Historic view of Holy Names Academy featured in The Seattle Times’ Now & Then section


A century-plus-old photo of Holy Names Academy is featured in The Seattle Times’ Pacific NW Magazine’s Now & Then section for January 19. The 1908 photograph shows Holy Names students and chaperones dressed in their weekend best and ready for a drive around the area in some 20 now-classic early 20th-century automobiles. With the newly finished Holy Names Academy and Normal School in the background, the William Romans’ studio photographer set the photograph beautifully; one can only imagine the effort involved in arranging so many autos and passengers beside the school’s front steps on 21st Avenue East. When this photograph was taken, Capitol Hill was frequently referred to as “the wilderness,” being more than three miles uphill from Seattle’s downtown at the time (Pioneer Square). We are grateful to have a photo that provides a snapshot of our beloved neighborhood in its initial development stages. How far we have come!

The "Then" photograph:  A Gathering of students, chaperones in their stylish 20th-century automobiles at the front of Holy Names Academy and Normal School on October 10, 1908.

The "Now" photograph, capturing 21st-century students, faculty, staff on Holy Names Academy's front lawn.

The Academy was thrilled to be featured in the Times, and equally excited to pose for the “Then” photo that would complete this article. Approximately 40 current HNA faculty, staff, and students took to the now-green front lawn and posed for a modern-day match to the historic snapshot. Tom Heuser, president of the Capitol Hill Historical Society, was also present for the occasion.

The 1908 photograph is on display on the Academy’s second floor, which also houses original furniture pieces from the same period. Many other historic photos and artifacts from throughout the history of Washington’s oldest continuously operating school are displayed in the Holy Names Academy Heritage Center, which opened in 2019 on the school’s second floor.

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