Now & Then -- Seattle's Elephant on Front Street (now 1st Avenue)

  • By Paul Dorpat
  • Posted 1/01/1999
  • Essay 2573

This file contains Seattle historian and photographer Paul Dorpat's Now & Then photographs and reflections on the early business along Seattle's Front Street (now 1st Avenue) and the former Denny Hill.

Elephant Store

In this 1878 view up Seattle's Front Street (now 1st Avenue), only the Elephant store on the right -- where, presumably, both the bargains and the selection are big -- is obviously a retail store. The others look like homes, but they are not. These clapboards house a foundry, a cigar store, a drugstore, and a brewery.

This scene includes another subject, bigger than an elephant. It is the hill on the horizon -- Denny Hill. In 1878, the hill reaches about 100 feet above the present elevation of 3rd Avenue between Stewart and Virginia streets. This is the best early record of Denny Hill that survives: The hill itself, of course, did not.


Paul Dorpat, Seattle: Now & Then Vol. 2 (Seattle: Tartu Publications, 1988), Story 3.
Note: This essay was edited for in 1999.

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