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Summary for 2500 Lake Washington BLVD / Parcel ID 2125049044 / Inv # DPR100

Historic Name: Washington Park Playfield Shelter House Common Name:
Style: Tudor Neighborhood: Montlake
Built By: Year Built: 1930
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This architecturally distinctive brick shelter house was completed in 1930 to serve the athletic field at the southern end of the Washington Park Arboretum. In 1900, the Puget Mill Company donated the 62-acre ravine to the City of Seattle in exchange for $35,000 worth of water main work in their adjacent subdivision. Since the original 62 acres only extended from the shore of Union Bay south to East Prospect Street, the City immediately purchased the remaining ravine property south to East Madison Street. Over the years, the city eventually acquired a total of 230 acres. By 1902, the park was identified as Washington Park after the nearby Lake Washington. In 1903, the city hired the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm to prepare plans for a comprehensive park and boulevard system, including suggestions for improvements to existing parks. This move was largely brought on by the public interest generated for the planned Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and through the purchase of Woodland Park and the acquisition of Washington Park, two large tracts of mostly undeveloped land. In anticipation of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the plan placed emphasis on the development of Washington Park as a boulevard entry to the Exposition to be held on the grounds of the University of Washington. However, there were no plans for the general improvement of the park at that time. Beginning in the mid-1930s, most of the land was developed into the Washington Park Arboretum in association with the University of Washington and the Arboretum Foundation. Improvements for the boulevard began in 1904, and were largely completed that year as the first phase of Lake Washington Boulevard. In 1908, a portion of the park property was privately developed as a public course for harness races along what is now known as Azalea Way. By 1909, a massive sanitary fill by the city garbage department had created enough area for an athletic field at the southern end of the ravine north from Madison Street. Additional filling occurred in 1929, a year before the shelter house was constructed in 1930. This shelter house was constructed in 1932 at the northern end of the field near the children’s play area. Designed in a simplified Tudor Revival style, this shelter house was one of eight similar shelter houses constructed in Seattle parks in the late 1920s and early 1930s. These buildings housed large rooms for organized recreation activities in addition to public restroom facilities. Office space for recreation instructors was also provided. Construction of these shelter houses at the Lower Woodland, Jefferson Park, Washington Park, Lincoln Park, Maple Leaf, Ravenna Park, Brighton and Gilman Playfields followed a policy to build only structures that would be pleasing in design and permanent in nature. The 1934 agreement between the City of Seattle and the University of Washington, which established the Washington Park Arboretum, included the entire Washington Park acreage, including the athletic field. After plans to replace the athletic field with a rose garden engendered a storm of opposition, the agreement was modified in 1948 in order to exclude the playfield as well as the proposed new service yard. This building is significant for its design and for its association with the development of Washington Park Playfield.
Completed in 1930, this one-story brick shelter house occupies a site near the northern end of Washington Park Playfield. The Tudor Revival building has a gable on hip roof over the main block and cross gable wings near the southern end, which form a cross-shaped footprint. Smaller hip roof wings extend from the outer east and west elevations of the gabled wings aligned along the south elevation. A large recreation room occupies the northern half of the building, while the restrooms are situated at the southern end with entrances in the hip roof wings. On the west elevation, the northern end of the main block has a center entrance between two large multi-paned windows. An identical window occupies the wall at the northern end of the projecting gabled wing. Wide cedar siding clads the exposed portion of the wide gable end above the window. The hip roof wing at the southern end of the elevation has a horizontal window opening set high on the wall adjacent to the entrance to the men’s restroom. A high brick wall of later construction screens the entrance. On the south elevation, the main block projects beyond the gabled wings and contains a center entrance between four small multi-paned windows. A small gabled dormer above the entrance has an inset arched panel embellished with cast stone trim and decorative brickwork. The south elevation of each wing has two horizontal window openings with multi-paned sash on the upper wall below the roofline. The side elevations of the projecting main block have identical windows. On the east elevation, the hip roof wing has the same window and door configuration as on the west elevation. A high brick wall also screens the entrance to the women’s restroom. The northern end of the projecting gabled wing features a wide paneled entrance door, while the northern end of the main block has a single large opening at the center with three multi-paned windows. Wide cedar siding clads the exposed portion of the wide gable end above the door. A large chimney embellished with a narrow arched inset panel rises at the center of the north elevation flanked by a large multi-paned window at each end. All of the original windows remain intact and in good condition. The brick walls screening the restroom entrances appear to be the only major alterations. Well maintained, this architecturally distinctive building retains excellent physical integrity.

Detail for 2500 Lake Washington BLVD / Parcel ID 2125049044 / Inv # DPR100

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable, Hip Roof Material(s): Metal - Standing Seam
Building Type: Other Plan: Cross/Cruciform
Structural System: Unknown No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Seattle Department of Parks. Annual report/Department of Parks. Seattle, WA: 1909-1955.

Photo collection for 2500 Lake Washington BLVD / Parcel ID 2125049044 / Inv # DPR100

Photo taken Aug 31, 2000

Photo taken Aug 31, 2000
App v2.0.1.0