Journeys Around Seattle, #52: Capitol Hill

December 28, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

View from Pine & BroadwayView from Pine & Broadway On December 25th, with Lisa spending the day with her family across the Sound, I decided to take advantage of a quiet day to myself and go for a long walk through Capitol Hill, the neighborhood I call home. I've said before that Capitol Hill is the most "Seattle" of all the Seattle neighborhoods-- of all the things Seattle is known for, from coffee to live music to gay culture to hipsters, Capitol Hill has them all in abundance. It's also a huge, sprawling neighborhood, stretching from the coffee shops and nightclubs of the Pike/Pine corridor to Millionaire's Row, where veritable castles line tree-lined streets just south of Volunteer Park, to the hiking paths of the Washington state arboretum and even further, depending on where you draw the boundaries.

So this photo expedition isn't meant to encompass-- or even sum up-- all of Capitol Hill, but rather just to document some of the interesting sights I passed by on my two-hour walk. Even though it was Christmas Day, there were still plenty of pedestrians out and about, families going on a pre- or post-meal walk. The day was cloudy and cool, but not overly cold, and luckily the rain stayed away.

I started by heading up Pine Street, past Seattle Central Community College and the old Egyptian Theater, which had lines out the door for Christmas Day showings. Then I passed the Jimi Hendrix statue at Pine & Broadway on my way to Cal Anderson Park, where I walked up to the reflecting pool and nearby grassy fields. Lots of ducks hanging out in the pool-- I'm pretty sure the ducks outnumbered the humans in the park.

Graffiti artGraffiti art From there, I walked past the construction zone where the new Capitol Hill light link rail station is being built, in preparation for a 2016 opening. There's not a lot to see there, but there is some pretty cool art decorating the walls around the perimeter of the site. It used to be that you could look through portholes in the wall to see a huge pit all the way down to the level of the tracks, but that's been covered up by the station now as construction progresses. If only the other tunnel project was going so well...

The world-famous mystery Coke machineThe world-famous mystery Coke machine Just north of the construction is a Coke machine sitting outside a locksmith shop, which has gained a fair amount of fame due to the fact that while it still works, no one seems to know who operates it. It's an antique machine, and all it offers is "Mystery?" sodas.

Lacking any change with which to try my luck, I ventured northward into the residential areas of Capitol Hill, eventually making way onto Millionaire's Row, a part of the neighborhood where massive old mansions line tree-lined streets. This is probably the most expensive area of an expensive city, an oasis for the super-wealthy amidst the urban hubbub of Seattle. I took a few pictures of some of the older buildings, then left before anyone called the cops to report a middle-class degenerate casing houses.

I headed north past Volunteer Park, which sits at the very top of Capitol Hill, and eventually made my way to the far point of my walk, Louisa Boren Park, which overlooks the "back side" of Capitol Hill, The view from Louisa Boren ParkThe view from Louisa Boren Park out across Lake Washington and the Eastside. The day was still cloudy, so visibility wasn't great, but the cloudscape was impressive (I'm learning to appreciate the cloudscapes of the Pacific Northwest), and under the clouds I could just make out the foothills of the Cascade Range, visible in the distance.

On my way home, I cut through Volunteer Park, but didn't hang around-- I did a separate photo expedition there way back in May. I walked down 12th Avenue, stopping only occasionally to document a tree or a bike rack that caught my eye, or to glance down the side streets that ran down the hill, from which you can see west all the way to the Space Needle and Elliott Bay.

The Capitol Hill libraryThe Capitol Hill library I did have a little postscript to this walk, when a couple days later, I walked up from my apartment to the Capitol Hill library to return a book. Along the way, I took pictures of some of the older brick buildings on the Hill, as well as the library itself, which I always quite liked-- Seattle libraries have distinct architecture, and while the Central Library is the best example of this, it often holds true for the smaller satellite libraries as well.

This is entry #52, which means this yearlong project is reaching an end... I'm planning to do one more wrapup entry, but otherwise this is it. And it seemed apropos (and I'm glad it worked out) that I got to do my own neighborhood for the last entry.


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