Owned for nearly a century by descendants of the original family, the Polson residence is one of Queen Anne’s grand historic homes, touched only lightly by past remodeling. Our work included extensive exterior preservation and restoration, highlighted marvelously by a new color scheme. On the interior the kitchen and eating area was reconfigured to create one space for cooking and family dining that takes advantage of the home’s panoramic views and opens out to a new porch and private garden. Selective remodeling and improvements elsewhere in the home have rejuvenated and prepared it for the next century of family life.
Perry Polson traveled far before arriving at his new Seattle home in the spring of 1908. Born on a farm along the southwest coast of Sweden in 1854, Polson emigrated with his family to Illinois in 1868. By 1871 Polson and his father Olaf were on the move again, first traveling to California then up the coast to Portland until finally arriving in La Conner, Washington where they purchased farmland in the fertile Skagit River delta. Ever ambitious, Perry Polson soon left farming to try logging in British Columbia then returned to La Conner to marry Kate Hinckley and open a farm implement business. Perry and Kate quickly grew the business to be among the largest implement dealers in the Northwest, and in 1896 moved to Seattle just in time to outfit miners headed north in the Klondike Gold Rush.
In 1904 Kate and Perry decided to move their family from bustling downtown to the prestigious south slope of Queen Anne Hill. To design their home the Polsons turned to the architectural partnership of Timotheus Josenhans and Norris B. Allen who together had gained a reputation for finely detailed residences as well as commercial structures and buildings at the new University of Washington campus. While Josenhans and Allan were already familiar to the Polsons having designed a four-story brick warehouse for the implement company, it was probably the firm’s substantial residential designs for clients like Patrick Sullivan, a prominent boiler maker, or Alden Blethen, editor of the Seattle Times, that were even more appealing. The home Josenhans and Allan designed for the Polsons was their last large residential commission and was richly appointed with fine paneling, hand-painted wallpaper, and large porches and windows offering views of the city and Sound from nearly every room.
On April 12, 1908 the Seattle Sunday Times announced that “Perry Polson has recently moved into his new home at First Avenue and Highland Drive.” Three of their four children joined Kate and Perry in the new home, which remained the hub of Polson family life for nearly a century, the site of weddings, funerals, birthdays, and countless holiday celebrations until finally – and reluctantly – it was sold to a non-family member in 2004.