Legacy of the Gold Rush:
An Administrative History of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
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Chapter 11:
Establishing the Seattle Unit

The creation of the Seattle Unit of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park was one aspect of the revival of Pioneer Square. This area, which in former years had faced Elliott Bay both on its western and southern edges, had been Seattle's commercial core during the Klondike Gold Rush period. After World War I, however, the central business district area moved north, and Pioneer Square became increasingly isolated and dilapidated. The area "gradually fell into lower uses"--particularly during the Great Depression--and became dotted with cheap hotels and taverns. It housed an increasing number of seamen, transient workers and the underprivileged. To a large degree, it became a forgotten corner of the downtown area. [1]

Map 11. The Klondike-Seattle Unit and the Pioneer Square Historic District. Source: NPS, Draft General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, June/July 1996, 2.12. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

During a 1948 earthquake, several Pioneer Square buildings suffered the loss of cornices and sustained other damage. Then, during the late 1950s, Seattle's municipal leaders came under an increasing amount of pressure to accede to an "urban renewal" plan that would have flattened most of the area's buildings and converted the space into parking lots for the business district to the north. [2] Others, however, were unwilling to give up on the area. In November 1958, the Downtown Parks Committee requested that the Seattle City Planning Commission study the area with an eye toward its rehabilitation. That study, completed in August 1959, noted that

Today, much of the [Pioneer Square] area is approaching a condition of blight. A number of the buildings have practically no tenancies above the ground floor and an increasing number of ground floor vacancies is noted. Property values in the vicinity of Pioneer Square today are generally less than 10% of the average values in the Central Business District. A study of the official records shows numerous violations of building code and fire regulations in the area, reflecting inadequate maintenance and disregard for standards of health and safety.

To counteract that trend, the Planning Commission proposed small-scale changes. It recommended that the street in front of the Pioneer Building be closed to automobile traffic, and that pedestrian circulation be encouraged as had been done in San Francisco's Jackson Square. These suggestions were implemented. Those alterations, however, had little immediate effect on area conditions. [3]

The Revitalization of Pioneer Square

The early 1960s witnessed several efforts to rescue the endangered district. First, local architects Ralph Anderson and Dick White helped publicize interest in the district's potential, and property owners such as Anderson and Allen Black began to rehabilitate their historic structures. The Grand Central Arcade and several buildings containing antique shops were renovated. Many historic buildings, however, remained boarded up during this period, and several notable structures fell victim to the long-term neglect. [4] Second, a news reporter named William C. Speidel began to publicize the area. During the 1950s he became familiar with the area. Then, in the early 1960s, began researching the history of the "underground city" located below the downtown sidewalks. In 1964 he spearheaded a campaign to clean up the area; a year later he organized the Underground Tour, a walking tour that quickly became a popular tourist attraction. The notoriety of the Underground Tour lured many into the area who otherwise would never have visited it. [5]

In order to preserve the architectural resources of the Pioneer Square area, civic leaders took action. Victor Steinbrueck, a local architect, compiled an architectural inventory of the district during the late 1960s; during the same period, the Municipal Art Commission published a list of historic buildings. Then, on June 22, 1970, the Pioneer Square Historic District was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places. The irregularly-shaped area, which reached north to Columbia Street, east to 3rd Avenue South, south to King Street, and west to Western Avenue South, was one of the nation's first preservation districts. In order to protect the District's historical resources, the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance in May 1970. That ordinance created a Historic Preservation Board, which was asked to formulate procedures and guidelines consistent with the National Register listing. During the same period, area merchants joined together and founded the Pioneer Square Association. Both the ordinance (which has since been amended) and the business organization have continued to the present day. [6]

