History lovers, local lore enthusiasts, appreciators of the solid, the handmade, the beautiful, let this home delight you. Careful preservation and valuable updates integrate seamlessly in this Victorian on a corner lot in Tacoma’s Historic North Slope. Restored with loving integrity and respect for its story, the homeowner’s sense of this home’s inherent dignity is evident in the treatment of original fir floors, trim, and antique hardware. Built in the Queen Anne style and officially known as the Walter E. Ligget home, history lovers will appreciate the turn-of-the-century photos of the original homeowners displayed throughout the living space, as well as the open staircase with its king post and rails all made of Western Red Cedar (in fact, records indicate the home is built of Pacific Northwest lumber milled in the Port of Tacoma).
Any buyer will love the natural light glowing through tall bay windows in the morning and afternoon, the 100 year roof, copper plumbing, high-efficiency heating, modern copper Romex wiring, and the kitchen with its custom cabinetry and high-quality appliances. Valuable updating alongside skillful preservation work ensures this home is not just a pleasure to look at, but also comfortable to live in.
Mature landscaping thoughtfully chosen to bring color, texture, and life in all four seasons defines the grounds, all watered by a 12 zone automatic irrigation system. Historically accurate custom colors cover the scalloped and varied shingles, and a decorative ridgecrest tops this stick built Queen Anne. A sculpted paving stone patio, masonry walls, fully fenced back yard, and a spacious 2 garage with workshop finish the exterior.
Find this 1890 Victorian in the Historic North Slope near cafes, theaters, cinemas, schools, and waterfront parks.
We’re very pleased to share that Windermere Abode colleague Sloan Hunter is co-listing this distinguished home. Continue on for the video tour, photos, further historical and architectural details, and neighborhood highlights (including travel time/distance to a list of Tacoma favorites). You can also see it all in person at an Open House on Saturday, October 12th, 11 am - 1 pm.
Hall with Cloak Nook
Living Room - Parlor
Sitting Room - Music Room
Back Staircase - Maid’s Staircase
Spacious 26 x 40 ft 2 Car Garage
Automatic Door from the Paved Alley
Original Carriage Doors on 9th St into Storage Area
LED Light Fixtures
Crisp White Interior Walls
Paving Stone Patio
Fully Fenced Back Yard - Original Old Growth Posts
Low Masonry Walls in Front
Covered Front Porch
Automatic In-Ground Lights
12 Zone Irrigation System
A Historical Note
Before we take you on a tour of this home (and please do take the tour, this home is well worth a visit whether you’re sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee or you’re ready to head over here for a walk-through) we wanted to introduce you to Walter E. Ligget - that man sitting on the steps in the black and white image you saw in the introduction. Any McMenamins Elks Temple enthusiasts out there? You might like to know that Walter Ligget served as treasurer for the Elks Club. He’s pictured in the announcement on the right hand corner above. And you might recognize that grand building in the center image, now fully restored and open to the public for live shows, drinks, dinner, breakfast, and history nights. 824 N. M St is closely tied to this Tacoma landmark through Walter Ligget, the man who owned the home for decades and served the Tacoma Elks.
You’ve stepped beneath the leaves (and in spring, the blossoms) of the thundercloud plum trees, and you’ve made your way up the garden path. The house number is printed on the transom window above. You are in the right place. A pleasant 2-toned doorbell will announce your arrival. The original solid mahogany door tells its own story of another time, another way of building, a time of craft and care. Set with German colored prisms and iridescent Kokomo glass (from the same supplier as Tiffany & Co.), floral design steeple head cast iron hinges, and antique brass hardware, this door is a treasure.
Once inside, a hallway beckons you forward, and French doors invite you to the living room on the right. But stop and notice the open staircase with its round newel post and handrails all made of Western Red Cedar. Not shown is a coat nook under the stairs with original antique hooks for hanging jackets. Duck under the rounded opening to hang your purse and stash your shoes.
Living Room - Parlor
Step through the French doors (added to the home in 1924) into the parlor. Eleven foot high ceilings soar above, while underfoot the original fir floors found throughout the home offer an amber glow. And here in this room is the only East Coast wood to be found in the home; an oak mantle surrounds the Rumford style fireplace with its burgundy Victorian glaze tiles.
