Historical Society Doings For The First Half Of 2018


 Greetings local history lovers!


We hope you are enjoying your summer so far! We have been too and better yet, we have a lot of exciting and important news we've been meaning to share about our activities over the past several months. First off, we just finished co-writing a landmark nomination with Historic Seattle and have otherwise been keeping tabs on at-risk historic buildings. We continue to move forward on our mapping and photo scanning projects, but at a more relaxed pace. And we've been actively engaging the community through social media. We've just been so enthralled in these activities and the demands of life outside CHHS lately, that we haven't been able to put something like this together for a while. That is until now, so let's get to it!


Preservation News


1.Roy Vue Apartments - 615 Bellevue Ave E

  • In case you missed it, a developer back in April was looking to purchase this historic building, gut it, and build over its central garden space.

  • But thanks to an amazing grassroots effort organized by Roy Vue residents and backed by CHHS and Historic Seattle, we convinced the developer to drop their plans after declaring our intention to seek landmark protection for the building.

  • On July 18th Jeff Murdock of Historic Seattle hand-delivered our nomination to Erin Doherty, the city's landmarks coordinator.

  • The Roy Vue has a long way to go before it is fully protected, but we are confident that it will get there.

  • In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for a celebration!


2. Eldridge Tire -1519 Broadway


  • This unique Spanish Mission revival building has stood here since 1925.

  • In early 2017, the city's landmarks preservation board considered it for nomination.

  • In March 2017 they designated it.

  • Last week the Seattle City Council confirmed it with a ordinance.

  • Another win for preservation!



3. Sullivan House - 1632 15th Avenue

  • After receiving landmark status in February, 2018, the owner attempted to challenge the decision in court the following month claiming that the decision would deprive her of reasonable economic use of the property.

  • On June 22, Eugenia Woo and Jeff Murdock of Historic Seattle and Marvin Anderson Architects published an incredibly detailed report that refutes the above claim. You can read it in full here.

  • At the most recent landmarks preservation board meeting on July 18th, the house's owner requested an extension to the controls and incentives negotiation period.

  • It is believed they are making this request in order to review the report.


4. Capitol Hill Design Guidelines

  • About a year ago, the City of Seattle launched a community-driven effort to update their design guidelines for Capitol Hill.

  • Toward the end of May this year, they submitted their first draft for public comment.

  • On May 30th, I wrote a review of this first draft with the support and feedback of my fellow CHHS board members.

  • In this review, I described in detail what was missing from the draft from a historic preservation perspective.

  • You can read this review here.

5. Seattle Central College South Annex Building (AKA the Booth Building) - 1532 Broadway


  • Back in January, Youthcare signed on to establish a new homeless youth shelter here.

  • As the 6 to 9 month feasibility study comes to a close, it remains uncertain whether this historic structure, once the home of Cornish College and Nellie Cornish herself, will be a part of the project or be demolished.

  • As advocates for preservation, we would like to see the building preserved as a part of the new homeless youth shelter.

  • Given the building's size and high-profile historical background, it should trigger a SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) review and require a landmark nomination.

  • In the months leading up to that nomination, we plan to do our own research on the building in order to testify to the landmarks board on the veracity of the nomination report.


6. Knights of Columbus Building - 722 E Union St


  • On June 15, SRM Development of Spokane Washington purchased the Knights of Columbus building.

  • On July 9, we learned that they intend to keep and rehab the building as a part of larger residential project that involves two adjacent undeveloped lots.

  • The same day John Feit, chair of the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, reached out to ask us to join a multi-advocacy effort to engage the new owners during the early development phase.

  • Our goal is to ensure the building remains and the new development around it fits in with it.


7. Conover House - 1620 16th Avenue


  • In late April we received news of a proposal to demolish and redevelop the historic home of Charles T Conover, former Seattle PI writer and editor turned real estate developer in 1888.

  • Conover and his business partner Samuel Crawford played a significant role in the early development of Seattle including the establishment of the Plat of Renton's Addition in which the house stands.

  • Conover and his family lived in the house from 1901 to 1924 and converted it into apartments in 1925.

  • Eugenia Woo of Historic Seattle informed city staff of the home's historic significance to ensure that it is properly reviewed for its potential as a landmark before the proposal to replace it can move forward.

8. Avon Apartments - 1831-35 Broadway


  • Over a year ago we learned of plans to demolish this historic 3-story apartment complex built in 1905 and requested that city

    staff review it.

  • Back in May this year Crystal Torres, Land Use Planner for the city, sent the developer a request for a historical analysis as is required by SEPA.

  • The developer has yet to submit their analysis.

  • We will continue to follow up on this as much as is necessary.



Project Updates


1. Mapping Capitol Hill 1888-1893



  • If you haven't guessed already, 4Culture did not award us the grants we applied for to fund this project. Nevertheless, we are moving forward on it, but at a slower pace than planned.


  • Research for photographs of buildings constructed before 1894 has thus far yielded very few results, but we still have a few other places to look. Have any relevant photographs you'd like to share? Let us know!

  • Research at the Seattle Municipal Archives yielded several LID ordinances that describe in detail what the roads were built of at the time, who did the work, and when they completed it. You may temporarily view these materials here.

  • We now have a long list of the area's residents and employees of the original Broadway streetcar (Union Trunk Line) from the 1892 and 1893 Polk Seattle City directories. You may temporarily view the list here.

  • A couple weeks ago, we got in touch with Andy Lichtenberg, great great grand nephew of the Honorable Isaac Lichtenberg (pictured to the right): first superior court judge of King County who lived at Harvard and Denny during this time period. Andy shared a lot of interesting info including some photos that we'll hopefully include in a future blog post about Lichtenberg.


  • Work progresses in CityEngine, (GIS Mapping software provided by ESRI), but still being fairly new to it, the learning curve is

    quite steep. If you have experience in CityEngine, any of ESRI's other products, or in GIS generally, we'd love to have you collaborate with us. Please let us know.

  • After obtaining the LID ordinances for roads, we've been testing options for representing their physical appearance in the 

    map. The trouble is, CityEngine inserts flat roads by default which are not compatible with Seattle's hilly and uneven terrain. So for now, you'll notice the streets 'flash' or disappear underground in places. Or are hovering above the ground. These areas will require more 'up close' editing to get them to conform to the terrain.

  • Our map also now contains a layer that represents plat boundaries. It too currently suffers from the same flickering as the roads.

  • You may view the map here. It starts looking at the intersection of Broadway and Denny looking southeast. The complete row of houses is where the Transit Oriented Development project is currently going in above the Capitol Hill light rail station.

  • Since there are thus far so few photographs of pre-1894 buildings, we are considering moving the map forward in time to a point where more photographs exist. However, research on the people who occupied the area before 1894 and the events that occurred there will continue. Otherwise, the mapping work we are able to complete for this time period will become the infrastructure for all the future work.

  • Are you experienced in Sketch-Up or any other 3-D rendering software or do you want to learn and help us convert photographs into 3-D objects? Let us know! We are looking for volunteers. Below is an example of an 1893 photograph of Grace Hospital at Summit and Union with a 3-D rendering done by Lorn.

2. CHHS Logo design

  • Ideas discussed so far:

    • Something simple:  silhouette/outline of objects, single color.

    • Objects can include an old streetcar, automobile, and/or distinctive historic building like the Broadway Performance Hall
      (The Volunteer Park water tower is already in use by the Volunteer Park Trust)

    • possibly representing our geography (winding road up a hill?)

    • Possibly using one of a few photographs as inspiration: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3

    • Or even simpler: a text-only logo

    • Have your own ideas??? Please let us know!