Huh? My mother-in-law’s an ADU?

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.

These Alley Houses are for the birds.
These alley houses are 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?”

Landmark Nomination – Power Control Center

Prepared by
The Queen Anne Historical Society And Michael J. Herschensohn, Ph.D., President
With the assistance of board members Leanne Olson And Nicole Demers-Changelo


(The complete PDF of the Landmark Nomination with illustrations can be accessed here: Complete Landmark Nomination 157 Roy Second Submission revised.)

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    • Background
    • Methodology
  2. Property Data
  3. Architectural Description
    • Location and Neighborhood Character
    • Site
    • Building Structure & Exterior Features
    • Plan & Interior Features
    • Documented Building Alterations
  4. Significance
    • Historical Site Context: Queen Anne
      • Introduction
      • Electrical Power and Queen Anne
      • The Rivals: Puget Power and Light and Seattle City Light
      • The Neighborhood between World War I & the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair
      • The 1951 Buyout
      • The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair
      • After the Fair
    • Historical Architectural Context: The Modern Style
    • Building Owner: Seattle City Light
    • Building Architect: Harmon, Pray & Detrich
    • The Contractor
  5. Bibliography
  6. Appendix II: Drawings

…Continue reading “Landmark Nomination – Power Control Center”