The high ceilings not only create a gracious sense of space, but also allow for tall bay windows that, in turn, allow for so much natural light. Speaking of windows, stop and look out, but then notice those marks on the windowsill on the right. That’s where Mike the dog did some rascally chewing back in, oh, you know, the 1890s.
The fireplace was once the main source of heat. A small footprint made heating more efficient, which was as important in 1890 as it is now, even if the equipment has progressed. Now heat comes from a high efficiency gas furnace. You’ll see baseboards throughout the home, but the main floor baseboard units are decommissioned with heating coming instead in forced air from the gas furnace.
Notice the stenciled scrollwork bordering the picture rail. Decorative, yet subtle, this detail sets the room apart. In the days of the Ligget family, what we think of as the living room would have been called the parlor, and was used only on holidays or for special visitors, not for everyday use. But now you can loung or entertain to your heart’s content
Stained glass panels gleam in the bay windows. All windows in the home are protected by storm windows, which add weather protection and helps with heat efficiency. The light fixture is an adapted gasolier, a hybrid form of chandelier from the time when gas lights were common and electricity was still relatively new (and possibly not to be trusted).
With the open flow between the front room and the dining room, living and entertaining in this space is a pleasure. And you haven’t even seen the sitting room adjoining the dining room yet. It happens to be a very nice spot for a pre-dinner cocktail. The dining room is a good spot to stop and notice the original millwork throughout the home: eleven inch baseboards, picture rail, spandrels, fluted door and window casings, Bullseye head blocks, bottom plinths, and corner protectors to shield the plaster walls. There’s plenty to notice and appreciate in each room.
North facing bay windows look out through the plum trees and bring in warm afternoon light. When you move toward the swinging door to the kitchen you can see a section where worn floorboards have been replaced. Lumber from the kitchen walls was used to ensure matching grain. The fir floors all throughout the main level have been carefully restored by sanding only the stain, not the wood itself, thus preserving the ambering that occurs with time and extending the life of the lumber.
A cased opening, with the same decorative work as that which connect the dining room and living room, invites you to this sitting room overlooking the back yard. Adjoining the dining room, this is a pleasant spot for a piano, a cozy sitting area with a bookshelf beside, or could even be your home bar. If you’re entertaining for a big holiday dinner, you could set up the ubiquitous kids’ table in here.
Because the parlor wasn’t in daily use during the era in which this home was built, this little sitting area gave the family a place to rest and visit, perhaps play the piano or pump organ, and spread out a little bit.
The kitchen, clean, crisp, and comfortable, is updated with the original design in mind. Custom solid wood cabinets are complete with iron hardware and high grade melamine interiors. Solid red alder drawers are fashioned with dovetail construction. You’ll find adjustable shelves, a pull out trash bin, and vertical tray storage as well.
To the left of the stove you’ll see a pantry for convenient food storage. To the right of the stove a door opens onto the back staircase. Sometimes known as the maid’s stairs, these are truly the stairs the Ligget family’s maid went up and down from her room above. She’d come down these stairs to light the stove first thing in the morning. The worn stair treads are evidence of her many trips up and down as she completed her housework. It wasn’t uncommon to employ live-in household help in those days, even for a middle or upper-middle class family. Sundays were the maid’s day off, her opportunity to visit family and friends, and go to church.
Now, back to the kitchen of the present where under cabinet lights make for a soft transition in the morning, and serve as guides around countertop corners in the evening. Pendant lights spotlight the island cabinet with its maple butcher block top. Pull up a stool for morning coffee or chat with the cook while they chop.
The other countertops are a unique matte finish granite. They’re soft underhand, though of course they’re quite solid and strong, and they provide a pleasing contrast to the white cabinetry.
An apron front or farmhouse heavy-grade stainless sink with garbage disposal, and high-arc faucet with pull-out spray head matches the quality set of stainless appliances. From the five-burner gas stove with griddle to the side-by-side, counter-depth refrigerator, microwave, and quiet dishwasher, they're good quality stainless appliances.
Head through the kitchen and turn right when you reach the back staircase door and you’ll find a private half bath. Clean and classic lines and good quality fixtures consistent with the style of the home furnish this convenient bathroom. If you’re out working or relaxing in the back yard, just come in the back door and head straight in toward this bathroom. It’s so much better than needing to climb the stairs when you’re spending time down in the main level of the home.
