Mueller Residence
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Mueller’s oldest daughter, Mrs. Ernest Hemrich, said one of her earliest memories is that of “Indians canoeing along the river. Sometimes they’d stop off at the Mueller door to sell a basket of clams.” She also remembers that, early on, there were not many other children to play with. By 1904, when the Duwamish settlement had grown into the city of Georgetown, “there was a constant building of homes.”

The Mueller family grew as well, which included two daughters and a son. The original six-room dwelling was enlarged to 13 rooms to accommodate the family’s growing needs. Most of its distinctive Queen Anne features were probably added at this time. Each summer, their home was the main gathering place for the Fourth of July fireworks display: “It started at dusk with firecrackers. As the sky darkened, Mueller put on the more dazzling displays – everything but skyrockets.” The Muellers remained at this address until 1914.

John Anton Mueller, a German immigrant, was a brewer by trade and spent his early years in the business, becoming a brewer’s apprentice at the age of twelve. After coming to the states, he joined his brothers who were working at breweries in Illinois. In 1880, he completed studies at a brewer’s academy in New York State and, over the next ten years, was employed at a number of eastern breweries before heading west.

When Mueller first arrived in Georgetown, he worked as foreman of the Claussen-Sweeney Brewery, which consisted of “just a small wooden building,” recounted Mrs. Hemrich. He soon became a financial partner and in 1893, after Claussen-Sweeney merged with two other breweries—Heimrich’s Bay View Brewing Company and Albert Braun Brewing Company—to form the Seattle Brewing and Malt Company (SBMC), he rose up the ranks to become superintendent. The business (renamed the Rainier Brewery) quickly expanded to encompass a four-block long complex of brick buildings and gained the reputation as the largest brewery on the west coast and sixth largest in the world. Mueller held this position until his death in 1914. He also became the brewery’s vice president.

Mueller was also a strong presence in the community, serving as school board president and organizing the district’s water, lighting and sewer systems. Mueller also helped establish the Rainier Volunteer Fire Department and served as its chief. He was elected Georgetown’s first mayor after it was incorporated as a city in January 1904. According to an editorial in the Georgetown-South Seattle News (December 3, 1904), his first year in office was a success:

For three years past Mr. Mueller has interested himself in public affairs where he has exhibited the same traits of sagacity and honesty that made his success in business. The Georgetown high school building is the result of his faithful work on the part of Mr. Mueller…The record Mr. Mueller has made as mayor for the first year of Georgetown is altogether commendable…Any man can rest assured that as mayor of Georgetown Mr. Mueller assumes personal responsibility and if he makes a mistake, you do not have to go to any man but Mueller for its correction. A vote for John Mueller is a vote for an honest, capable administration of the city affairs, and his past record is proof positive for this statement.

Mueller led a successful career in public office, serving four consecutive terms and was elected with an increasing number of votes each year. It was Mueller who, in 1909, had the Georgetown City Hall built, which also housed the fire department. At the dedication ceremonies, news photographers asked him to slide down the fireman’s pole. Against his wife’s objections, “the portly Mueller finally gave in to the pleadings of the press and made a disastrous descent.” Mueller slid down too quickly and hit the cement floor hard, breaking both of his legs.

In 1909, Mueller had a run-in with a man named Everett A. Hutchings, nicknamed “Big Hutch”, who was operating some disreputable roadhouses in Georgetown. After the mayor and the city council decided to close them, “Big Hutch” confronted Mueller, who refused to back down and received a severe beating. The roadhouses were closed; however, Mueller chose not to run for re-election and retired in 1910. Mueller was presented with a “silver loving cup” by his councilmen to show their gratitude for his years of service.

In 1914, at the age of 53, John Mueller died unexpectedly during a business trip to San Francisco suffering from “indigestion” according to an obituary in the Duwamish Valley News (September 25, 1914). Louis Hemrich described Mueller as “a fine type of manhood, one of the finest of those who came to Seattle when the city was young, and he grew up with it.” A Seattle paper had this to say about his character:

…the man whose death will be felt more acutely by a greater number of people than would that of any other citizen of Georgetown or the South End.

He was identified with every movement that had for its purpose the upbuilding and advancement of this section. His funeral drew a huge crowd, with “a procession of mourners lined up for blocks.” Businesses in Georgetown were closed from 1:30 to 4:00 in observance of his passing.

Following his death, Bertha Mueller sold the home and moved to Mt. Baker Park, where she stayed until her death in 1945. Subsequent owners include Ralph Comstock (1929, 1940) and C.A. Witner. The 1929 Sanborn map shows the frame dwelling set back from the street with front and rear porches, two one-story additions on the south side, and a detached frame garage at the rear (southwest) corner. Mrs. Grace M. Comstock appears as the sole occupant in the 1940 city directory.

