Constructed in 1927 in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, the La Quinta Apartments is a good example of the Spanish Eclectic architectural style and of the courtyard apartment building type in the city. Built during one of Seattle's peak construction eras (1920s), La Quinta is among the high-quality apartment buildings developed by Frederick William Anhalt and reflects his vision for landscaped courtyards to accompany his apartments, integrating architecture and landscape design in dense urban settings such as Capitol Hill.
A rental advertisement for the nearly completed apartment building at 1710 E Denny Way appeared in the November 6, 1927 issue of The Seattle Times. The apartment building was called the Anhalt Apartments, and was noted as a Spanish apartment, "the prettiest and best-arranged individual apartment building in Seattle." The building first appeared in the Seattle Daily Times under the name La Quinta in 1931.
"A quote from Historical Seattle? "
FREDERICK ANHALT'S TEAM
Frederick Anhalt (1895-1996)
Frederick Anhalt was born on March 6, 1895, in Canby, Minnesota. His family lived on an inherited farm before moving to North Dakota when Frederick was eleven. He attended public school until age 12, when he quit to work on the family's land, performing a variety of jobs. He then went to work for a local butcher. After conflicts with his boss, Frederick moved on and traveled to Whitetail, Montana. Still a teenager, he then went to work at a butcher shop in Whitetail. Frederick's father supported him in his new venture, even financing his own shop in Westby, Montana, when he was only seventeen. Frederick expanded into the grocery market in 1916 before a fire in 1917 gutted his store, putting him out of business.
After losing his business, Frederick traveled throughout the Midwest, working as an organizer for the agricultural lobbyist Non-Partisan League and on-and-off for meat packers. After that, he sold butcher and grocery store fixtures in Oregon and Washington. He arrived in Seattle in the mid-1920s, possibly around 1924; he was a salesman for Hurley Store Fixtures Company by 1925.
While working in Seattle, he met former butcher Jerry Hardcastle and together they went into the real estate business, forming Western Building and Leasing Company. After their first few projects, they brought on William H. Whiteley as their architect. They worked on commercial projects before beginning to move into apartment building. Anhalt recognized the importance of atmosphere and views with higher end apartment buildings, but understood that a scenic view out from an apartment could be immediately changed by new construction, affecting the property's value. Anhalt is quoted in Steve Lambert's biography, Built by Anhalt, on this subject:
"It didn't seem to make sense though to spend a lot of extra money on a building site just because it had a pretty view in one direction. Somebody else could always put another building between you and your view. What I decided to do was build my apartments around a view that I would create with landscaping. I could make things look the way I wanted them to that way, which is hard to do when you're dealing with a view of Mount Rainier or Puget Sound."
Anhalt had John Dofsen—the father of one of his draftsmen, Edwin Dofsen—landscape the grounds of his apartment building projects. Anhalt further stated that the first apartment building they constructed with the landscape emphasis was the La Quinta at 17th and Denny.
Anhalt bought out Hardcastle in 1928. He also began to work with his brother-in-law, Mark B. Borchert, in late 1928, who began the Borchert Company to construct luxury apartments in Seattle. Anhalt's business boomed over the next couple years, and the Western Building & Leasing Company was renamed the Anhalt Company. He often had two or three buildings underway at one time, keeping his crew in continuous work.
When the stock market crashed in 1929, so did Anhalt's burgeoning business. Anhalt lost a million dollars and filed for bankruptcy.
Anhalt returned to designing and building housing in 1932, this time low-cost housing. He then formed a brief partnership with William Whiteley between 1934 and 1936. Anhalt completed a handful of projects over the next several years, but never at the scale or financial exposure of his previous projects. He purchased a nursery business near the University of Washington in 1937, which he operated until 1973, when he sold it to the university. He occasionally provided landscape design services during the 1950s and 1960s. Anhalt was made an AIA Seattle Honorary Member in 1993. He died on June 16, 1996.
Jerome B. Hardcastle (b. 1850-deceased)
Jerome B. Hardcastle was born in Illinois. He made his way westward - living in Boulder, Colorado, by the late 1880s and then Chehalis, Washington, in 1910 - eventually arriving in Seattle by 1920. He formed the Western Building and Leasing Company with Anhalt in the mid-1920s. After their partnership was dissolved in 1928, Hardcastle continued to work in real estate but his solo work was not as visible in The Seattle Times as it had been with Anhalt. He was also an avid golfer - much to Anhalt's irritation while they were in business together.
William Whiteley (1892-1974)
William H. Whiteley was born in Newfoundland, Canada. He eventually immigrated to the United States and settled in Seattle by the mid-1920s. Whiteley was active in Seattle architecture from 1925 through the 1960s. He designed a number of apartment buildings in the late 1920s and early 1930s and worked with developers like Frederick Anhalt and Walter Gratias. His work included a range of single family residences and small markets, in addition to apartment buildings. In 1932, Whiteley served on the architects committee representing both the Washington chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Washington State Society of Architects. Apartment buildings designed by Whiteley include La Quinta, 527 First Avenue (1929), 617 Third Avenue W (1930), 19 Ward Street, 427 Bellevue Avenue, 201 Roy Street, 2328 Yale Avenue N, 1127 Olympic Way, and 517 9th Avenue. In 1935, Whiteley rejoined with Frederick Anhalt to form Architecture Services Inc., designing and building homes. They also developed speculative residential properties.
