Preservation in Progress

Historic Seattle’s Blog

Admiral’s House

Historic Seattle’s Role:

Historic Seattle holds a preservation easement protecting the exterior of the house and portions of the site.

About the Admiral’s House:

Situated on a bluff overlooking Elliott Bay and downtown Seattle, the Admiral’s House represents the significant role Seattle played in World War II naval history. Between 1944 and 2006, the residence was home to the commanding admiral for the Pacific Northwest and was the site for official entertaining – hosting as many as 1,000 dignitaries each year. As part of the process of conveyance (selling the property) in 2010, the Navy was required to submit a landmark nomination and protect the historic property with a preservation easement. Today, the property is a City of Seattle designated landmark (2010) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (2013).

Current and Future Uses:

The Admiral’s House currently serves as the headquarters for Global Seas, a maritime management company, and is also an event venue for weddings and other functions.

14th Ave W Houses

Historic Seattle’s Role:

In 1977-78, Historic Seattle purchased three of five houses on the west side of Queen Anne Hill after they were identified as historically and architecturally significant through the Urban Resources Inventory for the neighborhood. The houses once bordered Smith Cove at the north end of Elliot Bay and were part of a large Finnish community. The five houses (four of which have protective easements) were re-sold to private individuals and designated as a Seattle Landmark in 1978 as the 14th Avenue West Group.

Current and Future Uses:

The houses continue to be individually owned and occupied as single-family residences or duplexes. Protective easements on all four houses (2000, 2006, 2010, and 2016 14th Ave W) are held by Historic Seattle to ensure the exteriors of these houses will remain intact and original to their turn-of-the-century construction.


Photo: Marissa Natkin

23rd Ave Houses

Historic Seattle’s Role:

Originally built as low-income Victorian era speculative housing, four of the houses were slated for demolition. Historic Seattle purchased three of the residences and obtained a preservation easement on the fourth. The exterior was restored and the interior was completely renovated. Although this type of housing was once common in Seattle, remodeling and demolition in the high density Central Area has made rows of wood-frame Victorian era houses a unique example of Seattle’s earlier streetscape.

The houses, with protective easements, were re-sold to private individuals and designated as a Seattle Landmark in 1979 as the Twenty-third Avenue Houses Group.

Current and Future Uses:

The houses continue to be individually owned and occupied as single-family residences. Protective easements held by Historic Seattle ensure the exteriors of these houses will remain intact and original to their turn-of-the-century construction.


Photo: Historic Seattle, ca. 1979

Ankeny/Gowey House

Historic Seattle’s Role:

Historic Seattle purchased the house in 1980 after being approached by the Gowey family, residents of the house since 1933. After major exterior restoration, the house was sold to a private party who extensively renovated the interior.

Current and Future Uses:

The house continues to be a single family residence in a neighborhood that has been experiencing growing development pressure from large, multifamily projects. Covenants included in the sale of the house (Historic Seattle holds a preservation easement on the exterior), Seattle Landmark designation, and good stewardship by property owners continue to protect the Ankeny/Gowey House and site.

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, 17 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 17-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 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.

Dearborn House Healing Garden Project:

Historic Seattle is excited to partner with Tahoma Peaks Solutions’ Valerie Segrest to provide a more complete and transparent historic narrative of the land of the Coast Salish peoples upon which the Dearborn House was built in 1907. Through the use of plants and interpretative signage, the Healing Garden will help to teach visitors about the land’s original stewards’ history of medicine, cuisine, and culture. Learn more here.


Photo: Marissa Natkin, copyright 2004

Earl Layman Street Clock

Historic Seattle’s Role:

Originally known as Young’s Credit Jewelers Clock and located at Fourth Ave and Pike St, the large time-piece was donated to Historic Seattle by the family of Dean Black. After resting in the backyard of Mrs. Black’s home for many years, the clock was restored and installed on the southeast corner of First Ave S. and S. Main St in Pioneer Square in 1984 by Historic Seattle with funds from the Pioneer Square business community and friends of Earl Layman. Meyer Sign Company refurbished the casing and Carlson Navigation rebuilt the mechanism. The clock was renamed after Mr. Layman, the long-time City of Seattle Historic Preservation Officer, for his instrumental role helping organize and administer the Pioneer Square Preservation District during its formative years.

Current and Future Uses:

Still owned by Historic Seattle, the clock is currently maintained and wound weekly by adjacent property owners.


Photo: Jennifer Tucker

Egan House

The Egan House is for sale! Please click here to view the listing.


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.

April 6, 2024 Open House:

On Saturday, April 6, Historic Seattle hosted an Open House for our community to see the Egan House, without furniture, prior to its listing on the private market. To view the fantastic informational panels we had displayed in the house, please click here.

Historic Seattle Property Life Cycle:

The Egan House is an example of the real estate life cycle of a Historic Seattle property. As a preservation development authority, Historic Seattle develops real estate to save meaningful places. We often engage in advocacy and pursue real estate development concurrently. After acquiring a historic property, we renovate the building following best practices in rehabilitation standards. We engage with the community to find good uses that benefit the local neighborhood and the city, providing affordable rents to tenants. We derive rental income from the property which then contributes to maintenance and operations. We protect all our historic properties through our own stewardship, landmark designation, and preservation easements. We often own our properties for decades. We sometimes sell a property and reinvest the income into the continuing stewardship of our other properties or use the funds to acquire another historic property that needs saving.


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

Fire Station No. 18

Historic Seattle’s Role:

After being declared surplus property by the City of Seattle, Historic Seattle acquired Ballard Fire Station No. 18 from the City in September 1976, for the purpose of complete renovation and adaptive reuse. The fire station, originally built for horse-drawn fire engines, is noteworthy for its early sophisticated engineering, brick massing and architectural style. Fire Station No. 18 was in continuous use for 63 years–longer than any other fire station in Seattle. The building is a designated Seattle Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Historic Seattle holds a preservation easement on this property.

Current and Future Uses:

Fire Station No. 18 remains a significant focal point of the Ballard neighborhood. The building is currently used as a restaurant and offices.


Photo: Jennifer Tucker