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Summary for 4625 Eastern AVE / Parcel ID 7834800240 / Inv #

Historic Name: Bittman Residence Common Name:
Style: Queen Anne, Tudor Neighborhood: Wallingford
Built By: Year Built: 1915
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This house was probably erected in 1914-15. The Property Record Card prepared by the Assessor’s office in 1937 gives 1915 as the date of construction; the King County Assessor Property Characteristics Report (accessed in 2004) indicates that the structure was built in 1916. The original permit for the building (generally the most accurate indicator of the date of construction) cannot be located, although the City’s permit history card for this site indicates that a permit was issued in 1914. Polk’s Seattle Directory indicates that Henry W. Bittman and his wife Jessie first appeared at this address in 1915. Because the permit is missing, the names of the building’s original builder and designer are not preserved in the public record. However, Caterina Provost, who wrote the article on Henry W. Bittman in Shaping Seattle Architecture, dates the building 1914-15 and notes that this house may have been Bittman’s first foray into architecture. Henry Bittman (1882 -1953) was a skillful, prominent and successful Seattle engineer and architect. Numerous modifications were made to the buildings over the 38-year period beginning in 1915 and extending to 1953, the year of Henry Bittman’s death; all of these were designed and built by Bittman himself according to the permit record. Bittman enclosed a porch in September 1915. He added a 9’ x 18’ laundry structure to the house in 1918. In 1929, he designed and built a second story room over the laundry. Another addition to the house (10 ft. x 20 ft.) was designed and built by the owner in 1949-52. All but the last of these changes occurred before the structure was surveyed by the Assessor in 1937. Bittman built a 10’ x 20’ garage on the site in 1918. A second terrace garage, opening onto Eastern Avenue N. was designed and built by Bittman in 1924-25. Bittman’s widow, Jessie, continued to live in the house until 1965 according to city directories. The current owners acquired the property in 1966. This house is significant for a number of reasons. It is an intact and fairly well maintained example of Tudor revival architecture, one of only a few in the Wallingford neighborhood. It is also significant as a relatively rare example of residential architecture designed by an architect best known for his office buildings and commercial structures. It is also one of only a few residential buildings in the neighborhood situated on a large site (three lots amounting to about 1/3 acre). The house contrasts in scale and character with other residential structures in the neighborhood and is well known to people living within a few blocks of the site. Folke Nyberg and Victor Steinbrueck identified this building as a structure of significance to the Wallingford community in "Wallingford: An Inventory of Buildings and Urban Design Resources."
This structure is a two-story frame residence with brick veneer at the main level and with stucco and false half timbering in the gables and at some first floor elements. The house is built on a concrete foundation over a full basement. The rectilinear but irregular footprint of the structure, the wide, built-up bargeboards at the gable ends and at most of the dormers, the copious use of “half-timbering,” and the variations in the design of the numerous wings and dormers are all typical elements of Tudor revival work. The location of the entry at a minor elevation, and the fact that this minor elevation is the street façade of the building is a common feature of the English country house typology that many houses built in Tudor revival style utilize. Most of this building’s windows and the glazed doors are divided in to rectangular lights by metal muntins. The main axis of the house stretches east and west and is marked by the ridge of the main roof. The axis is less clear at the west end of the structure where several wings appear to “pinwheel” around a point about two thirds down the length of the building A wide, gabled wing stretches southward from the southwest corner of the structure. At the east sidewall, this wing is only seven feet deep but at the west sidewall it is about 25 feet deep. A balcony extends a few feet from the face of the south-facing gable at the upper level; it shares a central axis with the gable itself and with a pair of fully glazed doors by which it is accessed. Two double-hung windows are paired and centered in the brick veneer below the balcony. A dormer with a small pair of casement windows is situated on the eastern slope of the gable roof, its apparent size diminished by the visual weight of the gabled dormer roof (which has bargeboards and overhangs similar to those at the main roof of the structure). A similar dormer is located at the south end of the west-facing roof; however, a much larger dormer with much larger windows is located to the north. The main level of the west elevation cannot be seen from the public right-of-way. At the north end of the southwest wing’s west wall, another wing stretches westward. The walls of this structure are almost entirely half-timbered. Its long axis is parallel to the main axis of the house but is situated several feet to the north. The gabled west elevation features a pair of casement windows, each divided in a 6 x 3 pattern. A similar pair is centered in the south wall of the wing in a gable-roofed partial wall dormer. A shed-roofed partial wall dormer, featuring a centered pair of casements divided in a 5 x 3 pattern, is located near the middle of the wing’s north elevation. A small courtyard seven feet deep by ten feet wide once separated the southwest wing from a smaller one-story wing near the east end of the south elevation. The house is entered through a simple porch at the east sidewall of this latter gabled wing. The entirety of this small wing is half-timbered. The gable faces south and a horizontally oriented rectangular window is centered in the wall below the gable, lighting what is apparently the entry hall. Paired casement (or perhaps fixed) windows, separated by a heavy mullion, are situated in the south wall of the main house east of the entry. The courtyard that once separated the entry wing from the larger wing to the west has been filled with a one-story, half-timbered, shed-roofed addition. Heavy mullions divide the south-facing window centered in this addition into three lower units divided in a 3 x 2 pattern and three transom units divided in a 2 x 2 pattern. The east elevation of the house faces Eastern Avenue N. but is set back several feet from the street. Its half-timbered gable can just barely be seen through the trees at the eastern margin of the site. A large window assembly is centered in the brick-veneered facade below the gable and fills a large percentage of the elevation. Heavy mullions divide the assembly into three pairs of tall casement windows and three transom units, one transom above each of the casement pairs. Each casement sash is divided by metal muntins into 21 rectangular lights (seven lights tall by three lights wide). A large planter box stretches across the elevation at the base of the windows. The house is difficult to observe from the public rights- of-way despite the fact that the property is bounded by rights-of-way at the east, south and west property lines. The north elevation is particularly hard to see. Three separate gables are barely visible. The easternmost is faced with brick and features a large chimney at its centerline. It appears to be part of a wing projecting from the north side of the main house but the wall line at the main level cannot be seen and this gable and the central gable may be extension of a continuous north wall. The westernmost gable is much smaller and appears to be the north elevation of a wing that projects into the north yard from the east end of the west wing. Two separate concrete terrace garages are located at the eastern margin of the property. Each of these opens across the sidewalk onto Eastern Avenue N. The larger garage is located at the northeast corner of the site and is entered through a single large opening with two hinged doors. South of this garage, but north of the main axis of the house is another garage entered through an overhead door. At the northwest corner of the site is an attractive wood accessory structure of unknown function. A greenhouse is located along the west property line south of the axis of the main house Numerous changes have been made to the building. Most, if not all of these, were completed in the years when Henry Bittman resided at the site. The infill at the south elevation may be an exception; it was completed at some point after the Assessor surveyed the house in 1937 but does not appear to match the description of additional work completed under permits issued by the city after that date. No other significant modifications to the building are apparent.

Detail for 4625 Eastern AVE / Parcel ID 7834800240 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stucco, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable, Shed Roof Material(s): Wood - Shake
Building Type: Domestic - Single Family Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one & ½
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Plan: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.

Photo collection for 4625 Eastern AVE / Parcel ID 7834800240 / Inv #

Photo taken Sep 09, 2004

Photo taken Oct 27, 2004

Photo taken Oct 27, 2004
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