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Cragwell Residence

In 1934, an African American barber, John Cragwell and his wife Louise purchased the property. They lived at 1712 24th Avenue before moving to the subject property sometime after 1933. Cragwell had his barber shop at 920 Third Avenue in 1935, and at 219 Madison before that. He also practiced in the Seattle Yacht Club. (Seattle Times, November 24, 1935, p. 9.)  

Cragwell was a significant figure in the community and could be considered one of the most prominent African American citizens in Seattle during the period between 1890 and 1937. His list of customers included presidents and business moguls such as Theodore Roosevelt, John Jacob Astor, and Alexander Graham Bell. (Seattle Times, 1935) He moved to Seattle in 1890, and was called a "Pioneer" by the Seattle Times. Cragwell retired in 1936 and died in 1937 at the age of 75. Cragwell ignited some controversy in the Black Community for refusing to cut the hair of African Americans, and restricting his business to whites only. 

 The 1940 census records Mrs. Louise Cragwell as the owner and tenant of the property. Louise Cragwell lived in the subject building with her daughter, Mrs. Pauline Swayze, her granddaughters Pauline F. Swayze and Kanike Nui, and her grandson Letcher Yarbough. By 1940 both Mrs. Cragwell and Mrs. Swayze were widows. Louise Cragwell died in 1942. Pauline Swayze died in 1963. (Seattle Times obituary) Pauline F. Swayze, Cragwell's granddaughter, eventually inherited the property. In 1944 she married John Faber, thus her name changed to Pauline F. Faber. 

More research should be done on Cragwells' impact on the barbering community, the Central District, and his role in Seattle's African American community. Although John Cragwell himself may have lived in the home fewer than three years, his widow and descendants owned the home for 59 years. The Cragwells raised their grandson, Letcher Yarbrough (1908-1992), who lived in the house after his grandfather's death. Yarbrough went on to become a leader in the African American community, founding ROOTS (Relatives of Old Timers in Seattle) in 1972, and serving a term as the president of the Seattle branch of the NAACP.

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