This house is significant due to its early occupancy by an African American. During the first half of the twentieth century, most African American families lived in the Central District. The Bryants’ residency in this house was relatively unusual for the time period and was a harbinger of the social and ethnic diversity that would eventually predominate in Rainier Valley and South Seattle.
This single-family residence is located in North Rainier Valley and was constructed in 1905. From 1920 through 1922, Alfred and Lucile (or Lucy) Bryant occupied the house. The Bryants were African Americans who resided in the Beacon Hill neighborhood for many years. Interestingly, their neighbors at 1708 25th Avenue South were also African American. After the Bryants moved, the house was occupied by Alex and Marion Chevalier from 1926 to at least 1938. The Chevaliers eventually purchased the house but likely used it as a rental property as the Polk Directories show frequent changes in occupancy. For example, Mrs. Sarah Park was a tenant in the house in 1940 and 1941. In 1942 and 1943, Richard Garcia was resident, and George J. Lapasin also lived in the house for a period in 1943. In 1951, Clem L. Gallerson was the primary resident and lived in the house through 1958. By 1959, Philip W. Parisi and his family lived in the house, and they remained there through 1965. In 1965, Jessie W. Easton purchased the house and remained there through 1969.
Substantial residential and commercial development in South Seattle and the Rainier Valley occurred when a transportation corridor connecting the Rainier Valley to downtown and Seattle’s industrial district was constructed along Rainier Avenue during the late nineteenth century. Development in the valley was facilitated by logging during the 1880s, the operation of the Rainier Valley Electric Railway in the 1890s, and the Jackson and Dearborn Street re-grades in the 1900s. Milling was the primary commercial industry during the last part of the nineteenth century although some agricultural activity existed. As residential development increased, Rainier Avenue gradually became the principal commercial corridor connecting the residential neighborhoods of South Seattle to downtown, the International District, and Seattle’s industrial districts. World War II brought additional building growth related to the wartime industry, as well as the influx of defense workers to nearby Boeing and the Duwamish shipyards.
Due to the same exclusion laws that affected most minorities, African Americans did not begin to have a significant presence in South Seattle until the 1940s. However, it was not until the 1950s and 1960s that large numbers of families were able move out of Seattle’s established black neighborhoods. Furthermore, it was not until the passage of the Open Housing Ordinance by the Seattle City Council in 1968 that the ability of non-whites to relocate to Rainier Valley and South Seattle substantially increased. Currently, North Rainier Valley reflects the historical movement towards racial integration within Seattle’s neighborhoods as a racially and economically diverse population continues to live in its neighborhoods.