A home sitting atop Capitol Hill since 1890 is slated for demolition to make way for a four-story, 31-unit apartment building at the corner of 18th Ave and E Denny Way. But first, the city must determine if the old Pardee Lewis House is worthy of protective landmark status. It gets its hearing this week.
A CHS community post written by neighbor John Fox of the Capitol Hill Coalition made a plea for its preservation:
Constructed in 1890 for Mr. Frank Pardee Lewis this cheerful yellow house is an excellent and rare example of Victorian residential architecture in our neighborhood. The former owner spent 15 years restoring the exterior and made significant upgrades to the systems and interior. The house sits high on the lot and features an unusual rounded porch, sunbursts in the gable ends, and some very fancy shingling in the gables. It is clad in tongue and groove “California” siding and retains most of its original windows and doors.
Above the entry is an eye brow window which lights the stair hall inside the house. On the south side at the rear is another unusual hooded arched window which is clad in fancy shingles. The west and south side of the house exterior have not been restored but the original siding remains underneath asbestos shingles. The porch is also missing its original spandrels and spindles but still provides a pleasant outlook of the surrounding neighborhood. A side door with stained glass and the original double front doors remain. While the City has the date of construction as 1901, an 1893 map shows that both houses were there at that time at the corner of Depot and Hyde streets.
We wrote about the Coalition group here earlier this week, by the way.
The nomination document submitted by Rudd Development provides less hope. We’ve embedded the write-up below. The document makes no recommendations but also contains few arguments for the building’s preservation. It contains a brief on Frank Pardee Lewis’s role in area history as well as the history of black property owners in the neighborhood and the influence of public transit on its development. As for the architecture, the packet documents the structure’s place in the Queen Anne-style vernacular and spends a good portion of the write-up documenting alterations both interior and exterior.
Judging by the nomination, the house seems likely to fall into a category similar to the Weatherford Antiques building — interesting but not quite a landmark. The Weatherford House is now likely to face demolition to make way for an apartment project at 14th and John.
What will the board say about 1823 18th Ave? The document is only a part of the process. There’s time for public comment at Wednesday’s session and you can also weigh in via email.
If the nomination is rejected, it will make the second potential nomination in a few blocks of 18th Ave to be denied in the past month. In September, the board declined to nominate the Ruth Courts apartments at 18th Ave E and John. This Anhalt building at 16th and John fared better and will be moving forward with its nomination at the board session on Wednesday.
Landmarks Preservation Board Meeting
Seattle Municipal Tower
700 5thAvenue, 40th Floor
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 – 3:30 p.m.