AKA: Pontius Mansion, Seattle, WA; Mother Ryther Home for Orphans #2, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Parkinson and Evers, Architects (firm); Cecil Louis Calvert Evers (architect); John Parkinson (architect)

Dates: constructed 1889, demolished 1930

3 stories

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1262 Denny Way
Denny Regrade, Seattle, WA 98109

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Margaret Pontius House was located on Denny Way near Yale Avenue.

Building History

English-born architect John Parkinson (1861-1935) worked first in Seattle, WA, with Cecil C. Evers; Parkinson and Evers designed the Pontius House in the prevailing Queen Anne Style. Both Evers and Parkinson left Seattle after the onset of an economic depression in 1893. The latter architect would go on to have a remarkably productive career as an architect in Los Angeles.

Paul Dorpat has noted that Rezin Pontius migrated to Seattle from OH in 1865. His wife, Margaret, joined him soon after that with their family. It appears that he acquired significant real estate holdings and prospered for a time in Seattle, although his name was mentioned in at least three lawsuits over money, both as a plaintiff and a defendant. One may have been especially important. In 1878, he and Martin Van Buren Stacy (1837-1901), an important real estate broker, were sued over a promissory note by the pioneer landowner Arthur Denny (1822-1899) and the shopkeeper and banker Dexter Horton (1825-1904). What this suit tells us is that Pontius was working and squabbling with some of Seattle's most prominent businessmen.

His troubles mounted, for in 1880, Margaret Pontius sued him for divorce. According to Dorpat, Rezin fled to CA, without his wife knowing his location; he lived there for some time until he returned to live with his son, Frank, toward the end of his life. Margaret, using the apparently significant funds at her disposal, commissioned Parkinson and Evers to design this elaborate, three-story, Queen Anne style residence. She lived in this house until her death in 1902; three years later, her children rented the building to the City Mission Home, also known as the Mother Ryther Home for Orphans, serving as an orphanage until 1919.

The Margaret Pontius Mansion, designed by the notable but short-lived firm of Parkinson and Evers, stood until 1930 as one of the most remarkable examples of Queen Anne Style architecture in Seattle. The 1890 Polk's City Directory noted the location of the Pontius House to have been on the "north side of Depot 1, east side of Lincoln." The 1901 Polk's Directory indicated that Margaret Pontius, lived at 1262 Denny Way.

Alterations to the house were made no doubt during the transition from private residence to orphanage in 1905.

Demolished; the Pontius House was torn down in 1930. As Paul Dorpat has indicated, the Pontius Mansion was leveled to make way for a North Coast Transportation Company bus garage. (See Paul Dorpat, Dorpat Sherrard Lomont, "The Pontius Mansion,"Accessed 01/16/2014.)

PCAD id: 334