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Mysterious Builder of Seattle Landmarks: Searching for My Father 2nd Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Paula Pederson's discoveries about her father Hans have filled an important gap in regional architectural history knowledge by revealing her father's many accomplishments in the Pacific Northwest. The publication provides a partial list of a remarkable range and variety of buildings and infrastructure projects that he undertook during a long and successful career--commerce and institutions, hotels, theaters, apartments, schools, bridges and piers. Many of them are still standing, and that reflects on the knowledge and management skills of this prolific contractor.

LARRY KREISMAN, Program Director, Historic Seattle


"...like a long, newsy letter from a friend...precisely what makes this book so charming and exceptional, and such an addictive read."

Paula Pederson recounts her exhaustive search for the father she never knew in a winding, evocative first-person narrative told "in the moment" as her journey unfolds before the reader with the turn of each page. Dismissed by her mother as "a struggling young architect" who was killed in a car accident and "left us penniless in the middle of the Great Depression," Domka Huculak kept the identity of the man who fathered her daughter a secret for 60 years until, at the age of 92, she finally disclosed the truth. This incredible, emotional revelation catapulted Paula into the past on an incredible quest that not only would change her life, but change how she would come to see herself.

He was Hans Pederson, one of the leading architects, contractors and builders in the American Northwest, whose far-reaching vision left a distinctive imprint on his adopted Seattle. Pederson helped define the personality of what has become the 18th largest city in the United States today.

But it is the author who we get to know best in a story that begins in Shanghai and ends in Maine. And it is the manner in which Paula tells her story that makes this book read like a long, newsy letter from a friend rather than a biography or more to the point, her autobiography. And this is precisely what makes this book so charming, and exceptional, and such an addictive read.

LAURIE BOGART MORROW, author, The Hardscrabble Chronicles


"A fascinating glimpse behind the skyline of Seattle."


From Plassey to Pakistan: the Family History of

Iskander Mirza, the First President of Pakistan 2014


Paula has a most interesting and engaging book.

I very much like the way she has combined the general interest in Hans as prominent Seattle builder with the intense personal meaning that he has for her. Paula's depictions of her mother and others is nuanced and complex; she allows the reader, who grows indignant toward their behavior, to also understand and sympathize with them. Finally, the larger story of immigrants reads familiar with so many of us: in my own case, Swedes to Nebraska and then California, Germans to Nebraska and then Spokane. For my wife: Irish to Wisconsin, then Montana. There is no end to these particular stories, and now I can add Ukrainians to Alberta and Danes to Washington.

CRAIG DIETRICH, author, People's China: A Brief Histor

About the Author

Paula Pederson started her life journey in Seattle, Washington, but has lived in Singapore, Shanghai, Honolulu, New York, New Jersey, Maine where she raised 5 children and North Carolina where she now spends winters. She graduated from Smith College with a degree in English Literature. Parenting enlightened her insight into her own complicated relationship with her mother and fueled her desire to find out about her father Hans Pederson. Consumed with curiosity, Pederson's quest to find her father in spite of her mother's reticence became a passion later in life. Her fiction and nonfiction writing includes two unpublished novels, this memoir and a weekly blog. She formerly enjoyed technical writing and editing posts pertaining to medical, environmental, and engineering issues. Earlier years included development work for schools and handicapped children. Pederson writes about immigrants and pioneers who came by train to Northwestern North America, expatriates to the Far East, and her love for Maine. She believes fragments of the past help us to understand who we are. Hunting for her father's legacy and writing The Mysterious Builder Of Seattle Landmarks: The Search for My Father, has shown her the timeless imprint family leaves on husbands, wives, daughters, sons, and grandchildren.

Product details

  • Paperback : 332 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1943478015
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1943478019
  • Dimensions : 6 x 0.75 x 9 inches
  • Item Weight : 15.7 ounces
  • Publisher : VIE Publishing - VIE Communication; 2nd edition (October 4, 2017)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 6 ratings

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