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Summary for 1717 NE 55TH ST NE / Parcel ID 8823900290 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Johnson, J. A., House #1 Common Name:
Style: Arts & Crafts - Craftsman, Tudor Neighborhood: University
Built By: Year Built: 1915
 
Significance
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).

Based on field work conducted in October 2014, this historic property retains its relationship to the streetscape, historic building form and a sufficient amount of exterior historic building fabric (design features, cladding and/or window sash/openings) to contribute to the distinct character of the University Park neighborhood.

This imposing two and one-half story Craftsman Tudor residence was designed by prominent Seattle architect Andrew Willatsen. The builder and owner was John A. Johnson, a contractor who constructed many other houses in the University Park neighborhood. After the area was platted by James Moore in 1906, the property was sold to Roger Green. Roger Green was Chief Justice of the Territorial Supreme Court. Green sold the house to builder John A. Johnson in 1916, and he and his wife Ellen lived in the house until 1918. J. A McEachern purchased the property in 1918, and in 1950, the owners were Abe and Flavia McEachern. Dr. Robert Mack and his wife Joanne purchased the house in 1971. They remodeled the kitchen, and the architect for the 1973 kitchen addition was James Jennings & Associates. In 1973, the house reverted to a single-family residence. Melvin Lee and Martha Jean Knight purchased it in 1981, and Edward and Patricia D'Alessandro, the current owners, purchased it in 1999. Andrew Willatzen came to the United States in 1900 and changed the spelling of his name to Willatsen in about 1918 due to anti-German sentiment after World War I. He worked in Frank Lloyd Wright's Studio in Oak Park, Illinois from about 1902-1907. He came to Seattle in 1908 and formed a partnership with Barry Byrne, another Studio employee, in 1909. Initially Willatsen designed buildings in the Prairie style but he also worked in a wide variety of styles, particularly after 1915. The J.A. Johnson house shows a combination of the Tudor Revival and English Arts and Crafts styles. Willatsen's best work in Seattle dates from 1909 to about 1925. This house is very similar to a Craftsman Tudor style residence nearby at 1619 NE 52nd Street, also built by John A. Johnson. John Johnson formed the Western Construction Company and later built the house on the adjacent lot to the south, 5263 18th Avenue NE.
 
Appearance
This is one of several substantial Craftsman Tudor Revival style residences in the University Park neighborhood. It is the only one known to be designed by Andrew Willatsen. This two-and-one-half story house has brick on the first floor and half timber and stucco on the upper floors (except for the south gable on the north elevation which has brick above on the gable end). The house has a cross-gable roof with gabled dormers on the north, east and west elevations. The house has a matching detached garage, built in 1932. The only exterior changes to the house are a kitchen expansion on the west elevation (1973) and a rooftop deck. The windows are multiple-paned leaded glass windows, both double-hung and casements. Some of the windows include colored leaded glass with shields and other decorative patterns. The attractive entry porch on the north (main) elevation has a gable roof with half-timbering detail, similar to the rest of the house. The house has a three-sided bay window on the north (main) elevation. There are a few new windows at the basement level. Interior alterations, including finishing two bedrooms on the third floor, were made in 1967, when a second unit was added The retaining wall around the property was built at the same time as the house, in 1915. A wrought iron fence was added in the 1990s.

Detail for 1717 NE 55TH ST NE / Parcel ID 8823900290 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Hold
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Concrete- Tile, Wood - Shingle
Building Type: Domestic - Single Family Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: two & ½
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
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.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Telephone interview with Edward D'Alessandro, current owner. March 29, 2002.

Photo collection for 1717 NE 55TH ST NE / Parcel ID 8823900290 / Inv # 0


Photo taken Mar 22, 2002

Photo taken

Photo taken Feb 12, 2015

Photo taken Feb 12, 2015
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