Stanton On… Where The Hell Did Seattle Go?


Pub Note: After just his first two rants, “Stanton On…” is the runaway leader in popularity with visitors to the “new” website! Congratulations, Rick! [When informed, Rick—in his customary contrarian way—growled, “Must be because there’s a low bar.”]

By Rick Stanton

I want to get the disclaimer out of the way right away: the older you get the more you disdain change. Things come and go and, when they do, they remind you that you come and go, too. If you’re too young to understand this now, trust me, you will.

Once upon a time, when someone—like me for example—went to a different city, part of the reason for the visit was the opportunity to see sights, stores, restaurants and other civic icons you didn’t or couldn’t see anywhere else. That included all the now-mostly-gone quirky places that made Seattle a one-of-a-kind, unique burg to visit, or be from.

In the last 10 years or so, we’ve watched while downtown has been all but abandoned, as South Lake Union and Amazon have spawned a gentrified neighborhood for the nouveau riche.

And in the process, they’ve killed the city’s soul.

The last straw for me was the demise of the 13 Coins for yet another crappy, faceless high-rise that would look perfectly fine in Dallas. Even Ivar’s Acres of Clams has been redeveloped to suggest a fakey-looking and feeling upscale East Coast seafood wannabe restaurant. Ivar must be spinning in his grave.

Now, thanks to corporate consolidation, when you go to pretty much Any City USA, you see the same retail stores, chain restaurants and sterile environs; you can’t tell one downtown from another.

That said, we’re lucky in Seattle, as are many cities that still have a quirky neighborhood or two, like Fremont. But even once-Scandihoovian-weird Ballard has been turned into a place I don’t recognize or could afford to live in anymore.

Let me list some of my favorite gone-but-not-forgotten Seattle places. [A tip for any millennials who might be reading this: buy Clark Humphrey’s book titled Vanishing Seattle. You’ll get to see what Seattle looked like when it was Seattle. He should change the title upon the next printing to Vanished Seattle.]

RIP … 13 Coins, Herfy’s, Dag’s, Daly’s Drive-in, Twin Teepees, The Squire Shop, The Bon Marche, I. Magnin, Chubby & Tubby, Warshal’s Sporting Goods, Ruby Montana’s, The Dog House, Ruby Chow’s, Rosellini’s Four-10, Sick’s Seattle Stadium, Harry’s in the Hansen Baking Co., Shelly’s Leg, The Jolly Roger Roadhouse, the Warehouse Tavern (10-cent schooner night on Sunday), the Lincoln Towing “Toe Truck”, Leilani Lanes, the original El Gaucho and Hat & Boots. So sad. [And let me know if I missed any of yours, please.]

Pub. Postlogue: And lest you think that Rick’s wrath is confined just to this column, think again. He’s a regular ranter in The Seattle Times’ editorial and sports pages, via Letters to the Editor. Here’s his latest letter, sent with low expectations that it will see the printed page—at least in The Times:

“With all the once-powerful men getting their empires and reputations rightfully destroyed by women they took advantage of, how is it that Donald Trump is getting a pass! Having an affair with a porn star while your wife is caring for your newborn son and paying $130K to cover it up is a fairly repulsive act of sexual—and personal—misconduct.”




  1. RE: RIP
    Rick, thanks for the recall. It sent me off to find my own well-worn list of Fond Memories. It’s been folded and stuffed into my mental wallet, taken out, re-read and refolded so many times that it’s now scruffed up, fuzzy and hard to read, but here’s what I can still make out on it:
    Playland, the Coon Chicken Inn, the parrot in the Security Market, Clark’s Red Carpet, the Owl Drugstore across from the late Bon Marche, the Mirabeau, The Embassy Theater’s TRIPLE features, the Rainier Brewery where I worked on the bottle line, Manning’s Cafeteria, thje Pit Barbecue, Lincoln and Queen Anne High Schools and Haller Lake Elementary where I started the first grade in 1937, the Benjamin Franklin Hotel, the Guadalajara, the Greyhound Bus Depot, the bar at Ben Paris, the Triple X “Barrel,” the Rathskeller, Art Louie’s, the Hungry Turtle and music by Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato, and …oh, what the heck, it looks like half this list has gone missing somewhere…dang!

  2. Oh boy! Regarding your opening line, getting older does not mean disliking change. Change is good – it clears your head, updates your perspective, and causes you to get out there and discover new things. True in advertising as in life. Jesus Rick, Get rid of that grumpy face and go have some fun.