Sept. 20, 2019

506 West Galer

There is something very special about a vintage home. If these walls could talk, this lovely 1906 Dutch Colonial would tell the story of the Mantor family and the beginnings of the Seattle Fire Department.

On October 17, 1889, four months after a devastating fire burned most of Seattle to the ground, the Seattle Fire Department became an official institution. The Great Seattle Fire broke out in Victor Clairmont's cabinet shop at the corner of Front Street (1st Avenue) and Madison on June 6th, 1889. A small group of volunteer firefighters worked tirelessly to put the fire out, but the town’s small private water supply quickly ran out. By the end of the day, 64 acres of homes and businesses were gone. Gardner Kellogg had been a volunteer firefighter since 1870 and was named Seattle’s first fire chief.

Two years later, George Martin Mantor (1872-1954) would travel to Seattle with his brother Fred, and his British born mother from Baraboo, Wisconsin. George joined the Seattle Fire Department, the first step in his long career. His first place of residence in the city was a boarding house at 334 2nd Ave N (the site is now Chihuly Glass Gardens, part of Seattle Center).

Shortly after George arrived in Seattle, he met and married Caroline “Carrie” Adams Crosby. They had a son (their only child), George “Crosby” Mantor, who grew up to be a commercial photographer in Seattle. We don’t know very much about Carrie, but as was the convention in the early 1900s, she would have worked keeping a proper home and raising young Crosby. Of note, the census rosters list neighborhood occupations as a blacksmith, a builder, a painter, a telephone operator, and a chiropractor.

George was a born leader and rose through the ranks in the Seattle fire department, graduating from a ladder company to captain before 1910 at the age of 38. After serving in World War I at the age of 47, he returned home and was appointed chief of the Seattle Fire Department.

We believe the Mantor family lived in this beautiful home for over 40 years. 506 West Galer is waiting for the next owner. How will they continue the Seattle story?

Aug. 17, 2019

315 Hayes Street

This gracious craftsman residence is just as charming today as it was nearly a century ago. It hasn’t been on the market in nearly 40 years, which is truly a testament to the commitment and love the current owners feel for their home. Built in 1922, it is filled with memories from days gone by and stories from those who would help forge the Queen Anne community. We begin by telling the story of the two Seattle natives who first purchased this home new in 1922, Jean McFee Pritchard (1895-1983) and Frank Alfred Pritchard (1888-1975).

Jean McFee grew up on lower Queen Anne in a home located at 613 5th Ave North. She enjoyed the company of her 3 brothers and a young Norwegian woman named Bertha Derdel who lived with and worked

Frank Alfred Pritchard (1888-1975) grew up on the shores of Lake Washington on Pritchard Island. It was once a Duwamish Tribal village known as tleelh-chus or "Little Island", however in a dark era of history, indigenous peoples had been prohibited from living in Seattle after 1890; many were relocated to the Port Madison Reservation, and some remained in the city when pioneers invited them to live on land they had purchased. Alfred Pritchard purchased the island from the city in 1900 and worked with the Olmstead brothers to develop it. It truly was an island until the opening of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, which lowered the waterline of Lake Washington, thus making the island part of the mainland.

After graduating from Broadway High School (Seattle’s first official HS), Frank Pritchard attended the University of Washington and joined the same fraternity as the McFee brothers. They introduced Frank to their little sister Jean McFee (UW sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma). Frank found work after college in lithography sales at North Pacific Banknote Company, and the two were married in 1919. The couple purchased 315 Hayes Street in 1922. Of note, the deed to the home was in Jean’s name only. It was not unusual for a young woman to inherit or receive a gift of cash from her family of origin if they had the means. Because of marriage, common-law marriage, and inheritance laws, it was a way for families to ensure that a married woman’s inheritance became separate property, and that a woman could retain and bequeath such assets as she wished should her husband die first or if the marriage was dissolved.

Their sons, Frank Jr. (1920-2016) and Joel (1925-1997), loved growing up on Queen AnneJean McFee, Kappa Kappa Gamma, UW and forged many lifelong friendships. They attended elementary school and graduated from Queen Anne High School. In an interview, Joel Pritchard described his parents as caring, community minded people. He remembers his mother reading to them every day, taking them to the Queen Anne library on a weekly basis, and her volunteer work in the community. The couple loved to read,  play bridge, and entertain their family and friends from the University of Washington at their home. Both boys became fine readers, and Joel attributes this to his mother’s influence.  When he was young, she would sometimes start a book for him and provide a character sheet so he could keep track of everyone in the story. The Pritchards would live in this home until the early 1930s, when they moved to another home on Queen Anne Hill. Joel remembers the transition as difficult; he loved the Hayes Street home and his neighborhood friends.