It was not until 1946, according to real property records, that the single-family residence was remodeled into four rental apartments, with tenants paying $25 per month for rent. City directories list the following tenants residing here in 1948-49: H.H. Dare, L.R. McCallum, R.E. Ogden and W.B. Sayler. In 1955, only three tenants are listed, including Everett Peterson, Mirand Harstall, and Daniel C. Holmes. Roy and Vicki Steen resided here (Apartment #1) from 1989 to 1998. David Berkman Jr. bought the property in 1998 and was later purchased by Fred L. Krohn. The current owner continues its use as rental apartments.

Known as Carleton Avenue’s oldest residence, the Mueller Residence is a hybrid of the ever popular Queen Anne style. During Seattle’s building boom from the 1880s to early 1900s, architectural taste was influenced by the highly ornamented Victorian Style that predominated 19th-century England during Queen Victoria’s reign. These new styles - including Second Empire, Queen Anne, Shingle, and Stick - were largely promoted in pattern books and builder’s journals which provided their own “patterns” or drawings, complete house plans, construction details and cost estimates, all of which could be modified to suit the homeowner’s needs and aesthetics. Those popular in Seattle include American Architect, Scientific American (Architects and Builders Edition), and Decorator and Furnisher. By the 1890s, a broad selection of magazines—Carpentry and Building, House Beautiful and The Ladies Home Journal—and local newspapers featured articles and pattern book advertisements touting the new trends.

The Queen Anne style is distinguished by its eclectic mix of ornamentation and contrast of materials. Common features include variegated siding, ornamented gable ends, corbelled brick chimneys, gabled or hipped roofs with second-story projections and corner turrets, and banks of casement windows. Verandahs and balconies were also common. Interiors were free flowing and often finished with dark wood wall paneling and beamed ceilings.

Prominently situated at the corner of Carleton Avenue and South Bailey Street, the Mueller Residence originally stood along the car line, one block from the County Poor Farm (King County Hospital) and one-half block from the funeral parlor. The two-story dwelling measures 24 by 48 feet, with a one-story addition (9 by 48 feet) appended to the south side. Originally designed as a 6-room residence, it was enlarged to encompass 13 rooms.

Characteristic Queen Anne features include its use of horizontal wood siding (main body) mixed with multi-patterned shingles (upper gable end); narrow, single and paired windows; and steeply-pitched hipped roof. The main roof is punctuated by projecting wall dormers on the north, east, and south slopes, which enhance its grand appearance and overall massing. Windows, which originally contained two-over-two wood sash, have been replaced in sections and/or covered with plywood

The front (east) façade’s full-width, one-story hipped-roof porch is characterized by its “Free Classic” design mode, containing sets of three turned posts with segmental arched bays in between. The porch’s plain wood balustrade replaces an earlier X-pattern balustrade (similar to the south side roof porch). The wall dormer centered above contains paired replacement sash (the lower portion has been enclosed) and terminates in a steeply-pitched polygonal roof, giving it a tower-like appearance.

The north façade is dominated by an intersecting second-story cantilevered gable wing supported by two wood brackets. A flat roof one-story addition (9 by 48 feet), added sometime between 1905 and 1917, extends the full length of the south elevation and contains a porch roof with an X- pattern balustrade, a typical Colonial Revival stylistic treatment.

The rear (west) elevation has a one-story, full-width porch with a hipped-roof wall dormer centered above. The porch’s hipped roof is supported by turned wood posts with decorative brackets; a portion of the porch has been enclosed. The simple wood-slat railing is a later replacement. The dormer contains paired two-over-one double-hung wood sash that has been painted over.

Unfortunately, the old family home that was belonged to the Muellers is a shadow of its former grandeur, suffering from neglect and in a dilapidated condition. Portions of the two older central brick chimneys are still extant. The original interior layout has been altered to accommodate its use as apartments. The floors are sloping, showing signs of their age.

Cleveland High School, The Duwamish Diary, 1849-1949 (Seattle: Cleveland High School, 1949); June Peterson, The Georgetown Story: That was a Town, 1904-1910 (Seattle: Georgetown Designs, 1979); Department of Neighborhoods, Office of Urban Conservation, 1997 Architectural Survey (Site No. GT047); WSA, PSB, Bellevue Community College, King County Tax Assessor’s Real Property Records; Tim O’Brian’s collection; News-Journal, “The Mayor Who Earned a Loving Cup,” by Joanne Turpin, September 27, 1973; Seattle City Directories; Baist’s Real Estate Atlases; Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps; Kroll’s Atlases of Seattle.

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