Lebanon Home (Seattle)

  • By Brendan Jonathan Harrison
  • Posted 10/07/2011
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 9853

In 1908, The Lebanon Home opened in Seattle on 1500 Kilbourne Street, and served as rescue shelter for homeless young women. Over the years it expanded the services it provided and by the early 1920s it was functioning as a maternity hospital complete with registered nurses and on-call physicians. The growth of the Lebanon Home brought the need for a larger facility, and in January 1929 property measuring 180 by 272 feet was purchased at the corner of 12th Aveue NW and W 90th Street just north of the city limits. By the summer of 1938, the Lebanon Home became a residence for aged and convalescent patients and was called the Crown Hill Sanitarium. This marked the end of the Lebanon Home as a residence and maternity hospital.

The Lives of Girls

The Lebanon Home opened as a home for "wayward" and abandoned girls. Articles of incorporation for the Rescue and Protective Association of Seattle, the controlling body of the home, were filed at Olympia in September 1908. The articles state the purpose of the home as follows:

"The purpose is to pray and labor for the overthrow of the traffic in women's virtue and to provide a home for the friendless, erring and rescued girls; to protect young girls from falling into the traps set by the procurer, the saloons and the dances" (quoted in “Home for Erring Girls incorporates”).

Mary E. Dutton was the first president of the organization.  The original trustees were:

  • Rev. Charles S. McKinley (Third Free Methodist Church)
  • Rev. Benjamin F. Wade (Free Methodist Church)
  • Rev. George Cairns (Temple Baptist Church)
  • Rev. Robert E. Dunlap
  • Adelaide Beers (preceptress, Seattle Seminary
  • Rev. Delance L. Wallace (Church of the Nazarene)
  • D. H. Kindig

The home was nonsectarian and open to all; however, it was closely associated with the Free Methodist Church. City Directories indicate that the name of the home had several variations over time: Lebanon Protective Rescue Home, 1908-1910; Lebanon Rescue Home, 1910-1924; and Lebanon Home, 1925-summer 1938.

In 1910 the home moved from Kilbourne Street to 3954 1st Avenue NE and remained there until 1912 when it relocated to a large two-story frame house at 1110 W (now NW) 65th Street, in the Ballard neighborhood. The Seattle Post Intelligencer reported that the board of directors planned to buy the property as soon as possible and efforts were made to raise $1,500 for this purpose. A contemporary description stated that the building was originally constructed as "a retreat for foreign girls newly arrived in this country. It has a chapel as well as many utilitarian conveniences, and the matron and those in charge are gentle women who get small pay for their services" (“Lebanon Home in Need of $1,5000”).

In the beginning, the Lebanon Home was essentially a rescue shelter for homeless girls and young women.  Funding was received from charitable and religious organizations as well as the legislature of the State of Washington which contributed $1,500 in 1913.  This situation continued for some six years and the home received an average of $3,000 from the State through 1919 according to various newspaper accounts.

Becoming a Maternity Hospital

The Lebanon Home grew and developed in the 1920s, adding staff and expanding the scope of services provided to residents. It was during this period that pregnant teens and women were cared for in what is thought to have started as a modest maternity clinic and birthing facility. Gradually, this service expanded and by the early 1920s a maternity hospital with registered nurses and on-call physicians had been established within the Home. There are even occasional references to the home as the "Lebanon Hospital" 

From 1915 to 1921, Libbie Beach Brown was in charge of the Lebanon Home, serving initially as matron and later as superintendent. In 1922 Gertrude "Gertie" B. Rose, assisted by her husband, Reverend Charles E. Rose, became the superintendent.  

An indication of the subsequent development of the Lebanon Home can be seen in the following list of board officers and senior staff in 1924:

                Honorary President:              Rev. James L. Welch

                President:                            R. D. Hill

                First Vice President:               R. H. Warren

                Second Vice President:           Rev, Raymond Reese

                Third Vice President:              Rev. Guy McShane

                Secretary:                             Clarence L. Gere

                Financial Secretary:                Rev. Charles E. Rose

                Treasurer                              F. M. Bird

Other members of the board included Henrietta Hill, Emma S. Wood, Ethel Marsden, Mrs. John M. Dodds, Mrs. M. Noble, Florence Collins, Mrs. C. H. Berry, Dr. Walter T. Christensen, Rev. G. T. Kline, and R. E. Elkins. Mrs. Charles E. Rose continued as superintendent. Mettie Noble served as assistant and nurse.

