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Summary for 1461 Magnolia BLVD / Parcel ID 2021200005 / Inv # DPR060

Historic Name: Magnolia Park Storage Shed Common Name:
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Magnolia
Built By: Year Built: 1910
City records indicate that this modest storage shed was constructed in 1910, which would make it one of the first improvements to Magnolia Park. The city had originally acquired the property for the park the same year through the same condemnation proceedings used to procure the right of way for Magnolia Boulevard. At the time, there were few city services or facilities in Magnolia, which hindered real estate development. Although the city annexed the Magnolia peninsula in 1891, there was little residential or commercial development until the 1920s and 1930s primarily due to its topography and geographical isolation. However, most of Magnolia’s housing stock dates to the period between 1930 and 1960. The Magnolia peninsula is made up of two hills separated by a valley, once known as Paradise Valley. In 1857, Naval Geographer George Davidson had named the southwest corner of the peninsula Magnolia Bluff after mistaking the extensive groves of madrona trees for magnolias. In the 1850s, the first land claims were staked in the Interbay area between Magnolia and Queen Anne with Salmon Bay on the north and Smith Cove of Elliott Bay on the south. By 1860, farming was beginning to spread up and over Magnolia with scattered settlements of farmhouses among the fields. In 1881, a lighthouse was established at West Point. Ten years later, the Great Northern Railroad was routed through the Interbay area, improving access to Magnolia. The railroad also built extensive facilities at Interbay, including the longest pier on the West Coast. In 1895, the City of Seattle donated land in the northwest corner of the peninsula to the Department of War for the creation of Camp Lewis, which was largely developed between 1898 and 1908. In 1900, the army garrison was renamed Fort Lawton to honor Major General H.W. Lawton killed in the Spanish-American War the previous year. Also in 1900, George F. Cotterill, Assistant City Engineer, published a guide map of the 25-mile system of bicycle paths, which he had developed by walking about the city. With the assistance of volunteers, Cotterill had based the route on the grade and to take advantage of the scenic beauty. By 1898, Seattle’s 55,000 residents owned some ten thousand bicycles, creating a great demand for such a system of bicycle paths. The first automobile arrived in Seattle in 1900, however it was more than a decade before its popularity began to surpass that of the bicycle for recreational touring. In Magnolia, the bicycle path proceeded southwest from Interbay along the route of Thorndyke Avenue West and then followed the top of the bluff before terminating at Fort Lawton. 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 their 1903 report, the Olmsted Brothers utilized some of the existing bicycle routes in their proposal for a sweeping system of boulevards, including much of the route through Magnolia. In 1908, the Olmsted Brothers supplemented their original plan with an additional report, which included the large areas annexed by the city the previous year. The later report contained a recommendation for an 85-acre "Magnolia Bluffs Park" lining much of the route of the boulevard along the top of the bluff. In the vicinity of the Wolf Creek ravine, the park would extend north to include the full length of the ravine. Implementation of the report began almost immediately, however not always as envisioned by the Olmsteds. The city delayed acquisition of land for Magnolia Boulevard until 1910 because the largely undeveloped area was not considered a priority. In 1905, a streetcar line had been established to Fort Lawton from Interbay via the northern end of the peninsula, and developers such as D.P. Eastman platted new residential subdivisions in the first decade of the 20th century. However, most of Magnolia retained its character as a rural community of dairy and chicken farms at a time when the rest of the city was experiencing rapid urban growth. It was not until access improved in the 1910s and 1920s that residential and commercial development began on a larger scale. The pace of development accelerated after the construction of the Magnolia Bridge in 1930. Within two years of the acquisition through condemnation proceedings, work commenced on the new boulevard, including clearing, grading, and finishing with a macadamized surface. However, Magnolia Boulevard remained unpaved until the early 1950s. A sixteen-acre site on the eastern side of the Wolf Creek ravine was included in the acquisition of land for the boulevard, which was later developed as Magnolia Park. This modest storage building was apparently constructed shortly after the acquisition of the park property. It also may have been built a few years later to accommodate the workers constructing Magnolia Boulevard. Despite the fabulous views from the edge of the bluff, few permanent improvements were made to the park property until 1927 when a Tudor Revival comfort station was constructed. This modest building is significant for its association with the development of Magnolia Park.
Believed to have been completed in 1910, this small one-story shed occupies a site south of the parking area at the northern end of Magnolia Park. This park is located between 32nd Avenue West and Magnolia Boulevard West to the south of West Howe Street. Set on a concrete pad, the wood frame structure faces south and has a rectangular plan. Tar paper covers the gable front roof, and board and batten siding clads the exterior, including the wide double doors on the south elevation. The east elevation has two window openings covered with mesh screens. However, the north and west elevations present blank walls. This simple, utilitarian structure remains intact with good physical integrity.

Detail for 1461 Magnolia BLVD / Parcel ID 2021200005 / Inv # DPR060

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Vertical - Board and Batten Foundation(s): Concrete - Block
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Other
Building Type: Other Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Conservation
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.

Photo collection for 1461 Magnolia BLVD / Parcel ID 2021200005 / Inv # DPR060

Photo taken Oct 31, 2000
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