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Architecture & Engineering

Emma Hinchliffe
Emma Hinchliffe

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May 31, 2023

Talking History: Recently designated single-family home is not your typical city landmark

When you hear the word “city landmark,” marquee buildings like the Space Needle, over-a-century-old former warehouses in Pioneer Square, or a building designed by a renowned architect, like Rainier Tower, might come to mind. Seattle's latest landmark, a single-family home at 4022 32nd Ave. S.W. in West Seattle, defies these assumptions. Its road to landmarking has also fostered important discussions about what makes a building worthy of landmark status.

The property, called the Fausto & Erma Cettolin House, was not developed by or associated with a high-profile individual and most Seattleites probably have not seen or even heard of the building. It was instead built and designed by Fausto Cettolin, an Italian immigrant who left Italy in 1913 and settled in West Seattle in 1920 after finding work at a local steel mill. Nevertheless, on April 19, the Landmarks Preservation Board voted unanimously to designate the Cettolin House a city landmark, designating the building's site, exterior, and portions of the interior.

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