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THIS GRAND three-floor West Seattle lodge-size home with a rustic porch and veranda looks west from about 350 feet above Puget Sound and six irregular blocks west of the highest point in Seattle. (Seattle’s unmarked summit is in the alley between 35th and 36th Avenues Southwest, south of the Water Department standpipes on Southwest Myrtle Street. At about 522 feet high, the alley is higher up than Queen Anne Hill by more than 50 feet.)

The address here is 7448 Gatewood Road S.W., which runs at a slant through the hill’s otherwise generally compass-conforming grid of streets and avenues. Most of these are crowded with homeowners who respect their neighbors’ open views of the Olympic Mountains by landscaping their lots low. Here on Gatewood Road, however, the Olympics are rarely seen, except in winter from the bedroom windows on the third floor. The home is nestled in the shade of one of the greenbelts that interrupt the open sweep of the hill.

Surely a good sampling of the residences on this graceful western slope of West Seattle are homes with big families, but few of them also have eight bedrooms like this one had in 1910 when the English/Canadian couple Francis John and Pontine Ellen Harper built it for themselves, their five children, John, Frances, Macdonald, Cecil and Margaret, and more. A different Margaret, Margaret Hayes, the present owner since 1987, was told that 16 were living in the big house in the beginning.

Five families in all lived here through what the Southwest Seattle Historical Society calls The Gatewood Craftsman Lodge’s 104-year history. Representatives for all of them will be on hand June 22 when the society and present owner host another of the society’s annual home tours titled “If These Walls Could Talk.” The public is invited; for details call the Log House Museum at 206-938-5203.

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We give special thanks to the “house history” done by Bethany Green and Brad Chrisman of the tour committee.

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at