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Summary for 7700 25th AVE / Parcel ID 5081400100 / Inv # DPR019

Historic Name: Dahl (Waldo) Playfield Shelter House Common Name:
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Roosevelt
Built By: Year Built: 1959
This concrete block shelter house was constructed in 1959 to serve the children’s play area in the southwest corner of the playfield and the athletic fields located in the northern half. These improvements had been completed two years previously. The park was not acquired by the city until 1952 with a combination of money from the city’s general fund and from a Local Improvement District. By the later 1940s, there had been extensive residential development in the area, especially after annexation by the city in 1945, and neighborhood residents were advocating for the creation of new park and recreation facilities. Since 1891, the city’s northern limits had been set at 85th Street between 8th Avenue NW and 15th Avenue NE, then considered a great distance from the center of town in Pioneer Square. Twenty years later, the city had annexed Ballard on the west and portions of Ravenna and Laurelhurst on the east. Over the next thirty years, the city’s population shifted further to the north and to the northeast, pushing into the unincorporated areas. From the early 1940s to the early 1950s, the City of Seattle annexed extensive areas north and northeast of the existing city limits. Despite the development, this site had remained undeveloped due to the presence of a large peat bog. After acquiring the property, it was necessary to remove the peat and other organic materials before the land could be filled and graded. This process took several years so that it was not possible to begin any improvements until 1957. In the meantime, the name had been changed from "East 80th Street Playground" to Waldo J. Dahl Playfield in honor of the current president of the Park Board. Designed by Parks Department architect Donald N. Sherwood, this shelter house was completed in 1959. During his career with the Parks Department, Sherwood designed a total of fourteen buildings. Beginning in the later 1920s, the Parks Department had constructed brick shelter houses at many of the city’s playgrounds and playfields. These buildings housed large rooms for organized recreation activities in addition to public restroom facilities. Office space for recreation instructors was also provided. The Parks Department continued to construct new shelter houses into the later 1930s due to the availability of labor and funding from state and federal relief programs, such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA). However, shortages of labor and materials brought on by the Second World War halted construction of any new park buildings for most of the 1940s. Construction of new shelter houses commenced in the late 1940s and continued into the 1960s. However, the materials eventually changed from brick to the less expensive and more durable concrete block. The modern design of the 1950s shelter houses also contrasted with the earlier buildings, which generally exhibited Craftsman or period revival stylistic features. This building is significant for its design and for its association with the development of Dahl Playfield.
Completed in 1959, this concrete block shelter house occupies a site near the children’s play area at the southwest corner of Waldo Dahl Playfield. The Modern building faces west and contains a large recreation room in the western half and restrooms in the eastern half. The women’s restroom occupies the northeast corner of the building, while the men’s restroom occupies the southeast corner. The one-story structure has a T-shaped footprint and an overhanging front gable roof with exposed rafters on the longer north and south elevations. These rafters rest on full-length beams lining the tops of the outer side walls. These beams, in turn, rest on one full-width beam at the western end and two full-width beams at the eastern end. The western beam also supports the gable end above the large opening at the center of the principal west elevation. This opening contains an overhead metal door into the recreation room. Board and batten cladding covers the gable end. A large low chimney pierces the low-pitch gable roof at the rear of the recreation room where a fireplace is located. The parallel eastern beams rest on the lower inner walls enclosing the restrooms within the northeast and southeast recessed corners. At this end of the building, the beams extend beyond the walls and cross at the recessed corners. An additional overhanging beam supports the peak of the roof and rests on the center post within the western gable end and on the higher eastern end wall. The entrances to the restrooms are located on the inner walls of the recessed corners. Modern metal gates have replaced the original doors. The outer walls on the north and south elevations each contain single doors entrances below narrow transoms covered by wood panels. Deep mortar joints distinguish the simple concrete block exterior and produce a patterned appearance. Graffiti mars the exterior of this otherwise well-maintained building, which nonetheless retains very good physical integrity.

Detail for 7700 25th AVE / Parcel ID 5081400100 / Inv # DPR019

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete, Vertical - Board and Batten Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Other
Building Type: Other Plan: T-Shape
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.

Photo collection for 7700 25th AVE / Parcel ID 5081400100 / Inv # DPR019

Photo taken Aug 15, 2000
App v2.0.1.0