This residence is significant due to its association with Val and Austreberta Laigo, who were engaged in both the artistic and Filipino communities in Seattle. The Laigos’ residency also coincides with the general trend for ethnic minorities to move to South Seattle during Seattle’s Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.
This single-family residence is located on the southern end of Beacon Hill. The house was constructed in 1958, and Mrs. Austreberta Laigo (also known as Austreberta Garrido (Chata) Laigo) was the resident. Her husband, Valeriano Emerenciano Montante Laigo, lived at 224 14th Avenue North during this time period. Austreberta is Filipina and worked during the late 1950s as a librarian at Group Health Co-Op. Her husband, also Filipino, was a significant Northwest artist. The 1961 Polk Directory is the first that lists Val Laigo as occupying the house with his wife. Mrs. Austreberta Laigo remains the current owner of the house. In 1960 and again in 1971, the Laigos applied for a permit for an addition.
Val Laigo (b. Jan. 23, 1930 – d. December 11, 1992) was Filipino American painter and illustrator. He lived at this residence through his death and played an integral role in the educational, Filipino, and artistic communities in the Seattle area. Val immigrated to the United States from the Philippines when he was about six months old. He graduated from O'Dea High School in 1948 and Seattle University in 1954. From 1956 through 1957, he completed his post-graduate work at Mexico City College (today known as the University of the Americas), and he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington in 1964. Val’s took first professional position in 1952 as an artist in the editorial department at the Post-Intelligencer. Later he became the art director and staff artist for the Boeing Research Laboratories and professor of art at Seattle University. Val had substantial involvement in the South Seattle and Filipino community activities. He was a patron of Filipino Youth Activities and the Filipino American National Historical Society. He was also commitment to art education and public art, such as his mosaic mural at the Dr. José Rizal Park in North Beacon Hill.
While relatively few ethnic minorities lived outside of the Central District during the early twentieth century, Japanese Americans and Italian Americans successfully developed strong communities in Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley. In addition to the Japanese and Italians, Filipino immigrants began moving to South Seattle through immigration privileges resulting from the special political relationship between the United States and the Philippines after the 1898 Spanish-American War. Filipinos tended to fall outside of immigration, housing, and work exclusion laws, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and Executive Order 9066. Filipino migrant workers were also needed to fill a labor shortage caused by such exclusion acts. For these reasons, their communities increased in numbers, social cohesion, and economic success. This trend continued through World War II, when many Filipino men enlisted and brought back War Brides. While Filipino families lived in South Seattle prior the 1960s, it was not until the passage of the Open Housing Ordinance by the Seattle City Council in 1968 that housing covenants and severely restricted neighborhoods became legally open to non-whites. Only after passage of this ordinance did significant numbers of Asians, Filipinos, African Americans, Latinos, and others move to South Seattle.