5/13/14

The BIGELOW FAMILY lived here


912 Queen Anne Avenue in Seattle, Washington is where the Bigelow family lived. That's all the information I have about this lonely looking house with it's wintry trees. It appears that a trolley passed by on the tracks in the street.


Click on image to see it larger.

Does the house still exist? Sadly it doesn't. Type in the address in Google Maps and you'll see how boring the neighborhood looks. Nothing but large nondescript boring apartment buildings. The tracks in the street are also gone.

As to the Bigelow family? I have no idea. They were apparently friends of Betty Schnabel's mother since this image is from Betty's collection.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Mike Brubaker at TempoSenzaTempo we can now add a bit of life to the old house:
In 1901 it was listed for the first time as the residence of Mr. Isaac N. Bigelow, a builder and contractor, and later the president of Bigelow Investment Co. He lived there with his wife, Emmeline and daughter Clara. All born in Canada, Isaac in 1838, Emmeline in 1848, and Clara in 1870.
UPDATE: Thanks to reader Natalie K we have the following information:
According to the 1900 census, the family lived at 1509 Third Avenue. Isaac was listed as a banker and a dozen or so people roomed at the address. They had lived there for some time as they are listed there in the 1891 city directory and in the same general block in 1885, when Isaac is listed as a carpenter.
Also, he is profiled in a book of memoirs of pioneer of Seattle: "Isaac N. Bigelow, one of the builders of the city of Seattle, is a native of King county, Nova Scotia, born on the 15th of May, 1838... Came to Seattle in 1875.... He has erected many residences on his property and also built the Bigelow block on Pike Street and another large building on Second avenue and Union Streets. He married Emeline Davidson, of the same place and with whom he attended school. At the time it was written (not sure yet when), his son David was a mineral expert and assayer in Cedoras Isl. Mexico and E. Victor was a congregational ministor in Lowell, MA. Clara lived at home with her parents.
They had two other children, David Edward born about 1864 and Edwin Victor born about 1866. 
And click here to see a photo of the Counterbalance streetcar which appears to be going right by the Bigelow house. Great find Natalie! Thank you!

UPDATE: Mike and Natalie both spurred me on to do a little digging myself. Hoping to find a photo of Issac or family members, I was saddened to find no images, but did find the following information that I copied from the Lewis Publishing Company site. I haven't made corrections in the copy other than a few places where numerals had space around them in dates. I hope in the future someone finds a photo to contribute to this post.
ISAAC N. BIGELOW 
Isaac N. Bigelow, one of the builders of the city of Seattle, is a native of King county, Nova Scotia, born on the 15th of May, 1838. He represents one of the oldest families of this country, tracing his ancestry back to John Bigelow, who emigrated from Essex county, England, to Massachusetts, in 1630. He was a freeholder and a select man of Watertown, a member of  the Congregational church and died on the 14th of July, 1703, at the age of eighty-six years. His son, Samuel Bigelow, born in Watertown, in 1653, was proprietor of an inn and one of the influential men of the community. He serv'ed as a sergeant in the militia and represented his town in the general court. His will bears date 1720. His son, Isaac Bigelow, born in Watertown in 1691, held a commission from the governor as sergeant of the colonial militia and his death occurred in 1744. His son, Isaac Bigelow, Jr., the next in line of succession, was born in Colchester, Connecticut, on the 4th of May, 171 3, and removed to Nova Scotia, where he received land grants from the government for settling there, but later he returned to Colchester, Connecticut, and reared his family there. He died in 1792. His son, Amasa Bigelow, the great-grandfather of our subject, was born in Colchester, Connecticut, in 1755, was a ship carpenter and lost his life by accident in 1799. He married Roxana Cone and their son, Ebenezer Bigelow, was born in Cornwall, Nova Scotia, about the year 1779. The latter married Nancy Rand in 1804 and died in 1860. He was also a ship builder and became a very prominent representative of that department of industrial activity. His son, David Bigelow, the father of our subject, was born in 1813, married Martha Jane Weaver, and died in 1847, the age of thirty-four years. He had learned the ship-builder's trade under the direction of his father, carried on a large and successful business and was highly esteemed by all who knew him. His wife departed this life in the fifty-ninth year of her age. She was the mother of seven children, of whom four are living, three being residents of the Pacific coast, namely: H. Allen of Oakland, California; Rebecca, who is living in Seattle; and the subject of this review. 
Isaac N. Bigelow obtained his education in the public schools of his native town and in early life learned the carpenter's trade. Lor a number of  years he was engaged with his brother Benjamin in ship-building and remained in the east until 1875, at which time he came to Seattle, where he became identified with the business interests of the city as a contractor and builder. His marked skill in that vocation and his honorable business methods soon secured him an extensive patronage, whereby his labors became very profitable. As his financial resources increased he made extensive investments in real estate and purchased and platted what is known as Bigelow's addition to the city. He also platted Bigelow's second addition and the Lake Union addition, all of which have become greatly improved, being transformed into residence districts of the city. Both before and since the great fire in Seattle in 1889 Mr. Bigelow has been extensively engaged in building in this city, his labor in this direction, however, being largely the improvement of his own property. He built and owned one of the largest sawmills north of San Francisco but later, selling his interest in the property for thirty thousand dollars, he invested that amount in the Seattle Dime Savings Bank, of which he was the president and principal stockholder for four years. At the expiration of that time he was obliged to suspend, but he has the gratification of having paid one hundred cents on the dollar. Honesty has ever been one of the salient features of his character and no one can say aught that is detrimental concerning his business life. He has erected many residences on his property and also built the Bigelow block on Pike street and another large building on Second avenue and Union streets. He is now living retired with a good competency and makes his home in a nice residence at No. 912 Queen Ann avenue. He is an active and valued member of the Congregational church, in which he is serving as a trustee and deacon and also as superintendent of the Sunday-school. He takes an active and acceptable part in all church work and his labors in that behalf have been very effective. He has also contributed in large measure to the improvement and progress of Seattle and obtained the first street railway franchise. He also secured the paving of Pike street with brick and in many ways has contributed to the substantial improvement of the city. He is a Master Mason, having been made a member of the craft in Nova Scotia in 1863.

