AKA: Seattle First Methodist Homes, Incorporated, Bayview Manor, Queen Anne, Seattle, WA; Bayview Retirement Community, Queen Anne, Seattle, WA

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

Designers: Cawdrey and Vemo, Incorporated, General Contractors (firm); Graham, John and Company, Architects and Engineers (firm); James William Cawdrey (building contractor); John Graham Jr. (architect); Bjarne Vemo (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 1959-1961

10 stories, total floor area: 197,000 sq. ft.

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11 West Aloha Street
Queen Anne, Seattle, WA 98119

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In the Puget Sound area between 1950 and 1960, various charitable groups, some ethnically based and others religious in nature, erected a group of new, large-scale retirement facilities around Puget Sound. Two of the first actually completed were the Methodist-run Wesley Gardens in Des Moines, WA, completed in 1949 and the Norse Home, finished in 1957 by a coalition of Norwegian-American organizations, that took advantage of Federal funding provided for by the Housing Act of 1956. Developments in twentieth-century medicine had enabled the extension of lifespans creating more elderly people, and, after World War II, Americans, who had generally shifted to a "nuclear family" living arrangements where grandparents lived on their own, had to devise ways of caring for elderly and sometimes infirm people. The solution was the "retirement home," an ideally home-like community of elderly people who could live in modern, high-density conditions, obtain high-quality nursing services and even have some luxury amenities to enjoy. The Seattle Times said of the retirement home in 1960: "The idea represents a new concept in living. In luxurious surroundings, with recreational, arts-and-crafts and entertainment facilities at hand, the residents have their own private apartments, many of which have kitchenettes." (See Alice Staples, 'Retirment Home' Apartment Buildings Mushrooming in Seattle Area," Seattle Sunday Times, 12/04/1960, p. 39.) This concept varied greatly in execution from place to place, but, by and large, those operated by faith-based organizations did better in approaching the retirement home's promise.

Building History

Seattle architectural firm, John Graham and Company designed this 10-story, 261-unit retirement facility for Seattle 1st Methodist Home, Incorporated, a corporate entity created by the Seattle 1st Methodist Church. From the exterior, the building resembled a contemporary hotel, a building type that the Graham firm had had significant experience designing since the 1920s. Graham and Company collaborated with the Seattle construction firm of Cawdrey and Vemo, Incorporated, on Bayview Manor. In the years around 1960, the Graham firm had designed three, large-scale retirement facilities in the Puget Sound Region: Bayview Manor, Park Shore in Seattle and Olympic Gardens, the last developed in association with the Bremerton architectural firm of Branch, Branch and Garrison, Architects.

An article surveying a number of new retirement homes being buillt in the area said this of Bayview Manor: "Bayview Manor, a project of Seattle First Methodist Home, Inc., is rising majestically on the site of the old Kinnear estate at the foot of Queen Anne Hill. Its occupants will have a panoramic view of the city and Puget Sound. Virtually all of the 230 living units have been subscribed. the building will be completed by April." (See Alice Staples, 'Retirment Home' Apartment Buildings Mushrooming in Seattle Area," Seattle Sunday Times, 12/04/1960, p. 39.)

Bayview Manor cost in the range of $4,030,000 to build as of 12/1960. At the beginning, residents paid a $9,000 lifetime lease fee and a monthly meals fee to reside here. As noted by Seattle Times reporter Alice Staples, it was unusual for a single church to erect such a large and well-appointed care center. She wrote: "The Rev. Dr. Clark J. Wood, executive director, said the building is unusual in that it is an undertaking of a single church. The sponsoring corporation is a subsidiary of the Seattle First Methodist Church." (See Alice Staples, 'Retirment Home' Apartment Buildings Mushrooming in Seattle Area," Seattle Sunday Times, 12/04/1960, p. 39.) This single-church financing was in contrast to many other retirement facilities being erected by syndicates of churches, usually of the same faith.

In 1963, the facility operated with a staff of 80 full-time and part-time workers.

In 1970, the Graham firm summarized its experience building elder care living towers: "Since 1961 the Graham organization has helped a number of groups organize and develop apartment residences for senior citizens. Seven projects have been completed, including the 256 unit Bayview Manor in Seattle and the 290 unit Arcadia, in Honolulu. Each building contains a variety of public rooms, dining facilities, and a convalescent wing with extensive medical equipment. These self-supporting residences permit older persons to remain in their own communities in apartments carefully designed to create a residential atmosphere." (See John Graham and Company Architects Planners Engineers [Seattle: John Graham and Company, c. 1970], n.p.)

Building Notes

Designed in a tri-partite, hen's-foot plan, Bayview Manor contained 128 single rooms, 50 doubles, and 34 more self-contained, "1 1/2 units." The last type lacked housekeeping services, but had full kitchens with all-electric appliances. The complex also included a 28-bed nursing unit, that could be expanded to 46 beds, two dining rooms--a large one holding 230, and a smaller one for 30--a rooftop guest apartment, infirmary, library, chapel, auditorium, social room, 11 lounges (most 400 square feet in size), a rooftop solarium, laundry, craft room, woodworking shop, a croquet court, and shuffleboard courts. The building had parking accommodations for 92 vehicles, 68 for residents, 24 for guests. Bayview cost $3.6 million to build, exclusive of furnishings. A donor provided the site for no cost.

PCAD id: 19445