AKA: 431 Harvard Avenue North House, Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA; Madame Pless's Accredited Day and Boarding School

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses; built works - public buildings - schools - elementary schools; built works - public buildings - schools - middle schools

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: [unspecified]

2 stories

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431 Harvard Avenue North
Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA 98102

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Building History

Seattle businessman Joseph A. Baillargeon (born 02/06/1856 in Canada-d. 1936 in Seattle, WA) constructed this Colonial Revival residence c. 1900. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1900, p. 160.)A widower in 1910, Baillargeon, a native of French Canada, continued to live here, according to the US Census, with his children Mary L. (born c. 1886 in WA), Joseph Cebert (born 12/14/1888 in Seattle, WA-d. 12/15/1964 in Seattle, WA), Emma L. (born c. 1888 in WA), John A. (born c. 1891 in WA), and Abbie C. (born c. 1893 in WA). In addition, Baillargeon had two live-in servants at the time, Millie Karnel (born c. 1893 in Austria-Germany) and Mary Karnel (born 1885 in Austria-Germany). (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Seattle Ward 7, King, Washington; Roll: T624_1660; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0137; FHL microfilm: 1375673, accessed 11/05/2018.)

Baillargeon immigrated to the US in 1867, at the age of 11, entering at Port Huron, MI. He lived from 1883 until 1936 in Seattle. He was naturalized in Seattle in 1884. By 1922, he had taken six trips abroad, perhaps in part to scout out new merchandise in Europe, as he noted in a US passport application of that year. In 1922, he intended to travel to France, Italy, Belgium, and the British Isles for four months. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2083; Volume #: Roll 2083 - Certificates: 212476-212849, 15 Aug 1922-17 Aug 1922, accessed 11/05/2018.)

Later, Myra Pless (born c. 1876-1956) founded her day and boarding school in 1915 and operated it until 1932; Pless was born in Alsace-Lorraine, and educated at the University of Lille, France, and the University of Zurich, Switzerland. The teaching of French was a school specialty. According to a 1927 catalog, it comprised a "Junior High School, all grades and a Kindergarten for Girls and Junior Boys." At this time, the school, housed in a residence, "...contained 23 rooms, 6 bath rooms, 2 playgrounds--out and indoors--and a Patrician atmosphere prevails in the house in conformity with the good manners the Pless pupils have always been known for. " (See Mme. Pless' [sic] Accredited Day and Boarding School for Girls with Primary and Grade Work for Boys, [Seattle: Miss Pless's School, 1927], n.p.) Seven years earlier, in 1920, the school had 25 pupils, mostly girls.

Building Notes

This house was a cubic Colonial Revival building, with a residue of Victorian complication to it. Unlike most Colonial Revival residences c, 1905, this block did not have bi-lateral symmetry. Its front facade had a projecting front porch wrapping around one first-floor corner and a bay window on the opposite side; The second floor fenestration was composed of three window groupings, a pair of double-hung openings on the end and an oriel in the center. A window pair on one side was trimmed above by a swan's neck broken pediment. A wall dormer on one side of the house had a balustraded parapet and was balanced by arched gables on either side of it. This same side facade also had a large projecting first floor bay window, its friezes decorated with carved garlands; the roof of the bay served as a porch for a second floor room.


The Baillargeon House was razed.

PCAD id: 16670