Monday, June 18, 2012

1925: Kirkland's Silent Sentinels


A 1925 newspaper photo from a story about the arrival at the Seattle waterfront of the two Model of 1898 seven-inch howitzers and two Model of 1898 five-inch siege guns that Kirkland's American Legion post used to decorate Kirkland's north and south entrances. The two howitzers that would grace Kirkland's northern entrance are shown in the above image.






Probably no organization was prominent and powerful force in 1920’s Kirkland civic life than the Warren O. Grimm Post 83 of the American Legion.

Its members were said to “run Kirkland”. Indeed, mayors and council members of that era were often legionnaires, for example popular town physician, Dr. Ernest McKibben, Sr., served as both the post commander and as Kirkland’s mayor.

Kirkland was quite proud of its vets’ service. Given that, to honor them the legion guys decided to redecorate the town--man cave style: with artillery pieces! 
This image of Kirkland American Legion Post 83 members in uniform at the southern guns' 1925 dedication is now in the Kirkland Heritage Society's collection. The date written below was likely added by someone years later, since it is incorrect--The record is quite clear that the four artillery pieces did not even arrive in Washington until 1925. H.P. 'Dick' Everest is seen fourth from the right.
This 1920's postcard views south and shows the two five-inch siege guns mounted on their pedestals on Lake Washington Boulevard, near today's 10th Avenue South.


Harold P. “Dick” Everest—Everest Park’s namesake--graduated from Kirkland High School in 1912 and from the UW in 1917. Next came the Army, for World War One, but Everest was not sent to France’s bloody trenches, instead he was stationed at Love Field, Texas, where he worked with the crude wood and canvas earliest combat airplanes. Following the war, Everest, Dr. McKibben, Sr. and A.C. “Coal” Newell formed Kirkland’s legion post and served as its officers. In 1922, the post even obtained a war surplus freighter it moored on the Kirkland waterfront as the post clubhouse, which members named ‘Fort Jackson’.

Former East Side Journal newspaper owner and publisher, Kirkland Investment Company president and University of Washington professor, department head, vice president and acting 1951-52 president H.P. 'Dick' Everest (1894-1967) seen in 1918 as a young US Army officer and in the 1951-52 school year, as many of today's senior Kirklanders remember him. Always a Kirkland booster, Everest led the 1920s effort to secure its artillery from the War Department.

H.P. 'Dick' Everest seen in WWI (Photo Kirkland Heritage Society, Everest Collection).


In 1924, the legionnaires decided to decorate Kirkland’s north and south entrances with artillery, so the high-achieving and persuasive Everest convinced the War Department to donate four obsolete Spanish American War-era pieces: two 5-inch M-1898 siege guns and two 7-inch M-1898 howitzers, two of 30 ever manufactured, neither of which saw action. A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel which uses comparatively small propellant charges to send projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent. A gun has a longer barrel than a howitzer with a smaller bore which allows firing a projectile at lower trajectories at high velocities. Howitzer were typically used for ‘indirect fire’—shelling an unseen target—whereas guns were used for ‘direct fire’—targets in the gunner’s line of sight. So, guns’ barrels are typically longer and mounted at a flatter angle, whereas howitzers’ barrels are shorter and project at a higher angle. OK, enough Artillery 101...

Kirkland teen Stella Patty is seen in 1925 next to the seven-inch howitzers near Kirkland's north entrance prior to their placement on pedestals. Her friend, Alice Peck, is seen next to them the same day (below). Images of the northern entrance howitzers have proven quite elusive until Patty descendent, Patty (Fessenden) Barnhardt and her brother Warren Fessenden donated these from their family collection to the Kirkland Heritage Society last year, so a big thanks to them! (Stella Patty was their aunt).



The Seattle Times ran a gushing story with photo on January 4, 1925 about the four weapons’ New Year’s Day arrival on Seattle’s waterfront, from California’s Benicia Arsenal, and journey east, using a tractor borrowed from Seattle’s Central Ford Agency, up the hill via Madison Street to the Madison Park ferry dock, loaded there on the boat to Kirkland where they were ultimately placed on concrete pedestals; south, on Lake Washington Boulevard near 10th Avenue South, and north, on Market Street, near the city line—then at 18th Ave, a few blocks south of today’s Juanita Bay Park, by today’s Asian Wok Restaurant.

The two northern howitzers left Kirkland in September, 1937, when the legion donated the two to Washelli Cemetery as a veterans’ memorial. On Memorial Day 1957 one was relocated to Brier’s Abbey View Cemetery. The southern siege guns were destroyed in 1942, falling not to hostile forces, but instead to a WWII scrap drive.

The 1937 Seattle Times article showing it was the northern howitzers which were moved to Evergreen-Washelli, not the southern guns. In past years this has been the subject of much confusion. 
 
As part of a  1957 Memorial Day celebration, the Seattle times reported that one of the two howitzers was moved from Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle to its affiliated Abbey View Cemetery, in Brier.



This 1920's postcard views south and shows the two five-inch siege guns mounted on their pedestals on Lake Washington Boulevard, near today's 10th Avenue South.

Today: 

The Model of 1898 five-inch siege guns that once stood at Kirkland's southern entrance were melted down as scrap during WWII, but this image is of an identical field piece on display at Fort Douglas, Utah. 




 Evergreen-Washelli


This plaque commemorates Kirkland's American Legion Post's gift of the two northern entrance howitzers to Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery. One remains at that location today and has for 75 years been a part of Evergreen-Washelli's famous veterans' section.  

Manufacturer's plate for the Model of 1898 seven-inch howitzer at Evergreen-Washelli




     
The three images above show the howitzer at Evergreen-Washelli veteran's section today.

Abbey View


 



The howitzer which was moved to Abbey View in 1957 is missing its manufacturer's plate.







This post has been modified, but originally appeared May 15, 2012, on KirklandViews.com.

1 comment:

Jana said...

Thank you for sharing your research. Kirkland has a rich history.