Seattle Landmarks: Charles H. Black House and Gardens (1909)

  • By Dave Wilma
  • Posted 4/17/2001
  • Essay 3214
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Address: 615 W Lee Street, Seattle. In 1909, Seattle Hardware Co. founder Charles H. Black (d. 1922) built a large home on 1.7 acres on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill. The Seattle firm of Bebb and Mendel designed the house in an eclectic Tudor or English Arts and Crafts style. It had 33 rooms and 11,600 square feet of living space. The landscaping was done by the Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts, who had designed Seattle's system of parks and boulevards.

All rooms on the first floor are 11 feet high. There is a reception room, dining room, drawing room, and a breakfast room. Upstairs, in addition to a master bedroom suite opening onto a balcony, there are five family bedrooms, and four bathrooms. Five servants' bedrooms occupy the third floor.

The home's north side served as a vehicle entrance. A stable was built on the 6th Avenue W side and connected to the main house by means of a tunnel under the laundry and service yards.

The Black Home was designated a Seattle Landmark on April 16, 1970, because of its distinctive visual characteristics and because of its prominence in the neighborhood.

Sources: 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), 54.

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