Celebration planned September 14th for historic White Center Fieldhouse at Steve Cox Memorial Park

September 4th, 2013 Tracy Posted in history, Parks, White Center news Comments Off

Just out of the WCN inbox, from King County Parks:

As part of its ongoing 75th anniversary commemoration, King County Parks celebrates the historic White Center Fieldhouse with a community gathering on Saturday, Sept. 14, featuring games, activities, performances, memories and a special anniversary cake.

“The White Center Fieldhouse, and its home, Steve Cox Memorial Park, have long held an important place in the community,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “It is only fitting that we recognize and honor their enduring legacy as the final event of our 75th anniversary celebration.”

King County Parks hosts this free family-friendly celebration at the fieldhouse, at 1321 SW 102nd St. in White Center, from 2-5 p.m., with the official program getting under way at 3:30 p.m.

In addition to highlighting the unique histories of the building and park, the celebration will feature games, arts and crafts, cake and performances by special guests.

The fieldhouse, which is also known as the White Center Community Center, or the Log Cabin, was constructed between 1938 to 1940 and is one of the five original Works Progress Administration fieldhouses in King County.

Designed in the National Park Service “rustic style,” the fieldhouse features gabled wood shingle roofs, large covered porches with oversized log support posts, stone fireplaces, and half-log sliding. The building is a designated King County Landmark.

Community members are encouraged to share their memories of the White Center Fieldhouse with others by participating in the virtual scrapbook and video that King County Parks will assemble and make available to the public.

During the Sept. 14 event, King County Parks staff will record short video clips of any attendees who wish to share their memories of the fieldhouse. People can also share their photos and memories via e-mail by contacting Frana Milan, at frana.milan@kingcounty.gov.

In 2013, King County Parks has been celebrating its 75th anniversary with special events held throughout the county, including a volunteer “work and party day” at Tolt-MacDonald Park, backcountry trails celebrations at nine sites, a “King County Parks Day” proclamation by the King County Council, and the launch of the King County Parks Foundation in partnership with Laird Norton Wealth Management.

For more information on King County Parks’ 75th anniversary, visit kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/about/75th_anniversary.aspx.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Seeking a skate: Wondering about the whereabouts of a piece of White Center history

December 20th, 2011 Tracy Posted in history, southgate, White Center news 1 Comment »

A request we were asked to share with you, from Andrew McCarty:

I am wanting to find out if anyone locally has any information regarding what happened to the old skate boot sign that was on the top of the Southgate Roller Rink. (originally called the Southgate Rollerdrome back in the day)

Obviously the sign disappeared at some point, and the current owners do not know where. I’d love to get any information regarding its whereabouts or even some better pictures of the sign as I am trying to organize a group to either find the original and restore it, or craft a new one. It looks like from pictures that I’ve seen, that it had neon lighting, but because the photos are so grainy and in black and white, it would help to have better quality photos if we decide to craft ourselves a new one.

Any help would be great! Please e-mail dr.andros@comcast.net with any information.

Thank you very much!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Veterans’ Park re-dedicated in Delridge Triangle: Dream come true

September 18th, 2011 Tracy Posted in history, White Center Chamber of Commerce, White Center news Comments Off

By Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now

The White Center Chamber of Commerce’s rededication of Veterans Park in the Delridge Triangle this afternoon was the culmination of a six-year dream of nearby Triangle Tavern owner Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy.

Speaking at the ceremony, he told of his adoption of the bedraggled, non-standard-sized flag he discovered in the park upon taking ownership of the tavern six years ago. As a Navy veteran and member of a longtime military family, he recalled the importance of the journey to raise not only a properly sized flag, but to be able to have the flag fly 24 hours a day over the place where White Center and West Seattle meet.

Years of inquiries to city and county agencies, VFW groups and others were made by Mac to determine who was responsible for the orphaned veterans’ memorial, originally established by a now-defunct Glendale veterans group decades ago. Through those years, Mac paid for small replacement flags each year, but his dream was to have a full 5×8 flag fully illuminated at night, as required by federal law to fly the Stars and Stripes.

