By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Will the stone house join the Log House (Museum) under the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s wing?
SWSHS leaders tell WSB they are grateful that the new owners of the well-known little stone-covered house at 1123 Harbor Avenue SW have agreed to meet with them. They aren’t seeking to get in the way of whatever the new owners – who just bought the site and two adjacent lots last week – have planned. They just want to obtain the house itself and move it someplace new, potentially to use as an interpretive center.
We talked this afternoon outside the 90-year-old house with SWSHS president Kathy Blackwell and longtime local preservationist John Bennett.
They shared the letter they sent to the new owners, who, they say, subsequently agreed to a meeting next Monday.
You might not be aware of all the backstory behind the little stone-studded house across from Don Armeni Boat Ramp. To catch up, see this Seattle Post-Intelligencer story from 2002. Even then, the owner of the house – a member of the family who built it with scavenged materials – was in her 70s and told the newspaper that developers had been making them offers for at least 15 years.
SWSHS had talked to the family in the past, too, as the 2002 story alludes to. Bennett says the family had expressed interest in donating the little stone house if they ever sold the property, but nothing was in writing. So now they’re looking forward to talking with the new owners, Chainqui Development, whose expressed values indicate this should be in perfect alignment. No development proposal is on file yet for the site – which also includes the two parcels immediately west – but the new owners have obtained a permit for exterior work on the stone house, including its windows, some of which are already boarded up:
Where the house would be moved, SWSHS hasn’t determined yet, but the sale of the site has them determined to obtain it first, settle on a site later. Wherever it winds up, the goal would be for it to be accessible to the public. (This wouldn’t be the first [corrected] moved house in the SWSHS fold – its headquarters at 61st/Stevens, the Log House Museum, was originally the carriage house for the Alki Homestead a short distance north.)
“We have a real opportunity here to preserve part of the special story of West Seattle,” says Blackwell – the story of its mostly-gone beach cottages, via what’s unquestionably the most distinctive of those that remain.