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Summary for 1701 4th AVE / Parcel ID 0809001245 / Inv #

Historic Name: Williams, O. B. House Common Name: Williams House
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1902
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
The O. B. Williams House was constructed in 1902 with a major 1904 addition built. Owen B. Williams (1870-1924), born and raised on a Michigan farm, left home at the age of 14. To raise enough money for train fare Williams worked as a farm hand. By the age of 17 he earned enough to board a Northern Pacific train heading west which he rode to the end of the line, disembarking at Tacoma. Initially he worked in a Tacoma lumber mill and then learned to install windows and became a glazier in Tacoma and Fairhaven (Bellingham). During the 1893 to 1897 depression, Williams tried placer mining near Revelstoke, British Columbia and then worked as a building contractor in Rossland, BC. In 1899, he returned to Washington, settled in Seattle, and married Hannah (b. ca 1875). He started a building supply store in the basement of a building at the northeast corner of 4th and Main. Williams opened with $150 worth of sash, doors, and glass, which he claimed sold out in a day. He quickly restocked and his business grew rapidly during Seattle’s greatest building boom decade (1900-1910). So much so that by 1908 he had a three-story building with 12,000 square feet of floor space and had established in Georgetown a sash and door factory employing about 20 men. His business continued to prosper and by 1915 he constructed and moved into a store building with over 40,000 square feet of space and his sash and door factory had grown to cover more then an acre of ground. By then, his $150 beginning had grown to at least a $200,000 business free of debt. While trying to establish his firm, Williams reinvested most of his income back into his business. But, during the summer of 1902, he withheld enough to purchase a Queen Anne lot and build a small one story 18 x 24 foot house worth about $150. Within two years, his burgeoning business had prospered well enough that he hired architect and building contractor Frank E. Howard to design and build an addition. Frank Howard emigrated from England in 1889 and moved to Seattle ten years later. He established a building contracting firm that constructed Seattle houses for about ten years. On April 14, 1904, the building department issued a permit for a 1 ½ story cottage with “over all” dimensions of 30 x 49 feet and estimated to cost $2200. The 1904 permit was probably for an addition added to the front of his original residence and the “over all” size included both the original house and the addition. Owen Williams lived there for the rest of his life and his wife remained in the house until at least 1935. The Williams also occasionally rented out rooms. In 1910 they had two boarders; Canadian born Martha Newcomb (b. ca 1860) and her son Paul Newcomb (b. ca 1883) who worked as a purchasing agent in a department store. To get downtown the boarders would walk two blocks to 2nd and Hayes streets and board the streetcar to downtown via Queen Anne Avenue. Upon Owen William's 1924 death, his will stated that the sash & door plant and store would go to its employees who had worked there at least five years. After a seven year court battle with the 23 employees who qualified, Williams’ widow and relatives successfully contested this clause of the will and inherited the estate’s firm. Later occupants. At the end of the depression, the house was vacant. During World War II Morgan K. Shropshire lived there; in the late 1940s teacher George A. and Mary W. Logan occupied the house; by the mid-1950s the Logans were replaced by James R. and Hazel Hammons. James Hammons worked on repairing the new technology, televisions, and the old technology, radios. In 1951, longshoreman Henry H. and Elizabeth A. Kreir acquired the house and rented it for awhile before they moved in. In 1965 they sold to Robert Hamlin for $16,500 who after holding it for six years deeded the residence to Mervin Johnson Jr. for $33,500. In 1975 the Historic Seattle Survey of the Queen Anne neighborhood listed the house as Significant to the Community. The 1979 Seattle Historic Resources Survey described the house as "unique". The residence appears to meet City of Seattle Landmark criteria due to the age of the structure (over 100 years old) and minimal alterations. A variant address for the house was 1703 4th Ave N. Sources: Williams, O. B. Clipping file. Special Collections, University of Washington Library. Chadwick, Men Behind the Seattle Spirit. p. 82 Bagley, History of Seattle. vol. 3, p. 649-650 Bagley, History of King County. vol. 2, p. 767-769 Seattle of To-Day, Illustrated. p. 173 Hanford, Seattle and Environs. vol. 2, p. 330-331
On August 18, 1902 O. B. Williams obtained a building permit to construct an one story dwelling that measured 18 x 24 feet (# 15761). On April 14,1904 the Seattle Building Deparment issued a permit to construct an one and a half story addition to the front (east) making the total outside dimensions, of both the original building and the addition, 30 x 49 feet (# 26752). House designed by F. E. Howard. Steep pitched front and wing gable roof with eyebrow dormers on east and west elevations. A circular porch with turned posts supporting a curcular roof on east elevation. South elevation has an extended box window topped with decorative balustrude. The east elevation has a recessed box window. The south and east gable ends have triple wide double hung windows just above corbel designed trim. Nearly all double hung windows have beveled sash and leaded glass upper sash.

Detail for 1701 4th AVE / Parcel ID 0809001245 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Shingle, Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable 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: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Slight
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.
Bagley, Clarence B. History of Seattle. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1916.
City of Seattle. Seattle Inventory Field Form. 1979.
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.
Chadwick, H. A. Men Behind the Seattle Spirit. Seattle: Argus, 1906.
Bagley, Clarence B. History of King County, Washington. Seattle: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1929.
Seattle of To-Day, Illustrated. Seattle: National Publishing Company, ca. 1908.
Hanford, Cornelius H. (ed.) Seattle and Environs, 1852-1924. Chicago: Pioneer Historical Publishing Co., 1924.

Photo collection for 1701 4th AVE / Parcel ID 0809001245 / Inv #

Photo taken Dec 23, 2004

Photo taken Dec 23, 2004
App v2.0.1.0