Seattle Now & Then: Return of the Homestead

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Included among the several detailed photos taken for the Bernards of their new and yet rustic Fir Lodge, was this one of the living room with its oversized fireplace and the piano on which Marie, their older daughter, learned to play well enough to concertize. (Courtesy Doris Nelson)
THEN: Included among the several detailed photos taken for the Bernards of their new and yet rustic Fir Lodge, was this one of the living room with its oversized fireplace and the piano on which Marie, their older daughter, learned to play well enough to concertize. (Courtesy Doris Nelson)
NOW: Southwest Seattle Historical Society supporters Annie Tigtig and Kippy Jo Alexander (seated) pose with director Clay Eals for Jean Sherrard beside the charred Homestead’s fireplace. One of the mysteries of Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead is why the original fireplace was enlarged with the rock crown added in the mid-1930s. One of the puzzles of landmark preservation, and for the new owner-restorer, is should the living room hearth be returned to its former glory or be kept with this dark rock corona?
NOW: Southwest Seattle Historical Society supporters Annie Tigtig and Kippy Jo Alexander (seated) pose with director Clay Eals for Jean Sherrard beside the charred Homestead’s fireplace. One of the mysteries of Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead is why the original fireplace was enlarged with the rock crown added in the mid-1930s. One of the puzzles of landmark preservation, and for the new owner-restorer, is should the living room hearth be returned to its former glory or be kept with this dark rock corona?

The well-connected Gladys Barnette and William Bernard started their thirty-two years of married life in the Olympia mansion of Washington state’s first governor, Elisha Ferry.  That is, they were married there in 1892. About ten years later the Seattle couple began spending part of their summers on Alki Point, when it still took a steamer or a ferry ride followed by a long walk to get there.  The first Midwestern farmers had landed there fifty years earlier, with enterprising intentions of building a city, although they soon fled Alki Point for Piners Point, known now as the Pioneer Square Historic District.   

While not the first Bernard communion with Alki Point, Driftwood Camp is a typical for the time creation at the Point, canvas stretch tight over a sturdy frame set on a plank foundation and facing the beach. This first appeared in Pacific on Jan. 9, 2000.
While not the first Bernard communion with Alki Point, Driftwood Camp is a typical for the time creation at the Point, canvas stretch tight over a sturdy frame set on a plank foundation and facing the beach. This first appeared in Pacific on Jan. 9, 2000.
The earliest clip about Fir Lodge, the Bernard home, published in The Times on Aug. 19, 1906.
The earliest clip about Fir Lodge, the Bernard home, published in The Times on Aug. 19, 1906.

When first vacationing on the Point, the Bernards rented one of the well-wrought and framed tents and furnished it first with Persian rugs spread on a carpentered frame.  They soon bought the block extending south from Alki Beach along the west side of Southwest 61st Street and hired Seattle architect Fred Fehren to design for them a rustic and yet baronial log lodge.  The couple who founded the Seattle Soap Company, the city’s first, was skilled at both real estate and manufacturing. The Bernards could afford their new Alki home, which they named Fir Lodge.

Something about Fred Fehren, pulled from "Shaping Seattle Architecture," the University Press history of local architecture, which has recently been republished with a second and enlarge edition.
Something about Fred Fehren, pulled from “Shaping Seattle Architecture,” the University Press history of local architecture, which has recently been republished with a second and enlarge edition. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Clip from The Times for Sept. 21, 1950.
Clip from The Times for Sept. 21, 1950.
The Stockade near Alki Point.
The Stockade near Alki Point.

Built in 1903-04, the lodge was one of the two largest structures on the then still sparsely settled Point.  The other, the nearby Stockade Hotel and chicken dinner resort, was built by their friends, Alfred and Lorena Smith.  It also was constructed of logs “harvested” off the Point, and both of these Arcadian creations had oversized fireplaces built of beach stones.  The Bermards bought their block from the Smiths, because Lorena’s parents, the Hansons, had purchased the entire Alki Point in the late 1860s from Doc Maynard, one of Seattle’s original pioneers.  This was, and is, historic ground.

First appeared in Pacific, July 24, 1988.
First appeared in Pacific, July 24, 1988.

For reasons that are still a mystery to Alki Point historians, the Bernards, after three years of hosting well-appointed parties on the open veranda of their log palace, sold it in 1907 to the then fledgling Seattle Auto Club. After the motorists decamped from the Point in 1911, the lodge served as a residence.  In 1950 it opened as a restaurant, the Alki Homestead, which brings us to its scorching and closure in 2009. (See the Log Cabin Museum links on all that, which Jean has attached below.)

Another helpful Times clip, this one from June 30, 1907.
Another helpful Times clip, this one from June 30, 1907.
A surviving log construction, Sea View Hall is off South Alki Beach. (First appeared in Pacific, Jan. 23, 2000)
A surviving log construction, Sea View Hall is off South Alki Beach. (First appeared in Pacific, Jan. 23, 2000)
We have excerpted the part about the Bernards from Margaret Pitcairn Strachan's feature on "Alki Point District, Seattle's Brithplace" published in The Seattle Times on June 14, 1946.
We have excerpted the part about the Bernards from Margaret Pitcairn Strachan’s feature on “Alki Point District, Seattle’s Birthplace” published in The Seattle Times on June 14, 1946.

