Donald R. Westlin

Westlin, Donald R.

(1922 – 1997)

Architect Donald Richard Westlin was born December 14, 1922 in Tacoma. Raised in the city, he attended Stadium High School graduating in 1941. He then entered the workforce and took a job at the Tacoma warehouse facilities of the Seattle-Tacoma Ship Building Company. His draft number came up in February 1943, and he served in the US Navy from 1943-1945 as a Quartermaster. After the war, he returned to Seattle and like many others, he took advantage of the GI Bill, which offered greatly reduced college tuition costs. He enrolled at the University of Washington and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture in 1950.

Specific details of Westlin’s early career are unknown, but by the mid 1950s he began making a name for himself in local newspapers. Numerous projects by him were featured in the Seattle Times and Seattle Post Intelligencer.  These included the Harmon Co. courtyard apartments (1954); a series of contemporary homes for Kenlake Builders in the Kenlake Vista development of Kenmore (1954); the A. Reese Lewis House (1955) in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle; the Walton E. Crane House (1955) in Everett; a custom spec home for builder George S. Werstiuk at 15707 61st Lane NE in Kenmore (1959); the Alice Arms Apartments (1956) in Seattle; and an office and factory for the Spring Load Manufacturing Co. (1956).

Later projects included an office and warehouse facility for Alan Co. Inc. (1959) near Fisherman’s Terminal; the Village Vista Apartments (1959); an apartment building for William Harris (1960); a U.S. Post Office Branch in West Seattle (1960); a professional office building for Spake-Dolfay (1962) in Lynwood; the Pacific Place Apartments for builder Walter J. Miner (1962) in Seattle; and a fabrication shop for Bakken Iron Co. (1962) in Lynnwood.

In 1962 Scott T. Norton and Stanley K. Siegenthaler, whom had worked for Westlin for several years, were promoted and the firm was renamed Donald Westlin & Associates. Based in Lynnwood, the firm was expanded to handle a $4 million-dollar mixed development project in Monroe by developer R.M. Mattson of Edmonds. The planned development included 85 homes, several apartment buildings, a swimming pool and park, a grocery store, a super market, several office buildings and small shops, a medical clinic, and two service stations.

Later projects by the firm spanned a variety of building types including the Medical-Dental Center (1963) in Shoreline; a plant addition to the Bardahl Manufacturing Co. (1963) in Seattle; a showroom for Advance Outboard Marine Inc. (1964) in Seattle; the Village Marketplace (1964) in Lynnwood; a shopping complex for Lynnwood Investment Co. (1965) in Lynnwood; the Lynnwood Tire & Appliance Co. (1964); the Johnson Realty Co. Office Building (1973) in Lynwood; and the Alderwood Water District Office (1973) in Lynwood.

Westlin also continued to specialize on multi-family projects and designed a number of apartments and condominiums from the early 1960s to the late 1970s. Notable projects include the Vista Apartments (1963) on Greenwood Avenue in Seattle; Village Lane Apartments (1963) in Burien built under the Gold Medallion “Live Better Electrically” campaign; the Densmore Apartments (1964) in Seattle; a variety of “themed apartments” in six states for the Londontowne Development Corp. (1977); the Park Richmond condominium complex (1977) in Shoreline; the Maplevine Condominiums (1978) in Edmonds; the Lynnwood Estates Condominiums project (1978); the 52nd Avenue West Condominiums (1978) in Lynnwood; and the Atherton Condominiums (1979) in Lynnwood. Notable single-family projects include providing nine different designs for homes in the Lakeview Estates in Kirkland; and a spec home for builder David Stabbert (1963) on Mercer Island.

Westlin passed away unexpectedly on February 18, 1997 while on vacation in Houston, Texas at the age of 74.

– Michael C. Houser

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