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Frank H. Perkins

1850 - 1929

Seattle architect Frank Herbert Perkins was born on February 19, 1850 in New York and raised in the community of Sweden, New York.  At this time, the details of his early life and formal education, if any, are unknown.  The 1870’s census notes that he was a student living at home in Bergen, New York, a small community just west of Rochester.

By the mid 1870s he and his young wife, Sara, had moved to St. Louis, Missouri.  Perkins initially followed in his father’s footsteps and worked as a carpenter.   The family remained in St. Louis until 1888, migrating to Los Angeles.  By then Perkins began billing himself as architect and he served as building superintendent Senator W.A. Clark.  Seeking new adventured, Perkins moved again, this time to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1892.  Now in his 40s, he continued to market himself as an architect. 

After divorcing his wife in 1900, Perkins moved to Jerome, Arizona, but did not stay for long.  By 1903 he settled in Seattle by 1903 and opened up his own independent architectural practice. While in Seattle he lived with his sister, Caroline. 

Difficulties arose early on when in November of 1905 he was arrested by the building inspector and fined $10 for putting up a two-story building without a proper foundation.  Regardless, he was still one of just seven architects working in the city at the time and his business flourished.

Over the course of his career in Seattle, Perkins designed a variety of building types including commercial buildings, homes and apartment dwellings.  His apartment buildings include the F.J. Tetzner Apartments (1907, demolished); the LaCrosse Apartments (302 Malden Ave, 1907); the Bellevue/ Chardonnay Apartments (203 Bellevue Ave, 1906); the Moana Apartments (1414 E Harrison, 1908); and the Harrison Apartments (322 10th Ave E, 1909).

C.C. Pierce Jr. House, Seattle Times: May 12, 1907.He also designed the Forest Ridge Convent & School (now Hebrew Academy, 1617 Interlaken Dr. 1909); the Greenous Building (500 E Pike St., 1917); a four-story hotel for C.D. Wason (657 S King St, 1909); and the Ferrera Court Building in Vancouver, BC (1912).

Like many architects of the day, Perkins also had a plan service.  Reportedly per advertisements he had over 100 standardized residential designs available for purchase.  Many of the known projects have similar details with flipped floorplans and slightly different ornamentation. His known single family home projects include the Joseph Krauss House (1911); the Frank Hergert House (1041 Summit Ave E, 1905); the Schumann House (3120 s Mount Baker, 1922); the L. Jones House (3119 37th Ave S, 1909); the Frank Fechtner House (2322 Federal Ave, 1906); the Cummings-Maxwell House (1108 Harvard Ave, 1904, demolished); the George W. Stetson House (1531 13th Ave S, 1906, demolished); the Charles C. Pierce Jr. House (119 39th Ave E 1906); the Wendel F. Jahn House (932 18th Ave, 1907); the Henry J. Mignerey House (1121 Grand Ave, 1907); the Harry Souder House (5037 44th Ave S, 1908); the M.A. Mason House (712 16th Ave, 1905); the Nellie Sylvester House (706 16th Ave, 1905); the Ellsworth Benson House (707 16th Ave, 1904);  and the John & Agnes Wittwer House (1205 21st Ave N, 1910). Reportedly he also designed more than 200 speculative homes for the H.S. Turner Company (1909-1919), the development team behind many of the homes in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, and at least five homes for investor C.E. Farnsworth (2909-1921 E Cherry Street).

Perkins retained his practice until 1923, although no projects have been associated with him that date to after 1920.  He died in Seattle on May 2, 1929 at the age of 79.


By Michael Houser, State Architectural Historian - Feb 2020


James, Diana Shared Walls: Seattle Apartment Buildings 1900-1939.

NR nomination – Salt Lake City East Side Historic District

Polk Directories 1896-1920.

“F.H. Perkins, architect, has commenced the construction….” – Seattle Daily Times, September 27, 1903.

“To F.H. Perkins, architect, lot 8, block 17…..” – Seattle Daily Times, November 22, 1903.

“To F.H. Perkins, architect, lot 13, block 14…..” – Seattle Daily Times, March 26, 1904.

“F.H. Perkins, 118 17th Ave North…..” – Seattle Daily Times, April 15, 1904.

“F.H. Perkins has sold to Ellsworth D. Benson Lot 13, Block 14…..” – Seattle Daily Times, December 24, 1904.

