Description: This is Part 3 of 8 of an interview with Al Rochester. This interview was conducted by Junius Rochester and Donald A. Schmechel at the Museum of History & Industry on September 24, 1985. This part of the interview was conducted by Junius Rochester.
Alfred Ruffner “Al” Rochester (1895-1989) was a lifelong Seattle resident. Rochester graduated from Broadway High School, served in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War I, and as state director of the Office of War Information during World War II.
Rochester served on the Seattle City Council from 1944-1956, and at one time was chairman of the Parks and Streets and Sewers Committee. During his tenure, he led or introduced three innovative council decisions: daylight-savings time; one-way streets; and street parking for the physically handicapped. During his city council days, Al Rochester also served as Official Greeter to more than one-half million U.S. military personnel returning from the Korean War.
Among his civic endeavors, Rochester was an officer of the Pioneer Association of Washington State; chairman of the King County U.S.O., the Easter Seal campaign, and the local Infantile Paralysis Foundation chapter; director of Red Cross and Heart Association campaigns; and was twice president of the Young Men’s Democratic Club of Seattle and King County.
On April 14, 2001, a memorial speaker's podium was dedicated to Al Rochester on a city triangle at 3rd Avenue and Denny Way.
This interview is part of the Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection. Don Schmechel, who was a member of the Seattle Public Library Foundation board, began this project with Seattle Public Library in 1984, with the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) brought on board as a partner in early 1985. Schmechel himself worked to raise the funding for the project, and volunteered his time to manage the project, and to conduct interviews along with a crew of volunteers. Originally titled the Videotaping Historic Figures (VHF) Program, the project interviewed 91 people, and MOHAI holds the interviews for 32 of these individuals.The interviews conducted with these Seattle civic, business and cultural leaders in 1985 are valuable first-hand accounts that provide insight into developments taking place in the mid-twentieth century.
Digitization of this videotape material has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
This oral history recording may be used for research only. For other uses, please contact the Museum of History & Industry at firstname.lastname@example.org.