Structure Type: built works - dwellings - housing - housing for the elderly

Designers: Ritchie, Willis, A., Architect (firm); Willis Alexander Ritchie (architect)

Dates: constructed 1892

2 stories

Washington Soldier's Home, Orting, WA

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Willis A. Ritchey (1864-1931), an architect headquartered in Seattle in 1891, designed this old-age home for Civil War veterans. Soon after statehood in 1889, the new State of Washington became increasingly active building an infrastructure of state services including colleges and universities (particularly teacher's colleges), secondary schools, mental health facilities and retirement homes. A contemporary Seattle periodical, the Pacific Magazine stated: "It is well in the mad rush for wealth, we do not forget to embellish our young commonwealth with those institutions which speak a people's gratitude and kindness." (See "The Washington Soldier's Home," Pacific Magazine, vol. 3, no 8, 04/1891, p. 410.)

Ritchie designed this two-story retirement home in the then modern Colonial Revival Style. The building had several touches that vaguely recalled Mount Vernon, the home of America's best-known war veteran, George Washington, including a comparable hipped roof and cupola and similar attic dormers with oval fanlights. This building, had its own character, however, with its irregular shape and wrap-around, first-floor porch with an attached porte-cochère.

The State of WA passed "House bill No. 51, by Mr. Bisson: 'An act establishing a state road and sidewalk from the city of Orting to the Washington Soldiers' Home, and appropriating money for its construction.'" (See House Journal of the Sixth Legislature of the State of Washington, Begun and Held at Olympia, the State Capital, January 9, 1899" [Olympia: Gwin Hicks, State Printer], p. 52.)

PCAD id: 19383