Beacon Hill past and present: Hothouse no more

East end of Antonio Ditore's hothouse, 1817 21st Avenue South, showing the high water mark after a flood in May, 1923. Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.
East end of Antonio Ditore's hothouse, 1817 21st Avenue South, showing the high water mark after a flood in May, 1923. Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.

The same site today, no longer growing much.
The same site today, no longer growing much.

At first glance this is one of the less-recognizable past/present photos we have. In 1923, there was a considerable amount of farming in this lower Beacon Hill/upper Rainier Valley area, an Italian neighborhood, but now this spot just off Rainier Avenue, in the 1800 block of 21st Avenue South, is just a big ugly warehouse.

Still, something has survived. See the apartment building behind Mr. Ditore’s hot house? If you move just a bit further north on 21st, you can see it:

It’s the blue apartment building shown here. The house directly south of the apartment building made it to the 21st century, but, sadly, was just recently demolished. (You can still see it — a charming little bungalow — in Google’s Street View, though. The house seen in our photo just south of the apartment building is not the same house — it’s one lot further south.)

The Polk Directory for Seattle in 1923 lists Antonio Ditore, a gardener, and his wife Grace residing at this address. Though the 1923 photo is captioned “E. Ditore,” this seems likely to be Antonio. You can read more about Antonio Ditore, one of the farmers who sold at the Pike Place Market on its opening day in 1907, and see a picture of him years later with his garlic crop. (Scroll down to the post by John Ditore.)

3 thoughts on “Beacon Hill past and present: Hothouse no more”

  1. I just wanted to say that I always enjoy these little then an now entries.

    When I moved into our house on Beacon, I contacted county records and was able to order a copy of a picture of our house from 1950 (the year after it was built). It was great getting this little snapshot of our house “back in the day.” (Though admittedly, it’s not that long ago.) And helped me feel like I had a little more stake in the history of this hill.

    Its definitely an excersize I’d recomend for others living here.

  2. Just a bit north of the area pictured is an entire block that is empty, adjacent to the Oberto factory store, which I believe is their original factory. Well, the Obertos still own that empty block.

Comments are closed.