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Summary for 4914 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702901665 / Inv #

Historic Name: Columbia Café Common Name: Columbia City Ale house
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Columbia City
Built By: Year Built: 1914
The two-story frame mixed use building was constructed in 1914 at a cost of $2000. DeWitt S. Orvis, who had come to Columbia City by 1908, owned the building. Orvis worked in management for several lumber companies over the years and also invested in and sold real estate. He was also responsible for the construction of 4851-53 Rainier Avenue South. Thompson and Thompson, architects, designed both 4851-4853 and 4914 Rainier Avenue South. The firm of Thompson and Thompson were active in Seattle from 1898 through 1936. Charles L. Thompson and C. Bennett Thompson were responsible for many mid-size apartment buildings, hotels, commercial buildings, churches and synagogues as well as some private homes in this period of booming construction in the neighborhoods of Seattle. The front, street level section of the subject building contained Fred’s Café, later the Columbia Café. The rear had four single rooms for rent. The upper floor had rental rooms also. Across the front upstairs was an apartment for the proprietor. The building was known over the years as the Hotel Knohf, then as the Rutley, then as the Mayfield, then as the Whitfield. The rental rooms on the first floor were eventually replaced by a bar and card room, called the Elbow Room Tavern. The building was rehabilitated in 1999, by owner Robert Mohn and Adams Mohler Architects, with the approval of the Columbia City Review Committee and Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board. It now has a bar and restaurant on the first floor and offices on the second floor. It is significant as a restored commercial building and contributes to the historic district.
This two story commercial vernacular building is of wood frame construction and is supported by a concrete foundation. The building is clad in clapboard siding with wood trim. The fenestration on the front and north side elevation consists of evenly spaced one-over-one single hung windows; although the five-over-one windows have been replaced the original window openings are intact. The original storefront was partially enclosed with stucco siding sometime during the 1940s or 1950s. In 1999 the building was rehabilitated and the original storefront configuration was restored. The storefront now consists of an angled inset entryway with windows on the angled walls; large glass windows with molded and paneled aprons flank the entryway. An entrance to the upper floor is flush with the façade, and is located on the south end of the main elevation. Transom windows run the length of the main elevation. The building originally had a parapet, which was later removed.

Detail for 4914 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702901665 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Stucco, Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Storefront: Slight
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.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Centennial History, Columbia City, Rainier Valley, 1853-1991, Pioneers of Columbia City. Seattle, Washington, 1992.
Architects file cards, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Historic Preservation Program, 700 3rd Avenue, Suite 400, Seattle, WA, 98104.
Architects Reference Files, Special Collections and Preservation Division, Allen Library, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, Washington, 98195-2900.

Photo collection for 4914 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702901665 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 22, 2004
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