Seattle Now & Then: Hizzoner's Long Home Run

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The Craftsman bungalow at 1910 47th Ave. S.W., shown in the 1920s with an unknown adult on the porch and two tykes below, is now 100 years old. The house beyond it at the southeast corner with Holgate Street was for many years clubhouse to the West Seattle Community Club, and so a favorite venue for discussing neighborhood politics and playing bridge. (COURTESY OF SOUTHWEST SEATTLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY)
THEN: The Craftsman bungalow at 1910 47th Ave. S.W., shown in the 1920s with an unknown adult on the porch and two tykes below, is now 100 years old. The house beyond it at the southeast corner with Holgate Street was for many years clubhouse to the West Seattle Community Club, and so a favorite venue for discussing neighborhood politics and playing bridge. (COURTESY OF SOUTHWEST SEATTLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY)
NOW: With Sharon Nickels’ hand on Clay Eals’ shoulder and her husband Greg’s on hers, Clay, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, kneels on the sidewalk, from which Jean Sherrard dips his camera to reveal at least some of the Nickels’ front porch near the scene’s verdant center.
NOW: With Sharon Nickels’ hand on Clay Eals’ shoulder and her husband Greg’s on hers, Clay, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, kneels on the sidewalk, from which Jean Sherrard dips his camera to reveal at least some of the Nickels’ front porch near the scene’s verdant center.

As many alert readers of this periodical will know, Craftsman-style homes are wonderfully commonplace in Seattle. During the early 20th century in the many working and middle-class neighborhoods burgeoning in this boomtown, they sprouted by the hundreds. (I live in one built in Wallingford 101 years ago, and there are five more on the block.) While many Seattle Craftsmen have been surrendered to one miracle siding or another and/or fit with vinyl windows, many still hold to their intended angles, stained glass and shingles. A few, like this one at 1910 47th Ave. S.W., have been blessed with tender care.

This West Seattle Craftsman is also quite unique for the service and lessons that it is about to give. On Sunday afternoon, Aug. 18, this home two lots south of Holgate Street will celebrate its centennial with a fundraiser for one of our community’s happiest nonprofits: the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. The hosts are our penultimate (former) mayor, Greg Nickels, and his wife, Sharon. The couple has lived in this Craftsman since 1986 and added significantly to its zestful story with what Greg attests were hundreds of campaign events, drawing political luminaries such as Al Gore and countless volunteers to gatherings that included all-night mailing parties and more than 20 meetings of their “First Barbecue of the Season,” a fundraising feast each February.

The artful builder of the historical society’s benefit is Clay Eals, its executive director. The event’s name is most promising: “If These Walls Could Talk: The Centennial of Hizzoner’s Home.” With the help of Carolyn Smith, Bethany Green and Brad Chrisman, other members of the event committee, the story of this Craftsman will be interpreted with posted illustrated panels and tours led by Greg and Sharon.

Like many Craftsmen, this one is considerably larger than it appears from the street. The benefit – and there is, of course, a price for admission – is also bigger. For details, call the historical society’s Log House Museum at (206) 938-5293 or consult its website at loghousemuseum.info.

WEB EXTRAS

As you know, Paul, our friend Clay Eals has kindly provided us with some snapshots of the Nickels house, revealing more of its history.

The home stands nearly barren of shrubbery in this late 1930s photo taken for the King County Assessor's office. Photo from the state's Puget Sound Regional Archives at Bellevue College
The home stands nearly barren of shrubbery in this late 1930s photo taken for the King County Assessor’s office. (Photo from the state’s Puget Sound Regional Archives at Bellevue College)
Greg Nickels hosts an early installment of one of his and Sharon's  many backyard barbecues. Photo by Sharon Nickels
Greg Nickels hosts an early installment of one of his and Sharon’s many backyard barbecues. (Photo by Sharon Nickels)

 

