Seattle Now & Then: The Gardner Home on Boren Avenue

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Built in the early twentieth century at the northeast  corner of Jefferson Street and Boren Avenue, Bertha and Frank Gardner’s residence was large but not a mansion, as were many big homes on First Hill.   (Courtesy Washington State Museum, Tacoma)
THEN: Built in the early twentieth century at the northeast corner of Jefferson Street and Boren Avenue, Bertha and Frank Gardner’s residence was large but not a mansion, as were many big homes on First Hill. (Courtesy Washington State Museum, Tacoma)
NOW: The Minor and James Clinic opened its new block-size brick home in 1988.
NOW: The Minor and James Clinic opened its new block-size brick home in 1988.

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.’”

This is NOT the clip
[CLICK TO ENLARGE] This is NOT the 1905 Times clipping noted above, but another from nine years later in which Bertha Gardner and her Sorosis Club are noted.   While enjoying a hide-and-seek for Gardner and her club  you will  survey a typical society page from The Seattle Times a century ago.   Besides the long list of club activities there are some commonplaces, like the sensational advertisement at the bottom-left corner, and the seeming promise for a stretched figure from the adver. top-right promoting I. Isbin & Co, a ladies tailors on Third Avenue, and another fountain of youth (for your face) at the bottom-right corner.  .
Sophie Gardner's portrait published in the Dec. 22, 1922 issue of The Seattle Times.
Bertha Gardner’s portrait published in the Dec. 22, 1922 issue of The Seattle Times.

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.

At the top of the hill, Granville O. Haller's tower extended the superlatives of his big home at the northwest corner of James and Minor.
At the top of the hill, Granville O. Haller’s tower extended the superlatives of his big home at the northeast corner of James and Minor.
A helpful detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map - even without the street names.  The bigger red dot marks the northeast corner of Boren and Jefferson, the site  of the Gardner home, and the small dot rests beside the footprint for the Haller mansion at the northeast corner of Minor and  James.  [courtesy, Ron Edge]
A helpful detail from the 1912 Baist Real Estate Map – even without the street names. The bigger red dot marks the northeast corner of Boren and Jefferson, the site of the Gardner home, and the smaller dot rests beside the footprint for the Haller mansion at the northeast corner of Minor and James. Note, the red footprint upper-left for the Colony Apartments.  It is one of the relevant Edge- links attached below.   An essay – or perhaps even two – treating on the Haller home “Castlemount” will also be found in one – or perhaps more – of the links below.  [courtesy, Ron Edge]

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.

Boren-&-James-TAX-card-WEBThere 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.

The increasingly "Pill Hill" part of First Hill photographed from Haborview Hospital in 1956, the year Bertha Gardner died.   The Gardner home appears here directly below the large and dark three story (or four) apartment, upper-right.   Her physician husband's death precede Bertha's by many decades.  By 1956 she had moved to the University District.
The increasingly “Pill Hill” part of First Hill photographed from Haborview Hospital in 1956, the year Bertha Gardner died. The Gardner home appears here directly below the large and dark three story (or four) apartment, upper-right. Her physician husband’s death preceded Bertha’s by twenty-six years. By 1956 she had moved to the University District. [CLICK TO ENLARGE]

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.”

A Times clipping from Nov. 2, 1954 shows Bertha voting at
A Times clipping from Nov. 2, 1954 shows Bertha Gardner voting at the Wesley House polling station, which was one block south of her apartment in the Malloy, both directly across 15th Ave. from the U.W. campus.  Bertha is fourth from the right and fifth from the left.  The Churchill report on the left, may also be worth your time.  CLICK TO ENLARGE
The Campbell home at the southwest corner of James and Minor.  Their long front yard, which reached the block to Boren Avenue, was the Gardner's "next door" neighbor.
The Campbell home at the southwest corner of James and Minor. Their long front yard, which reached the block to Boren Avenue, was the Gardner’s “next door” neighbor.   Across Minor Ave stands the Phinney home, far left.   [Courtesy Lucy Campbell Coe]

WEB EXTRAS

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.

And now for something completely different...
And now for something completely different…

Back to our regularly scheduled program. Take it away, boys.

THEN: First Hill’s distinguished Old Colony Apartments at 615 Boren Avenue, 1910.

BOREN-&-University-Denny-&-Ainsworth-Homes-THEN-mr

THEN: The Perry Apartments is nearly new in “postcard artist” M. L. Oakes look at them south on Boren to where it intersects with Madison Street. (Courtesy John Cooper)

https://i2.wp.com/pauldorpat.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/mrs-anderson-then-mr1.jpg?resize=474%2C333&ssl=1

THEN:

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The Campbell home at the southwest corner of James (on the left) and Minor (behind it).
The Campbell home at the southwest corner of James (on the left) and Minor (behind it).

[Please note that the number 24 in the header refers to the chapter number in the book from which this was scanned, Seattle Now and Then, Volume Two, first published in 1987 - if memory serves.]
[Please note that the number 24 in the header above  refers to the chapter number in the book from which this text was scanned, Seattle Now and Then, Volume Two, first published in 1987 – if memory serves.]
Campbell-home-in-snow-WEB

The clinic that replaced the home.  I took this sometime in the 1980s.  Perhaps the car is a clue.
The Minor an d James Clinic that replaced the home. I took this in 1985.

Campbell-home-text-PART-2-WEB

Lucy Campbell Coe in her Washington Park Home ca. 1985 - with a student.
Lucy Campbell Coe in her Washington Park Home ca. 1985 – with a student.
Seen from Denny Hill, Seattle in 1885, the year of Lucy Campbell's birth.
[CLICK & CLICK TO ENLARGE] Seen from Denny Hill, Seattle in 1885, the year Jesse, the Campbells oldest of three children, was born.  On the right horizon stands the forest on Beacon Hill.  Both the Minor and tower-topped Haller First Hill mansions appear on the left horizon – remembering that the Campbells lived kitty-corner to the Hallers. both  at Minor and James.  The “other tower” is Coppins Waterworks at the southeast corner of 9th and Columbia.    Central School is temporarily near the center horizon.  It burned to the ground in 1888.  Second Ave. descends (in elevation only) from the lower-right corner.

 

One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: The Gardner Home on Boren Avenue”

  1. Exciting to see this. My grandmother was a maid at the Gardner Home in 1910. This is documented in the 1910 census. Wilma Hedstrom was from Pitea, Sweden. She arrived in May 14, 1909 – meeting her brother Helmer Hedstrom who lived at 402 5th Ave in Seattle. (would love to see that!) But, he returned to Sweden that year as he was ill and died Dec1, 1910. I have been trying to figure out how to find a pic of the home. I knew the address. I work at Swedish First Hill so this is somewhat of a nice find. Thanks, Carol Nordling

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