Long, Stanley (1883-1959)

  • By John Caldbick
  • Posted 7/14/2009
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 9081
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Stanley Long was a prominent Seattle home builder in the first half of the twentieth century, and was active in civic affairs almost until his death in 1959. Educated in the law in Chicago, Long seems never to have practiced it his adopted city. Instead, he recognized the growth potential of the local housing market and focused his energies there.

A First Hill Developer

Born in Rossburg, Ohio, Long attended law school in Chicago before moving to Seattle in the early 1900s. He built and sold his first house in Seattle in 1906 and went on building them for the next 50 years. Doing business as the Long Building Company, he developed several of the residential neighborhoods on Seattle's First Hill. Bungalow-style homes had been popularized by Edward L. Merritt, Jud Yoho, and others, and Long followed the trend. A large, lovely Craftsman bungalow built by his company was prominently featured in the January 17, 1914, edition of Pacific Builder and Engineer magazine and another appeared in Merritt and Yoho's Bungalow Magazine in November 1916.

In 1924, Stanley Long joined fellow home-builders Merritt and Gardner J. Gwinn to revive the local master builders association (now the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties) after its predecessor was swallowed by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). He was the second of the trio to serve as president of the new organization, succeeding Merritt in 1926. Although he was not as publicly well known as Merritt or Gwinn, Long was, if anything, even more active in civic affairs.

Civic Energy

During his lengthy career, Long was active in nearly all of Seattle's leading major civic organizations. He joined the Seattle Rotary Club in 1913, just four years after it was established as only the fourth such club in the nation. Upon his election in 1928 as the club's president, his self-effacing but effective manner was noted in the club bulletin:

"He is deeply earnest, conscientious, energetic and capable, and desires only to get done the things that are of use for the best interests of the club and those concerned in its activities, regardless of who gets the credit or publicity ..." (Seattle Rotary Club Bulletin, 1928). 

Among other accomplishments during Long's presidency, the Rotary raised $25,000 for Children's Orthopedic Hospital (now Seattle Children's Hospital). He remained active in the organization his entire life, and in 1959, the year of his death, he worked with other past presidents to compile the history of the Seattle club's first 50 years. During his lengthy career, Long also sat on the board of directors of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, was active in the Municipal League, served as a trustee of Seattle General Hospital, and was a member of the Rainier Club and the Masons. In addition to his work with the Seattle Master Builders Association, as the organization was known before its merger with Snohomish County builders in the 1980s, he was a 50-year member and former director of the National Association of Homebuilders, and in 1958 was honored for his long service to that organization with the award of a pair of golden cufflinks.

A Great Gentleman

F. R. "Dick" McAbee, Seattle Master Builders Association president in 1944-1945, had fond recollections of Stanley Long:

"He was a great gentleman. Stanley would walk into a room and you could feel his presence. Had a word to say to everybody. And he knew the business. By the fifties, he'd about retired. But he came to every meeting. Stanley cared about the industry, where it was going, and what he could do to help it" (Vergobbi, p. 43). 

A long-time resident of Queen Anne Hill, Stanley Long died on August 15, 1959, after an extended illness. He left his wife, Blanche, and three sons and two daughters.

Sources: David J. Vergobbi, Seattle Master Builders (Seattle: Seattle Master Builders, 1989?), 43; Rotary Global History website, accessed June 20, 2009 (http://www.rotaryfirst100.org/clubs/cities/clubs/04seattle.htm);
"Long Building Company, Architects and Engineers," Pacific Builder and Engineer, Vol. 17, No. 3 (January 17, 1914) p. 37; "Stanley Long, Home-Builder 53 Yrs.,Dies," The Seattle Times, August 15, 1959, p. 20; Bungalow Magazine, November, 1916;   Seattle Rotary Club, Seattle Rotary's Golden Years: The History of Rotary Club Number Four"  (Seattle: Seattle Rotary Club, 1959).

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