June 1, 2022 - The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board designated The Caroline Horton House (627 14th Ave. E.) to be a Seattle Landmark.
Home of a Prominent Seattle Businesswoman, the Daughter of a Seattle Founder
This 2 ½ story early Pacific Northwest interpretation of the colonial revival style was designed by W.D. Van Siclen. Permit #42513, dated June 2, 1906, allowed builder J.G. Boyle to construct this 51'x35' house for approximately $8,000. The first story of the house is clad in irregularly shaped stone, and the second story is clad in wood shingles. The front portico is supported by stone piers, with a stone baluster. The roof is hipped, with pediment-capped dormers facing east, north, and south. A recent Historical Site Inventory by Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods stated that, "Some changes appear to have been made near the porch, with an entry, side stairs and a window replacement; however, these have little effect on the house's character. Its exterior is amazingly intact given its history." The same inventory suggested that the house appeared to individually meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance and listing in the National Register of Historic Places, and that it contributed to a potential historic district. Nyberg and Steinbreuck's earlier survey of Capitol Hill buildings declared this house as important to the community.
This house was built for Caroline E. Horton, the daughter of one of Seattle's most famous founders, Dexter Horton, a true pioneer banker. Caroline E. Horton was born around 1878 in Washington State, and was named after her mother, Caroline E. (Parsons) Horton, Dexter Horton's second wife. Caroline E. Horton (the daughter) was an early Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Washington. When she moved into the house, she was a single woman of about 29 years old, and her father had died only a few years before. Caroline worked in the family business both before and after her father's death. While her father was alive, Caroline managed the books and studied the details of the business. When her father died she became secretary-treasurer (and primary shareholder) of the Dexter Horton Estate, and managed the estate's considerable assets. It was Caroline Horton's idea to build the Dexter Horton Building, one of the largest office buildings on the west coast, which she built with her cousin. The Dexter Horton Building, an official city landmark, was constructed in 1924 by Samuel H. Hedges' company (whose house is also on the street). Caroline Horton was one of the most prominent businesswomen of her time in Seattle, and the only businesswoman to build one of the early 20th century houses on Millionaire's Row. Also living in this house was Caroline's stepmother, Arabella C. Horton, who was Dexter's third wife (the other two had died years before). In 1904, when Dexter Horton passed away, they had been married 22 years. Also living in this house with Caroline and Arabella was Eliza Hammond, Dexter Horton's niece (via his first wife), who was the widow of Seattle's first shipbuilder, and an active participant in a number of causes to promote women.
Women associated with all three of Dexter Horton's marriages lived in the Caroline Horton house, so he is part of the extended history of the street. Dexter Horton was born in New York, grew up in Illinois, and when he was about 27, traveled with his young family on the Mercer family's wagon train to Oregon. Upon reaching Oregon, Dexter Horton and Thomas Mercer briefly visited Seattle. William Bell gave Horton his first job here, chopping logs in what is now Belltown. Soon they brought their families north. Initially Horton and his wife cooked for the workers at the Port Gamble Mill. Then back in Seattle, Dexter Horton worked at Henry Yesler's saw mill, while his wife cooked for the men. He also worked with Thomas Mercer in his hauling business. Horton then joined a merchandising partnership with Arthur Denny and David Philips, later buying out his partners, and becoming sole-proprietor. Dexter Horton's shop flourished with the growth of Seattle. Being known as a trustworthy man, workers in Seattle asked Horton to keep their money for them, which he hid with his various merchandise. Thus began Horton's banking empire. He purchased a steel safe, and formed the Dexter Horton and Co. Bank. After eighteen years as Seattle's banker, he sold the business. Horton's bank eventually became the Seattle First National Bank (Seafirst, as locals remember), which was bought by Bank of America. After retiring from the banking business, Dexter Horton helped restore the city after the Great Seattle Fire by building the Seattle and New York blocks.
In 1918, Henry Kleinberg rented this house from Caroline E. Horton. Kleinberg, a native of Prussia, entered the country a poor man, but became a very affluent in the hay and grain business, operating near Ellensburg. He owned between 1,500 and 2,000 acres of farm land. Henry Kleinberg and his brother were the first to ship Kittitas Valley hay to the Puget Sound region, and in 1903, the first to ship it to Japan. The Seattle Times called Henry Kleinberg "one of the state's most prominent Jewish citizens." Like Nathan Eckstein, Henry Kleinberg was active in the Temple De Hirsch.
Around 1925, Edward F. Barnum bought the property. He was a partner in the Barnum-Lemcke Company, a firm that dealt in Seattle area real estate, which platted the Glenwilde Addition in what is now the Montlake National Historic Distric. He lived in this house, but also took in lodgers, initiating the house's use as a multifamily dwelling. In the late 20's to 30's, the house became Mary and Martha Hall, a boarding house for young girls, run by St. Marks Church.
This garage was built during the district's historic period, as indicated on the 1917 Sanborn Map. It has been converted into a dwelling with no changes to the overall footprint, and the cladding continues to match the house. However, the garage door has been removed, and the structure has a new entrance.
The original permit from 1906.
The permit announcement from The Seattle Daily Bulletin, June 4, 1906.
On November 25, 1906, the Seattle Sunday Times announced Van Siclen was designing this "handsome home" for Miss Horton.
Dexter Horton was one of Seattle's founders, and its first banker. His daughter Caroline, and third wife Arabella, lived here.
Caroline E. Horton, Dexter's daughter, worked for her father, and managed and developed the Horton real estate holdings after his death. She is the only businesswoman represented on Millionaire's Row.
Arabella Horton, Dexter's third wife, lived here with her step-daughter Caroline.
Caroline and her cousin built Seattle's landmark Dexter Horton Building (shown on the left of this postcard) in honor of her father.
Henry Kleinberg, a resident of this house, was a prosperous hay merchant from Ellensburg.
The house became Mary & Martha Hall, a boarding house for young girls. It was associated with St. Marks, and operated mostly in the 1930's.
W.D. Van Siclen, who designed this house, also designed the Eitel Building (now the State Hotel), which has Seattle Landmark status.
This 1937 photo is from the Washington State Archives.
Nyberg and Steinbrueck's 1975 Inventory cited this house as significant to the Capitol Hill community
A Dept. of Neighborhoods survey notes this house's historic value.
The Caroline Horton House has been designated a Seattle Landmark.