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Summary for 2801-2115 Elliott AVE / Parcel ID 7666202305 / Inv #

Historic Name: 2800 Elliott Avenue West / Ainsworth & Dunn Warehouse/ Plant No. 2 for I. F. Laucks Incorporated Common Name: 2801 Elliott Avenue
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1902
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This building, which appears to be surprisingly intact, was originally constructed in 1902 as a warehouse for Ainsworth and Dunn. In 1889, partners Ainsworth and Dunn, who had known each other since their boyhood in Vincent, New York, founded the Seattle Fish Company, an important fish processing and trading company. Around the same time, they also established a retail store at Second Avenue and Pike Street and by 1893, were located at the foot of Seneca Street. They also stored and sold grain and feed at this last location. In 1896, the company built the first version of Pier 8 (now Pier 59), which would be rebuilt again in 1904. By 1896, Ainsworth and Dunn also had canning operations in both Seattle and Blaine, Washington. They built Pier 14, (now Pier 70), in 1902. Directly across Railroad Avenue, they constructed the present warehouse as additional storage, related to the Pier 14 operations. Clearly, Ainsworth and Dunn had begun to have an important influence not only on the economy of the Seattle waterfront, but also on it physical appearance, when this 1902 warehouse was constructed. Although Ainsworth and Dunn ultimately moved their entire operation to Blaine, it retained ownership of both Pier 14/70 and this warehouse. By the mid-1930s, while Ainsworth and Dunn still owned the warehouse, the building operated as Plant No. 2 for I. F. Laucks Incorporated, founded by Irving F. Laucks in 1918. The firm maintained Plant No. 1 at 5417 East Marginal Way, while I. F. Laucks Inc. Chemists was located in the Maritime Building. Irving Laucks was born in Akron, Ohio in 1882. Laucks studied mining engineering and chemistry at Cleveland’s Case School of Applied Sciences (now Case Institute of Technology). In 1908, with Myrl Faulkenberg, he established a testing laboratory, devoted mainly to work on ores and minerals. Laucks co-invented the Green Laucks process for the carbonization of coal. In 1918, when the partnership with Faulkenberg was dissolved, Laucks retained the analytical laboratory, which became I. F. Laucks Incorporated. In 1923, encouraged by a representative of the Olympia Veneer Company to create a better glue for the manufacture of plywood, Laucks created a waterproof glue from soybeans, later named Lauxein. The glue did not emit the noxious odors of animal glues and had advantages over previously used casein glues: it was less expensive, waterproof, and well suited to gluing together veneers with a high moisture content, and especially veneers from Douglas Fir trees. By 1926, this glue was in great demand for the production of plywood in the Pacific Northwest. Laucks improved on his initial invention and the soybean glues, produced by I. F. Laucks Incorporated, continued to be in great demand into the 1940s. Beginning in the 1930s, partially to capture the East Coast market, but also based on the proximity of soybean fields, Laucks also expanded operations to other parts of the United States (Illinois, then Virginia). He is also thought to have done experiments with soybean isolate. The Seattle building, I. F. Laucks, Plant No. 2, is thought to have been used to process soybeans, at least until 1944. Laucks retired to Orcas Island in 1942, but his company published Charles B. Norris’ book, Technique of Plywood, in 1942. In 1943, Laucks himself chronicled his life and work with glues and plywood in Chemurgic Digest. A year later, Soybean Digest, which also noted that the company had glue plants as far away as Sweden and Australia, published a condensed version of Lauck’s account. While some accounts suggest that I. F. Laucks Incorporated closed its doors in 1944, others suggest that the better part of the company was sold to the Monsanto Chemical Laboratory in 1950. It appears that the original Seattle laboratory was purchased by two of the I. F. Lauck’s former employees. As of 2006, Laucks Testing Laboratories is still operating in Seattle. By 1965, the former laboratory/ warehouse building had deteriorated. It appears that the Dunn Family proposed demolition. The apparently makeshift neighboring structure, which had three exterior walls and relied on the south wall of the warehouse to enclose it, was, in fact, demolished in 1965. In 1970, a permit was granted to convert the remaining warehouse building to restaurant use, with a change of use for the second floor to offices. Alterations to the building continued through the early 1970s, with new permits for the alteration of the second floor into office space, also issued in 1973 and 1974. The semi-circular entry, located on the north elevation, probably dates from this remodel. Minimal changes were made to the interior of the main floor for the restaurant. Since the 1970s, the only obvious change has been the addition of sprinklers and air-conditioning between 1975 and 1978. Minor alterations were made to the basement in 1994, with no known significant changes since that time. The Old Spaghetti Factory has continuously occupied the restaurant space since 1975. This simple building is an excellent example of an early masonry warehouse, which has important associations with both the developing waterfront and early Seattle industry. Ainsworth and Dunn played an important role in the fish packing industry and in the development of Seattle’s waterfront and economy. I. F. Laucks Incorporated was a company of some national and even international importance, which was particularly significant in the development of the Pacific Northwest’s plywood industry.
This is a two story building with a full basement, sited between Broad Street and Clay Street and between Elliott Avenue and Alaskan Way. All of the elevations were designed to face a street, except for the north elevation. This elevation once adjoined a neighboring building and now faces a parking lot. The building has a rectangular footprint of 112 feet x 120 feet, with the long dimension parallel to both Broad and Clay Streets. It also has a flat roof and parapet. The original building structure includes 24” thick solid exterior brick walls and an interior heavy timber post and beam structure. The east and west elevations, facing Elliott Avenue and Alaskan Way respectively, consist each of six bays. The north elevation, facing Broad Street, has nine bays. The south elevation, because it adjoined a neighboring building, originally had no openings of any kind. Currently, it has one large semi circular arched opening, added in the 1970s, when the building was remodeled as a restaurant. Aside from this change and an elongated entrance on the east elevation, the rest of the building is reasonably intact. All of the elevations are distinguished by red brick cladding and sandstone coping, which surmounts corbelling at the parapet level, as well as a lower corbel band. In addition, all of the original openings are topped by segmental arches, while all the windows have quarry faced sandstone sills, similar to the sandstone coping. The east elevation, which has six bays, faces Elliott Avenue. At the first level, (counting from the most southern bay), the first to the third bays have typical segmental arched openings. Each of the openings features eighteen pane windows, which are six panes in length and three panes in depth. This is followed by a new and elongated arched door opening, built in the 1970s. The opening, which is accentuated by a short protruding band of brick, has a shallower brick band set within it, which, in turn, frames a door and two transoms, one on top of the other. This clearly modern opening appears to have replaced a two-story bay of fenestration and incorporated the original segmental opening of the top window opening. The last bay of the east elevation has no openings at the first level. At the second level, all six bays typically have 12 over 12 double hung windows, with the panes ordered in horizontal rows of six and vertical rows of two. The north elevation, which is divided into nine bays, faces Broad Street. The sloping of the grade from east to west is expressed at the base of this elevation: as a result, at the west side of the elevation, the tops of three segmental arches, which belonged to basement level openings, can be seen above the sidewalk. The ground level openings are somewhat varied. In addition to typical eighteen pane windows at the first two eastern bays, there is a large segmental arched portal, originally a freight entrance, set between the fourth and fifth upper bays (counting from the east). The 1930s Tax Assessor’s photo suggests that the freight entrance may have originally had large sliding door with multi-pane glazing. Below the sixth upper bay, there is a small trabeated opening, with to the west of it, a short, but narrow, recessed entry, topped by a shallow segmental vault. The seventh, eighth and ninth bays feature the standard double-hung window. At the second floor, all the openings feature the same double-hung, multi-pane window, although, only the six western bays are organized in regular pairs. The spacing between the first three, upper windows, on the eastern side of the elevation, appears less regular. The west elevation, which is also divided into six bays and faces Alaskan Way, has some particularly distinctive elements. At the lower level, the standard double-hung, multi-pane window alternates with large segmental openings, which sit above powerful-looking loading platforms of quarry faced sandstone (with probably some added concrete). Each large opening also includes a freight door, which mimics the shape of the segmental arch. Each wooden freight door is divided into glazed openings and wood panels, arranged in a distinct pattern: four multi-pane openings, which reflect the shape of the overhead arch, are set in a top horizontal row; below this, the typical arrangement is a horizontal row of four rectangular openings, each with nine panes of multi-pane glazing (three in the horizontal direction and three in the vertical direction); the bottom row consists of four corresponding framed and recessed wooden panels, set in a diagonal pattern. These freight doors, which include much detail, are virtually intact, although, in a few cases, at the second and fourth bays, a glazed opening may have since been filled in with diagonal wood paneling. At the second level, the first two bays are characterized by the signature multi-pane, double-hung windows, with quarry stone sills, while the third bay has a typical eighteen pane window; the fourth and fifth bays have the same window openings and sill detailing, but the multi-pane sash has been replaced by plate glass. The sixth bay has a typical eighteen pane window.

