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Summary for 1400 E Galer ST E / Parcel ID 2925049087 / Inv # DPR097

Historic Name: Volunteer Park Horticulture & Grounds Maintenance Facility Common Name:
Style: Arts & Crafts, Arts & Crafts - Craftsman Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Built By: Year Built: 1909
 
Significance
This complex of wood frame buildings was constructed over a period of time beginning in 1909 to serve as a horticultural and maintenance facility for Volunteer Park. In the early decades of Seattle’s existence, Capitol Hill was beyond the city limits, remote and inaccessible, heavily wooded and far from the center of the town of about 2000 residents. In 1876, the recently incorporated city purchased a forty-acre tract at the very top of the hill from James M. Colman, a sawmill engineer who later became a prominent real estate developer, for $2000 without specifying the purpose of the purchase. Presumably, the land had been logged of its stand of old growth forest, leaving behind bare patches between the stumps and smaller trees. This tract would later become one of the city’s preeminent parks, known initially as "Lake View Park" in 1887, then "City Park," and finally Volunteer Park in 1901, honoring those who had volunteered for the 1898 Spanish-American War. Further land acquisitions brought the size up to its present-day 48 acres. The Water Department also took an active interest in this hilltop park as a desirable location for a reservoir to provide gravity service to Seattle’s population. The reservoir was completed in 1901 as part of the initial phase of the new Cedar River Water System, which also included Lincoln Reservoir further south on Capitol Hill and Queen Anne Tank No. 1. The same year, a streetcar line was established along the park’s eastern boundary, 15th Avenue East, and real estate developer James Moore began to plat and improve his 200-acre tract as the Capitol Hill Addition. Millionaires’ Row, then the city’s preeminent place to live, also developed along the four blocks of 14th Avenue East immediately south of the park. As the Capitol Hill residential neighborhoods developed and increased the demand for reliable water service, a metal standpipe was built in 1906 to provide additional gravity pressure. 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, with Volunteer Park first on the list. From 1904 to 1912, extensive formal improvements to the park were made, following the detailed plans of the Olmsted Brothers firm, which called for a "metropolitan appearance" due to the park’s close proximity to the downtown hotel and business district. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, Volunteer Park is recognized as possessing the most fully realized design of all the Olmsted plans created for the Seattle parks, boulevards, and playgrounds system. By the late 1880s and early 1890s, the Parks Department had cleared about six acres of brush and immature trees at Volunteer Park in order to plant a nursery. By 1893, a greenhouse and "hot bed" had been built along with a three-room cottage for a caretaker, who had five gardeners to assist him. By 1903, the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm decried the greenhouse, rows of nursery plants, compost yard, superintendent’s residence, park barn, and other service buildings as ugly intrusions into the park. The firm recommended that they should be grouped in some "less valuable" part of the park, such as the northwest corner near the cemetery. In their designs for the improvement of the park, they sited the maintenance yard with a cottage and stable screened behind trees to the west of a planned conservatory at the north end of the park’s concourse drive. This portion of the plan was realized in 1909 with the construction of the present Craftsman-influenced caretaker’s cottage and barn within the maintenance yard. An obvious effort was made to provide architecturally attractive facilities for the city’s most important park. Additional wood frame structures and greenhouse buildings were later added to serve Volunteer Park as well as other parks, which are part of the Central Downtown and Central North Park Districts. This modest building is significant for its association with the improvement of the park under the direction of the Olmsted Brothers firm.
 
Appearance
Located at the northern end of the park along the drive leading west down from the Conservatory, this facility consists of a number of buildings set in a large yard enclosed by a chain link fence. Near the vehicle entrance, there is a small one-story shed or garage, which is clad with board and batten siding and covered by a corrugated metal gable roof. The structure measures approximately 10 feet by 18 feet and was most likely constructed c.1910. Set on a concrete block foundation, the wood-frame structure has wide double doors on the western end and a single multi-paned window at the center of the north and south elevations. This simple, utilitarian structure remains intact with good physical integrity. In the northwest corner of the site, there is a one-and-one-half-story barn constructed in 1909, which features the same Craftsman-influenced stylistic features as the nearby caretaker’s cottage. These include wood shingle cladding, a gable roof, exposed rafter tails, and bargeboards covering the gable ends. Measuring 20 feet by 34 feet, the wood-frame structure has an entrance door at the southern end of the east elevation and a large sliding door covering an opening at the northern end with a multi-paned wood window between. There is an additional entrance door set in the upper story gable end of the south elevation. Plywood panels cover the two multi-paned windows below this door as well as the four additional windows on the west elevation. There are additional structures in the yard of more recent construction, including a large greenhouse complex, which dominates the center of site. While deteriorated, this structure retains good physical integrity.

Detail for 1400 E Galer ST E / Parcel ID 2925049087 / Inv # DPR097

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Shingle, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Metal - Corrugated
Building Type: Other Plan: Triangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Agriculture, Community Planning/Development, Conservation
Integrity
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Seattle Department of Parks. Annual report/Department of Parks. Seattle, WA: 1909-1955.

Photo collection for 1400 E Galer ST E / Parcel ID 2925049087 / Inv # DPR097


Photo taken Nov 06, 2000
App v2.0.1.0