Our Society is frequently asked, “why is our community called Queen Anne?” It does seem strange for a pioneer western city to name its most prominent geographical feature after a relatively obscure 18th century British monarch. The short answer is that we are not named after the Queen, but are in fact named for the architectural style of the first houses built up the south slope of our hill. The longer answer shows how centennials can shape our view of the world.
In the 1870s, in England, architect Richard Norman Shaw introduced the Queen Anne or Free Classic residential design. It was intended to evoke domestic architecture of some 200 years earlier. The British public loved it, perhaps tiring of the demands of empire and nostalgic for a simpler past. …Continue reading “The Queen Anne Style – Our Neighborhood Namesake”→
From 1868 to 1914, more than a million Swedes immigrated to the United States. Among them was John A. Lorentz, who was to become one of Queen Anne’s most prolific builders.
John A. Lorentz was born Johan Amandus Lorentzson in Ulvhult, Sweden, in October 1879. His family owned a farm, but the soil was poor and rocky. Like many Scandinavian immigrants, he left his native land because dividing the family farm with his brother would not have provided a viable living. Being adventurous,1 in 1903 he boarded a ship to the United States to seek a better life. He found work first as a blacksmith at the Old Star Carriage Company, and later as a carpenter, living on Garfield Street on Queen Anne. At that time, he was one of many newly-arrived immigrants from Scandinavia working in the building trades.
In 1905, he married his wife Bena, also a Swedish immigrant, who became not only his life-long companion but also a partner in his business. With her assistance, in 1910, Lorentz began a career as a building contractor. During his career, he built an estimated 200 single family homes on Queen Anne,2 many of which still exist with minimal exterior alterations, as well as apartment buildings in the Denny Regrade and on First Hill. …Continue reading “John Lorentz & Lorentz Place”→
Some of the old houses in this selection of historic photos survive. A walk around the neighborhood is a great way to discover them. As you go on your walk or flip through this collection, see how very many of the buildings have turrets, towers or other distinctive features on one corner. It is up to you now to decide if the playful treatment of corners is characteristic of Queen Anne house, if they show us to be a particular nosy bunch of neighbors who want to look around corners without anyone knowing, or if the Queen Anne historian who put together this collection just happened to like buildings with fanciful corner features. …Continue reading “Historic Residences”→