The Historic Hartley Mansion “Ownership and Commitment brings Historic Preservation”

The events at the Hartley Mansion are really dedicated to my 30,000 or more patients who have visited The Hartley Mansion over the last 25 years. Their interest has given rise to a spirit of awareness and spirit of ownership or commitment that will ultimately help bring historic preservation to the Hartley Mansion for generations to come.

Every time that I see the document signed by Jacob E. Thomas July 23, 1986 declaring the Historic Hartley Mansion to be on National Historic Registry of Historic Places, I am reminded how this was accomplished through the enthusiastic support of the Everett City Planning Department and Historical Commission. I also have been grateful for the Mansion to have been part of the Historic Home Tour in Everett September 8, 2007.

Yet, our community knows from reading the recent HERALD newspaper about precarious situation of the Historic Collins Casket Company on the Everett waterfront near the former sites of the Hartley mills ( This has made me realize that there is a lot more to preserving historic landmarks than just getting them on the National Historic Registry of Historic Places. Clearly, the strong support provided by the interest of my patients may well help the Historic Hartley Mansion become less vulnerable than other historic landmarks like the Collins Casket Company.

Over the years since the establishment of my neurosurgical practice at “The Everett Neurological Center” in the Historic Hartley Mansion (1984), I have been repeatedly asked questions about the historical significance of the Mansion and the Hartley’s by my own family, friends, guests and office staff – but most frequently by my patients.

They frequently ask about the turntable in the garage and wonder what the “ballroom” is like. Some recall playing in or around the place when they were kids. Recently, a well known Everett citizen (F.P.) chuckled as he told me his story. “I was really excited about the chance to introduce Roland Hartley to the Elks membership. But when I introduced him as the “Ex-Governor”, he immediately corrected me in front of everybody with the admonition: NOT the “Ex-Governor” BUT “The Former Governor”, whereupon I returned to my seat feeling pretty embarrassed.”

Sometimes, when there is a little break in the ongoing office work, I have shared with my patients various stories that I have heard over the years. For example, I have always been quick to point out that Sue Hartley Brown, Roland Hartley’s grand daughter from his son, David, and Ed Hartley Anderson, great grandson of Roland Hartley’s son Edward, laid out for me the basic significance of the Historic Hartley Mansion through stories, photos and commentary (Please see “The Hartley Photographic Collection”). Very importantly, the Hartley family passed to me the beautifully preserved white tent that you will see in the Hartley Photographic Collection on the website.

In the early 1930’s my own father, then a young building contractor, recalled that the Governor asked him to fix the turn table in the garage. So he sent out one of his men to the Hartley Mansion to fix it, expecting a big problem. Instead, the man found that only a small stone had jammed the mechanism. Years later, the Governor again called upon my father, this time to remove the ornate railings on the mid and upper porches because they had become rotten and the Governor chose not to replace them.

As a young man, one of my patients was hired to help load unwanted items from the Mansion into a large dumpster after Roland Hartley death. On his own initiative, sensing this to be a historical moment, he rescued some glassware from the dumpster and held on to it for nearly 50 years before giving it to me for safe keeping.

There are other stories. Many, many of them. For example Roland’s boys, Edward and David enjoyed hiding things from their parents inside the bench seat that is part of the main stair case.

Therefore, in part to recognize the contributions of my patients to the Historic Hartley Mansion, the Tour, Presentation and Reception Event of October 24, 2009 was organized to celebrate the 25th year of the Everett Neurological Center in the Historic Hartley Mansion – and to set the stage for the Historic Hartley Mansion Centennial Celebration that will follow next year.

If anyone has stories, information, or experiences about “The Historic Hartley Mansion” that they would like to share with the community, please e-mail me at: or [email protected].

– Sanford J. Wright Jr. M.D.

everettneuromasteruser2017The Historic Hartley Mansion “Ownership and Commitment brings Historic Preservation”