The NPS Shows an Interest

As noted in Chapter 4, the idea of including a Pioneer Square building in a national park unit dated from 1971, just one year after the square's inclusion on the National Register. In March 1971, the completed, preliminary working draft of the master plan for the proposed Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park contained no references to a Seattle unit. That May, however, NPS Regional Director John Rutter asked Seattle mayor Wes Uhlman to comment on the plan, noting that "we believe this proposal ties in quite closely with some of the concepts you are considering in your Pioneer Square and Seattle Waterfront Park Programs." Two weeks later, NPS officials, apparently seeking new support for the proposed park, sent copies of the draft master plan to the Washington state Congressional delegation. By June, NPS official Rod Pegues was tilting in favor of a Seattle unit, and by September, the NPS had gone on record in support of it. [7]

Planners originally conceived that the Seattle unit would be included within the Pioneer Building, a turn-of-the-century, multi-story structure on the east side of Pioneer Place. In 1971, the Pioneer Building was in imminent threat of being razed, so the NPS proposed that the agency purchase and restore it. But during the summer of 1972, Mel Kaufman and Tim Morgan purchased a 50 percent share in the Pioneer Building, and with co-owner Jack Butnick announced restoration plans. [8] For the next two months, NPS planners continued to assume that they would purchase the building, then lease out those areas not needed by the agency. But an NPS appraiser debunked that idea, and by April 1973, planners had decided to lease space within the Pioneer Building rather than purchase it. (The new owners, as it turned out, were unable to restore the building, but within a year they sold it to a company headed by Norman Volotin, which was able to carry out the restoration.) [9]

All of the NPS's plans after 1971 included a Seattle Unit for the proposed park. The 1973 Master Plan noted that the agency intended to do the following:

Lease suitable space within the Pioneer Square Historic District for exhibitions, interpretive programs, theatrical presentations, living history demonstrations, and supporting services.

Encourage restoration of historic structures in the area, in cooperation with the city of Seattle and the Pioneer Square Association.

Develop an interpretive plan for the Pioneer Square District, in cooperation with the city and the association, re-creating through special events, tours, and exhibits, the living history of the gold-rush days.

Acquire and display historic objects and documents of the gold-rush era, and, through a multimedia facility and living interpretive programs, interpret the entire story of the gold rush, from Seattle to Dawson. [10]

NPS officials looked forward to carrying out those goals; they could do nothing, however, until Congress authorized and funded the park.

The agency's first priority was the establishment of a Seattle park headquarters. Although the master plan noted that the proposed interpretive center could be located anywhere in the Pioneer Square Historic District, they made no secret of their preference for a building that faced Pioneer Place. They retained an interest in leasing the Pioneer Building; without funding, however, they were unable to commit themselves financially. [11] Meanwhile, other area property owners presented lease proposals to the agency. In late 1973 or early 1974, the owner of the Mutual Life Building, on the west side of Pioneer Place, contacted them, and in late 1975, tourism entrepreneur Bill Speidel suggested that park officials consider leasing the Korn Building, just southeast of Pioneer Place. [12] In the spring of 1976, just prior to passage of the Klondike park bill, two new proposals surfaced. George Duncan, a descendant of a gold-rush-era hardware store owner, offered his building, located on First Avenue South between South Main Street and South Jackson Street, while Burl Tudor hoped to rent out the Lippy Building, just south of Pioneer Place, along with two adjacent non-historic buildings. To each of these property owners, the NPS officials expressed a conditional interest. They explained, however, that their hands were tied until funding was forthcoming. [13]

Washington State officials, who were fully supportive of the park proposal, hoped that the proposed park would include more Seattle properties than just an interpretive center. In a July 1, 1975 letter to Secretary of the Interior Stanley K. Hathaway, Governor Daniel Evans suggested that several additional properties be included in the park. They included the Maud Building, a Pioneer Square hotel once owned by George Carmack; Carmack's home, also located in Pioneer Square; a memorial marker for Carmack, to be erected at his grave in Seattle's Washelli Cemetery; and the erection of a statue, in Pioneer Square, of the discovery of gold by Carmack, Skookum Jim, and Dawson Charlie. [14]

A week later, regional NPS officials met with Washington state officials on the issue. The state officials agreed that the proposals had been submitted relatively late; indeed, the U.S. Senate, by this time, had already completed its hearing on S. 98, the Klondike park bill. As a result, an NPS participant noted that

It was agreed amongst those present that the state would not raise these issues now so as not to interfere in any way with the proposed legislation. The NPS agreed to review and consider the state's ideas with the thought that after the legislation had passed any appropriate additions to the park could be made.

