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Writings from the Historians

From Images and Stories to Panels and Murals

With the Anderson School grand opening less than two months away, the artists - McMenamins' signature team along with contracted local artists from the greater Seattle area - are working steadily and with great creativity! Here are just a few examples of their work, based on historical photos, interviews and articles that Tim provided that came from the school, the alumni, Bothell Historical Society, local families and others. 

It's always great fun seeing our artists' interpretations of these wonderful old images, stories, remembrances and more. 

Artist: Carol Meckling - Image is part of Bonnie Bird Gundlach oral history, 1994

As a girl, Bonnie Bird lived in Bothell with her parents and brothers from the mid 1920s to the mid ‘30s, years that she remembered fondly. Her brothers attended the Bothell schools during that period. Bonnie, though, went to Seattle public schools and then on to the Cornish College of the Arts, also in Seattle, where she developed as an exceptional dancer. Bonnie then studied under the great modern dance teacher Martha Graham in New York, before coming back to teach dance at Cornish. Two of her students, Merce Cunningham and John Cage, themselves went to become brilliant artists in dance and music. Artist Carol Meckling captures Bonnie's grace and poise in this beautiful painting.

 Artist: Susan Holland - Image courtesy Bothell Historical Museum

Artist Susan Holland created this fun scene based on a delightful, informal photo of Bothell school girls (right). Little information is known about the undated scene captured on film, part of the stellar archive of the Bothell Historical Museum. Names of four of the girls assembled are known: Adele Mohn, Dorthea Ericksen, Stella Beckstrom and Bertha Barquist.  When a museum volunteer was asked what she thought the girls were giggling about, she succinctly said: "boys." 

Artist: Jonathan Case

In his own words, artist Jonathan Case explains his inspiration for this evocativey, playful painting. "From Tim's material: ‘Scott-Elliot Bird was a boom-and-bust, Fitzgerald-esque kind of character. He bounced around the country making and losing fortunes.' Here, we see him with his daughter, Bonnie Bird (later the famous modern dance instructor), lying in the grass (stargazing?) after one of the Bird family's requisite crazy parties. This one in particular involved a one-ring circus that performed inside their living room (hence the bear, the ribbons, the discarded clown shoe). That REALLY happened. In the ‘20s, before the market crash turned their financials south, the Birds owned a Bothell-area ranch they called ‘Robin Hill,' which is where all these shenanigans took place. The historical material spoke of a real warmth and respect from Bonnie to her father in spite of her parents' later misfortunes and divorce. I wanted to capture that connection here." 

Artist: Andy Eccleshall Image courtesy Bothell Historical Museum

In this moody painting, Andy Eccleshall illustrates the story of Bothell pioneers and namesakes, David C. and Mary Ann Bothell.  The couple came west from Pennsylvania, settling along the Sammamish River in 1884, and launching a logging operation there. Four years later, David Bothell platted the town. The home built by the Bothells also served as a boarding house for their logging employees. When their early-day hostelry went up in flames, they built a new hotel which served the growing community well until it, too, burned in the great downtown fire of 1908.  Andy used the photo of the latter-day hotel for his central image.

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We are continually adding to our historical archives – who knows, maybe the information you share will be used in an upcoming project, in a piece of artwork by the McMenamins artists, as the topic for one of our history events. We want to hear from you.

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What We Do

Our goal is to keep the past in the present, to celebrate and connect us all with the people and events that have helped define each McMenamins property. To that end, we research, interview and compile materials to identify and commemorate our properties and their surroundings.

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Our best historical finds often come from you! Email us, fill out the form below, or give a call at (971) 202-7614 if you have a question or suggestion, or if you have photos, film, documents or artifacts you’d like to share.

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