(click to enlarge photos)
In 1880 or ’81 Joseph and Virginia McNaught began building their home at the southeast corner of Marion Street and Sixth Avenue. It sat on a high point that made it stand alone against the sky when viewed from the waterfront. The couple took some kidding about having moved so far east of town.
Soon after following his brother, James, to Seattle in 1875, Joseph drove a herd of cattle from the Willamette Valley to a beef-poor Seattle. With the profits he then returned east for a law degree and marriage to Virginia. Returning to Seattle, the McNaughts became one of the area’s most entrepreneurial couples with investments in transportation, mining, shipbuilding, Palouse homesteads and stockyards.
For much of the two square blocks between Sixth and Seventh, Marion and Cherry — all of it part of the Interstate 5 ditch now — First Hill was mostly no hill. Parts of it even lost altitude before joining the climb east of Seventh Avenue. With the grading of Sixth Avenue, first in 1890, the home was lowered a few feet. That year it was also pivoted 90 degrees, so what is seen here facing north at 603 Marion previously was facing west at 818 Sixth Ave. The regrade of 1914, seen here, lowered the site about two stories to the grade of this bricked intersection.
By then the McNaughts were in Oregon raising alfalfa hay and living in Hermiston, one of two town sites they developed. The other was Anacortes. Virginia named Hermiston, and it includes a Joseph Avenue.
Later, the old McNaught mansion was expanded for apartments. All the Victorian trim was either removed or lost behind new siding. Through its last years it was joined with its big-box neighbor as part of a sprawling Marion Hotel until sacrificed for the freeway.
Have you anything to add for this scene Paul? Jean I do but will start out modestly – or rather unprepared. I need to get to bed. But I’ll post a few pictures and include minimal captions, which I’ll elaborate on later.