West Seattle, Washington
We told you last week about the first testimony in the hearing about whether the owner of the Satterlee House, aka the “Painted Lady” of Beach Drive, can build three houses on its expansive front lawn. Since the property is a city landmark, the Landmarks Board had to grant a Certificate of Approval – but last December said no, and this hearing is about the property owner’s appeal of that ruling. Last week’s testimony involved the previous owner of the property, David Satterlee. Today, both sides are presenting the bulk of their case, with time scheduled on Thursday for continuation. The major witness so far this morning has been the staffer for the Landmarks Board, who revealed one reason this is significant beyond West Seattle:Read More
It wasn’t criminal court, but at times it felt almost that contentious — with occasional interjections of OBJECTION! — as the city Hearing Examiner heard the first witness today in the fight over whether homebuilding will be allowed on the expansive front lawn of Beach Drive’s “Painted Lady.” The home — an official city landmark — is also known as the Satterlee House, and its former owner David Satterlee was the first witness to testify, several days before lawyers on both sides will present the bulk of their cases. We went to the Hearing Examiner’s windowless room on the 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown to see how this would unfold:Read More
That’s yet another new sign on the big lawn in front of the “Painted Lady,” aka Satterlee House (inset right), in the 4800 block of Beach Drive, this time for Ewing and Clark, at least the third time it’s switched listing agents since we started watching it a year and a half ago. Current price, $2.2 million. As we reported earlier this month, the proposal to build three houses on that lawn is going before the city Hearing Examiner in a few weeks; the Landmarks Preservation Board has a say because the Satterlee House is an official landmark, and its ruling is what’s being appealed. One more Beach Drive real-estate note: The fourplex at 4131 Beach Drive is up for sale, $3,050,000, and the listing says it’s in the process of condo conversion. And regarding real-estate in general – it’s been reported that prices are falling more slowly in Seattle than the rest of the country; if you want to track West Seattle real estate, WS realtor (and WSB sponsor) Bill Barna is now offering a regularly e-mailed “market tracker” report. Click here to e-mail Bill for the Market Tracker; or you can see a sample version here. (He also has an automated “new listings e-mail” service that we find useful to monitor for local listings which might be worth noting here.)
Tonight at South Seattle Community College (in West Seattle), the Japanese American Citizens League of Seattle and SSCC presented a program for the Japanese American Day of Remembrance — commemorating the internment order signed February 19, 1942. As the years go by, we have fewer survivors left to tell the story firsthand; one of them, 81-year-old Sam Mitsui, spoke last night about having been interned, and having served as one of the celebrated, decorated WWII Nisei fighters:
Sam is not only a veteran and internment-camp survivor, but also a UW graduate and Boeing retiree. Though he doesn’t live in West Seattle, SSCC tells WSB he had local ties, teaching martial arts at the West Seattle YMCA in the ’60s and ’70s. Also featured at tonight’s event was Suma Kato Yagi; she was a high-school freshman when her family was ordered to leave Seattle. Suma and Sam were among more than 13,000 Seattle-area residents of Japanese descent who were ordered to the internment camps.
(photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli)
First time we’d ever gone to a city Landmarks Preservation Board meeting. Had no idea it would take four hours for them to get to 3811 California (aka Charlestown Court). Four fascinating hours, though, considering the first three were mostly devoted to the Ballard Denny’s nomination (as you may have read elsewhere, perhaps at our hyperlocal counterparts MyBallard.com, it was approved, shocking many members of the capacity crowd). Once all the dust settled from that, and the capacity crowd cleared (before/after photos coming up), it was time for the West Seattle presentation (most of which you can read here), which was interrupted briefly so everyone could view the lunar eclipse through the meeting room’s huge windows (south-facing, 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown). Anyway, we’ll add more detail shortly, but the headline – Landmarks Board members voted in favor of city staff’s recommendation to consider the exterior of Charlestown Court for potential landmark status. Next step in the process – a public hearing April 2. ADDED 10:10 PM: Here are the details from tonight’s vote —Read More
This afternoon, the city Landmarks Board considers 3811 California, aka Charlestown Court (historic King County Assessor photo above), the brick Tudor four-plex across from Charlestown Cafe that otherwise is proposed for demolition and replacement with a mixed-use building. Its history is told, with copious photos, in the 46-page landmark-nomination document by West Seattle-based Nicholson Kovalchick Architects (you can read it here), with details such as “this was one of many apartment buildings for which the architect William H. Whiteley was well-known locally”; the document also includes a summary of West Seattle history and the background of the “bungalow court” type of apartment building this is considered to be, with an addendum cataloging some of West Seattle’s “bungalow courts” (such as the “Green Ghetto” whose ex-residents eulogized it in comments here after its demolition, and the 3400-block California buildings torn down recently, before/after photos here) The Landmarks Board meeting (3:30 this afternoon, 40th floor of the Seattle Municipal Building downtown) should be lively – also on the agenda, the much-discussed Ballard Denny’s.