By 1925 it was felt that the capacity of the building on W 65th Street would soon be unable to meet the growing demand for shelter and a building extension committee was formed to investigate moving to a new facility.  Almost four years later, in August 1928, plans were made to buy an entire block bordered by Phinney Avenue and Francis Avenue and N 41st and 42nd streets as a new site for the home. However, this transaction did not materialize and in January 1929 property measuring 180 by 272 feet was purchased at the corner of 12th Avenue NW and W 90th Street just north of the city limits. A two-story building was to be built for a cost of $50,000. 

The following officers were elected to the board for 1929:

President:                                   R. H. Marston,

First vice president:                      Rev. Guy A. Mc Shane

Second vice president:                  Rev. A. E. Haslem

Third vice president:                     Rev. Carol M. Ridenour

Secretary:                                    Clarence L. Gere

Financial secretary:                       Rev. Charles E. Rose

Treasurer:                                   F. M. Bird

There were five standing committees at this time: Financial Committee, Devotional Committee, Home Committee, Social Committee, and a Press Reform and Legislative Committee.  The medical staff consisted of Dr. R. P. McClain, chairman; Dr. E. J. Challis (dentist); Dr. W. E. McClain, Dr. W. T. Christensen, and Dr. H. E. Greiner.

It is worth noting that by the mid-1920s the Lebanon Home had come to depend on regular financial grants from the Seattle Community Fund (name changed to United Good Neighbors in 1952).  The allocation for 1926 was $3,000 and by 1929 it had increased to $4,200.

In July 1929, Gertie Rose passed away at the Lebanon Home and Rev. Charles E. Rose became superintendent.

The Brand New Lebanon Home

Meanwhile, construction work on the new Lebanon Home proceeded and it opened at 9010 13th Avenue NW in September 1930. It was a fine two-story building with a basement situated on attractive grounds in what was then a quiet suburban area. 

A pamphlet issued in 1931 stated that "the Home will care for 45 girls and women in roomy dormitories and smaller rooms" (Lebanon Home). It also mentioned the "well arranged and fully equipped hospital for the accommodation of our maternity department work and the competent and sympathetic personnel of attending physicians, registered nurse and a matron with a large a sympathetic heart for those under her care -- a real mother to all."

The Great Depression had a negative effect on most social service organizations and the Lebanon Home was no exception.  The aforementioned pamphlet reported in 1931 that "the Home is maintained by the Community Chest [no doubt a reference to the  Seattle Community Fund] but is dependent on donations for building purposes." 

Hard Times

By 1934 the situation was far more serious.  Although an annual grant was still received from the Community Fund, Charles E. Rose acknowledged the importance of other supporters in a letter to The Ballard Tribune as follows: "To the many friends in the Ballard Community, Seattle and throughout the State, who loyally maintained an interest in the Lebanon Home, we extend this hearty and sincere word of appreciation" (“Lebanon Home Issues Letter of Appreciation”). 

In June 1935 the Lebanon Home was notified by the Seattle Community Fund that its support would be discontinued as of September 30.  It was determined by a social welfare survey that the Lebanon Home had been only half full for the previous five years and that the Florence Crittendon Home in Renton, which also cared for girls, was about two-thirds full. Since the services provided by the two homes were to some degree duplicative, the Community Fund decided to support only the larger Crittendon Home. It was proposed that girls living at the Lebanon Home should be cared for at the Crittendon Home or at the King County Hospital. 

The board of the Lebanon Home had several meetings in July and concluded that they would continue to operate without support from the Seattle Community Fund. Below is a portion of a statement issued by Clarence L. Gere, secretary of the board, as published in The Ballard Tribune:

"For 27 years the Lebanon Home has flourished and grown.  For 11 years it has yielded to the program of the Seattle Community Fund. Now we are told to shift for ourselves.

"We believe the Community Fund was established to aid the several agencies in raising their budgets with one annual drive, not to destroy them. Would you, as an individual, abandon your home because your neighbor did not believe in your way of running it?  Neither shall we.  The Lebanon Home will carry on. Give it your kindly thought" ("Lebanon Home Will Continue on Without Community Fund Aid"). 

Last Years

The Lebanon Home did carry on and organized a fundraising effort which appears to have been centered in Ballard.  In January 1936 optimistic reports on the fundraising drive were made at the annual meeting of the Lebanon Home board, but in March it was clear that the Home was still short of the necessary funds to allow it to function properly and another appeal was issued. A box-top redemption drive was organized in April and the community was invited to an open house in September 1936.

