Thursday, February 16, 2017

Addition To The Book Collection

In Miss Flora McFlimsy's Hallowe'en, Pookoo has an appointment with a witch, but Flora McFlimsy feels Pookoo should stay at home in the safe, warm doll house.  He will not, but does allow Flora McFlimsy to go along with him: "Well, if you promise not to wiggle, and you behave as well as I do, I'll ask her if you can come along,"  And so, an adventure follows.  I am by my history among the people of Flora McFlimsy, now I own not only the Christmas adventure of Flora McFlimsy, when a new little girl discovers her, courtesy of a visit from Santa Claus, but the discarded Tacoma Public Library volume from the series.  (I can still collect a book now and then:  but I used to collect books.)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Memories of Valhalla: Allen A.M.E. Church Project (4)

Valhalla Third Floor Dining Room

Because the Valhalla Hall has been torn down, the present view from the front door of Allen A.M.E. Church now is the empty Valhalla site. 

In an earlier blog entry I describe the Columbus Day 1962 Storm at the Valhalla Hall,  I watched glass shatter in a window in a brick building across the street and stream down, a veil of glitter In another blog entry I referred to  the news article that described the move of Allen A.M.E. Church to K Street.  In 1995 the Swedish Order of Valhalla sold the hall to a Seattle Business.
January 2008 Tom Stenger, who has attended First Lutheran Church, invited me to visit the project of  Allen A.M.E.  at the Valhalla Hall.  They were removing the hall interior, this included removal of original horse hair insulation from the walls, I saw the horse hair in loops inside the walls.
Other interested history people also visited the project, because in the workers had uncovered old murals that were included in older lodge descriptions. 
At that time I attended a presentation, one of many Allen A.M.E. put forward as they tried to complete funding for a hall restoration.  They fell short of attaining the necessary funding.  Their plans were shown on the internet and included a performance space like the hall dance hall with it third floor gallery above.  About three years ago I spoke to Reverend Barrett of the church who explained that it was true, while they leased to remodel the building they sought and found funding.  But their search for the project funding fell short of the money necessary.
View from Third Floor
I wanted to include one photo of the murals that I took that January day in 2008.  And I want to include a photo of the Allen A.M.E.Church from the third floor of the Valhalla Hall.  Their church building once featured a large cross, which was removed when other large street signs were taken down from above sidewalks.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Michael Magee at King's Books

Michael Magee

Series Microphone
with Connie Walle
Friday February 10th at King's Books an open mike accompanied Michael Magee, featured reader.  Michael Magee brought flowers and handed those out after the open mike.  Among open mike readers were Josie Emmons Turner, past Tacoma Poet Laureate, and David Fewster.  I also read blog entries, about the Valhalla Hall.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Grocer's Sign: Memories of Valhalla (3)

At the Valhalla site Sunday afternoon I could see they had found an artifact:  where the debris had been cleared away was a sign for the Gustaf Salander Grocery.  Kerry Jenkins, a city staff manager, spoke to me on the phone on Friday.  The sign is “painted lettering on exterior siding”, the wall is twelve feet long and on 2 x 8 studs, now in storage.  Bellwether Housing is the development consultant for the Raffin Construction project.  The city staff continues partnering or involvement.

According to Stephen J. Forslund  (Swedes In Tacoma and The Puget Sound Country) “Gustaf Selander (Salander) had arrived in Tacoma before the turn of the century from Ă–stersund, Sweden, and went to work at the Griffin Wheel Co. foundry in South Tacoma.  In Sweden he had had considerable experience in the mercantile line, so he gave up his job as moulder and entered the grocery business in one of the street level stores in Valhalla Temple.  He continued his business there until his demise some thirty years later.”  The home of Signe and Gustaf Salander was nearby the hall. 
Early project plans promised the housing units would replicate the Valhalla Hall in ways.  Now that is not certain.
At A Public Event May 2016
At the Valhalla Site

Valhalla Site


Friday, February 3, 2017

Memories of Valhalla - Two

Years ago, during the Swedish Sesquicentennial in the United States in 1996, the Valhalla held an event at the Hall, in celebration.  It had special permission for the one-time event.  I took this snapshot inside the dance hall.  The celebrant was Pastor Lyndon Murk,  among others who represented the Order of Runeberg's Choir. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Yesterday Remembrance Day About The Holocaust

On Facebook yesterday I saw it was remembrance day for the Holocaust.  There was a request that we print we remember on paper and show our face with the paper.   So I did so, there was a sticky note with an empty side on the notebook I had with me at the Archive at PLU - Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Archive.  I made a Women's Rights sign last Saturday and carried it up to Westlake.  Because I thought I might not walk as fast as everyone and was not certain about walking over three miles briskly, I joined the walk at Westlake Center and did about eight blocks or so to the Seattle Center, and not trying three miles probably made sense.

 Often in the evening I hear stories on talk radio, often in the day I visit the computer labs at the library.  The women's walk mattered.

Monday, January 23, 2017

I Remember the Valhalla Hall

Hurt and bewildered, I must remember the Valhalla Hall as today the building is torn down.  It is so very sad that this old building is not a restoration. My first public appearance probably was at the Valhalla Hall, a song accompanied on the piano by my mother.  She was ten when she gave a piano solo at the hall, with much praise.   
The Swedish Order of Valhalla was a men’s organization from 1884, they built the hall in 1905, it represented the architectural style of American Renaissance.  It served as an interim venue for First Swedish Lutheran Church of Tacoma when First Lutheran’s second building burned in November, 1924. The group sold the hall in the 1990s, in 2008 a group associated with the Allen AME leased the building to try to remodel it as a similar performance and activity hall.  The group removed the interior: that included removal of the original horsehair insulation, an architectural detail that had made activities at the hall hard to insure.

The Swedish Order of Valhalla was a men’s Masonic-type group.  The Order of Runeberg, the Swedish-Finnish Group my mother’s family could belong to,  in the 1960s began to  meet at the new, accessible Wild West VFW Hall because many of their members could no longer climb the stairs to the second floor where meetings and events were held.

During the activity at MLK during the subarea plans I did enter comments about the hall and I allowed an interview for the project, which was included among others in a video about the history at the Tacoma MLK subarea.

The Allen AME fell short of attaining the necessary funding for their project, as far as I know the new project there will be a housing building that had promised to reflect the hall.  Some were uncertain that the new project intends to reflect the appearance of the old hall.  And now the hall is torn down. 
Stairs 1995
During interior removal

Since 2009 I have done some volunteer work at the Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Archives at Pacific Lutheran University, where the Valhalla Archives are kept,  with the guidance of the archivist I was able to help advance the Valhalla Papers preservation.