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John Gordon McFee, originally from Quebec, was a financier, railroad contractor, and trustee of the Northern Life Insurance Company. He is credited for the completion of the Chicago & Milwaukee railroad line to Seattle. He and his San Francisco-born wife Louisa Gordon raised three daughters in the house. In later years, Virginia Klockzien, a vocal Queen Anne Hill preservationist and a valuable Seattle Landmarks board member, owned the house and encouraged its designation.
The impressive formal Tudor residence of brick with half-timbering was designed by Spalding & Umbrecht in 1909. The architects were accustomed to working with Seattle’s business elite, having designed the estate house for shipbuilder Robert Moran on Orcas Island and James Clise’s manor house Marymoor in Redmond. A brick retaining wall surrounded by a brick terrace serves as a pedestal base for the house, noted for the sensitive organization of windows within the modulation of half-timbering and stucco. The interiors carry through the formality and balance of the exterior, with excellent oak woodwork and trim, Rookwood and Batchelder tile fireplace surrounds, a mural of an Italian garden above the living room fireplace, built-in cabinetry with Prairie School stained and leaded glass, and original lighting fixtures.
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