This year Jean and I enjoyed the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s 4th of July picnic on the patio beside the Society’s Log House Museum, a restored Carriage House that was part of the Bernards’ estate.  Following the potluck, Clay Eals, the spirited executive director of the Society, led us into the damaged Homestead.  He had the key and a light heart, too.  After the fire the Homestead was left haunted for six-plus years by fears that the log landmark might be razed.  Instead, it has been saved, and its new hands-on owner Dennis Schilling has begun the restoration. Now the Society has named its upcoming November 7th Gala, “Coming Home to Homestead.”

The West Seattle Herald's coverage of the Alki Homestead's opening, published on June 25, 1950. CLICK CLICK to ENLARGE
The West Seattle Herald’s coverage of the Alki Homestead’s opening, published on June 25, 1950. CLICK CLICK to ENLARGE
First appeared in Pacific, May 19, 1985.
First appeared in Pacific, May 19, 1985.
By Price who was also responsible for Price Photo on Roosevelt, a film processor and server for many years.
By Price who was also responsible for Price Photo on Roosevelt, a film processor and server for many years.  CLICK to ENLARGE.

WEB EXTRAS

Let me throw in a handful of photos that illustrate a few of our previous run-ins with Mr. Eals and his SW Seattle preservationists.

In 2010, a remarkable coalition of persevering preservationists collaborated to save the Homestead from demolition
In 2010, a remarkable coalition of persevering preservationists collaborated to save the Homestead from demolition
In June of this year, Clay assembled more than a thousand school kids to help celebrate the new beginning of the Homestead. I took this photo from atop a lift with a very wide angle lens.
In June of this year, Clay assembled more than a thousand school kids to help celebrate the new beginning of the Homestead. I took this photo from atop a lift with a very wide angle lens.
This past Fourth of July, we returned to mark the anniversary of 'This Place Matters'
This past Fourth of July, we returned to mark the anniversary of ‘This Place Matters’
Another interior from that same day; this one with Paul as grandee
Another interior from that same day; this one with Paul as grandee
First appeared in Pacific, April 10, 1994.
First appeared in Pacific, April 10, 1994.

Anything to add, kids?

YUP and sticking to form,  Ron Edge starts off with a few not-so-old features that are relevant to the Homestead and-or Alki.  [Now Jean, Ron calls to explain that his home sitting high on a knoll overlooking Lake Washington has been a victim of today’s (Saturday morning) storm.  So he is waiting for the electricity service to return, but has also learned that it will probably not be until 3 a.m.  Sunday morning that he should hope for it.  And so we will wait too on our Edge Links.  WHEN THEY COME he will position them at the very bottom.

This is the third time was have touched on that landmark for a story, although the first use was long enough ago that we have scaned the clipping and attach it just above.  There were five or more glossies of the Homestead from which that one was chosen.  Once the Edge Links are up you will find many of the others by exploring their fea tures.  Ron is also including at the bottom of this week’s eight chosen links  a feature titled “Travels with Jean,” which will, we hope, inspire Jean to share some of the photographs he took on his recent visit to Europe with a cadre of about twenty of his students at HILLSIDE SCHOOL (See the “button” link above right for more on the Bellevue School where Jean teaches.)  Berangere Lomont, who is, we hope you know, one of the principals behind this blog, helped out in France.   And Jean has responded!!!  And here, next, is BB.

Jean here. Let me hasten to add a couple of photos I took a couple weeks ago featuring our remarkable blog partner Berangere Lomont:

Berangere on the banks of the Dordogne in the town of Brantome
Berangere on the banks of the Dordogne in the town of Brantome
Here's Beranger with her husband Denis Christophe perched on Beynac's medieval castle walls high above the river
Beranger with her husband Denis Christophe – one of my favorite humans on the planet, incidently – perched on Beynac’s medieval castle walls high above the river

=====

FOUR TIMES CLIPPINGS of the BERNARDS’ TWO DAUGHTERS.  First on with a fashionable sketch of their oldest, Marie (the concertizing pianist), followed by three of Billie, their youngest.   (Billie was one of Ivar Haglund’s friends.  He used to pick her up in his Ford convertible with a heated brick on the floor board to warm her feet.)

The caption identifying Marie Bernard is below the sketch. Pulled from The Seattle Times for Oct. 15, 1911.
The caption identifying Marie Bernard is below the sketch. Pulled from The Seattle Times for Oct. 15, 1911.   CLICK CLICK
Baby Billie Bernard in The Times for Aug. 20, 1911.
Baby Billie Bernard in The Times for Aug. 20, 1911.
Billie Bernard in New York preparing to tour Europe with her mother. Appeared in The Times for Oct. 10, 1929, and so close to the market crash.
Billie Bernard in New York preparing to tour Europe with her mother. Appeared in The Times for Oct. 10, 1929, and so close to the market crash.
Billie serving as the center base for a March 30, 1930 montage of Seattle Society women.
Billie serving as the center base for a March 30, 1930 montage of Seattle Society women.

======

HERE FOLLOWS THOSE EDGE LINKS – WHEN THE POWER LINES ARE REPAIRED

THEN: Totem Place, at 1750 Palm Ave. S.W., was home for Joseph Standley proprietor of Ye Old Curiosity Shop on Colman Dock. His death notice in The Seattle Times for Oct. 25, 1940 described the 86-year-old “Daddy” Standley as “almost as much a part of Seattle’s waterfront as the waves that dash again the seaweall.”

4 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Return of the Homestead”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s