Preservation in Progress

Historic Seattle’s Blog

Belmont/Boylston Houses

Historic Seattle’s Role:

The Belmont/Boylston (“Bel-Boy”) project includes six turn-of-the-century (1893-1903) houses–three were built as double houses designed to appear as single-family homes. Historic Seattle acquired the properties in 1989. After six months of renovation, 47 one-bedroom, studio, and single-family low-income apartments were created. The Bel-Boy project received numerous awards for its successful combining of historic preservation and low-income housing, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award in 1992.

Current and Future Uses:

Five of the six buildings were sold in 2008. 1411 Boylston Avenue was retained by Historic Seattle and continues to be operated as a 16-unit, single room occupancy, low-income apartment building.

This property is managed by United Marketing Inc.  Please contact United Marketing Inc. at (425) 562-1200 or info@umiapartments.com for more information regarding this property.

Cadillac Hotel

Historic Seattle’s Role:

The Cadillac Hotel was badly damaged by the February 28, 2001 Nisqually earthquake, and at risk for demolition due to high rehabilitation costs. In September 2001, Historic Seattle stepped forward with an alternate engineering plan that would preserve the building, and lay the foundation for a long term preservation project. Historic Seattle brought together an expert team to consider the feasibility of the complex project, while at the same time, began negotiations with the property owner. These efforts led to the purchase and subsequent preservation of the building by Historic Seattle and grand re-opening in 2005. Learn more about the full story of the rehabilitation project through this brochure. (663 KB PDF)

Current and Future Uses:

The Cadillac Hotel now serves as the permanent home for the National Park Service’s Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Ground and first floors of the building house exhibits commemorating and preserving the story of the rush to the Yukon gold fields in 1897-1898.

The rehabilitation work to the Cadillac included repair and restoration of original wood frame windows, exterior masonry walls, seismic reinforcement consisting of steel brace frames on the east, west and south elevations, parapet reconstruction, wall ties, additional roof and floor sheathing, and new interior shear and load bearing framing. In addition the building received a new roof, skylights and storefront windows and doors. The property was also fully improved to meet current building, life safety and energy code requirements (solar panels were installed on the rooftop.)

A permanent exhibit project highlighting the history of the Cadillac Hotel is now prominently displayed within the building. You may also download the heritage interpretive panels. (3.2 MB PDF)

Photo courtesy of KeyBank

Dearborn House

Historic Seattle’s Role:

With the help of a generous patron’s gift, Historic Seattle acquired the Dearborn House for its offices in 1997. Currently it is only one of four remaining significant homes on First Hill. Built in 1907, the house was a single-family residence until 1953. The home was then converted to professional offices and occupied by a succession of medical practitioners. The Dearborn House is a designated Seattle Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Current and Future Uses:

Currently, the Dearborn House functions as the permanent administrative offices for Historic Seattle. The exterior of our signature property was restored with repairs to wood trim, stucco and decorative metal. The exterior was completely repainted with historically accurate colors. Interior work included improved accessibility to the basement and first floors and renovation and upgrades on the second and third floors to accommodate office space.

The Dearborn House basement and the Carriage House (also built in 1907) are leased as office space.

 

Photo: Marissa Natkin, copyright 2004

Egan House

Historic Seattle’s Role:

Remarkable for its unusual, non-conforming modernist design, the Egan House, designed by architect Robert Reichert in 1958, was acquired by Historic Seattle in 1998 in partnership with the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. Threatened with demolition on a number of occasions, the Egan House is an outstanding example of modern residential architecture. Historic Seattle undertook interior and exterior rehabilitation of the property in 2003. Historic Seattle owns the building and Seattle Parks and Recreation owns the land. The Egan House was designated a Seattle Landmark in 2010.

Current and Future Uses:

The Egan House’s exterior work included repairs to deteriorated and insect damaged wood, a new roof, paint and support column for the cantilever above the entryway. Interior work included paint, heating system improvements, tile replacement and bathroom and kitchen upgrades. Since September 2003, the house has served as single-family rental maintained by Historic Seattle.

