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Photo Credit
Photo Credit: Horse Drawn Garbage Wagon, 1915. Item 871, Engineering Department Photographic Negatives (Record Series 2613-07)

Find of the Month

February 2023 - Noise at the Silk Hat

In 1933, neighbors of Capitol Hill's Silk Hat restaurant had had enough of the noise associated with the establishment. Clerk File 140919 contains multiple missives (some notarized) complaining about automobile horns, loud talking, and intoxicated patrons. One complaint declared the "hallooing, singing, and swearing by both men and women or dancing on Olive Way" to be "more than I am able to stand."

A tenant of the nearby Harvard Crest Apartments summed up the problem while giving 30 days notice to the building manager:

My dear Sir:

With considerable regret I am asking that you consider this a thirty day notice of removal. In addition to the extra cost I am put to, the unnecessary noise emanating from the Silk Hat Hamburger across the street has almost unbalanced our mentality.

You assured me that the top floor would be quiet and should you hope to keep anyone in my apartment, you should rent it hereafter with a thorough understanding that the occupant could endure the din from without. I would suggest your finding a deaf person.

For your information, the hilarity in the most part begins after automobile parties have dined at the Silk Hat. Sirens and automobile horns seem to be their playthings and others enjoy cat-calling each other or singing Sweet Adeline. An occasional fight may add zest to some who enjoy this thing but my wife and I cannot stand it any longer.

May I suggest that you hang out the sign Apartments for the Deaf? Trusting this is timely notice, I am

Yours truly,
Orrin F. Drew

P.S. I have smelled so many hamburgers (terrible when the wind is right) that I cannot imagine caring for one during the rest of my days.

The complaints were placed on file and there is no sign City Council took action against the restaurant.

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Municipal Archives, City Clerk

Anne Frantilla, City Archivist
Address: 600 Fourth Avenue, Third Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94728, Seattle, WA, 98124-4728
Phone: (206) 684-8353

The Office of the City Clerk maintains the City's official records, provides support for the City Council, and manages the City's historical records through the Seattle Municipal Archives. The Clerk's Office provides information services to the public and to City staff.