Finally, as WCN reported last December, the Chamber of Commerce, with the help of Seattle Public Utilities, determined that the flagpole did indeed have power, though the mechanisms had not been maintained or tested in years. The power source was determined and the fixtures upgraded to halogen lights in anticipation of POW/MIA Recognition Day, a national day befitting acknowledgement of those veterans who have served but never made it home.

A Color Guard in full blues from Joint Base Lewis-McChord participated in the formal ceremony and presentation of the flag.

Chamber president Mark Ufkes’ White Center Boy Scout troop also played a role, playing the somber Taps and removing the old flag, with the lively Reveille (video to come) as the brand new and much larger flag was hoisted by a troop member.

The commemorative plaque, inscripted with “To All Who Have Served Our American Flag” rededicates the park to those in the past and the present and will be maintained in perpetuity by the White Center Chamber of Commerce so that the light will always remain upon the flag, reminding future generations of those who have valiantly served.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

9/11 tribute begins the day at Holy Family Community Street Fair

September 11th, 2011 Tracy Posted in history, Holy Family, White Center news Comments Off

The Pledge of Allegiance, led by 9/11 first-responder Rudy Alvarado, and the national anthem, led by Holy Family School assistant principal Anca Wilson, started this morning’s tribute at the HF Community Street Fair. Alvarado then said the Firefighters’ Prayer:

Alvarado is a retired Redmond fire captain; his memories were featured in a Redmond Reporter story last week – note the bandanna around his neck in today’s video is like the one he was shown wearing during his work at Ground Zero ten years ago.

P.S. The Holy Family fair continues until four this afternoon:

It’s at 20th/Roxbury, on the south side of the school/church campus.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

White Center businesses: Marv’s Broiler sign gets TLC

September 3rd, 2011 Tracy Posted in Businesses, history, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news 9 Comments »

Take a close look – WCN contributor Deanie Schwarz took that photo on Friday, and this photo exactly one week earlier:

You can see a bit of progress, as the iconic Marv’s Broiler sign on 16th SW gets a facelift, Deanie reports. She talked with manager/bartender Tammy, who says Marv’s owners will be restoring the sign’s neon and lights, with the help of White Center Community Development Association grants. Tammy also told Deanie that the rest of Marv’s exterior will get new paint in the coming year.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

An El Paso Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2009 Ricardo Posted in Families, history, Holidays, People, white center 1 Comment »

Thanksgiving produces mixed emotions for me.  Having grown up Chicano, in El Paso, Texas, the holiday carried considerable cultural baggage for me: the rampant celebration of gluttony, the Dallas Cowboys, America’s corporate franchise, always playing on the tube, the constant consumerism and, of course, the slaughter of Native Americans.  And then there was my mother.  When we lived in Mexico, we obviously did not celebrate Thanksgiving, so I have no early childhood memories of this particular holiday.  When we moved to the states, my mom had a lady who made the best tamales and mole, I have ever eaten.  So initially, we celebrated Thanksgiving in our way — the way I’d always known.

Sometime in my adolescence my mom became a fundamentalist Christian.  I abhorred this sect from the very outset.  I found their rituals, primitive:  speaking in tongues, meeting in store-fronts, fire & brimstone, the rapture – coming very, very soon.  And when I went away to college and matured into my progressive political views, I despised their unabashed right-wing politics.  Needless to say, none of this played well with my mom.

In high school, I would always goad my mother about politics, religion, culture; pretty much anything incendiary that would ignite a fire-storm between us.  These dramas took on heightened intensity on holidays like Thanksgiving, when my mother wanted everthing to proceed just so.  So, many of my memories of Thanksgiving revolve around the interactions with my mom.

