“Aberdeen was all lumber mills and logging. I learned from a young kid that I didn’t want to get into logging. A lot of people
I knew got killed or hurt because of it. So I started out in the lumberyard, setting blocks for the old style lumber carriers.
Then I watched and worked in the mill for enough years to know that the forklift job was the one I wanted. So that’s what I
For 25 years Mike Hall worked in the lumber mills of Aberdeen. Then the mill closed and there was no more work.
“So I came back to what I know, Seattle. I was born and raised here in Beacon Hill. When I came back though, it was
“The manufacturing jobs aren’t here no more and that’s what I came looking for. So I discovered Real Change. I found the
Elliott Bay Bookstore because it has an awning, and it rains in Seattle.
“I’ve been standing on that corner for years.” Now he has moved to Capitol Hill with the store.
“I’ll miss it but I’ll still be there [First and Main in Pioneer Square] a couple days a week because I wind the clock in front of
the old store.”
The 100-year-old wind-up clock stands there, keeping steady time amidst the hurried activity of the streets.
“I’ve adjusted the pendulum now; it used to lose a minute a day. Right now it’s running a minute ahead of time so I’m not
messing with it. People have remarked on how it’s keeping time now.”
Mike Hall can be found at Elliott Bay Bookstore’s new location, on 10th in the Pike/Pine corridor of Capitol Hill. When not
selling Real Change, Hall may be found exploring in the woods, digging clams or winding the mainspring of time.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sam Day has a studio near where Mike Hall sells his papers. Day painted Hall’s portrait on a rain-soaked afternoon. The
rain dripped down the canvas as he painted, giving it a real Pacific Northwest feel. You can see more work at