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Peder P. Gjarde

1874 - 1938

Building contractor Peder P. Gjarde (also cited or miss-spelled as Peter Gjarde, and Peder Gjerde) was born in Norway in 1874 and immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. He lived and worked in Chicago for eight years before moving to Seattle where he established a construction business in 1910. Shortly thereafter he formed a partnership with O.N. Finne. While several advertisements note that Finne & Gjarde specialized in "Rock Products and Building Materials” their projects varied greatly. Togther the firm of Finne & Gjarde constructed of a number of houses on Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill, including the Kjos Residence (1911), Franklin High School (1911), the Officers’ Quarters at the Bremerton Naval Yard, the Queen Anne branch Seattle Public Library (both in 1913), Raitt Hall, the original Home Economics Buildings on the University of Washington campus (1915),  the Federal Condenser Milk Company plant in Mount Vernon (1917), Maple School (1918) and the new ASUW athletic field at the University of Washington (1918).  For reasons unknown, by mid-1922 both Finne and Gjarde had opened thier own independent firms. 

A successful general contractor for nearly four decades in Seattle, Gjarde continued to construct a variety of projects in the Seattle area.  These include the De Honey Dancing Academy on Seattle’s Capitol Hill (1922); a replacement of the Hinckley Building (1925); the new Ranke Building (1926); the Realty Corporation Building (1929) in downtown Seattle, the YMCA, Seattle (1930), and the Seattle Art Museum in Volunteer Park (1933). His work continued into the late 1930s despite the Depression, with contracts for a major remodel of the Anderson Buick auto dealership on Westlake Avenue (1937); an addition to the Virginia Mason Hospital (1937); an alteration of the Nordstrom’s shoe store; and a $200,000 warehouse for the Northern Pacific Railway (1937).

Gjarde was a member of the Master Builders Association of Washington, and was heavily involved in the local Associated General Contractors and was elected secretary of the Pacific Northwest group in January 1938.  he also severed as the vice president of Curtis-Wiley Marine Salvors, Inc., a salvage company, in 1931. 

Gjarde died unexpectedly in February 1938 at the age of 64.  The company continued under the direction of Henrick Valle for a few more years until he assumed ownership, and changed the name.