Did You Know...

L'AMOURITA, the Spanish Colonial apartment named for lovers, was a half-century old when its tranquility was first interrupted in 1959 by construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge above it. The bridge was completed in the fall of 1961, and tenants in the 21 units at L'Amourita would have a year's hiatus from the noise before that first Seattle section of Interstate 5 opened to traffic.

Residents have mostly gotten used to the clatter, especially from the express lanes, that manages to break in. Grace Hitchman has lived in one of the apartments for 23 years and has slept soundly except when the traffic stops. Then she wakes up.

Since the 1950s, the building has been a cooperative run by a board of tenants. Over the years, the story of its origins has several versions. Costi Parvulescu, a member of the co-op's board, shared one: "The story goes that a Portuguese farmer built L'Amourita and kept adding sections as he got more daughters."

This has a grain of truth. An investments speculator named Adolph J. Jarmuth built L'Amourita whole-piece and lived with his family in its first apartment at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Shelby Street for the first two years only. In the beginning there were only eight apartments, described in The Seattle Times then as "divided by concrete walls and having from seven to nine rooms." The building, said The Times, was "the first of its kind in Seattle."

With exterior concrete walls 22 inches thick, L'Amourita was built nearly for eternity. "I think most of Seattle has lived here at one point," says present board president Lysa Hansen.

Written by Paul Dorpat

Half and Half
According to the City of Seattle's Urban Village Boundry Plan, Only the southern half of the L'amourita is inside the Eastlake boundry.

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