This house is significant due to its architectural style and intactness, as well as its occupancy history. This house reflects the Rainier Valley’s agricultural origins, as well as its historical role as a transportation and commercial corridor connecting South Seattle to downtown and Seattle’s industrial districts.
This single-family residence is located in the Rainier View neighborhood at the southern end of Rainier Valley. The house was constructed in 1910. The Polk directories record the Robson family as the primary residents from 1927 through 1941. William Robson was a poultry breeder and added a chicken house to the property in 1930. In 1942, Berton H. Moore lived in the house, but the occupancy had changed by 1943 when Charles E. Kensey moved into the residence. By 1948, John F. and Bertha Valentine were the principal residents, and John worked as a grocery store salesman. The 1954, 1955, and 1956 Polk Directories do not list this residence. However, by 1957, Dale C. and Joan D. Gough were the primary residents. Dale Gough worked as a buyer at Sears and Mrs. Gough continued to live in the house after Dale’s death. Around 1963 or 1964, Mrs. Gough remarried and Duane S. Witters, a roofer at Interbay Roofing, is listed as the head of household in the Polk Directories. The Witters remained in the house through 1969.
Substantial residential and commercial development in South Seattle and the Rainier Valley occurred when a transportation corridor connecting the Rainier Valley to downtown and Seattle’s industrial district was constructed along Rainier Avenue during the late nineteenth century. Development in the valley was facilitated by logging during the 1880s, the operation of the Rainier Valley Electric Railway in the 1890s, and the Jackson and Dearborn Street re-grades in the 1900s. Milling was the primary commercial industry during the last part of the nineteenth century although some agricultural activity existed. As residential development increased, Rainier Avenue gradually became the principal commercial corridor connecting the residential neighborhoods of South Seattle to downtown, the International District, and Seattle’s industrial districts. World War II brought additional building growth related to the wartime industry, as well as the influx of defense workers to nearby Boeing and the Duwamish shipyards.
The Rainier Valley remains a crucial corridor uniting the neighborhoods of South Seattle and connecting them to downtown, Seattle’s industrial districts, and the International District.