In 1944 the country was at war, and young Joel, a born leader, joined the army and rose to sergeant. Upon returning home in 1946, he became president of the Griffin Envelope Company in Seattle, where he worked until 1971. Joel was a delegate to the Republican National Convention, a 6-term US Representative from Seattle and a 2-term Washington Lt. Governor. However, he considered his invention of the game “Pickle Ball” to be one of his greatest accomplishments. On a summer afternoon in 1965, Joel was at the family cabin on Bainbridge Island with his friends Bill Bell and Barney McCallum. The younger children were having trouble with a badminton game, so Joel lowered the net, gave them two paddleball rackets, and grabbed a plastic whiffle ball. Over the next few weeks Pritchard, Bell, and McCallum developed new rules and designed better paddles. The game was a hit, and, by 1990 had spread across the country.

This beautiful home, full of pleasant history and memories is ready and waiting for the next owner and the invention of a new game, perhaps analog or digital, that will take the country by storm.


Aug. 9, 2019

1806 8th Ave West

Quintessentially Seattle, the Casey home is a glorious 1904 craftsman perched above one of Seattle’s most famous and desirable streets. Judy and Terry Casey purchased the historic home nearly 40 years ago and raised their family on this coveted part of Queen Anne. The Casey family enjoyed being a part of the St. Anne Community, and Judy was very involved with the children’s school activities, volunteering whenever the opportunity arose. This home has seen many Casey family Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and birthday celebrations. Engagement parties, and the welcoming of grandchildren all happened within this beautiful home. Laughter and good cheer still echo through the house if you listen very carefully. 

While the Casey family made this their home for nearly 4 decades, another family lived here before them. When we walk through grand historic homes, we can only imagine what it must have been like to live in that bygone era. Who lived in this home? What did they do for a living? What brought them to Seattle? Thanks to accurately kept property records and census reports, we have a snapshot of the Gordon family who called 1806 8th Ave West home before the Casey family.

Two of the original owners were Frank and Mary Gordon. Frank was born in 1871 in Michigan, in the same year that the Chicago fire lead to the destruction of most of the city. Mary Bartholomew Gordon was born in England to British parents the very same year. Washington would not become a state for 18 more years and was still known as the Oregon Territory at the time of Mary’s birth. Mary came to America with her parents and met Frank in Seattle. They were married on May 22, 1912.

Frank worked as a lumber salesman, while Mary looked after their two daughters, Ethel and Frances. Both children graduated from Queen Anne High School. What we know about young Frances (born in 1913) is that she was an excellent student, involved in debate club, volleyball, French club, the stamp collecting club, science club, and the good cheer club.

When I asked Judy Casey what she liked best about her home, she replied “The home has so much history, and is full of warm feelings and memories.” The entire Casey family has walked through their family home and said their goodbyes. This very special home is waiting for the next family to continue their own Seattle story.

Posted in House History
Aug. 8, 2019

Top 10 Northwest Hikes

StevensPassHikeSummer is hiking season in the Pacific Northwest. The snow has melted in many areas, and even at higher elevations, the trails are accessible and well groomed. Take a break from your summer projects and take your family or friends out for a hike. Our team gathered together this list of favorites. The Washington Trails Association provides detailed information about each hike. This website is a gem, and made us experts! We were educated about the history of each trail, and the site has so much useful information like elevation gain, and roundtrip miles. Links are in place to help you learn more about each hike. Enjoy!

1) Gold Creek Pond – This is more of a walk than a hike, but perfect for toddlers and great-grandparents. Wheelchair accessible, this is a paved path meanders through trees and over a marsh. Enjoy watching beavers at work and bring a picnic. Just one mile once around the pond.

2) Heather Lake – After taking your kids on a few relatively easy flat trails, this hike is the real deal, complete with more elevation gain (1350), and rugged terrain. It's the just right hike for cutting your “hiking teeth.” While the trail is short, it is steep and somewhat challenging. Once you make it to the lake, you will be greeted with views of Mount Pilchuck. Perfect for your picnic lunch! Just 4.5 miles roundtrip.

