Bloss House: Classic Seattle Bungalow Nominated by Landmarks Preservation Board

Bloss House, 4055 SW Holgate St, West Seattle / Photo: Eugenia Woo

On Wednesday, April 21, 2010, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted unanimously to nominate the Bloss House. The Bloss House is a Craftsman style bungalow in West Seattle. Built in 1915, the house was designed by architect Elmer E. Green, who produced a bungalow plan book in 1912. His designs can be found throughout Seattle. The house in West Seattle embodies the Craftsman style, represents the more modest Craftsman homes found in Seattle neighborhoods, and possesses a high degree of physical integrity on both the exterior and interior. There were questions and discussion by the Board about whether the house represents an outstanding example of the architect’s work and whether the house embodies the Craftsman style. Discussion also centered on the significance of the interior which remains mostly unaltered. The Board members will tour the house in the next few weeks. The designation hearing is scheduled for June 2, 2010.

1937 view of 4055 SW Holgate / Photo: Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch

Historic Seattle prepared the nomination for the owner, Ruth Ward. Historic Seattle’s Director of Preservation Services, Eugenia Woo, and University of Washington second-year, graduate student in the Master of Science in Architecture, History and Theory of Architecture program, Megan Meulemans, researched and wrote the landmark nomination and presented the nomination to the Board on Wednesday. In preparation for this nomination, a field survey of Green’s work was conducted throughout Seattle, providing a broad scope of his residential designs. Green was very active within a short time span of eight years (1907-1915). The Bloss House was one of his last houses built in Seattle in 1915. Extensive research on the life and work of Elmer E. Green has been conducted by Colin and Jennifer Barr of Victoria, BC. They live in a Green-designed house themselves and generously shared their research with Historic Seattle, including scanned images of Green’s Practical Plan Book and a list of over sixty houses and apartment buildings designed by Green in Seattle. Additional research assistance was provided by Luci Baker Johnson of Historic Seattle. And Historic Seattle volunteer Megan Espinoza produced a site plan for the nomination. Preparation of the Bloss House nomination was truly a group effort.

Many letters of support from the community were submitted and several people spoke in favor of the nomination during the public comment period at the meeting. The West Seattle Blog has been covering this nomination. The support for this nomination is overwhelming in the community, as evidenced by the positive comments on the WSB and by those who submitted comments to the Board and attended the meeting.

Owner Ruth Ward is the third owner of the house, which has been well-maintained and essentially unchanged for 95 years. This classic Seattle bungalow has served three owners who have appreciated the house as it was designed by Elmer E. Green. It is getting increasingly rare to find an unaltered Craftsman period home. This nomination celebrates the classic Seattle bungalow.

You may download the nomination and graphics on the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Historic Preservation Program’s website. If you support the designation of the Bloss House, please come to the June 2 designation hearing (3:30 pm, Municipal Tower, 700 5th Ave, 40th Floor, Room 4060). Or submit email comments to Beth Chave, Landmarks Preservation Board Coordinator, at [email protected].