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Leopold David House

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1917. 605 W. 2nd Ave.

This bungalow was built by Leopold David, Anchorage's first mayor. David purchased two adjoining lots of city land during the July 1915 auction and completed construction on the house two years later. It is not clear whether David utilized a building kit, a common way to construct bungalows during the era, or if he had someone personally design it for him. However, it was notable for its size, larger than any other residence in the immediate area. The only others that came close to the size of the David House were the cottages built for higher ranking officials with the Alaska Engineering Commission (AEC). 

The one-and-a-half-story building, which measures 25 feet by 40 feet, has a wood frame covered with clapboards. Above a new concrete foundation, the lower walls are flared, covered with wood shingles, and painted a darker color. Tucked inside the front gable and asymmetrically placed to the right is a gabled porch with paired box columns. To the left of it is a semihexagonal bay window. The roof has exposed rafter ends, brackets in the gables, including on the gable dormer, and jigsawn ornament at the ends of the bargeboards. The house is the best preserved example of a bungalow style architecture in Anchorage, a style sometimes referred to as the Plains School. 

Today the home is painted blue and gray with white trim, and maintains a general faithfulness to its original tricolor scheme. Beyond several paint jobs over the years, the building has been modified in a few notable ways. Most obviously, the basement has been completely renovated, including the addition of square windows, a feature at odds with the architectural style. The finished basement brings the house to 2,500 square feet. More generally, the Leopold David House has been repurposed to host law offices and is no longer a used as a personal residence.  

David, born to Jewish parents in Germany in 1881, was an American immigrant success story. His family moved to Brooklyn, New York, when he was a child, and David eventually joined the Army. He served as a druggist and pharmacist with the Medical Corps in the Philippines during the Spanish–American War. Upon returning home in 1901, David was sent Fort Egbert, Alaska, where he completed his service and continued to gain training in the medical field. He moved to Seward in 1905, where he operated a pharmacy and had a degree of financial success. He married Anna Karasek and, in 1910, was appointed U.S. commissioner in Knik; David also studied law and practiced as a lawyer after arriving in Anchorage in 1915. He was also active in community affairs and grew increasingly interested in politics. When Anchorage was incorporated in 1920, he was first appointed as mayor and then served two additional one-year terms. At the time, the position did not confer a paid wage, but David was determined to show his commitment to his adopted city and serve nonetheless. He died of a heart attack in 1924.

In 1986 the Leopold David House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

References

Bagoy, John P. "David, Leopold." In Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935, 42-43Anchorage, AK: Publications Consultants, 2001.

Carberry, Michael, and Donna Lane. Patterns of the Past: An Inventory of Anchorage’s Historic Resources. Anchorage, AK: Community Planning Department, Municipality of Anchorage, 1986.

Carberry, Michael, and Steve Peterson, "Leopold David House," Anchorage, Alaska. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1985. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

“Death Calls Leopold David to Last Rest,” Anchorage Daily Times, November 22, 1924.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Alison K. Hoagland
Updated By: 
Ian C. Hartman (2020)
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Data

Timeline

  • 1917

    Built

What's Nearby

Citation

Alison K. Hoagland, "Leopold David House", [Anchorage, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/AK-01-SC014.

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 90-91.

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