This Belltown row could have been constructed either in the early or late 1890s, prosperous years for a booming Seattle that was being steadily enlarged by new residents.

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VICTORIAN ROW houses like these were once wonderfully commonplace in San Francisco, but not so much here. Our few examples have nearly all been destroyed, even the beauties among them like these.

I know practically nothing about this Belltown row, but I would venture that it was constructed either in the early or late 1890s, prosperous years for a booming town that was being steadily enlarged by new residents.

The print I copied has “Western” penciled on the back, and an early-20th-century pan of Belltown shows this row sitting snugly just downhill and west of its principal business block — on First Avenue between Bell and Battery streets — facing Western Avenue.

Who lived in any of these six ornate flats, beneath their blooming finials, and with their scrolling corbels, box bays, carved panels and playful latticework? I don’t know. I have a 1903 City Directory and considered running my finger down its pages through about 30,000 home listings looking for any of them between 2306 and 2316 Western Avenue. I have done searching like that in the past and find it relaxing — like knitting, I imagine — but this time I declined.

Those big bay windows with splendid views of Elliott Bay were needed because there were, of course, no windows along the sides of at least four of these flats. Families living here were steps away from many services. They were conveniently close to Denny School at Fifth Avenue and Battery Street, and only two blocks from the waterfront.

Finally, we will give thanks for the resident dog that seems to welcome us at the bottom of the photograph.

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at www.pauldorpat.com.