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Seattle Landmarks: Parsons House (1905) Essay 3208 : Printer-Friendly Format

Address: 618 W Highland Drive, Seattle. Reginald H. Parsons (1873-1955) came to Seattle in 1903 to represent the Bemis Bag Co. He branched out into mining, and into agricultural and financial businesses. Maude (Bemis) Parsons (d. 1955) was a patron of the arts and a founding member of the Seattle Fine Arts Society, precursor to the Seattle Art Museum. They built a home on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill where other prominent Seattle residents were erecting large residences. The Seattle Daily Times Publisher Alden Blethen (1845-1915) lived across the street.

The house followed the Dutch Colonial style of the eighteenth century Atlantic coast. It had a slate roof and was covered with brick and stucco. Every bedroom had a fireplace and there was a large library, a tile-floored conservatory, and a large sun room. On the third floor was a gymnasium.

In 1956, the Parsons children leased the garden to the city and in 1960, deeded ownership. Their gift provided that "no structure other than ... a chapel" shall be built in the park (Sherwood). Behind the gardens was a carriage house, which was replaced by a town house in 1968.

The house was designated a Seattle Landmark on September 2, 1980, because of its prominence at the location and because it was a distinctive feature in the neighborhood. In 1994, Architect Brandt Hollinger supervised additions to the house, a new garage, and a brick perimeter wall.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Landmarks Preservation Board, 700 Third Avenue, 4th Floor, Seattle, Washington; Lawrence Kreisman, Made to Last: Historic Preservation in Seattle and King County, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999), 55; Don Sherwood, "Parsons Memorial Garden," Interpretive Essays on the History of Seattle Parks, Handwritten bound manuscript dated 1977, Seattle Room, Seattle Public Library.

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Related Topics: Seattle Neighborhoods | Landmarks |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

This essay made possible by:
The SCHOONER Project:
The Hon. Jan Drago
Seattle City Council
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Parsons House, 2001
Photo by David Wilma

Reginald Parsons (1873-1955)
Courtesy C. H. Hanford, Seattle and Environs

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