(click to enlarge photos)
Judging from Asahel Curtis’s negative number 5479, inscribed at the bottom-right corner, this photograph of the home of Dr. and Mrs. Frank Gardner was taken on or very near 1906, the year which the King County tax records claim it was built. A more likely date for the construction is 1905. On the Society Page for The Seattle Times on March 10, 1905, Betha Gardner – then still more regularly called Mrs. Frank P. Gardner – is credited with hosting in her home, here at the northeast corner of Jefferson Street and Boren Avenue, the annual “at home” meeting for the “ladies of the Sorosis Club.” The Times added that “The subject of the afternoon will be the ‘Religion and Music of Russia.’”
Pennsylvanians Frank and Bertha Gardner first lived on Capitol Hill in a more modest home. (Should you like to check it, you will find it surviving at 1629 13th Avenue.) By First Hill’s often sumptuous standards, their second home was neither small nor grand with ten rooms, five upstairs and five down. But the whole effect was pleasing in its symmetry, especially this west façade facing Boren Avenue, with its elegant but restrained ornamentation. There was nothing here so assertive, for instance, as the central tower on the Granville Haller home, seen peeking around the corner at the left of the Cardner home.
When the Haller home was built at the top of First Hill in 1883-5 at the northeast corner of Minor Avenue and James Street, some of the fir and alder forest that once covered the hill was still standing. While clearing the site, Colonel Haller’s workers uncovered the skeletons of two Native Americans, casualties, perhaps, of the 1856 U.S. Navy’s howitzer bombardments at the hill during what is popularly called the “The Battle of Seattle” in 1856. Known as the “old Indian Fighter,” Haller crassly kept the skulls in his tower for the amusement of the neighborhood’s children.
There is now a fine opportunity to study the diverse history of First Hill with Historic Seattle’s recently published book on the subject, whose title, while long, is both descriptive and pleasing to the ear: Tradition and Change on Seattle’s First Hill, Propriety, Profanity, Pills and Preservation. Both Pill and Profanity have been popular names for Seattle’s First Hill or parts of it, as have Yesler and, more recently, even Goat.
Bertha and Frank shared their comely First Hill home until 1930 when the doctor died at the age of sixty-one. At some time during the 1930s, Bertha was joined by her brother Wilmer Kahle, president of the Crescent Manufacturing Company; following his death in 1943, she sold the house. We learn from her Times obituary of April 10, 1956, that at the time of her death she lived across from the UW campus in the Malloy Apartments on 15th Avenue NE, and that she had been a charter member of the Sorosis Club, and so dedicated to bringing together “representative women in art, literature, science, and kindred spirits.”
Lots to add this week…eh, Paul?
Before we begin, however, I thought I would answer your request for more material with a feat of whimsical legerdemain. As you know, I teach drama and writing at Hillside Student Community. This past Friday, I took a few of my 5th and 6th graders on a field trip to the Woodland Park Zoo and through the miracle of photoshop, converted several into lion cubs.
Your students as metamorphs see wary, but not quite ready to leave the nest for the next step where it will be every cat for him or herself. We do have seven links Jean. Any reader who consults them thoroughly will find within most of the features we have done thru the years on subjects that border Boren. There are more than a dozen of them – unless I am contradicted. At the bottom we will ad a feature done first in 1985 about the Campbell home. With its park-sized front lawn it took the entire north-half of the block on which the Gardners built there home about twenty years after Campbell, a hardware merchant, built his in the mid-1880s. The youngest daughter, Lucy, was one of my earliest mentors on Seattle’s pioneer history.
Back to our regularly scheduled program. Take it away, boys.