Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The House

So, as it turns out, the house we bought is also known as the Seely House. We found this out a couple of years ago while enjoying our neighborhood Art Walk. In Seattle, neighborhoods often have these evening events in which stores and restaurants host local artist. People are invited to walk in and out looking at the art. This year, when we entered the library, we found ourselves looking at a photo of our house. The Greenwood-Phinney Historical Society had done a feature on our home as one of the oldest homes in the neighborhood. As surprising as the circumstances were, it was interesting to learn more about this house we now call home.

From the Department of Neighborhoods Database of Historical Sites:
Built in 1906The Seely House was constructed about 1906. In May 1905, Charles Osner, developer of Osners Suburban Homes, sold two lots to recent Seattle arrivals George (b. ca 1865) and Nellie (b. ca 1877). The Seelys likely hired a builder to construct the house. The couple married about 1891 and by 1906 just three of their seven children were still living. By early 1906, the couple and their three surviving sons (ages 11, 8, and 1) moved into the house...This was just about the time that the Everett Interurban started running from Ballard through northwest King County into Snohomish County and ran past the Seely’s home, about 15 blocks away. George A. Seely, anticipating a booming real estate market created by the Interurban, opened the Sun Flower Realty office. His prediction was way off, the real estate boom did not strike this area until after Second World War and it wasn’t until the early 1950s that Seattle annexed the area between 85th and 145th. In 1912, after struggling for a few years, Seely closed his real estate office and moved to downtown Seattle. He initially worked as a baler for Gailbraith, Bacon & Co., a grain warehouse company, and then got a job as a window cleaner before leaving town towards the end of World War I. Later occupants. In 1928 John George, a machine operator, lived in the house. Bessie Cogan purchased the house in 1934. In 1954 when Seattle annexed this area Clyde H. and Isabella A. Belanger lived there. By 1962, the year of the Seattle World’s Fair, Mrs. Mary Van Wort occupied the house. Later that year Richard A. Norman purchased the house...The residence appears to meet City of Seattle Landmark criteria due to the age of the structure (about 100 years old) and minimal alterations. Sources (see below for complete citation): "Galbraith, Bacon & Co." Greater Seattle. pp. 139-140
Appearance The vernacular Seely House was constructed about 1906. It is a front and wing gable two story house with a covered balcony over an open porch on the east elevation. Doric columns support both the balcony and the hip balcony roof. Braced brackets are placed under eaves. An one story 11 x 18 foot rear (west) addition was added prior to 1930. The residence is sited on a corner lot.

I have since joined the yahoo group for the GPHS and each year when they promote their "Oldest House in Greenwood" contest, I am asked if they can use a photo of our house to promote it. I always say yes.

In our initial investigations of the house, Mr. Dog found old magazines in the attic addressed to Bessie Cogan. I hope we'll find more evidence of the past as we get past structural work under the house and start on the interior work again.

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