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Summary for 434 Dexter AVE / Parcel ID 1988201286 / Inv #

Historic Name: Hostess Cake/ Three Girls Bakery Common Name: Hostess Cake
Style: Art Deco - Streamline Moderne, Modern Neighborhood: South Lake Union
Built By: Year Built: 1941
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The King County Tax Assessor Record card suggests that the original structure dates from as early as 1915, when a square portion of the plan, 120 feet by 120 feet, was built, with a “garage” added in 1928. Furthermore, a Sanborn Map of 1917 indicates that this building was called the “Three Girls Bakery;” however, the current exterior design dates from an addition and major remodel done in 1941. At this point, the building acquired its current Streamline Moderne exterior. The concrete cladding, the streamlined corners and overhangs and the window guard designs are important and intact features of this design. The building has retained enough of the fabric of the 1941 design to be significant, although it has lost some original fabric. The tell-tale sign is the frequent and large patches of concrete block infill and, in particular, the oddly placed square windows at the second floor. A 1942 photograph shows that the second level on Republican and Dexter Avenue had more or less central banks of long, rectangular multi-pane windows, flanked to each side by pairs of similar windows. It seems fairly obvious that these original windows were removed, the occasional smaller square windows added and large portions of the upper walls filled in with concrete block. Despite these changes, the building exterior retains a significant amount of its original exterior fabric and its most notable exterior design features. In the 1930s, the various structures were owned by the Continental Baking Company Corporation and the main elevation seems to have been along Aurora Avenue. The elevation had been remodeled in 1926 in a Tudor Revival/Modern style, with a large “Hostess Cake” sign above a straight parapet and apparently supported on the roof of the building. This building continues to be occupied by Hostess Cake and owned by the Continental Baking Company.
This appears as a two story building, with concrete exterior walls. Slightly irregular in plan, but tending toward a rectangle, the building has streamlined, curved corners. It has a flat roof and parapet. There are three street facing elevations, an east facing Dexter Avenue North elevation, a south elevation along Republican Street and a west elevation along Aurora Avenue, which is somewhat difficult to see in its entirety from the street. Patches of the concrete walls, particularly at the second level, are concrete block infill. There are few openings, except for distinctive concrete window guards, which are placed over mesh screen, with original glazed windows underneath. These occur at the first level, often in groups of eleven or twelve, at least on the east Dexter Avenue elevation and on the north, Republican Street elevation. These window guards figure as major elements in the exterior design of the building. The window guards exhibit two symmetrical configurations, consisting of interwoven geometric shapes. Both versions of the design center around a cutout of a woman’s bust set within a heart shape, the traditional Hostess Cake logo. In one version, four concrete circular bands, creating a quatrefoil, intersect at their radii, (also shown as a thick concrete band, with a thickening at the center), with a square. An outer square is also tangential to the outer edge of the circles. Diagonal bands link the corners of the inner square with the corners of the outer square, which, in turn, appears as a frame within the window opening. Everything between the geometric bands is void and open, including the silhouette of the woman’s bust. The second design relies on forty-five degree angles. Within the large square, is a smaller square, set at a forty five degree angle, creating a diamond shape. Other “lines,” which are straight bands of concrete, run parallel to the sides of the inner diamond. The bands are equally spaced, so as to divide each side of the square shape into three, creating smaller diamond shapes, which are arranged around the central heart shape. The linear bands continue outside the main diamond shape and anchor this geometric shape to the outer square frame (not angled) of the opening. On Dexter Avenue north, the window guards run most of the length of the elevation and are only interrupted at the north end by a garage door. The elevation is terminated by a curved overhang (over a vertical window opening), which turns the corner at Dexter North and Republican Street. A similar, but smaller overhang occurs at the corner of Aurora N and Republican Street, which has a raised and curved parapet. It is part of a streamlined corner entry design, which includes glass block around the entry as well as engaged columns, which rise almost to the top of the wall. Above the glass block, is a grooved, solid band with, at its center, a protruding Hostess heart, painted red. This is surmounted by new glazing and then by a similar band with a protruding curved area. Signage, set above and below the protruding band bears the words, “HOSTESS” (above) and “CAKE” (below). The doorway at the Aurora Avenue/ Republican St entry has been filled in with block and does not operate as an entry. In the same way, the streamlined entry overhang at the corner of Dexter Avenue North and Republican Street no longer has a door underneath it. Nevertheless, the overhangs are important elements of the design. Currently, the second floor of the street facing elevations features a few scattered square openings, with newer aluminum sash. These window openings are usually set within upper portions of the wall, which have been patched with concrete block.

Detail for 434 Dexter AVE / Parcel ID 1988201286 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Glass Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
City of Seattle, Department of Planning and Development, Microfilm Records.
Sanborn (Insurance) Map Company, Seattle, Washington, 1917.

Photo collection for 434 Dexter AVE / Parcel ID 1988201286 / Inv #

Photo taken Aug 22, 2005

Photo taken Jun 17, 2005

Photo taken Jun 17, 2005

Photo taken Jun 17, 2005
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