No press reports were located for 1937. We may surmise that the economic outlook for the Lebanon Home was grim and as the situation continued to deteriorate, editors may have elected not to cover the bad news.  A bequest of $1,200 was received from the estate of Jennie S. Baker in June 1938 and in early July the West Seattle Auxiliary donated 186 magazines, 12 pair of curtains, and a $20 layette. 

These were the last gifts the Lebanon Home would receive.  On July 15, 1938, a small advertisement appeared in the classified section of The Seattle Daily Times stating that the Lebanon Home, newly furnished and under new management was available for aged and convalescent patients. Thus the Lebanon Home, as a residence and maternity hospital for girls and young women had come to an end.

Crown Hill Sanitarium

As of December 1939, the Lebanon Home had been renamed Crown Hill Sanitarium and was under the management of George and Victoria Gardner, who had previously operated the West Seattle Sanitarium and Rest Home.  In 1940 the name was changed to Crown Hill Hospital & Sanitarium and again in 1941 to Gardner's Sanitarium.

Sometime between late 1945 and early 1948, Gardner's Sanitarium became the Crown Hill Hospital operated by a D. D. Dewey.  For a time it cared for elderly residents, but later evolved into a psychiatric hospital.  By 1968 it was under the direction of Marie I. Dewey and described in Polk's Seattle City Directory as a hospital "for all types of emotional disturbances, nervous disorders." 

The Crown Hill Hospital ceased operation in 1971 and was taken over by the Studio Club Rehabilitation Center and converted to a treatment center.  In 1979 the Northwest Treatment Center for Alcoholism took over the building and modifications were made to the interior to meet  the need of its program. 

In November 1991 the property was purchased by United Indians of All Tribes for a residential center.  The building is currently (2010) occupied by the La-Ba Te-Yah Youth Home.

The outward appearance of the old Lebanon Home has changed very little from the 1930s and the building has now come full-circle as it once again houses young people in need.


Sources: "Home for Erring Girls Incorporates," Seattle Post Intelligencer, September 20, 1908, section 1, p. 7;  "Lebanon Home is in Need of $1,500," Seattle Post Intelligencer, March 30, 1913, pt. 6, p. 12; "New Bills Proposed," Olympia Record, January 19, 1917, p. 4; "Details of Budget Appropriation Given Omnibus Measure of Two Years Ago …" Bellingham Herald, February 27, 1919;  Polk's Seattle City Directory, 1915-1920 editions; "Trustees of Lebanon Home Hold Their Annual Meeting," Seattle Daily Times, January 3, 1924, p. 16; "Rev. R. D. Hill Elected at Meeting of Stockholders," Seattle Daily Times, January 6, 1925, p. 3; "Community Fund Allocations," Seattle Daily Times, July 12, 1926, p. 3; "Lebanon Home Plans to Erect New Building," Seattle Weekly News, August 10, 1928, p. 1; "New Site Purchased for Lebanon Home," The Seattle Daily Times, January 6, 1929, p. 11; "Lebanon Home Plans to Build," Seattle Weekly News, January 11, 1929, p. [3]; "Services for Mrs. Rose Will Be Held Friday," Seattle Daily Times, July 2, 1929, p. 17; "Community Fund Objectors Silenced by Speaker," The Seattle Daily Times, September 25, 1929; "New Chapel for Lebanon Home To Be Dedicated," Seattle Daily Times, September 7, 1930, p. 5; Lebanon Home, pamphlet file, N973.734, Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle;  "Lebanon Home Issues Letter of Appreciation," The Ballard Tribune, January 11, 1934, p. 6; "Lebanon Home Off Fund List," The Seattle Daily Times," June 26, 1935, p. 2; "Lebanon Home Will Carry On Without Community Fund Aid," The Ballard Tribune, July 18, 1935, p. 1; "Optimistic Reports at Annual Meeting of Lebanon Home Board," Ballard Tribune, Jan. 30, 1936, p. 1; "Appeal for Funds Sent Out by Lebanon Home," The Ballard Tribune, March 26, 1936, p. 1; "Start Saving Sperry Box Tops and Aid the Lebanon Home,: The Ballard Tribune, April 2, 1936, p. 1; "Lebanon Home Drive Continues; Open House Planned," The Ballard Tribune, September 24, 1936; Classified advertisement for the Crown Hill Sanitarium in The Seattle Daily Times, December 13, 1939, p. 30; Polk's Seattle City Directory, 1939-1945 editions.

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