Ferdinand J. Hahn Biography


When the author of the newspaper article announcing the passing of Ferdinand Hahn used “Death of F.J. Hahn Shocks Community” for its headline, he could not have chosen better words.  Although Hahn was by no means the only individual behind the creation of what was eventually called the Haller Lake Improvement Club, his perseverance and dedication were instrumental in its birth and the eventual construction of its clubhouse.

On July 29, 1921, thirty-six Haller Lake residents gathered at Hahn’s house, whose address would later be 13053 Meridian Avenue North, and the Haller Lake Improvement Club was born.  Hahn had lived in the community barely a year.  Officers were elected a month later, and by the following January a building committee had already been formed to prepare for construction of a clubhouse.  By the time the club held its first meeting at the clubhouse on June 1, 1923, membership stood at 138 and the club had already successfully secured the installation of sixteen streetlights and other road improvements.  The club’s original purpose, to secure the construction of a school, would be fulfilled by 1925, when Haller Lake School opened for the first six grades.  After meeting at Hahn’s house for nearly two years, the club had many accomplishments under its belt.

Hahn went on to serve two terms as club president, and was instrumental in the creation of the Associated Clubs of the North End, an umbrella organization of improvement clubs throughout neighborhoods just north of Seattle.  The Associated Clubs held their first meeting at the Haller Lake clubhouse on February 4, 1924, largely due to Hahn’s organizational efforts and the assistance of two other Haller Lake residents, James Moore and Maurice Frank.  Hahn went on to serve as one of Haller Lake’s representatives at the Associated Clubs’ gatherings.

Hahn was born in Berlin, Germany and initially settled in Chicago in 1892.  While residing there, he married, and started an architectural firm with a business partner.  He migrated to Seattle in 1906 to open a branch unit, and took over as sole owner two years later.  After living in the Green Lake district, he moved to the Haller Lake area in 1920.  While examining a blueprint at his office at 358 Nickerson Street on August 30, 1929, Hahn suffered a stroke and collapsed at his bureau.  Only that morning he had remarked to a friend how well he was feeling.  Nevertheless his lifelong wish to die at his desk fully clothed was fulfilled.

Hahn’s son, Fritz, inherited Ferdinand’s house, eventually building himself another just to the north in 1949 (1915 N. 133rd).  Around this time, Ferdinand’s original house was razed.  Ferdinand’s original house was one of two houses originally constructed between what are today the Ingraham High School playfield and Meridian Avenue North, and N. 130th and N. 133rd Streets. The other house survives as of this writing.  Now bearing the address 1746 N. 130th St., it rests on a parcel heavily reduced by subdivisions.

– Greg Dziekonski, HLCC Historian