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Summary for 107 Cherry ST / Parcel ID 0939000120 / Inv #

Historic Name: Lowman Building Common Name: Lowman Building
Style: Commercial, French, French - French Renaissance Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1906
 
Significance
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The Lowman Building was designed by the architectural partnership of Heide and DeNeuf for James Lowman. According to the King County Assessor’s records, it was completed in 1906, although some records suggest an earlier completion of 1903 or perhaps even earlier. Architecturally, it is one of the most stately buildings in the Pioneer Square-Skid Road National Historic District. It has retained the most important elements of its original design, which is extremely rich. In particular, its upper floors are intact, except for the replacement of metal window frames, but by similar aluminum ones. Its storefronts have had few changes. It has an imposing presence on Pioneer Place, and along with the neighboring Lowman and Hanford Building, the Howard Building and the Pioneer Building, forms the eastern edge of one the area’s original public square. The partnership of Heide and DeNeuf was formed by Augustus Heide and Emil DeNeuf in 1901 and lasted until 1906. Augustus Heide hailed from Alton, Illinois. He was an architectural apprentice in Chicago and worked in Los Angeles from 1886 to 1889. In 1889, he moved to Tacoma, where he had a practice until 1892 and then to Everett, Washington, where he became the architect for the Everett Improvement Company and designed many notable buildings. Heide also designed the 1914 Washington State buildings at the San Francisco Pan Pacific Exposition and at the San Diego Exposition. Emil DeNeuf began his career as a draftsman in Elmer Fisher’s office, after his arrival in Seattle in 1889. While working for Fisher, he was also responsible for the Metropole Hotel and the First Avenue façade of the fire-damaged Schwabacher Building, both in the Pioneer Square district. He had an independent practice by the end of 1891. He was retained by Henry Yesler to complete the upper floors of Mutual Life Building, originally the “Yesler Building,” which Fisher had begun. DeNeuf also was the designer of the Lowman and Hanford Building. DeNeuf also practiced architecture in Guatemala from 1894 to 1900 and was Mayor of West Seattle from 1900 to 1905. Sometime around 1906, DeNeuf moved to San Francisco, where he practiced architecture and designed several notable Mission Style Revival public buildings. He died in 1915. The building is also significant because of its association with James Lowman and tangentially with Henry Yesler. James Lowman was a civic and business leader in early Seattle, with important family ties to one of Seattle’s earliest Pioneer settlers. He was born in Leitersburg, Maryland in 1856. He came to Seattle in 1877 at the invitation of Henry Yesler, who was his uncle. Henry Yesler was one of Seattle’s founding settlers, and an influential early Seattle entrepreneur, guiding force and owner of prime real estate in the area around the Public Square, (now Pioneer Place), and north of Mill Street, currently known as Yesler Way. He was famous for building Seattle’s first sawmill in 1853. He also commissioned several well-known buildings in Pioneer Square and employed first Elmer Fisher and then Emil DeNeuf as architects. Upon arriving in Seattle in 1877, James Lowman worked as assistant wharf manager for Henry Yesler for four years and according to several sources, also taught school during this period. In 1881, Lowman bought half interest in a bookstore owned by W. H. Pumphrey. Pumphrey and Lowman were in business until Lowman bought out Pumphrey in 1882. James Lowman is perhaps chiefly associated with the Lowman and Hanford Stationery and Printing Company, which he started with Clarence Hanford in 1885. The Great Fire of 1889 destroyed all buildings (save perhaps one), in the “burnt district,” as Pioneer Square was known after the fire. The Lowman and Hanford Stationery and Printing Company returned to the former “burnt district,” after the fire and built the Lowman Hanford Building, as well as the Lowman and Hanford Printing and Binding Building on Alaskan Way. The firm advertised itself as booksellers, stationers, printers and binders and blank bookmakers; but also showed great versatility and sold typewriters, sewing machines, pianos and organs James Lowman had many other business and personal interests. In 1886, he became a trustee of Yesler’s estate, which included businesses all over Washington State. As a result, Lowman was involved in the completion of the Pioneer Building and of the Mutual Life Building (then called the Yesler Building), both commissioned by Henry Yesler before his death in 1892. He also ran the thriving Yesler Coal, Wood and Lumber Company and was the secretary of the Union Trunk Line (the James Street Railway System). He was a trustee and stockholder in the Washington National Bank, the Guaranty Loan and Trust Company, the Home Insurance Company, the Denny Hotel Company and Seattle Steam, Heat and Power. His civic contributions were also numerous. For instance, he was the president of the Seattle Theater Company, a founding member of the Seattle YMCA and served on the Board of Park Commissioners from 1896 to 1898.
 
