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Help This House Hunter

The residence at the southeast corner of Corliss Avenue North and North 50th Street is a Seattle example of an "architectural survivor." Little has changed in this now nearly century-old elegant frame structure.
IF YOU LIVE in or own an old Seattle home, Greg Lange would like to know about it.

Lange has begun his survey of all surviving residences in Seattle built before 1906. Adding Seattle dwelling statistics from the federal census of 1900 to the number of building permits issued by the city for one- to two-story frame buildings between 1901 and 1905, Lange comes up with a rough estimate for his potential field of discovery. Subtracting 5 percent from his total — to cover hotels and shops with attached living quarters — he estimates that at the dawn of 1906 there were between 25,000 and 28,000 dwellings in Seattle. Of these, he hopes to find 500 that are, nearly a century later, architecturally intact. And for 100 of these, he will write "home histories."

This Green Lake residence is a pure example of what Lange especially longs for: historical homes that are still architectural testaments of the time in which they were built. It is a gem among precious stones that have been mostly roughed up with asbestos siding, aluminum windows and boxed-in porches.

In 1905 Joseph E. Wood, of Wood Chemical, lived here at the third lot of the 15th block of Kilbourne's Division of Green Lake. Lange determined that in the 20 often odd-shaped blocks of the Kilbourne addition, 84 dwellings were constructed before 1906. By 1971, only about 20 survived with minor alterations. Driving through the addition late this summer, Lange and I found six residences that were what we will call "architectural survivors." This old Wood home may be the pick of the lot.

Lange is doing his work for the city's recently launched Historical Resources Survey. If you have any leads or nominations, write him at P.O. Box 1121, Seattle, WA 98111 or e-mail him at

Paul Dorpat specializes in historical photography and has published several books on early Seattle.

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