McHugh Hall was converted from the Anderson mansion on First Hill.

Share story

LOOKING UP the front steps of Seattle University’s McHugh Hall (the name and address are painted on the steps), we count nine coeds waving to a Seattle Times photographer. The subject was first published in this paper on April 12, 1959, to illustrate a feature by Frances Farrell titled “It’s HOME to Seattle U. Co Ed’s.”

Farrell’s SU journalism instructor advised her to write something for publication, and The Times liked her story on McHugh Hall (her school dorm converted from the Anderson mansion on First Hill) so well that they gave it a full page.

In Jean Sherrard’s “repeat,” Farrell, on the left, stands on Swedish Hospital steps beside Lois Crow. With two others they shared a dorm room on the top floor — upper right in the “then.” Barbara Owen, one of their quartet, waves from the open window.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Farrell chose her subject with enthusiasm. “As upper classmen we wanted someplace with more independence and camaraderie, and we got it at McHugh.” Freshmen and sophomores were housed in Marycrest, a then-new, six-story dormitory. It held none of the ornate charms of a lumber baron’s mansion.

Now to confess: We used the “now” location last May 20 — when I made a big mistake. I had believed for years that our “then” subject that day was Mrs. Anderson posing in her coach in front of her mansion near the southeast corner of Minor Avenue and Columbia Street. But alas, it was Mrs. Burke posing in front of her manse three blocks away. Lois Crow, an acquaintance of mine, discovered my mistake and shared it with me that Sunday morning, a day after I, too, learned of the error, too late to stop the presses.

To read Fran Farrell Vitulli’s Times feature on the Anderson manse, access it through The Seattle Times archive (1900 to 1984) serviced on the Seattle Public Library Web page.

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.