Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Bebb and Mendel, Architects (firm); Charles Herbert Bebb ; Louis Leonard Mendel Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1902-1903

2 stories, total floor area: 7,900 sq. ft.

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421 West Highland Drive
Seattle, WA 98119-3531

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Building History

Bebb and Mendel produced this design for the lumberman, A.S. Kerry, Sr., (1866-1939); the house, in altered form, stands on the SE corner of Highland Drive and 5th Avenue West; Kerry also commissioned a notable residence in the Highlands undertaken by Andrew Willatsen (1876-1974), c. 1912. A watercolor presentation drawing was illustrated in the book, Seattle Architecturally 1902 (Seattle: Dearborn Printing Company, 1902). (See M. Hume, "Residence of Mr. Albert S. Kerry," Seattle Architecturally 1902, [Seattle: Dearborn Printing Company, 1902], np.) As shown in the watercolor, Bebb and Mendel produced a very modern, horizontal design, one that had a much more regular rectangular form than the wildly varied massing of Queen Anne Style houses popular during the 1880s-1890s. Cladding materials were also simplified; the first floor was clad in ashlar masonry, the second in shingles. A shallowly-pitched hipped roof covered the dwelling, its rafters left exposed like a bungalow of the era. Second floor windows had English diamond-paned glass. Extensive porches were planned outside the main entry and in the rear. Seattle Symphony Conductor Gerard Schwarz and his wife, Jody, resided in the house between 1995-2012. Before Schwarz, the Burke Family owned the property.

Building Notes

The UW Library Department of Special Collections has plans, elevations and detail drawings for the Kerry House; seeAccessed 08/14/2009. The floor plan is dated 06/1902. In 2012, the five-bedroom, 6-bath Kerry House occupied a 22, 500-square-foot lot and contained 7,900 square feet of living space. The house also included a huge 2,720-square-foot garage. House and land had an assessed value of $2,708,000 in 2012.

In 1893, Albert S. Kerry, the yard foreman of the OI Company's Sawmill, lived on Commercial Street (later 1st Avenue South) on the southeast corner of Lane Street. (See R.L. Polk's Seattle City Directory, 1893, p. 271.)

When President William Howard Taft came to Seattle's Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909, Albert S. Kerry, along withH.C. Henry, C.J. Smith, and W.A. Peters, were selected to play two rounds of golf with the visiting dignitary. (See"Golfers chosen for games with President Taft. H.C. Henry, C.J. Smith, A.S. Kerry and W.A. Peters to have honor. Two contests are set," University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division, Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Scrapbook No. 14-SP: Sept. 17--Oct. 16, 1909, p. 57.)


A 520-square-foot, concrete pool was added to the grounds in 1930.

A fire in 1938 destroyed the house's attic and necessitated a large-scale remodeling. The third floor was never rebuilt. (See Barbara Huston, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Queen Anne tour finds charm--circa 1969," 09/19/1983, p. D1.)