In addition, the NPS agreed to investigate the suitability of the Maud Building as an interpretive center. John Rutter noted that of the ideas presented, the one that particularly captured the agency's interest was the commissioning of a Klondike sculpture. [15] The State of Washington remained interested in including various Seattle areas in the park bill, and Ralph Munro, Governor Evans's assistant, testified in favor of those provisions at the November 1975 House hearing. None, however, were included in the final Klondike park bill. [16]

The City of Seattle, meanwhile, was rediscovering its Klondike roots. In 1973, it held a two-week "Klondike '73" celebration, and included as part of that celebration an organized hike over Chilkoot Pass. It organized a sister city committee with Dawson City, and made plans to purchase and restore Dawson's Ezra Meeker cabin, then donate it to the city. [17] It was fully supportive of the park effort; on June 17, 1974, the City passed a resolution in favor of a Klondike bill. In addition, the designation of Pioneer Square as a historic district succeeded in fostering a rebirth in preserving the area's architectural heritage. Preservation efforts proved so successful that in July 1974, a city ordinance increased the historic district to almost twice its former size. [18] Community leaders, in 1975, also considered the district for nomination as a National Historic Landmark. Rather than nominating the entire district, however, NHL status was approved for just three elements within it: the Pioneer Building, the pergola located in Pioneer Place, and the nearby totem pole. The nomination became final on May 5, 1977. [19]

An Interpretive Site is Acquired

The legislation which created Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, passed on June 30, 1976, provided almost no direction for its Seattle Unit. Public Law 94-323 demanded only that the unit be located in the Pioneer Square Historic District, and the hearings record that accompanied the bill stipulated that the acquisition and display of historic objects and documents for the unit would cost approximately $40,000. It was left to the 1973 Master Plan, NPS policies, and the decisions of regional officials to guide development of the new unit and the direction of the suggested expenditures. [20]

Almost two weeks after Congress passed the Klondike Park bill, on July 13, 1976, Regional Director Russell Dickenson met with his staff to plan for the future park. Those attending the meeting included Edward J. Kurtz, Deputy Regional Director; James B. Thompson, Associate Regional Director in charge of Management and Operations; and Charles Gebler, Chief of the Division of Interpretation and Visitor Services. The office could do nothing until it received an official notice from the NPS director to implement the new park. Dickenson had originally hoped to formally dedicate the park in August; perhaps because of the delay from Washington, however, dedication ceremonies were indefinitely postponed. [21]

In preparation for that time, the group decided that the Skagway portion of the park would operate under the direction of the Alaska Area Office, in Anchorage. Regarding the Seattle Unit, normal circumstances suggested that the superintendent, wherever he or she might be located, would supervise the operations of all park units. (Indeed, a previously-prepared interim prospectus on the park had made just such a conclusion.) Dickenson, however, recognized that "it would be not be practical, for the time being, to have the Seattle Unit ... managed by the Superintendent ... in Skagway." Because of the "unusual situation" brought on by the 900 miles separating Skagway from Seattle, the Pioneer Square facility would be managed by the Pacific Northwest Regional Office. [22] The practical effect of Dickenson's decision was the creation of a park that had no superintendent and little independent management authority. For the time being, publications issued on behalf of the Seattle unit--statements for management, interpretive prospectuses, and the like--were included within documents that primarily pertained to the units in Skagway and vicinity.

