While Guy C. Phinney was busy building on Phinney Ridge, Rasmus Peter Jensen was making a name for himself right here in the West Woodland neighborhood.
Rasmus Peter Jensen, also known as Robert later in life, was born on June 14, 1862 in Skjod, Viborg, Denmark. At the time of his birth his father, Jens, was 38 and his mother, Sidsel, was 39. Jensen immigrated to Seattle in 1889, the year Washington became a state, and homesteaded in the West of Woodland Park district, today’s West Woodland neighborhood. His original farm house was built in 1889 near the corner of 7th Ave NW and NW 60th Street. The picture below of the Jensen Homestead was taken in 1891 and is courtesy MOHAI.
Jensen was a carpenter by trade and owned a construction business and a general store, Woodland Grocery, Flour & Feed, which was located on the corner of NW 60th & 4th Ave (photo at bottom of page). The photo of Jensen and his crew, below, was taken sometime between 1900 and 1910. Jensen (far right) takes a lunch break with his construction crew at a house they are building. The men have carried their food to the site in lunchboxes. Photo courtesy of the Seattle MOHAI.
Jensen married his sweetheart Marie E.D. Hansen in 1892. They had two children during their marriage – Anna & Nathalia. In their wedding photo below, Jensen wears a formal coat and trousers and Marie wears a dark dress with a shaped bodice and puffed sleeves. At the time, many women still followed the older custom of choosing a wedding dress that they could also wear at other times.
Jensen’s great-nephew, Dennis Jensen, told me that Rasmus died on January 9, 1943 in his home at 404 NW 60th Street at the age of 80.
For those of you who live to the south of NW 60th & 7th Ave NW, while working in your yards be on the lookout for rusted horse shoes, broken spades or other farm tools. The homes in the area are built on the old Jensen homestead. You all may have a piece of Seattle history right under your feet.
If you have old photos of the neighborhood, please share them with your West Woodland Neighbors by posting on this site, or emailing a JPEG copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos and historical data courtesy the MOHAI – Seattle.