Seattles C. W. House Has Many Activities

By Dorothy Day

The Catholic Worker, May 1940, 7.

Summary: Short vignette about the House of Hospitality in Seattle, a cooperative house of unemployable men, and a generous family’s little farm. (DDLW #359).

The first visitors to the new House of Hospitality at 1010 1/2 King street, in Seattle, were two Japanese who wished to learn jiujitsu, and thought we were running a school. The seminarians at St. Edwards are going to start a vegetable garden for the house, and we will send men out to work it after June, when they are on their vacation. It is a step towards the land. A carpenter from the St. Vincent de Paul Shelter came over and got the place started by connecting the stoves, fixing the lights, putting up partitions, making benches for the meeting. Such immediate cooperation! Also the boys from O’Dea high school, half a dozen of them, came in and scrubbed the place. Also the Patzoids came down with their adopted family to scrub and clean and help prepare meals.

Sunday morning I visited the Ozanam home, which has been going for one year and is under the direction of the particular council of the St. Vincent de Paul. The twenty-eight men in the house are on relief and receive $11.70 a month. They are all ages and are classed as unemployables. When men get on the pension list they leave and go to still another cooperative house. There are 25 rooms in this house, and the annex next door has seven rooms. They have done all the repairs themselves, and the house is paid for out of their pensions, the rest of the money going for food and little necessities. They are working in cooperation with the Self Help Bureau of the Welfare Department. The house was previously a Jewish hospital and cost only $1,100.

Family

In the basement there is a manual training set-up, and the men do plaster casts of various figures; one man is doing leather work, etc. Of the men in the house there was one a logger, one a telegrapher, another who had been working on bridges, etc. The telegrapher was much interested in the cooperative movement and wished literature on the subject.

Mr. Patzoid, who is a principal of a manual training school for boys, and his wife have a fourteen-room house which they rebuilt from a five-room cottage. They have three children of their own, but they have always taken in retarded children. At present their household numbers fourteen, and a better run place you could not find. It is under state supervision. Out in the country they have 2 1/2 acres, and last year they raised two pigs, 12 ducks, and vegetables and fruits. This year they are going to have three pigs, 200 roosters, 30 ducks, etc. In the city they have a cold storage locker, and they can keep their meat, vegetables and fruits all winter. The last night I was in Seattle, Mrs. Patzoid prepared the farewell dinner, which was a joyful occasion, and we had clam chowder (they gathered their own clams) and fresh raspberry short cake, which was the best I ever tasted. Out on their country place which is only 15 miles out, they have built seven cabins, two bunks in each, for the boys.

Land

Coming down from our visit to Everett, one of the CATHOLIC WORKER group was talking to me about the land situation. He said that when this region was a territory anyone could come and take the land just for the taxes. For building a railroad they got every other section. He personally knew a man who had taken 250,000 acres, took all the timber from it, and now was speculating in real estate. The greatest land grabs in history took place out here.