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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

October 21, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Spookiness comes built in to Victorian house

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Sketched Oct. 18, 12:58 p.m.
With Halloween around the corner, some people work hard to make their houses look haunted. But a few houses seem to have spookiness built in. Take this rare 121-year-old Victorian home for sale just steps away from the Fremont Troll. Wouldn’t it make a great haunted house?

Greg Ahmann, who lived there for 23 years, never saw a ghost, but he did thoroughly research its past to restore it to the way it appeared in 1890. Ahmann says the first owner was Victor Nelson, a Swedish immigrant who drove a laundry delivery wagon. Then came the Knudsen sisters from Norway, who ran a boarding house.
By the time Ahmann bought it from a Russian couple in 1984, the Nelson House was run down, he said, and he became so obsessed with fixing it that he quit his job as a lawyer to do house restorations full-time.
And though it’s not his home now, Ahmann still feels protective. “I was afraid if I didn’t restore it somebody would tear it down and build another of those cheap apartment buildings.”
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Ahmann said it’s very unusual to find a Victorian house in Seattle that still looks Victorian. The homes from that era gradually dissappeared as the city grew. Many were distroyed with the Denny Regrade, the removal of Denny Hill in the early 1900s. Other examples of Victorian architecture clustered along First Hill were razed to make way for the I-5 corridor and the construction of new hospitals.
Let’s hope the Nelson House remains where it is for years to come. It’s already catalogued by the Department of Neighborhoods as a historic site and Ahmann said it’s also elegible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. If a new owner decided to tear it down, well, that would would be scary!
What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!

Comments | More in Buildings, Halloween, History | Topics: Fremont

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