West Seattle development: 1 house down, 2 to go up

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
Thanks to Jana for the tip that this century-old waterfront house is being torn down today in the 4800 block of Beach Drive. We had noticed a for-sale sign some time back – then a sign suggesting the home, distinctive for its brick/stone exterior, could be bought and moved. Then, we noticed the bricks/stones being removed the other day. Now, the whole house is coming down. According to the DPD website, the site has been split into two parcels. Here’s the county’s photo of what the house used to look like:

The site has an online listing, too.

ADDED 2:30 PM: Jana just sent that photo – while we were there earlier (top photo) the crew was breaking for lunch, but they’re back in action and bringing down the rest of the house. Note that some of the masonry/stone was left on the south side, visible from this angle.

41 Replies to "West Seattle development: 1 house down, 2 to go up"

  • kw March 21, 2012 (2:41 pm)

    So sad to see this beautiful old house come down.

  • angel March 21, 2012 (3:05 pm)


  • sc March 21, 2012 (3:17 pm)

    According to King County records the house was built in 1910. In the county records if you click on the camera icon near the current picture you can see a picture of the house taken in the 1930’s for a WPA project.

    • WSB March 21, 2012 (3:22 pm)

      That’s why I called it “century-old,” figured that at 102 years you can round up a bit. Love the photos in county records; even our undistinguished hovel has a snap from the 1970s. You never know what you’ll find. – TR

  • zephyr March 21, 2012 (3:24 pm)

    So why didn’t they have someone like ReStore
    http://tinyurl.com/832kv55 take it down for them? Wouldn’t there have been old growth lumber in there? Yes, definitely a shame.
    I just drove by there after checking out the work being done at Me Kwa Mooks park this afternoon. I was unpleasantly surprised to see the last of the demolition going on. I thought someone would be moving that house to another location. Sorry to see it go. ~z

  • Gina March 21, 2012 (3:26 pm)

    Board siding under the tarpaper?

  • Jana March 21, 2012 (3:53 pm)

    Old beautiful house, so sad to see it go. I used to pick Mary Jane’s roses and sell them back to her and the rest of the neighbors. Then I’d roller-skate to the mini-mart (that is now called Cormorant Cove) and buy popsicles and sour ropes… She finally called me on it, being the kind soul that she was and told me to ask next time and she would gladly give them to me, just not to sell. heehee. ;)

  • pam March 21, 2012 (4:03 pm)

    Makes me sad…. progress I guess???

  • allison March 21, 2012 (4:20 pm)

    This is my parents home. They did have a “re-store” type operation come through and take everything they wanted (old doors, fixtures, etc.). They tried to have it barged or moved away, but the one prospect didn’t have enough room on her land. Also the stone made the house very heavy to relocate. It is a shame and the house will be missed!

  • resident3 March 21, 2012 (4:31 pm)

    This looks wasteful. Even i could have reused some of those windows. Did they salavage any plants??

  • marianne March 21, 2012 (4:38 pm)

    Sad to see the old house go.

  • norsk girl March 21, 2012 (4:53 pm)

    I hope recycling of anything (!) was considered and conducted. Otherwise seems such a waste. Waste. And more Waste.

    • WSB March 21, 2012 (5:27 pm)

      Please note that we’ve been out for an hour or so and Allison’s comment about salvage efforts was in the moderation queue, so the commenters AFTER her had NOT seen it when they brought up the issue again – TR

  • likes54 March 21, 2012 (5:35 pm)

    Remember the movie “Wall Street” where the Michael Douglas charactor said, “greed is good”?
    In this case, not so good. Another piece of West Seattle history gone.

  • Rhonda Porter March 21, 2012 (6:09 pm)

    It’s too bad there’s not something posted for the neighborhood or even greater Seattle area to give notice the home is going to be torn down – even after the salvage company went through, I bet there’s stuff many would have appreciated.

    • WSB March 21, 2012 (6:26 pm)

      We used to be pretty good about preview stories on demolitions, but then the market went south and there just haven’t been that many lately. Will have to get back on the horse – since there otherwise isn’t any other early-warning system, unless the demolition is related to a project so big that there’s a land-use permit etc. required …

  • Sophista-tiki March 21, 2012 (6:30 pm)

    What a shame and a waste. Like we really need another generic new construction problem erasing all traces of character. Way to go greedy ass Seattle real estate development. GROSS!

