Madison Valley News


By Neal McNamara

SEATTLE, WA – In April 1994, the U.S. government bought a nearly 100-year-old brick mansion in Seattle’s ultra-rich Madison Park neighborhood for just over $1 million. Shortly after that, the Russians moved in.

The Samuel Hyde mansion, located at the corner of 38th and Madison, has been the Russian consulate’s residence in Seattle ever since. But after the surprise announcement Monday that the U.S. State Department would close Russia’s Seattle mission by April 2, Russian diplomats will also have to leave that swank Madison Park home.

“Once the deadline has passed the properties will no longer enjoy diplomatic status or protections. On the deadline day, diplomatic security will conduct a walk through to confirm that the Russians have indeed vacated the premises. As we did in San Francisco, we will invite the Russians to accompany us on that walk through,” a U.S. State Department official told Patch Monday.

The house, finished in 1910, was built for Samuel Hyde, the owner of a local liquor company. Before 1994, the home was occupied by Edward and Pamela Blecksmith. They only lived there for four years, however.

In 1994, the home had a taxable value of about $1.1 million. The government doesn’t pay property taxes on the home, but it’s worth close to $4 million today, according to the King County Assessor.

It’s unclear who will occupy the mansion next.

Syndicated from, featured photo credit: National Parks Service.

Today marks the start of the tastiest week of the season- the triumphant return of Seattle Restaurant Week!

We here in Seattle are so blessed with an abundance of fabulous dining options, ranging from simple and inexpensive to exotic, lavish and extraordinary, which usually doesn’t come too cheap. Seattle Restaurant Week is an opportunity for people to explore many incredible restaurants they may not normally spring for by offering fabulous deals you won’t want to miss out on.

Every Sunday through Thursday from April 2nd to April 19th, over 165 restaurants across the city will be offering up $33 three-course dinners, with many also offering $18 two-course lunches as well. These restaurants range in price, type of cuisine and location, giving you tons of options to choose from, in every department!

To maximize your SRW experience, check out a list of participating restaurants here (click on the name of the restaurants to see their location and view their SRW exclusive menu) and be sure to check out The Seattle Times lists of best overall value, best ambiance, neighborhood favorites and SRW newcomers.

If you are going to explore SRW (which we highly recommend you do!), remember to be patient, make reservations and tip your servers well! While SRW is a great opportunity for diners, restaurants do tend to get swamped, and the nicer and more understanding we are as patrons, the better the experience for everyone!

Now, go out and get a healthy dose of YUM, before it’s too late!

By Sarah Anne Lloyd

Wednesday morning, Seattle Art Museum (SAM) broke ground on a long-awaited expansion to Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM), located in the middle of Volunteer Park in Capitol Hill.

The art deco building was the original home of SAM (one A) but became SAAM (two As) after SAM moved to its downtown location in the early 1990s. It’s now home to a large collection of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Himalayan, and southeast Asian art.

“For the last 20 years, we’ve known the day would arrive when we needed to restore this building, a museum that houses one of the most important Asian art collections in the country,” said SAM director Kimerly Rorschach. “That day has come.”

That day arguably came a while ago. The building was first gifted to the city in 1933, and and still has the original heating system—and is in need of seismic upgrades, a new HVAC system with cooling and humidity controls, a loading dock, and a freight elevator, not just for visitor safety, but for preserving the museum’s art collection.

The museum’s 13,650-square-foot, more modern-looking expansion, which includes 3,600 square feet stretching eastward into park land, will include new space for galleries, offices, meetings, and studios.

Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum

In exchange for a new 55-year lease on the property and some zoning exemptions—technically, Volunteer Park is zoned single family—the museum will provide an estimated $338,725 in public benefits. That includes donation-based admission and signs clearly instructing that donations of any amount grant entry, plus a four free days each month. The museum is also subject to some benchmarks, like hours of operation and outreach programs.

The whole renovation will cost $54 million, with $21 million coming from the city. The museum’s $33 million will be helped along by federal historic building tax credits—the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016—and fundraising.

LMN Architects leads the expansion design team, with landscape design by Walker Macy, in close collaboration with SAM and Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum

After years of neighborhood controversy, the expansion gained unanimous approval from the Seattle City Council back in January. Leading up to that, a group called Protect Volunteer Park had taken issue with the plan to expand the museum’s footprint, claiming it will disrupt the views and original vision of the Olmsted park. By the end of the process, though, the group seemed resigned, with one spokesperson telling the Seattle Times it was a “done deal.”

Syndicated from

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, there’s no better time to celebrate the beauty and depth of the Irish culture, and Seattle Center’s Festal is gearing up to do just that!

Head to Seattle Center on Saturday, March 17th and Sunday, March 18th and find a serious taste of the Emerald Isle right here in the heart of in the Emerald City. Festal’s Irish Festival will bring to life a multifaceted, in-depth adventure through Ireland, its history and traditions, no passport necessary.

Enjoy a fun and fascinating exploration of Irish cultural heritage, past and present, through visual arts, live performance, games, activities, and of course, food! Explore the market place featuring Irish handicrafts, live Irish music and that famous and oh-so-impressive Irish step dancing.

Do you have the luck of the Irish? Find out by tracing your own roots in geology workshops (yes! That’s at the festival!), and learn a bit of the Celtic language while you’re at it. The festival also promises Irish movies and short films, cultural exhibits and live demonstrations and maybe even a few Irish celebrities!


Festal is a series of multi-cultural events presented by and at the Seattle Center each year. Now in its 21st year, Festal continues to shine a light on the beauty and majesty of cultures across the globe by showcasing their rich and complex traditions, histories, art, music, dance, food and much more. Festal’s Irish Festival is presented in partnership with the Irish Heritage Club of Seattle.


Whether you’re looking to learn more about your own heritage, wanting to learn more about Ireland and its culture in general, or you’re simply tired of leprechauns and green beer and looking for a more authentic experience, Festal’s Irish Festival is sure to be a fun and fabulous way to spend your St. Patty’s Day weekend.

Seattle Center Festál
Irish Festival
March 17-18, 2018
Armory Main Level