Thursday, August 20, 2009

Queen Anne Architectural Gem is Offered

If you are interested in architecture check out the article posted below.  If you are interested in Andrew Willatsen, responsible for bringing the Prairie Style of Frank Lloyd to Seattle.  One of the rare Willatsen homes in Queen Anne is the Tracy Strong home on Bigelow.

If you’re interested in the personal history of the home – the experiences and stories about the lives lived there, the extensive restoration by Caty Burt, the recent visit of Tracy Strong Junior, the son of the man that built the home in 1921.   At 93, he clearly recalled many things about the house and the neighborhood, even though he was six at the time.

There are several other interesting items about the property in this article in the Queen Anne News.  You can read the story here.

Any questions, ask me, I am an expert on this home.  It’s my family’s home!  And for those who are interested, but not interested enough to click on the link:

8/19/2009 3:52:00 PM 
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Historic Hilltop gem goes on the market, The Strong House boasts architectural legacy

‘a simple yet stately family home in the Prairie style’

Jennifer Rice
Special to the News

One of the best things about living in Queen Anne is discovering and rediscovering this neighborhood's hidden gems. The quaint staircases, unique restaurants and abundant parks are all part of what make Queen Anne unique. But the plethora of historic houses residents can enjoy while walking the Hill's charming streets are perhaps the largest contributor to Queen Anne's allure.
A stroll around the "crown of Queen Anne" will take you past dozens of stately mansions, adorable bungalows and, unfortunately, the empty plot of land where the Black House once stood. The Black House at 222 W. Highland Drive, designed by Northwest Prairie­-style architect Andrew Willatsen (1876-1974), was torn down amid controversy in 2004. But if you continue walking around the "Crown," across Queen Anne Avenue, over to 1622 Bigelow Ave. N., you will pass a lesser-known historic hidden gem designed by that same architect that still stands intact. Known as the Tracy Strong House, it's been lovingly restored - and enjoyed by only three families over the past 90 years.
The Tracy Strong House, designed by Willatsen and built between 1921 and 1922, is currently owned by the Burt family. Willatsen was an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright and a major contributor to the development of progressive architecture in the Northwest. He and his partner Francis Barry Byrne are often credited with bringing the Prairie Style to Seattle more than 30 years before Wright's first Northwest commission.
The Burt Family plans to put this home on the market and will host an open house on Sunday, Aug. 23. Open houses and house tours are like "candy" for the closeted architecture fan. It's a rare treat to experience, even if only for a moment, what it's like inside a historic architectural treasure like this one. It's even rarer to hear first-hand what it was like living inside the home almost 90 years earlier. This past June the Burt family got an unbelievable surprise when the original owner's 93-year-old son, Tracy Strong Jr., returned to Seattle for a visit. He spent time with the Burt family and showered them with fascinating tales of what his childhood was like living inside their home long before the Great Depression.
Caty Burt remembers, "It was such a special afternoon and I will never ever forget it. It felt like travelling back in time, and I couldn't believe how much he remembered and how detailed he was about what this street was like in the 1920s. He talked about playing on Bigelow's empty lots, walking to the old John Hay School, and sitting on the front porch for his daily dose of castor oil and orange juice. He told me he still can't tolerate orange juice to this day!
"My kids really enjoyed hearing about the gigantic outdoor Christmas tree they decorated each year. He said it was so big you could see it from Capitol Hill - and even downtown!"
It's hard to imagine Bigelow Avenue with empty lots, but that's just how Tracy Strong Jr. remembers it. And back then a good portion of the land surrounding 1622 Bigelow Ave. was owned by his grandfather, Sidney Dix Strong. Sidney Dix Strong was an outspoken community leader who served as minister to the Queen Anne Congregational Church. His son, Tracy Strong Sr., commissioned local architect Willatsen to build a simple yet stately family home in the Prairie style that took advantage of the site's spectacular view. Tracy Sr. was a social reformer and child welfare advocate. He was responsible for the YMCA's boys' programs, Camp Orkilla, and he went on to become general director of the world YMCA in Geneva, Switzerland. Later career highlights include amnesty work for war prisoners and displaced European families from World War II.
Tracy Strong Sr.'s sister, Anna Louise Strong, was an outspoken activist, local and national journalist, and an elected school board member (who was later recalled due to distrust of her progressive ideals). A prolific writer, Anna Louise maintained friendships with many notable persons, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Leon Trotsky, Lincoln Steffens and Upton Sinclair. Her many books are still available today in the Seattle Public Library. The Andrew Willatsen archives and historical documentation on the Tracy Strong House are available in the University of Washington Special Collections. Inquiries on the sale of this home should go to Randie Nelson at Windermere

Queen Anne resident Jennifer Rice owns up to being a "closeted" architecture fan.

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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