John Dofsen (1864-1942)
John Dofsen was born in Sweden and spent time training in landscaping at the king's palace. He immigrated to the United States in 1890 and arrived in Tacoma by 1900. While in Tacoma he worked as a florist and gardener. He relocated to Seattle by 1901. His next known employment was with Anhalt's Western Building and Leasing Company in 1927. He worked with Anhalt's companies, along with the Borchert Company, for the next few years. Dofsen designed the grounds of La Quinta Apartments (1927); Pallais Colline Apartments (1927-28); the Lou Anne Apartments (1928); Ruthmark Apartments (1928-29); Twin Gables apartments (1929); Oak Manor apartments (1929); Belmont Court apartments (1929-30); and Anhalt Apartments building (1929-31).
BUILDING OWNERSHIP (1927 – 2020)
Anhalt sold the building to an out-of-town buyer, through the office William Brelle & Co., in late 1928. The next known owner of the building was Cyrus W. and Fannie Chandler, who lived in unit 8.
The subsequent owner of the building was Anna (A. L.) Falkoff (1879-1966), who purchased the apartment building in January 1943. She was living in the building by 1942, occupying unit 11, followed by unit 9. Anna Falkoff led a fascinating life, immigrating to the United States from Russia in 1903 to escape the political and social upheaval of the Russian Revolution. She had two children, Emma and Ernest, and eventually made her way westward, settling at the utopian colony of Home in Pierce County by 1910. She lived in Home in the midst of the colony's tension, as it divided into factions (the "nudes" and the "prudes," reflecting the liberal and conservative thoughts in the village). Anna was apparently a member of the "nudes" side as she, along with many others, was fined for nude swimming (charges were later dropped).
She left the colony of Home by 1914 to enroll at the University of Washington. By this point she was divorced (her husband's name is never mentioned in census records or city directories), raising her two children alone and attending school full-time, while working. She completed her four-year education program in three years, while also working on her high school diploma as the university would not award her a degree until she had finished high school.
She worked in the university gardens, and also cultivated almost an acre of land at her home on Fourteenth Avenue NE, the harvests of which she used to feed her family as well as poor neighbors. In 1920, Anna was still living on Fourteenth Avenue NE, later University Way (at 3731). She became a citizen in 1923, and was still identified as a student, likely pursuing her master's degree as was mentioned in a 1917 The Seattle Times article about her achievements.
By 1930, Anna had moved into apartment management. It's unclear if La Quinta was her first apartment building purchase, but by 1955 she owned three apartment buildings in the city. She had amassed enough wealth even to offer to sell La Quinta apartments to help finance a new concert hall for the Seattle Symphony. She had moved out of La Quinta in 1954 and was living in the newly constructed penthouse at 1605 E Madison, another building she owned. It does not appear anyone took her up on the offer to purchase the La Quinta for the symphony.
Anna sold the apartment building a couple of years before her death for $125,000 in 1964 to Richard Norman, a Black aeronautical engineer originally from Mississippi. Richard owned a few other properties on Capitol Hill and in the Central District. His son, Lawrence Norman, believes his father bought La Quinta directly from Anna to get around redlining. He always had a knack for getting around racist boundaries.
Richard worked for Boeing where he met his wife, Mildred, a White computer programmer originally from Alabama, in 1962. Together they ran their software business, Northwest Computing, out of La Quinta Apartments, via teletype machines, largely to get around racial profiling. Mildred, Richard, and their son Lawrence occupied apartment number 9. Richard knocked down the walls of the adjacent apartment for more space and to support their software business, which at points in its history had more than a dozen employees. During the Boeing bust of 1972, due to the cancelation of the SST program, NW Computing and its leveraged assets went bankrupt.
Lawrence was born at La Quinta and lived there until he was about 7 years old, until 1974. He learned to ride his bike out front, and his father taught him long division out to seven decimal places at the kitchen table at apartment 9. His turret in the top corner of the apartment felt like a little castle to him. Living at La Quinta has inspired him in his own career: He's been in the software business since college and took after his father's example by becoming a landlord himself—he currently owns a small apartment building and several houses on Capitol Hill.
By 1977, Myron and Jane Kowals owned the property; however, the property was then sold in late summer or early fall of 1977. According to building permits, the Kowalses owned the property in July 1977, but the Blakey Walter Association is listed as owner in October 1977. The property was owned by Kenneth Van Dyke by 1982 until he passed in 2020. The property is now owned by his heirs, Van Dyke Enterprises, LLC.
The source of the above information on the La Quinta's history is from the La Quinta Apartments Landmark Nomination report, submitted to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board on October 15, 2020.