In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
The Lyon House was constructed about 1898. New York native George Lyon (1842-1902) had gone west by 1871 to Nevada and married Lucy Kinkead. Politics interested Lyon and although he never ran for office he got involved in the Republican Party and the Nevada Governor appointed him his private secretary. In the early 1880s, after they moved to Seattle, George Lyon continued his interest in Republican Party and for a number of years was state party chairman. In the mid 1880s George Lyon served as Seattle Justice of the Peace. During the 1886 Anti Chinese riots George Lyon issued the warrants to arrest the leaders of the group that was using violence to force the Chinese out. Lyon also served as an officer of the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad that constructed a rail line around the north end of Lake Washington which was later converted into the Burke-Gilman trail. From 1887 to 1891, George Lyon was part owner and Editor of the Seattle Times. For two or three years after he sold the paper, he worked as Receiver for the United States Land Office that administered the Homestead Act in Washington State. From about 1894 to 1897 the Seattle Post-Intelligencer hired Lyon as editorial writer. In 1898, the Snoqualmie Falls Power Company, an electrical company that constructed the first water powered electrical generator in western Washington, appointed him Secretary of the company.
In May 1887, Lyon purchased three lots from land developer George Kinnear which was the north half of block fronting 2nd Avenue W between Olympic and Kinnear streets. They had a house constructed on the northernmost lot which they moved into by late 1887 or early 1888. In the 1920s or 1930s, subsequent owners razed this house whose address was 926 2nd Avenue W.
As early as the spring 1892 the Lyons considered building a second house on their property and mortgaged the southernmost of the three lots to finance its construction. The house does not appear on the 1893 Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. According to the King County Assessment Rolls, the Assessor did not assess the house in 1896, but did assess the house in 1900. The delayed construction was probably due to the stagnating 1892 economy, which became a depression after the Panic of 1893. By the summer of 1897, the depression ended in the Puget Sound region when news arrived of immense quantities of gold that started the Klondike Gold Rush. Lyon hired the house built probably sometime after the economy recovered perhaps 1898 or 1899. The Lyons paid off the mortgage in January 1900. The King County Assessor Property Record Cards located at the Puget Sound Regional Archives give 1888 as the construction date of the house. There is no other evidence to support this date. The current address is 918-920 2nd Ave W. The Kinnear Park street car that ran along Roy Street, two blocks from the house, was the nearest street car line to downtown Seattle.
The Lyons used the house as a rental. In early 1900, Lyon leased it to Dwight P. Robinson (b. 1869), one of the building’s first tenants. Robinson had just arrived from Massachusetts to work as the Assistant General Manager for the Seattle Electric Company. The Seattle Electric Company had just started purchasing all of the city’s independent streetcar lines. Living in the residence with Dwight Robinson were his wife Mary (b. 1872), newborn son Dwight P. Jr., and 64 year old father Edgar. Also living there were three domestics; a 52 year old nurse and 41 year old servant, who were probably sisters, and a 14 year old Chinese cook who arrived in the United States the previous year. The Robinsons lived in the house for three or four years before leaving Seattle.
Later occupants. About 1909, the Edward Eyanson family purchased the house. Born and raised in Indiana, Edward Eyanson (b. 1864) attended college and worked for a grain and produce business and a drygoods store. In 1886 he returned to Indiana and entered his father’s woolen factory. In 1892, his father became part owner of Kirkland Woolen Mills and Edward Eyanson moved to Kirkland to work there. In 1895 Edward moved to Seattle and purchased from his father a wholesale and retail subsidiary of the Kirkland Woolen Mills called the Seattle Woolen Company. The next year he married Tacoma resident Pauline Korbein (b. 1873), an 1885 German immigrant to the United States. Edward Eyanson was active in the Seattle and King County Republican Party who selected him as a delegate to many Republican Party County Conventions. Edward, Pauline, and their child Annie (b. 1899) lived in the house for eight years before they moved to another Queen Anne hill house.
By the late 1930s, the building had been converted into a duplex. Mrs. Edith E. Crooks, a stenographer for Callender & Sampson, lived in one apartment, and welder Don Harrel lived in the other. Don Harrel worked as a welder at Lang Manufacturing Company, producer of heavy duty electric ranges, griddles, ovens for hotels and restaurants. During World War II the duplex was occupied by bartender Gus B. and Myrae Mathson and wholeseller James D. and Edna E. Zylstra and Michael A. Russo. By the end of the 1940s, Boeing mechanic Melchoir and Geraldine C. Kulesza and seaman Gerald and Virginia Pearce lived there. By 1954, US Coast Guard employee Chester and Helev J. Milaski occupied the house. By 1962, consultant for Data and Staff Service Company Donald and Harriet Sirkin, and an US Coast Guard employee Kenneth C. and Jeane Kulm lived in the duplex.
Variant addresses: Prior to ca. 1900 the address was 818-820 2nd Ave W. The 1905 Sanborn map lists the house at 916-918 2nd Ave W.
The 1975 Historic Seattle Survey of the Queen Anne neighborhood listed the house as Significant to the City. The 1979 Seattle Historic Resources Survey inventoried the house.
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 (see Reference below for complete citation):
Woodbridge, Guide to Architecture in Washington … p. 197.
Sanborn, Seattle maps… 1893. volume 2, sheet 79
"Colonel George G. Lyon" Bagley, History of Seattle. Volume 3, pp. 698-699.
"Edward W. Eyanson" Bagley, History of Seattle. Volume 3, pp. 847-848.
"Col. Geo. G. Lyon Dead" (unnamed newspaper) July 17, 1902. Bagley, C.B. Scrapbook volume 8, p. 2. Special Collections, University of Washington Library.
"Funeral of Col. Lyon" Seattle Times July19, 1902. p. 7.
"His Death Sudden. Col. G. G. Lyon Passes Away of La Grippe" Seattle Post-Intelligencer July 18, 1902 p. 14.
[George Lyon] Northwest Magazine May 1886 (vol. 4 #5) p. 15.
"Died … Mrs. Lucy Kinkead Lyon" The Argus February 13, 1932. p. 5.