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Summary for 1100 SW Cloverdale ST SW / Parcel ID 7972602330 / Inv # DPR036

Historic Name: Highland Park Playfield Shelter House Common Name:
Style: Tudor Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1938
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.
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed this architecturally distinctive shelter house in 1938 for the City of Seattle as one of the first permanent improvements to the park. In 1925, the city had acquired the property for the playfield located immediately north of Highland Park Elementary School. The Seattle School District had completed the one-story brick building four years earlier in 1921 to serve the burgeoning Highland Park neighborhood. Ten years earlier, W.L. Dumar had filed the original Highland Park plat in 1911, and residential development had proceeded rapidly since that time. The Parks Department purchase of the playfield site adjacent to the school followed a policy originally developed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm. In 1903, the city had hired the Olmsted Brothers to prepare plans for a comprehensive park and boulevard system, including suggestions for improvements to existing parks. This was supplemented by an additional report in 1908 to include the large areas annexed by the city the previous year, which included West Seattle. In their recommendations, the Olmsted Brothers advocated for the creation of playgrounds located near schools so teachers could direct the children’s activities. The idea of public recreation facilities in parks had only become popular late in the 19th and early in the 20th centuries, and the Olmsted Brothers were at the forefront of the movement. The 1908 Olmsted Supplemental Plan gave top priority for playground siting to West Seattle and Ballard, however this area at the southern end of the West Seattle peninsula received little attention. As a result, the city immediately began to implement much of the plan but generally neglected those areas not included, especially the outlying areas where there was less residential and commercial development. After the playfield site was acquired in 1925, it was graded but remained largely undeveloped until the later 1930s when the Parks Department received the assistance of the WPA. Created in 1935, the WPA consolidated and superseded several earlier programs, including the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), both of which were established in 1933. In its first six years of existence, the WPA allocated 78% of available funds for projects involved with public works, construction and conservation of natural resources. The remaining 22% of the funds were used for a wide range of community services, including education, recreation and the arts. In 1937, the WPA built a wading pool near the southwest corner of the park. The following year, the WPA constructed a brick shelter house and a tennis court nearby. 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 and larger field houses into the later 1930s due to the availability of labor and funding from state and federal relief programs, such as the WPA. The construction of any new park buildings was otherwise halted until the later 1940s when the financial difficulties of the 1930s and the shortages of labor and materials due to the Second World War had finally ended. This building is very similar in design, materials, and massing to the other WPA shelter houses built in the Seattle area at the same time. These include structures at Madrona and Van Asselt Playfields and Victory Heights Playground. During the Second World War, the playfield was the site of underground anti-aircraft gun emplacements and barracks. This building is significant for its design and for its associations with the Works Progress Administration and with the development of Highland Park Playfield.
Completed in 1938, this brick shelter house occupies a site near the children’s play area and wading pool at the southwest corner of Highland Park Playfield. Recessed courses within the variegated brick exterior create decorative bands in the brickwork. The one-story building has an irregular plan created by a cross gable L-plan main block with a projecting gabled wing offset east of center on the south elevation. The Tudor Revival building contains a large recreation room in the northern half of the building and restrooms in the southern half. Originally, the main entrance to the recreation room was situated on the principal east elevation. A corbelled recessed opening at the northern end of the projecting gabled southern half of the elevation once contained a shallow arched door. This door opening has been boarded over along with all of the window openings into the recreation room. This includes the vertical window opening adjacent to the south of the arched entrance, the two larger vertical openings within the northern half of the east elevation, and the two openings flanking the large chimney at the center of the north elevation. On the rear west elevation, the northern slope of the wide cross gable has been truncated in order to accommodate a single large opening centered within the northern half. Covered by a shed roof wall dormer, this large opening currently contains double wood doors under a fascia embellished with a scalloped edge. Originally, this may have been a smaller window opening set with multi-paned sash but subsequently enlarged for the installation of the entrance doors. The recreation room has an additional entrance slightly south of center within the gabled southern half of the elevation. The horizontal window opening adjacent to the north has been boarded over as well. On the south elevation, the side walls of the projecting gable front wing contain the entrances to the restrooms. Modern metal gates have replaced the original doors to the women’s restroom on the west and the men’s restroom on the east. The south elevation of the wing has two louvered horizontal openings flanking an opening at the center covered by a wood panel. The main block features a larger louvered opening on either side of the gabled wing on the south elevation and additional openings at the southern ends of the east and west elevations. Originally, these louvered openings contained multi-paned windows. Despite the window alterations, this architecturally distinctive building retains very good physical integrity.

Detail for 1100 SW Cloverdale ST SW / Parcel ID 7972602330 / Inv # DPR036

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Metal - Standing Seam
Building Type: Other Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Brick No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation, Other
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Erigero, Patricia. Seattle Public Schools Historic Building Survey Summary Report. Seattle, WA: Historic Seattle PDA, 1990.

Photo collection for 1100 SW Cloverdale ST SW / Parcel ID 7972602330 / Inv # DPR036

Photo taken Nov 13, 2000

Photo taken Nov 13, 2000

Photo taken Nov 13, 2000
App v2.0.1.0