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Summary for 5400 Fauntleroy WAY / Parcel ID 9396700060 / Inv # DPR023

Historic Name: Fairmount Playfield Shelter House Common Name:
Style: Modern Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1961
This modern shelter house was constructed in 1961 as one of the first permanent improvements to Fairmount Playfield. The city had only acquired the property for the park in 1955 with funds generated from a Local Improvement District. The park is located in a residential neighborhood immediately north of Fairmount Park Elementary School, which was constructed in 1964. Most of the homes in the vicinity date to the late 1940s and early 1950s. Designed by Parks Department architect Donald N. Sherwood, this shelter house was completed in 1961 to serve the adjacent athletic fields and children’s play area. During his career with the Parks Department, Sherwood designed a total of fourteen buildings. This building is identical to the shelter house constructed the same year at Lakeridge Playfield in Rainier Beach. Beginning in the later 1920s, the Parks Department had constructed brick shelter houses at many of the city’s playgrounds and playfields. These buildings housed large rooms for organized recreation activities in addition to public restroom facilities. Office space for recreation instructors was also provided. The Parks Department continued to construct new shelter houses into the later 1930s due to the availability of labor and funding from state and federal relief programs, such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA). However, shortages of labor and materials brought on by the Second World War halted construction of any new park buildings for most of the 1940s. Construction of new shelter houses commenced in the late 1940s and continued into the 1960s. However, the materials eventually changed from brick to the less expensive and more durable concrete block. The modern design of the 1950s and 1960s shelter houses also contrasted with the earlier buildings, which generally exhibited Craftsman or period revival stylistic features. This modest building is significant for its design and for its association with the development of Fairmount Playfield.
Completed in 1961, this concrete block shelter house occupies a site near the children’s play area along the eastern side of Fairmount Playfield. The one-story structure has a T-shaped footprint, which measures approximately 31 feet by 21 feet. The overhanging front gable roof has exposed rafters on the north and south elevations. These rafters rest on beams lining the tops of the end walls, which, in turn, rest on beams lining the tops of the lower front and rear walls. These beams extend beyond the walls and cross at the northwest and southwest recessed corners. An additional overhanging beam supports the peak of the roof and rests on center posts within the gable ends covered with a corrugated metal cladding. The Modern building faces west towards the ballfields and contains a recreation room at the center between a women’s restroom at the southern end and a men’s restroom at the northern end. At either end of the principal west elevation, the original single entrance doors to the restrooms are situated below louvered transoms on the rear walls of the recessed corners. A single door entrance to the recreation room is located north of center on the west elevation below an opening covered with corrugated metal. An identical entrance into this space is located on the inner wall of the recessed southwest corner. The rear east elevation presents a blank concrete wall. Graffiti mars the building, which shows a greater level of deterioration than similar structures of this vintage within the park system. However, this modest building still retains good physical integrity.

Detail for 5400 Fauntleroy WAY / Parcel ID 9396700060 / Inv # DPR023

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete - Block, Metal Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Other
Building Type: Other Plan: T-Shape
Structural System: Concrete - Block No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.

Photo collection for 5400 Fauntleroy WAY / Parcel ID 9396700060 / Inv # DPR023

Photo taken Nov 13, 2000
App v2.0.1.0