3) Lake 22 – An oasis of old growth, rainforest, and wetlands located in the North Cascades. Wear appropriate footwear, as this can be a somewhat soggy hike with many creeks to cross during the melt. So, how did this hike get this funny name? It turns out that nineteenth-century railroad maps listed local creeks numerically; one particular creek and its source lake were assigned “22.” The name stuck, and in 1947 the 790-acre Lake Twenty Two Research Natural Area (RNA) was created. 5.4 miles roundtrip.

4) Denny Creek – Lovingly referred to as the “Slippery Slab” hike by a fellow team member, this hike is perfect for families, as the gentle grade leads you to a natural granite water slide. Dog friendly, and some of the nicest folks you will ever meet picnic at the slab. This hike is a 4th of July tradition for many families. 6 miles, roundtrip.

5) Lime Kiln Trail – This trail runs along what was once a railroad line, which makes it a relatively level hike with just an elevation gain of 625 feet. Named for the large kiln that still stands, where lime was once produced from the local limestone. The communities that were once along the trail are now gone, but if you look closely you can still find a few artifacts. A buddy of mine once found some great old broken dishes. 7 miles, roundtrip.

6) Lake Serene – One of the most popular hikes in the Pacific Northwest, for good reason! It is easy to get to, and the views at Bridal Veil Falls are incredible. Since this is an accessible popular hike, the parking lot can fill quickly. Our team considers this a weekday hike for a little more solitude and a spot in the parking lot. But again, hikers are some of the friendliest folks you will ever meet. 7.2 miles roundtrip.

7) Snow Lake – Touted as the most popular hike in the Pacific Northwest, we again consider this a weekday hike. If you make it all the way to the lake, you will be richly rewarded with views of Snow Lake and Roosevelt Peak. It is only 7.5 miles roundtrip, but if you want to turn it into a gentle hike for kids and grandparents, there is a perfect spot at the 1.75 mile point to enjoy the views, then turn around and go back.

8) Lake Annette – This nicely groomed trail meanders through waterfalls, meadows full of wildflowers, forests, and offers mountain views and an alpine lake. Plan ample time to enjoy the lake before you turn back. Better yet, hike in and stay at one of the well-maintained campsites. This hike crosses the famous Iron Horse Trail. At 8.2 miles roundtrip, this is a good candidate for an overnight.

9) Mailbox – A funny name for a great hike. There are two Mailbox hikes. The old trail is just over 4 miles long and challenging, as your elevation gain in that short distance is 4000 feet. Think mountain climbing. Challenging. A bit of danger. The new trail is 9.4 miles, and while it is still steep and challenging, there is a little less danger. Enjoy forests and meadows before you arrive at Mailbox Peak, where yes, there really is a mailbox, and other fun weird stuff people have hauled to the top. Like a fire hydrant.

10) Summerland Trail – Our list would not be complete without a hike near Mount Rainier. This 12 mile roundtrip hike begins in an old-growth forest, and opens up onto meadows full of wildflowers. The trail continues along the highest section of the Wonderland Trail to reach Panhandle Gap. Enjoy the whistle of marmots and the occasional mountain goat.

We made you a chart. Post it on your fridge and enjoy a hike!


Posted in Hikes
Aug. 2, 2019

5 Favorite Seattle Day Trips

All good things must come to an end. It might be the last month of summer, but that doesn’t mean the fun is over quite yet. If you are looking for some local activities, consider going on one of these great outings with friends, family, or out of town guests.

1) Boeing Factory Tour - Right in our own backyard is the world's largest aerospace company. The Boeing factory tour offers visitors a unique opportunity to watch how airplane assembly works. Tours include a brief history of Boeing, as guests watch 747, 777, and 787 jets assembled on the factory line. Tours are offered seven days a week, and we advise you purchase tickets before you drive up north as tours often sell out. Tours are approximately 90 minutes long, and they begin and end at the Future of Flight Aviation Center, 8415 Paine Field Blvd, Mukilteo.

2) West Seattle - Schmitz Park - Also known as Schmitz Preserve Park, who knew there were so many old growth trees in the city?! The 53.1 acre park was created from land donated to the city between 1908 and 1912, before the area had been completely logged. The largest parcel was donated by German immigrants Ferdinand and Emma Schmitz, after whom the park is named. There is no entry fee, and official park hours are 6:30a.m. to 10 p.m. The hike through the park is just 1.7 miles, perfect for all ages.

