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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

December 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM

A look back at 2012: Drawing on Seattle history

South Lake Union: A handful of homes from the early 1900s, most of them empty, still stand.

[Last glimpse of the early days. Dec. 7, 2012]


If my sketching counted toward a degree in Seattle history, I think I earned a few credits in 2012.

Ask me about the Monorail, the Bubbleator or the Space Needle. In this year of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, I learned the Needle wasn’t always white – that it sported a nice bright orange top during the fair. I also discovered the Bubbleator being used as a greenhouse in the front yard of a Des Moines home. And I finally understood what keeps the aging Monorail going: flawless German engineering and 64 tires of various sizes that are replaced every few years.

The Kalakala? I paddled for hours to examine the derelict ferry up-close. I would have failed that test if it weren’t for my kayaking partner, Mark Greengo, who pulled me out of the water when my kayak flipped. You know artists. We like to suffer for our art.

Compared to that, the whirlwind tour of quintessential Seattle icons at the Museum of History and Industry was a piece of cake. The Rainier Beer “R”, the Slo-mo hydroplane and Lincoln’s Towing Toe Truck are forever burned into my memory.

A student of all things historic, I sketched a few landmarks at the University of Washington, which turned 150 this year. I also penned drawings of 100-year-old homes that, unfortunately, are unlikely to survive South Lake Union’s transformation.

As 2013 comes around, I’m already thinking what I should draw for extra credit. I welcome your ideas of people and places to sketch. That’s not cheating, is it?


Space Needle: Painted “Galaxy Gold” for the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair.

[Space Needle should go for the gold. Sept. 14, 2012]


The Bubbleator: Used as a greenhouse in Des Moines, WA.

[World’s Fair Bubbleator has had its ups and downs. May 4, 2012]


Seattle Monorail: Technician Bill Humphreys stands by one of the train’s tractor-size tires.

[They keep the old monorail rolling. March 3, 2012]


University of Washington: Celebrated its 150th Anniversary with “Husky Fest.”

[Quiet retreat on UW campus. April 20, 2012]


Kalakala: Future of dilapidated 1930s art deco ferry still unknown.

[Kalakala’s charm not yet rusted out. Feb. 3, 2012]


SODO: Restored warehouses from the 1920s are now event halls and home-improvement stores.

[Old soul of Sodo shines out. Feb. 14, 2012]


Shilshole Marina: Leif Erikson’s statue was dedicated when the marina opened in 1962.

[‘Our Boy Leaf’ standing tall at Shilshole Marina. Aug. 3, 2012]


Toe Truck: One of thousands of artifacts on display at the Museum of History and Industry.

[History fills up lots of boxes. Jan. 6, 2012]


First Hill church: Seattle First Baptist celebrated the 100th anniversary of its sanctuary.

[Reaching for the sky, long before the Needle. Sept. 28, 2012]



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