3 Upstairs Bedrooms
Head upstairs to find the bedrooms. A good carpet covers the upstairs rooms making them quieter and giving a soft comfort. This front, east-facing room features bay windows with colored glass panels overlooking M St. Imagine the view from the windows when the plum trees are in bloom! The east room includes its own sitting room or dressing room. Use it as you’d like. With a built-in dresser it’s certainly ideal for storing clothes and dressing, but just add an armchair, side table, and a small bookshelf, to create a quiet and cozy sitting area. This little room even has its own window looking out over the street.
This second of three bedrooms faces north. This room is beautifully lit by bay windows overlooking N 9th St, just like in the dining room below. Here, as throughout the house, you see the original baseboards and window trim. The bay windows also extend the floor space, creating a pleasing contour.
A third smaller bedroom is just across the hall from the bathroom. Depending on the homeowner, this third bedroom makes a good nursery, child’s room, guest room, or office. Here you'll find the access to the attic with its eleven foot ceiling height at the peak. The current homeowner had daydreams of a spiral staircase leading to a finished attic space. It doesn’t hurt to dream, and I imagine the views from third floor windows would be expansive.
The full bath is just down the hall to the right as you come up the front staircase. The original clawfoot tub is 6 feet in length (which is notable as 5 foot clawfoot tubs are more common). With a separate tile shower in place for those who don’t always have time for a soak, this room has all you need. The vanity cabinet is built to match the kitchen cabinets below and is also topped with black granite. The window looks west over the back yard.
Finally, the upstairs is completed with this stacking washer and dryer at the top of the maid's staircase. Yes, there are two staircases in this home! This one leads down to the kitchen ending at a door just beside the stove. These are space-efficient, good quality, front-load appliances tucked out of the way, but still easy to reach from upstairs bedrooms, or from the kitchen below.
The maid may have been thrilled to have these laundry helpers. For anyone who has lived without a washer and dryer in the home, who has lugged bags and baskets of personal items in and out of laundromats, or down dark apartment stairs to shared machines only to find them full of a stranger’s garments, this stackable set will be a relief.
Garage - Carriage House
This home makes the most of its corner lot with attractive arbors and landscaping wrapping all the way around the spacious two car garage. Above you see the original side entrance to the carriage house from N 9th St. The garage is new- built, but these doors were made with salvaged components from the original structure and lead into a separate storage area.
Head around the corner to find the automatic rollup garage door on the paved alley (a paved alley is a fine feature in itself considering the muddy state of so many others). Low boxwood hedges and automatic dusk-to-dawn sconces frame the garage door. Inside there's space for two cars and a workshop area. It's crisp and clean, painted white, with LED light fixtures, and WiFi capabilities.
An attractive window on the east side of the garage looks out to the back yard and garden.
Like the rest of the grounds, the front yard is landscaped with all four seasons in mind. The front is framed by a low masonry wall. Low-voltage automatic in-ground well lights backlight the shrubbery along the walkway to the porch offering nice practical assistance in the dark as well as ambience.
Painted in period appropriate custom colors, the exterior woodwork with multiple patterns created by the variation in the shingles is distinctly Victorian. Also notice the decorative ridgecrest atop the house; in many homes of the era this is no longer intact. Mature landscaping extends along N 9th St with arbored gates leading into the fenced back yard bordered by the garage at the back.
The extraordinary lilac alongside the path to the garage is as old as the house. A manageable lawn provides space enough for picnics, and kids or pets to play, and all is easily cared for with a 12 zone automatic irrigation system.
At the back door you can ring the original doorbell, or stay out on this cobblestone patio with its contoured edges and subtle color variation. Notice the fence built using original old growth posts planed down and reset in metal brackets placed in concrete. Good for years to come!
Landscaping Through the Seasons
The nursery stock covering the home’s grounds was selected to be hardy, disease resistant, pleasing all throughout the year, and relatively easy to maintain. Enjoy the slideshow of images below, collected by the homeowner at all times of year.
Those who know Tacoma and love it well most likely struggle to name their favorite neighborhood. Once you get up close with this city, walk not just the main streets, but the side streets, the alleyways and lesser-known corners, the secrets just continue to unfold. However, the Historic North Slope District where this Queen Anne style Victorian stands on its corner, is surely one of the most beloved areas of the city. One of the largest historic districts in the state, it is defined by its architectural variety, as well as by its proximity to the restaurants and amenities of the Stadium District and the Proctor District, and its special perch above Old Town and the waterfront. Those who live here and those who wander here will have fond memories of cats sunning on garden paths, of wide front porches, deep eaves, pleasant doorways, windows warmly glowing as evening darkens to night. You can learn more about this neighborhood on the Tacoma North Slope Historic District Facebook Group page and read about this and Tacoma’s other Historic Districts on the City of Tacoma’s site. This is the season of back-to-school, after all, and there’s so much to learn!
