Queen Anne Park is a relatively unknown neighborhood above Seattle Pacific University at the northwest end of Queen Anne Hill. While not a park in the usual sense of the word, it is park-like in its beauty, with winding streets and numerous charming Tudor, Spanish and Colonial Revival-style homes. For years, it has been enshrouded by an aura of mystery and rumor.
The Queen Anne Park Addition to the City of Seattle dates to 1926. It is bordered by West Bertona and Barrett streets and Seventh and 11th avenues West.
According to the Bureau of Land Management Land Patent website, the original plat containing what is now the Queen Anne Park Addition was completed via an 1871 land patent from the U.S. General Land Office for approximately 114 acres. James Law acquired the property through a cash purchase of about $1.25 per acre, so he paid approximately $143.
The property changed hands before Thomas Wickham Prosch acquired it, and his plat, Prosch’s Queen Anne Addition, was added to the City of Seattle on Sept. 27, 1909.
Charles Prosch, his father, was the founder of the Puget Sound Herald Tribune in Steilacoom. Thomas helped his father and then bought the paper when he was 22 years old. He moved it to Tacoma in 1872 and then to Seattle.
In 1881, Prosch, George W. Harris and John Leary began the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Prosch became the sole owner and sold the paper in 1886. It was at this time that he began pursuing his interest in local history, civic affairs and social activities. He wrote several books, and his photographs can both be viewed in the University of Washington Special Collections in the Allen Library.
Thomas Prosch married Virginia McCarver in 1877. Her parents, Morton and Julia Ann McCarver, were founders of Tacoma. Conkling Place West, in both Prosch’s and the Queen Anne Park Addition, was named after Prosch’s mother, Susan Conkling Prosch.
There was also a McCarver Place in Prosch’s Addition, named for Virginia McCarver Prosch’s family, but the platting for the Queen Anne Park Addition changed the layout of some streets, and the McCarver name did not carry over.
In 1908, the U.S. Office of Public Health declared Seattle’s record of fighting tuberculosis to be the worst in the country. In 1909, a group of leading citizens formed the Anti-Tuberculosis League of King County to combat it. That year, there were plans to build a tuberculosis sanitarium and locate it in a wooded area donated by Thomas W. Prosch on the west side of Queen Anne Hill. Neighbors, fearful of the highly contagious disease, bitterly and successfully fought the plan. Horace C. Henry then donated land in North Seattle, which became the Firland Sanitarium.
Thomas and Virginia Prosch, as well as others, were killed in a car accident in 1915. After their deaths, their disabled daughter, Beatrice, deeded her share of the property to her siblings Edith, Phoebe and Arthur Prosch.
In 1922, the land became the property of the King County treasurer. It was sold to the City of Seattle and then to George E. Morford on Nov. 18, 1925. The purchase price was $21,000.
On Feb. 11, 1926, that property became the Queen Anne Park Addition to Seattle.
An unusual design
Approximately 230 homes were to be built on the property that was developed by F.W. Keen Co. and J. L. Grandey Inc., designers and builders. George E. Morford was president of F.W. Keen and vice-president of J. L. Grandey. Keen and Harry Dubois, assistant secretary of F.W. Keen, were also involved in the building program.
Much thought went into developing the design of the winding streets, which were unusual for Queen Anne Hill. This design took advantage of the topography, reducing grades and adding to the beauty of the home sites. Almost all lots had views of the Cascades or the Olympics, Elliott Bay, the Ship Canal, downtown, the University of Washington, the sun and the moon. A few lucky homeowners on 10th Avenue West had views to both the east and west.
Carl Morford and Charles Mowry, engineers for the F.W. Keen Co., made the street plats and plans, and the pouring of concrete began in May 1926. The streets, sidewalks and utilities were installed before the sites were developed, avoiding future cuts for driveways and utilities. Power and telephone lines were located behind the homes, ensuring the beauty of the streets, which were dedicated forever to the City of Seattle.
The demonstration home and sales office were at 3042 10th Ave. W. The first homes were completed in 1927.
FLORENCE HELLIESEN is a longtime resident of Queen Anne Park and a member of the Queen Anne Historical Society (www.qahistory.org).
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