  • Rhonda Porter March 21, 2012 (6:32 pm)

    tear downs on Beach Dr seem to be constant… it’s too bad… pretty soon it won’t have much historic character left IMO.

  • Carol March 21, 2012 (7:50 pm)

    I am the owner of the house and feel as much sadness (or more) as many of you about losing such a piece of our lives. As my daughter mentioned, we did try to have someone move the house and when that did not work out Second Use came in and removed much of the house components for re use or re sale. The stone siding was a 50’s “improvement” and was unfortunately backed with asbestos siding. So that was a major barrier to moving it. That is why the siding was removed first. The house needed soooo much work, was not at all energy efficient, and at our ages we just could not afford to take out a several hundred thousand dollar mortgage to fix it. So dividing the lot enables us to stay in the neighborhood we love. Not really a greedy ass real estate development project, just a aging west seattle couple wanting to stay in their neighborhood. Hope this clairifys some details for your readers.

    • WSB March 21, 2012 (8:05 pm)

      Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to comments, Carol. Interesting detail about the siding, too. – TR

  • Joel March 21, 2012 (8:47 pm)

    good for the economy. adds jobs on the rebuilding and lots of tax money for permits, fees, sales tax etc. it’s their land and as long as zoning allows the work that’s life. sell the second home and lots more fees and taxes and money to real estate agents, attorneys etc.

    no if only tent city land was zoned for long term recreational camping….

  • Lura Ercolano March 21, 2012 (10:02 pm)

    I think it is exciting that the owners who love living there have found a way to finance continuing to live in this great neighborhood.

    For all of the people complaining about the situation, the signs have been up for a very long time. Maybe a year? First announcing that the lot was being divided, and then offering the home to be moved. Common sense said that was unlikely, so of course it would come down.

  • Mike March 21, 2012 (10:10 pm)

    Sounds like Carol and family had to make a difficult decision but as stated, the cost to restore would have been extensive. I think it’s great they actually had some salvage / recycling folks come in and get parts they could reuse. Less in the landfill and will go to good use for another home.

  • JW March 21, 2012 (10:13 pm)

    It’s too bad that Carol had to post to defend herself to such judgemental fellow West Seattleites. As I was reading the comments, I was thinking this was likely an older couple no longer able to, or able to afford to maintain their home. I’m sure there are many others in similar circumstances. It couldn’t have been an easy decision. Carol, happy to know you’ll be able to stay in a place you love. Way to take lemons and make lemonade!

  • steve March 21, 2012 (10:14 pm)

    Yes Carol, thank you for posting. I wish you the best in the creation of your new home. As for the blog, it’s so predictable. Whenever housing development is discussed on this site most postings are negative (greedy developers, waste, etc). It’s ironic as every one of those posters live somewhere that was “developed” by someone. Developing housing is a business, a major undertaking, and not an easy one.

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man March 22, 2012 (12:00 am)

    Well stated Carol!! Sorry you had to lose the original home, but glad you get to stay put otherwise. And sorry you had to listen to the meddlers. I assume not one of them pays your mortgage, taxes, medical or other living expenses. None. Of. Their. Business. And I applaud your effort to recycle all you could. Enjoy your new digs–I’m sure both new buildings will be lovely.

  • Westseattleperson March 22, 2012 (7:02 am)

    Good luck Carol. Old homes are wonderful, but even our 60 yr old house is very expensive to maintain, I can just imagine what another 40 years does to a house! More often than not I’m guessing sustaining old houses like this just isnt financially feasible unless you have unlimited time and money.

  • TMW March 22, 2012 (8:53 am)

    I’m not sure that getting 100 years use out of a home isn’t about right for expectations. Not every old home is worth saving.

    I think what makes most people cringe are when the cookie cutter townhomes get thrown up instantly using cheap materials imported from China including plumbing and drywall. New construction ain’t what it used to be. Hopefully something that is quality and tasteful and built to last another 100 years will be put in its place. I expect however that with the current construction standards that something only built to last perhaps 40 years will be going in.

  • cr March 22, 2012 (11:58 am)

    But why is it anyone else’s business what a person does with their own property?

  • sgs March 22, 2012 (1:16 pm)

    cr, you are right that “private” means just that, but the general welfare of the community is of interest to all who live there. This is not a comment on the current tear down situation, just a response to your comment. If my neighbor was thinking about topping her trees, for example, I’d hope to try to change her mind. There might be a regulation against topping trees already………….

