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arches
In early 1927 a new real estate company was hired to market
the properties, and sales finally took off. In May the Teats home
was acquired by John S. Ward, a former University of Washington
classmate of Govnor Teats’ son Ralph. Ward, a general contractor,
was known for building such notable civil projects as the Deception
Pass Bridge and the original powerhouse at Bonneville Dam. It was
during Ward’s ownership that the house was first associated with the
college—his wife held a fundraiser there for the Delta Alpha Gamma
sorority chapter at CPS in the fall of 1930.
With a surge of new home construction, by late 1928 the charac-
ter of the original farm was only a memory. The
Tacoma Daily Ledger
reported, “The old Star Berry Farm of a few years ago has completely
disappeared under the onward march of prosperity.”
Ward lived in the house until 1938. It was then purchased by
Leonard Langlow, the editor of the
Tacoma Times,
the newspaper in
which Teats had advertised the poultry farm 25 years earlier. Langlow,
a law school graduate who never practiced law, had worked his way
up from reporter to editor at the
Times,
his rise interrupted only by
service as an Army lieutenant during World War I. He was the
Times
editor for 13 years, resigned in 1943 to become news editor of a daily
radio show in Seattle, then returned to the
Times
editor’s desk the fol-
lowing year. He capped his career as an editorial writer for the Tacoma
News Tribune.
Langlow sold the house to the Puget Sound Kappa Sigma chapter
in 1948. (Two of his sons were active Kappa members.) Teats’ grand-
son, also named Govnor Teats, was a Kappa Sigma alumnus of Puget
Sound (’34), further tying the history of the house to the school. The
residence became known as Langlow House when the college assumed
ownership from the fraternity.
While that would normally conclude the pre-college history of Lang-
low House, there’s one more anecdote worth mentioning, a story that
might be difficult to believe had it not been thoroughly documented.
Puget Sound also owns the house at 1312 N. Alder, currently the
offices for several communications office staffers. For seven years, until
1925,
a young man named Edgar Eisenhower lived there, just 200
feet from Govnor Teats’ place at 1218. Edgar was the older brother
of Dwight; yes,
that
Dwight Eisenhower, the former Army general
and president of the United States. In early biographies of President
Eisenhower there is an account of how the Eisenhower children were
born into poverty. The story the boys’ parents told them was that their
father, David, had been co-owner of a dry goods store in Hope, Kan.,
but his partner ran the business into the ground, pocketed the store’s
remaining cash, and skipped town, leaving David to deal with the
creditors. The story concluded by noting that David’s assets had been
turned over to an attorney for liquidation, then had been lost when the
lawyer had taken the proceeds and also skipped town.
In the archives of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in
Abilene, Kan., a letter written by Edgar Eisenhower to his uncle names
the man who completed the financial ruin of his father: an attorney in
Hope, Kan., named Govnor Teats, who later moved to Tacoma, Wash.!
Although the Eisenhower children believed the story, and Dwight
gave it new life in his memoirs, the story of the store’s failure was
apocryphal. In 1990 an archivist at the Eisenhower Library uncov-
ered the facts: The store partnership was indeed dissolved, with David
Eisenhower buying out his partner’s share of the business using money
borrowed from his father. The partner didn’t steal from the store, and
he didn’t skip town. As for Mr. Teats’ supposed participation, he never
sold David’s remaining assets; David’s father did, after David lost inter-
est in the business. And Teats didn’t leave Kansas for Tacoma until
nearly two years after the dastardly deed was supposed to have been
done. When he did finally leave for Tacoma, Teats notified the local
newspaper, not typical behavior for a thief sneaking out of town.
More information on Govnor Teats can be found at groupssa.com/gt.
Greg Spadoni likes to think he’s a Puget Sound alum (’65). We haven’t the
heart to tell him that a summer swim class in the UPS pool at age 9 isn’t
the same as actually attending the college.
Above: Builder of the house GovnorTeats, as depicted in a 1911 photo mon-
tage of the state legislature; and the Star Berry Farm, from
The Ranch
in
1911.
Below: Leonard Langlow and family in the house, 1939.
Tacoma Public Library; Richards Studio