Li the same year Mr. Bigelow was married to Miss Emeline Davidson, also a native of King county, with wdiom in youth he attended the same school. Their union has been blessed with two sons and a claugliter : David E., a mineral expert and assayer now in Cedoras Island, Mexico; E. Victor, a Congregational minister, now serving as pastor of Elliott church, in Lowell, Massachusetts ; and Clara M., who is at home with her parents. Rev. Bigelow is a graduate of Washington University and also of Yale College and has taken a post-graduate course in Harvard College. Mrs. Bigelow, like her husband, is actively engaged in church work, and both are most highly respected by a host of friends in Seattle. His purpose has ever been commendable, his actions manly, his conduct sincere and above all his life has been influenced by a sense of conscientious obligation concerning his relations to his fellow men and his duties of citizenship. (Source: Lewis Publishing Company)
UPDATE: More wonderful information from Natalie!
I kept digging last night. I believe you said in an earlier post that Betty Schnabel's mother was Louise Bigelow Schnabel. Louise was the daughter of David E. Bigelow, who was the son of Isaac and Emeline Bigelow. So the house belonged to Betty's great grandparents and her great aunt Clara.
I couldn't fint any photos of Isaac and Emeline but did find one newspaper account that included a photo of Clara when she was older, in 1950. She never married and lived on that block the rest of her life.
(SOURCE: West Seattle Hearld. June 22, 1950)

12 comments:

  1. That is quite a slope - those trolly cars must have been pretty agile.

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    1. Ever ridden a cable car in San Francisco on one of the really steep hills? An adventure! I always like to ride on the step standing up.

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  2. I loved the cable cars in San Francisco. Really fun to ride when they have open cars and foot boards! One of the trams on the route along the pier area was an old E-Class green tram from my hometown of Melbourne. Also in Melbourne is the problem of the decimation of old picturesque areas by developers. A lot of wonderful and historic architecture has gone with more scheduled to disappear in the future. I hate that type of "progress". Interestingly I thought this photo abit dull when I first caught a glance. I love the way your thoughts expand the image in all directions, Ms Tattered!

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    1. It's not an exciting picture until you realize it's a ghost. All the neighborhood sounds are different there now. Knowing who lived next-door is probably also a quaint memory.

      If you want to see a place that's been pulverized of its past just visit Los Angeles. Just the years I lived there saw so many places torn down and replaced with ugliness like strip malls. But then, it's a town of dreamers who each have their own vision so they just tear down what was there before and put up their dream…until the next dreamer comes along and tears that down.

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  3. A stylish house with very interesting details. In 1901 it was listed for the first time as the residence of Mr. Isaac N. Bigelow, a builder and contractor, and later the president of Bigelow Investment Co. He lived there with his wife, Emmeline and daughter Clara. All born in Canada, Isaac in 1838, Emmeline in 1848, and Clara in 1870.

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    1. Thank you! This adds so much life to it. I'll add this to within the post.

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  4. NatalieK5/25/2014

    According to the 1900 census, the family lived at 1509 Third Avenue. Isaac was listed as a banker and a dozen or so people roomed at the address. They had lived there for some time as they are listed there in the 1891 city directory and in the same general block in 1885, when Isaac is listed as a carpenter.

    Also, he is profiled in a book of memoirs of pioneer of Seattle: "Isaac N. Bigelow, one of the builders of the city of Seattle, is a native of King county, Nova Scotia, born on the 15th of May, 1838... Came to Seattle in 1875.... He has erected many residences on his property and also built the Bigelow block on Pike Street and another large building on Second avenue and Union Streets. He married Emeline Davidson, of the same place and with whom he attended school. At the time it was written (not sure yet when), his son David was a mineral expert and assayer in Cedoras Isl. Mexico and E. Victor was a congregational ministor in Lowell, MA. Clara lived at home with her parents.

    They had two other children, David Edward born about 1864 and Edwin Victor born about 1866.

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    1. Thank you so much! You inspired me to do a search myself. Sadly I haven't found any photos of the Bigelow family.

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  5. NatalieK5/25/2014

    This actually looks like the same house.

    http://seattlequeenanne.com/history-queen-anne-seattle/#

    http://seattlequeenanne.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/8/files/2011/04/counterbalance-car-300x236.jpg

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  6. NatalieK5/26/2014

    OCD person that I am, I kept digging last night. I believe you said in an earlier post that Betty Schnabel's mother was Louise Bigelow Schnabel. Louise was the daughter of David E. Bigelow, who was the son of Isaac and Emeline Bigelow. So the house belonged to Betty's great grandparents and her great aunt Clara.

    I couldn't fint any photos of Isaac and Emeline but did find one newspaper account that included a photo of Clara when she was older, in 1950. She never married and lived on that block the rest of her life.

    http://wsh.stparchive.com/Archive/WSH/WSH06221950P01.php

    Sorry... I can't help myself! :)

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    1. I think this is fantastic! I don't know why I never connected the dots with Betty's mom. Sometimes a second and third and fourth…set of eyes can really open things up. Thank you!

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