Decatur Terrace – 512 Queen Anne Ave

Built in 1892, Decatur Terrace — David and Louisa Boren Denny’s mansion at 512 Temperance Street — was the epitome of the Queen Anne style.  The corner turret, multiple gables in a variety of shapes and sizes, along with the fancy spindles and posts of three covered porches are marks of the style.

Denny House, 1900
Denny House, 1900

David and Louisa were among the group of Seattle pioneers who landed at Alki Point in 1851.  By the 1890’s, they owned a huge portion of the land on the south slope of Queen Anne which they divided into 11 plats, the last one of which they chose for the site of Decatur Terrace, their home.  The Denny’s were completely dedicated to the development of the city.  In 1891, David Denny put all his and Louisa’s assets behind the public street railway because he felt it was extremely important that the rapidly growing city have a good public transportation system.  As a result of the Depression of 1893, the street railway failed; and by 1894 everything the Denny’s had, including Decatur Terrace, went into receivership.  The couple then moved out to their old hunting cabin at Licton Springs to live with their daughter Inez.  David T. Denny died on November 25, 1903 at 71.  Louisa died on August 18, 1916 at 90.  They are buried at Oak Park Cemetery, a burial ground they had established with a gift of land which is now part of Washelli-Evergreen Cemetery on Aurora Avenue North.

The majestic house, standing on a small rise, took the entire block bounded by today’s Queen Anne Avenue, Republican St., 1st Avenue N., and Mercer St.  It offered the Denny’s the fine home and large grounds they had long coveted.  They named it for the Decatur, the warship that had defended Seattle during the January 1856 Indian attack on the city.

The site later lost its imposing grandeur in the early part of the 20th century when the house was moved and the neighborhood graded for commercial purposes.  When the building was moved across the street to the southeast corner of Republican Street and Queen Anne Avenue, it became known as the Leslie Apartments.  It stood well into the 1970’s when it was demolished to make room for a bank building.  The garage from the property remained standing well into the 2000’s.

David Denny garage–2001 QAHS walking tour (photo by Bruce Jones)

Source:  Queen Anne Community on the Hill, Queen Anne Historical Society, 1993