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The Seattle Times | Pacific Northwest

Now & Then Paul Dorpat

To Raze Or Rescue?

This landmark Fremont neighborhood residence at the northwest corner of Phinney Avenue North and North 44th Street will have its fate decided soon. Should this rare "vernacular Victorian" be rescued and restored as a local architectural treasure or should it be razed for more townhouses?

Called the Fitch/Nutt House, it is named for its first two builders. The carpenter Jackson Fitch was first, building the less-adorned western side of the house soon after he purchased the corner in 1899. In 1902, Thomas Nutt followed, adding the distinctive 1 ½-story front section with its trinity of gables, or dormers, and decorative bargeboards. From its back, looking west over Ballard, and from its front, watching the electric trolleys that first rumbled by on Phinney Avenue in 1905, this working-family home was ideally sited with sublime views of the Olympic Mountains and speedy connection to all parts of the booming city.

In his catalog of Seattle homes built in 1905 or earlier that retain most of their original architectural integrity, local historian Greg Lange includes the Fitch-Nutt house in his "top 100" list. Now Fremont residents Paul Fellows and Carol Tobin have submitted this surviving feature of old Fremont to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board for protection.

Readers with opinions or interests in this may wish to attend the board's Nov. 7 public meeting on the 40th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Ave. The meeting convenes at 3:30 p.m.

"Washington Then and Now," the new book by Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard, can be purchased through ($45) or through Tartu Publications at P.O. Box 85208, Seattle, WA 98145.