Chelsea Apartments – 620 W Olympic Pl

The Chelsea Apartments on West Olympic Place were built in 1907 to house visiting families. Then called the “Chelsea Hotel”, it’s charms were widely advertised. One ad, running under the “Room and Board” classification a few years after the Exposition said:

Seattle’s Scenic Hotel Facing Kinnear Park. 10 minutes from business center. High-grade family home; large rooms, magnificent view, excellent neighborhood, roof garden, large lobby, private telephone in all rooms. Single rooms and suites with private bath… Take Kinnear car.

…Continue reading “Chelsea Apartments – 620 W Olympic Pl”

Housing Nurses and Nuns

Children’s, 1949
Children’s Hospital, 1949

It is hard to believe that comparing two Queen Anne buildings constructed to house single women would involve European Renaissance history, the impact of the Protestant rebellion on the Catholic Church and the exploitation of women workers in American hospitals. The buildings are the 1924 Frances Skinner Edris Nursing Home at First Ave. N. and Boston St., adjacent to the original Queen Anne site of Childrens’ Orthopedic Hospital; and the exquisite 1930 Saint Anne Convent at First Ave. W. and W. Comstock.

The historic link between the two buildings can be traced to the Reformation in the 16th century and the spread of Protestantism in Europe. Before the advent of Protestantism, all the nurses in European hospitals were nuns in the Catholic Church. Where Protestants became predominant, Catholic institutions including schools, universities and hospitals were shut down or replaced. The priests, monks and nuns were served in them were dispersed. As Sister Joseph of the Sisters of Providence Order who founded the state’s first hospital made clear, unlike 16th c. Central Europe or England, there was a place in the United States for hospitals associated with the Catholic Church. By the 20th c. in the United States, the women working as nurses in Protestant-managed and secular hospitals were not unlike the nuns they had replaced, single and in need of training and housing. …Continue reading “Housing Nurses and Nuns”

Stuart-Balcom House – 619 W Comstock St

Stuart-Balcom House, 1982
Stuart-Balcom House, 1982

Deette McAuslan Smith (1892-1979) built the imposing brick residence on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill in 1926. She was the widow of contractor Grant Smith (d. 1923) who built the Olympic Hotel and the White-Henry-Stuart Building. He died four months after their marriage in 1923. Mrs. Smith grew up on Queen Anne Hill and wanted a home for herself, her mother, her older sister, and for two children whom she planned to adopt (but never did). Her late husband’s firm handled construction.

The English Georgian style brick building was designed by Abraham H. Albertson (1872-1964), who had worked on the White-Henry-Stuart Building and other downtown projects. The home is on three levels and has a large garden on the south side. A large ballroom opens onto the garden level. The home features a library, living room, dining room, a large nursery, four bedrooms, and staff quarters. …Continue reading “Stuart-Balcom House – 619 W Comstock St”