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Summary for 719 4th AVE / Parcel ID 0942000595 / Inv #

Historic Name: Grand Central Garage Common Name:
Style: Other - Utilitarian Neighborhood: Commercial Core
Built By: Year Built: 1919
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This property is directly associated with the initial period (1902-1920) of downtown commercial expansion that occurred due to local economic prosperity after the Klondike Gold Rush and in tandem with explosive population growth and suburban residential development. During this era, modern urban architectural scale began with the construction of the earliest steel-frame highrise buildings and the establishment of a concentration of banking enterprises and department stores along Second Avenue from Cherry Street to Pike Street. A significant number of commercial properties were constructed within the downtown commercial core, including: numerous hotels, banks, business blocks and early highrise commercial buildings, as well as specialty and department stores, clubhouses, apartment houses and theaters. Beginning in the mid- 1910s, the use of private automobiles changed the way downtown Seattle functioned. Gradually surface parking lots – many of which included a small gas station building - became a part of the commercial core or were located nearby on its periphery. By mid-1920s, large parking garages – some that could store hundreds of automobiles – were a lucrative and essential part of downtown commerce. In 1910, the site was purchased by Inner Circle Property Company. The company had this garage building constructed in 1919 according to plans prepared by Seattle architect James H. Shack. The building was specifically designed to be used primarily for automobile storage purposes with a concrete ramp system connecting five floor levels including the basement. In addition to parking and automobile storage, the garage also sold gasoline, tires and batteries, offered a car washing service, and provided automobile repair service and lubrication services. The design also included three retail storefronts, two oriented toward Fourth Avenue and one at the basement level at Columbia Street. By 1937, the Fourth Avenue shops housed a business selling used automobiles. The building appears to have been in continuous use since its construction as a parking facility. James H. Schack (1871-1933) arrived in Seattle in 1901 and initially practiced independently and is known to have designed the partially constructed twelve-story Mehlorn Building (1906-07). He practiced in a brief partnership with Daniel R. Huntington from 1907 to 1909 during which the firm designed the First United Methodist Church (1907-10) and the Hotel Morrison (Arctic Club, 1908-09). Schack is known to have designed commercial buildings, hotels and residences prior to beginning to collaborate with David John Myers (1872-1936) in 1917. Schack appears to have been individually responsible for the design of this garage building, which was constructed shortly before he and Myers formed a partnership with engineer Arrigo M. Young (1884-1954) and established the notable Seattle architecture firm of Schack, Young and Myers. Schack, Young and Myers were a prolific firm credited with numerous major commercial, residential and institutional commissions during the 1920s. The firm evolved to become The Richardson Associates (TRA) by the 1970s. Other early transportation and auto-related facilities credited to the firm or its partners include the Sunset Motor Car dealership, (Myers, 1917-18, destroyed) and the conversion of the vacant Grand Opera House into a garage facility (1923). This is a well- preserved early example of a commercial parking garage, an important downtown property type, and was designed by a notable Seattle architect, James H. Schack. Other extant downtown garage buildings include: Donohoe Garage (1907 3rd Avenue, 1921 – altered interior); the White Garage (1915 3rd Avenue – altered interior, 1928); the Second Avenue (Northwest Building Company) Garage (1915 2nd Avenue, 1926); and the Grand Opera House that was converted for garage use in 1923. [This property may potentially meet local landmark criteria.]
Located at the sloping SW corner of Fourth Avenue and Columbia Street, this four-story building was designed and constructed as a garage and automobile parking facility with three retail storefronts. It continues to be used for these purposes. It measures 120’ x 120’ and exhibits a two-part commercial block façade composition and utilitarian design character. The reinforced concrete structure with a concrete foundation and basement is finished cement plaster. It exhibits five structural bays at each of the two principal elevations. The base is dominated at Third Avenue by wide entry/exit openings with shouldered arches at the three northern bays. The southern two bays are retail storefronts that have been altered and modernized. Shoulder-arched openings with industrial steel sash infill dominate the north elevation at this same floor level. The easternmost bay on Columbia Street has a shoulder arched opening like those at Third Avenue; however it has been infilled. The shaft is dominated by structural piers with recessed cast panels and simple caps. Recessed spandrels and wide expanses of multi-pane industrial steel sash at each floor level define each bay on both principal elevations. The steel sash appears to be original. Each opening includes a group of three multi-pane window panels with an operable central pivoting window at each panel. The building is capped by a simple concrete cornice and slightly corbelled parapet with diamond patterns and small inset panels that correspond with the bay spacing/ structural piers. With the exception of the modern retail storefronts, the building exhibits few alterations. There do not appear to be any intact or architecturally significant interior building features, finishes or public spaces.

Detail for 719 4th AVE / Parcel ID 0942000595 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Transportation
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.

Photo collection for 719 4th AVE / Parcel ID 0942000595 / Inv #

Photo taken May 17, 2006
App v2.0.1.0