November 15, 2013 at 9:13 PM
An austere monument at Alki Avenue S.W. and 63rd Avenue S.W. marks the “birthplace of Seattle,” the point along the West Seattle shoreline where a group of pioneers led by Arthur Denny landed 162 years ago this week.
I used to think the Denny Party stumbled upon these lands the same way Columbus happened upon America. But I know better now. Arthur Denny had dispatched his younger brother, David, to scout the area a few months earlier.
That means the 24 men, women and children who came aboard the Schooner Exact had something to look forward to. Namely, the cabin David Denny and fellow pioneer Lee Terry were building to welcome them.
On their arrival, however, they found a big disappointment. David had fallen ill, and the cabin was unfinished – in the middle of November. No wonder “the ladys sat down on the loggs and took A Big Cry,” as later reported by a member of the party.
Though a major metropolis has blossomed along Elliott Bay since then, it’s not difficult to imagine what the pioneers had to go through that Nov. 13 of 1851. Stand for a few minutes on that beach this time of the year and you’ll feel the same chill in the air while seagulls fly through the same cloudy skies that greeted the Denny Party.
I think I would have cried too.
August 30, 2013 at 6:49 PM
Sketched Aug. 29, 2013
While all eyes are on the new Husky Stadium, let me draw attention to a small, but familiar, piece of the upgraded complex: the 360-pound bronze husky sculpture that has welcomed fans since 1995 and is now the centerpiece of the Dawg Pack Entrance.
Did you know “Husky Spirit” is related to Rachel, the Pike Place Market pig? Both statues are the creations of Whidbey Island sculptor Georgia Gerber, whose portfolio of local public art includes plenty of animals: bears at the Redmond Town Center, gorillas at the Woodland Park Zoo and two harbor seals on Alki Beach (to be dedicated Sept. 8). Gerber said that of the more than 60 pieces she has created, the husky is special to her because she is a University of Washington alumna. The goal was to create “a proud husky, larger than life, that would become an iconic image.”
Sitting to draw it for a couple hours gave me a new appreciation for Gerber’s work. I wonder what animal she will create next. A seahawk, perhaps?
January 23, 2013 at 6:18 PM
You’ve seen the bronze bust of Chief Seattle in Pioneer Square. I’m pretty sure more than one sketcher must have drawn the real person back in the day. Wouldn’t it be great to see those drawings today? On the University of Washington Libraries digital collections website I found at least one drawing of him, signed by Raphael Coombs in 1891.
August 3, 2012 at 9:35 PM
Sketched July 25, 2012 [Click on sketches to enlarge]
The Leif Erikson statue at Shilshole Marina turned 50 this summer.
A gift from local Scandinavians, the 17-foot scultpture of the Viking explorer had a rough start. Deemed “unexciting” by some city art officials, the monument wouldn’t be here today if the Port of Seattle hadn’t accepted it.
Kristine Leander, of the Leif Erikson International Foundation (LEIF), agrees that the statue looks a bit like “a football player with a Viking helmet.” But its artistic value is not the point.
To Scandinavian Americans, she said, “our boy Leif” represents risk-taking immigrants who came with their “sails filled with hope and courage.”
Leif’s statue has been part of a new plaza at the marina since its rededication in 2007. Surrounding stones display the names of more than 1,700 Scandinavian immigrants and benches invite a moment of contemplation. Leander said it’s become almost a spiritual place.
My visit to the Marina reminded me of Gary Peterson, one of about 500 live-aboards who call this city of boats home. I was a guest on his boat last year during the Argosy Christmas Ship parade. (See “Boaters’ Christmas lamp is lit,” Dec. 9, 2011)
Then I was probably too distracted by all the Christmas lights to notice a lesser-known landmark: Shilly the Sea Monster. Its head and snake-like body rise above the breakwater barrier surrounding the marina.
Port media officer Peter McGraw said in an email that the skeleton walking ahead of Shilly represents the monster’s guardian.
What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!
April 27, 2011 at 9:32 AM
Sketched April 26, 10:44 a.m.
After more than 10 years living in the U.S., I still haven’t been able to shake off my Spanish accent. Some words just don’t come out with the right pronunciation.
For example, ponies. When I was telling people that Tuesday morning I sketched the ponies in Shoreline, most of them didn’t know what I was talking about. “The… bonnies? What?”
But then I showed them the sketch and that solved the problem. “Oh… the ponies!” A picture is worth at least one word, if not thousands, as the saying goes.
I’m really intrigued about these sculptures at Ronald Bog Park (N 175th St and Meridian Ave N) just west of I-5. According to the City of Shoreline, not only the artist is unknown, they were donated by an anonymous source under the condition that they would be placed in a park-like, highly-traveled location.
Apparently, everyone in Shoreline knows about the ponies. They’ve become a symbol of the city.
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