$3.2 million Goose Lake Lodge was a Collector’s Dream

Take a gander at the $3.2 million Goose Lake Lodge, an unusual estate in Ravensdale near Maple Valley. This quintessential Northwest wood-and-log lodge has almost 10,000 square feet of space in the main lodge. The residence has five bedrooms, seven baths, four fireplaces and three separate outbuildings on more than seven secluded acres at Goose Lake, the property’s small lake fed by fresh water. This manse has been a showcase for the treasured, museum-quality collections of owners Bud and Marilyn Melby for about 11 years.

Windermere Broker Monique Bloedel has the listing, which she says is a once-in-a-lifetime showing. “It is the most beautiful setting with its lake behind it,” she says. “It is so impressive, you feel like you are looking at a lodge that you would check into. The craftsmanship throughout the house is something you would literally see in a five star hotel. It takes hours to go around the house and really appreciate it.”

Bud Melby founded and ran Metal Form Inc. in Kent for 41 years and collected rare cars with his wife. “We entertained a lot in the house,” says Marilyn Melby. “We had lots of people who brought their own cars and also looked at ours, and we had parties in the basement where we had a big bar from an old hotel.”

Son Cliff Melby, one of four grown Melby children, was project manager, overseeing the building of the home in 2003. “While the place is selling for $3.2 million,” he says, “we have about $4.5 million invested in the construction, the property and the museum, which is one of our three outbuildings on the property.”

At one point there were 20 or 30 cars in the collection, all pre-1937 and worth several million dollars all together, Cliff said. Rarest was a black 1922 Joswin Town Car. “There was one only in the world at the time,” says Cliff. “We bought it in 1981 from the Henry Ford Museum and sold it in 2015 for $630,000 to a buyer in Holland.” The collection, like a mini Le May museum, also included a 1931 Pierce-Arrow and a 1937 supercharged Cord Phaeton that was driven by the senior Melby at least seven times in road rallies. The eight cars remaining in the collection are still in the house. “We have a car elevator that takes the cars to the basement,” explains Cliff. Another elevator that transports people up and down the home’s three floors. Te detached garage, which looks like a barn, can hold eight cars and has car lifts and two 1,000-square-foot, self-contained apartments above.

“Then we have a large building that we call the Museum of Mechanical Art on the place, a private museum we opened to the public on many occasions throughout the year. In it, we had one or two car shows a year,” says Cliff. The painstakingly catalogued collections didn’t stop with cars. Bud collected 700 gold pocket watches,one dating back to 1761. There are still 500 of them remaining.

He also collected some 450 rare guns from the 1700 and 1800s and 250 heavy irons from the 1700s, the kind that used hot coals to heat up. Around 10,000 silver dollars were in his collection, most from the early 1800s. There are thousands of books and manuals about the things he collected, like a 1929 30-foot Hutchison boat commissioned by the Smith family of Seattle’s landmark Smith Tower. Rare motorcycles included a 1913 Indian and a 1911 Stinger with a side car. Oh, and 30 old slot machines, plus a roulette table, with a sterling silver wheel, dating back to the 1800s.

All of these things were at the estate, most in the lodge itself. A large vault downstairs was turned into a into a casino and gaming area. The vault, which could serve as a safe room, has surveillance cameras, phone service and vault doors from the historical old Cle Elum National Bank. The vault’s exterior walls are two feet thick.

The lodge has what Cliff describes as “a castle-style buttress foundation (and) stone buttresses stick out of the house.” All the sandstone came from Wilkeson Sandstone Quarry, which dates back to 1886 and has sent sandstone to historical buildings across the Northwest, including the Washington state capitol legislative complex in Olympia. Another unusual feature of the house is the library or study room, a circular room within the one turret on the house. The conical roof has several thousand handmade copper tiles, while the room has cherry floors and bookshelves and an intimate log ceiling structure.

While Marilyn enjoyed all the entertaining and parties downstairs, she loves her kitchen with its chef’s appliances, three sinks, stone floors and granite counter tops. The stove has a copper hood. She loves the master suite with its fireplace and large round sitting room above the study in the turret, and she enjoys looking out and seeing the waters of Goose Lake, and the deer and elk that come by. Three huge doors open to Goose Lake, the private pond which was stocked with trout in the past. “We used to swim in it all the time,” recalls Cliff.

Life is changing for Marilyn. Her husband of 61 years is in a care facility Alzheimer’s and she is moving to be closer to him. “I love this place,” she says. “ and I will miss it.”

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Puget Sound Business Journal | Sept 23, 2016
Patti Payne