The 1958 building is the youngest in Historic Seattle’s portfolio. When first constructed, the building represented a shift away from traditionalist styles. Its preservation has helped Historic Seattle expand its advocacy and educational programming to support recognition of modern design as a significant part of our architectural heritage.

 

 

Photo: 1958 view of the Egan House / University of Washington Libraries Special Collections

Garden House

Also known as the Turner-Koepf House / Jefferson Park Ladies’ Improvement Club

About the Property:

The Garden House is also known as the Turner-Koepf House, and it served the Jefferson Park Ladies’ Improvement Club and Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs for decades. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a City of Seattle landmark.

Historic Seattle’s Role:

A longstanding covenant that had guaranteed the property’s use for community purposes was deemed invalid in a 2016 lawsuit, and the property was listed for sale in 2018. Despite making the higher offer to purchase the property in 2018, Historic Seattle was unsuccessful in that bid, and a private party took ownership instead.

After a three-year community advocacy effort which included landmarking and work to secure funding to acquire the property, Historic Seattle took ownership on December 23, 2021.

The $2M deal was made possible through grants from the King County Conservation Futures program, contributions from more than 100 private donors, and City of Seattle seed funding, which was championed in 2018 by then-president of the City Council Bruce Harrell. Historic Seattle will retain ownership of the property, and Seattle Parks and Recreation will hold an easement to permanently protect public green space in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Current and Future Uses:

Under its ownership of the property, Historic Seattle will restore and repair the house and grounds and will work with community partners, including Beacon Arts, to reactivate the space for community use.

Image: Cowan Photo from National Register of Historic Places listing, 1925

Good Arts Building

About the Property:

Historically known as the Scheuerman Block, the Good Arts Building was designed by Elmer Fisher in 1889 for Christian Scheuerman and completed in 1890. Throughout the years, the building has been a hub of entrepreneurial, creative, and colorful endeavors.

The name “Good Arts” pays homage to “Good Eats,” a two-story diner once housed in its walls.  The building has also been home to department stores, a cigar shop, jazz club, boxing gym, brothels, speakeasies, and the original office of Washington Mutual Savings Bank.

In the 1970s, the basement housed the first gay and lesbian community center in Seattle, followed by the Skid Road Theatre, in which such local theatrical stalwarts as Kurt Beattie, R. Hamilton Wright, and Linda Hartzell produced original shows during the company’s 10 successful years.

In 2011, the building took on its current role as a hub for the arts, when a dozen artists, evicted from the nearby 619 Western Building, established ’57 Biscayne studios on the second floor.

In 2015, Good Arts LLC — an unlikely collaboration of developer Greg Smith, artist Jane Richlovsky, theatre veteran Steve Coulter, and Cherry Street Coffee founder Ali Ghambari — purchased the building with the mission of preserving its artistic heritage and affordability to creative enterprises.

Historic Seattle’s Role:

On June 10, 2022, Historic Seattle finalized a deal to become managing partners in Pioneer Square’s Good Arts Building, ensuring the long-term preservation of the building and its continued mission as a hub for arts, culture, and creative enterprises in perpetuity. Historic Seattle will assume building management responsibilities as part of the partnership agreement.

Current and Future Uses:

The Good Arts Building currently houses ’57 Biscayne Artist Studios, Bad Bishop Bar, Saké Nomi, Beneath the Streets Tours, Lolo’s Hair, Cherry Street Coffee House, and Open Books Poem Emporium.

Jane Richlovsky and Steve Coulter will continue to drive the building’s arts programming in the new partnership arrangement. To ensure this home for the arts will endure as a legacy, they plan to bequeath their ownership interest to Historic Seattle.

