Share story

Sketched March 6, 2012

About

Seattle Times news artist Gabriel Campanario has been capturing Seattle's places and people in hand-drawn sketches for more than a decade. To see past columns, visit the Seattle Sketcher home page. Prints, notecards and a book of Campanario’s sketches are available for sale through The Seattle Times store. You may also fill out an illustration request to order a specific image.

The ghostly doorway of the half-demolished Alfaretta apartments hides the massive ruins of what used to be a typical building on First Hill, a five-story apartment house built in 1918.

How did it come to this? Neighbors told me plans to build condos fell through during the 2008 financial crisis and demolition came to a halt.
Now work may resume with the construction of a proposed 31-story high-rise that would become the tallest building to date on First Hill and among the tallest residential towers in the city.

The project would clear the Seneca Street eyesore, add a new access to the adjacent Freeway Park and bring more density to quiet “Pill Hill,” but it worries some neighbors, who say a 300-foot tower is of out of scale for the neighborhood.

Early First Hill residents who lived to see five-story buildings like the Alfaretta dwarf their mansions probably felt the same way. The Stimson-Green house, below, is one of a handful of those residences that has survived to stand amid the high-rises.



What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!