3) LeMay Car Museum in Tacoma – Don’t let the friendly rivalry we have with Tacoma keep you away from this gem! Named one of USA Today's 10 Best Museums in the Pacific Northwest, this is a destination for families, gear heads, or anyone who has an interest in automotive history. Just $18 for admission, the venue is stunning with four-levels and 165,000-sq.-ft. full of cars. There are 12 rotating exhibits, five annual “Signature Events” and an education center. Check out the website at for more information and special exhibits.

4) Leavenworth - This charming Bavarian style village is a great spot to visit, and if you are driving over in the fall, you will enjoy a feast of autumn colors as the leaves turn. Leavenworth is also home to more than 5,000 nutcrackers in the Nutcracker Museum. If nutcrackers aren’t really your thing, you can also take a hike in the surrounding Cascade Mountains. Take State Highway 520 east; exit onto I-405 north; take exit 23 toward U.S. 2 east/Wenatchee; take the Leavenworth exit.

5) Elliott Bay Book Company – Our family tradition included a trip to our local bookstore right before school started each year. Since the kids would have required reading throughout the year, we thought it was kind for them each to have something fun to read that they chose themselves. Elliott Bay Book Company may have moved across town, but it is still the same charming spot. Spend some time perusing the recent bestsellers, or perhaps pick up a history book that looks interesting; learning something new is always a good idea. Check their store hours and events before you set out, then be prepared to have time slip away. There is nothing quite like getting lost in a bookstore and a good book.

Posted in Boeing
June 6, 2019

How to Hire a Real Estate Agent

10 Questions You Should Ask (and the correct answers)

Buying and selling a home is an emotional time. Not only is your house most likely your greatest asset, but it is a place of gathering and memory making. Before listing your home with any agent or broker, here are some questions to help you navigate this process and hire the right agent/broker. Asking the right questions and knowing the correct answers gives you the power to make an informed decision. And making an informed decision now will save you valuable time and precious equity in the long run. You may be surprised by the responses you will get, and yes, it is a bit of work (and maybe even a little uncomfortable) to ask all these questions, but by doing so, you will be putting yourself in the best possible position to sell your home.

1. Are you a full-time broker?

By hiring someone who works as a broker full-time, you are assured of working with an experienced individual with deep connections in the community, not someone who dabbles in real estate when the market is hot. "If they haven't been in business five years or longer, they're learning on you and that's not good," says Robert Irwin, author of Tips & Traps When Buying a Home.

2. Do you work independently or do you have an assistant or team of specialists working for you?

It may come as a surprise to learn that the most successful brokers today assemble small teams to build a strong business. Since much of the work done by brokers is in the field away from the office, it is important to have a support team in place. Some team members specialize in contractual work, while others are home marketing specialists. Some brokers today work with internet specialists. This team approach means better service for clients and potential buyers, which means a faster sale of your home.

3. Do you have a specific Home Marketing Plan that will put my home in front of all prospective buyers and create demand for my home?

Ask perspective brokers how they plan on marketing your home. What channels will they be using to gain exposure? E-mail marketing? Print marketing? Will your home be featured on the broker’s website? How about local TV? In their newsletter to their clients? Are they currently working with clients right now who might me looking for a home like yours? Your broker should have systems in place to make this happen. Team Steve Kennedy has a 19 point strategic plan we follow closely to ensure we maximize your exposure in the marketplace.

4. Does your home marketing plan include extensive Internet exposure?

A joint study published in 2014 by The National Association of Realtors® and Google, found that 90% of all home buyers turned to the internet during their search. Make sure your perspective broker has a solid plan for online exposure. Team Steve Kennedy understands the importance of online exposure, and has a team member dedicated to digital marketing and the internet.

5. Do you have a real estate professional who is always available to answer questions about my home and show my home?

Ask your broker what their availability will be, especially if they work alone. Brokers who work with a team will be able to have someone available at all times for showings. While delegation is a good thing, ask to what extent your broker will be involved in the process. Your broker should be available for open houses, negotiation of price and terms, title, home inspections, and closing.

6. How often will I receive feedback from all the showings of my home? Do you have a system in place for this communication?

Setting expectations is critical when hiring an broker. Make sure there is a plan in place for communicating feedback about open houses and showings. Team Steve Kennedy follows up on Monday afternoon and Friday before going into the weekend. If there is anything urgent, we follow up immediately.

