Letter: West Seattle's murals are a real community asset
I'm not much of an art officianado so some outdoor art leaves me a bit puzzled such as the 6 large slabs of stone in MyrtleEdwards Park just north of pier 70: 2 are near each other titled "Nearby", 2 are next to each other with one leaning on the other titled "Adjacent" and 2 are set with one above the other titled "Upon". In nearby Sculpture Park, straddling Elliot Ave, are some unusual items including a giant eraser with brush. This is art?
Now out here in West Seattle we have some outdoor art in the form of murals that I think are pretty neat. McClendon Hardware has a beautiful mountain scene with Mt Rainier prominently displayed. On Fauntleroy Way on Huling Brothers former Ford agency building is a mural of a vintage car parked at the end of a dirt road on the fringe of the forest next to a water shoreline I remember back to the days when practically all the roads were gravel in the 1920'sOn the Post Office is a mural of a HiYu parade which brings back memories of a few parades viewed over the years. Key Bank has a mural of an early time ferry - a forerunner of the large speedy ferries of today.Chase Bank's mural brings back memories of a specal day of the week in school-Bank Day. That's when you'd bank pennies, nickels and dimes and watch, over time, the magic of compounding interest that made your account grow. Saving money and increasing your accountwith interest is a joke these days. Washington Mutual SavingsBank was THE bank that taught how to save. It was a conservative bank in those days. More recently their CEO's got caught up in the craziness of subprime mortgages and WMSL became one of the biggest bank banruptcies ever and now is no more. I still think back to the days in the 1930's when a bike ride to Mrs Wickman's Pie Factory would net us a large pie for 20 cents. We'd pair off and pay 10 cents each and would each eat half a pie. Those pies now cost several dollars each. That also reminds me of the 35 cent Fish and Chips at Spuds on Alki in the 1930's. Those 1930 dollars are worth 5 cents or less in todays purchasing power. On the West side of 44th SW a few doors north of Junction Hdwe on the side of State Farm's building is a vivid scene of an old time print shop . And just north of that is the scene of an old time horse drawn hose wagon headed for a fire. In front of this is a historic marker describing some of the history of the old fire station that used to exist there.
My favorite mural of the group is on the South side of the parking lot behind Arts and crafts and Sleep Country. It's a scene of the old Duwamish tideflats. When I was a kid living on Maple Hill nearby present Clevland High School we'd walk down to Georgetown and ride the trolly north and then transfer to the Alki trolley which went on the trestle over the Duwamish waterway. When the trolley was going full speed it wobbled and jerked a lot from side to side. Looking out the window there was nothing but water way down below. I was always scared that the trolley would leave the tracks and fall in the waterydepths below. Alki was a popular destination point then, as it is now. In those days therewas a large bathhouse and a raft anchored a few yards offshore that you could swim to. My mother used to swim way beyond the raftand I would see her as a little speck bobbing in the waves out there. I couldn't understand how she could stay out there so long because the water in the Sound is COLD. My mother was kinda fat so I guess she was well insulated.
At the Southeast corner of Spokane and Airport Way was a brick factory which used the clay off the West side of Beacon Hill for brickmaking. All the bricks for the buildings in Pioneer Square and even some of the downtown street paving came from that brick factory.
I talked to one of the mural art painters and found out that the paint they use is extremely expensive as it has the ingredients to withstand weathering. All the murals are still in pretty good shape except for the horse drawn hose wagon.
So in your travels around West Seattle take time to gaze at and appreciate some of the fine historical scenes depicted in our local neighborhood mural art.
Emil M Martin