Tag Archives: Seattle

University of Washington Suzallo Library

Suzzallo Library

It’s no big secret that I love libraries. Just check out my History Spy Pinterest Board.  One of my favorite libraries is on the University of Washington campus.  Also, referred to as the Harry Potter library by recent patrons, the Suzzallo library is worth a special trip to the campus next time you find yourself in Seattle.  Bring a book or some research to do though, because as you enter, the ambiance makes you want to sit and study.

It opened in 1926 and named the Suzzallo Library in 1933 after the death of former university president, Henry Suzzallo, and considered the crown jewel of his administration. The architecture is an example of the Collegiate Gothic style.

As you walk up to this magnificent library, you see eighteen statues along with many coats of arms.  While studying the history of the library, I found that the statues depicted Moses, Louis Pasteur, Dante, Shakespeare, Plato, Benjamin Franklin, Justinian, Sir Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Goethe, Herodotus, Adam Smith, Homer, Gutenberg, Beethoven, Darwin, and Grotius – all chosen for their contributions to learning and culture.  The coats of arms are from many outstanding universities around the world in the early 1900s.

As you first enter the library, you’ll find the Grand staircase where you can see the worn marble treads from so many years of use by dedicated students. It ends in a beautiful room with a vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows called the Grand Stair Hall, but my favorite part of the library and the part which invoked the Harry Potter name, is the adjacent Suzzallo Reading Room. Suzzallo envisioned a cathedral of learning, and it does have the look of a cathedral with a ceiling that’s 65 feet tall.  It has beautiful huge oak bookcases topped with hand carvings of native plants. Much of the light comes from the 35 foot tall leaded and stained glass windows. Other light comes from old brass lamps hanging from that enormous ceiling.  The students study silently in there, and I did not hear a noise above a faint whisper until a student stood up accidentally dropping a book.  All eyes immediately looked up from their studying assessing the source of that unwelcome disturbance.

Suzzallo Library Reading Room

Mysterious doors behind a locked glass wall.

There are rows of thick oak desks with quaint little lamps, and what really caught my interest was a glass wall with a locked oak door.  Behind the glass is a whole row of ornate wood doors  which have called out to me ever since to write a story about the mystery which lies behind those doors.  For those of you who have been to that library, have you ever noticed that intriguing area?

If you’ve been to the Suzzallo Library leave a comment on your favorite area, and if you never have been there, I hope you’ll take the time to visit next time you’re in the Seattle area.

Gum Wall - Seattle, Washington

Bye Bye Gum Wall

Gum Wall - Seattle. WA

The iconic gum wall next to Pike Place Market, a disgustingly cool gum composition, is now history because apparently the sugar in the gum ate away at the bricks.  For years happy tourists and locals alike added their chewed up gum to the wall, many of them taking pictures next to their proud addition to the iconic gum artwork.

But don’t be downcast, don’t cancel your travel plans to visit Seattle because officials tell us gum can be added again to the famous wall now that steam has cleaned off the 20 year accumulation.  I think a plan is in order this time.  Artists could copy famous paintings on the bricks, then the gum chewers could put their gum on the designated places in the wall that match the color they’re chewing.  It could become a famous gum mosaic.  A Van Gogh fan myself, I would like to see Starry, Starry Night reproduced in gum. It could be a whole new business for an enterprising shop in Pike Place to sell gum in the specific colors needed to complete the gum mosaic masterpieces. It could be a great ongoing fundraiser for many organizations including The Society for Brick Preservation.  Okay, I just made that name up,  I’m not aware of that society yet, but it might be out there somewhere. The newly formed School of Mosaic Gum Art could be in charge of making the outlines of the giant-sized interactive color book . Student assignments could include periodic policing of the artwork to move errant placed gum colors to their proper locations in the pictures.

The possibilities for making the new gum wall even more famous than before are endless.  Maybe this is the perfect time to buy stock in a gum company.  Or maybe, I should start a gum company making unique, artistic gum colors with a sugar substitute that doesn’t destroy the brick.  I would call it Van Gogh Art Gum.  I can see it now – beautiful gum mosaic masterpieces imitated all over the world.  The demand for Van Gogh gum would skyrocket and fund my retirement.

Chew on gum lovers and artists, chew on.