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Historic Properties

National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places

Tour of National Register Historic Places in Seward

National Register Historic Places in Seward

  • Jesse Lee Home
  • Ballaine House
  • Lowell Creek Diversion Tunnel
  • St. Peter's Church
  • Seward Depot
  • US Cable Office
  • Swetman House
  • Van Gilder Hotel
  • Brown and Hawkins Store

    AKA: Stucco Johnson House
    327 5th Ave.

    The structure which would eventually become known as the Swetmann House was originally built on a steeply graded site against Mt. Marathon in the vicinity of Dairy Hill near Leirer’s Dairy Farm.

    This “cottage” was constructed in 1916 as the personal residence of local artist-craftsman-builder, Gerhard Johnson. One of his many forms of construction artistry was the use of stucco on exteriors of buildings, which earned him the nickname of “Stucco” Johnson.

    The Stucco Johnson “cottage” became the Swetmann House when Johnson sold the structure to Elwyn Swetmann in 1920 or 1921. A condition of the sale was that Johnson would move the structure from the Dairy Hill site to Swetman’s lot.

    Elwyn Swetmann arrived in Seward, July 1919 to work as a pharmacist. In 1920 he purchased Seward Drug Company and in 1921 formed a partnership in an undertaking business. Also that year, he married Viola Triplett who had come to Seward from Spokane to teach school. The Swetmans were active citizens both in civic affairs and business, which included mining and banking. Both took a personal interest in the Seward Public Library.

    The Swetmann House is considered the architectural design gem of Seward. Of modest dimensions, 17 feet 6 inches by 25 feet, this structure sits on a full concrete basement and has two floors plus an attic.

    Stucco Johnson’s artistry is evident throughout the structure. Particularly in its unique wood frame design, the exterior of which is covered with protective stucco.

    Elwyn Swetmann died in 1951. Ownership of their 50 year residence was passed by will to the Seward Community Library Board upon Viola Swetman’s death in 1976. In 1979 the board sold the property to a private party.