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Summary for 3607 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 4083305830 / Inv #

Historic Name: Densmore Residence Common Name:
Style: Queen Anne - Cottage Neighborhood: Wallingford
Built By: Year Built: 1890
It has not been possible to locate a building permit for initial construction of this structure. It was built in 1900 according to the King County Assessor Property Characteristics Report, however, the King County Property Record Card -- prepared in 1937 -- suggests that the house was erected in 1880 and remodeled in 1909. A permit was issued to J. Worth Densmore for alterations to an existing structure at 1620 Kilbourne Street (#71684) in 1909. It should be noted that N. 36th Street was known as Kilbourne Street prior to 1918 and that the present structure is in the 1600 block of N. 36th Street. Thus, it is likely this permit was issued for alterations to the structure now addressed as 3607 Densmore. J. Worth Densmore had been living at this corner for several years when these alterations were undertaken and appears to have boarded there in 1899 with Milton Densmore when the property was addressed simply as the northwest corner of Kilbourne and Charles. Addressing in the area was even less precise in the last decades of the 19th Century, although it seems safe to assume that this property was the residence of Milton Densmore recorded in the 1890 edition of Polk’s Seattle Directory as being on the north side of Kilbourne Street. A. J. Carr, a local building contractor located at 3620 Wallingford Avenue N. according to the building permit (#117420), added a new door and sleeping porch to the residence for J. Worth Densmore in 1912. Densmore remained at this address until at least 1919. The property appears to have been owned by Ida R. Bell when the Assessor surveyed it in 1937, although it does not appear that Bell ever lived at the house. The King County Property Record Card prepared at the time describes the building as a duplex and it may be that Bell had bought the property for use as a source of rental income. The property was often vacant in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The interior of the building was altered (permit #336314) by a new owner, E. B. Richardt, in 1940-41. Richardt completed repairs to the post and pier portion of the foundation about the same time (permit #336435). On both permit applications, the notation “single family residence” has been struck and replaced by the word “duplex” in another hand. R. H Lavanchy and his wife appear to have acquired the property in 1941, and Henry J. Massie apparently purchased the house in 1953. Although Joe Stephanich appears to lived in the house for several years in the late 1950s ad early 1960s, most residents have remained there for less than five years, suggesting that owners have continued to view it as an income producing property rather than as a homestead. The current owners, Wenson and Mary Liao, have owned the property since at least 1993, and the Liao family may have acquired the property as early as the late 1970s; George W. H. Liao lived in the structure in 1980. Although this property is addressed as 3607 Densmore Avenue North in the King County Assessor Property Characteristics Report, this address apparently is associated only with the portion of the structure facing Densmore Avenue. The building functions as a duplex and the west end of the structure, which opens to the south, is addressed as 1618 N. 36th Street. Nyberg and Steinbrueck identified this structure as a building of significance to the Wallingford community. If any portion of this structure were actually built in 1880, this would probably be the oldest existing structure in the Wallingford neighborhood. However, the dating of the structure is not secure and the structure has been significantly altered since it was photographed by the Assessor in 1937 and appears to have been modified at least twice prior to that date.
This is a two-story, clapboard clad frame duplex erected over a quarter basement on a partially concrete and partially post and pier foundation. The unusual massing of this hip roofed building and its irregular footprint are suggestive of a structure that has been altered a number of times since its initial construction. In fact, the casual observer is left with the impression that two separate structures have been combined to form the present building. Comparison of the existing structure with a photograph and sketch plan prepared in 1937 indicates that, while the overall massing of the present building is similar to that of the structure as it existed prior to the Second World War, a large south facing bay and second floor deck have been removed from the south end of the structure, and the detailing of the facades, the pattern of fenestration, and the roof forms have all been modified. The combination of vaguely Queen Anne massing and craftsman-like detail elements in the present building results in a design that is perhaps best described as vernacular.

Detail for 3607 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 4083305830 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Hold
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Wood, Wood - Drop siding Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Hip Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition-Shingle
Building Type: Domestic - Single Family Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Plan: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.

Photo collection for 3607 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 4083305830 / Inv #

Photo taken Jul 23, 2004

Photo taken Jul 23, 2004
App v2.0.1.0