Friday, September 4, 2015

Q. Bertha Solberg purchased land on west Queen Anne hill (1893)

Charen Blankenship (Olympia) asks ...
"I found the Warranty Deed which says: 'purchased by Bertha Solberg on May 27, 1893 for $500.00, Lot 32 in Block 144 of the Gilman's Addition to Seattle.' Where is this property?"

Good Question!

A. (answer) It took a bit of digging, but I've uncovered the following information.

"The GILMAN'S ADDITION to the City of Seattle comprises the following tracts of land; all lying and situated in Township Twenty-five (25) North of Range Three (3) East of the Willamette Meridian, in King County, State of Washington, to wit, - The H. A. Smith Donation Claim, Number Forty-one, the E. N. Smithers Donation Claim Number 10, Lots one (1), two (2), four (4) and five (5) of Section Fourteen (14), the Northeast quarter of the Northwest quarter of said Section Fourteen, also Lots one (1), two (2), and three (3) of Section Twenty-three, also Lots one (1) and three (3) of Section Twenty-four (24); also Lot six (6) of Section Eleven (11) excepting out of said lands, above described ..."

Locating the specific 'block' and 'lot' took some deeper research. I solicited the expert advice of the archivist of the King County Archives. Below is a small sub-section of the 1890 map that accompanied the 'addition' description shown above. In the center of the image, on the right hand side of the page, you will see Block #144.  West Ray Street is on the north end of the block, and West Wheeler Street is on the south end. In this image, Lot #32 is on Sixth Ave, about the center of the block - just below the first number '4' in Block 144.

The second image is from the 1912 Baist Map. The left-hand one-third of this 1912 map is roughly the same geographic area as all of the 1890 map. You'll notice that some of the street names have been changed, so that this Lot 32 in Block 144 is now on 12th Ave W. The street names were changed on December 23, 1895 (City of Seattle Ordinance 4044).  (Gilman, W. Ray and W. Wheeler still have the same names as they had in 1890, however.)  In 1912, there appears to be no built structure on this piece of land. 

When I pulled up the King County Parcel Viewer, I found that this piece of land has a single family home on it that was built in 1969. The present-day address is 2541 12th Ave W (98119). The lot is on the western slope of Queen Anne Hill that looks west across Interbay Golf and the Interbay P-Patch toward Magnolia.

Below is an aerial view of the property as it looks today, in 2014. The top of the image is north. 

Hope this answers the question. :) 


Mabel Rockness is a very dear friend of mine. She is three months younger than my mother.  I first met her at the Sons of Norway in Ballard, Washington, sometime in the late 1990s. I had moved to Seattle from St. Paul, Minnesota in February 1992 to take a job with the American Red Cross. My mother came to Seattle to look for an apartment for me. This 100% Norwegian mother found me an apartment in Ballard, just two blocks from the Sons of Norway lodge. :)  She sponsored me, and paid for my first year of membership with the lodge.

Gotta love that.

As it turns out, Mabel was also a member of the Lutheran church that I joined in 1994 - Phinney Ridge Lutheran on Greenwood Avenue at 75th Street, in the Phinney neighborhood. Over the years I have grown to adore this woman. Her ready smile and great hugs just melt my heart. Ten years ago I got married, and she organized women from the lodge and church to make seven kinds of Norwegian cookies for our wedding reception -- which took place at the Leif Erickson Sons of Norway lodge

Fast forward to 2015
On many occasions Mabel and I have discussed all things Norwegian. She's been my teacher and my friend. On Sunday August 16, Mabel organized a 'cousin reunion' for her Solberg cousins, of which there are many. She invited me as her guest, and asked that I share some of the information that I have discovered about the Solberg family -- a fascinating family history, with hundreds of wonderful anecdotes. Mabel gave me the names of 10 cousins she knew would be at the party, in the community room of the Norse Home -- where Mabel now lives. I made handouts for 10. 

When all had arrived and had gone through the smorgasbord (pot luck), there were about 45 to 50 people there!  I was stunned. Mabel introduced me, and I then shared some of what I had learned. Afterwards many family members came up to thank me for the work that I had done. In addition, many offered more details and stories, and referenced artifacts that they had. I exchanged email with several people. 

The Blog!
There were so many in attendance, and many more who wanted to be but had other commitments. I've been trying to think of a way to share what I've discovered with all who are interested. What came to mind was to write a blog.  The plan is to write periodic posts about the Solberg family. I'll post what I learn, as well as answers to questions posed by people who read the blog. That way, all will be 'kept in the loop.' 

As for Mabel. Well, she's not on the internet, nor are her brother Andy and his wife Torbjørg, who also now live at the Norse Home. I've made a commitment to Mabel to print out the blog postings, and give them to her to read and share as she pleases. As for the rest of the Solberg Clan -- you can subscribe to this blog (look to the right), and you will be notified whenever a blog post is uploaded. 

Make sense?   

I'm doing this because of the love and admiration that I have for Mabel.