Wednesday, May 04, 2016 This Week's Paper

Visit historical homes of Tacoma in self-guided tour

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Tacoma Historical Society's Historical Homes of Tacoma Tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, and 1 - 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets for the self-guided tour cost $25, and they are available downtown at the Historical Society Museum, the Pacific Northwest Shop, Stadium Thriftway, and Columbia Bank branches located in Fircrest, at 21st and Pearl Street, South 19th Street and at Union Avenue. This is the non-profit Historical Society's biggest fundraiser.
Central Lutheran Church, 409 N. Tacoma Ave., will serve as reception center for the event, which will include stops at the majestic Rust Mansion on North Yakima Avenue, plus five more venerable homes in Tacoma's Stadium Seminary District. The Historical Society has provided descriptions for this year's stops.
Rust Mansion

Frederick Heath, renowned Tacoma architect, designed this magnificent 9,475-square-foot mansion for William R. and Helen Rust in 1911. Heath’s plans were released for construction bids in September 1911, and the general construction contract, awarded to Plympton and Messer, was announced on Oct. 1, 1911. Construction was most likely completed by the end of 1912. The first — and much larger — Rust Mansion at 1001 North I Street, designed by Ambrose Russell in the colonial style, was built in 1905.
Blackwell Mansion

Architect and general contractor Andrew H. Smith designed and built this stunning 12-room home of 6,635 square feet for William B. and Alice Blackwell in the 1890s. The construction cost was said to be about $25,000. Smith, who moved to Tacoma in 1888, designed and built a number of residences, including the Chauncey Griggs residence at 401 Tacoma Ave. N. (now the site of Central Lutheran Church). Smith moved to Seattle in 1900 and in 1904 to Wenatchee.
Osgood - Anderson House

Albert Sutton designed an 11 room American stick-built home for George R. and Carrie Osgood in 1893 at a cost of $3,500. Sutton, a rising architect in Tacoma’s early decades, formed the firm of Sutton & Whitney in 1912 and designed many Tacoma landmarks, including the Rust Building, the National Bank of Washington, Annie Wright Seminary and Jones Hall at the University of Puget Sound. George Osgood came to Tacoma in 1887. With W. C. Wheeler and D. D. Clarke, Osgood founded the Wheeler-Osgood Co. in 1889. The company grew to became the world’s largest maker of wooden doors, and later, a major plywood manufacturer.
Hopkins-Crocker House

This 10 room home was constructed in 1897 in the Victorian stick-built style for John L. and Kate Hopkins. Neither architect nor builder is known. Hopkins was the general agent of the Northern Pacific Express Co. He sold the home to Benjamin D. and Mary P. Crocker in 1903. Benjamin Crocker was the internal revenue collector for Washington and Alaska and also very active in state politics. In 1911, after the death of her husband, Mary Crocker hired William E. Fair to make extensive modifications to the house. The entire roof was removed and replaced with one in craftsman-style and separate hip roofs both front and rear. The front entrance, which had faced Yakima Ave., was relocated to face North 8th St. The original porch was removed, and a new craftsman-style porch was installed for the new entrance. These changes completely transformed the home’s exterior character and style. In 1913, Mrs. Crocker married Edwin C. Blanchard, a Northern Pacific Railroad executive in charge of the railroad division west of Paradise, Montana.
Long House

This federal-style, 3,900-square-foot brick-veneer home, designed by Russell, Lance, and Muri, was constructed in 1941 as a four-story, four-unit apartment building. The builder and owner was Joseph L. Long, president of Atlas Foundry and Machinery Company and American Plumbing & Steam Company in Tacoma, and president of the Long Foundry Co. in Hoquiam. The “Russell” in the architectural firm’s name, was that of famed Tacoma architect Ambrose Russell, who died in 1938. Gaston Lance, the senior member of the two remaining partners and the architect of Long’s apartment house, was born in Romania of French parents, orphaned at an early age and educated in Paris. Self-trained in architecture, he was in addition, a very skilled draftsman, carpenter and machinist. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1906, ending up in Seattle, where he is reported to have designed the Chinese pavilion for the 1909 Alaska, Yukon, & Pacific Exposition. In the early 1920s, now living in Tacoma, H. C. Weaver recognized Lance’s talents and hired him as the Art Director of Weaver Productions, his new film company. Lance designed and oversaw the construction of the enormous film production studio Weaver erected on a 5.5 acre site at Titlow Beach. After the studio closed in 1928, Lance took a position with Ambrose Russell, who made him a partner in 1930.
Virges House

In 1903, famed Tacoma architect Carl Darmer designed this stately colonial-revival home for William and Anna Virges. In 1913, the Virgeses remodeled and expanded the home (at a cost of $25,000). A redesign by Darmer’s partner, Everett Cutting, added the south wing, a solarium and a carriage house, bringing the total square footage of the main house to 4,974.

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