27 Jan

Bad neighbor.

Ken Woolcott bought a historic house on Queen Anne Hill — a 1914 house by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s prot?g?s that was “one of the 10 or 15 most significant houses in the city.” Did he restore it? No. He had it demolished without even allowing a serious attempt at salvage.

The secretiveness of the project indicates that he knew there would be objections, and so the demolition was done without even giving preservationists and historians a chance to document the house and salvage reusable items. The selfishness of such an act (and the weak justifications given by Mr. Woolcott) sadden me greatly.

I understand that he owns the property now, but when one buys a historic property a certain responsibility comes with it. He could have allowed the home to be moved, studied, or salvaged before building his new dream home (which I imagine will be a monstrosity). He didn’t. He may have financial wealth, but he’s awfully poor in the civic duty area.

3 thoughts on “Bad neighbor.

  1. There was an article in today’s DJC entitled "Historians lament loss of Queen Anne home". You have to have a subscription to see it online but I can forward it to you as an email, just email me – mail at mahalie dot com

  2. Hmmm, I’ve got mixed feelings on this one. I agree that this guy is in the running for the bad neighbor award. But I also have to wonder, where were the preservationists in the 10 months that home was on the market? Perhaps neighborhood preservation should endeavor to make connections with homeowners of historic homes before they go on the market. At the very least they might be able to get some pictures of what was.

  3. I’m not looking at the article right now, but IIRC, it mentioned that they had tried to work with the previous owner. Presumably it fell through.

    I suspect no one thought the house was in danger of demolition — you’ve seen the houses up there, they are really big and nice, and not the kind of house most people would tear down. I don’t know what the recent condition of this house was, though — I haven’t been up there in the daytime to get a good look at the houses in a few years.

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