Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Bain and Pries, Architects (firm); Hamrick, C.W., Building Contractor (firm); William James Bain Sr. (architect); Clarence W. Hamrick (building contractor); Lionel Henry Pries (architect)

Dates: constructed 1929-1930

2 stories

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1932 Blenheim Drive
Broadmoor, Seattle, WA 98112

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The Pacific Northwest vaudeville promoter and movie exhibitor John Hamrick, Jr., and his wife, Fannie, who made their home in the exclusive Broadmoor neighborhood of Seattle, a tract surrounded on the west, north and east by the Broadmoor Golf Club's course. The Hamricks also had a residence in Palm Springs, CA, where they spent part of the year.

Building History

The recently constituted partnership of Bain and Pries designed this house for theatre owner John D. Hamrick, Jr., (born 1875 in KS–1956) and his new wife, Fannie Marie Schuddings Hamrick (1893-1965). More specifically, Lionel Pries, who had just recently worked in Santa Barbara, CA, and seen the work of significant Spanish Colonial Revival designers there such as George Washington Smith, created a similarly well-detailed essay in the style. Pries was a sophisticated and versatile designer in the revival styles, who would go on to a very influential career as an architecture professor at the University of Washington for twenty years.

Hamrick obtained a building permit for his new residence in late 09/1929. A short notice in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer indicated that Hamrick, by now a well-known member of Seattle society, had filed paperwork with the City of Seattle to erect a large $20,000 residence: "A $20,000 home will be built at 1932 Blenheim Drive for John Hamrick, Seattle motion picture theatre magnate, it was disclosed yesterday in city building permits. C.W. Hamrick is listed as the builder." (See "John Hamrick to Build $20,000 Home," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 09/26/1929, p. 3HH.)

John Hamrick commissioned his brother, Clarence W. Hamrick, to build this modern residence that had many falsely aged, picturesque building details. A longer newspaper article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencerdescribing Hamrick's newly completed dwelling did not mention the names of the architects, but rather focused on C.W. Hamrick's work. It noted the faux weathering done by him: "The home was built by C.W. Hamrick, brother of the theatre proprietor, who was given carte blanche to evolve a home different from anything in Seattle and at the same time utilize the scenic effects offered by the location. The result is a home having the appearance, inside and out, of age, belying the fact that it has been completed less than a month, an effect which has been carried out in detail except where it would conflict with appliances making for comfort and convenience. As an illustration of this studied aging, the floors on the main floor are finished in odd-sized, tongued and grooved oak, edged to give a perceptible crack between the boards. The oak slabs are fastened to the subsurface with screws, countersunk and the hole plugged with wooden pins and the finish treated to suggest wear. Another example of the effort to eliminate 'newness' is found in the beams supporting the living room ceiling. The heavy timbers were cut green and the subsequent drying has produced heavy cracks not possible with seasoned wood." The residence had something of the artifice of a stage set, influenced by the movies shown in Hamrick's Rex, Egyptian, Blue Mouse and Music Box Theatres. The aging suggested that the house had been in situ for many years, adding to the owner's perceived sense of establishment and stature.

While artifically aged, the house had many state-of-the-art touches. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer described some of them: "The other extreme is to be found in the owner's efforts to achieve convenience and comfort. For instance, the turning of a convenient key in the driveway causes the garage doors to open automatically and also flashes lights in the garage and side entrance leading from the garage. Facilities for the previewing of 'talkies' have been provided in the recreation room in the basement where standard sized projection and voice reproducing machines have been mounted. Also there is an electric horse of the type made popular by former President Calvin Coolidge." Calvin Coolidge apparently rode an electric horse mounted in the White House three times a day for exercise and to assist him in losing weight. John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943), a physician who advocated an holistic approach to healthcare, in part founded on the latest medical science and in part on the teachings of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, to which he belonged until he fell out with its hierarchy between 1903 and 1907; due to his deep interest in science, he became "disfellowshipped" in 1907, and the church lost a wealthy and influential advocate. Kellogg believed in the proper balance of bacteria in the digestive tract and, in order to obtain this balance, advocated vegetarianism, abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and sex, photo- and heltiotherapies, exercise, and hydrotherapy, as part of his "Clean Living" approach to life. He also lent his name to Kellogg's Corn Flakes, a breakfast cereal that he felt had multiple health benefits including as an anaphrodisiac.

