Seattle Now & Then: The Bagley Mansion

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Constructed in 1885, the Alice and Clarence Bagley mansion was the first big home built on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
THEN: Constructed in 1885, the Alice and Clarence Bagley mansion was the first big home built on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
NOW: Gus Holmberg built the first floor of his apartment house at 200 Aloha Street in 1945 and added the second floor in 1959. Since their use as a home-site in the 1993 ‘buried alive’ horror film, “The Vanishing,” the apartments have figured in local movie lore.
NOW: Gus Holmberg built the first floor of his apartment house at 200 Aloha Street in 1945 and added the second floor in 1959. Since their use as a home-site in the 1993 ‘buried alive’ horror film, “The Vanishing,” the apartments have figured in local movie lore.

This is the tower in which Seattle’s most prolific pioneer historian, Clarence Bagley, may have written his many-volume histories of Seattle and King County. I assume he used it so, for why else would such a writer-publisher-printer build such a tower with a full panorama of the city, if not for inspiration?   The Bagley mansion, designed by an eastern architect, was built in 1885 on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill on a block-sized lot now bordered by Second and Third Avenues North, and Aloha and Ward Streets.  One of the earliest homes on the Hill, and certainly the first oversized one, the mansion’s rooms had twelve-and-a-half foot tall ceilings, and a furnace and five fireplaces to warm them.  The tower was Clarence’s idea, and “he loved it.”  It was decorated with Bagley’s collection of rifles and muskets.

The neighborhood in  1908 with block 24, upper-right, still reserved for Bagley's big home.
The neighborhood in 1908 with block 24, upper-right, still reserved for Bagley’s big home.

The big home was used for collecting and entertaining, perhaps as much as for raising a family of four daughters and one son. The Bagley library included what was at one time considered the largest collection of regional history. Clarence was generous with its uses, as when this newspaper, The Seattle Times, lost much of its library to a fire in 1913, he replaced its lost editions with his own. 

A clipping from The Times for Dec. 27, 1925.  CLICK AND CLICK to Englare
A clipping from The Times for Dec. 27, 1925. CLICK AND CLICK to Engarge

Clarence Bagley was sixteen-years-old when he and his parents arrived on the first wagon to roll into Seattle in 1860. With a few stops to visit friends along the way, the Bagleys’ jostled drive from Salem, Oregon, had taken fifteen days. Thomas Mercer’s wagon was the first to reach Seattle, in 1853, but he and his wagon had traveled from Steilacoom by boat. In 1852 the Bagleys and the Mercers had journeyed west together from their native Illinois. As part of a pioneer Oregon Trail wagon train, it took five months to reach Salem, Oregon.

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Time's columnist John Reddin's feature on Cecil Clarence Bagley, hie parents and the family home, printed on March 8, 1967.
Time’s columnist John Reddin’s feature on Cecil Clarence Bagley, hie parents and the family home, printed on March 8, 1967.   The long feature continues below.

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On Christmas Eve 1865, Mercer’s youngest daughter, Alice, married Clarence in Seattle’s first church wedding. Friends since their childhood in Illinois, he was twenty-two and she seventeen. The Methodist church was white and so was the town, then under two feet of snow.  Their four daughters were married in the Queen Anne mansion’s front parlor with the bay window.  On Christmas Day in 1925 their children and friends filled the mansion for the celebration of the couple’s 60th Anniversary.

A Seattle Times clip from Oct. 13, 1945.
A Seattle Times clip from Oct. 13, 1945.

Alice Mercer Bagley died in 1926, and “Pop” Clarence lived on in their mansion until 1938, when he, too, died after nearly a half-century in his tower.  The big home was torn down early in 1944 to make way for apartments.

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The Bagley home from nearer the top of Queen Anne Hill, looking southeast to a Capitol Hill horizon.  First appeared in Pacific, Sept. 27, 1998.
The Bagley home from nearer the top of Queen Anne Hill, looking southeast to a Capitol Hill horizon. First appeared in Pacific, Sept. 27, 1998.

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WEB EXTRAS

I’ll drop in a couple of alternate views of the apartment building on Aloha.

Looking south towards downtown
Looking south towards downtown
A pleasant view into the courtyard
A pleasant view into the courtyard

Anything to add, boys?