On August 17, the directorate in Washington issued its activation memorandum implementing the new park unit. [23] Shortly thereafter, regional officials met again to plan the Seattle Unit. Dickenson assigned responsibility for the new unit to James Thompson, the regional head of management and operations; Thompson, in turn, assigned responsibility to Charles Gebler, the region's Chief of Interpretation and his assistant Glenn Hinsdale, the region's Chief of Urban and Environmental Affairs. But Hinsdale and Gebler would not work on the project alone. Interpretation Specialist James A. "Rocky" Richardson, planner Don Campbell, and Public Programs Specialist Henry Warren were asked to select the site of the new interpretive center. Richardson and Warren were asked to develop information and interpretive literature for the park, and Richardson was also asked to produce an interpretive plan for the exhibits that the contractor was to install. Eric Williams and Henry Dun, from the General Services Administration, were assigned the acquisition details. Finally, historical architect Laurin Huffman was placed in charge of planning the visitor center's interior, although much of designing work was provided by design consultants. [24]

The officials' first task was the leasing of a historical building in the Pioneer Square area. Dickenson, at first, hoped to rent, on a temporary (one-year) basis, "sufficient space for the exhibits and base of operation at ground level adjacent to the Historical Underground Tour." (Bill Speidel's tour began in the Pioneer Building, on the east side of Pioneer Place.) Using "a very small space" (1000 to 1500 square feet), the agency intended to open an interim public facility by March 1, 1977; meanwhile, regional officials would seek a site for a more permanent facility. [25] NPS officials, in late August, contacted the General Services Administration in order to obtain the space. As late as December 1976, officials still held out hope that the center would be open "by March 1, 1977, or as soon as practicable thereafter." [26] The difficulties of creating the new park unit, however, forced officials to drop the idea of an interim facility.

Work commenced on exhibit design for the proposed visitor center soon after the passage of the park bill. On August 10, 1976, Thompson noted that "we are moving ahead with the design and preparation of exhibits," and on September 7, the agency issued a Request for Proposal for exhibit planning and construction. A local consulting firm, Systems Architects Engineers, Inc. (SAE), showed an immediate interest in doing the contract work. [27] By the end of the month, the company had won the contract, which called for the creation of exhibits, photo murals, artifact displays, and a small theater. SAE consultants Luis (Lou) Rivera and Carlos Young were given the task of creating an interpretive exhibit package. Assisting SAE in the work was architect Ralph Anderson. [28]

Meanwhile, plans for a permanent facility moved ahead. The General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency in charge of procuring and operating government buildings, contacted all property owners in the Pioneer Square area. [29] By October 1976, the NPS and GSA had selected four area properties: 1) the southeast corner of Yesler Way and Occidental Avenue South, 2) the northwest corner of South Main Street and First Avenue South; 3) 612 First Avenue, and 4) 117 South Main Street. By January 1977, GSA officials had discarded the first two possibilities. NPS investigators--Don Campbell, Glenn Hinsdale, Rocky Richardson, and Henry Warren--toured the other two sites. The first location, which faced Pioneer Place and was adjacent to the Pioneer Building, was in the heart of Pioneer Square. NPS staff recognized that the site had certain obvious advantages; it would enjoy relatively high visitation, in large part because it was adjacent to the Underground Tour. Negative attributes of the area included a pawnshop and other nearby "aesthetically displeasing" businesses. The other location, the four-story Union Trust Annex Building, was located across the street from Occidental Park. Located in a quieter area, it had no objectional land uses in the vicinity; it could be seen from the Alaska Marine Highway dock; and parking was relatively accessible. The site, three blocks away from Pioneer Place, would give NPS interpreters an easier opportunity to provide walking tours without interference from the Underground Tour. Officials worried, however, that it might be difficult to attract visitors to the relatively remote site, particularly during the winter months. [30]