Last month, we told you a documentary was on the drawing board to tell the story of West Seattle’s Fauntleroy neighborhood, as planners sought marketing help. Now – they are ready to hire a producer – and have just issued a request for proposals. Here’s what they need and how to apply:Read More
After this morning’s report updating the plan by the design/development company that just bought the Shoremont @ 57th & Alki, Tom J posted a comment on yesterday’s report and subsequently sent us the photo he mentioned (thank you!). It’s his uncle and dad outside the Shoremont in 1946. Tom says his dad recently celebrated his 90th birthday. The Shoremont is a few years younger than Tom’s dad – county property records say it was built in 1923.
Caught that photo late morning while en route to the Viaduct event posted below – sign removal under way at the ex-Huling/Gee dealership location on Fauntleroy south of Alaska. Then before we could even post it this afternoon, we wound up hours later alongside the truck carrying the signs away:
Haven’t done a check on that property yet today but as we reported over the weekend, Huling land a couple blocks east is slated for a mixed-use project (we expect to talk with Harbor Properties tomorrow to find out more).
We’ve been tracking the fate of 3811 California (left), the brick apartments that a developer has proposed razing and replacing with a 4-story mixed-use building. But first, the city has to decide if the buildings qualify for landmark status. As the next step in the process, the 46-page landmark-nomination document has just been posted on the city website – you can download it here (it’s fascinating to browse – detailed history, photos old and new, inside and outside – and more). Also posted on the Landmarks Board site: the official notice of a public meeting on the nomination, 3:30 pm Feb. 20, 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown. In the meantime, if you have an opinion on the proposed landmark status, as we mentioned earlier this week, you can e-mail Landmarks Board coordinator Beth Chave at email@example.com.
Last week, we brought you a followup on the landmark-consideration status of these apartments at 3811 California (just south of Charlestown), proposed for demolition as part of a mixed-use project, which we have been tracking since last April. When we checked in a week ago, the city Landmarks Board told WSB that the required application for landmark-status review still was not complete. Now, this site has landed on the radar of the advocacy group Historic Seattle; preservation advocate Christine Palmer just sent a bulletin saying that 3811 is tentatively scheduled for Landmarks Board consideration on Feb. 20 (although the site is not on the “current nominations” webpage as of this writing), and advising everyone concerned about its fate to send the board a message expressing “concern about protecting this beautiful building and guarding against insensitive infill construction if it is demolished.” She suggests that messages be sent to Beth Chave, Landmarks Board coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the “Painted Lady of Beach Drive,” aka the Satterlee House, remains listed for sale after a year and a half, city hearings are now scheduled for a proposal to build three homes on its sprawling front lawn. According to the city Hearing Examiner’s Office website, proceedings are scheduled to start March 5 with what the site describes as “testimony from David Satterlee on the appeal of William Conner from a Denial by the Landmarks Preservation Board for a certificate of approval for construction of 3 homes on property known as 4866 Beach Dr. SW.” (David Satterlee sold the property to William Conner in 2000.) The HEO site says March 10 and March 13 also are set aside for proceedings in the appeal. The short plat for the land was granted in May of last year; last word we had of Landmarks Board involvement was in July of last year. The house is one of a handful of officially designated landmarks in West Seattle (full list here).
