Kline Galland Center

  • By Lee Micklin
  • Posted 10/30/1998
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 88
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The Caroline Kline Galland Home, located in the Seward Park neighborhood of southeast Seattle, is a skilled nursing home for Jewish seniors.  For more than 90 years Seattle's Jewish community has rallied with fundraising and capital campaigns to support the home in its service to the Jewish aged. Initially funded by a bequest from Caroline Rosenberg Kline Galland (1841-1907), the home opened in 1914 with seven residents.  There was already a waiting list, but zoning ordinances precluded expansion until the home's legal advisors won an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.  A new building was built in 1930 and later expanded.  That building was replaced with a new facility that opened in 1967, and both the facility and Kline Galland programs have expanded dramatically since then.  In 2011, the Caroline Kline Galland Home has the capacity to serve 205 residents.

Caroline Rosenberg Kline Galland bequeathed funds for the home. On February 16, 1907, after her death, public disclosure of the will made Seattle Times headlines: "A Million and a Half for Charity." The bulk of the estate was to establish a home for the Jewish aged, "that it may bring to the lives of the aged men and women ... the greatest degree of contentment and happiness in their declining years."

Caroline Rosenberg was born in Bavaria in 1841. Her first marriage was to Louis Kline, a partner in a successful Seattle clothing firm. Her second marriage was to Bonham Galland, a retired merchant from San Francisco. There were no children from her marriages and Carolyn devoted her time, money, and energy to helping the poor. Many benefited from her generosity and it was said that she never turned down a request for help.

The bulk of the Kline Galland estate was in real estate holdings. All but the Galland properties at 2nd Avenue and University Street were to be sold. In 1912 estate executors turned over $27,680.63 in deeds to the trust company. Annual income from the 2nd and University properties was appraised at $600,000 in 1907. Seattle Title and Trust Company was appointed Trustee.

In 1914, the Kline Galland Home began operation on the Wildwood Property in Seward Park. There were seven residents and a waiting list before it even opened. The will provided funds for expansion, and an architect drew up plans in 1922, but the City of Seattle refused to modify zoning ordinances to permit construction. Years of negotiations with the zoning commission yielded no results, so legal advisors Mel Monheimer, Alfred Shemanski, and Corwin Shank tested Seattle's zoning ordinances in court -- and lost.

Next, the case was taken to the State Supreme Court. It was denied. An appeal was filed to the United States Supreme Court. This time legal advisors for the Carolyn Kline Galland Home won the case. The United States Supreme Court ordered the Seattle Superintendent of Buildings to issue a building permit for the expansion of the Caroline Kline Galland Home.

The new facility was dedicated on December 7, 1930. The capacity of the home increased to 25 residents. A second wing was constructed in 1939, allowing for resident capacity of 35. In 1956, the first professional social worker, Arthur Farber, came on as Executive Director.

In the 1960s, the State Department of Health refused to renew the license to operate the deteriorating facility. Under the fundraising leadership of Sol Esfeld, $1,100,000 was raised to build a new facility, with greater resident capacity, and it was dedicated in 1967.

In 1969 Joshua Gortler came on as Exective Director. Continued fundraising and capital campaigns in 1979 and 1992 allowed for expansion of the facility and programs. Programs have expanded to include The Polack Adult Day Center, Kosher Meals on Wheels, and the SPICE Senior Nutrition Program. The Summit at First Hill, a 126-apartment independent and assisted-living retirement community just east of downtown Seattle, opened in 2001.

Under Gortler's leadership the Caroline Kline Galland Home has become one of the finest nursing homes in America. A 1993 expansion that added 60 special care beds brought the home's capacity to 205 residents. In 1997, the North American Association of Jewish Home and Housing for the Aging awarded Gortler the Distinguished Administrator Award of Honor.


David Stern, The Kline Galland Center: She Started It. Now It's Up to Us to Keep It Going (Seattle: Academy Press, n.d.); Eighty Years of Caring: Timeline and Annual Meeting Agenda (Seattle: The Kline Galland Center, 1994); "History," Kline Galland website accessed November 5, 2011 (www.klinegalland.org/history.html).
Note: This essay was revised and updated on November 5, 2011.

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