7. Do you have an aggressive plan for attracting buyers to my home?

Ask your perspective broker how they plan to attract buyers. Do they have a marketing plan? Team Steve Kennedy attracts buyers through internet marketing, a website, a weekly blog, email marketing, and a monthly published newsletter. Steve is also the guest expert on the KIRO Tom Kelly Real Estate Today Radio Show.

8. Do you have a processor who will work on my file and keep me updated until the close of escrow?

We have all heard tales of slow closings, and the domino effect that happens. Make certain your perspective broker has a processor and systems in place to prevent delays. Team Steve Kennedy understands the importance of timely transactions. Checks and balances are in place to keep all transactions on track.

9. Will you provide me with the names of at least three past clients?

Make sure you are working with a reputable broker who has great relationships with past clients. You may also want to ask how many repeat clients your perspective broker has. Hiring a broker multiple times is clearly the highest praise and a sign of excellence. And make sure to ask if clients are related to the broker.

10. How many homes have you sold in my neighborhood in the past 3 months? How about in the past 12 months?

The answer to this question will let you know what kind of track record your perspective broker has. A broker who is not familiar with your neighborhood, the market in your area, or the community at large may not be the best choice. A broker who specializes in a particular neighborhood or community has experience and expertise. Buyers have more confidence in brokers with deep ties to a community (Team Steve Kennedy has sold 63 in the Queen Anne/Magnolia area in the last 12 months, and 14 in the last 3 months).

March 9, 2019

40 Items to Toss This Weekend

“No more excuses. It’s March. The Olympics are over, the Oscars are over, and the New Year’s resolutions have long been abandoned. This weekend is the perfect time to toss stuff we don’t need, don’t use, and don’t love. The list is here. Print it, post it, and get busy!”

 -Your House 

GoodwillOverwhelmingly, our most popular post last year was our 30-day Clutter Challenge. The above intro sounds a bit harsh, but readers sent us notes that this was just the type of “tough love” they needed to get their homes and offices in shape. Let’s do it again.

A lot of “stuff” came into our homes over the last few months, but how much went out? Here is a new list assembled by our team. We hope you really will print it, post it, and get busy. We also hope you will laugh just a bit as you go down the list and learn that you are not in this alone. Just like you, we have Thomas the Tank Engine cake pans and 8 glass vases from various flower deliveries that could be of use to others.

It’s also a good weekend to focus on textiles. Old textile items have long been a tough call. It is estimated that 81 pounds of textiles are tossed per person in the U.S. each year. Several years ago, we heard that pillows and stuffed animals could no longer be donated to Goodwill, that they should go to landfills. As new technology has been developed to recycle textiles, those items can be taken to a Textile Recycling center. Click here for locations. Items once thought unusable (think old pillows, socks with holes, giant stuffed bears, and torn sheets) should be bagged and labeled “textiles”. According to SMART (Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles), approximately 95% of all used clothing and household textiles are reusable is some product. About 45% are recycled for apparel, 30% are used as industrial polishing cloths, and 20% are shredded and reprocessed into consumer goods such as carpet padding, home insulation, and automotive soundproofing. Rags and clothes that have been used with solvents or toxic chemicals are an exception and should be taken to your local hazardous waste facility (see the resources for Seattle locations and phone numbers).

What happens to old cords, chargers, and Christmas tree lights? It is tempting to place them in the trash, but these too should be donated; according to Goodwill, the copper can be stripped and recycled. And those old prescription glasses? They can be cleaned up and paired with someone who needs that prescription. There are organizations who check the prescription, label them, and get them to the folks who need just that correction. The same goes for shoes. Some folks have different sized feet, and some amputees only need one shoe ( And those spongey playground surfaces? Nike has a processing center that grinds up old athletic shoes to create soft playground surfaces. What other upcycling programs do you know about?


Please join us by taking time this weekend to declutter! Your house will thank you.

Posted in Minimalist
Nov. 20, 2018

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Cranberry SauceAs our team shared their favorite holiday recipes and memories, Kim Halvorson’s cranberry sauce story became one of our instant favorites. Kim is our Digital Marketing Specialist, and she was in college in Bellingham during the epic Thanksgiving Blizzard in 1985 that long-time Northwest residents still talk about. Over 17” of snow dumped on the region, making the drive home for Thanksgiving impossible for thousands of students and families. What could have been a very somber 4-day weekend turned into a lesson in cooking up in Bellingham. Kim’s cohort learned how to create family where they were, how to make a game of Monopoly last for half a week, and who was doing what in Business School.

