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Summary for 1319 Western AVE / Parcel ID 7666202445 / Inv #

Historic Name: Mutual Light and Heating Company/ Western Avenue Steam Plant Common Name: Seattle Steam Corporation plant/ Western Avenue steam plant
Style: Commercial, Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1895
The Western Avenue Steam Plant buildings have been considerably altered over the years and are far from intact. In the opinion of this surveyor, there are much too altered to be eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or on the City Register; however, their history is of some interest. The 1895 building was apparently originally owned by the Mutual Light and Heating Company, organized by the Diamond Ice Company, in 1894. The Diamond Ice Company was located in the neighboring building to the north, now Shurgard Storage, until at least the 1930s. In 1904, when Seattle Tacoma Power Company purchased the Mutual Light & Heat Company, eleven coal fired generators, which would allow service to the area north of Madison Street, were added to the plant. In 1911, the Puget Sound Traction Light and Power Company, under the administration of Jacob Furth, a representative of Stone & Webster, acquired five Seattle area electric companies, including the Seattle Tacoma Power Company. Thus the 1918 addition to the plant was designed by Stone and Webster. As part of these alterations, Stone and Webster introduced a then pioneering technique, based on the burning of pulverized coal. Changes were made to both buildings over the years. Major changes, particularly to the 1895 building, were made in 1955 and subsequent changes made in 1962, 1965 and 1992. Along with the Old and New Post Plants at Columbia Street (Pioneer Square), this plant is now part of the Seattle Steam Company, first formed in 1951. The Seattle Steam Company still provides steam to downtown Seattle and neighboring areas, from Blanchard Street to the north and King Street to the south, as well as high pressure service to First Hill, especially to hospitals.
The Steam Plant at Western Avenue is located off of University Street. It consists of several parts: a smaller one story building, rectangular in plan, which dates from 1895; a roughly two story addition, located to the south of the 1895 building, which dates from 1918 and mainly faces Western Avenue, as well as an open lot off of University Street; and a variety of mostly recent additions, including sheds and small structures, which can mainly be seen from Alaskan Way and from University Street. The main elevation, if there is one, is along Western Avenue. The façade of the 1895 building, which is clad in painted masonry, is divided into three bays by engaged piers. It has three large openings, two of which are filled with multi-pane sash. There is an intermediary cornice above the three glazed bays, topped by a parapet with similar coping. Alongside this lower portion of the façade, is the much taller concrete façade of the 1918 addition. It too has a tripartite division, with three large openings: a recessed doorway, flanked by two large multi-pane openings. Above the openings, the elevation rises to a great height and there are no openings. The tripartite division below, however, is reflected in three bays above, which appear as three framed, infilled openings. The south wall of the 1918 building has no openings. Currently, murals of aquatic scenes are painted in the three recessed portions of the 1918 addition’s Western Avenue elevation and on the south elevation. New mechanical equipment in shiny sheet metal and a large vent stack are set at the top on the roof of the 1918 building. A straight, horizontal run of pipe, of fairly large diameter, is also attached to the western elevation of the building, and then curves down toward the ground at a right angle to the horizontal portion of the piping. There is also another vent stack, north and west of the one already described. To the west and north, the rest of the building complex is recent addition, an agglomeration of mostly recent small structures and taller shed additions, which are often made of metal and house a variety of equipment.

Detail for 1319 Western AVE / Parcel ID 7666202445 / Inv #

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Metal Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet, Gable, Varied roof lines Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Energy Plan: E-Shaped
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: Various
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Community Planning/Development, Manufacturing/Industry, Science & Engineering
Changes to Plan: Extensive
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Robertson, Amanda. "An Investigation of Post Avenue Steam Plants." Report for URBDP 586. U of Washington, 2003.
“Seattle Steam Company’s Walking Tour 2006.” Seattle: Seattle Steam Company, 2006.
“Seattle Steam Company’s Walking Tour 2006.” Seattle: Seattle Steam Company, 2006.

Photo collection for 1319 Western AVE / Parcel ID 7666202445 / Inv #

Photo taken Feb 09, 2006

Photo taken
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