Seattle Landmarks: Chelsea Apartments (1907)

  • By Dave Wilma
  • Posted 4/15/2001
  • Essay 3199
See Additional Media

Address: 620 W Olympic Place, Seattle. With the completion of the street car line to Queen Anne Hill, the neighborhood became a popular residential area. Charles Russell Collins was general manager of the Seattle Gas and Electric Co., chairman of the board for the YMCA, and treasurer for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. He commissioned a family hotel and apartment building near the entrance to Kinnear Park. The architect was Harlan Thomas (1870-1953).

Architect Harlan Thomas (Queen Anne Public Library, Sorrento Hotel, Corner Market) was the dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Washington, 1926-1940. The Chelsea Apartments building followed the English-Renaissance style and represented the life style of the upper middle class of the time. One hundred bedrooms in 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-room suites each had a bathroom. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in the Realty Section in 1907, "The general arrangement is adaptable to musicals, receptions and other social functions. The hardwood oak floors provide a good dancing surface." Meals were advertised as "of the best, of wide variety, under the direction of an excellent chef" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). On the roof was a garden with views of Puget Sound, a pergola, palm trees, and arbors.

In 1913, a Montessori kindergarten for residents was opened in the building. The Chelsea served as a hotel until 1917 when all the units became apartments.

In 1978, Stephen R. Yarnall purchased the building for $475,000 and planned to spend $600,000 renovating it to 55 apartments. The building was made a Seattle Landmark on October 23, 1978.


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