The Words of the Dolfay Family

Historic Denny Mansion Open To Public Again

Levi Pulkkinen
September 23, 2007
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter

For the first time in a century, the country mansion built on a bluff above Lake Washington by Seattle pioneer Rolland Denny was opened to the public Saturday.

When "Lochkelden" was built in 1907 on a 50-acre parcel in what's now Seattle's moneyed Windermere neighborhood near Magnuson Park, the mansion's sprawling veranda looked out onto the forested Cascade foothills.

In the mansion's early years, Denny -- who was 2 1/2 months old when a pioneering party led by his father, Arthur A. Denny, landed at Alki Point in 1851 -- and his guests could reach the property only by boat.

"This was way out of the city limits," said Scott Dolfay, who manages the home for the Unification Church, owner of the property since 1974. "It really was a country estate."

The land around the three-story, mission-style house has changed a lot since Denny commissioned its construction.

Views from the white stucco home now include Kirkland, the Evergreen Point Bridge and bits of Bellevue. The neighborhood has filled with sprawling homes to rival Denny's former estate, houses occupied by Seattleites who also struck gold in the Emerald City that Denny helped found.

Over the years, Dolfay said, Denny sold off parcels of the land surrounding the home, leaving a 1.7 acre property.

The Unification Church -- best known for its founder, Sun Myung Moon -- purchased the property during an economic downturn in Seattle. Since then, the house has hosted church missionaries, meetings and other activities.

Dozens of neighbors, church members and fans of Seattle history turned out to tour the home's public areas Saturday.

Museum of History and Industry director Leonard Garfield introduced throngs of visitors to the home.

Garfield said the house was loosely modeled on the Spanish mission style, with sweeping arches on some rooflines and deeply recessed windows.

The home's interior was imbued with what Garfield called touches of "rural comfort." Fabric panels showing pastoral scenes were built into the walls, and rustic exposed beams added to the home's warmth.

Dolfay said the church is still considering how often the house will be open to the public. But, because of constraints imposed by the upscale neighborhood, he said future public openings would be rare.

More information on the house and photos are available at

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