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Summary for 1400 E Galer ST E / Parcel ID 2925049087 / Inv # DPR096

Historic Name: Volunteer Park Cottage Common Name:
Style: Arts & Crafts, Arts & Crafts - Craftsman Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Built By: Year Built: 1909
This Craftsman-style cottage was constructed in 1909 to serve as a residence for the foreman or caretaker of Volunteer Park. In the early decades of Seattle’s existence, Capitol Hill was beyond the city limits, remote and inaccessible, heavily wooded and far from the center of the town of about 2000 residents. In 1876, the recently incorporated city purchased a forty-acre tract at the very top of the hill from James M. Colman, a sawmill engineer who later became a prominent real estate developer, for $2000 without specifying the purpose of the purchase. Presumably, the land had been logged of its stand of old growth forest, leaving behind bare patches between the stumps and smaller trees. This tract would later become one of the city’s preeminent parks, known initially as "Lake View Park" in 1887, then "City Park," and finally Volunteer Park in 1901, honoring those who had volunteered for the 1898 Spanish-American War. Further land acquisitions brought the size up to its present-day 48 acres. The Water Department also took an active interest in this hilltop park as a desirable location for a reservoir to provide gravity service to Seattle’s population. The reservoir was completed in 1901 as part of the initial phase of the new Cedar River Water System, which also included Lincoln Reservoir further south on Capitol Hill and Queen Anne Tank No. 1. The same year, a streetcar line was established along the park’s eastern boundary, 15th Avenue East, and real estate developer James Moore began to plat and improve his 200-acre tract as the Capitol Hill Addition. Millionaires’ Row, then the city’s preeminent place to live, also developed along the four blocks of 14th Avenue East immediately south of the park. As the Capitol Hill residential neighborhoods developed and increased the demand for reliable water service, a metal standpipe was built in 1906 to provide additional gravity pressure. In 1903, the city hired the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm to prepare plans for a comprehensive park and boulevard system, including suggestions for improvements to existing parks, with Volunteer Park first on the list. From 1904 to 1912, extensive formal improvements to the park were made, following the detailed plans of the Olmsted Brothers firm, which called for a "metropolitan appearance" due to the park’s close proximity to the downtown hotel and business district. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, Volunteer Park is recognized as possessing the most fully realized design of all the Olmsted plans created for the Seattle parks, boulevards, and playgrounds system. By the late 1880s and early 1890s, the Parks Department had cleared about six acres of brush and immature trees at Volunteer Park in order to plant a nursery. By 1893, a greenhouse and "hot bed" had been built along with a three-room cottage for a caretaker, who had five gardeners to assist him. By 1903, the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm decried the greenhouse, rows of nursery plants, compost yard, superintendent’s residence, park barn, and other service buildings as ugly intrusions into the park. The firm recommended that they should be grouped in some "less valuable" part of the park, such as the northwest corner near the cemetery. In their designs for the improvement of the park, they sited the maintenance yard with a Craftsman-style cottage and stable screened behind trees to the west of a planned conservatory at the north end of the park’s concourse drive. This portion of the plan was realized in 1909 with the construction of the present caretaker’s cottage and barn within the maintenance yard. An obvious effort was made to provide architecturally attractive facilities for the city’s most important park. With its Craftsman-influenced stylistic features, this modest building is significant for its design and for its association with the improvement of the park under the direction of the Olmsted Brothers firm.
This one-and-a-half-story wood-frame dwelling is located within the grounds of the maintenance and horticultural facility at the northern end of the park along the drive leading west down from the Conservatory. The single-family residence has a rectangular plan and exhibits typical Craftsman/Arts & Crafts stylistic features. These include wood shingle cladding, a gable roof, exposed rafter tails, decorative bargeboards, and a shallow arbor wrapping the recessed porch at the southeast corner. A typical paneled entrance door with six small windows in the upper half opens onto the porch in addition to a small window set high on the wall. A large double-hung window dominates the remaining portion of the first story of the principal south elevation while the upper half story contains a smaller double-hung wood window covered with a shallow bracketed roof. A shed roof dormer projects from the roof on the east elevation above double hung windows at the stair landing level and the first story. The west elevation has a brick chimney at the center flanked by double-hung windows while the north elevation has a mostly enclosed shed roof porch below a single double-hung window in the upper half story. This small attractive residence retains good physical integrity but is slightly deteriorated with obvious deferred maintenance.

Detail for 1400 E Galer ST E / Parcel ID 2925049087 / Inv # DPR096

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Shingle, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Domestic - Single Family Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one & ½
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Conservation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Seattle Department of Parks. Annual report/Department of Parks. Seattle, WA: 1909-1955.

Photo collection for 1400 E Galer ST E / Parcel ID 2925049087 / Inv # DPR096

Photo taken Nov 06, 2000
App v2.0.1.0