“Frank H. Perkins has sold to Nellie A. Sylvester Lot 10, Block 17…..” – Seattle Daily Times, February 25, 1905.

“F.H. Perkins has sold Lot 9, Block 17…..” – Seattle Daily Times, June 18, 1905.

“F.H. Perkins has filed plans for a 1 ½ - story frame cottage…..” – Seattle Daily Times, July 16, 1905.

“Lot 1 to 4, Block 5, Cherry Street Heights….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, September 3, 1905.

“Architect is Fined for Disobeying Law” – Seattle Daily Times, September 19, 1905.

“Architect F.H. Perkins has let the contract for a $4,000 residence …..” – Seattle Daily Times, October 1, 1905.

“Lot 4, Block 5, Cherry Street Heights for F.H. Perkins….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, October 22, 1905.

“Residence of Frank Hergert” – Seattle Daily Times, November 12, 1905.

“This Will Be a Big Realty Month” – Seattle Daily Times, February 18, 1906.

 “F.J. Tetzner has taken out a permit….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, March 28, 1906.

 “Architect F.H. Perkins is drawing plan for a $20,000 three-story frame apartment….” – Seattle Daily Times, February 18, 1906.

 “Architect F.H. Perkins is drawing plans for a residence ….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, May 13, 1906.

“Architect F.H. Perkins is drawing plans for a home for W.F. Jahn….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, September 30, 1906.

“F.H. Perkins has prepared plans for the altering of a store ….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, June 3, 1906.

“H.J. Mignerey’s Home” – Seattle Daily Times, April 4, 1907.

 “W.F. Jahn Residence” – Seattle Daily Times, April 14, 1907.

 “Architect F.H. Perkins is drawing plans for a $22,000 apartment….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, May 10, 1907.

 “Home of C.C. Pierce Jr.” – Seattle Daily Times, May 12, 1907.

“Residence now being built in Mount Baker….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, June 29, 1907.

“Residence in Mount Baker under course of construction….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, June 29, 1907.

“H.S. Turner Investment Company Apartment Building Corner Tenth and Thomas” – Seattle Daily Times, August 18, 1907.

“At an estimated cost of $35,000 according to plans prepared by…” – Seattle Daily Times, August 18, 1907.

“Thomas Street Apartment House” – Seattle Daily Times, September 8, 1907.

“Architect F.H. Perkins is drawing plans for a $6,000 residence….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, September 15, 1907.

“P.E. Harris has taken out permit for a two-story frame….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, October 6, 1907.

“Mrs. T. Sutter has filed plans for a two-story flat building….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, November 24, 1907.

 “Seattle -  F.H. Perkins, architect, is reported to have plans……” – American Architect & Building News, February 1908.

 “Seattle, Wash – F.H. Perkins, architect, is preparing….” – Improvement Bulletin, April 11, 1908.

 “New Second Hill Building” – Seattle Daily Times, January 26, 1908.

“Many New Residences and Business Houses and Alternations….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, April 5, 1908.

“Several Handsome Homes to Be Built in Near Future….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, October 11, 1908.

“Apartments House to be Built on Beacon Hill….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, October 25, 1908.

“Architect F.H. Perkins has let contract for a three-story brick veneer apartment building….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, October 25, 1908.

Advertisement – “Architects” – Seattle Daily Times, Jan 22, 1909.

“Apartments in Regraded District” – Seattle Daily Times, February 7, 1909.

“Building Plans in Preparation” – Seattle  Times, February 7, 1909.

 “Modern Apartment House Being Built By United Cities Trustee Company….…..” – Seattle Daily Times, May 2, 1909.

“Perkins Planning home For Catholic Order” – Seattle Daily Times, July 18, 1909.

“Four-Story Hotel Will Cost $50,000” – Seattle Daily Times, September 26, 1909.

“Building Permits Issued Run Small” – Seattle Daily Times, October 17, 1909.

“Hotel and Stores Go Up on King Street” – Seattle Daily Times, November 14, 1909.

“Plans were filed with the building department for inspection…” – Seattle Daily Times, December 5, 1909.

“New Music House” – Seattle Daily Times, March 6, 1910.

“Architect F.H. Perkins will have plans ready this week for a……” – Seattle Daily Times, May 29, 1910.

Advertisement – “100 Different Plans” – Seattle Daily Times, October 13, 1918.