The four-man NPS team followed up on their site visit by conferring with Bill Speidel as well as with NPS architect Laurin Huffman. On January 12, the agency decided to lease 3,500 square feet on the ground floor of the Union Trust Annex building. (The structure, which was just west of the Union Trust building, had been built in 1901 and had formerly served as the Union Gospel Mission store.) The General Services Administration, which assumed leasing duties for the NPS, arranged a five-year lease with Lincoln Property Company of California, the building manager, on May 27, 1977. Annual lease payments were to be $51,618. The lease would not go into effect, however, until the NPS was given clearance to occupy the building. [31]

Preparing the Visitor Center for Public Use

Once NPS signed the Union Trust Annex lease, personnel began to ready the site for its eventual occupancy. On March 1, 1977, the agency approved a floor plan for the site; that plan included a mezzanine level which created a total NPS floor area of 5,505 square feet. Over the next several months, Rocky Richardson and Lou Rivera were involved in design work and interpretive signing, Laurin Huffman worked on finishes and fabric, and Adell Grochow worked to obtain the needed furniture, supplies, materials & accessories. [32] But finishing the facility took longer than required because the agency requested several change orders from the company in charge of exhibit construction. (The contract, originally scheduled to be completed for $30,000, was raised five times; it eventually totalled over $51,000.) The contractor contributed to the delays, too. It mistakenly installed the sprinkler pipes so that they ran through the areas designated for exhibit. Also (according to the NPS) it repeatedly attempted to save money by using cheap materials. At one point a subcontractor in charge of exhibit construction reportedly "ran off to Las Vegas" and was being sued by the contractor. [33]

In the meantime, NPS personnel had to iron out a host of other difficulties. From the City of Seattle, for example, the agency had to undergo a building code compliance review period and had to obtain a rehabilitation permit. [34] The Pioneer Square Historic Preservation Board had to approve facade alterations, window lettering, and other outside details. The GSA had to fight with the local Lincoln Property representative over the fire sprinkler system, noise and heating-system difficulties, and other details. [35]

As a result of these delays and the multitudinous details that had to be overcome, the date for opening the Seattle facility had to be repeatedly set back. In 1976, as noted above, the NPS had hoped to open a temporary facility in March 1977; in March 1977, the opening date for the permanent facility was predicted to be in June. By September 1977, the opening date had been pushed back to January 1978; by mid-1978, it was becoming increasingly obvious that work would not be completed any time soon. On September 1, the NPS was finally given clearance to move into the building, and the five year lease between GSA and Lincoln Property Co. began. The task of constructing exhibits and preparing the floor plan to the agency's specifications, however, was still to come. [36]

During the period between the park's authorization and the opening of the Seattle visitor center, conflicts arose from time to time over how the unit would be managed. In early 1977, the agency had appointed Richard E. Hoffman as the park's first superintendent. Hoffman, who was stationed in Skagway, recognized--as an interim measure--the practicality of managing the Seattle unit from the regional office. By October, however, he was arguing that the time had come for Klondike Gold Rush to be managed as a single, comprehensive park. In a letter to G. Bryan Harry, the Director of the Anchorage-based Alaska Area Office, Hoffman noted that

In my discussions with the Directorate of the Regional Office, it was agreed that [the regional office] should continue [to administer the Seattle unit] until the Park Management was established and ready to assume control of the Seattle Unit.... Now that the management of the KLGR park [both Alaska and Seattle units] has been accomplished and the integration of the Seattle Unit is needed, I propose that this interim plan be implemented. The physical development and establishment of the Seattle Unit [should] continue to be the responsibility of the Assigned Regional Office [but] the planning, staffing, and the implementation of the approved objectives of this unit [should] be the responsibility of the Park Superintendent.... This can be accomplished by an informal memorandum of understanding between the principal parties based upon the approved Master Plan Objective, the approved Statement for Management and other pertinent planning documents.... After the Unit is established and operational the Regional Office's role will cease and full park management will be effected. [37]