Appearance
The Lowman Building is a ten story building. It is the only building with marked Chateauesque tendencies in the Pioneer Square-Skid Road National Historic District, although it bears the influence of the Romanesque Revival and of French Renaissance eclectic styles. It is located on a 51’-4” by 111’ lot on the corner of First Avenue and Cherry Street. On First Avenue, it faces Pioneer Place. It has varied roof shapes, including a gabled roof type and hipped dormers, which occur on the primary north and west facades. Its exterior walls are made of two wythes of common red brick. On the south and east elevations, which do not face the street, the common brick is mainly exposed. On the main elevations, facing west on First Avenue and north on Cherry Street, the walls have a veneer of “steam-pressed” light gray colored brick, with buff terra cotta coping and ornament of a lighter gray color terra cotta. The light gray brick veneer also wraps the corners of the south and east elevations. In terms of structure, according to historic King County Tax Assessor’s records, the building has a concrete cable-reinforced foundation, floors slabs and roof and a riveted “steel frame skeleton.” There is also a 13’ by 30’-4” light-well located at the middle of the south elevation above the first floor, so that the mass of the building is partly cut away, but this is not visible from the street. The building is currently (2004) undergoing a “substantial renovation,” which will may affect the interiors as well as the elevation not visible from the street. The First Avenue elevation consists of two major bays. Its composition has many of the same elements as the Cherry Street elevation, which has four major bays. Both elevations have an arrangement, based on the notion of a “base,” “middle” or “shaft” and “top.” The “base” of the building consists of the first floor, mezzanine and second floor levels, where each bay is marked by tall pillars, with ornamented capitals. A continuous terra cotta cornice separates the base from the middle. The middle consists of tall recessed vertical groupings of six single window openings, each grouping ending at the sixth level with an arched opening. The arch shape is emphasized by several rows of corbel brick, which project slightly. Thin double-belt courses aligned with the springline of the arches provide a continuous horizontal tie between the arches. In general, windows are separated by recessed spandrels in the same light brick. The northern bay of the First Avenue elevation consists of four tall vertical groupings. This portion of the elevation projects out slightly from the southern major bay consisting of three of these vertical elements. The “middle” or “shaft” is surmounted by a second terra cotta belt-course, which includes a band of repeated curved bracket shapes and a dentil band. At the “top” of the First Avenue elevation, the northern bay consists of a two story gable end, with a horizontal row of four single windows at its first level and a second level of three windows with a common sill. At the third level of the gable end is a circular opening surrounded by stylized swirls in terra cotta. On each of the angled edges of the gable end is a stepped decorative band in lighter colored terra cotta. The outer end of the gable is capped by a pinnacle with crockets and a finial. The “top” of the second recessed bay to the south, has a lower level with a horizontal row of three single windows, topped by a belt-course, with an egg-and-dart band. The very top level here has a prominent hipped dormer with two single windows. The Cherry Street façade uses a similar configuration of bays, roof elements and belt courses to create a longer façade. The western major bay, which projects out slightly from the rest of the façade above the first belt-course, is topped by a gable end and has the same design as the north bay of the First Avenue façade. The rest of the façade consists from east to west of twelve of the typical tall vertical groupings of windows. These are not really differentiated into separate major bays, until the top level, where three hipped roof dormers each correspond to four of the vertical groups. Each dormer is wider than the dormer on the west façade and has a horizontal row of three rectangular windows. Original roofing was of slate. In 2001, it was replaced by synthetic slate roof tiles. At the ground level of the Cherry Street façade, the entrance to the upper floors occurs at the second bay from the east. Light gray granite was used for exterior steps and for cheek-blocks. The entrance is surmounted by a bas-relief in granite with the words “LOWMAN BUILDING.”

Detail for 107 Cherry ST / Parcel ID 0939000120 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable, Hip, Varied roof lines Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Professional Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Steel No. of Stories: ten
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Communications
Integrity
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
Bagley, Clarence B. History of Seattle. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1916.
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
The Conservation Company, “ Lowman-Hanford Building, 612-616 First Avenue, Historic Preservation Certification, Part 1,” April, 1982.
Wolfe, Wellington C. Sketches of Washingtonians: Containing Brief Histories of Men of the State of Washington. Seattle: Wellington C. Wolfe and Company, 1906.
An Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties. Chicago: Interstate Publishing Company, 1906.

Photo collection for 107 Cherry ST / Parcel ID 0939000120 / Inv #


Photo taken Jun 15, 2004

Photo taken Jun 15, 2004
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