My mom adopted, not only the rituals of Christian fundamentalism, but the cultural affects as well.  Instead, of mole and tamales, we got mashed potatoes and gelatin.  When I visited from college and the “gringo food” was served I would storm into the kitchen, fry up some beans, warm up rice and dig out the salsa.  I would set them down and exclaim, this is our food and we should celebrate the holiday with our food, (the turkey is ironically – our food – a New World bird).  I did not goad my mother, but I did ask her why we had to eat mashed potatoes when beans and rice were so much healthier.  And besides, “it is our food.”

I’ve mellowed considerably as I have become a parent.  The curse, “may you have kids like yourself” has come to bite me in a big way.  If I were celebrating Thanksgiving with my folks in El Paso, I would still pull out the home-made salsa, the tortillas, beans and rice, but instead of berating my mother, I would give her (and my dad) a big hug and a kiss and say, “I”m so very happy to be here.  I love you.”  And then we would retire after the meals and root for who-ever was playing the Cowboys.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Richard Hugo was here – but evidence of that is where?

October 14th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Arts, history, White Center news Comments Off

Got a note from local writer Brian Barr. He lives in White Center, just two blocks away from the former home of local poet legend Richard Hugo. While there’s the Hugo House in another part of the area, in White Center, Barr was sad to discover, there’s little evidence of his existence. Read what he wrote on his own website, and see if you’d like to join his quest to change that.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

One more reminder: History Tour of White Center on Saturday!

July 24th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Fun, history, White Center news Comments Off

We’ve mentioned it here a couple times before — it’s one of the coolest events this weekend – so you don’t want to miss it. Be at 17th/Roxbury at 10:30 Saturday morning to join Ron Richardson and others from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society for a walking tour of White Center history. $5 members, $7 nonmembers.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Reminder: Less than 3 weeks till White Center History Tour!

July 5th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Fun, history, Southwest Seattle Historical Society, White Center news 4 Comments »

While out and about covering 4th of July activities on Saturday, we stopped by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society membership picnic at the Log House Museum in West Seattle, and got a reminder about the White Center History Tour – first mentioned here on June 13, and now less than three weeks away – July 25, 10:30 am-noon. An hour and half during which you’ll get decades of knowledge! See you there.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

History Tour of White Center coming up July 25

June 13th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Fun, history, White Center news Comments Off

On behalf of partner site West Seattle Blog, we are tabling today at the Morgan Junction Community Festival (continuing at Fauntleroy /California till 6 pm) – and we just got a flyer from Ron Richardson of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society regarding the big History Tour of White Center coming up July 25. Meet at 17th/Roxbury, in the parking lot, at 10:30 am that day (it’s a Saturday), and the tour will last about an hour and a half. $5 SWHS members, $7 nonmembers (“or make a donation,” says the flyer). Ron promises some amazing sights to be seen – mark your calendar.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

History of Southgate Roller Rink

February 27th, 2009 Ricardo Posted in Businesses, history, white center, White Center Swap Meet 5 Comments »

White Center resident, writer and historian, Ron Richardson has just penned a history of the building, most commonly known as the Southgate Roller Rink.  You may recall that Ron previously penned a detailed history of White Center. Both articles can be found at HistoryLink.org website which has a compendium of articles on Washington State history.   The Roller Rink originally started as a boxing gym and, in fact, produced some nationally ranked boxers, including Harry “The Kid” Mathews who went on to fight Rocky Marciano at Yankee Stadium.  To wit some excerpts from Ron Richardson’s excellent and well-researched piece.

The Southgate Roller Rink (now Southgate Event Center) is located in the center of White Center (at 9646 17th Ave SW), a neighborhood of South Seattle. It was originally built by Hiram Green (1863-1932) in 1920 as a boxing arena. From 1937 for the next 70 years it became a roller rink, most recently famous for hosting the Rat City Roller Girls.

