Queen Anne’s Nameless Places

Naming places may be one of the shared aspects of human civilizations, so it is hard to believe that there are so many nameless places in our inner-city neighborhood.  It is clear that long before non-native people arrived in Washington State, indigenous settlers had names for significant places.  ‘Tahoma’ is a marvelous example, although that wasn’t the only name in Salishan languages for Mount Rainier.  All those watery ‘mish’ places — Snohomish, Stillaguamish, Sammamish — are other familiar indigenous place names.

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Fast Fire Department Response Saves Villa Costella!

January 27, 2021 on fire. Photo: Mary Cole

On January 27, 2021, the Seattle Fire Department quickly extinguished a fire in a unit at the historic landmark Villa Costella on W Olympic Place.

According to a member of the Queen Anne Historical Society who works in the building:

The owner of a condo on the 2nd floor was cooking on his deck with a deep fryer. He saw the oil was getting too hot and went to turn off the flame from the propane tank. He got the flame turned off, but at that same moment the oil burst into a flame ball and ignited the wall.” 

The unit suffered serious smoke damage, and neighboring units also had smoke damage.  It ought to be possible to restore the building to its original grandeur.

January 27, 2021. Fire Department on the scene. Fire out. Photo: Mary Cole

Joseph Vance, Developer

Joseph A. Vance (1872-1948), born in Quebec, Canada, moved to Tacoma in 1890 for work in railway construction.  By 1897, he had built and begun operating a small lumber mill operation in Malone, Washington — close to the site of Vance Creek County Park , which opened in 1988.  He founded the Vance Lumber Company in 1908, a highly successful milling operation which he sold in 1918.

Joseph Vance

Vance moved to Seattle and began to invest in real estate through the Vance Company.  He became involved with developing personal business and commercial properties in downtown Seattle, including the Vance Hotel (1927 at 620 Stewart Street, later known as Hotel Max); the Lloyd Building  (1928, named for one of Joseph’s sons and in 2010 designated a City of Seattle landmark); and the Joseph Vance Building (1929), where the Vance Company operated.  Victor W. Voorhees designed all of these buildings.

For the Vance Lumber Company,  Voorhees designed the 1926 remodel of the Seattle Engineering School, which trained auto workers, into an apartment house known as the Vance Apartments until 1930 and then the Marqueen  Apartments and now the MarQueen Hotel, in the Queen Anne neighborhood.  Voorhees produced the plan book catalog known as the Western Home Builder, a source of designs for homes throughout Seattle,  including on Queen Anne.

By 1931, the Vance Company had acquired hotels in downtown Seattle:  the Camlin and Hotel Continental — later known as Hotel Seattle and then renamed Hotel Earl for one of Joseph’s sons.  As documented HERE by historian Maureen Elenga, Earl died in a skating accident in the icy winter of 1935.

Vance’s son George took over the company in the 1930s and ran it until his death in 1981.  As of 2021, the Vance Corporation continues to develop and manage Seattle properties.
Reference:  “Vance Corporation returns to local ownership” (1998)                                                          Vance Building, 4th Avenue & Union St.