Fire Department training at Upper Alki house with history

On 59th SW, south of Admiral Way and just a few blocks uphill from Alki Elementary/Playfield, you may notice smoke sometime in the next day or two: Don’t worry, the Fire Department is already there. They’re preparing this house for “test burns,” which is sometimes done when a house is slated for demolition (as is this one, with a new house to be built in its place). One side note, though – Both our tipster (John from the Rotary Club of West Seattle – thanks!), and the Fire Department folks at the scene, pointed out that this is a house once owned by the legendary Ivar Haglund (of clams, songs, and until this year, fireworks fame). The plat name there, in fact, is Haglund’s 2nd Addition (as various online histories note, the Haglund family once owned all of Alki Point). There’s a traffic note here, too:

Nearby resident Cathy Woo tells WSB neighbors have been told northbound 59th SW (the road is split by a median slope in that area, so 59th is really two one-way streets for a short stretch) will be closed Tuesday-Friday for “all but local residents” – it’s a popular route to Alki.

Online property records say this house was built exactly a century ago, in 1909. Ivar Haglund was born in 1905 and died in 1985.

12 Replies to "Fire Department training at Upper Alki house with history"

  • Ann April 27, 2009 (12:00 pm)

    Thanks for the info. I’ve always wondered about this house.

  • Barb Wuerth (Richey) April 27, 2009 (3:13 pm)

    This is sad, too many historical places disappear without anyone really being aware. I do not diagree with its destruction but it’s exsistence should be noted somewhere.

  • paul dorpat April 27, 2009 (4:27 pm)

    Dear West Seattle Blog,
    Ivar owned part of Alki Point after inheriting it with his father from his mother Daisy who was the youngest of the Hanson children. It was her father Hans and Knud Olson who purchased Alki Point – or most of it – from Doc Maynard in the late 1860s. After Daisy’s parents died she got a good portion of the Point but not all of it. She had several siblings. The home they are destroying soon was moved into sometime after Ivar’s birth in 1905 – I figure about two years. He lived in it well into the 1940s eventually giving it to his wife Margaret in an amicable divorce settlement. They remained friends for life. This was the home that hosted Woodie Guthrie, Pete Seeger in the early 1940s and many wonderful parties long before that and after on the large and sloping front lawn. It was a tradition that Ivar’s father began and Ivar and Maggie continued. Maggie? I knew Ivar and I can tell you he was very smart. Margaret may have been a little smarter. I continue to work on a magnus opus bio of Ivar. As you may suspect he’s a wonderful subject. I propose he was the greatest self-promoter in the history of the city – heck the region.

    Paul Dorpat

    (got leads? let me know please.)

    P.S. I applaud Ivar’s decision to give its resources directly to basic needs relief. The Ivar tradition is kept that way too. Ivar gave lots to needy charities, gifts you do not hear about unless you have access to Acres archives and/or the witnesses of the friends who knew him. There will always be spectacular fireworks in Seattle, and Ivar had a lot to seeing that this will be so. So when you see them exploding over Lake Union this coming 4th you may justly and sentimentally think of Ivar. I will.
    P.P.S. I hope someone takes video of the house burning. (I have a fine photo of the house from 1938 if you want to post it on the blog. Let me know.)

  • miws April 27, 2009 (4:53 pm)

    Thanks for your input Paul!


    Great to hear from such a wonderful Seattle Historian!



  • WSB April 27, 2009 (4:57 pm)

    Paul – Thank you SO MUCH for leaving the info here. I had messages out to some West Seattle-based history experts but should have thought to track you down.
    I am honored, as I admire your work so much. If you don’t see this first, I will e-mail you a request for that photo (which I’d run separately with a republish of your comment here!). We will be back tomorrow morning to check on the work’s progress … Tracy (WSB editor/co-publisher)

  • Lisa Powers April 27, 2009 (6:10 pm)

    I had the opportunity to view the home’s interior about 7 years ago when it was available for rent and to this day wished I had. I instead leased an apartment in a charming, 1920’s two- story brick building on Alki Beach next to Alki Auto Repair. Sadly, a condo will soon stand in its place.
    I always enjoyed walking up the hill to the Haglund house and would frequently stop to admire the funky, rustic style brick work on the porch before heading back to the beach.
    Sometimes I would linger, proudly retelling the story of the house to companions. The house had a “feeling” about it that beckoned me often. I live in Woodinville, now, but I trek to Alki to visit at least yearly and the Haglund house is never forgotten.
    Perhaps other readers more familiar with the home could fill in the missing memories, but as I recall, Haglund’s interior was also charmingly rustic. I remember funky, curved wood finish work in the large living area. While it was sorely in need of repairs at the time I had “discovered” it, I now feel a bit wistful to learn that like other older, decaying structures in the Alki neighborhoods, it, too, will be gone forever.


  • Diane April 27, 2009 (6:26 pm)

    Thanks Paul!!! I am such a huge Paul Dorpat fan, and this is why; wealth of information, and so generous to share with us.
    especially love hearing the history; look forward to your next book
    can hardly wait to see the 1938 photo; drove by there today; have often wondered where his house is located, so could not miss the opportunity to see it prior to fire; wow, was the brick layer a bit tipsy, or is that a result of just age/earthquakes, or was that actually considered a style of design?
    thanks Tracy for the alert; it’s so sad this house was not preserved long ago

  • cathy April 27, 2009 (6:48 pm)

    The story I heard from neighbors is that the interior of the house was designed and built by a maritime carpenter. Ivar wanted the inside of the house to resemble a ship’s cabin. I guess he wanted to feel as if he was inside a ship when he at home on the land. Having been inside the house also, I can tell you that that is how it felt. I checked the interior yesterday and all the intricate woodwork is gone.

    Someone said the owner of the property is saving it and intends to incorporate it into the new replacement house. I hope that is the case.

    Ivar’s reputation in the neighborhood is that he threw some really wild parties.

    The Fire Dept. told me they are not burning down the house. They are setting fires inside using wooden pallets and hay. Four fires a day for four days. The fires will last 10 minutes or less. Apparently the building’s owner felt that burning the house down completely would have too big an impact on the neighborhood. So he is going to demolish what is left of it after the Fire Dept. does its thing.

    I’d love to see a photo of the house “in its prime” as well. I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of it before they started to tear it down.

  • stephanie April 27, 2009 (6:57 pm)

    Every time I hear or see an old house go down it makes me sad. This one brings tears to my face. I wish we could reclaim the parts of this house so they could live on in a new home to make more beautiful memories.

  • jai April 28, 2009 (10:29 am)

    Thanks for sharing the fantastic stories/personal ties to the home. Sad indeed to lose a place with so much history.

  • fluorescent carl April 28, 2009 (11:19 am)

    Back in the 90’s I had a friend who lived there, we would make gumbo, drink beer, listen to seattle music and play with his ferrets… No Joke! This was a house that would resinate in your memory… Sad to see it go!

  • Dan\\\'a April 28, 2009 (3:39 pm)

    I pass this house everyday, and always think it looks like a Hobbit or Gnome home. I will be sad to see it go. I had no idea W.Guthrie stayed there! My husband didn’t either, and he is very into music & music trivia! It was a fun fact to learn! Thank you!

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