Share story

THE LITTLEFIELD Apartments, a Capitol Hill neighborhood landmark at the corner of 19th Avenue East and East John Street, was described as 58 years old in a Seattle Times story about its 1968 sale to Arthur Kneifel. For his $120,000, Kneifel got a classic brick apartment house with 28 units. Less than a year later, Kneifel got his cash back and $38,000 more when he sold the Littlefield to Benno A. Nuetzmann.

Through the Littlefield’s early years of enticing renters, its classifieds in The Times used many of the stock descriptions for such a distinguished residence. When West and Wheeler, one of the real-estate gorillas of the time, announced in 1916 that “this pleasantly located, new brick veneer building has just been placed in our charge,” the unfurnished two- and three-room apartments rented for $18 to $27.50 a month. And in 1916 it was possible to see some light and a “view of Lake Washington” because of the neighborhood’s turn-of-the-century clear-cutting.

Through the 1920s, West and Wheeler described this property as “quiet and homelike,” “beautifully furnished,” in “perfect condition,” “modern” and “reasonable” to rent. In the mid-’20s the real-estate agents promoted “overstuffed furniture” in the apartment’s furnished flats. In late 1931 a modern and “completely refinished” three-room front-corner apartment was offered for $37 a month. It was a Depression-time bargain — for the still employed.

The Littlefield, of course, had its run of managers. Perhaps the most unlucky among them was Robert Milender. Twice in 1972, visitors, on the pretense of wanting to rent a unit, instead robbed and pummeled Milender in his own apartment.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at