There is a sign of some sort on the front of the house which reads: H.C. PETERS HOUSE 858 EMPIRE BLDG. In looking at the file, I see that H.C. Peters is listed as the "fee owner" and "contract purchaser" with the dates 5-22-25 and 6-9-25 in parentheses. The name is listed on an improvement document listing upgrades to the property in 1947.
Now here's the fun part...
Guess what the appraised value of the property was in 1938. Combined value, lot and structure.
SOLD! Jeez, I just gotta get that time machine finished! What follows is a pretty interesting timeline of how the neighborhood has ebbed and flowed over the decades.
1948 - $350. Upgraded the same year to $600 after a remodel which included "good foundation + full basement. Plumbing roughed in for 24ft long basement. Also see new Lino." The value would not change for the next 10 years. I'm assuming the 1950s were not good to the Westwood area.
1959 - $760.
1962 - $880.
1965 - $1180. Finally breaks 4 figures!
1967 - $1390.
1971 - $1700.
Then it happened. In 1973, the owner(s) did a major renovation to the place, including landscape and the addition of the car port. They also finished a bedroom in the basement. According to our former neighbor who'd lived in his place since the early '70s, this would have been an elderly woman and her adult alcoholic son (apparently the basement bedroom, paneled in knotty pine, was for him). The County reassessed the value at $6260. Quite a step up from just five years previous.
The woman and her son lived in the house as late as the mid '80s, until her death. It's not clear what happened to the son, but the house sat abandoned for some time, and lack of care took its toll. Finally a husband & wife investment team bought the house in the low $50K range in 1994. They completed the basement into two bedrooms and a bath, with full laundry hookups. They replaced the roof, flooring and painted everything.
Then a young couple with a 10 month old son came along and purchased it for just under $100K in 1995. They doubled the square footage by building off the back of the house, adding a master suite downstairs and a dining room and family room upstairs. They leveled the back yard and fenced it. The value continued to climb between 11% and 13% annually as West Seattle became cleaner and more gentrified, and Westwood Village improved.
Then a flood and fire destroyed the place, and the rebuilt house now sits among vintage comps in the $350K-$425K range. When you factor in the fact that the flooring, wiring, heating, appliances, plumbing and insulation (including windows) is 100% brand new and there's coaxial cable and computer network hookups in all three downstairs bedrooms as well as the office and family room, I won't be surprised if my newly reappraised value comes back close to half a mil. While that ain't hardly nuthin' in, say, California real estate terms, it shows a remarkable history - of a home, a place, a quiet little street in a corner of West Seattle over the course of 85 years. A human lifespan.
Little City Farms, Division 5.