Theodore N. Haller Biography

Theodore N. Haller owned and developed the real estate around the lake which bears his name. Although born in York, Pennsylvania in 1864, Haller arrived in the Pacific Northwest when he was an infant. His father, Granville Haller, was an army officer assigned to command Fort Townsend, whose site is now a state park. Upon leaving the military, Granville settled in Seattle, and built a mansion on First Hill, the first of many elaborate dwellings which were later to make up the neighborhood of Seattle’s elite. Named Castlemount and built on the corner of Minor Avenue and James Street, it dominated the view of the top of the hill from Elliot Bay for years. Educated at elite private schools in Portland and at Yale University, Theodore became a lawyer, learning the profession in Seattle at the firm of his brother, George. After briefly practicing law in Port Townsend, he eventually settled in Seattle following his brother’s death. Arriving to a charred ruin of a city immediately following the great fire of 1889, Theodore moved into his parents’ mansion and began to manage the family’s extensive real estate holdings, completing a downtown office building which he named after his late brother, and overseeing agricultural land spanning several counties. About this time, he married Constance Reed. They had no children and later divorced.

Theodore’s platting of the Haller Lake Tracts around Haller Lake in 1905 was one of his many business transactions, probably representing the only geographical landmark in the area which still bears the Haller name. Castlemount gave way to a federal housing project during World War II, and its site is now occupied by a medical clinic. By the time of Theodore’s death at Providence Hospital in 1930, the Haller Building on 2nd and Columbia had already been renamed the Title Trust Building. Its Romanesque-type architecture, reflective of many buildings in Chicago, languished, and the site is now occupied by the Norton Building, erected in 1959, whose developer was former Governor Booth Gardner’s stepfather.

– Greg Dziekonski, HLCC Historian