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Home on Front
For their 1877 wedding Rolland Denny and Alice Kellogg were given this "Honeymoon Home" by the groom's parents. The contemporary business block at the northeast corner of First Avenue and Union Street is the second commercial structure built there since the couple moved from their home in the early 1890s.  

THROUGH THE FIRST 87 of its 150 years, Seattle grew up with Rolland Herschell Denny. Rolland Denny was 72 days old when his parents, Arthur and Mary Denny, carried him ashore to Alki Point on Nov. 13, 1851. The Indians who greeted the "Denny Party" held little hope for the pale little redhead. "Acha da memaloose," they repeated. "Too bad, he will die."

When he did — in 1939 — the red hair had long gone hoary, but Denny was still slender and short. Perhaps on the observation that clams are smaller than cows, one pioneer pundit remarked that his undersize may have been from drinking clam nectar rather than milk.

Here we barely see a 30-something Denny beside his taller wife at the front door to their "Honeymoon Home" at the northeast corner of Front (First Avenue) and Union streets. Alice Kellogg married Denny at the Kellogg family home in Coupeville in 1877. After the reception they caught a boat to Seattle and were greeted with this wedding present from Denny's parents, who lived directly across Union Street. With daughters Florence and Caroline also posing on the porch, the honeymoon is over. Soon a third daughter, Edith, would complete the family quintet.

In the early 1890s the family left their first home and joined the fashionable move to the then-affluent First Hill. Next, in 1907, they chose a remote home site overlooking Lake Washington north of Laurelhurst. They named it Loch Kelden — a contraction from the first syllables of their family names. Denny drove to work every weekday long after he retired as manager of the Denny Land Co.

By the early 1920s Denny's unique survival gave him a totemic status hereabouts. On Founders Day he would be feted, but often had little to say. Early in this sunset career he explained to a reporter his laconic refusal to reminisce. "I might contradict a good many historians."

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

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