Seattle Now & Then: The Minor/Collins Home on First Hill

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Built in 1887, the Minor-Collins Home at the northeast corner of Minor Avenue and Cherry Street was one of the grandest and longest surviving pioneer mansions on First Hill.  (Courtesy Historic Seattle)
THEN: Built in 1887, the Minor-Collins Home at the northeast corner of Minor Avenue and Cherry Street was one of the grandest and longest surviving pioneer mansions on First Hill. (Courtesy Historic Seattle)
NOW: After Bertrand Collins gave it a farewell party in 1951, the Minor-Collins home was razed, ultimately to become part of the Swedish Hospital campus.
NOW: After Bertrand Collins gave it a farewell party in 1951, the Minor-Collins home was razed, ultimately to become part of the Swedish Hospital campus.

1. John-Collins-aka-Minor-residence-fm-bookWEB

Built in 1887 by Sarah and Dr. Thomas Minor, it was one the earliest grand homes built on First Hill.  Painted a green so dark it was “almost black,” the red trim contrasted nicely. Interrupted by tragedy, the Minors’ stay there was brief.  Less than three years after the family moved into their mansion, the doctor drowned off Whidbey Island while hunting with two friends, who also perished.

 Minor
Minor

In 1891 when John and Angela Collins became the new residents, it was still addressed 702 12th Avenue, but the street was soon renamed Minor Avenue.   Both Thomas Minor and John Collins served as Seattle mayors: Collins first in 1873 as a dedicated Democrat, and Minor in 1887, a resolute Republican.  Earlier Minor had moved his family to Seattle from Port Townsend where he was also once mayor.

Overgrown and most likely late in the life of the Minor-Collins home.
Overgrown – late in the life of the Minor-Collins home.

If one’s attentions were devoted to this big home’s pioneer origins, then one may still wish to call it the Minor Home.  If, however, one concentrates on the roll of significant events that occurred here, then it is the Collins home, and perhaps even the Angela Collins home. Angela was the second wife of the bold Irishman John Collins.  They were married in 1877, after the locally famous widower of forty-two courted and won eighteen-year-old Angela Burdett Jackling.

Above and below: A feature from the Nov. 11, 1951 Seattle Times.
Above and below: A feature from the Nov. 11, 1951 Seattle Times. CLICK TWICE TO ENLARGE

x ST-Nov-11,-1951-SHS-page-2-WEB

Widowed in 1903, Angela Collins gave her remaining forty-four years to nourishing Seattle society, the “higher” parts of it here on the summit of First Hill.  Her work was distinguished by programs and parties, some in the garden.  To name a few, Angela was a leader in the Garden Club, the Music and Art Foundation, and the Sunset Club, of which she and, later, her younger daughter Catherine, served as presidents.  Angela was an effective campaigner, raising funds for the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and the Junior League. The League’s first meetings were held in the Collins home.

SEATTLE TIMES, July 28, 1929
SEATTLE TIMES, July 28, 1929 – Double Click to ENLARGE
Seattle Times, July 16, 1933
Seattle Times, July 16, 1933

John and Angela had four children and all of them excelled. For example, Bertrand, the younger son, was a popular novelist famous here for his exploring wit.  In 1946, daughter Catherine was given the title “Seattle’s First Lady of the Year,” mostly for her work with charities.  Within a year, her mother Angela died after eighty-eight productive years, most of them at this corner.  Her obituary, which appeared in the Seattle Times for September 21,1947, concluded, “From her childhood, Mrs. Collins was a brilliant figure in the social history of the city.”

As witness to her love of gardening and landscape,
As witness to her love of gardening and landscape, during the winter of 1931 Angela Collins rescued one of the horse chestnut trees cut down for street widening on “the University Way side of the University Heights School ground.”  CLICK TO ENLARGE
The MINOR-COLLINS Mansion in its last days
The MINOR-COLLINS Mansion in its last days

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?   JEAN, First below with Ron Edge’s attentions are two links to related features that we return to again.  Following that a few local reminders of the Minor and Collins names.  Other extras were included above within this feature’s primary text.

