626 14th Ave E

Robert Tripple House

Built: 1902

Where Lived the Owner of Seattle's Oldest Existing Restaurant

  • Style: Foursquare
  • Architect: Henry Dozier
  • Builder: Davis & Comstock

This 2 ½ story American Foursquare house was designed by Henry Dozier. It is the second oldest residence in the district. A June 20, 1902 permit, #14827, allowed Davis & Comstock to build a 31'x50' structure at a cost of $4,000. The first floor of the building is brick. A small frieze separates this level from the next, which is a rough-finished stucco. Most of the windows have leaded glass. A bay window arcs from the north side of the first floor. The 2nd floor's upper left and right sections, as viewed from the street, appear as oriels, extending from the house, supported by brackets. The front porch, with brick piers, is inset under the second floor. Very little of the external appearance of the house has changed since the district's period of significance. One exception is that a garage was built into the basement level of the house on the north side, but this has little effect on the overall appearance of the house. A recent Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Historic Site Inventory notes that this house, an early example of the Foursquare design, was featured in a December 20, 1902 edition of The Argus newspaper, where the simplicity of the architecture was praised. The Argus article stated, "Among the many beautiful homes lately built on Capitol Hill, the one shown above is a notable example of the beauty and dignity of simplicity and elegance. Cultured taste recognizes in its complete harmony of detail, graceful lines and broad surfaces an unquestioned elegance. Contrasted with examples of architecture that rely upon startling effects of color and outline to attract attention, this building affords a most pleasing relief." The Site Survey indicates that changes to the house's plan, cladding, and windows were all slight, giving it a high degree of integrity. This house was listed in Nyberg and Steinbreuck's 1975 Capitol Hill architectural inventory as significant to the community.


Robert A. Tripple, the first owner of this house in 1902, was also the original owner of a house across the street (#633), built in 1907. Not only do the houses share the same first owner, they share the same architect.

Around 1908, Tripple sold this house to Frank (Frances) X. Schreiner. Frank Schreiner was born in Germany around 1860, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1876. He became somewhat affluent in the Klondike, and purchased the Merchants Cafe from its original owner, Charles Osner in 1898. The Merchants Cafe, a combination restaurant and saloon, still operates in Pioneer Square at 109 Yesler Way. The Merchants Cafe has the distinction of being Seattle's oldest currently-operating restaurant. Frank X. Schreiner operated a makeshift "Sunday Bank" out of the Cafe. Miners would exchange their gold for cash on weekends, and Schreiner would bring their gold to the bank on Mondays. Back in the Gold Rush days, a brothel operated upstairs. With the exception of a brief closure due to a rent dispute, the Cafe has operated continuously since 1890. Schreiner also owned the Bank Liquor Company (with Louis M. Ruis), and was president of the Crown Liquor Company.

Additional Material

Building Permit

The original permit from 1902. This is one of the oldest houses on the street. Note the house number has since changed from 628 to 626.

Permit Announcement

The permit announcement from The Daily Bulletin, June 23, 1902, and the announcement of the building bids.

Robert A. Tripple

Robert A. Tripple, the first owner, worked with James Moore to develop Capitol Hill, and served in the Washington State House in 1921, 1925, 1927, and 1929.

Frank X. Schreiner

Frank (Franz) X. Schreiner, the second owner of the house, owned the Merchants Cafe, where he also ran a "Sunday Bank" for prospectors, swapping gold for cash.

Merchants Cafe

Schreiner's Merchants Cafe is Seattle's oldest existing restaurant. It was a speakeasy during Prohibition, with gambling downstairs and a brothel upstairs.

Featured in Moore Ad

This photo is from an ad in the Seattle Mail and Herald, December 20, 1902, p. 15. "Under the Management of the Moore Investment Company, Capitol Hill has Become One of the Most Desirable Residence Districts in the City."

Archive Photo

This 1937 photo is from the Washington State Archives.

Capitol Hill Inventory

Nyberg and Steinbrueck's 1975 Inventory cited this house as significant to the community.

Historical Survey

A Dept. of Neighborhoods survey notes this house's historic value.