Paysse Hardware Store after fire, 1919

Store was located at 6th Ave. NE. and Northlake Ave. Item 49328, Water Department Photographic Negatives (Record Series 8200-13 ), Seattle Municipal Archives.

  • severinus 3y

    An Associated Press story that appeared in the Bellingham Herald on the day this photo was taken explains how on earth a fire could be caused by a broken water main.
    Water Starts Fire.
    Seattle, Aug. 16. — (AP) — Water from a broken main that flooded basements in the university district here today is believed to have started a fire which partially destroyed a store building and caused a loss of $7,500. In the basement of the building 100 barrels of lime were stored. Firemen said they believed the action of the water on the lime started the fire.
    HistoryLink (which, like many sources, misspells the name as Paysee) says the shop moved to the Ave in 1919 because of the closing of the Latona Bridge, but clearly this fire might also have had something to do with it. Either way, even before the fire or the bridge, the writing was on the wall: the Times' December 26, 1932, obituary of Capt. Alexis Alexander Paysse, son of the store's founder, notes that business had been declining in Latona since UW stole its thunder by moving in about a mile away in 1895, and the AYP in 1909 further built up the U District at the expense of poor old Latona. Per A.A.'s obit, the family was one of the first four families in Latona when Sylvian Paysse settled there in 1888; the burning and closing of Paysse's store must've been a huge deal at the time, maybe even something like a death knell for the neighborhood.

    In any event, UW has a shot of the 4557 University Way location, which is now home to Costa's restaurant.
  • Seattle Municipal Archives 3y

    Thank you for the backstory, severinus! Your research is much appreciated, as always.
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Taken on August 16, 1919
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