Next West Seattle landmark? Admiral’s “Bloss House” nominated

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society sent word today that a 95-year-old Craftsman in the Admiral District known as the “Bloss House” has been nominated for city landmark status, and a hearing is 2 1/2 weeks away. Above, the house (4055 SW Holgate) as photographed by the King County Assessor’s Office in 1938, and below, 2010 (in a photo by Historic Seattle, which made the nomination):

Log House Museum director Andrea Mercado explains, “The Bloss House is unusual in that it is an early West Seattle craftsman with almost all original era styling inside and out.” According to the nomination document, its living room is “unaltered,” with features including leaded glass and unpainted mahogany, among the home’s many other distinctive features inside and outside, and its owner is only the third since it was built in 1915 – artist Ruth Ward has lived in the house since buying it in 1971. In addition to reading the nomination document, you can also look at its supporting photos and graphics in this document. The hearing is set for 3:30 pm April 21st, before the city Landmark Preservation Board, which meets at the Municipal Tower downtown; if you are interested in commenting on the nomination and can’t go to the hearing, you can e-mail your thoughts to (The list of city landmarks in West Seattle gained two additions last year – the Seaview Building at The Kenney [WSB coverage here] and The Sanctuary at Admiral, formerly Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist [WSB coverage here].)

15 Replies to "Next West Seattle landmark? Admiral's "Bloss House" nominated"

  • Rod Nelson April 3, 2010 (5:32 pm)

    Absolutely amazing!

  • miws April 3, 2010 (10:27 pm)

    How cool! I hope it gets the landmark status.


    I just wish Ivar’s old house could have been saved. Not only because of its coolness factor, but becuase of Ivar Haglund’s history and impact on Seattle.



  • LS April 3, 2010 (11:10 pm)

    Thanks for including the detailed documents! Really fascinating.

    It was a shame to see Ivar’s old house get torched. I still don’t get that one.

    There was so much history in that house…

  • loves old houses April 4, 2010 (12:18 am)

    I’m curious to know what constitutes a house to be designated historically important. I live in a 99 year old house on Charlestown Street that is original from the floors to the unpainted woodwork in the livingroom, dining room, and entry (with a pocket door). Should we be contacting someone to get a historical status for our home? Who do we talk to?

    • WSB April 4, 2010 (12:20 am)

      I would suggest Historic Seattle, which is linked in the story – TR

  • alki_2008 April 4, 2010 (2:50 am)

    Curious, what’s the benefit of getting historical status for a home? Is it just for the title, or is there a tangible benefit?
    I could see the effort if there’s a tax credit/deduction or something, but I could see it as a detriment if the designation restricted future remodeling.

  • Gini Johnhson April 4, 2010 (3:19 am)

    I met Ruth Ward several years ago when I owned “My Friends Coffeehouse”. Ruth and I realized right away that we had a lot in common with our love of all things OLD! Sarah and I have been to Ruth’s ‘jewel’ of a home. It is a wonderful example of the craftsmanship of our past. Pride of workmanship is apparent as you tour her home. I absolutely love it! It is a must for the ‘nomination document’.

  • Gini Johnhson April 4, 2010 (3:28 am)

    Does anyone reading this know of someone with a craftsman bungalow ‘original’ home in West Seattle who wants to sell it? I have a client that wants to purchase one in it’s original condition.

  • Babs April 4, 2010 (7:32 am)

    The supporting photos contain vintage photos of Alki. Amazing. This home reaks charm and dead on Craftsmen style. I owned a Craftsman on the historical registrar in Olympia in which one owner was there for 50 years. The process is long to get the status but so worth it. Home value goes up, the history is recorded, my home got a plaque displayed in front and most important you cannot change much in or out without board approval. BUT remember your protecting a gem from the past. Loved this post, gave me insight on the Seattle historical process. This is one quiet understated beauty of that era.

  • Mags April 4, 2010 (8:13 am)

    The supporting photos are amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  • old timer April 4, 2010 (12:36 pm)

    Yes, the photos are always interesting.
    There is one, of what is probably Admiral Way, with the ferry in the background at the bottom of the hill. On the right, a woman in white is walking. On her way to the ferry?
    I don’t know, but that same road that now is the source of arguments about a 30 or 35mph speed limit, and is the source of serious accidents, was once walked, regularly, by the people who lived up on top.
    I think the folks who built this country were made of different stuff.
    I wonder what they would have to say about our current ways of living.

  • miws April 4, 2010 (2:26 pm)

    old timer, if it’s the pic I’m thinking of, that is California Way, down below Hamilton Viewpoint, and the ferry is in the general are of what is now Seacrest.


    Such interesting documentation, and wonderful pics! Kudos to Mrs. Ward for keeping the place in such good condition.


    The original siding. Look around West Seattle, (or anyplace for that matter) and see all of the condos and apartments that have been built from the ’80’s or ’90’s and on, that have had to have their siding replaced. Some in as little as three years.


    You just don’t see that level of quality in either the construction, or design anymore.



  • LiouxLioux April 4, 2010 (3:26 pm)

    Today’s workmanship and materials simply can not match those of 75 years ago (and beyond). My 1915 farmhouse was built by poor folks using wood from fish crates among other materials, but back then the average person had skills AND pride in their work. Plus fish crates are what happened to the nice old growth timber.
    So even though the 1937 assessors report gave my house only 15 years of future life, I’m certain it’ll outlast alot of the 80’s skinnys, 90’s snout-houses and 00’s cluster-f* town houses.

  • alki_2008 April 4, 2010 (8:00 pm)

    @Gini – how big of a house is your client looking for?

  • Michael Stusser April 20, 2010 (9:40 pm)

    Thought I’d post the letter I wrote on behalf of Ruth Ward’s historic nomination. The hearing takes place tomorrow…

    Good day. I wanted to write a note in full support of Ruth Ward’s Bloss House gaining city landmark status. I live three doors down on Walnut Avenue, and the home brings class and a sense of timelessness to our neighborhood. Ms. Ward has kept the beautiful and unique house in perfect condition – inside and out – and it’s a rare example of the Craftsman style from that era. The mahogany throughout and fabulous leaded windows add to its charm and originality. (My own home was built in 1919, but over the years, has been stuccoed, expanded, altered and forever changed by a number of unthinking owners and myself – who, though well-intentioned, had to work with the prior and permanent changes, but have tried through three remodels of my own to bring it back to a more classic sense of style and woodwork.)

    Ruth has been a great friend over the 15 years I’ve known her, and, in addition to radical leftist politics and starving artistry, we share a few other ideals: educating the masses on great workmanship (and the wonderful efforts of organizations like Historic Seattle), keeping ancient values and traditions alive in the modern era, and maintaining a classic look and feel for our villages in the midst of bad condos, overdevelopment and pre-fab housing.

    Please recognize the ongoing efforts of Ms. Ward and her wonderful home by making the Bloss House a historic site, and keeping her memory – and the Craftsman architecture – alive in all of us.

    Thanks for your time and consideration.
    Michael A. Stusser

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