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Summary for 2327 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 065500-0050 / Inv #

Historic Name: Lorraine Hotel Common Name: William Tell Hotel
Style: Spanish - Mediterranean Neighborhood: Belltown
Built By: Year Built: 1925
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.
This distinctive building was designed in 1924-25 by prominent architect J. Lister Holmes. Although now operated as low-income housing, it was originally the Lorraine Hotel, in an area with few hotels. It became the center of the film industry, as it was located in the middle of Film Row, where theater managers from throughout the northwest came to meet studio representatives to select films for their theaters. Reportedly, many of the managers, the studio representatives, and the movie stars on publicity tours, stayed at the Lorraine. The building was purchased by Plymouth Housing Group in 1986 and contains 52 low-income rooms. From the 1920s until the 1960s, Belltown was the center of the film industry in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle was a major film center, more than fifty theaters in the 1920-40s, and more than 400 in the state. All the major studios and many smaller ones had distribution centers, called film exchanges, in Belltown. Films were shipped by rail from Los Angeles, and were shipped from here to local theaters in Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana by truck, ship, rail or auto. Each distributor had salesmen who would preview the films and go on the road to describe the new releases to theater owners. Many theater owners came here themselves to view the films and select the ones they wanted to feature. “Film Row” originated at 3rd and Lenora, but moved to the 2nd and Battery vicinity in the mid-1920s. The major film exchange buildings, built in 1928, were across from this site at 1st and Battery, now the location of Belltown Court condominium. These buildings housed Columbia, Warner's, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and many others. Others built their own film exchanges, such as the MGM/Loew’s building at Second and Battery. They included special vaults to store the highly flammable nitrate film, and often had small theaters to screen the films. Surrounding buildings included theater furnishing suppliers, poster companies and other supporting businesses. Nearby was the Lorraine Hotel (now the William Tell), where many in the film industry stayed on their business trips. In 1952 the payroll on Film Row alone was estimated at more than $1,000,000, not including profits from theaters, equipment or advertising. J. Lister Holmes (1891-1986) received his degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1913. He returned to Seattle to work for several firms and established his own practice in 1922. His Beaux-Arts training enabled him to design eclectic and revival style homes such as this one for a considerable number of prominent citizens. Holmes executed designs in a range of architectural idioms, including English Tudor, Spanish Colonial, Norman Provincial and 18th century French. Among his designs are Collinswood on Bainbridge Island and several fraternity houses. During the Depression he began designing houses in the newly-developed International Style and served as the chief architect for the Seattle Housing Authority’s first public housing project, Yesler Terrace. After the war he continued his work in the International Style, designing clinics, banks, and schools as well as houses.
This three-story Spanish colonial-style building has a stucco cladding over a hollow tile structure, with a mansard roof clad with red clay tile. The entry is in the center of the symmetrical façade, with a terra cotta arch above the door, which is flanked by twisted columns and two pairs of narrow windows, giving an arcaded appearance. Above each pair of windows is a round terra cotta medallion with an urn motif; below each individual window is a similar medallion with a floral motif. The entry is flanked by two small windows and two pairs of windows; each of these has a large medallion beneath it. The second floor has similar windows, in pairs. The third floor has four pairs of arched windows, with two smaller casement sash between. Below the third floor is a projecting course with a balustrade supported by ornate corbels extending cross the center third of the facade; a corbel table runs above the windows, below the mansard roof. Windows throughout are the original multipaned wood sash, mostly 6-over-9.

Detail for 2327 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 065500-0050 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Mansard Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Domestic - Hotel Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Clay Tile No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.

Photo collection for 2327 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 065500-0050 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 18, 2007
App v2.0.1.0