Prior to its remodeling, Sharon and Greg gather in their kitchen in  2001 with their son, Jake, and daughter, Carey. Enlarging the kitchen,  including removal of a wall, was the largest project the Nickels took  on at their home. Photo courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels
Prior to its remodeling, Sharon and Greg gather in their kitchen in 2001 with their son, Jake, and daughter, Carey. Enlarging the kitchen, including removal of a wall, was the largest project the Nickels took on at their home. (Courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels)
In 2007, former Vice President Al and Tipper Gore, right center,  visited the Nickels home. Greg and Sharon Nickels are left center. Photo courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels
In 2007, former Vice President Al and Tipper Gore, right center, visited the Nickels home. Greg and Sharon Nickels are left center. (Courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels)
Former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, for whom Greg worked as an aide, and  his wife, Constance Rice, Seattle Community College District vice  chancellor, flank Sharon Nickels in the Nickels living room Photo courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels
Former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, for whom Greg worked as an aide, and his wife, Constance Rice, Seattle Community College District vice chancellor, flank Sharon Nickels in the Nickels living room. (Courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels)
Campaign volunteers sort a mailer in the Nickels dining room. (Courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels)
Campaign volunteers sort a mailer in the Nickels dining room. (Courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels)
To the strains of Hank Williams, Greg Nickels steams wallpaper in an  old office area, now part of the kitchen, in 1989. (Photo by Sharon Nickels)
To the strains of Hank Williams, Greg Nickels steams wallpaper in an old office area, now part of the kitchen, in 1989. (Photo by Sharon Nickels)
Rust-colored shag carpet greets visitors Kelsey Creeden and father  Mike shortly after the Nickels moved in. The Nickels soon peeled up  the carpet to reveal wood flooring. (Courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels)
Rust-colored shag carpet greets visitors Kelsey Creeden and father Mike shortly after the Nickels moved in. The Nickels soon peeled up the carpet to reveal wood flooring. (Courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels)
The Nickels home in 1990.(Courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels)
The Nickels home in 1990. (Courtesy of Sharon and Greg Nickels)
1910 47th Assessor's record, back and front (Courtesy Puget Sound Regional Archives at Bellevue College)
1910 47th Assessor’s record (Courtesy Puget Sound Regional Archives at Bellevue College)
Assessor's Record, back page
Assessor’s Record, back page

Anything to add, Paul?

May we leave it with the bare-kneed Nickles, above – and a few Democratic classics?  It is swell to get closer to the still penultimate mayor, and appropriate too during this year’s mayoral go-around, but we will not leave it at that. Jean we carry on with more of Ron Edge’s good works, beginning with another button/link to our 1912 Baist Real Estate Map, this time, for the part of it that covers the Nickel’s neighborhood.  And from the ’12 map we go one to three aerial surveys – the parts of them that also cover Duwamish Head.

Long long ago in the mid 1970s I came upon an aerial survey of Seattle that is rare indeed, from 1929.  It is almost certainly the earliest.  I stumbled upon it in the public works archive – or records morgue – of the city’s engineering dept in the old city hall.  I saw it briefly.  Then it went lost for more than a quarter century, until found again last year.  Ron has scanned the hundreds of photographs that comprise the several passes over Seattle made by the aerial photographer and is now undertaking – and sizable it is! – to merge them.  For this feature he has stitched the Duwamish Head aerials not only for 1929 but also for 1936 and 1946.  On the 1929 “button” below (which leads you to the pdf) Ron has also marked with a red circle the position of the Nickles home long before the future mayor  took residence in West Seattle or on this planet.

We all hope that you the dear reader will enjoy making the comparisons between them, and look forward to the day that Ron Edge can merge them all and share them too – after he has painted his house.

 

1912

Plate 27 web

1929

1929 Aerial of West Seattle Admiral Neighborhood web

1936

1936 Aerial of West Seattle Admiral Neighborhood web

1946

1946 Aerial of West Seattle Admiral Neighborhood web

 

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