This house is significant due to its architectural style and intactness, as well as its occupancy history. The occupants’ professional association with businesses in downtown, and Seattle’s industrial districts reflects the valley’s historical role as a transportation and commercial corridor connecting the residential neighborhoods in South Seattle to downtown and the industrial districts.
This single-family residence is located in Mount Baker and was constructed in 1905. The Polk Directories show that, from 1925 through 1949, the Oldaker family was the primary resident. Maurice Oldaker worked as a floor finisher and a janitor and his wife, Mary A. Oldaker, remained in the house after Maurice’s death. Occasionally, the Oldakers sublet space in the house. In 1938, Gregory C. and Elinor C. Fields were tenants. Gregory worked a driver for A. Kristoferson, Inc. In 1939, Thomas I. and Marguerite Kelley rented space in the house. Thomas was an employee of the City Light Department. From 1940 through 1942, Mattie F. and Hal D. Wheeler, a pile driver, were renters. In 1948, Roy C. and Matilda F. Pitman were tenants, and Roy worked as a broiler maker for Puget Sound Sheet Metal Works. By 1951, the house changed ownership, and Charles W. and Eleanor Bailey and Carl E. Warner lived in the house. Mr. Warner was a mill worker and Mr. Bailey ran the Club Turkish Baths downtown with his partner Art Serrano. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Bailey remained at this residence with the Warners through 1962. By 1963, Gerald R. Woods, a driver for Western Cartage in Seattle’s principal industrial district, was the primary occupant. Mr. Woods lived in this house through 1964 when it was purchased by Clarence R. and Ocie M. Robinson. Clarence worked as a longshoreman, and the Robinsons remained in the house through 1969.
The Mount Baker neighborhood comprises two north-south tending ridges located southeast of downtown Seattle along Lake Washington. Initial development of the area occurred early in the twentieth century, relatively later than the Rainier Valley and Downtown Seattle areas. Development was initially impeded by Mount Baker’s geography during the mid-nineteenth century and was then stimulated by the construction of the Rainier Avenue Electric Street Railway along the Rainier Valley in the 1890s. The streetcar was paramount in facilitating travel to downtown Seattle.
The platting of Mount Baker occurred in three phases or additions: the York Addition in 1903 by George M. and Martha Taggart, the Dose Addition in 1906 by Charles P. Dose, and the Mount Baker Park Addition in 1907 by the Hunter Tract Improvement Company. The Mount Baker Park Addition represents the core of the neighborhood and is its primary, character-defining feature. Mount Baker Park is one of Seattle’s earliest planned subdivisions and was established as a residential neighborhood for upper-income White families. The Hunter Tract development company targeted these families by adopting deed restrictions and setting minimum size and price standards for each house. The careful design of the Mount Baker Park Addition’s lots, streets, boulevards, and parks reinforced its exclusivity. However, the platting and landscape plans of George F. Cotterill and Edward O. Schwagerl were significant as they integrated the hill’s natural topography into their design. In doing so, they honored the ideals of Seattle’s Olmsted System and the local government’s city planning efforts.
The houses in Mount Baker were primarily built between 1905 and 1929. They reflect a variety of eclectic and Northwest-based architectural styles and include designs by many prominent local architects. When the Open Housing Ordinance was passed by the Seattle City Council in 1968, the ability of non-whites to relocate to Mount Baker substantially increased. Today, the neighborhood is home to a more ethnically diverse population than in the past. This middle to upper income neighborhood remains predominantly residential, and it retains much of its planned character.