Thoroughbred

Thirty years ago in Seattle Weekly.

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This is one of a series looking back at Seattle Weekly's first year.

30th Anniversary

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The 19th issue of Seattle Weekly (Aug. 4, 1976) makes interesting reading for old-timers and newcomers alike. The cover story was on good old, now long-gone Longacres Racetrack. Longacres may not have been Hialeah or Saratoga, but its owners (the Alhadeff family) loved the place, and put money and effort into amenities, making it an agreeable place to spend an afternoon even if the ponies weren't your passion. Author Roger Sale pays tribute to the Longacres atmosphere but concentrates on luring neophyte bettors into participating in the action. And how characteristic of the early Weekly that its resident tout's day job should be professing English at U Dub. (Why say early? The paper's current sports writer is a UW Communications prof.)

Other milestones: The newly formed Pacific Northwest Ballet made its debut at Meany Hall. Along with some now forgotten premieres, the lively young company shone in two Balanchine classics (the Raymonda pas de dix/variations and Valse Fantasie) and Lew Christiansen's 1938 American scene classic Filling Station. Lifestyle observer Jane Adams recognized the growing presence of a "Northwest Look" in the text accompanying a Nick Gunderson photo spread devoted to Eddie Bauer and REI as fashion leaders. Outdoorsman Jim Lalonde questioned the rationale of a proposed Northwest Trail all the way from Washington's Cape Alava to Montana's Glacier Park, wondering if the East's Appalachian Trail was really an appropriate model for a route through some very arduous and dangerous wilderness. And the shabby old Mayflower Hotel was reborn as the Mayflower Park, signaling the slow arrival of smaller "boutique" hotels to serve those who prefer comfort and amenities to skyscraper views. Our commentator (Gordon Bowker, under the nom de plume Lars Henry Ringseth) called the new spot on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Stewart Street "a chrome and fern eatery," but few Seattle institutions more than 30 years old have aged as gracefully.

rdowney@seattleweekly.com

 
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