Harold P. Blean

Blean, Harold P.

(1918 – 2017)

Harold Paul Blean was born in Rock Island, Illinois on December 5, 1918. In 1920 his father passed away during the influenza epidemic and the family moved to Muscatine, Iowa where Blean graduated from high school. He then attended Iowa State College in Ames, graduating with a degree in architectural engineering in 1940. Before receiving a commission as an ensign in the Naval Reserves in 1943 (stationed in Seattle), Blean worked as a civilian for the Army Corp of Engineers in Alaska. As an ensign in a mixed squad of Army and Navy engineers, he was assigned to the first wave of soldiers ashore during the D-Day invasion of Omaha Beach in 1944. Their task was to clear the shore obstacles for infantry landing craft. His unit heroics earned him a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. After the invasion he was sent to study Naval architecture at the University of Michigan.

By 1948 the family had moved back to Seattle and Blean was working as a structural engineer for the U.S. Department of the Interior. He opened his own independent architectural practice around 1950. Known projects include remodeling for a drive-in restaurant on Aurora Ave (1955); a remodel for John A. Martin Jewelers (1955); and a storefront entry remodel of the Savoy Hotel (1956).

In 1956 he formed a partnership with Douglas L. Cuyendall and Marvin S. Iles. Together the Cuykendall, Iles & Blean firm designed a variety of buildings across Puget Sound. Notable projects include an educational wing for the Seaview Methodist Church (1958) in Seattle; a J.C. Penney Department Store (1958) in Kent; Missile Maintenance Buildings (1959) in Poulsbo; the Boeing Engine Test Facility (1959) in Seattle; King’s Garden Rehabilitation (1959); KGDN Radio Station (1959); J.E. Hall House on Lake Sammamish (1960); the Jay Jacobs Store (1961, with Victor Gruen Associates); the Chief Sealth High School Stadium (1962) in Seattle; and the H.D. Fowler Co. Office and Warehouse (1963) in Bellevue.

The firm also specialized in apartment buildings. Notable projects included the 215-219 Boston St Apartments (1958), the Malabar Apartments (1961), the 1525 Taylor Apartments (1959), the Garfield Terrace Apartments (1960), and the Villa Capri Apartments (1960) all in Seattle.

For reasons unknown, Blean left the firm in 1963 and opened his own firm. Known projects during the latter part of his career include a parking garage for the Rhodes Department Store (1964); a showroom for Clark-Cortez Motor Homes (1967); the Four Stores Parking Garage (1967); an office and store remodel at 1323 2nd Ave (1968); a floating home for Elizabeth Montgomery on Portage Bay (1968); and an award-winning remodel of the Arcade Building remodel (1969, Seattle King County Board or Realtor Environmental Award).

Blean retired in 1984 and died in East Wenatchee on September 16, 2017.

– Michael C Houser


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