snip

Green and his arena established a connection between boxing and White Center.   A regular fighter at the arena was young Al Hostak (1916-2006) from Georgetown.  Over the years Hostak trained, boxed, and tended bar in White Center. In 1939 Hostak won the middleweight championship of the world against Tacoma’s Freddy Steele in front of  30,000 at Seattle’s Civic Field. White Center resident Harry “The Kid” Matthews (1922-2003) kept White Center on the boxing map into the 1950s.  Harry turned pro at the age of 15, hence the nickname “The Kid.” He fought former middle weight champion Al Hostak in two memorable fights, winning one and drawing the second.  Later in his career Matthews defeated Ezzard Charles (1921-1975), former world  heavyweight champion  After 20 years of boxing Matthews record was 87 wins, 7 draws and 7 losses out of 101 fights. His biggest fight was at Yankee stadium in 1952.  Matthews was knocked out by Rocky Marciano (1923-1969), future heavyweight champion of the world. This was a big disappointment, but no disgrace as no one ever did beat Marciano.

Rocky Marciano knocking out "The Kid" Mathews at Yankee Stadium

Hiram Green died in 1932. The Depression took down many an enterprise and boxing in White Center ws no exception. The building passed in to the hands of Green’s daughter, Ethel Green (b. 1909).  Ethel married William “Pop” Brown (d.1969).  William Brown had come from England to the United States during World War I. By 1934 the couple brought in dance bands to replace boxers and the building became a dance hall.

In 1937 Ethel, and ‘Pop’ Brown made a crucial and profitable decision.  They reopened the large hanger like building, calling it the Southgate Rollerdrome.  The name reflected a local attitude in that they considered White Center as the south gate to Seattle.  As it turned out, a large skating rink was the right idea at the right time and in the right place.  Generations of people recall the good times, friendships, skating instructions, and competitions.

And the story goes on to the present.  I invite readers to peruse the piece, as it is full of delightful anecdotes and trove of historical information.   Thanks Ron!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Al Skaret: A Hero in White Center

November 24th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in history, People, white center Comments Off

Here is a belated Veteran’s Day tribute to one of our neighbors, Al Skaret.  I also have included a photo of Al.  His remarkable survival story is featured in a new book by Maxwell Kennedy., son of RFK.
On November 11, 2008, Veteran’s Day, a book was published that tells the story of the Kamikaze attack on the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill.  One of our neighbor’s, Albert Skaret, was one of the survivors.   Maxwell Kennedy, son of Robert Kennedy,  tells the Bunker Hill story in his new book “Danger’s Hour: The Story of the USS Bunker Hill and the Kamikaze Pilot who Crippled Her.”  The book was published  November 11, Veteran’s Day.

Al, now 88, and his wife Jean have lived at SW Cloverdale for over fifty years.  Maxwell Kennedy interviewed Al several times and his memories and stories are included in the book.

Before the war Al was a journeyman machinist, but after enlisting in the Navy he was assigned as a gunner on a merchant ship defending against enemy submarines.    Al was later assigned to the Bunker Hill.  He could have been a gunner, or a machinist but instead ended up as a ship right and part of a damage control unit.

The Bunker Hill was hit by two kamikaze planes on May 11, 1945,  during the Okinawa campaign.  The gun crews took heavy casualties and all the machinists were among the 396 killed.  250 more were wounded.  Following the attack Al was part of the crew that moved into harm’s way in search of survivors.   The crew of the Bunker Hill received the Presidential Unit Citation and 11 Silver Stars were awarded.  Al’s story is included in Kennedy’s book that is available at local book stores.

This is a belated Veteran’s Day thanks to Al and his generation that defended America in her hour of need.

You can read more about Al here and here’s the book about the battle, written by Bobby Kennedy’s son.

Signed:  Ron Richardson

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Architectural history at Steve Cox Memorial Park

October 5th, 2008 Tracy Posted in history, Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news Comments Off

Today’s magazine section of the Seattle Times takes a look at the history of five fieldhouses built by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) in King County, including the one at Steve Cox Park. Here’s the article; lick through the photos to the right of the article — it’s shown in #10 and #11. (The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council continues to raise money for a permanent artwork as a tribute to Deputy Cox at the park, and is now selling tickets to a November 14th fundraising dinner and silent auction that they hope will enable them to proceed with the project; go here to find out how to get tickets.)

AddThis Social Bookmark Button