Now & Then
Seattle's victorious Victorian
ON A SPRING day in 1985 Raymond and Zia Hachiya purchased the Brewer House.
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ON A SPRING day in 1985 Raymond and Zia Hachiya purchased the Brewer House. It was named for the Walla Walla family that built it in 1890 as a Victorian showplace for the 40 acres they platted in reasonable hope of making their fortune in the Central District of what was then a roaring and generally lucky Seattle. They named their addition after Walla Walla. At the southeast corner of Columbia Street and 21st Avenue, their home was conveniently only five short blocks from streetcar service to Pioneer Square, or a mile and half walk to the same destination.
The Brewer House that the Hachiyas purchased in 1985 was a wreck, although a stately one. About four years empty, the home was missing many windows, clapboards had been stripped from the sides, and the interior lathe-and-plaster walls were so broken that photographs taken from one corner looked through the entire house to the farthest corner. On hearing a skulking crow complain from one of the barren cottonwoods on the lot, a relative visiting during the first winter described it as a bad omen.
But as Zia explains, "I had always wanted a Victorian." And with Raymond's help, judicious planning and perseverant searching for authentic materials they got one, both outside and in.
In 1892 or '93 Adora Bell and Louella Mae, two of the Brewers' nine children, posed on the front porch for this recording of their nearly new Victorian. The timing is derived from the understanding that Louella, the smaller one, was born in the house; 1893 was also the year of the great economic panic, which was followed by a sustained depression. The Brewers' Central District dreams were not so enriching, and after 10 years they returned to the original Walla Walla.
Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard's blog at www.pauldorpat.com.
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