**UPDATE** Mead House: Council vote could make Proctor area home Tacoma landmark

A single-family home dating back more than 100 years and located near Tacoma’s Proctor District could be added to the...

A single-family home dating back more than 100 years and located near Tacoma’s Proctor District could be added to the City of Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places this month.

The Mead House (also known as the Keyser House, or Mead-Keyser Residence)—located at 2702 N. Puget Sound Ave.—was built in 1903 and originally owned by Ferdinand and Laura Mead, who lived at the residence between 1903 and 1920. It changed owners one more time before Bill and Paula Keyser, a working-class couple (Bill was a Tacoma firefighter for 22 years), purchased the home in 1956 and lived there for more than 40 years.

The landmark nomination was made based upon the one-and-a-half-story, 1,700-square-foot home’s architectural significance as a “fine example of the Colonial Revival – Bungalow style of architecture.”

Equally as interesting as the home’s long history and architectural pedigree is the amount of salvaged and historically significant material that comprise the 112-year-old residence.

“Apart from the architectural significance, the Mead House showcases a locally significant collection of architectural salvage pieces incorporated into the house and yard,” wrote architectural historian Susan Johnson of Tacoma-based Artifacts Consulting in the landmark nomination she prepared on behalf of the current property owner, Lari Ryan. Ryan purchased the home with her husband, Jim (who passed away in March of 2014), 10 years ago.

Bill Keyser, a handyman and avid ‘do-it-yourselfer,’ incorporated many of the salvaged and historic relics into the home, such as:

  • A brick wall bordering a backyard garden includes terra cotta tiles and a figurehead of a helmeted firefighter—known as the ‘Head of Mercury’—that were salvaged from the former Fire Station No. 6 in downtown Tacoma. The fire station—once located in what is today Fireman’s Park—was built in 1890 and demolished in 1974. A 1949 photograph archived at Tacoma Public Library’s Northwest Room shows former Tacoma Fire Chief Charles Eisenbacher posing next to the figure, which was salvaged following an earthquake that year.
  • Wrought iron fencing and ornate wood salvaged from the former Brooklyn Hotel, which was built in 1888 and later demolished. Similarly, elevator grilles were salvaged from the former Bonneville Hotel.
  • A bay window in the dining room—as well as two fire places located in the house—were salvaged from a mansion built in 1889 for the late lumber baron Henry Hewitt, Jr. The Hewitt House, once located at 501 N. 4th St., was demolished in 1957.
  • A leaded glass “Tiffany” window was salvaged from a home built in 1890 for the late newspaper publisher Sidney “Sam” Perkins. The Perkins House, once located at 501 N. D St., was demolished in 1960.
  • Bricks in the garden wall were salvaged from a former Catholic girls’ school in Lakewood that was built in 1923 and demolished in 1954 in order to build a shopping center.

Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewed the nomination and held public hearings this summer (see “Mead House: A Proctor area residence salvages Tacoma history,” Tacoma Daily Index, July 7, 2015; and Tacoma Daily Index Top Stories — July 2015,” Tacoma Daily Index, Aug. 3, 2015). The Tacoma Daily Index featured an interview with homeowner Ryan in August (see “Mead House: A Proctor area home moves closer to landmark status,” Tacoma Daily Index, Aug. 20, 2015; and “Tacoma Daily Index Top Stories — August 2015,” Tacoma Daily Index, Sept. 1, 2015).

Tacoma City Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on a resolution to add the Mead-Keyser Residence to the City of Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places during a public meeting at 5 p.m. on Tues., Oct. 13, at Tacoma City Hall.


UPDATE | FRI., OCT. 9 @ 10:50 A.M. — It’s official. A resolution to place the Mead-Keyser Residence on the City of Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places is on Tacoma City Council’s agenda for Tues., Oct. 13. A copy of the resolution is available online here. A copy of the staff memo is available online here. A map is available online here. The documents are also posted below:

UPDATE | WEDS., OCT. 14 @ 9:30 A.M. — Tacoma City Council approved a resolution to add the Mead-Keyser Residence to the City of Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places during a public meeting on Tuesday at Tacoma City Hall.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Tacoma’s Mead-Keyser Residence, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index, an award-winning journalist, and the author of several books. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.

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