Rolland Denny


Event Participants

  The Duwamish Tribe

  The Duwamish  and
  Pioneer Descendants


  Vital Spark

  Northwest Steam

  Children's Hospital

  Last Resort Fire Dept

  James Bacon
  Local Model T Club




  The International
  Sun Hak Choir

  Blue 4 Trio

  John Engerman

  The City of Seattle



 Rolland Denny


It is probable that the pioneering contributions of his Father, Uncle and the rest of the original landing party, for Rolland, may have at times felt like a daunting legacy to uphold.  But from his earliest days Rolland was also very public minded.


From the records of the Seattle YMCA:

"In 1876, Catherine Maynard gathered a group of young Seattle pioneers including Dexter Horton and Rolland Denny in her parlor to discuss concerns over the future of their city. Out of that meeting came a dream of a new YMCA organization which would build strong kids, strong families and a strong community."

Also it must be noted that his work in the banking, clay and coal industries were indispensable to the growing city and region. The Denny-Renton Clay Company was reportedly the world's largest producer of street paving brick.  The Denny family, by all accounts, were very industrious and hard working folk.


On Nov 13th, 1911, a serious effort to study and preserve Seattle history began at the 60th Anniversary of the Alki Landing, and was heavily promoted by Emily & Morgan Carkeek.  They hosted a "Founders Day" ball in their First HIll home, with guests arriving in Historic Costumes, with Emily serving chowder from Puget Sound butter clams. 


This became an annual event where guests would bring artifacts and documents of Seattle's early history, and all of this lead to the establishment of the Seattle Historical Society in 1914, with the ultimate dream of establishing a museum for their growing collection of treasured historic artifacts. But with Emily's death in 1926 this effort languished, and Society members grew older. With the onset of the depression, both funds and new members were in short supply.


Renewal of these efforts came in the home, and person, of Rolland Denny.  In 1935, Lochkelden hosted the first "Founder's Day" celebration since 1926, with 84 year old Rolland cutting Seattle's birthday cake, which sported 84 candles. After this the Society attracted fresh new members and their collection continued to grow. Thus the aged Rolland helped to shepherd this effort along through it's most difficult days.


MOHAI would eventually be established, and opened on Feb 13th, 1952, with Historical Society President Guendolen Carkeek Plestcheef presiding, honoring her parent's dream of a historic museum. 


A more complete explanation of this story can be found in the essay here, thanks to the website.  Our version has been heavily condensed to highlight the role of Rolland Denny and this part of Lochkelden history.