15th Ave’s Gaslight Inn will be considered as an official landmark later this month. But don’t worry, good neighbor — nobody is planing to tear it down.
In a process that often portends doom in Capitol Hill’s hyperactive environment of redevelopment, the 1904-era bed and breakfast is being nominated because the man who has owned it for more than 30 years and restored it to what the nomination backers claim is near-original condition, honest to goodnessly believes the old house should be a protected Seattle landmark.
Neighborhood preservation activist and area resident John Fox helped prepare the nomination for the Singerman Residence/Gaslight Inn house and tells CHS owner Stephen Bennett is pursuing the designation “because he does NOT want it ever torn down.” “He wants to be sure it stays part or the architectural fabric of the neighborhood,” Fox writes.
It is also, the proposal contends, a symbol of how gay and lesbian residents revived, and reshaped Capitol Hill starting about 40 years ago:
The Gaslight Inn exemplifies the efforts by gay and lesbian residents to revive the neighborhood in the 1970s and 1980s, and to create identifiable LGBTQ space in the city. Along with growing tolerance in the past three decades, and more recent passage of civil rights and marriage equality legislation, Capitol Hill has undergone another transition with increased gentrification, while LGBTQ residents have moved to homes throughout the city. This trend analogous to the experience of many immigrant communities, is seen throughout many American cities where “gayborhoods” are increasingly attractive to residents of all gender identities (see Brown and Ghaziani).
The life and career of Paul Singerman is associated historically with Seattle’s early Jewish community, which was made up largely by well educated Ashkenzic Jews of German decent. He and his family were linked to others within this community through a double marriage ceremony in 1909 when his daughter, Belle, married Louis Friedlander and Singerman’s son, Louis, married Anne Friedlander, both of the family that would later establish Friedlander Jewelers.
As you might recall, the structure will have to meet certain standards to be considered for protection:
Landmark designation standards:
In order to be designated, the building, object, or site must be at least 25 years old and must meet at least one of the six criteria for designation outlined in the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance (SMC 25.12.350):
a) It is the location of, or is associated in a significant way with, a historic event with a significant effect upon the community, City, state, or nation; or
b) It is associated in a significant way with the life of a person important in the history of the City, state, or nation; or
c) It is associated in a significant way with a significant aspect of the cultural, political, or economic heritage of the community, City, state or nation; or
d) It embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, or period, or a method of construction; or
e) It is an outstanding work of a designer or builder; or
f) Because of its prominence of spatial location, contrasts of siting, age, or scale, it is an easily identifiable visual feature of its neighborhood or the city and contributes to the distinctive quality or identity of such neighborhood or the City.
You can send your comment on the nomination to the landmarks board via email or plan to attend the hearing on the house later this month:
Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider nomination of the Singerman Residence/Gaslight Inn (1727 15th Avenue) on Wednesday, August 19 at 3:30 p.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 40th Floor, Room 4060.
The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments. Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board at the following address by August 18 at 3:00 p.m.:
Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649 (mailing address)
You can learn more about the nomination here. The full nomination document is below.