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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oldest House in South Lake Union Successfully Anthropomorphized

posted by on August 20 at 12:00 PM

But can it be saved?

rsz_sluoldhouse1.jpgI was built in 1890 and, along with my wood siding, have stuck around all these years. There’s not many of us left from the old times here in the SLU. But being the oldest house in the neighborhood, you’d think I’d be turned into a small museum or a showpiece for the “roots of Cascade” to be polished up by Vulcan. But I’m going to be demolished sometime this week.

More at Vintage Seattle.

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Please stop saving stupid shit. That house is ugly, completely characterless and history is history. Put it in a book and tear it down. Build a porn shop.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 20, 2008 12:06 PM

I thought you liked weathered, old things, Mr. Poe.

Posted by paulus | August 20, 2008 12:11 PM

I am Mr. Poe's favorite porn shop. Note my featureless concrete exterior, my blackened windows, and my handwritten "No Miners [sic] Allowed" sign at the door. The stickiness you feel on the handle? That's the "sap of the Cascade" after a good polishing. Demolish me? You might wait till your mum leaves.

Posted by Ziggity | August 20, 2008 12:14 PM

Every time I walk by that house to visit my boyfriend, there are a bunch of unsavory characters sitting or walking around it.

I would not be surprised if it were not quite as locked and secured as the owners expected, and I would also not be surprised if they found lots of hard drug paraphernalia inside either.

Posted by sociallytangent | August 20, 2008 12:16 PM

BLOW THE FUCKING THING DOWN!!! Seattle needs MORE high priced rental units and super high priced condos!!!

Onward to the future!!!!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 20, 2008 12:20 PM

Right Cato, because preserving an old house will do so much to lower the price of housing in this city. Knocking it down and replacing something that houses 1 with something that houses 30 or 100 or 500 will only lower demand in other areas, decreasing prices.

Posted by Good idea! | August 20, 2008 12:35 PM

@6, yeah, how has that increase in supply worked in Seattle for lowering prices? Huh? How has that worked out for you?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 20, 2008 12:43 PM

#5, you realize those high priced rental units and super high priced condos are getting rented and bought, right?

Posted by w7ngman | August 20, 2008 12:46 PM

How many nineteenth-century houses does Seattle have? Nobody knows, which is ridiculous and stupid. What's the oldest house in Seattle? Nobody knows. There are a few contenders, but they all assume that "Seattle" = downtown + First Hill + Capitol Hill, and pretend that Georgetown, South Park, the Rainier Valley, and everything north of the Ship Canal doesn't exist. There is no equivalent of "Lost Boston" or "Lost Chicago", famous works in the preservation movement. We saved the Market and Pioneer Square, 35 years ago, but haven't paid a cent's worth of attention to preservation or even simple historical understanding since then.

Seattle has less sense of itself than fucking Phoenix or San Diego. Capitol Hill hipsters like to sneer at "the suburbs", but Seattle IS a suburb intellectually. It's a non-place, with no history and no culture or personality. We might as well be living in hotels on Mars.

Posted by Fnarf | August 20, 2008 12:52 PM


Price is a function of supply AND demand.

Posted by Patrick McGrath | August 20, 2008 1:04 PM

#10, screw that. I "demand" a 3 bedroom apartment in Belltown for $250/month with a parking spot, dishwasher, and in-unit washer/dryer.

Get on it, Seattle.


Posted by w7ngman | August 20, 2008 1:21 PM

That all sounds pretty good to me - well, except, does it HAVE to be in Belltown?

Posted by COMTE | August 20, 2008 1:43 PM

@Fnarf You sound cranky. Do you need a nap?

Posted by it'smarkmitchell | August 20, 2008 2:02 PM

Successfully anthropomorphized--until some developer comes along and bashes its brains in.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | August 20, 2008 2:33 PM

that was pretty harsh of fnarf, but i fear he is also pretty right...

