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Swetmann House

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1916. 325 Fifth Ave.

This stucco-covered house with fanciful Flemish gables is an unusual bit of whimsy. The house was built in 1916 by Gerhard “Stucco” Johnson, an accomplished builder known for his expertise with stucco. Probably soon after his marriage in 1921, Elwyn Swetmann bought the building and moved it to its present site. Swetmann owned the Seward Drug Company and in 1946 bought the Bank of Seward. Members of the Swetmann family lived here until the 1970s.

The one-and-a-half-story house is not large, measuring approximately 17 feet by 25 feet. Its most distinguishing feature is its stepped gable ends, creating a curlicued and angled profile. A shed dormer also adorns the roof. Entrance is through a shed-roofed porch, which has been partially enclosed, into a living room that extends the width of the building. The dining room has a semi-hexagonal bay window, and the kitchen is behind it.

The Swetmann family left the building to the local library, which opened the building for several years as a house museum. Now the building is back in private hands.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Swetmann House", [Seward, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 115-115.

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