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 is a particularly well-preserved historic property that appears to possess architectural and/or historic significance. It was constructed in 1906 and displays characteristics of the Queen Anne Cottage style. The earliest recorded residents were Olaf P. Onsum and his wife Florence in 1910. Olaf was a mechanic for a shipbuilder. Anna M. McMahon owned the house in 1937.
This residence was constructed during the University District’s 1895-1914 developmental era, during which the University of Washington was established at its present location and the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYP) was held on the University’s campus. In the fall of 1895 the University of Washington opened its new campus with an enrollment of 310 students. The University Store opened at 42nd and Columbus (now University Way) the same year, and the streetcar stop at 42nd and Brooklyn Avenue soon became known as University Station. The platting of the area continued during the 1890s, with the University Heights Addition extending along both sides of Columbus Avenue, the commercial district, to NE 5th Street in 1899.
By 1900, university enrollment was 614 students and the 1900 Census counted over 400 people in the Brooklyn Addition. University enrollment more than doubled in the five years between 1905 and 1910, reaching 2,200 students by 1910. By 1910 the University District had become a city within a city, containing the largest concentration of commercial buildings outside of downtown.
The decade between 1900 and 1910 was also the peak period of subdivision in the area. In 1906 the 20-block University Park Addition north of campus was filed. It became the most affluent and exclusive area in the district. The extension of additional streetcar lines stimulated speculation and housing development north of NE 45th Street. These included a trolley line to Ravenna Park developed by W.W. Beck, and the 1907 extension of a line along NE 45th Street from 14th Ave. NE to Meridian in Wallingford. Virtually the entire District was platted and ready for development by 1910. One distinctive feature of the University Park neighborhood is its very narrow lots. The Moore Investment Company, which platted it, apparently wanted to maximize its profits by creating small lots, most of which were under 4,500 square feet. Fairly substantial houses were still built on these relatively small lots.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives
McAlester, Virginia Savage. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.
Tobin, Caroline and Sarah Sodt, University District Historic Survey Report: http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/preservation/ContextUniversityDistrictSurveyReport.pdf, 2002.
US Census Report, 1910