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  • Meet Cathy Fields - The Artist Behind the Hillman City Heritage Bell

    Meet Cathy Fields and read her artist statement for Hillman City's newest landmark, the Hillman City Heritage Bell. Cathy Fields, a mural artist and lifelong resident of Seattle's Hillman City, masterfully blends the real and the imagined in her visual storytelling. Selected by the Rainier Valley Historical Society during their 2020 “Call for Artists,” Cathy’s work intertwines echoes of the past with the blur of contemporary times, resonating deeply with the community she has called home for 50 years. Artist’s Narrative for “Looking Back” Hillman City Heritage Bell Cathy Fields - April 2023 The following is a narrative that goes with the stories circling the bell. Moving left to right around the bell and beginning with the vignette of native people gathering food and moving to the right around the bell: As the ice age ended, humankind arrived along the Pacific coast. The indigenous people who inhabited what was to become the Seattle area were here for over 10,000 years before the Euro-Americans arrived. The Coast Salish people were made up of various tribes that shared a common language. The scene depicted is of summer time when local tribes come to Lake Washington’s coastlines to harvest food to preserve for the winter. The men would fish and hunt, and women would gather various herbs, berries, fresh water mussels, or, as in this picture, dig camas roots, and much more. Moving right around the bell, the depicted one-room cabin became a neighborhood store in 1901 when Rhineholt and Louise Hausler moved to the area and purchased the property from Clarence D. Hillman. They quickly opened for business on Rainier Avenue at Graham Street. The Hausler store supplied Hillman City residents with a variety of household necessities and kitchen staples. The electric railway stopped a few feet from their porch delivering much of the goods that stocked their store. The Hauslers eventually build a bigger store further south on Rainier Ave. and moved there in 1921. The woman to the right of the store is Mrs. Fumiko M. Noji who, with her husband and family, ran the enterprising Columbia Greenhouse and Nursery between South Orcas and Juneau Streets and what is now Martin Luther King Jr. Way from 1918-1996. They had a reputation for their wonderful tomatoes. Her father-in-law, Isao Noji, was one of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce men who brought the cherry trees from Japan to Seward Park. When the family was interned during World War ll, a good friend who managed the grounds of Sick’s Stadium moved into their home and cared for the property until their return. Eventually a fourth generation family member moved the greenhouses to Kent and the award winning Noji Gardens affordable housing community was planned and built on the property by HomeSight. Also shown in this vignette is the Seattle Renton & Southern Railway that enabled valley farmers to transport their produce into town, make trips to visit friends and family, and encouraged development and new businesses. Sadly funding, safety, and reliability were problematic leading to a loss of licensing. The rails were torn up in 1937 to make way for more buses, trucks and cars. The church building in the distance hosted a number of different faiths over the years. Before it was torn down, the bell was donated to the Rainier Valley Historical Society and is now the “canvas” for this painting. The original Fire Station 28 was built in 1910, three years after Hillman City was annexed into Seattle. It was located at 4525 S. Orcas Street, just east of Rainier Ave. They used horses to pull the hose wagons until they became motorized in 1924. In 1955 the old station was closed and moved to a newly built station at its current location on Rainier Avenue. Rainier Valley wouldn’t be complete without Mt. Rainier. On a clear day it may loom large and appear deceptively near from Seward Park or when driving south on Rainier Ave. Here it is a backdrop for the title section, Looking Back. This Vignette speaks to the valley’s history as a destination for many different immigrant populations over the decades, enriching the area with cultural diversity, perhaps one of our greatest assets.

  • The Story of the Hillman City Heritage Bell

    The complete history of the Hillman City Heritage Bell - Coming Soon!

  • Hillman City Heritage Bell Timeline & Photo Gallery

    This post is still in progress! We will update it soon. Original Church and bell tower How the bell was left for 50+ years 2019 - Moving the bell from the church to the restoration office Bell post sand blasting Bell with a new protective coating Artist sketch for new mural Moving bell from artist studio June 2024 - Preparing the new installation site

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Other Pages (19)

  • Hillman City Heritage Bell | RVHS

    Hillman City Heritage Bell Project The Hillman City Heritage Bell project has been nearly five years in the making! In 2019, the Dayspring and Fitch Funeral Home donated a cast iron bell, originally from the 1904 Hillman Methodist Episcopal Church, to the Rainier Valley Historical Society (RVHS). ​ RVHS saw an opportunity to transform this piece of history into a new landmark for the Hillman City Neighborhood. In 2021, they enlisted Cathy Fields, a local mural artist and 50-year Hillman City resident, to paint a mural on the bell. Cathy's work weaves a captivating visual narrative celebrating Rainier Valley's cultural diversity. Her mural showcases indigenous peoples, early pioneers, and notable community members, reflecting Hillman's history as a welcoming home for immigrant populations. ​ Join us in celebrating the official unveiling of this new landmark at the 2024 Hillman City Block Party on August 10th. The event will feature the unveiling ceremony, an indigenous blessing, and a program highlighting the bell's and Hillman City's rich history. The story of the Hillman City Heritage Bell From restoration to celebration learn about the Heritage Bell Project Learn More Celebrate with us! Join us on August 10th for the official unveiling of the bell at the Hillman City Block Party Learn More Meet the artist Get to know Cathy Fields, the bell's artist, and Hillman City local Learn More Restoration timeline and gallery Explore the complete timeline of the restoration process Learn More

  • Newsletters | RVHS

    Newsletters The Rainier Valley Heritage News is a semi-annual publication established in 1993. This newsletter serves as a rich chronicle of historical narratives and community insights, dedicated to preserving the heritage of Rainier Valley. Spring 2024 Fall 2023 Spring 2023 Rainier Valley Roots: The School Garden Movement Fall 2022 The Dunlaps on Lake Washington Spring 2022 Fall 2021 V is for Veterans Spring 2021 Ron Chew's Unforgotten Seattle Fall 2020 Women in isolation at Rainier Beach Crittenton Home Spring 2020 Fall 2019 Spring 2019 From Wilderness to Park Fall 2018 Spring 2018 History of Mt. Baker Fall 2017 40 Years of Cuts, Shaves & Shines! Spring 2017 A Horse, A Cow, Chickens, and Turkeys, Oh My! Fall 2016 Lakewood Pioneer Family Member Honored As Hero Spring 2016 Celebrate RVHS at our annual meeting for members and friends! Fall 2015 Columbia Electric Bakery - From Spark to Flame Spring 2015 The Newspaper Project Fall 2014 Newspaper Project Spring 2014 Remembering the ‘70s Fall 2013 A Lot of Pie at Seattle Summer Streets and Rainier Valley Heritage Parade Spring 2013 Celebrate our 20 year anniversary Fall 2012 Spring 2012 Load More

  • Events | RVHS

    Upcoming Events Stay in the know about upcoming events, meetings, and office hours. For further information, please refer to the details provided under each event listing. If you have any questions, you can contact us via email at or by calling (206) 723-1663. Become a Member Help us preserve and celebrate the history of the Rainier Valley. Be a part of our advocacy for local preservation. get involved

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