Seattle Now & Then: Maryland Place in West Seattle

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: The 1937/8 tax assessor’s photo of 4013 Maryland Place, precariously built on the east slope of West Seattle’s Duwamish Head. (Courtesy Stan Unger)
NOW: Jean Sherrard’s “repeat” uses a wider angle in order to also reveal the landmark stone house facing Harbor Avenue. The footprint of the red home in the background is near the featured frame residence on Maryland Place.

Although certainly not obvious, the setting of the slender two-story home standing at the base of West Seattle’s Duwamish Head in our “then” is repeated in Jean Sherrard’s “now.”  It is the red and gray modern residence held in a verdant caress just this side (to the east) of California Boulevard S.W.  The home and the trees hide the Boulevard, which is the long arterial connection between the top of Duwamish Head and the shoreline parks and mostly condominiums, respectively, to the east and west sides of Harbor Avenue.

The Duwamish Head neighborhood in a detail from the 1908 Bsist map. Maryland Place appears on the right between Ferry (California Blvd. S.W. ) and Railroad (Harbor) Avenues.
At some point on the left (east) side of this look south down California Blvd S.W., Mayland approaches but does not reach it as the 1908 Baist map, above, has it. This and the photo below it show work-in-progress on improving the former cable car route for motorcars and trucks.
Looking back and north from Harbor Avenue to the early work-in-progress on improving the arterial qualities of California Blvd. S.W.
Another Baist detail, four years later in 1912.

With Clay Eals, one of the most confident modern boosters of West Seattle, at his side, Jean Sherrard aimed his Nikon southwest across Harbor Avenue to one of the Head’s best known and most sentimental landmarks, Eva’s Stone Cottage. The framing of the beachside home with a marine view of Seattle was finished in the late 1920s.  Asked by a granddaughter how she would like the house finished, Eva answered, “Well, what about putting little rocks from the beach on it?”  With her family’s help, this prolific collecting we suspect continued into the Great Depression.  Now Eva’s Stone Cottage is one of the few beachside homes surviving in the increasing crush of modern condominiums.

An only a few years earlier recording of the stone home on Harbor Avenue.

After crossing Harbor Avenue, Jean and Clay continued around the corner of Eva’s home and climbed the length of what must be one of Seattle’s shortest streets, the half-block-long Maryland Place.  In order to save room for Eva’s Stone Cottage at the corner, we have not included Jean’s more precisely recorded repeat of our feature at 4013 Maryland Place S.W. When completed at the cusp of the Great Depression, the cottage was topped with a waving cornice made from the darker rocks that the family carried home in their wheelbarrow.


There are a few implied ‘stories’ about the featured house found in public records.  First, from its 1938 tax card, the date for construction, 1920, is years late.  In a Seattle Streets Department photo that is convincingly dated November 1916, the home is shown standing.   The tax photo attached to the card used here was recorded in 1937-38 during the Works Progress Administration’s photographic inventory of every taxable structure in King County.  The assessed value for these two lots were thirty dollars for the land and $230 for the home. Two years later the home was visited by tragedy when resident nineteen-year-old John R. Lofstad was listed in The Times “Vital Statistics” feature as having died from an automobile accident.

A public works photographer looks down (east) on Maryland Lane from California Blvd. S.W.. The featured home survives having withstood  a winter storm recorded here on February 11, 1916. The message attached at the top is part of a communication between Jean and I.  CLICK T O ENLARGE.


This photo is a more precise repeat of the ‘Then’ shot above. Strolling down the walk are (from left) Clay Eals and John Siscoe

Anything to add, kids?  Yes Jean.  Ron and I send along more features from the neighborhood – widely cast.



THEN: Twenty years ago the Mukai Farm and Garden on Vashon Island was designated a King County Landmark. (Courtesy, Vashon Maury Island Heritage Association)

THEN: The Craftsman bungalow at 1910 47th Ave. S.W., shown in the 1920s with an unknown adult on the porch and two tykes below, is now 100 years old. The house beyond it at the southeast corner with Holgate Street was for many years clubhouse to the West Seattle Community Club, and so a favorite venue for discussing neighborhood politics and playing bridge. (COURTESY OF SOUTHWEST SEATTLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY)

THEN: Built in 1893, West Seattle School kept teaching until ruined by the region’s 1949 earthquake. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)

THEN: Part of the pond that here in 1946 filled much of the long block between Massachusetts and Holgate Streets and 8th Avenue S. and Airport Way. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

THEN: Between the now lost tower of the Pioneer Building, seen in part far left, and the Seattle Electric Steam Plant tower on the right, are arranged on First and Railroad Avenues the elaborate buzz of business beside and near Seattle’s Pioneer Square ca. 1904.

THEN: The Gatewood Craftsman Lodge was built on a road, in a neighborhood, and near a public school all named for the developer Carlisle Gatewood, who also lived in the neighborhood. The three women posing in the third floor’s open windows are the Clark sisters, Jean, Dorothy and Peggy, members of the family that moved into the home in the late 1930s.

THEN: In 1852 many of Seattle’s first pioneers removed from Alki Point by dugout canoe for the deeper and safer harbor along the east shore of Elliott Bay (our central waterfront). About a half-century later any hope or expectation that the few survivors among these pioneers could readily visit Alki Beach and Point by land were fulfilled with the timber quays and bridges along Spokane Street. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: The Seattle Times in its lengthy coverage of the then new Seattle Steel in the paper’s Magazine Section for Sept. 10, 1905 – the year this photograph was recorded – noted that “the plant itself is a series of strong, substantial, cavernous sheds, built for use, not for beauty.” (Courtesy, MOHAI, the Museum of History and Industry)

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.”

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: Looking southeast from above Alki Avenue, the Schmitz Park horizon is serrated by the oldest trees in the city. The five duplexes clustered on the right were built 1919-1921 by Ernest and Alberta Conklin. Ernest died in 1924, but Alberta continued to live there until well past 1932, the year this photograph was recorded. (Seattle Municipal Archives.)

THEN: Looking into West Seattle’s Junction and north on California Ave. SW to its intersection with SW Alaska Street in 1941. The Hamm Building, is seen above the light-colored car, and the Campbell Building is at right, behind the G.O. Guy Drugs sign.







CA. 18[90 sketch of Alki Point from Sunset bluff.




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