Gargoyle #13

Note: This post was originally published on my personal website, Just Wondering. Some of the links go to that website. In particular, those links referencing the “hunt” post to which this post is the solution, link to Just Wondering instead of back to the home page here on GSGH.

I’ve been really busy lately (in a good kind of way) and I haven’t even done the solution post for Gargoyle #12 yet, but I promised Issy another limerick for #13 so I thought I’d best get to it. Our resident slayer has put up two more crisp wins. Gargoyle #13 turns out, as Issy rightly declared, to be on the Caroline Kline Galland Building on the southwest corner of Second Avenue and University Street.

Gargoyle #13. I included some of the building’s name because I had thought this hunt would be harder.

Although I have taken a few photos of it both intentionally and incidentally I know almost goose-egg about this structure. The only history I have with it is that I fell in love with a painting called “Oakley Doakley” by Idaho artist Jerri Lisk, which hung until it was sold in the Patricia Rovzar Gallery, which occupies the corner space at the street level. (The gallery rotates its artists and it just happens that Lisk is the featured artist again as I write this, so if you’re curious you can stroll by and have a look at her style.)

One of Seattle’s early steel-frame buildings. Not having to rely on brick or stone for load bearing enabled exterior walls with larger windows. Hey, perfect for art galleries!

What’s in the name? The Bavarian-born Caroline Roseberg wed two men, first the successful Seattle clothier Louis Kline and then the retired successful San Francisco merchant and Seattle philanthropist Bonham Galland, outliving both of them. She had Max Umbrecht design this little investment for her, supposedly in 1906, though I can’t figure out why, if that’s really the date of design, the lions’ medallions clearly announce “1905”, unless building supply companies sold year-old lions back then the way shops sell day-old loaves of bread.

The Caroline Kline Galland Building shortly after it was completed, with the kind of massive overhanging cornice that invariably seemed like a bad idea after an earthquake. The construction date is listed on records as 1906, but the lions and I have our doubts. Image courtesy of University of Washington Libraries.

Ms. Galland died childless only a year or two after the building was completed, and all of her many real estate holdings — except this building — were sold to fulfill her wish that her wealth “may bring to the lives of the aged men and women … the greatest degree of contentment and happiness in their declining years.” Annual income from the Galland building was used to build the Caroline Kline Galland Home for the Aged and Feeble Poor, which, according to a Samis Land Company document I dug up from 2007, was at that time still operating in Seward Park and still equipped to care for 205 residents. The document is here and it includes a lot of interesting old photos which are unfortunately very low resolution, but it’s still worth a look.

This angle from a parking tower up the street shows the top floor with its outdoor patio. I can’t tell from earlier photos if this was original or added later. If anyone knows, say.

It’s no surprise to me that this building turns out to be a Samis building. Sam Israel bought the building in 1969 from the trustees of Galland’s estate, the Seattle Title and Trust Company. I wonder if it was because like Galland, Israel was a philanthropist who had a passion for helping fellow Jews. I once heard this about Sam Israel, though I don’t know how true it is or isn’t: he bought up a lot of old properties in Seattle and sat on them. He didn’t improve or update the properties but he wouldn’t sell them either, which made developers crazy in the 1960s when they were tearing down the old brick and stone city to build a new one in sleek concrete. I heard that he’d keep the roofs in good repair to protect the investment, but he was deaf to tenant complaints and appeals for other improvements. He channeled the rent money from his properties into charities that benefited Jews and the nation of Israel.

It’s kind of an odd duck, really, Chicago at the front with some winking Frank Lloyd off the side of the top. From this angle, the top floor looks integral to the original design. Someone please invite me up.

During Israel’s later years, the old properties around his were all torn down and the lots redeveloped and the streetscape of Seattle changed gaggingly for the worse, but the buildings Israel owned are now civic treasures. Thank you Sam for your miserly refusal to stoke the engines of Progress, and thank you Caroline for your many gifts to humanity, including this belioned building.

And thanks to Issy once more for your unflagging enthusiasm in keeping the game afoot. Here’s another limerick for Seattle’s winnin’est gargoyle hunter.

That Isabelle is quite a gal, and
she found our last cat on the Galland.
A gargoyle she’ll tether
regardless of whether
it’s footed or finnéd or talon’d.

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One response to “Gargoyle #13

  1. Pingback: Gargoyle #13 | The Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt

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