THEN:

ON MINOR AVENUE

Building a retraining wall along the western border of the Cascade Playfield, depression-time work by the WPA in the 1930.  The view looks north on MINOR AVE. with Thomas Street behind the municipal photographer.
Building a retraining wall along the western border of the Cascade Playfield, depression-time work by the WPA in the 1930s. The view looks north on MINOR AVE. with Thomas Street behind the municipal photographer.  The view below from 1978 looks at a right angle directly east to this section of the completed wall.
Paul Kerby, left, and Bill Burden, right, trucking down Minor Avenue after the snow of Nov. 19, 1978.  Above them is the Cascade Playfield.
Paul Kerby, left, and Bill Burden, right, trucking down Minor Avenue after the snow of Nov. 19, 1978. Above them is the Cascade Playfield.
With no steps to the Cascade Playfield included in the WPA public work in the 1930s, another federal employee with CETA inserted these in the mid 1970s.
With no steps to the Cascade Playfield included in the WPA public work in the 1930s, another federal employee with CETA built these in the mid 1970s. “Watch Your Step”

=====

Sandbox stories at Collins Playfield, 1909.  (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)
Sandbox stories at Collins Playfield, 1909. (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)

COLLINS PLAYFIELD

Stories from the Collins Playground sandbox, 1909.

The COLLINS PARK FIELD HOUSE opened in 1913 and closed in 1971.  Here members of the Japanese American Association pose beside it in the 1930s.  (Courtesy, Seattle's Japanese Buddhist Temple)
The COLLINS PARK FIELD HOUSE opened in 1913 and closed in 1971. Here members of the Japanese American Association pose beside it in the 1930s. (Courtesy, Seattle’s Japanese Buddhist Temple)
The COLLINS Building in the early 1890s, photographed by LaRoche.  Better known as the Seattle Hotel, it has been replaced since 1961 by the "Sinking Ship Parking Garage" in the flat-iron block bordered by Second Avenue, James Street and Yesler Way.  This view looks east from Pioneer Place, aka Pioneer Square.
The COLLINS Building in the early 1890s, photographed by LaRoche. Better known as the Seattle Hotel, it has been replaced since 1962 by the “Sinking Ship Parking Garage” in the flat-iron block bordered by Second Avenue, James Street and Yesler Way. This view looks east from Pioneer Place, aka Pioneer Square.
Lawton Gowey recorded this frontal portrait of the Sinking Ship Garage on March 20, 1974, about ten years after its construction.  The builders explained that with the curved backet-handle-shapred pipes running along the tops of the garage's walls, it would fit the neighborhood's windows, like those facing its from across Second Avenue and the top floor of the Collins building.
Lawton Gowey recorded this frontal portrait of the Sinking Ship Garage on March 20, 1974, about ten years after its construction. The builders explained that with the curved basket-handle-shaped pipes running along the tops of the garage walls, it would fit the neighborhood’s windows, like those facing it across Second Avenue from the top floor of the Collins building. BELOW.  Lawton Gowey returns on April 21, 1976 to shoot across the bow of the Sinking Ship to the Pioneer Building whose basket-handle windows were, the garage building’s architects claimed, their inspiration.

Sinking-Ship-Garage-lk-nw-fm-Occidental-Gowey-Apr-21,-1976-WEB

Frank Shaws look across the habitat of the truncated - to two stories - Butler Hotel, to the nearly abandoned Collins Building on the southeast corner of Second Avenue and James Street, and the former homesite of John and Angela Collins, which was destroyed during the city's "Great Fire of 1889."  Note - if you will - the mid-block burlesque house between the Collins Building and the Smith Tower.
Frank Shaw’s look across the habitat of the truncated – to two stories – Butler Hotel, to the nearly abandoned Collins Building on the southeast corner of Second Avenue and James Street. It was the former homesite of John and Angela Collins, destroyed during the city’s “Great Fire of 1889.” Note – if you will – the mid-block burlesque house between the Collins Building and the Smith Tower.  Shaw dates this November 26, 1974.
Looking north on Occidental Avenue to John Collins' Occidental Hotel in the 1870s.
Looking north on Occidental Avenue to John Collins’ hand-colored Occidental Hotel in the 1870s.
The OCCIDENTAL  HOTEL's Thanksgiving menu for 1887.
The OCCIDENTAL HOTEL’s Thanksgiving menu for 1887.

7.-Occidental-Hotel-Menu-1887-InsideWEB

COLLINS’ CLOSE-CALL AT HOME

An EDGE CLIPPING 

the Daily Intelligencer

Nov. 13, 1878

Collins Nightmare Dintel 11:13:78

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