What’s new in the ‘hood? –Queen Anne, Seattle, WA, Part 2

In the first posting on this house history, we covered the most recent history of the house and Property Records Cards (PRC) . In this post we will cover the “middle years” of the parcels–1895-1941–the years that are covered by the tax records held at the Puget Sound Archives in Bellevue.  The third posting will cover the deed searches–1871-1895 –information gathered at the King County Archives as we push the records to be older and older we can get nearer to the time the parcels were purchased from the government.

Based on the PRC and the tax records, it appears that there was a building permit pulled in 1936 and a building on the site by 1939.  Based on the architectural style of the house from the PRC below, that date looks about right.[1]  It was vacant between the time it was built and 1940.  Vacancy could mean that the house was occupied by a renter who never returned the form to Polk’s to be included in the Seattle City Directory or it could have been truly vacant.  In 1938, the address is not listed; in 1939 and 1940 the house is described as vacant.  In1941 it was owned by occupant, the widowed music teacher, Mrs. Marie (Henry C.) Williamson.  The house was a rental or vacant for most of its existence [1].

Here is what the house looked like in 1936:

1220 OWW 1936 houseG





Some information on the parcels:

  • The legal description is “a portion of the lots of 6, 7 and 8 of Block 12 of the Northern Addition, Seattle WA.”
  • It appears that Art Paulson owned both the large house and the parcel with the house that our house in located starting in 1969.  He and his wife Shirley were the owners of Mother Hubbard’s Shoppe. [2] If anyone has some stories about Mother Hubbard’s, I would be interested in hearing them.  Also today we received a flyer addressed to Art Paulson who hasn’t owned the house since 1997!
  • Mr. Paulson had a little run in with the City when he built a gazebo and a roof inappropriately.  The city sent him a letter 19 November 1982 telling him to tear them down or face court action.  The property was inspected on 15 June 1983 and the gazebo and the roof that were in violation had been removed..
  • On 3 October 1960 the house was bought by Jack and Rose Lewis for $7250.
  • On 14 October 1937 the house was owned by A.R. Scott and it was built—-in 1900!  I have no picture of that house.  This would mean that the photo above was the second house on the lot and we are living in the 3rd.  Estimated rental was $20 (seems steep for the middle of the depression.) [3]
  • 1935-1941: The property is owned by Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. and they paid a total of $460 in taxes in 1935.  (NB:  I suspect that life insurance companies speculated in land during the Depression.)
  • 1930: the lots are owned by Erick Wagard who paid taxes of $650.
  • 1915-1925: Lots 6, 7 & 8 were owned by Alfred S. Witten who also owned parcel 9.  The improvement is on parcel 7 and in 1920 he paid a total tax of  $680.
  • The road on which we live follows the topography and was not originally platted with the Northern Addition. In 1910 the parcels of property were “relinquished,” probably for the construction of Olympic Way West to go “around the hill” instead of up and down. I need to do a little newspaper work to find out when the road was built.
  • 1905: Lots 6 & 7 had their property taxes paid by the Scottish American Meeting Company.    Parcel 8 was owned by J.A. LeVeau. The tax on all three parcels was paid by the law firm of Wests and Wheeler.
  • 1891:  Lots 6 and 7 is owned by James Freelander. The value of the lot is $350 and the improvements are valued at $0.  Total amount of tax paid was $414 but Mr. Freelander was late with his payment and had to pay 10% penalties.  The taxes were finally paid by Eugene Miller on 24 February 1892.  (I have no idea who Mr. Miller is and why he would agree to pay the tax.)  Lot 8 was owned by J.A. LeBeau/LaVeau who also paid his taxes late because his check bounced.  James Karig and R.U. Armstrong paid the tax. [4]

There is a devaluation of value of property of ~ 33% during the depression.  Also notice that the value of the property in 1891 was extremely high for no improvements.  This was probably due to the Alaska gold rush causing an inflation of the price of real goods.

So I have learned a lot along the way.  I feel I know the neighborhood so much better just by doing this research.  It’s been fun.  Part 3 will look at deeds and cover the years from 1861 to 1895, when the property was first purchased from the government.

Of course, if any of you readers are interested in knowing more about your house’s history, contact me.  I’d be happy to help.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  Since I drafted the other ones more than a month ago, it is difficult to keep straight.  Right now I am working on my assignments for Mastering Genealogical Proof and getting the SGS newsletter ready for printing tomorrow.  I also am presenting at a Writer’s workshop tomorrow.  So I have to be prepared for that.

[1]  Post depression houses were characterized by their modest scale, leaning towards small, modest materials and conservative trim.  This house “splurged” by being built of brick and you can see a small gable trim on the house.

[2] Polk’s City Directory, Seattle Washington, various years (Seattle: Polk’s Publishing Co); Seattle Genealogical Society Library, Sandpoint Way, Seattle, Washington.

[3] Puget Sound Archives, “Property Record Cards: Lots 6, 7, and 8, Block 12, Northern Addition”.

[4] City of Seattle, Real Property Assessment & Tax Rolls, various volumes and pages. Puget Sound Regional Archives, Bellevue, Washington.


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