ah. The meeting of minds I envisioned when I oh-so-casually suggested James follow the Just Wondering blog!

  1. 1 Gargoyle #8 | The Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt Trackback on January 20, 2012 at 22:19

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