Thursday, September 8, 2011

If this Thursday it must be postcards, 3

Postcard Thursday last week mentioned that gatecrashers were entering the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition grounds without paying by way of a new as yet unused sewer tunnel and unsecured manholes near the Hoo Hoo House. Pictured here Hoo Hoo House was later used as the University of Washington Faculty Club until 1959 when it was replaced. It was located across from what is now the Student Union Building (HUB) the former site of the Forestry building during the Exposition in 1909. With such a strange and rather silly name as Hoo Hoo I was curious and went to to see if I could find out more information. Here is a condensed version. if you want to read a more detailed account that includes interior pictures please check out the history link site.

It may be a little difficult to see them but there are black cats on pedestals on either side of the entry in front of the building. These cats had glowing electric green eyes at night. There are more pairs of cats on the gables and one on the steps. With only one entrance and with a latch string it was the only door like that at the fair.

In 1892 the International Concatenated Order of Hoo Hoo was organized in Gurdon, Arkasas. It was formed as a social organization for lumbermen and later all those employed in the forest products industry. The name Hoo Hoo supposedly referred to an odd greased tuft of hair twisted to a point on the head of Charles McCarer a fellow Hoo Hoo and was coined by one of the founders, Bolling Arthur Johnson. It came to mean anything unusual.

The cat was adopted as the mascot and the number nine, for the nine lives of a cat, was used in various ways such as the membership fee set at $9.99 with annual dues being 99 cents; number of members originally expected to top out at 9,999 but eventually went over 99,999; the annual meeting held on the ninth day of the ninth month, and there were nine men on the board of directors. The number nine was displayed prominently throughout the house. They actually had a resident black cat named Bandersnatch who was reported to have been terrified and fled the building following a Hoo Hoo yell given at a wedding held at the House.

Dances were held every Saturday night at the House and become so popular that the number of people invited had to be limited due to space. The interior was paneled with Douglas fir and redwood. There was a huge 10 foot fireplace on the wall opposite sweeping views of Lake Washington. Lighting was electric and lantern fixtures had black cats with red or green eyes in the panels.

During the fair the upper part of the building was the clubhouse with a gentlemen’s smoking room and a ladies’ parlor while the lower half housed exhibits such as fir and spruce products and Seattle-made furniture, fixtures and decorations made of wood. Hoo Hoo day at the AYP was held, as you might expect, on September 9, 1909.

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