The Greenwood-Phinney Historical Society is trying to find the oldest house in the neighborhood, but they need your help. You could even win a prize!
We do have houses built before 1906. Perhaps we still have a few houses that were built before 1900? Hint: if you find a construction date of 1900 in King County Tax Records keep digging! The house might actually be older than that. Building permits will give you a more accurate construction date.
Houses must be within the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhood (50th to 105th Streets, Aurora to 8th Avenue NW) but contest entrants need not live within the neighborhood. The house does not need to be yours! You can enter any house that you feel might be the oldest! More than one entry per person is acceptable.
If you find a likely contestant, take a photo and send copies of your documents identifying the construction date of the house to: GPHS Oldest House Contest, c/o Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103.
The winning entry will be determined by oldest construction or building permit date of all entries received. Entries must be received by Jan. 15, 2010. The winner receives a copy of “Seattle’s Greenwood-Phinney Neighborhood” signed by author Ted Pedersen and breakfast for two at Mae’s Phinney Ridge Café.
Here’s some info from the Historical Society to get you started:
Where can I find a photo of my older home?
Puget Sound Regional Archives has a collection of King County property record cards beginning in 1937 and kept current to 1972. These cards generally contain tax assessments, a photograph from 1937, approximate construction date, building use, small sketch of the footprint of the building, and some floor plan diagrams. For more information, call the archives at 425-564-3940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To access this information you will need the tax identification number of the house or the legal description.
How can I find out the previous owners and the remodeling history of my Seattle house?
Contact the Department of Planning and Development for their Building Permit History files. Most of this information is available on microfiche. The office is at 710 Second Avenue, Seattle WA 98104. 206-684-8850.
Where can I find the tax records for my home?
King County Tax Records are on-line for all homes currently standing. Dates older than 1900 are not always accurate due to the millennium computer glitch. If your home has a tax record date of 1900, but may be older, you will want to research further. A building permit may be a better gauge of your home’s construction date. King County Parcel Viewer is where you’ll want to go on the internet.
What about more information about previous owners?
The Polk Directories would be a great start. Take a look at the archival Polk Directories at the downtown Seattle library reference section. These will tell you the names of who lived at your home in years past.
What about even more information about previous owners?
Stay at the downtown library and look up Census information! Now that you have the names you can learn the number of family members living in the house and also what the head of household did for a living.