Some regional officials, including Assistant Regional Director Temple A. Reynolds, supported Hoffman's position and urged that the regional office divest itself of direct responsibility over the local park unit. Regional Director Russell Dickenson and Deputy Regional Director Edward J. Kurtz, however, thought otherwise; consequently, the regional office made no moves to relinquish management control. [38] The officials may have done so because any movement toward an independent operation prior to the opening of the visitor center would have been premature. Second, they may have recognized the practical difficulties involved in managing a unit located 900 miles away from the superintendent; and third, they may have concluded that regional officials, who were located less than a mile from the new visitor center, were in a far better position to play a leadership role than Skagway-based officials who had little recognition of the unit's day-to-day operations. Management of the two units, therefore, continued to be separate. Between 1977 and 1979, most NPS documents issued on behalf of the park pertained to both the Alaska and Seattle units; since then, however, the paper stream of the two park units has been almost entirely separate.

Once the NPS was finally given clearance to move in to its new facility, officials began to plan opening day activities. In early 1978, NPS interpreters contacted officials at the University of Washington's school of drama and offered a modest grant if one of their number would write a play with a Gold Rush theme. Ruben Sierra responded, and by May 1 turned in a draft script for a one-man show. NPS officials heavily criticized the script and ultimately rejected it. Several months later a fellow playwright, Barry Pritchard, submitted an entirely different script which was reviewed favorably by the agency. [39]

Little activity took place in the first several weeks after the NPS gained possession of the Union Trust Annex building. By October no exhibits had yet been installed. By January 1979, equipment and furnishings had been installed in the auditorium and work spaces had been created for three full-time and three part-time employees. Exhibit construction, however, was slow in coming, and NPS officials were clearly becoming alarmed. The contractor had delivered only a few photo murals and the gold rocker; the remaining exhibits, so far as the NPS knew, were still uncompleted. [40] After that point, activity apparently accelerated. By mid-March, a GSA official was able to notify the NPS that the contractor, at long last, was "currently correcting many deficiencies in the space," and by late March, Gebler felt sufficiently confident in the progress of construction that he suggested to Reynolds that the center be opened during the first weekend in June. Reynolds, clearly relieved to see an end to the long delay, quickly agreed and set an opening date of Saturday, June 2. [41] Hinsdale begged for another delay, noting that most of the exhibits were still uncompleted. Reynolds, however, stood firm, and urged that both he and the contractor complete all remaining tasks in the time allotted. [42]

Regional officials next hired employees for the new operation. Glenn Hinsdale, the Urban and Environmental Affairs chief who had served as unit manager during the center's construction phase, would not be involved in the day-to-day operations. Instead, Dave Maxon was hired as a Supervisory Park Ranger and ad hoc unit manager. He, and the various park technicians and information specialists who worked for him, were described as enthusiastic and sincere, though relatively weak in experience. [43]

During the few weeks that remained before opening day, Gebler and Hinsdale hurried to complete a park interpretive program. Regional staff had been assembling interpretive materials since 1976, when it had prepared a Klondike Gold Rush display for that August's Calgary (Alberta) Stampede. After the Stampede closed, the collected exhibits were sent to both Skagway and Seattle. That same year, Rocky Richardson was asked to prepare an interim park folder that described both the Washington and Alaska units. [44] Films and slide shows, shown in the center's 102-seat auditorium, would be a staple of the program, so regional staff acquired six films and a slide show. [45]

One area which proved to be of significant help in compiling materials for the interpretive program was a series of historical research studies. Edwin Bearss's excellent historic resource study of the proposed park was published in 1970, a full year before the NPS considered Seattle for inclusion in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. As a result, NPS officials had no internally-generated historical materials that illustrated the role which Seattle or other gateway cities played in the gold rush experience. To overcome that handicap, one of the unit's first park technicians, Charles Konopa, assembled two historical bibliographies. One was a lengthy compilation dealing with general gold rush topics; the other dealt specifically with Seattle's role during the rush. [46] In addition, Hinsdale conducted his own research on Pioneer Square buildings, began a reference library by purchasing a number of Klondike historical volumes, and assembled photographs and slides for use in future interpretive programs. [47]