When you’re done immersing yourself in the history of the neighborhood, get some fresh air with a walk down the hill to the beach. If you really need to stretch your legs you can continue north along Ruston Way and all the way to Owen Beach at Point Defiance Park! Or, direct your steps to the Stadium District where you can loop Wright Park (give it a special hello as it was established the same year 824 No. M St was built!), browse book at King’s Books, raise a pint at the Rheinhaus, or order steaming noodles at Moshi Moshi.
If you’d like to go just a touch farther afield, you can take in a film at the Grand Cinema, a live show at the Pantages Theater, or a night of trivia, dancing, or drinks at the McMenamins Elks Temple (don’t forget, the owner for whom the house was named, Walter E. Liggett, was an Elks Member and served as secretary-treasurer).
Walk out for coffee and brunch, drive easily when you're in a hurry, take the bike, roll along; however you go, you won't go far to find a cocktail or a concert. Take a look at walking and driving times to some Tacoma favorites within easy reach.
From Home on Foot
North Slope Historic District Park: 0.2 miles/4 minutes
Hanks Bar & Pizza: 0.4 miles/7 minutes
Annie Wright Schools: 0.5 miles/10 minutes
Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club: 0.6 miles/13 minutes
The Tacoma Little Theater: 0.7 miles/14 minutes
Wright Park: 0.7 miles/13 min
Stadium Thriftway: 0.9 miles/16 minutes
Indo Street Eatery: 0.9 mile/17 minutes
WW Seymour Botanical Conservatory: 1 mile/19 minutes
Stadium High School: 1 mile/18 minutes
King’s Books: 1 mile/19 minutes
Bluebeard Coffee Roasters: 0.5miles/10 minutes
State Street Beer: 0.5 miles/10 minutes
Primo Grill: 0.7 miles/14 minutes
The Spar Tavern: 1.1 miles/21 minutes
Old Town Dock & Jack Hyde Park: 1.2 mile/23 minutes
MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital: 0.6 miles/11 minutes
University of Puget Sound: 0.7 mile/14 minutes
Grand Cinema & Corina Bakery: 1.1 miles/22 minutes
From Home by Car - Within 3 Miles
Stink Cheese-Meet & El Tufo Wine Bar: 1.2 miles/6 minutes
McMenamins Elks Temple: 1.3 miles/6 minutes
Over the Moon Cafe: 1.3 miles/6 minutes
Cocobolo (boutique): 1.3 miles/6 minutes
Antique Row: 1.3 miles/7 minutes
Rialto Theater: 1.4 miles/ 6 minutes
Tacoma Public Library (Main): 1.4 miles/6 minutes
Pantages Theater: 1.5 miles/7 minutes
St. Joseph Medical Center: 1.6 miles/8 minutes
Metropolitan Market: 1.7 miles/5 minutes
Pacific Grill: 1.9 miles/8 minutes
En Rama: 2 miles/9 minutes
Tacoma Art Museum: 2 miles/8 minutes
Don’t forget 824 N M St is on the bus line! Ride the bus, ride your bike, skate, wheel, walk, or drive. We listed the Tacoma Art Museum above, but the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, the Museum of Glass, and the Washington State History Museum are all downtown on Pacific Avenue. Go visit!
Continued Reading - An Informational Tribute From the Perspective of the Homewowner
What do you get when a homeowner is a skilled preservation enthusiast who has carefully maintained, restored, and updated a property for decades? You get a wealth of information you can’t get from anyone else! Don’t let it go to waste. Learn more about the architectural details, restoration work, and updates. Get to know the plants and landscaping details. Also, hear what it’s like to live in this spot, the neighborhood cadence and character. Read even more about this home here.
Open Houses & More Information
We invite you to join us to see this Victorian home in person.
Saturday, October 12th, 11 am - 1 pm
In the meantime, for more information about this beautiful North Slope Historic District Victorian, call or text me, Michael Duggan, at 253-226-2787. I'll be happy to answer your questions about this home or the local real estate market in general.