Seems the Charlestown Cafe/Petco project (most recent WSB update here; we checked directly with Petco a few weeks ago and they had nothing new to report) isn’t the only thing proceeding at a snail’s pace at California/Charlestown. That’s also the case for the determination of the fate of the brick apartments (file photo above) at 3811 California, which were pre-mourned by us and others when we first reported the surfacing last April of a proposal to replace them with a mixed-use building. A tenant’s tip back in October (WSB coverage here) revealed that the city Landmarks Preservation Board would have to evaluate the buildings before the proposal could advance. We just checked back with the Landmarks Board and the status of that part of the process hasn’t changed since October — Beth Chave tells WSB they “do not yet have a complete nomination application for this property, so it has not been scheduled for a review by the Landmarks Preservation Board.” (If and when the nomination paperwork is done, the site will eventually turn up here.) And the city planner assigned to the proposed mixed-use project, Holly Godard, says the final land-use decision on this site can’t be issued till the Department of Neighborhoods (parent of the Landmark Board) review is done.
Continuing our series of late-night followups when there’s no urgent news at this hour — we noticed today that construction is moving fast on the townhouses at the ex-Guadalajara Hacienda site in the 5900 block of California. First, from last February, the old restaurant’s festive facade just after it closed and the sign came down:
And the townhouses-in-progress, today:
Just west of The Junction, and a couple houses west of Ercolini Park, you’ll find this deteriorating old home whose current appearance doesn’t hint much at its vital past as a neighborhood market — unless you look at the “past” photo sent by neighbor Bill Leaming (who also sent the “present” one below):
If you had trouble reading the inscription on the “past” photo of Fraker’s Grocery, it’s from 1956. County property records show the building dates back to 1926. City records don’t show anything new currently proposed for the site. Thanks to Bill for sharing the past/present photos; we love history tidbits here, so they’re always welcome. (Speaking of neighborhood markets, our Alki Urban Market update will be published first thing tomorrow morning.)
On Saturday we listed our Top 7 WSB ’07 video picks; on Sunday, the Top 7 most-discussed WSB posts of the year. Finally tonight, with hours to go till 2008, the more traditional list – top West Seattle stories of the year. Let us know if you think something else should have made the Top 7. Here goes:
#7 — 4132 CALIFORNIA FIRE: This August inferno was the biggest West Seattle fire of the year, and it was arson; no arrests reported to this day, but reconstruction of the project is now well under way.
#6 — CALIFORNIA/ADMIRAL REPAVING: From March through July, city crews repaved major stretches of two of West Seattle’s most significant arterials. (Ah, if only Fauntleroy and Alki, among others, could get the same love.)
#4 — ALKI STATUE OF LIBERTY RETURNS, BUT THE SAGA’S NOT OVER: A big year for this West Seattle icon: The plaza project hit the radar in July; the recast statue returned to its original pedestal on September 11th; the plaza fundraising has two more weeks to go. Bound to be a major story again in ’08.
And one last Casey Kasem turn … the countdown continues:Read More
Some weeks back, we carved out a little section in the right sidebar to spotlight current “most-discussed posts,” since our publishing volume tends to push things off the main page within a few days. Toward that end, our second of three WSB “Top 7 of ’07” roundup counts down the posts that drew the most comments – with a couple exclusions: We’re leaving out our “unveiling” post from earlier this month, which drew 90-plus comments from (mostly) well-wishers, and we’re leaving out reader-recommendation posts (original RRR archive here; new RRR forum here), which by their nature are meant to draw comments (including the all-time recordsetter so far, “West Seattle Dishes to Die For,” at 161 comments). So here goes:
#7: With 58 comments, “For the First Time Since Spanky’s Went Out …” in which we discussed the appearance of a new sign at Morgan Junction’s Short Stop, touting “Adult DVD,” which was pointed out in an e-mail tip.
#6: With 62 comments, “Admiral Acceleration Agitation,” inspired by e-mails questioning the 30 mph speed limit on Admiral Way.