Both the contracting personnel and NPS staff labored long and hard to prepare the unit for opening day. The "long-delayed Klondike museum" (as the Seattle Times phrased it) opened as scheduled at 11 a.m. on June 2 as part of the ninetieth annual Fire Festival and Pioneer Days celebration. The low-key dedication featured a ribbon cutting ceremony and speeches by Rep. Joel Pritchard (R-WA), Bill Speidel, Pioneer Square Association President Stephen Burger, and NPS Regional Director Russ Dickenson. The program ended with the first presentation of "Gold Fever," the play which had been produced by Barry Pritchard and performed by the University of Washington School of Drama. A varied crowd was on hand. According to NPS personnel in attendance, "A number of raconteurs and world travellers, who now make their homes in and around the park benches of Occidental Park, opposite the new facility, were present and added a touch of old Seattle to the scene." [48]

Pioneer Building

Pioneer Building
(left) The Pioneer Building, erected three years after the Seattle fire of 1889, was one of the most substantial and well-known structures in the downtown area. Note the absence, in this early photo, of the triangle-shaped park known as Pioneer Place. (right) By the 1970s, the Pioneer Building (without its cupola) was one of the major edifices in the newly-revitalized Pioneer Square Historic District. The NPS briefly considered locating its Seattle unit in the building, but in 1973 a private developer, Norman Volotin, purchased and restored it. (Bill Speidel, Seattle Underground, 14 (left); KLSE Collection (right))

William C. Speidel

Bill Speidel
(top) William C. Speidel, a local journalist and historian, became locally famous as the "father of the Seattle Underground." In this mid-1960s photo, Speidel is shown leading one of his tours. (bottom) Bill Speidel, who was largely responsible for the revival of the Pioneer Square area, gave an address at the park's June 1979 dedication. (Speidel, Seattle Underground, 2 (top); KLSE Collection (bottom))

Seattle Unit's interior

Rep. Joel Pritchard, Russell Dickenson
(top) On May 2, 1978, reconstruction work was well underway on the Seattle Unit's interior. (bottom) At the park's dedication, two of the assembled dignitaries were Rep. Joel Pritchard (D-WA, left) and NPS Regional Director Russell Dickenson. Pritchard, who represented the Seattle area in the House of Representatives, was a co-sponsor of the Klondike park bill. The grandson of a Klondike stampeder, he and his family had hiked the Chilkoot Trail in August 1975. (KLSE Collection (both photos))

David Maxon, Danita Delimont, Sheryl Hendrickson, Christie LeClair

James 'Rocky' Richardson, Charles Gebler, Glenn Hinsdale
(top) Two weeks before the dedication ceremony, Supervisory Park Ranger David Maxon and Seasonal Park Technician Danita Delimont (in uniforms) posed with "visitors" Sheryl Hendrickson and Christie LeClair (both NPS employees) outside of the Seattle Unit. Maxon led the unit until August 1980. (bottom) James "Rocky" Richardson (left), Charles Gebler, and Glenn Hinsdale, all of whom worked at NPS's Pacific Northwest Regional Office, were instrumental in making the Seattle Unit a reality. (Doug Martin, KLSE Collection (left); KLSE Collection (right))

Seattle Unit's dedication
The program for the Seattle Unit's dedication, held June 2, 1979. (KLSE Collection)

Union Trust Annex

Seattle Unit opening
(left) Restoration of the Union Trust Annex's first floor facade took place in March 1978, and by April 10 exterior work had been largely completed. (right) On June 2, 1979, the Seattle Unit opened. Hundreds of visitors filtered through that day to see the exhibits and films. (KLSE Collection (both photos) )

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Last Updated: 19-Apr-2001