Melsen House

415 Fourth Street

The house was built in 1927 by Albert Lawrence Melsen at the corner of Fourth Street and the alley later named for the Melsen family.

Albert, his wife Amelia, and their daughters Elva and Grace, first came to Langley from Nebraska in 1907 and settled on Edgecliff Drive where their son Lawrence was born in 1911.

Albert, a 30 year old carpenter, began building in Langley. One of his first jobs was the Olympic Club (later named the Dog House Tavern) on First Street. He also was contractor for the Methodist Church and several other buildings.

1909. First Street looking West. Albert Melsen leaning on wagon in front of the Livery Stable
(Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society)

According to their neighbor William McGinnis, "Albert Melsen was a great guy. He loved to go barefoot better than any kid that ever walked. He had a silly laugh that sounded like a very small steam engine exhaust, something like – 'chih-chih-chih'."

The Melsens left Langley in 1913 and moved to Gold Bar, then Tacoma where their son Howard was born, then back to Nebraska, finally returning to Langley in 1927.

In addition to building his home on Fourth Street, Albert a helped construct the Norman Clyde Garage and Clyde Theatre, the Frick building on Second Street, the Star Store, the Pole Building at the Fairgrounds and several Langley residences.

He served as Langley's mayor for 16 years beginning in 1932 and on the town council for an additional five years. He also helped install the town's first water system and dug all three of it's first wells.

In 1947, Albert and Amelia sold the property to Henry George Amess and his wife Rosalie.

In 1953, following Henry's death, Rosalie Amess sold the property to Walter H. Hunziker and his wife Emmy.

1950s. Joan and Carol Hunziker in front of Melsen house (Courtesy Jim Bolin)

The Hunzikers lived there with daughters Joan and Carol until 1969 when they sold the property to H. Kenneth Jackson and his wife Twila.

Circa 1959. Amelia and Albert Melsen (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).

Albert Melsen died in 1960 and Amelia in 1966. Both are buried in the Langley Woodmen Cemetery.

The Jacksons sold the property to John and Marianne Field in 1972. Ownership of the property changed several more times, and the house underwent several remodels.

1971. Aerial view (Courtesy Ben Breedlove).

A carport was added to the west side and an addition to the south side.

Circa 1985. Melsen house with carport (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).

1993. Northeast corner of Melsen with sunroom (Courtesy James Hansen).

In addition to interior remodels, the carport was replaced with a garage, and an the addition on the South side was also replaced in 1994.

1994. Garage under construction (Courtesy James Hansen).

1994. Addition on South side (Courtesy James Hansen).

John and Andrea Rosenman bought the property in 2005.

2012. Melsen house (Courtesy Robert Waterman)

The addition on the South side was enlarged and the house was painted.

2007. Addition being remodeled (Courtesy Robert Waterman).

The property was purchased by Cheryl Lawrence in 2019.

2020. Melsen house (Courtesy Robert Waterman).