Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Graham and Bodley, Architects (firm); Alfred Bodley (architect); John Graham Sr. (architect/engineer)

Dates: constructed 1904-1907

1551 10th Avenue East
Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA 98102

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Building History

John Leary (1837-1905) was one of the most successful and diversified Seattle businessmen of his time, having interests in banking, logging, mining and railroad building enterprises in WA State. Born in New Brunswick, Canada, Leary lived briefly in ME before venturing to the Pacific Northwest, settling in Seattle in 1869. He passed the WA Territorial bar exam in 1871, legal training giving him an excellent background for making money on the frontier. He married in 1892 to Eliza Ferry Leary (d. 1935), the daughter of the WA Territory's tenth Governor, Elisha Peyre Ferry (1825-1895), who served from 1872 until 1880, and as the WA State's first Governor from 1889-1893.

The Terrys purchased a 15-acre parcel of land in Capitol Hill that featured panoramic views toward Ellott Bay and the Olympic Mountains and included a residence for Eliza's brother, Pierre Ferry, at 1531 10th Avenue East. In 1904, John and Eliza commissioned the architectural firm of Graham and Bodley to design them a grand new residence overlooking the city. During the early stages of construction on the house, two things occurred. John Leary passed away in 1905, and the firm of Graham and Bodley dissolved after only a year. In 1905, Bodley continued a solo practice, taking with him the Leary House commission. While John Leary didn't live to see his the completion of the house, Eliza did and lived in it until her death in 1935. (See City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle Historical SitesSummary for 1551 10th AVE / Parcel ID 2025049121, accessed 03/31/2016.)

Building Notes

This Tudor Revival manor house rambled over its Capitol Hill site, taking its place nearby to residences of Seattle's wealthiest c. 1910. It had an irregular massing, with various roof and dormer forms looking as if they had been added gradually over time. The residence had a prominent castellated tower, perhaps housing a main stairway. It was featured in a Seattle Times pictorial story of 08/31/1919 featuring mansions of the local nobility.