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Summary for 807 Stewart ST / Parcel ID 0660000740 / Inv #

Historic Name: Central Terminal (for Pacific Northwest Traction Company)/ Central Bus Terminal Common Name: Greyhound Bus Terminal
Style: Italian - Italian Renaissance, Modern, Spanish - Mediterranean Neighborhood: Denny Triangle
Built By: Year Built: 1928
This building originally served as the “Central Terminal” for Pacific Northwest Traction Company. It originally served as the terminus of the Everett Interurban Railway Line. According to King County Tax Assessor Record cards, the building was complete in 1928; however a photo from September 19, 1927 at the University of Washington shows that the building was complete by then. It has consistently served as a transportation terminal, since it was built. While no drawings for the original design were available, another photo from 1936 shows that the composition and the windows were more or less as they are today, while original large garage openings or storefronts at the ground level of the Stewart Street elevation have since been filled in. On the other hand, the 1936 photo and accompanying information indicate that the building had brick veneer, as well as cast stone and terra cotta trim, possibly at the window sills and ornamenting the top of pilasters separating the bays. The entry was at the location of the present entry at the center of the Stewart Street elevation. The pediment over the entry was a very important feature of the building and not obscured in any way. By 1936, the corner at Stewart and 8th sported a huge blade sign which read “ Central Terminal Stages,” while the 8th Avenue elevation sported signs (in cursive script) for various destinations: “Portland Spokane …San Francisco Los Angeles,” and “Salt Lake Butte Chicago St Louis New York.” Subsequent drawings indicate that a number of architects worked on the building. The firm of McLelland and Osterman made interior alterations to the second floor in 1946. No other that V. W. Voorhees also made interior changes, according to drawings from October 4, 1948 and again sometime in 1956. Drawings by Voorhees suggest that the interior was considerably grander than the present interior. The most important changes came in 1962 with major remodel of the building. The remodel by architect Lyle Bartholomew was supposed to remove cast stone ornament from several locations, although cast stone ornament, slated for removal, still remains. Now the pediment is also obscured by a large blade sign, as well as a sign representing a greyhound. In extant construction drawings, notes read “New Vitri Neer on all brick surfaces and pilaster caps from roof.” In other words, the ceramic material, “Vitri Neer,” was applied all over the building. In fact, photos from 1962 show that the pilasters had not yet completely been covered and that ornamentation at the top of the pilasters was still visible; by a later 1964 photo, however, the recladding, as we see it today, was complete. Also, according to original photos from 1962, the new addition originally had what looked like horizontal wood cladding. Eventually, it too was covered with a ceramic veneer. The present building exterior has retained the basic composition and detailing of its exterior, including the bay divisions, its cast stone corbel table, its tile roof and even its pediment. The 1962 alterations changed the cladding, while keeping a fairly good sense of the original design. It is also possible that the “Vitri Neer” alterations could be reversed. The building, although altered, retains some significance. The subsequent changes are over 40 years old, so that one could also look at the changes in the cladding, as a change over time. The transformation of the building is also of some historical interest. In its present state, the building could be considered marginally significant from an architectural historical point view, but perhaps can not be completely dismissed. In addition, it represents a building associated with Seattle’s early endeavors in the field of transportation.
The present building complex includes a main building, completed by the end of 1927 or in 1928 and a secondary addition from 1962. In addition, there is a large overhanging outdoor canopy, which is attached to the east wall of the main building and supported farther to the east on steel beams, which rest on a large girder, supported by steel sections, which act as columns and are set in concrete sleeves. The main building is of some historical interest, while the addition and canopy are not noteworthy. The main building is three stories in height and has a rectangular footprint. It has a longer, main elevation along Stewart Street, divided into thirteen bays. The entry bay occurs at the eighth bay, counting from the north (northeast). A shorter elevation along 8th Avenue is divided into five bays. From the street level, the building appears to have a hipped roof (although this may be a false hipped roof, with a depressed, flat roof behind the ridge of the tiled eaves, not uncommon among Seattle buildings of the 1920s). In any case, the visible parts of this roof are covered with clay tile. Early records and plans indicate that the original structure of the main building is concrete, with frame construction for the roof. The building exterior was originally clad in brick, with cast stone and terra cotta trim and the same tile roof. The brick cladding appears to have been retained, but in the 1960s was mostly covered over with a ceramic material, called “Vitri Neer” in construction drawings. Other exterior elements, such as, below the roof, on all four elevations, a continuous cast stone band, decorated with small, well spaced flower shapes, surmounting a cast stone corbel table, were retained. A brick clad pediment over the Stewart St entrance, as well as its original cast stone ornament, also remain. These are slightly obscured by added signage. Along 8th Avenue, at the second and third level, each typical bay has two single double hung windows. At the ground level, corresponding wide rectangular openings have large fixed glazing or are filled in at fourth and fifth bays, counting from the west. Surprisingly, the nature of the openings and fenestration along 8th Avenue is consistent with historical photos of the building. Along Stewart St, at the second and third levels, typical bays have two single double-hung windows, per floor; however, window configurations are not completely consistent; for instance, at the second level, in the third and fourth bays from the east, there are a series of three double-hung windows. Except for the main doorway, there are no openings of any sort at the ground level. An historical photo suggests that there were garage and possibly storefronts at the ground level. The addition, consisting of three bays along Stewart street and five bays facing 9th Avenue, rises to the height of the top of the second story of the main building. This addition, which is clad in the same ceramic material, covers up part of the 9th Avenue of the main building, which had a composition and design, similar to the 8th Avenue elevation. The 9th Avenue elevation lost window openings, in the two eastern bays, at the time the ceramic veneer was added.

Detail for 807 Stewart ST / Parcel ID 0660000740 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Ceramic tile, Concrete - Block, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Other Roof Material(s): Clay Tile, Other
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: No. of Stories:
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Community Planning/Development, Transportation
Changes to Original Cladding: Extensive
Changes to Plan: Slight
Storefront: Extensive
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Asahel Curtis, “Central Terminal, Pacific Northwest Traction Co., 8th Avenue and Stewart St., Seattle, Sept. 19, 1927.” Photographer’s Reference: 52474, Asahel Curtis Photo Company Collection, Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Washington.

Photo collection for 807 Stewart ST / Parcel ID 0660000740 / Inv #

Photo taken Feb 11, 2006
App v2.0.1.0