The hall, built in 1905, will be the focus of Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s ‘If These Walls Could Talk’ tour.
BACK WHEN THE beaches of West Seattle offered a remote respite from the raucous rebuilding of downtown Seattle, an outpouring of tents, shacks, camps and cottages welcomed visitors for a salty stay. One of the sturdiest of these was in the neighborhood called South Alki, now more plainly Beach Drive. This unique structure was called — and still is — Sea View Hall. It was not really a hall and didn’t sport a view of the sea. But the no-less-compelling vision was of Puget Sound, a vista that remains today from the second and third floors over the rooftops of houses that sit closer to the water’s edge.
Following its 1905 construction in then-unincorporated King County, it hosted “one of the dainty weddings of the season,” the bride being Marguerite Rose Maurer, daughter of the builder, John Mauer. As reported in the Nov. 5, 1905, Seattle Sunday Times, “The house, which is one of the prettiest on the point, was elaborately decorated and lighted only by candles.”
The house’s logs are set vertically rather than horizontally, like the “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum in West Seattle. Sea View, the museum and rustic Bernard Mansion (long the Homestead Restaurant) are Alki Point’s three surviving log houses.
Sea View Hall tour
What: Sea View Hall will be featured in the annual “If These Walls Could Talk” event hosted by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. The tour is an exploration of the hall and a fundraiser for the 33-year-old organization that promotes the heritage of the West Seattle peninsula and operates from the Log House Museum.
When: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, June 4, rain or shine.
Where: 4004 59th Ave. S.W., one block off the beach and near Weather Watch Park.
Cost: For members, a $10 donation; $15 for nonmembers.
More information: Visitors will be welcomed by proprietors Terry Mann and Glen Poor. Displays will detail the history of the home and its once-quaint tourist surroundings. A full presentation on Sea View Hall, plus refreshments and ukulele music, is offered at a VIP session earlier in the afternoon. Learn more at loghousemuseum.info.
Sea View Hall soon became a cherished landmark warranting its own colorful postcard. One example kept in the archive of the Log House Museum and dated June 17, 1911, reads invitingly, “This is a good town having parties here every week. Big time here on the 4th, firing up the street already.”
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Our “then” photo dates from 1954, five years before Benny Goltz and her two sisters moved into the hall when their mother, Margaret, acquired it. Benny recalls the place was then nearly “falling down” so much that banks wouldn’t loan her mother money to purchase it. But, “Mom fell in love with it,” tapped her savings and hired a carpenter to return again and again to “straighten it up,” Benny says. She was married at Sea View Hall in February 1968.
This week’s feature is our return to Sea View Hall, having first reported on it with the postcard photo in a “Now and Then” feature in 2000. We revived our interest because after years of careful restoration and renovation of the hall and its colorful grounds, it is ready for its starring role in the annual “If These Walls Could Talk” home tour of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.