Developer Murray Franklyn can move forward with its plans to demolish the Weatherford House and build a four-story apartment building at 14th and John. The more than 100-year-old house, the Seattle Landmarks Board voted Wednesday night, is not worthy of historical protection.
The house, altered extensively over the years and a mish-mash of styles according to project architects Weber Thompson, has been used as an antique shop in its most recent incarnation. Previously, it was home to Seattle photographer Ella McBride. McBride, who lived to be 103, moved into the house at age 77 in 1939.
CHS reported on the structure’s unlikely pass into the second round of the city’s landmark process here back in April.
On Wednesday, the board agreed with the developer and architect presenting the nomination and voted 5 to 2 against designating the house a landmark.
“It represents the funkiness of Capitol Hill but it doesn’t have the best integrity and it’s not in the best condition,” said one board member as the group deliberated the vote.
“It is difficult to designate it, even though it’s charming, based on style,” said another.
One board member to vote for the designation said Seattle’s history of photography was embodied in the structure while another said the building’s notoriety, its mish-mash history of design and McBride’s connection made it worthy.
At the first landmarks meeting for the house, the board received several letters in support of giving the structure status and a group of neighbors spoke at the meeting in support of the old house.
The future of 14th and John. More on the development here
“The ‘free style’ is what makes it so interesting,” one said. “It is different looking. People stop to look at that building every day.”
The board reportedly received no additional statements of support for this round and there were no speakers during the public comment period of the meeting.
In what was mostly a straightforward session, there was also the representative for Murray Franklyn trying to explain why the developer felt “uncomfortable” with the possibility that a photographer of McBride’s stature being considered worthy of bestowing landmark status on the house. Of course, McBride never asked for this fight — one wonders what she might have thought about this late critique of her work.
The move helps clear one hurdle to demolishing the 1904-built house and constructing the new apartment building. Murray Franklyn, the developer behind the soon-to-be-completed Terravita project on E Pine, plans a four-story, 42-unit apartment building on the site with four live/work units at street level along John. The development will include parking for 24 vehicles.