The most intriguing of the 415 racial restrictive deeds and covenants that we have located covers a five-acre subdivision in Clyde Hill, near Bellevue. Between 1946 and 1948, J. Gordon and Mary Schneidler subdivided and sold more than a dozen lots. Each deed of sale included the following restriction:
“This property shall not be resold, leased, rented or occupied except to or by persons of the Aryan race.”
The concept of an Aryan race had been popular in the early part of the 20th century, but had become closely associated with Adolph Hitler’s genocidal Aryanism before and during World War II. By 1946, the full dimensions of the Nazi holocaust were known everywhere and it is surprising (indeed shocking) that this language was still in use and that it would be written into this set of deeds.
Anti-semitism was not uncommon. Our database of restrictive covenants includes at least a dozen neighborhoods that excluded Jews. But the language of exclusion was different. Broadmoor’s developer, the Puget Mill Company, used the term “Hebrew” in its restriction, as did the Sand Point Country Club, and the South Seattle Land Company which developed a number of subdivisions, and the Westlands Investment Company which created Sunset Hill in Ballard. The J.M. Coleman Company required that residents of its Windermere subdivision be of the “white and Gentile race.” In the Sibley Wood area of Bellevue residents had to be of the “white and Gentile and Caucasian race.”
Why the Schneidlers used the term “Aryan race” is unclear. That racial concept usually meant northern Europeans as distinct from eastern and southern Europeans. The Aryans-only restriction thus would have excluded Italians, Greeks, Poles, Russians, and many other European ancestries as well as Jews and all non Europeans.