“Thoroughly modern and up-to-date apartment house in suites of 3 rooms with bath, completely furnished; reservations can be made after Monday. References required.” – so ran the For Rent ad in the Seattle Times of 1907 for the newly-completed Lorraine Court apartment building – today known as the Winston Building (also known as the Mandalay and the Elysium at various times in the interim).
The original owner of the building was an Alfred M Birkel, who immigrated from Germany to Kansas at the age of 16 to take up farming. He and his wife arrived in Seattle (via Chicago) just in time for the Great Fire of 1889, and became involved in the hotel and residential property business. The architects for this building appear to be Carl Breitung & Theobald Buchinger, from Munich and Vienna respectively, who are also responsible for Holy Names Academy, also on the hill, and Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.
The corner of this building was originally home to a grocery store, and changed tenants over the years; 1985 it was home to the Sundance Tavern, when a group of five women, who were scouting locations for a new lesbian bar, fell in love with the location, and the rest is history. 26 years later, the Wildrose is still going strong. (Not the oldest still-running gay bar on the hill, however – that distinction appears to goes to The Crescent on Olive.)
Brendan is a volunteer guide for the Seattle Architecture Foundation and an occasional repeat photographer, and hopes to match up several other buildings on the hill with their historic photos over the Summer. He’s giving SAF’s Pike/Pine walking tour this weekend, all about Pike/Pine’s history as Seattle’s original auto dealership row. SAF also have a Gay Pioneer Square walking tour this weekend, about gay life in Seattle before it moved to the hill.