Impeachment-inquiry witness Gordon Sondland’s West Seattle link

When today’s impeachment-inquiry witness Gordon Sondland, a Northwest hotelier who is current US Ambassador to the European Union, first hit the spotlight in October, a Seattle Times story noted that Sondland’s parents were longtime operators of a dry cleaners in West Seattle. We did some looking around for more on that but he faded from the foreground for a while and we shelved the research. But Sondland’s appearance has renewed interest, and several readers asked us about the location of his parents’ cleaning business. Multiple references, including his mother Frieda Sondland‘s obituary, say it was called Fauntleroy Cleaners. There’s no current business with that name; we found an archived March 1962 newspaper ad (bottom of that image) for Fauntleroy Cleaners, listing its address as 4509 Wildwood Place, the brick building in the heart of Fauntleroy’s Endolyne business district. Another archived newspaper page from earlier that year, however, showed a different name for that cleaners. The obituary for Sondland’s father Gunther Sondland says they operated the cleaners for almost 30 years. We can’t find anything mentioning whether the family lived in WS for any of that time; Gordon Sondland graduated from Mercer Island High School in 1975.

11 Replies to "Impeachment-inquiry witness Gordon Sondland's West Seattle link"

  • West Seattle Lurker Also Lurks On Mercer Island November 21, 2019 (7:18 am)

    Sondland is a Mercer Island native. He bears a striking resemblance to someone I’ve seen at Mioposto Pizza on Mercer island countless times, so I’m pretty sure he still visits the area. 

  • Judy Pickens November 21, 2019 (7:35 am)

    Frieda Sondland was a wonderful woman and quite the seamstress.  She monitored the world from her seat at the sewing machine in the window of the dry cleaners.  Seems she raised a son with integrity in his veins. 

    • Will S. November 21, 2019 (9:15 am)

      If Gordon Sondland had integrity, he wouldn’t have needed to revise the untruthful testimony he gave in his deposition, and he wouldn’t have waited until yesterday to acknowledge the president’s attempted extortion. As Rep. Sean Maloney told him yesterday: “all due respect, sir, we appreciate your candor, but let’s be really clear on what it took to get it out of you.”
      On a different note, thanks as always to this blog for digging into our rich history.

  • Casey Blake November 21, 2019 (9:48 am)

    Frieda Sondland was a benefactor of the Frye Museum, and visited it daily.  In honor of that, they named their cafe after her.  Here’s a recent post from sister block, Capitol Hill, about Frieda, including their West Seattle connections, and Gordon Sondland.

    • WSB November 21, 2019 (10:13 am)

      Hi, thanks, unfortunately the only WS mention in Justin’s post is the same obituary we linked. Certainly for anyone interested, there’s a lot more info about Frieda Sondland online – I found an interview from an oral history project, for example. I tried many other types of searches (including wills and property records!) in hopes of coming up with a bit more about their business, but didn’t find anything further. Apparently they ran the cleaners until retiring in their 70s, which was probably sometime in the ’90s – TR

  • Nancy R. November 21, 2019 (9:54 am)

    Gordon Sondland developed “integrity” after being shown the jailhouse door.    Thank you though for the research and comments on this interesting local connection.

    • Bill L. November 21, 2019 (11:11 am)

       I agree. He was lying through his teeth during the entire ordeal. Witness that he was smiling and grinning even as he spoke——-A dead giveaway.

  • John November 21, 2019 (9:59 am)

    If I recall correctly, the Fauntleroy Station at 4505 Wildwood Place was our first library.  I remember my first library experiences there.  It became the Southwest Branch when it moved to its current location on 35th Ave SW.  I believe the dry cleaners moved into the Fauntleroy Station space when the Southwest Branch moved in 1961.  Noted Fauntleroy resident and architect Frank Durham designed the original Southwest Branch to much acclaim.  My  early experiences in these libraries remain strong wonderful memories.  Thanks for re-igniting these.

  • TJ November 21, 2019 (11:07 am)

    I know nothing about Sondland and his integrity, but a wake up call is needed for people that think there are many politicians out there with integrity. Starting at the White House all the way down to here locally to our council members who are engaged in a game to see who is more woke. That is why you can guarantee a year from now Trump will not have been impeached. But a cool story regarding the cleaner here, and I enjoyed looking through the old West Seattle Herald link. Growing up playing sports here in West Seattle I always loved the sports section of the Herald in the early to mid 80’s, which was over 4 pages, covering everything from high schools down to Pee Wee baseball 

  • Constance Wood November 24, 2019 (9:47 pm)

    On page 8 of that same link to the WS Hearld, March 15, 1962, there shows a picture of Fauntleroy Cleaners.  It states under the picture that the manager is Shirley Arnaud.

    • WSB November 24, 2019 (10:18 pm)

      Good catch! Imagine that, a balloon release to give away tickets for the World’s Fair. What an interesting time that must have been.

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