I thought that Gargoyle #12 might keep even Issy occupied for a while since its location is a little bit off the beaten path of my usual wanderings, but she pegged it as the Eagles Auditorium on the northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and Union Street. Here’s a wider shot of the eagle that posed for our original hunt post:
This is another building I have zilcho history with, and in fact I only noticed the decorative eagle on it for the first time when I was out one day shooting city fountains for our Aqua Urbana tour. That doesn’t mean the building doesn’t have any history, and in fact it has been “as busy as Issy” since its completion in 1926, if you’ll allow the minting of a new phrase.
The building now is called Kreielsheimer Place and houses ACT Theater (sic), which, because people have always insisted on appending the word “theater” to its acronym, has given in to common usage and must now pretend that its acronym does not mean anything, or at least that it does not already include the word ‘theater’ — an untenable turn of events for the dwindling race of strict grammarians, equivalent to a normal person’s zombie apocalypse.
But where were we? Oh yes, we were about to go back in time. But I’ll let the National Park Service repeat what’s on their “Seattle: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary” web page, since it’s so evocatively told:
On February 6, 1898, a group of theater managers met to discuss some business matters. The men decided to take a walk along the tide flats, and upon reaching the shipyards, settled upon some pilings, where the conversation took a philosophical turn. Combining their ideas on democracy and brotherhood, it was decided that an organization should be formed to reflect this spirit, an organization called the “Seattle Order of Good Things.” Later renamed the “Fraternal Order of Eagles,” the society’s constitution asked its members to “make human life more desirable by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness, and hope.”
I don’t know anything about the Eagles, except that I met and danced with my wife at a folk dance in a hall that they built in Ballard, so for that reason alone they’re okay in my book. I find the above vignette actually very moving and while I know that some of these fraternal organizations surround themselves in great secrecy and wear funny hats and develop secret handshakes and assume austere titles for themselves, I think if they’re also achieving in any measure the goals they set for themselves in their original constitution then they’ve done well.
The building was, I think, a hotel at some point called the Senator, although I have no more information than that and don’t know when that might have been. In the 1950s it passed into the hands of the Unity Church of Truth, which did its thing there until 1960, and from the mid-’60s until 1970 it hosted many musical acts, including Leon Russell, the Grateful Dead, John Mayall and Jethro Tull.
Here’s a shot of the avian decoration above the south-facing entrance on Union. Thanks again for playing, Issy. Every time you (or anyone else) win one of these hunts, I learn something about my town I didn’t know before.