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american grafittiIf I have to explain to you what The Renton Loop is all about, you wouldn't really be able to understand. However, if you were there, no explanation is needed. Often you will hear a reference to the 1973 movie American Graffiti as an example of what The Loop was, but to so many of us that grew up around it, it was more. The Loop was everything from an opportunity to meet girls, a place to show off your car, an opportunity for mischief, a place to find a race, a location to hang out with friends, to being the stuff of legends. It really was a social network. The Loop meant something unique to each one of us, so I’ll start with what I remember.


rc radioA long time ago before text messaging, instant messaging, e-mail, the internet, personal computers and cell phones, we actually used to have to talk to each other! Do you remember standing within ten feet of who you were talking to so they could hear your voice? Oh we had corded phones at home, but the closest we could get to in-car wireless communication was the CB radio in the mid 1970’s. Most often, if you wanted to talk to someone, you had to at least pull up next to them and roll down the window. And yes back then, almost always the car had a hand crank to roll the window down. Seems kind of archaic by today’s standards, but as I mentioned, if you were there no explanation is needed. It’s funny how the time seemed to be so much more simple back then, but maybe it was all a matter of perspective from the eyes of each of us as a teen growing into our early twenties . . .

I started at St. Anthony Grade School in 1961, located just off 3rd and Shattuck. Even as a young kid, with any weekend evening in Renton it was hard to miss the cars, people and action going on. Growing up watching the major changes in Renton through the 1960’s, one of the constants that didn’t seem to change was The Loop. A prime example would be the early 1950’s Ford 4-door painted black & white, with the “Beaver Patrol” emblem on the doors. That car seemed to be cruising The Loop from the 1960’s, well into the 1970’s. Watching the parade go by, I couldn’t wait to turn 16 and get out there myself.  

Like most of us, we started out buying a car that just got us there, and then quickly moved up, each car being faster than the last. Going through a ‘63 Galaxy 500 XL, to a ’67 GTO, to a ‘55 Chevy to a ’63 Corvette made for many interesting and more often than not, expensive times. The expensive part seemed to have an ongoing and regular impact. Saving for the car, buying the car, speed equipment, building the car (that part was never done), breaking/ blowing up/ wrecking the car, buying the parts, fixing the car . . . regularly to be repeated to the maximum capacity of your paycheck. And that’s not even talking about car payments, insurance, and sometimes ignored stuff like school or work. And traffic tickets. And more traffic tickets. Most of us recall having danced this dance at some point in our youth. Looking back now, it seemed crazy. Back then, it was more fun than anything else we could think of doing. 


galaxyOver the years I’ve looked for a website dedicated to The Loop. Lots of anecdotal stuff can be found on Google, but nothing specific. I wondered if everybody had just moved on and figured that there wasn’t much interest remaining this far down the road. Out of curiosity, about ten years ago I started bringing up The Loop to people who had a connection to the Puget Sound area back in the day, after trying to guess if they would be somewhere about the right age. It’s funny how the responses were at first hesitant, and then whatever we were talking about was forgotten as The Loop became the topic of choice - sometimes for the next half hour or more. There really are a lot of memories out there, but until I intentionally started talking about The Loop, most would be uncomfortable with the topic. However once they did start talking, the memories of being young didn’t just change their expression, it was often so dramatic as to change the weather in the room.  

I remember exactly when deciding to build this website myself. Spending a bit of time in Olympia during legislative session was part of my work for many years. A few years back, I was at a reception and talking to a long time Seattle area legislator about some public safety issues. He’s a great guy and we got along well. I found out he was home grown and he looked to be about the right age, so I posed the question, “You ever used to cruise The Loop?” Saying his change in expression was dramatic would be an understatement. Looking at his face, twenty years rolled off as he started telling me about an old Chevy station-wagon he built to race on The Loop. A 427 in a stripped out wagon - a sleeper!  

He told me about the bets made on races picked, with races and money won. We were talking quietly while standing amongst State Supreme Court Justices, Senators, State Representatives, heads of administrative agencies, and our conversation lasted a bit of time as we swapped stories. When the awareness of our surroundings finally returned, we both switched back into business mode and continued on with what we were supposed to be discussing. And the serious adult aspect of being forty years older also returned, with the joy of talking about being young vanishing as quickly. Yet the point had been made - no matter who you are, if you were there, you have memories to share. I figured that if nobody else would build the site, I’d have to do it myslef, thus “”  

The website as it exists is a starting point. Your ideas and contributions will determine future direction and development. Please feel free to e-mail me at with your thoughts, stories and photos. I’m looking forward to see where this whole idea leads. By the way, the ‘55 Chevy was the fastest car I owned, I got into the most trouble with the ’67 GTO and I got away from a lot of trouble with the ‘63 Vette. Oh to do it all again . . .  

My best,


© Jeff Holy | 2011

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