Sure Jean, while hoping your vacation south from Paris into the verdure of a Perigord summer with plenty of castles and vinyards for your pleasure and Berangere and her family and much of yours too, is being enjoyed with some prudence and sobriety at the bottom and belt line.   First, before moving on to Ron Edge’s links, we will answer your “extras” on the surviving apartment there at 2nd Ave. N. and Aloha Street with two of the same taken by Lawton Gowey in 1981.   Lawton, you know, lived nearby and he took his photos as repeats for the historical landmark – the Bagley Mansion – he knew and may have remembered from his adolescence living on the hill.  Then after the Edge Links we will keep to the neighborhood with a few more older features we’ve accumulated through the years and finish by leaving Queen Anne for a small portfolio of snapshots taken on Bagley Avenue  in Wallingford.

Lawton Gowey dated this Kodachrome Nov. 2, 1981.
Lawton Gowey dated this Kodachrome and the slide that follows Nov. 2, 1981.

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EDGE LINKS – CLICK TO ENTER

THEN:Carolyn Marr, Museum of History and Industry librarian and Anders Wilse expert, answers the joking caption on Councilman Reinhard’s pant leg with another example. “Wilse had a wry sense of humor. In one photo he took during the Great Northern Railroad construction project, a group of 4 men sit around a table playing cards with revolvers and glasses of liquid. He wrote on the photo ‘A Merry Christmas.’”  (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

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THEN: Long thought to be an early footprint for West Seattle’s Admiral Theatre, this charming brick corner was actually far away on another Seattle Hill.  Courtesy, Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

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First appeared in Pacific, May 3, 1992.
First appeared in Pacific, May 3, 1992.

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Counterbalance-p.1  WEB .

Click Click to Enlarge
Click Click to Enlarge
Looking north up the Queen Anne Avenue Counterbalance from Mercer Street.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
Looking north up the Queen Anne Avenue Counterbalance from Mercer Street. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
First appeared in Pacific, January 11, 1998.
First appeared in Pacific, January 11, 1998.

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First appeared in Pacific, March 10, 1991.
First appeared in Pacific, March 10, 1991.

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First appeared in Pacific, November 26, 1995.
First appeared in Pacific, November 26, 1995.

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First appeared in Pacific, May 18, 2003.
First appeared in Pacific, May 18, 2003.

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First appeared in Pacific, January 4, 1987.
First appeared in Pacific, January 4, 1987.

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First appeared in Pacific, April 27, 1986.
First appeared in Pacific, April 27, 1986.

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First appeared in Pacific, May 21, 2000
First appeared in Pacific, May 21, 2000

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First appeared in Pacific, Sept 7, 1986.
First appeared in Pacific, Sept 7, 1986.
CLICK CLICK CLICK to ENLARGE The still isolated Bagley home can be found in this three-part panorama taken from the back porch of the Bell Hotel at the southeast corner of Battery Street and Front Street (First Ave.).  It stands alone and yet tell below the what remains of the forest on the Queen Anne Hill horizon, and very near the center of the pan when measured from left (west) to right (east).
CLICK CLICK CLICK to ENLARGE
The still isolated Bagley home can be found in this three-part panorama taken from the back porch of the Bell Hotel at the southeast corner of Battery Street and Front Street (First Ave.). It stands alone and yet tell below what remains of the forest on the Queen Anne Hill horizon, and very near the center of the pan when measured from left (west) to right (east).

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BAGLEY IN WALLINGFORD ca. 2008

A high chair at the northeast corner of Bagley and 45th Street.
A high chair at the northeast corner of Bagley and 45th Street.

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Still at the northeast corner of Bagley and 45th.
Still at the northeast corner of Bagley and 45th.

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The family dog inspects he painting job in progress on the family home, east side of Bagley, mid-block north of 45th Street.  This  one is dated Sept. 27, 2006.
The family dog inspects he painting job in progress on the family home, east side of Bagley, mid-block north of 45th Street. This one is dated Sept. 27, 2006.

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Sunset, Nov. 20, 2008, looking west from Bagley about ten yards or twelve north of 45th Street.
Sunset, Nov. 20, 2008, looking west from Bagley about ten yards or twelve north of 45th Street.

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It’s the off to bed hour (aka nighty bears time), and so we will do one of our minimal proofs in the morning – late.

 

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