Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for 1601 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200040 / Inv #

Historic Name: Standard Furniture Company Common Name: Broadarces Building
Style: Commercial - Chicago School Neighborhood: Commercial Core
Built By: Year Built: 1907
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. The initial regrading of Denny Hill and the commercial redevelopment of the former University Grounds (University/Metropolitan Tract) were major factors that facilitated northward and eastward commercial expansion. In 1914, the owners of the Frederick and Nelson Department Store purchased property with the intention of building a large, five-story store at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street, thus solidifying the location of the future downtown retail core. A significant number of extant commercial properties dating from this era remain within the downtown commercial core, including: numerous hotels, banks, business blocks and early highrise commercial buildings, as well as clubhouses, apartment houses and theaters. However, few specialty and department store building from this era remain intact and well preserved. Buildings specifically designed to be devoted to specialty retail or department store use typically included lower floor level commercial display spaces and upper floor level loft, sales and/or storage areas. The larger department store buildings were typically masonry construction and three to five stories in height, exhibited either a two or three-part commercial block facade composition, and were further dignified by prominent cornices and storefront canopies. This building type did not require as much natural light and ventilation as neighboring business blocks or hotels; thus, lot coverage and building mass could be maximized. Specialty retail and department stores typically required more elaborate interior finishes and fittings, as well as more elaborate exterior construction with large display windows in order to exhibit merchandise and often included ornate canopies providing pedestrian protection. The Standard Furniture Company was originally established by Louis Schoenfeld in 1864 in Virginia City, Nevada. After relocating to Seattle in 1887, this enterprise grew to become one of Seattle’s leading business institutions. The initial Seattle store was housed in a single storefront space in the Occidental Hotel, at Second Avenue and Yesler Way, which measured some 40 by 80 feet. The company sold East Coast fabricated furniture described as “highly polished chairs and rockers, art goods, music stands and cabinets” that was shipped around the Horn to Seattle via San Francisco. After the 1889 fire destroyed the shop, the company was left with only one wagonload of salvaged merchandise; however, they were able to obtain addition merchandise from San Francisco and set up business in large tent located at Second Avenue and University Street. After reconstruction, a new shop was located in the New York Block (1892, destroyed) at Second Avenue and Cherry, then enterprise moved to a location on Western Avenue near Madison Street before the company had a permanent store building constructed on First Avenue between Madison and Spring Streets (Schoenfeld Furniture Store Building, c.1900). That six-story store and loft building was designed by the architecture firm of Thompson and Thompson; however, by 1906 the booming furniture business had absorbed and outgrown all of the room available within the building. The company decided to construct a major new store building at Second Avenue and Pine Street on what by 1906 was a newly regraded and not a particularly attractive site. Many of their fellow businessmen questioned the wisdom of establishing a business of this size so far north of University Street. When the ten-story Standard Furniture Company Store and warehouse building opened in March 1908, it was the largest highrise commercial building to be constructed north of Pike Street and the first large retail enterprise in the new northern retail district. The opening event is reported to have drawn 5,000 people who toured the building. The Standard Furniture Company Building was designed by A. Warren Gould (1872-1922). Gould was born in Nova Scotia in 1872. There is evidence that he received some education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but he began his career in Boston as a contractor. In the late 1890s, he practiced architecture in Boston. He arrived in Seattle in 1903 and clearly had a strong knowledge of the latest construction techniques. Two of his early projects were the innovative 12- story, steel-frame American Savings Bank/Empire Building (1904-06, destroyed) and the subject furniture store and warehouse building. Gould’s architectural career in Seattle was varied, but productive. It included an almost three-year partnership with Edward Frere Champney, that began in 1909; civic activism and support of the Bogue Plan; expulsion from the Washington State AIA over a purported breach of ethics in securing the King County Courthouse Commission; the design of the original portions of King County Courthouse (1914-17); and the terra-cotta-clad Arctic Building (1913-17) and of numerous other noteworthy buildings. He also served as the President of the Washington State Society of Architects. By 1924 the Standard Furniture Company, which also operated a large store in Tacoma, was the largest home furnishings enterprise in the Pacific Northwest. By 1929, the company employed some 225 people at their downtown location, 20 at a University District branch, and another 100 at the Tacoma store. The company also operated a furniture factory (Washington Furniture Manufacturing Company0 with another 100 employees. Part of the success of the company was that they innovated selling on credit, offered furniture rental programs and operated a mail order bureau. Louis Schoenfeld‘s three sons (Ralph A., Berman and Herbert A.) helped to establish the company and carried on its operations for many years after his death in 1910. Grandson Berman Schoenfeld, Jr. succeeded his father and two uncles in operating the company. Upon his death in 1953 the firm was operated by the family estate for a short period before it was then consolidated with the Grunbaum Furniture Company in 1954. The business was sold entirely to the Grunbaum Furniture Company in 1958, which was then bought out by the Bon Marche. Unfortunately, this is a heavily altered and modernized example of a particularly important downtown retail and specialty store property type from this era.
Prominently located at the NE corner of 2nd Avenue and Pine Street, this ten-story building was designed and constructed to serve as a large furniture store and warehouse and now houses a retail clothing store and commercial offices. It measures 108’ x 113’ with a prominent canted corner oriented to the street intersection. It currently exhibits a heavily altered and modernized two-part vertical block façade composition. The building was originally designed and constructed with a distinctive three-part vertical block façade that included a three-story terra cotta clad base; a five-story shaft and a two-story cap with a prominent ornate metal cornice. The façade retains the original bay spacing and fenestration pattern, however the storefront level has been entirely modernized and the intermediate cornices that distinguished the shaft have been removed as has the entire cornice. In addition to the drastic changes to the façade composition, virtually no historic building fabric remains with the exception of concrete vertical piers and terra cotta spandrel panels including decorated 9th floor level spandrels. The original upper floor level windows were wooden tripartite with heavy mullions, which have been uniformly replaced with a modern fixed aluminum product. There do not appear to be any intact or architecturally significant interior building features, finishes or public spaces.

Detail for 1601 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200040 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Specialty store Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Steel No. of Stories: ten
Unit Theme(s): Commerce
Changes to Interior: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Extensive
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Plan: Slight
Storefront: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Seattle Monorail Greenline EIS - Historic Resource Form prepared by ENTRIX (2003).

Photo collection for 1601 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200040 / Inv #

Photo taken May 23, 2006
App v2.0.1.0