Detail for 2801-2115 Elliott AVE / Parcel ID 7666202305 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Stone - Ashlar/cut 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): Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry, Science & Engineering, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Bagley, Clarence. “Elton E. Ainsworth,” History of Seattle, From the Earliest Settlement to the Present. Chicago: the S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1916, p 12-13.
Dorpat, Paul. “Seattle Central Waterfront Tour, Part 8: The Seattle Aquarium and Vicinity.” May 24, 2000, database available at:
Dorpat, Dorpat. Seattle Waterfront: An Illustrated History. Seattle, June 2005.
Jester, Thomas C. Editor, Twentieth Century Building Materials. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 1995.
The Johnson Partnership. “Pier 59, formerly Pier 8, Pike St Wharf, Dodwell Dock). City Landmark Nomination, Seattle, December 2000.
Sheridan, Mimi.“SR 99: Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Project Historic Resources Inventory.” Draft, ca. 2004.
Shurtleff, William and Akiko Aoyagi. “A Special Exhibit – The History of Soy Pioneers around the World,” History of Soybeans and Soyfoods: 1100 B.C. to the 1980s, ca. 2004, excerpts.

Photo collection for 2801-2115 Elliott AVE / Parcel ID 7666202305 / Inv #

Photo taken Oct 23, 2006

Photo taken Aug 04, 2006
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