Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for 1617 Taylor AVE / Parcel ID 1689401265 / Inv #

Historic Name: Reaper, A. M. House Common Name: Reaper/Benson House
Style: Queen Anne Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1899
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
Reaper/Benson House was constructed in 1899. In 1891 Frank H. Ceis (b. 1875) arrived in Seattle at the age of 16 and during the next four years worked as a clerk, elevator operator, and janitor. The rest of the John and Adelia Ceis family arrived in 1895. By 1898 John Ceis had left Seattle or died and Adelia Ceis changed her name to Adelia Reaper (1842-1920). Before moving to Seattle, Adelia Reaper Ceis lived in Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas. The obituary of Mrs. Reaper described her as “widely known throughout the city for her activities in charitable, social and evangelicalistic work.” A friend of Mother Ryther who established the Ryther Child Center, Adelia Reaper worked with her on charity work for many years. On March 7, 1899, the building department issued a permit to Adelia Reaper for a 1 ½ story 26 x 28 foot dwelling and listed F. H. Ceis as the builder. Frank H. Ceis, Adelia Reaper’s son, in addition to building the family home, worked as a warehouseman and porter. It took about two months to complete the house and then Adelia Reaper, her five children ages 17 to 34, and one grandchild moved in. They lived there for two years before they sold the house in 1901 to tailor Arthur Ashby. By 1906 the Ashbys sold to Hans Benson who lived in the house for nearly 35 years. The Benson family had at least eight members. Parents Hans (b. ca 1847) and Inga (b. ca 1847) born, raised and married in Norway, in 1881 immigrated to the States with daughter Gunda (b. ca 1879). They lived in Connecticut and then in the mid 1880s moved to South Dakota and lived there for number of years raising their family. When they moved to Seattle, in 1906, the Reaper/Benson House was the first place they lived. Hans and Inga moved in with their children Gunda (age 27), Bynie (age 24), Henry (age 22), son Ikie? (age 20), Chris (age 18), and Mildred (age 15). Hans Benson worked as a general laborer, plasterer, lumber mill sawyer, and in the late 1920s a stone mason. The Bensons lived in the house until the beginning of World War II. When the house was built the nearest streetcar line was about half a mile away at Comstock Street and Queen Anne Avenue, the terminus of the Front Street Cable Railway. By the time Hans Benson purchased the house in 1906, streetcars ran farther up Queen Anne hill reducing the walk to six blocks. Later occupants. In the late 1930s widow Nelma J. Ludvigsen boarded with the Bensons; during World War II Boeing employee Miriam E. Carlton; by the late 1940s maintenance man L.C. and Ethel G. Schlaht; in 1951 Grace Doyle acquired the house and moved in; and by 1961 John D. Chichester, a program manager for Boeing lived at 1615 Taylor Ave N; in 1970 Garry L White purchased the house. The 1975 Historic Seattle Survey of the Queen Anne neighborhood listed the house as Significant to the Community. Few intact houses exist in Seattle that were built prior to 1900. The residence appears to meet City of Seattle Landmark criteria due to the age of the structure (over 100 years old) and minimal alterations. Sources: "Death Summons Mrs. Adelia Reaper" Seattle Post-Intelligencer December 23, 1930 clipping file Special Collections, University of Washington Library "Ceis Estate Exceeds $120,000" Seattle Times February 25,1956 clipping file "B4" Seattle Room, Seattle Public Library "Ceis Dies After Year's Illness" Seattle Times February 20, 1956 clipping file "B4" Seattle Room, Seattle Public Library
Mrs. A. M. Reaper procured a building permit to construct a 26 x 28 feet one and a half story Queen Anne style residence (# 1304). F. H. Ceis constructed the house which was completed by late spring 1899. In 1918 the southern portion of the east elevation was extended three feet to enlarge a bedroom (permit # 17016). In 1931 a second story addition which was likely done in the rear (south elevation) for a bedroom (permit # 297521). A front gable and wing plus another wing with a hip roof. East elevation of the gable wing has a beveled building corner with a recessed double hung window. North elevation porch has a hip roof. Some double hung windows have beveled sashes.

Detail for 1617 Taylor AVE / Parcel ID 1689401265 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured, Post & Pier
Roof Type(s): Gable, Hip Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Domestic - Single Family Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one & ½
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: 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.
Sanborn Map Company. Insurance Maps of Seattle, Washington. (New York, Sanborn Map Company, 1904-1905) 4 volumes.
Sanborn Map Company. Insurance Maps of Seattle, Washington. (New York, Sanborn Map Company, 1916-1919) volumes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Sanborn Map Company. Insurance Maps of Seattle, Washington. (New York, Sanborn Map Company, 1949-1950 update) 11 volumes.
Seattle Daily Bulletin
Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority. “Queen Anne: An Inventory of Buildings and Urban Design Resources.” Seattle: Historic Seattle, 1975.

Photo collection for 1617 Taylor AVE / Parcel ID 1689401265 / Inv #

Photo taken Dec 23, 2004
App v2.0.1.0