The Harvard-Belmont District encompasses an exclusive residential area on the
western slope of Capitol Hill. Seattle was the departure point for the
Yukon gold rush, and an event which created a new class of wealthy people.
These individuals attempted to indicate their prominence in various ways:
they joined elite social organizations like the Arctic
Club or paid for the construction of skyscrapers such as the Hoge
Building. In 1901 Seattle railroad builder H. C. Henry established
another method for indicating new-found status when he decided to locate
his home in the Harvard-Belmont neighborhood rather than on the traditionally
important, but increasingly middle-class First Hill.
Claiming that "no money will be spared in making this residence as handsome
as any on the West Coast," Henry kicked off a decade-long building frenzy.
Seattle citizens of similar social and economic means hired both local
and Eastern architects, who by 1910 had designed more than 45 large Victorian,
Neo-classical, Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival Houses in the Harvard-Belmont
neighborhood. Although a streetcar line passed through Capitol Hill, this
area did not become a "streetcar suburb." Its wealthy inhabitants instead
used the newly developed automobile for transportation. H. C. Henry became
a founding member of the area's automobile club, and erected a five-car
garage with an upstairs apartment for his chauffeur well before automobiles
were widely used. In the following decades Prairie Style houses, apartment
buildings, the Cornish School, and the Century Women's Club were added
to the neighborhood. Throughout the years, the Harvard-Belmont Historic
District has remained a prestigious neighborhood of carefully tended gardens,
tree-shaded streets and picturesque, elegant homes.
The Harvard-Belmont Historic District is located just west of Volunteer
Park, and is roughly bounded by Bellevue Pl., and Broadway, Boylston
and Harvard aves. The buildings within the district are private and
not open to the public.
Harvard-Belmont Historic District
(above and below)
Photographs by Mark Peckham