The Carneys bought our house in 1957, before their 10th child was born. Mr. Carney passed away in 1987 and Gretchen Carney lived here until she passed away in 2007 at age 87. The kids ages ranged enough years that I think only 8 kids lived in our house at any one time.
The Carney family children asked to visit our house a couple months ago and we finally arranged a date for today. They had 13 children, 8 girls and 5 boys — no twins or triplets, and most of them and/or their spouses and some grandkids, 24 in all, visited today to see how their home had changed.
They also brought us the Seattle city records for the property dating back to 1908, which even includes Andrew Hemrich’s will. Things we learned:
- They were the 3rd owners, making us only the 4th in over 100 years
- Their parents bought the house for $28,000 in 1957 (that’s $225,000 in today’s dollars). The house was bought for $22,000 ($389,000 in today’s dollars) in 1917 from Andrew Hemrich’s widow by the Bryant family. Real estate was not a good investment in that period, probably thanks to the Great Depression.
- They moved from the around the corner on the same block. Gretchen Carney learned it was for sale from her hairdresser a couple blocks away.
- Girls’ bedrooms were in the attic, boys were on the 2nd floor
- The kids were never allowed to use the main staircase, only the “servants’” staircase (which we removed, except for the section to the attic)
- Havana’s bedroom was a guest room only
- When one kid came down with Chicken Pox, they and all other kids who had not yet contracted it were moved to the same bedroom to spread it quickly and to keep it contained
- The owners before the Carneys turned the house into a multi-family home (Depression Era?), Eva’s closet was a kitchen
- Two kids were married in the house, a couple others had wedding receptions here
- Several neighbors had their wedding photos taken in the house