Seattle Preserved: or, a Plot Discovered

Frank La Roche portrait of C.T. Conover and S.L. Crawford on Fifth Avenue, between Cherry and Columbia Streets (circa 1889)

I couldn’t let Preservation Week go by completely unremarked, so I thought I’d share a snippet of some semi-forgotten history gleaned from the scrapbook cataloging project.

Charles T. Conover and Samuel L. Crawford were journalists, turned Seattle boosters and real estate tycoons at the close of the 19th century and start of the twentieth.  The substance of their biographies (and scrapbooks) could take up several posts (and I may get around to it some day), but the archivist in me found the following incident in the life of Crawford (which is recounted slightly differently in other sources) to be of special appeal.  As Conover (the longer-lived of the pair) recalled in his “Just Cogitating” column in the July 8, 1950 edition of the Seattle Times:

A dominant trait in my old partner, Samuel L. Crawford, was his unswerving loyalty to his friends and the things he believed in.  … He had helped to nurture and sustain The Post-Intelligencer since its birth, had, at one time, been part owner, and in the great fire of 1889 he lugged the files of the paper up the hill to safety through the smoke and blistering heat before showing up at the office of Crawford & Conover to help salvage our effects.

Little did he know how it would turn out some 120 years later.

To be continued…


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Although I am a native New Yorker, I seem drawn to the Pacific Northwest. My current gig as Manuscripts & Special Collections Cataloging Librarian at the University of Washington Libraries represents my third stint out here. Prior to coming to the UW, I have worked at the New York Public Library, King County Archives, New York University, and Columbia University (to name but a few).

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