Followup: Closer look at old ‘orchard house’ on Puget Ridge

(Click image for larger view)
Tonight, another look at an old Puget Ridge farmhouse that apparently sparked a fair amount of curiosity and imagination last weekend, after we published a photo Mike Gerber took during the St. Patrick’s Day snow showers. He sent three more photos this weekend and explained:

A surprising number of people asked for some additional information on the old house in the photo you ran last Saturday. Here’s a better angle of it. As for it being the oldest orchard house in Seattle, there’s very little in the historical record about this particular section of West Seattle and so it’s difficult to date it.

The area was covered in enormous old growth forest prior to the 1870’s, and the very valuable and spectacular trees were cut and turned into a hodgepodge of small farms and orchards and over the next 20 years. The construction is consistent with that era and it would seem logical that the trees growing closest to Elliott Bay would be the first to go.

I also met a wonderful and very credible old guy a number of years ago who had lived next to the orchard at one time. He said the house had been built in the 1880s, but that it had been vacant since the Depression.

During the construction of our home we came across four piles of very old lumber that turned out to be the collapsed remnants of small shacks, probably where orchard workers once lived. Under one of them we found two perfectly persevered ‘skat’ playing cards that were made in Germany in the early 1900s, where many of the workers came from.

Skat is considered the national game there and is played everywhere.

It would be interesting to know if any other readers have anything to add to the history of this relatively little-known area.

The location is described in the comment section following last weekend’s story.

14 Replies to "Followup: Closer look at old 'orchard house' on Puget Ridge"

  • Jennifer March 26, 2012 (7:58 am)

    Thank you for the wonderful local history. I LOVE stuff like this. I may just have to go for a walk and see it myself!

    • WSB March 26, 2012 (8:08 am)

      We love “stuff like this” too and appreciate Mike sharing the followup! Anybody else who happens into local history, whether it’s something found in an attic, uncovered during a remodeling project, or who knows what … there’s usually a story, big or small ( – TR

  • raincity March 26, 2012 (8:30 am)

    Thank you for taking the time to share!

  • km March 26, 2012 (9:28 am)

    Wow that’s an awesome story and such a cool looking house too.

  • W March 26, 2012 (9:56 am)

    Seriously I’m ready to move in!!! Love the yard.

  • A March 26, 2012 (10:56 am)

    We’ve found some neat things in our garage/attic. House on 31st was built in the early 50’s and there are a handful of items that look to be original, left by chance. Example, an old bamboo fishing pole was sitting up in the rafters. There’s a small carved wood bird attached to a string to turn on an overhead light. Little things that make me wonder about the original owners and what ever happened to them, or whether they’re still around. :)

  • Kayleigh March 26, 2012 (11:52 am)

    Love seeing bits of West Seattle history! Thank you.

  • Bob March 26, 2012 (12:45 pm)

    What an interesting story. I also looked at the blog about the new house next door and think the builder deserves a lot of credit for respecting the
    historical and natural qualities of this special little part of West Seattle.

  • EmmyJane March 26, 2012 (1:52 pm)

    Very cool, thanks for sharing. Is there any way to buy some of the wood for the fallen buildings, if it’s in good shape? I’d love to see it to possible make a coffee table.

  • Westside J. March 26, 2012 (2:14 pm)

    I hope this place exists forever.

  • Mike March 26, 2012 (3:20 pm)

    Emmy Jane – Unfortunately the wood was completely rotten and falling apart, so we weren’t able to recycle any of it. I have no idea how the two playing cards survived. They were poking out of the fresh dirt after the last pile was cleared.

  • Talaki34 March 26, 2012 (6:14 pm)

    Thanks Mike for sharing the history and photos!

    May we caption this picture “Come sit a spell?” This looks like the perfect spot to read a book, share some iced tea and lemonade with friends or take a long relaxing nap. I just love it!

    Please excuse me while I take a moment to dig out my nappin blanket. :)

  • carlton March 27, 2012 (4:56 pm)

    perfect for a homeless dude.

  • Karen (Old Desolate) March 28, 2012 (4:34 pm)

    We found the homestead/house today (March 28)but it appears to be in someone’s yard. We didn’t feel like intruding as we weren’t sure it was OK to get closer to the old homestead or not. It’s probably too late to get my question answered but does the property owner allow visitors onto the property for a closer view?

Sorry, comment time is over.