Philadelphia might have Independence Hall and San Francisco the Presidio, but Seattle has its own historical bounty. The coolest part? You can actually own a piece of it. Imagine celebrating The Fourth of July in a home that housed officers who helped ensure our liberty. Picture yourself peering through your window at seas that troops ventured out on in defense of democracy around the world.
The landmarked officers’ homes at Seattle’s Fort Lawton contain classic details like massive stone foundations, old-growth timber framing, wrap-around porches, grand entrances, stately doors and moldings, and built-in cabinets. A world-class team has restored these elements, and added modern systems and features, including all-new kitchens and bathrooms. Several other historic fort buildings remain as visual elements, their exteriors preserved and their interiors sealed.
Fort Lawton in History
The history of Fort Lawton dates to 1898, when Seattle donated 703 acres on Magnolia Bluff for a military post. Construction started with barracks, a quartermaster warehouse and 26 grand, Colonial-revival homes for officers.
The base was named for Maj. Gen. Henry Ware Lawton, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in the battle of Atlanta during the Civil War. He also led the squad that captured Geronimo during the Indian campaigns, helped lead the invasion of Cuba during the Spanish-American War and fought insurgents in the Philippines, where he was killed by a sniper in 1899.
Fort Lawton remained small in its first decades. That changed during World War II, when the fort became the second largest port of embarkation for soldiers and materials headed to the Pacific Theater. Over the course of the war, the port processed 793,000 troops heading overseas and 618,000 returnees. It served the same role during the Korean War.
Between 1956 and 1959, the military installed ten Nike anti-aircraft missile batteries around Seattle, all controlled from Fort Lawton. The Army proposed an anti-ballistic missile base in 1968 but dropped the idea in the face of opposition.
The military handed most of Fort Lawton over to the city of Seattle in 1972, adding more as it closed or moved remaining operations. The base officially closed in 2012.
Fort Lawton Today
The land that was once donated for the military post has been reclaimed as Discovery Park, Seattle’s 534-acre crown jewel featuring meadows, forest groves, cliffs, streams, trails, beaches, a landmark lighthouse, and ocean and mountain views.
Just four Officer’s Row homes remain available for purchase. To learn more about the homes at Officer’ Row and take a look inside, visit ownfortlawton.com.