  • cr March 22, 2012 (2:33 pm)

    So impinge on the homeowners personal happiness for yours. I see.

  • Lura Ercolano March 22, 2012 (4:30 pm)

    But to some degree, this property certainly HAS been recognized as everyone else’s business, within certain bounds. Sheesh – that’s why there was a gigantic public notice sign for ages announcing that the lot was being split, and allowing the public to submit ANY concerns about that.
    I think it is a great project, and is well with normal property uses that benefit the neighborhood. That’s not at all the same as saying anything goes on any private property issue.

  • ~~HockeyWitch~~ March 22, 2012 (9:38 pm)

    I LOVE how all the negative posts in the begining ALL STOPPED after Carol posted her side of the storey as to the homes demise. Judgemental people need to think before they speak. You all did not know what was going on and jumped to conclusions…. tsk tsk. Sorry you had to make such a decision… but glad that it was one you could work with to stay in the neighborhood where you wanted to live. Good luck with the new home.

  • Rhonda Porter March 22, 2012 (10:35 pm)

    It is nice to hear the owners side of the story – I don’t judge her or anyone for tearing down a home… I do personally prefer most older homes to many of the larger ones or other buildings that are built in their place. It’s just my personal preference.

  • Yardvark March 23, 2012 (12:54 am)

    Sometimes homes just have to come down. Hopefully, someday soon, though, brutal demolition will be a thing of the past.
    So glad to hear that the homeowners were smart enough to have Second Use come through to salvage what they could. But what we really need are more deconstruction companies who can take a home like this – full of old growth, quality lumber – and pull it apart bit by bit so we don’t loose any of these irreplaceable supplies.
    It’s an economically challenging trade at the moment, but supply costs are skyrocketing. Demolition will soon be a thing of the past.
    In the meantime, thank you to the howeowners for salvaging all they could!

  • Cls March 23, 2012 (8:42 am)

    Regardless the reason…it’s so sad to see what is happening to all of the old homes in West Seattle. We don’t need/want any more new “modern mid century” looking homes popping up in our neighborhood.

  • cr March 23, 2012 (12:45 pm)

    We are glad you speak for all of us Cls

  • Nearby Resident March 23, 2012 (2:05 pm)

    I love the older homes, myself. I have one in the area on quite a chunk of land. Fortunately, I’ve been able to do all the repairs it required to keep it as is. Over a quarter of a million, with plumbing, pin piling, replacement of foundations, etc. Basically a step by step restoration/rebuild and it’s not even done yet. Not everyone can do that. Especially older folks on a fixed income. Let’s not be too quick to judge people doing what they need to do to stay in a place they love, and instead try to tackle the building regulations that let shoddy, tacky new homes go up instead? On a positive note, I am just so very glad it is only 2 homes and not another 10 condos going on the land and am glad people who love the area so much get to stay.

  • Claudia March 23, 2012 (6:24 pm)

    I grew up directly across the street from that beautiful home. So sad for everyone. Especially for the couple who purchase my family homestead. No more view for them. Oh, well. Still a fabulous neighborhood to be in.

  • sc March 23, 2012 (7:07 pm)

    Thanks for the link to the salvage company who will come and reclaim wood and fixtures from old houses. I just sent the info to a neighbor who will be having some demo work and then remodeling done on her house. Reuse of building materials and less into landfill is always goodness.

  • alkileo March 23, 2012 (9:12 pm)

    My hat is off to you Carol for what you have under taken. I’m sure this was not an easy decision for you and your family, but trust me when I say it will be worth it. My partner and I lived in our old home for 25 years and after going through our own version of the Tom Hanks/Shelly Long movie “The Money Pit” we realized that the best thing to do was start from scratch. Our old house had no solid foundation, and was patched together in phases (starting in 1913). The layout was awful and the insulation nonexistant. We live in an area of Alki where many of the homes were only “summer cottages” so they weren’t that well built (mostly from scrap). Once our new house was completed (we brought in a modular) we felt the best compliment we could receive was that people thought the new house looked like it had always been here. We knew we loved the neighborhood. We actually know all our neighbors. And we knew that if we sold our old house it would be torn down and replaced – the value was in the land. So we took the project on ourselves and could not be happier with the outcome. Like you, we tried to salvage as much as possible (we were even able to incorporate some of the old wainscotting from the old house into the new). When it’s all done you will be very happy and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Enjoy your journey and don’t listen to those who don’t know the whole story.

Sorry, comment time is over.