Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Then and Now

The William Tell at 2nd & Battery is quite a sight. It's the only example of mission-style architecture in all of Belltown. If you were to uproot it and put it in the middle of the Stanford University campus, nobody would even notice. Let's have a look:

Like the rest of the buildings in this "Then and Now" series, the Tell had something to do with the film industry. Not only was it a distribution house, but it serve as a hotel for theater owners and various other film types. After the film distribution business left town, the Tell's transition to an apartment building was an easy one. And so it stayed for decades. Its tenants were generally older men who were also slightly bummy or slightly crazy. They all kind of resembled each other. That all changed in 2008, when the whole place abruptly closed and up went a "for sale" sign. Last year about this time came word that the place was going to be a youth hostel. Honestly, that's about the best idea anybody's had in the last ten years. Belltown is prime territory for a youth hostel. And I welcome it. Germans and Brazilians can talk about how much they love the metric system. British and Chinese can talk about the joys of colonialism. And Australians can get drunk (or stay drunk) at Buckley's right next door. This is what the Tell is looking like these days:

What the hell? Yeah, that's just another reason why I hate those stupid cedar trees - always blocking the view. I got a little closer and took some more shots:

So this is what the William Tell looks like now, except that's not entirely true. A few days after I took these pictures, they removed the plywood from the lower story's windows and repainted the front. I would have used pictures of the newest incarnation, but it's seriously about a million degrees out. My boiling point is like 57 degrees. Today is going to be 97. Tomorrow promises to be hotter. When it cools down a little, I'll take some pictures, OK?

Until then, remember the snow:

This is what 2nd & Blanchard looked like in late December.

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