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Originally published Friday, May 31, 2013 at 10:30 AM

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Metamorphosis of a First Hill stalwart

Seven attached town houses sit behind the stone walls of the Stone Row, part of A.A. Denny's Broadway Addition. It was renamed the Graystone around 1900.

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THE BOLD, WHITE writing on this stone-clad residential building at the northeast corner of Marion Street and Minor Avenue identifies this as a tax photo. During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) employed photographers with an ambitious project to photograph every taxable structure in King County.

Even without the captioned address, we could find these seven attached town houses by their legal description. Reading rom the right, you can see this corner real estate is lot 8 of block 121 in A.A. Denny's Broadway Addition. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, University of Washington professor of architecture, first shared this subject with me, hoping I might know of an earlier intimate "portrait" of the Stone Row, its name when architect John Parkinson designed and developed it in the early 1890s. Alas, I didn't.

The WPA photo and the professor's reflections on it are shared on page 243 of his and Dennis Andersen's "Distant Corner, Seattle Architects and the Legacy of H.H. Richardson" (University of Washington Press, 2003). It deserves to be read by persons interested in those architecturally zestful years of recovery and mostly rampant growth after Seattle's Great Fire of 1889.

In 1900 or thereabouts the Stone Row was named the Graystone, and promoted variously as a residential hotel and as an apartment house in the "choicest residence neighborhood, between the Madison and James St. car lines." With the boisterous arrival of the Graystone Athletic Club on the scene in 1910 — the men's club staged smokers with boxing — the name "Graystone" and its connotations fell from favor. Its elegant Tenino bluestone finish may have seemed tarnished to First Hill taste, although it looks fine here in 1937.

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