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Landmarks Profile: Ward House

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

It's worth noting that there are already two landmarks in the neighborhood that have historical markers on them: the Pantages House, and the nearby subject of our June profile, the Ward House.

Rob wrote about the Ward House for Capitol Hill Seattle Blog just over a year ago. Here are some highlights of that article.

The Ward House in a blended view of 1896 and 2016

The Ward House is currently at Denny and Belmont. It was moved there in 1986 by attorney David Leen and Bradford Moore. Until 1986 it was at the corner of Pike and Boren. Leen and Moore saved the house from demolition, the fate of the rest of the lost community on Boren.

Prior histories of the Ward House concluded that it was built in 1882. However that appears wrong after a review of available primary material at the state archives, in addition to reviews of Polk city directories, a family history, and other sources, as well as secondary source references in the Seattle Times. The Wards purchased the property in about 1882, but didn't build a house on it until about 1889.

Louise Ward's parents owned a large hop farm in Kent on the Green River. Van Doren Landing Park is named after her family. George and Louise split time between Seattle and Kent with their children. They were active in the White River Baptist Church and were key sponsors of the Seattle's Japanese Baptist Church and also involved in creation of Seattle's Chinese Baptist mission.

The Ward House was shifted around the corner and incorporated into an apartment hotel known first as the Gallatin and then the Crest Hotel. For the decade or so before Leen and Moore purchased it, the house was not in use.

David Leen ran his law practice out of the house, lovingly doting on it until last year. He retired and sold it to a venture capitol firm, TOLA Capital, which now has its offices in the Ward House.

What exactly is the landmark?

It's worth looking at a comment that was written back in January on CHS Blog:

Have you seen the inside of the ward house lately? All the authentic decor that Mr. Leen had has been removed by the new owners. It’s quite sad.

The Landmarks Preservation Board declares what aspects of the landmark are being placed under control at the time of designation. The ordinance for each landmark then also include this information. At the bottom of page 3 of Ward House's ordinance 106067 the features are stated as the house; the exterior appearance including paint; and exterior trim. Basically that means the outer shell of the building is controlled, not the interior. It's disappointing that the interior was gutted, but unfortunately not a violation of landmark law.

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