Earlier this spring we heard the sad news that this beautiful historic home from 1906 would soon be demolished. Even worse, that its proposed replacement looks like a slipshod and menacing guard tower straight out of Rust, a multiplayer online survival game. Future plans aside though, our friend Vanishing Seattle covered the home's most recent history as a Bed and Breakfast so I figured I'd take some time to explore its origins. Preserving and sharing its story is the least we can do when lacking the resources to physically preserve it.
The home was built in 1906 for William and Jane Judah of Indianapolis, IN who had moved to Seattle in 1901 by way of Minneapolis. William was a clerk for a shoe manufacturing company and Jane an accomplished musician. The couple occupied the home with Jane's mother Mrs. Louisa Suffern.
Mrs Jane S Judah - Musician
Jane was born in December of 1868 in Indiana as "Jennie" Suffern to parents John and Louisa both of whom were career musicians and teachers of music. Seattle Times notes that John was a particularly prominent teacher and director in New York City and credits him as Jane's teacher. However, Jane likely learned from both her parents. Especially since her father died before she was a teenager meaning her mother likely continued her education at the very least.
Jane primarily played the organ at the Robert Parks Church in Indianapolis, but was known to sing and play the piano as well. She even helped direct musical programs. She co-directed the music for The Dairy Maids' Carnival put on by the girls of the Roberts Park Church at Tomlinson Hall to an audience of over 2000 people in February of 1887. She was just 18 years old.
Jane was also very active in social clubs. She sat on the executive board of the Women's Relief Corps in 1891 and was a member of the Epworth League whose mission it was "to encourage and cultivate Christ-centered character in young adults around the world through community building, missions, and spiritual growth."
When she and her husband (married in 1893) moved to Seattle after a brief stay in Minneapolis, her talents naturally carried over. She took up the organ and choir direction for the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Seattle in 1901 and joined The Ladies' Musical Club (still active to this day) whose original mission was to "foster the appreciation of classical music" through events organized and performed by members as well as international musicians they invited to Seattle. And so great was Jane's own appreciation that the club's members elected her president in 1904. The Seattle Mail and Herald wrote that Jane had
"a charming personality, is thoroughly devoted to music and is possessed of that greatest gift of woman, good common sense which, combined with tact, will make her a president of which the club can be very proud."
And proud they were indeed. She served a second term in 1905 and in 1906, according to the Seattle Mail and Herald "was only permitted to retire because the rules of the club will permit of but two years service in any office." So they elected her vice-president instead.
Meanwhile, Jane's husband William was apparently doing all he could to provide. Up on until this point they had been living with Jane's mother in a small apartment in the Yale Flats at 601 Columbia St (now occupied by the freeway).
On June 28th 1906 though, he acquired a permit from the city to build a "two-story frame residence" at 722 Broadway N for $2,500 and by late 1906 early 1907 they moved in. They were also quite well off at this point as they were able to hire a live-in domestic by the name of Fanny Clancy according to the Polk City directory of 1907. Also, William had been promoted to Department Manager the same year and Secretary of the company the following year.
Unfortunately, the arrangement didn't last very long. The two were divorced by 1910 and likely with prejudice as Jane went on to refer to herself a widow in city directories thereafter. William, for unknown reasons, was dead to her. She and her mother kept the house and live-in domestic, a comfortable position from which to continue her active career in music. She went on to become a founding member of the Musical Art Society along side Nellie Cornish and many others in 1912.
Her vibrant life in music though ended prematurely. In January of 1915 she became seriously ill and after seeming to recover for a time, relapsed in late April 1915. Then on April 30th 1915, she died at home, aged 47, with her Aunt Mary at her bedside (her mother had since passed in 1912). When Jane's will went to probate court, $5000 and all her personal effects went to her aunt Mary, the house went to her ex-husband who turned it into a rental property until he sold it in 1919.
Some additional photos of the interior from when it operated most recently as a bed and breakfast
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