While it's almost impossible to know where to look first upon entering the Museum of History and Industry's new South Lake Union location, many visitors' eyes dart to a towering artifact grid in the atrium's north end. The Hollywood Squares-style board is populated with locally-important objects, including the giant "R" which stood atop the Rainier brewery and the "All Roads Lead to the Dog House" mural which hung over the counter of the storied dive bar.
"Visitors remembers going there, and seem to have fond memories," MOHAI's creative director Ann Farrington says of the sign's inclusion in the central exhibit.
At MOHAI, the mural hangs over a conveyor belt set with plates of fake food. Although Farrington refused to identify exactly which items are now on eternal rotation, sharp-eyed visitors can make out sunny side-up eggs, cheese sandwiches and a cup of soup. The Seattle Public Library has thus far only digitized the A-C portion of its menu collection, but it's highly likely eggs, sandwiches and soups were among the top sellers at the Dog House, which stayed open round-the-clock for 60 years.
"(It's) basic diner fare based on anecdotal memories of what people's favorite dishes were," Farrington says, adding that the place settings were lavishly ornamented with coffee cups and cigarettes, perhaps the most enduring Dog House staples.
According to MOHAI records, the mural was painted in 1933 or 1934 by Justin Covey or Blackie Martin. But there's no uncertainty surrounding the composition of the mural, which was probably studied intently by generations of workers drinking after a shift or sobering up before the next one. As described in MOHAI's database, "it is a naïve, 3-dimensional mural depicting a matronly woman standing on her front porch, holding a rolling pin looking across a field to a forlorn looking hound dog sitting in front of a dog house."