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Summary for 814 NE 75th ST NE / Parcel ID 0525049003 / Inv # SCL011

Historic Name: North Substation/North Receiving Substation Common Name: North Substation Building A
Style: Other, Spanish - Mission Neighborhood: Roosevelt
Built By: Year Built: 1924
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
City Light constructed this large reinforced concrete substation in 1923-24 in anticipation of receiving power from the new Gorge Plant on the Skagit River under construction since 1919. This was the second major receiving substation built in Seattle by City Light and the first substation connected with the Skagit River Project, which eventually saw the construction of three major dams. In March 1902, Seattle voters had approved the establishment of a municipally owned lighting plant in order to ensure good street lighting service at reasonable rates. Over the next twenty years, City Light constructed the Cedar Falls Plant, the first municipally-owned hydroelectric plant in the United States, the Lake Union Hydroelectric Plant, and the Lake Union Steam Plant before turning to its largest endeavor, the Gorge Plant on the Skagit River. The expansion of power plants, transmission lines and distribution facilities was necessary to keep ahead of the almost insatiable demand for more electricity by ever-increasing numbers of residential, commercial and industrial customers. Built in 1904-05 at Seventh Avenue and Yesler Way, the Yesler Substation first received power from the two 1,200-kilowatt generators at the recently constructed Cedar Falls Plant in 1905. Nearly two decades later, the North Substation began receiving power generated by the two 30,000-kilowatt generators of the Gorge Plant on September 27, 1924. Since its construction, there have been alterations to the building and upgrades to the equipment as City Light further expanded its generation, transmission and distribution capacity. With its mixture of Mission Revival and Neo-Classical Revival stylistic features, this prominent substation is significant for its design and for its association with the growth and development of City Light.
Completed in 1924, this large three-story receiving substation is situated along the southern edge of a site roughly bounded by NE 75th and 77th Streets and by 8th and 9th Avenues NE. Two additional buildings are located along 9th Avenue NE, a 1930 distribution substation and a 1953-54 rectifier substation. Electrical equipment fills the majority of the fenced site, which covers more than two city blocks. Set on high base, this reinforced concrete building has a rectangular plan, which measures approximately 98 feet by 73 feet, with a stair tower projecting from the center of the rear north elevation, which measures 18 feet by 13 feet. The design of the structure exhibits Neo-Classical Revival and Mission Revival stylistic features similar to many large industrial buildings of its era, such as the 1914-1921 Lake Union Steam Plant. Over the years, significant alterations have been made to the appearance of the building’s west, south and east elevations, the foremost of which was the removal of the original industrial steel sash windows and the infilling of the openings with concrete. With this alteration, the building lost much of the transparency of its original appearance. On the principal south elevation, the original openings remain as inset panels within the façade’s five bays. Currently, with the exception of the center entrance bay, each bay features a small shallow arched panel set above a very large vertical panel, which has a later window installed near the bottom. Framed by raised piers, the center bay has a similar configuration but with an entrance designed in a streamlined Egyptian Revival Style at the ground floor level, containing a modern door. On the nearly identical east and west elevations, however, there is no evidence of the original windows. These included a window configuration similar to the principal south elevation at the southern end of each of these elevations. On the east elevation, the large lower opening originally contained a pair of tall narrow wooden doors instead of a multi-paned steel sash window. This opening remains intact but with a modern metal overhead door. At each floor level of the slightly projecting northern end of these elevations, two narrow windows flanked a wider window at the center. All these openings featured flat lintels with the exception of the shallow arched center opening on the third story. Currently, the nearly blank west elevation has a few later window openings at the first and second story levels of the projecting northern end while the east elevation has a single window at the second story level of this end. Only the windows on the north elevation remain extant within their original openings. On either side of the stair tower at the center, three multi-paned industrial steel sash windows, which share a continuous concrete sill, are situated at the second and third story levels. The stair tower itself has a variety of openings set singly or in threes at nearly every level of its three elevations. Additional decorative treatments embellish the building, though some have been removed as well. Currently painted with a contrasting color, two raised bands of concrete wrap the building above and below its third story level. On the south elevation, the upper band echoes the stepped parapet of the roofline over the center entrance bay, and both bands retain their decorative medallions. However, these medallions have been removed from the bands along the east and west elevations. Only the south elevation retains the decorative panels below the lower band and the above the lower window openings. Originally, six globe lights on decorative metal bases stood on the six concrete plinths, which extend from the low concrete wall along the south elevation. Two of these have since been removed. Despite the extensive window alterations, this architecturally distinctive building is well maintained with good physical integrity and is attractively landscaped along the south frontage of the site.

Detail for 814 NE 75th ST NE / Parcel ID 0525049003 / Inv # SCL011

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Government - Public Works Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Science & Engineering, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Seattle Department of Lighting. Annual report / City of Seattle, Department of Lighting. Seattle, WA: 1910-1974.

Photo collection for 814 NE 75th ST NE / Parcel ID 0525049003 / Inv # SCL011

Photo taken Jul 25, 2000
App v2.0.1.0