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Summary for 421 W Highland DR W / Parcel ID 173280-0281 / Inv #

Historic Name: Kerry, Albert S., House Common Name: Kerry House
Style: Tudor Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1905
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).
This house is prominently sited on the west side of West Highland Drive, with a view of the city and Elliott Bay. It was featured in the 1913 book "Homes and Gardens of the Pacific Coast," which noted the home's "comfort and convenience" and beautiful interior. That photo shows a hipped-roof third story with three hipped dormers on the front. This story was not rebuilt after being destroyed in a fire in 1938; instead, at that time, a second story was added above the flat-roofed garage. Despite these alterations, this house is significant for its owners and its architects. One interesting note is that this house retains one of the original gas street lamps (now electrified) that were installed early in the century by Colonel Alden Blethen, owner of the Seattle Times, who lived at 519 W. Highland Drive. Albert S. Kerry arrived in Seattle in 1886, and became successful as a builder and owner of mills and timber lands. He was also prominent in civic affairs, serving on the board of directors of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and on the Seattle Board of Park Commssioners. In 1927 he donated the land for Kerry Park, located on West Highland Drive about two blocks east of the house. The rusticated granite foundation is typical of the work of Bebb and Mendel. Charles Bebb and Louis Mendel were the most prominent architects of their period, specializing in mansions for Seattle business leaders. Bebb was educated in private schools in England and Switzerland, and studied civil engineering in London. After working for a period on construction of a railroad in South Africa, he became an engineer at an Illinois terra cotta company, where he developed commercial fireproofing materials. He served as construction superintendent for Chicago's Auditorium Building, designed by Adler and Sullivan. The firm sent him to Seattle to superintend construction of the Seattle Opera House, which was never completed due to the 1893 Financial Panic. Bebb returned to Seattle to work for the Denny Clay Company and opened an architectural practice in 1898. He worked for Spokane architect Kirtland Cutter superintending construction of the C. D. Stimpson House on First Hill, which introduced him to prominent local business leaders. He was in partnership with Louis Mendel from 1901 until 1914, when he went into partneship with Carl Gould. Louis Mendel came to the United States from Germany in 1882, working in Cleveland and in several west Coast cities before settling in Seattle in 1899. He initially worked as a draftsman for Charles Bebb. They formed a partnership in 1901, and until 1914 were prolific designers of homes, hotels and commercial buildings for local business leaders. Among their extant work is University Heights School, the Schwabacher Hardware Company warehouse (1905), the Walker-Ames House (1907), the Hoge Building (1911) and many residences. After his partnership with Bebb dissolved, Mendel continued to practice independently, designing residences and other small projects. In 1938, perhaps following the fire, the house was purchased by John Rumsey, Jr., president of Rumsey & Company, general contractors. His firm completed work on many major highway projects, including the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the Mercer Slough bridge and portions of I-5. The Rumseys lived down the street at 501 West Highland Drive, and evidently remained there until the construction here was completed. Rumsey and his wife Laura lived here from 1940 until the 1960s. From 1967 until the 1980s the house was owned by another prominent entrepreneur, Marvin Burke and his wife Asgerd. Burke owned Sportcaster Corporation, a manufacturer and distributor of sportswear and uniforms. He was also active in sports as an executive of the Seattle Totems hockey team, a founder of the Stevens Pass Improvement Company and a director of the Hyak Ski Corporation. After 1976 the house was leased to the Japanese consulate for several years.
This large two-story house has a hipped roof with the center section projecting from the main volume. The first floor is rusticated granite. The second story is clad with wood shingles. The entry is near the center, with a stoop sheltered by a hipped roof with large carved brackets. To the west of the entry is a large bay window with three large windows of bottle glass. Above this is a grouping of four windows with diamond-paned upper sections. Similar wood lattice windows are on the eastern wing, randomly placed, near a secondary entry. Other windows are one-over-one double-hung sash, with a pair over the entry and others at each end and on the other elevations. A secondary entry is toward the east, near the garage, flanked by leaded glass windows. A tall granite chimney is at the northwest The landscaping of shrubs and a lawn is formal, in keeping with the house.

Detail for 421 W Highland DR W / Parcel ID 173280-0281 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Shingle, Stone - Ashlar/cut Foundation(s): Stone
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition-Shingle
Building Type: Domestic - Single Family Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Calvert, Frank. Homes and Gardens of the Pacific Coast. Vol. 1, Seattle. Beaux Arts Village: Beaux Arts Society Publishers, 1913.
Kreisman, Lawrence. The Stimson Legacy: Architecture in the Urban West. Seattle: Willows Press, 1992.
"John Rumsey, 82, Contractor," Seattle Times, May 5, 1966.

Photo collection for 421 W Highland DR W / Parcel ID 173280-0281 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 14, 2003
App v2.0.1.0