A young woman who grew up on a cranberry farm taught Kim to make cranberry sauce from fresh fruit. “I had never really liked cranberry sauce,” said Kim. “I believed that it was a round gelatinous goo that came from a can accompanied by a great sucking sound. But my girlfriend insisted that sauce from fresh cranberries was delicious, and she taught me to make this. It is still our family’s favorite cranberry recipe!”


1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries, rinsed and drained
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange plus enough water to make 1 cup of liquid
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional, but delicious--especially when snowbound)


Combine sugar, liquid, orange zest and Grand Marnier in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and listening for all the cranberries to pop. Continue to stir until the sauce has thickened. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a serving dish and refrigerate until serving time.

Posted in Recipes
Nov. 18, 2018

Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can be quite a juggling act. In many houses, all four burners are in constant use—and this is also the day that even two ovens don’t feel like enough. The solution? Team member Melissa Klinnert created this make-ahead potato dish to feed the family (inspired by Ree Drummond). You whip them up the day before the big event, pour them into a crock pot insert, and then you place them in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, these potatoes can be reheated in the crock pot while everything else is cooking or easily transported after! They are delicious, too, and have become a family favorite.


5lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes (don’t substitute)
1 stick of butter
4 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
Milk, if needed, for thinning
3 shallots, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Olive oil


1. Peel or scrub potatoes (we like them with peels on) and chop into medium-small pieces.
2. Boil potatoes with a sprinkle of salt for about 15 minutes.
3. While potatoes are boiling, sauté shallots & garlic in olive oil until soft and slightly translucent. Place the shallots and garlic in the bottom of a crock pot insert.
4. When the potatoes are finished cooking, drain and return to the pan. Mash the potatoes then add butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and a bit of milk if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Pour mashed potatoes into crock pot insert, over the sautéed shallots and garlic. Serve hot, or cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
6. If making ahead, take the prepared mashed potatoes out of the refrigerator about 3.5 hours before serving time. Place the mashed potatoes in the crock-pot/slow cooker. Cover and heat on low setting for approximately 3 hours, stirring once or twice.
7. When ready to serve the mashed potatoes, stir, then add some additional dollops of butter on top.

Quick Tip: When Melissa was a little girl, her grandmother used Carnation Evaporated Milk for richer, creamier mashed potatoes (not to be confused with sweetened condensed milk).

Posted in Recipes
Sept. 14, 2018

Queen Anne 1926 Residence History

The charming home at 2610 – 1st Avenue North was built in 1926 by W. M. Wagner, a boutique builder who is known to have built several other lovely homes on Queen Anne Hill. But the real stories rest on the shoulders of the people who lived in the house and made it their home. These are the people who settled the hill and made history.

Our story begins with the first owners of this home, Lindsey Ray Adams (who went by L Ray) and his wife Portia. But how did L Ray make his way to Seattle?

L Ray was born in 1893 in rural Wisconsin to Charles and Hannah Adams, who emigrated to the United States from Ontario Canada. As many Midwesterners did, they made their way west in search of work. Stories of wealth and jobs in Seattle circulated, and with train travel available to everyone, many families packed up and came to our young city. The Adams family settled in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood to raise their family. Charles worked as a laborer, most likely building homes in the area, while his wife Hannah cared for the home and their three children, Maggie, L Ray, and Rupert.

After L Ray graduated from high school, he went to work as a clerk for the Sears and Roebuck Company in the mail-order freight division. In 1920, most Americans did a large percentage of their shopping from catalogs such as Sears, Wards, Eatons, and Spiegel (much like Amazon and the internet of today). The ever-connecting line of railways made shipping to growing cities economical. Even kits for homes were famously shipped from Sears catalogs all over the country.  L Ray met Portia Crawford sometime around this time, and they were married in 1921. They purchased this home brand new, and raised two children Phyllis and Richard, in this home.

Sears was growing fast and moving their mail-order business to a brick-and-mortar retailing model. By 1929, just five years after opening their first store, Sears had over three hundred stores around the country.  L Ray moved from working as a freight clerk to a position as a sales person in the Seattle store, and by 1930 he was the buyer for the women’s clothing department. It should be noted that neighbors living on the block list their occupations as Physician, Barber, Dressmaker, Civil Engineer, and Orthopedic Surgeon.


We don’t know very much about Portia, but we do know that she lived to be 95 and is buried with her husband at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery on Queen Anne. This wonderful home is waiting for the next family to continue the Seattle story.