 

Image: Good Arts Building, courtesy of Urban Visions

Good Shepherd Center

Historic Seattle’s Role:

After providing over 60 years of service to young women seeking shelter, education, and training, declining numbers of residents forced the Home of the Good Shepherd to close in 1973. After the Wallingford community defeated a proposal to turn the 11-acre site into a shopping center, the City of Seattle bought the property in 1975 with Forward Thrust and Federal Revenue Sharing funds and then transferred the buildings to Historic Seattle for use as a multi-purpose community center. The property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a Seattle Landmark in 1984.

Current and Future Uses:

The property is owned and operated by Historic Seattle and the center currently houses nonprofit organizations and schools including the Meridian School, Neo Art School, the Wallingford Senior Center, the Alliance Française, and Seattle Tilth.

Historic Seattle added six live/work units for artists in early 2002. Ranging in size from 580 to 650 sq. feet, the artist studios are located in a space once used for the school’s dance classes and costume storage. The artist residents are a diverse group and bring much creativity and enthusiasm to the Good Shepherd Center community.

Historic Seattle also completed a small performance and rehearsal space (The Chapel Space) with a seating capacity of 100-150 in the former fourth floor chapel. Accessible by elevator, this beautiful, two-story space features wooden floors, columns, and stained glass.

Historic Seattle partnered with NonSequitur, a music production non-profit, who not only stages twelve of their own performances per month, but serves as booking agent for other community events and performances in the Chapel.

Seismic Retrofit:

The Good Shepherd Center is unreinforced masonry (URM) and was deemed “Critical Risk” in Seattle’s URM assessment because of its many uses. The property is also listed by the City of Seattle as an earthquake communications hub, the only place in the city that is both a URM & emergency hub in the event of an earthquake. Historic Seattle is conducting a seismic retrofit of this important property. In our first phase of work, phase 1A, our organization conducted exploratory demolition to verify seismic status and load-test attachment points and created a preliminary design for the retrofit. With the knowledge obtained from that phase, we moved forward with phase 1B to develop the final design (completed in 2020) and begin work on the most critical elements, the floor-to-wall connections (to begin in 2022). Approximately 70% of the building’s floor-to-wall connections will be completed in phase 1B, the highest priority work identified by our architect and structural engineer.

Photo: Chris Robinson

 

Mutual Life Building

Historic Seattle’s Role:

Originally built in 1890 in the Romanesque Revival style popular in Seattle after the 1889 fire, the Mutual Life Insurance Company purchased the building in 1916 and added five floors. In 1983, Historic Seattle acquired the building and provided financing assistance for the rehabilitation of what was a very deteriorated building located on a prominent corner in Pioneer Square.

The property is also a contributing building to the Pioneer Square Preservation District.

Current and Future Uses:

The Mutual Life Building houses a mix of offices on the upper floors and retail spaces on the first floor and basement.

 

Photo: Jennifer Tucker

Phillips House

Historic Seattle’s Role:

This unusual double house was constructed in 1902 as a personal residence for businessman William B. Phillips and his parents. A local craftsman, John M. Hester, built the house using regional materials. Purchased by Historic Seattle in 1992, a complete renovation created 11 units of affordable housing in 1993. The property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Current and Future Uses:

Historic Seattle maintains ownership of the Phillips House which continues to provide affordable rental units.

This property is managed by United Marketing Inc.  Please contact United Marketing Inc. at (425) 562-1200 or info@umiapartments.com for more information regarding this property.

 

Victorian Row Apartments

Historic Seattle’s Role:

The late 19th century Victorian Row Apartments are historically and architecturally significant as the only pre-1900 apartments existing in Seattle today in unaltered condition. The building was slated for demolition until 1993 when Historic Seattle entered into a limited partnership with the owner. Tax credits were utilized to rehabilitate the building into 14 units of low-income housing.

The Victorian Row Apartments building was designated a Seattle Landmark in 1979. The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

Current and Future Uses:

The property is now owned and maintained by Historic Seattle.  It is managed by United Marketing Inc. Please contact United Marketing Inc. at (425) 562-1200 or info@umiapartments.com for more information regarding this property.

 

Photo: Jonathan Park for Historic Seattle

Want updates on everything Historic Seattle?Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter