Adventures in Seattle and Beyond

Elegant 8-year-old Ursula, at the age she would have been when she and her parents toured the northwestern United States

Elegant 8-year-old Ursula, at the age she would have been when she and her parents toured northwestern United States for the second time

In addition to entertaining and being entertained with card parties, musicales, fancy teas and the theater between 1908 and 1910, the Cheshires traveled during that time, according to news items in both the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Herald’s “Society” columns.

Both papers reported the first week of November 1909 that the Cheshires, “with their little daughter, Ursula,” had returned home from a trip to Seattle. There were no interstate freeways or even state highways at that time, so the family most likely traveled north by train or ocean-going steamship. What an adventure for a little 7-year-old girl!

I wonder how long they stayed in Seattle? I like to think they arrived in time to catch the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition — the world’s fair held there that year from June 1 to October 16. They might have walked among the ornate buildings and elaborate fountains and seen on display the first wireless telephone, several premature babies in incubators and an entire village from the Philippines — among other featured (and controversial) exhibits.

Rendering of a bird's-eye view of the 1909 World's Fair in Seattle

Rendering of a bird’s-eye view of the 1909 World’s Fair in Seattle

To get a glimpse of what the fair was like, watch this 3-minute YouTube video, which includes photos and a couple of interesting (yet appalling) stories.

According to an article published in the Seattle Times at the time of the fair’s centennial anniversary, the 1909 World’s Fair put Seattle on the map as the “gateway to the north and a port of trade with the east.” The Cheshires apparently enjoyed their visit, as they returned to the area less than a year later for a tour “through the north,” as reported in the LA Herald. Too bad no pictures of these trips turned up in the antique photo album!

Stay tuned for the next Mystery Dancer post, which will have several photos of Ursula and her extended family.