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Summary for 1601 N 52nd ST N / Parcel ID 9136102056 / Inv #

Historic Name: Common Name: Daylite Studios and Apartments (per Assessor)
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Wallingford
Built By: Year Built: 1932
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This corner storefront was completed in 1932, in the years after the second North End building boom had run its course when the Depression began to take hold in the Pacific Northwest. The structure was built by the firm of Roberts & Peterson (909 N. 78th Street) for owner E. L. Smith. The designer of the structure is not indicated on the building permit. According to the Assessor’s Property Characteristics Report, the structure is known as the Daylite Studios and Apartments; however, this name does not seem to be in common usage and does not appear on the building. A garage and retaining walls were built on the site in 1928, just a few years before the corner storefront building was erected. The retaining walls are at the east and south property lines and the garage is located at the inside corner formed by the retaining walls (the garage has almost certainly been modified since it was first built). It is possible that a house once stood at the site. Although there is no record of such a structure in the City’s permit history, E. L. Smith gave his address as 1601 N. 52nd Street when he applied for the permit to build the retaining walls. The building is described as a grocery on some Kroll maps. One of the current tenants recently referred to it as “the original Larry’s Market;” however, further research would be necessary to determine if the building has ever been known as Larry’s Market or is related in any way to the large upscale grocery operation of the same name. The building is a significant structure because it is an intact example of a two-part commercial block in vernacular style. The building is somewhat unusual because it is appears to be located in the middle of a residential neighborhood rather than at a crossroads, along a transit route, or in a commercial district. Its atypical placement may provide a partial explanation for the fact that it has survived in close to its original form. The pattern of site development is also unusual; the fact that retaining walls were built to level the site, and the fact that a garage was built at the site before the commercial structure suggests that another use for the property may have been contemplated before the current use was established.
Battered, board-formed concrete retaining walls built in 1928 are still standing at the south and east property lines of the site. A garage structure, opening to the west and the north, stands at the inside corner of the two retaining walls at the southeast corner of the property. It is not clear if the present garage structure includes any components of the original garage; if so, the structure has probably been modified since if was first erected. The brick storefront and apartment building is located at the northwest corner of the site; the garage and commercial structure seem to overlap where they meet at a point east and south of the middle of the property. The northern two thirds of the storefront / apartment structure, built in 1932, is a two-story frame building with brick veneer on a concrete foundation. The southern third is a one-story building of similar construction. There is no basement. The building is of mixed typology. The two-story portion of the structure may be characterized as a two part commercial block. It has a large shop space at street level, presently (i.e., in August 2005) occupied by John Swanson Design Studio, and an apartment floor above. The one-story southern third of the building houses a smaller shop space, occupied by W. T. Jacobs Inc. (a cabinet shop), and is capped by a rooftop patio (or deck) that serves the upstairs apartment. It functions as a one part commercial block. It should be noted that the second floor apartment is addressed as 5126 Woodlawn Avenue N. and the cabinet shop is addressed as 5124 Woodlawn Avenue N. The large shop space opens to the northwest corner of the building. The wood and glass storefront is built on a bulkhead similar in construction and finish to the exterior walls of the building. Two sections of the storefront face north and two face west. Each section is divided at about mid-height into two parts; the lower part is a large square display window and the upper part is a tall transom divided into three equal rectangles by vertical muntins. The high ceiling in this space allows daylight to penetrate far into the interior despite the depth of the marquee shading the storefront. At the corner itself, a substantial brick pier (about 16 inches square) supports the upper floor; the wood and glass storefront system is inset at the corner to form a notch that functions as a covered exterior entry space behind the corner pier. A doorway at the southeast corner of this notch, set at an angle to the otherwise rectilinear geometry of the structure, is the only component of the storefront that penetrates the bulkhead. At the west elevation, just to the south of the storefront serving the corner shop, a door surmounted by a transom divided into four vertical rectangles opens into a stairwell providing access to the second floor apartment. A double-hung window is centered over this door at the upper level. Its head and sill are aligned with those of most of the second floor openings. At the north end of upper level west elevation, a window assembly consisting of a wide double-hung unit and two narrower flanking double-hung units illuminates the west end of the apartment A single double-hung unit and another group of three windows are situated in the western half of the upper level’s north elevation. Further to the east, the heads of two smaller openings containing double-hung windows align with the heads of the taller windows to the west. The windows in the easternmost opening at the upper level of the north elevation appear to have been replaced; although these three identical units appear to be double-hung units from a distance, they in fact each consist of a fixed light over an awning window. At the east elevation, the upper level is illuminated by a pair of similarly proportioned and operated replacement windows at the north end, and a pair of smaller single sash replacement windows at the south. At the east end of the north elevation, beneath the second level group of three replacement windows, a doorway appears to open to the sidewalk. The style and rail door at this opening features a six pane door light and may be original; however, the operating hardware has been removed and the door appears to be inoperable. Three wood windows, each divided into four panes, are ganged high in the wall just to the west of this doorway and seem to be associated in a composition with the two small double-hung windows above. A wood and glass storefront system is more or less centered in the west elevation of the single story extension of the building to the south. It consists of a style and rail door with large door light and glazed transom abutted to the south by a two bay storefront window system on a brick bulkhead. Each storefront bay consists of a large rectangular display window surmounted by a pair of tall rectangular transom lights. The south wall of the extension is finished in brick and is not fenestrated. It turns to meet the front of the garage about half way down the length of the 1932 building. A wide, flat marquee begins at the southwest corner of the building and wraps around the northwest corner of the structure to protect all the storefront windows. A projecting cornice, detailed to look like an overhanging eave, is mounted to the top of the brick parapet at the north and west elevations of the two story structure. The south elevation of the second story is finished with stucco; however, this finish may not be original. Although it appears that a door and some associated windows open to the second floor deck from this south elevation, these openings cannot be clearly seen from the street. With the exception of the changes noted above, no significant modifications are apparent.

Detail for 1601 N 52nd ST N / Parcel ID 9136102056 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stucco, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Eaves Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Slight
Storefront: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.

Photo collection for 1601 N 52nd ST N / Parcel ID 9136102056 / Inv #

Photo taken Feb 21, 2004
App v2.0.1.0