Emily Inez Denny was born in Seattle in 1853. She was the first white child born in Seattle and the oldest child of pioneers David and Louisa Boren Denny.
Inez and her sister Madge took classes at the Territorial University when it opened in 1860. Inez later recounted that each pupil had a small slate on which lessons were written, as paper was expensive and in short supply on the frontier. The girls cleaned their slates with a sponge attached to the slate by a string and water kept in a little bottle in their pockets. The boys, on the other hand, often didn’t bother with the sponge and water, but would spit on the slate or lick it off and dry it with a sleeve. …Continue reading “Emily Inez Denny — Seattle Pioneer”→
There was a lot of chatter this summer of 2016 over the proposal to allow the construction of three-story Detached Alternative Dwelling Units (DADUs) on modest sized lots now hosting single family homes. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) tend to be independent dwelling units in an attic or a basement with separate doors and appropriate emergency exits. Realtors call an ADU a mother-in-law.
Some people fear that these new dwelling units will change our neighborhoods by increasing density and expediting the loss of the neighborhood’s historic character. Interestingly, the historic character of Upper Queen Anne especially the area west of Queen Anne Ave. with alleys includes a large number of alley houses. A brief tour of the area north of Smith between First and Third Avenues revealed at least 15 alley houses, all of which add to the historic character of Upper queen Anne. At least two of these alley houses are brand new, and three of them on Galer between 1st and 2nd West are really for the birds.
It may turn out though that the increase in DADUs (Detached ADU) and ADUs has an effect not unlike what happened in response to the Urban Villages created as part of the 1993 Comp Plan. Although written primarily to prevent urban sprawl in rural King County, the plan forced multi-family apartment buildings and condos into the Urban Villages and successfully protected single family homes and the historic neighborhoods in which they are located. Upper Queen Anne and Uptown were both designated villages with the Uptown village encouraging more commercial development than Upper Queen Anne’s.
I am particularly interested in the DADUs constructed long ago in our neighborhood and which now in their own right add its historic character. In many cases, the DADUs are located along the alley edge of simple single family homes and may have replaced early garages. Of course, that conclusion may indeed be speculative, for many of the houses in the neighborhood were constructed before cars were the prevalent way to get around. As is more likely, the alley houses expanded the main home on the lot making room for growing families or newlyweds. The house at 2004 First Avenue N. is said to have been a wedding gift for a newlywed child. Even if it isn’t an alley house, the gift idea lends credence to my guess. …Continue reading “Huh? My mother-in-law’s an ADU?”→
Living in Seattle is exciting because we can be both preservationists and modernists. In Queen Anne we have idyllic Revival and Craftsman homes that sit pretty next to the Modern homes. It works well for our city and our future, but all this being said, things can get a little confusing and only time can be the true judge of good design.
Robert Reichert House/Studio
You can imagine in 1954, when the Reichert house/studio was completed, the sheer disorientation the neighbors experienced. Robert Reichert claimed that the design for his home at 2500 3rd Ave West was primitive, natural, and symbolic. It revealed a love for traditionalism and history. He also claimed that his home complimented the scale of the neighborhood and landscape, and that the design intention was to create a religious atmosphere. …Continue reading “Modern Queen Anne”→