Hamrick married at least three times, the first time to Nellie May Heite on 06/15/1898 in Kansas City. (See, Source Information Missouri, Jackson County Marriage Records, 1840-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015, accessed 06/05/2019.) He married his second wife, Sybal Irene Timberlake (born 1884 in Kansas City, MO-d. 09/11/1948 in Seattle, WA), on 12/24/1907 in Kansas City, MO, and they continued to live there in 1910. (See, Source Citation Missouri State Archives; Jefferson City, MO, USA; Missouri Marriage Records [Microfilm], accessed 06/05/2019.) His father had been an excavating contractor, and he worked as a residential builder in Kansas City in 1910. (See, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Kansas City Ward 9, Jackson, Missouri; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0087; FHL microfilm: 1240863, accessed 06/05/2019 and, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Kansas Ward 7, Jackson, Missouri; Roll: T624_789; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0188; FHL microfilm: 1374803, accessed 06/05/2019.)

Hamrick got into the lucrative film exhibition business by late 1911 or early 1912. He was listed in the Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1912, (p. 611.) as proprietor of the Queen Anne Theatre, living at 1522 1st Avenue West. He moved on to managing Seattle's Colonial Theatre during 1914-1915, and living at 311 West Garfield Street. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1914, p. 840 and Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1915, p. 785.) A year later, he managed the Rex Theatre and American Theatre in Seattle. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1916, p. 778.)He and Sybal lived very briefly, perhaps as year or so, at 370 Wheeler Street in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, before they separated in either late 1921 or early 1922, with Sybal retaining the house and John first living in the New Washington Hotel (in 1922) and then the Spring Apartment-Hotel at 1100 5th Avenue (1924). (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1922, p. 724 and Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1924, p. 694.) By 1930, Sybal resided with her recently divorced daughter and granddaughter in a residence at 729 West Etruria Street in Seattle in 1930. (See, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Seattle, King, Washington; Page: 25A; Enumeration District: 0060; FHL microfilm: 2342229, accessed 06/05/2019.)

He married Fannie Hamrick sometime in the mid-1920s, and the couple lived at 5637 11th Avenue NE between 1925 and 1926. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1925, p. 671 andSeattle, Washington, City Directory, 1926, p. 691.) Shortly after they married, however, they made plans to build a large, new house in which to start their lives together. Clearly, John had an interest and background in homebuilding, so his aspirations for the new house were high. He retained young but talented architects and commissioned his brother to build this showplace residence. Hamrick, working in movie exhibition, probably had spent some time in Southern CA, and knew that Spanish Colonial Revival houses were preferred by movie stars and wealthier citizens of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara duirng the 1920s. An article published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on 03/12/1925 indicated that Hamrick and his wife left for Los Angeles for a three-to-four week trip. It stated: "Mr. Hamrick is combining business with pleasure and while in Los Angeles he will view a number of productions that are now being made to get a line on features for his string of theatres for next season." (See "John Hamrick on Way to Los Angeles," Seattle Post Intelligencer, 03/12/1925, p. 1HH.) He selected a local architect who had just come from that region, as he sought to reproduce the revivalistic glamour of the houses he had seen down south.

By 1938, Hamrick and his wife remained in the dwelling at 1932 Blenheim, and he was the head of Hamrick Evergreen Theatres, a chain that included the Coliseum, Blue Mouse, 5th Avenue, Music Box, Orpheum and Paramount Theatres in Seattle. Additionally, he also served as the Vice-President of the Cascade Theatres Corporation. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1938, p. 653.) They still lived here in 1951, as well, at which time Hamrick was President of Hamrick Theatres, Incorporated. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1951, p. 519.)

Building Notes

The Hamricks' palatial Spanish Colonial residence had an asking price of $3.895 million in 06/2013.

PCAD id: 21340