Posted by infrequent | August 20, 2008 2:41 PM

#15, no he isn't right. If you care to learn about "lost Seattle" this is a good place to start:

Posted by no he isn't right | August 20, 2008 3:02 PM

Fnarf, the following all work on historic preservation issues:

Seattle Architecture Foundation (great tours, by the way)
Washington Trust for Historic Preservation
Historic Seattle
Dept. of Neighborhoods/Preservation

Also, UW Libraries has an amazing digital collection of Asahel Curtis photographs documenting Seattle from the 1850's to pre-WWII:

Ultimately Seattle is a very young city that has grown rapidly through immigration from other parts of the U.S. and the world. So we're not going to have the historic sensibility or cache of a Boston, Charleston or Savannah, or even Chicago. Seattle is a city of the now. It's a young, transitioning, growing, permeable, city. I like to think that our "heritage" is the ability to change and grow and look to the future, if only the nimbys would let us get on with it. Let's face it - that which made Seattle what it is, is now history - fishing, forestry, shipbuilding, the Klondike Gold Rush. Not to mention that most of old-timey Seattle "architecture" isn't worth saving, save for nostalgia - much of it was constructed on the fly, for a rough-and-tumble city. Let's give our nod of appreciation, take stock, and move on.

Posted by rb | August 20, 2008 3:53 PM

Perhaps better to take stock first, then give a nod of appreciation. But definitely, move on.

Posted by rb | August 20, 2008 3:59 PM

Take stock? Great idea. Who's doing it? Ochsner's book is a decent start, but it's FAR from complete. Seattle DOES have a history, but no one really gives a shit about it.

Cranky? Yes, I am. I have some thoughts about the state of my neighbor's lawn, too; would you like to hear them?

Posted by Fnarf | August 20, 2008 4:05 PM

I had some shit to say, but #1 really got it. I think we really need titty bars though, lots of them. To undo all the damage done by that fucking ass brained moratorium, I think we should spend all state arts money on putting naked booby places all over the city, and repeal the bullshit law that says we can't drink in them.

Posted by Luke Baggins | August 20, 2008 4:26 PM

Fnarf, I often agree with you, but this time you've got your head firmly up your ass.

Posted by older and smarter than you | August 20, 2008 5:05 PM


@9, Fnarf says, "There are a few contenders, but they all assume that "Seattle" = downtown + First Hill + Capitol Hill, and pretend that Georgetown, South Park, the Rainier Valley, and everything north of the Ship Canal doesn't exist."

The survey you linked to says, "The boundaries of the survey area are Denny Way on the north, the northern boundaries of the Pioneer Square Preservation District on the south, the waterfront on the west and Interstate-5 on the east."

Sounds like Fnarf's right on this one.

Posted by Cow | August 20, 2008 5:30 PM

I know that house well. It is fucked and rotting- inside and out.

Posted by Louie Bluie | August 20, 2008 9:10 PM

In 2000, the City of Seattle began a systematic and comprehensive effort to survey and inventory historic resources in the City. To date, surveys and inventories of eight neighborhoods have been completed as well as neighborhood commercial districts and residential properties built prior to 1906.

To date, the following neighborhoods or classes of property are included in the database:

*City-owned buildings
*Neighborhood commercial properties throughout the city
*Residential structures constructed prior to 1906 in all areas except the area that lies east of Lake Union and a line established by Fairview Avenue from Lake Washington Ship Canal South Atlantic Street.
*Central Area
*Columbia City
*Denny Triangle
*Downtown Commercial Core
*Mount Baker
*North Beacon Hill
*North Rainier
*Pioneer Square
*Queen Anne
*South Lake Union
*South Park

In addition to groups like Historic Seattle, Seattle Architecture Foundation,
Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and Dept. of Neighborhoods/Preservation, there are museums like MOHAI, Nordic Heritage, Northwest African American and Wing Luke that work on preserving and sharing various aspects of local history. Both MOHAI and UW Special Collections have invested significant time and effort in creating local historic photo databases. Special Collections, by the way, is an incredible resource for local history, and their librarians/preservationists are awesome. I worked there for a while in my grad school days and it's pretty amazing what they have. Open to the public, by the way, and very often full of locals researching history. I'm sure that, in addition to the above, there are many local individuals or small groups out there preserving local lore that the general public isn't aware of. I think all these people and organizations would take umbrage at the assertion that "no one cares" about local history.

And tear that house down.

Posted by rb | August 21, 2008 9:32 AM

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