#5: With 65 comments, “Wheels Up,” which began with e-mail from WSB regular “The House” regarding a note left under his windshield.
#4: With 70 comments, “Mars Hill Money Trouble,” regarding a revelation from the only megachurch with a West Seattle branch.
It’s just not late December without a slew of reviews of the year that’s about to end. So we’ll join the parade again this year — in three daily installments, starting today with our picks for Top 7 West Seattle video moments of ’07. Since the WSB video era only began on 9/11/07 (thanks to the generosity of Pledge Day donors), we only have 3 1/2 months of video clips from which to choose, but it’s been a busy fall, so this is a decent list. The links in the headline/date go to the WSB posts containing the video clips, not straight to the clips themselves, so you’ll get the full context if you missed any of these original reports. Now the countdown:
#7 — WINDSTORM WINDSURFER, 10/18/07: A windstorm that caused trouble for many gave this adventurer a chance for thrills.
#6 — WEST WATER SPOTLIGHTS, 11/14/07: West Seattle’s most hyper-marketed condo conversion didn’t stop at billboards, bus boards, sandwich boards, or broadcast commercials — it even sent spotlights into the WS sky for a few noteworthy nights.
#5 — BABY SEAL MANIA AT ALKI, 9/17/07: Throughout late summer and fall, the Seal Sitters kept watch as baby harbor seals hauled out along the West Seattle shore. Their watch spanned both joy and tragedy. WSB videotaped one of the crowd-pleasing pups.
#4 — MARS HILL IMMERSION BAPTISMS AT ALKI, 9/14/07: Hallelujahpalooza, we and others dubbed it. The only megachurch with a West Seattle branch brought a band as well as members from around the city to cheer (and pray for) those baptized in the chilly water of Puget Sound.
First — WSB contributing photographer Matt Durham says he discovered that sign greeting “visitors to a home at the corner of SW Forest and Fairmount SW. The neighbor in the background (who wished to remain nameless) believes the cart was from a family business that was once on California Ave SW. According to a Google search, Abe’s Place was located at 2310 California Ave SW and served ‘American Turkish’ cuisine.” (Prints of Matt’s photos are available at his site, MattDurhamPhotography.com.)
First, there’s the Kitten Holiday Party (listed on the West Seattle Weekend Lineup) at Pet Elements south of Morgan Junction:
That’s where we found this new kitten owner adopting what she referred to as “Elliott’s new friend.” (Elliott being the cat who will be surprised and hopefully pleased to meet his new pal.)
Also today and tomorrow, noon-4 pm (and those hours Thursday-Sunday every week), an exhibit at the Log House Museum with a unique take on Seattle history, and it’s only there a few more weeks – here’s what the LHM folks have written up about it:Read More
It was on our Events calendar, but not here on the main page — yesterday was the 156th anniversary of the Denny Party landing on Alki. Every year since 2001, WSB reader Margelyn reports, the “Swag Lady,” Natalie “Penny” Earnest, has decorated the Founders’ Monument as shown above. Margelyn says Penny’s swag of cedar with bird feathers and cones gathered from the beach is “her way of paying tribute both to the Denny Party who landed here on Nov 13, 1851 and to the Native Americans who helped them survive their first winter.” Closeup photo, also courtesy of Margelyn:
Margelyn adds: “Penny and her husband Mike, who passed away this year, have lived on the water at Alki Point since the early 1990Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and have been active in the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Working with Pat Filer of the societyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Log House Museum, Penny was instrumental in getting Department of Neighborhoods funding to add plaques on the Founders Monument at the 2001 sesquicentennial naming the individual women of the Denny Party and acknowledging the role of the Duwamish and Suquamish people.” Here’s a closeup of her note on the Alki monument for yesterday’s anniversary:
Margelyn concludes, “Living right on the water at Alki Point and walking daily along the beach, Penny says she often thinks of the words attributed to Chief Seattle:”
And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.
We first told the story of the fight over the townhouses, and the now-obscured view of the old house many in the area know as the Gatewood “hunting lodge,” in February.